Black Box Theories

2012

In the sciences a black box describes something which simply works - certain inputs result in certain outputs. But what makes up the insides of the box or how it works is not known,and for practical purposes that isn't of any interest; the black box is defined purely by the fact it works on the outside world.

 

What about a box whose function is rather to have no other function except for wondering exactly what is inside of it? No productivity, but instead an object of indulgent contemplation - the opportunity to sit down with someone, hand them a sealed box, and let them go at it. Its dark inside the boxes, they wait for imaginative light.

 

"You can do whatever you like to the box except open it. Please draw what you think is inside."

 

IImage from Marvin Minsky's Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines (1967)

 

 

 These have travelled to Chicago, North Carolina, NYC, Boston, California, and Barcelona, click on the boxes below for sample drawings from each:

 

Wooden Box                                                        Small Black  Box                                                   Cigar Box

Cigar Box