2 03 2009



Anthropic Entity1

Gil. & Geo. Color UnCrop.

Anthropic Entity(s) 2


Anthropic Entity(s) 3

Recent trends have made it clear that simulation model fidelity and complexity will continue to increase dramatically in the coming decades. For example, the beginning of the mission to build a simulated brain is already announced (Graham-Rowe, 2005). Using intelligent agents in simulation models is based on the idea that it is possible to represent the behavior of active entities in the world with their own operational autonomy. . . . The factors that may affect decision making of agents, such as personality, emotions, and cultural backgrounds, can also be embedded in agents. . . Abilities to make agents intelligent include anticipation, understanding, learning, and communication in natural and body language. Abilities to make agents trustworthy as well as assuring the sustainability of agent societies include being rational, responsible, and accountable. These lead to rationality, skillfulness, and morality (e.g., ethical agent, moral agent). 4

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2 03 2009


This paper considers the work of artists, designers, and activists who, since the 1990s, have worked with body covering as survival mechanism and social tool. Individually or within collectives, they call their work art, design, or activism; or all three. The result is a “body of records” of technological, biological, and performable wearables that have not received the attention they deserve, both as art and design, and as vehicles for ideas about threats to species survival and collective experience.

For example, in the early 1990s artists created wearable artworks in the form of survival attire embedded in localized performative events concerned with social connection under adverse circumstances. Lucy Orta is prominent among such practitioners, who formulate clothing the body as critical, social, and ethical practice within an ambient “culture of fear.” (Fig. 1).

1 Fig. 1) Lucy Orta, Nexus Architecture x 50: Intervention Köln 2001.

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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


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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28 02 2009


The Arts Catalyst develops experimental art that practically and critically engages with science and technology, particularly science’s cultural, social and political contexts – where possible through artists’ direct engagement with its processes and technologies.

Provoked by subjects and places that we, as non-specialists, “cannot” do, access, understand or affect – particularly where they impact profoundly on our lives and futures, we work with artists to create contexts and opportunities for them to work at the frontiers of scientific investigation and application (including genetics, nuclear physics, space science, ecology, neuroscience and new materials) and in hard-to-access environments, such as biotech labs, experimental reactors, space agencies, zero gravity and remote environments. We are interested in the new forms and techniques of artistic expression that these engagements can activate and in the dialogue and cultural shifts that these interventions provoke within science, within art and in society.

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28 02 2009


The conference call and associated texts ask us to reflect on extreme environments and the extremophiles that inhabit them, understanding such things as indicators and vectors for the mutations that constitute biological change. The goal of our presentation is to extend this concept, to use the language of mutamorphosis,to link biological, environmental and cultural change and to explore how shifts in the space of the artist studio are occurring in the context of social and scientific exploration within their work. Referencing the work of two London based artists – Jo Joelson and Bruce Gilchrist, as well as an emerging project being developed in northeast Brasil, we explore the notion that artist-scientists are increasingly becoming extremophiles, in the sense that many of them are seeking extreme natural and cultural environments in which to develop their work. In doing so we suggest a renewal of engagement by these artists with the notion of crisis – a pointwhere it becomes critical, in their view, to assert the presence of art and artists within conditions of social and environmental change. Often the goal of these artist-scientists is to imagine and achieve beneficial environmental, ecological and cultural impact . But this is by no means a given. If “science looks and observes and art see and foresees,” (Gabo, 1937:9) what can the combining of these disciplines mean in the context of extreme conditions?

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24 02 2009



Many of us are currently, and possibly permanently, living in a hybrid space conditioned by the use of mobile and wireless technologies. This space, which emerges from our technological condition, has been scrutinized by various theorists and researchers during recent years. Amongst others, Timo Kopomaa has written about the concept of a third space, Anthony Townsend about phonespace, and Adriana de Souza e Silva has defined the more general concept of hybrid space which is formed from a merge of physical and virtual spaces.

Our use of technology is generally limited to standard applications and commercial ready-mades, which commonly exhibit a very functional and task-oriented approach to technology. The wider possibilities of hybrid space are often left unnoticed due to the ordinary and pre-defined perspectives offered by mobile devices available for consumers.

The focus of my research is in artistic experiments and works which investigate and refer to concepts of hybrid space, ubiquitous computing, the individual third space and/or phonespace. These works enable a person to experience hybrid space in a different manner than from standardized perceptions. They aim at directing the focus away from a functionally-oriented approach to hybrid space, towards a more conceptual approach. In my practice I have introduced the figure of the hybronaut; a person coupled with an artistic wearable device. The hybronaut exists within and continuously explores hybrid space. By simply focusing on being rather than doing, the hybronaut refers to the wider phenomenon of technology within our society and in our future.

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