1 03 2009


The synesthetic hypersurface refracts the activity of matter […] It is the hinge-plane not only between senses, tenses, and dimensions of space time, but between matter and mindedness: the involuntary and the elicited.” (Massumi, 2002)

It can be argued that extreme cognition is always already. Its possibilities and limits expressed in the half-second interval between brain stimulus and conscious perception. In that interstice, cognition, hallucination, memory and perception are indistinguishable as potentiality. Physiologist Benjamin Libet called this durational gap readiness potential (RP). Here, matter meets mindedness and past meets future in the illusory “backwards referral” of conscious experience; neural activity prepares a movement before the decision to move is made. Synesthesia research, the study of cross-modal correspondence and the RP interval together provide a resonant playing field for creatively thinking through the dynamics of thought as it melds with sensory experience of the world. One of synesthesia’s primary conditions – involuntary and elicited cross-modal perception – can be considered a link to unraveling the mysterious processing of “mind time.” Brian Massumi’s concept of the biogram exemplifies one effort to interweave these conditions by speculating on the implications of 1) the recursive duration of lived experience manifested in the half-second interval and 2) cross-modal connectedness.

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1 03 2009


Dr. Sher DORUFF, USA/NL, 1950, Research, Lecturer, Amsterdam School for the Arts/ARTI Lectoraat, Amsterdam, the Netherlands



1 03 2009


Sarah Jane Pell, PhD, Australia, 1974, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Western Australia, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, www.sarahjanepell.com; research(at)sarahjanepell.com

Dr. Pell is an interdisciplinary performance artist, ADAS2 Commercial Diver and human factors researcher positing herself as the live subject in many experimental human performance and behaviors research laboratories with innovative countermeasures, chorographical constraints and live biotelemetry outputs in extreme environments and their analogues – usually underwater. Pell obtained a PhD at Edith Cowan University (2005), and attended the SSP at the International Space University, France (2006). Her work has been performed, published and exhibited internationally since 1997. http://myprofile.cos.com/spellart


1 03 2009


Discoveries in cosmology reveal that 97% of the energy and matter content of the universe is in a form that is of an unknown nature, called dark matter and dark energy. For all of human history, our species has been studying only the same kind of matter that it is made of (baryonic matter), and this matter and energy is a minor constituent of the world. The human senses are very badly designed to investigate the total content of the world.

Science and technology have led to the development of a large range of different kinds of instruments to allow us to perceive parts of the world below the thresholds of our unaided senses. Other kinds of instruments allow us to access parts of the world that emit energy of a kind that our senses cannot even detect in principle. There seems to be an innate human urge to continue exploring current limits of our perceptual systems, building new cognitive territories. Such a urge would presumably have survival advantages for the human species resulting in a selective advantage during human pre-history. Now they provide the ground for development of new human cultures.

The role of artists is essential in helping us develop the kinds of intuitions, new metaphors, explanatory concepts, and linguistic elements that are needed as we explore the new extreme territories, from micro to macro scale. As scientists continue to extend the limits of perception and cognition, artists have an important role in shaping the science of the future and new possibilities for art-science collaboration exist..

New generations of artists are sufficiently trained in science to begin to contribute actively to the exploration of these extreme environments. Artists in residence, such as the one co sponsored by the Leonardo organization at the Space Sciences Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley, are helping to provide platforms for new art-science collaborations. Through such collaborations we can imagine that the experience of extreme environments will become culturally appropriated with the development of new languages, analogical and metaphorical frameworks and indeed new intuitions that will frame our imagination and artistic and scientific futures.

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1 03 2009


Roger F. Malina is a space scientist and astronomer, with a specialty in space instrumentation and optics. Previously he was Director of the NASA EUVE Observatory at the University of California, Berkeley, and more recently director of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille CNRS. He currently serves on the Comite National of the French CNRS for astronomy and on the French National Commission on Cosmology. His current research interests are in observational cosmology and the SNAP Consortium project for a space observatory dedicated to elucidating the nature of dark energy and dark matter. He is Chairman of the Board of Leonardo/International Society for the Arts/Sciences and Technology in San Francisco and President of the sister Association Leonardo in Paris. These organizations are dedicated to creating links between artists, scientists and engineers.


1 03 2009


Primate Cinema is a planned series of videos that visualize primate social dramas for human audiences. The first video experiment, Baboons as Friends, juxtaposes footage of baboons taken in the field with a reenactment by human actors, shot in film noir style in a bar in Los Angeles. A tale of lust, jealousy, sex, and violence transpires simultaneously in nonhuman and human worlds. Beastly males, instinctively attracted to a femme fatale, fight to win her, but most are doomed to fail. The story of sexual selection is presented across species, the dark genre of film noir re-mapping the savannah to the urban jungle.


