Turing’s Legacy — Art: Codebreaking Sculpture on Display in Guildford

Days to Centenary: 258

In previous posts I’ve highlighted elements of Alan Turing’s legacy in spheres as diverse as philanthropy and humour. Now, on to the arts.

A sculpture commemorating Alan Turing’s codebreaking work has just gone on display in Guildford, England where he once lived.

The sculpture consists of a large array of lights which in aggregate represent the Wernicke’s Area of the human brain, which along with Broca’s Area is identified with language. Wernicke’s Area is specifically involved in decoding written and spoken language.

Turing Sculpture in Guildford, England

Turing Sculpture in Guildford, England

The light display incorporates a secret code, which changes every twenty-four hours, just as the Enigma code used by the German military did during World War II. Members of the public can gain clues to the code by texting messages to the sculpture, then use the information they’ve gleaned to try to break the code.

The sculpture was created by Amenity Space, an art, architecture and design firm whose name derives from the architectural terms for the interstitial spaces that fall between those areas that are clearly designed for a particular use — as the firm’s site puts it, spaces where one is “not contained within a building, stuck on a transport network, or farming the land.”The new artwork stands outside the G Live entertainment complex, which includes seminar rooms, a caf√© and an auditorium with a capacity of 1,000 seated guests or 1,700 standing and seated.

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