Baboons as Friends is presented in split screen. One side shows raw field footage of baboons in Kenya, shot by primatologist/cognitive scientist, Deborah Forster. The other side shows a reenactment I scripted and directed with actors in Hollywood. The soundtrack combines actual vocalizations of the baboons with the ambience of a bar. Once the video has ended it is shown a second time along with a commentary by Forster on the behavior of primates. Baboons as Friends can also be presented as a two channel video installation with voiceover narration on headphones.

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1 03 2009


Rachel MAYERI, USA, 1969, Assistant Professor of Media Studies / Digital Media, Harvey Mudd College, Humanities and Social Sciences Department, http://www.soft-science.org, Rachel.Mayeri(at)gmail.com. Los Angeles-based artist working at the intersection of science, art, and society. Her videos, installations, and writing projects explore scientific representation in topics ranging from the history of special effects to the human animal. Her chapter on artists` experiments with science documentary is forthcoming in Tactical Biopolitcs: Theory & Practice@ life.science.art, Beatriz da Costa and Kavita Philip, eds. Shown at Los Angeles Filmforum, ZKM in Karlsruhe, and P.S.1/MoMA in New York, a Guest Curator of the Museum of Jurassic Technology.


1 03 2009


Reductionist alert! A health warning to our friends in the reductionist camp: artists will look anywhere, into any discipline, scientific or spiritual, any view of the world, however extreme or esoteric, any culture, immediate or distant in space or time, any technology, ancient or modern, in order to find ideas and processes which allow for untrammelled navigation of mind, and the open-ended exploration of consciousness. We recognise no meta-language or meta-system that places one discipline or world-view automatically above all others. This is why we look in all directions for inspiration and understanding: to the East as well as the West; the left hand path as well as the right; working with both reason and intuition, sense and nonsense, subtlety and sensibility. It is a transdisciplinary syncretism that best informs artistic research, just as it is cyberception that enables our focus on multiple realities, and technoetic instrumentality that supports our self-creation, and our telematic distribution of presence and re-configuration of identity. Fundamentalist Materialists may find some content of this text offensive.

Earlier societies approached unknown lands, the terra incognito of the unmapped planet, with fearful caution. Citizens in many states today view their own cities with similar fearfulness, as a terror incognito, in the face, not only of terrorist threats from unknown quarters but of the very provisions claimed to ensure their civic safety – intensive surveillance, where every public space is monitored by police cameras, arbitrary powers of arrest for reasons unstated and unknown, indefinite imprisonment without trial, state approved torture – signalling the emergence of a political environment that exerts inordinate social control, leading inexorably to the loss of our personal liberty. This cloud of unknowing shrouds us in anxiety and fear. This is the military/industrial complex running wild, using paranoia to control the financial and political will of elected governments. It is a paranoia challenged by the liberating telenoia of the Net, the joy of connectedness that is universally celebrated in cyberspace. None the less, who knows who will strike next, the terrorist or agents of the state? Here indeed is terror incognito.

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1 03 2009

roy ascott

Roy Ascott, (26 October 1934). Professor of Technoetic Arts, President of the Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth; Visiting Professor, Design|Media Arts, UCLA. www.planetary-collegium.net. roy.ascott(at)btinternet.com.

Formerly: Dean of San Francisco Art Institute; Professor for Communications Theory, University of Applied Arts, Vienna; President of Ontario College of Art. Exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica Linz, Milan Triennale, Biennale do Mercosul, Brazil, European Media Festival, and Electra Paris, Founding editor of Technoetic Arts. Has advised media art organisations in Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Korea and the USA, as well as the CEC and UNESCO. Convenes the annual Consciousness Reframed conferences.


1 03 2009



Morphology, within the field of biology, refers to the outward appearance of an organism or taxon and its component parts. As a means of quantifying morphology, morphometrics is the collection of methods used to collect measurements from shapes and perform statistical analysis on the variation. This paper introduces the concepts and history behind morphology and morphometrics as a backdrop to the subsequently described art-science explorations undertaken by the author in the Morphology Project. In particular, “dataFace”, the most recent installment of the Morphology Project is detailed as an example of how a large scientific dataset can be harnessed using custom and existing tools as a means of artistic exploration and scientific inquiry. Morphometrics is an untapped area for the arts. By utilizing these ideas and their accompanying methodologies, artists have the ability to analyze shape mathematically and to wield large biological shape databases as a medium. This interplay has the potential to enhance both the arts and sciences.

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