One of our great errors in thinking — another aspect of that unfortunate idea of human exceptionalism that makes it so hard for us to be at home in this world — is that the natural and the man-made are distinct entities. Like all other parts of the branching experiment, we make and are made by the living environment, and we have done so since before we were us. Without the forests of the Santa Cruz mountains, there would be no Silicon Valley. But Silicon Valley will make or unmake the forests of the future. No nature story, no account of environmental struggle would be complete without bringing on-stage all the human technologies that are to us what the invention of flowers and nuts and chlorophyll and mycorrhizal networks are to the forest superorganism. Just as the emergence of tree intelligence forever changed the planet, so the emergence of consciousness (which long predated humans) forever changed the nature of evolution. Cultural transmission is orders of magnitude faster than genetic transmission, and digital transmission has accelerated the speed of culture a hundredfold or more. We may soon seem, to our artificial intelligence offspring, as motionless and insentient as trees seem to us. And here we live, trying to make a home between our predecessors and our descendants.
Posts tagged interview
Leyla Acaroglu — It’s an experimental knowledge lab that I set up three years ago to help overcome what I call the knowledge-action gap, the difference between people knowing that there are problems in the world, feeling that they want to address them, but not knowing how to take action. I really struggled a lot with the mainstream structural system of education, I did a lot of research in pedagogy and the way in which we teach and the way in which the brain works, how a lot of the experiences we have in life educate us, and how actually a lot of those experiences de-educate us.
The topic of transhumanism has been a hot one lately, for reasons that probably stretch from recent surges in bio- and physical computing to questions of economic and political equity that come out of the other end of a global recession. We’re very fortunate that two people with provocative viewpoints agreed to take part: writer, researcher and critic Paul Graham Raven and researcher, writer and anthropologist Lydia Nicholas.
Hang’s photographs carried the tags of nude, youth, sexuality, social norms, gay?, even in China!, and seemed enough for a story. That’s what I went with; the significance of Ren Hang would not become clear to me until a few years later. This interview was originally conducted in Mandarin. It has been translated and edited for length and clarity. Interview by Erik Bernhardsson. Translation by Dier Zhang.
Stevie Wishart was FoAM’s “composer in transience” at the Brussels studio for most of 2015. Her residency emerged as a natural consequence of a long involvement with FoAM spanning several years and numerous projects, including most recently Wheel & Time(less), Candlemas Concerto, FutureFest, Smoke & Vapour, and Inner Garden. When I had the opportunity to talk with her in the spring of 2015 she was deeply immersed in a large composition that would be performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in May. Our discussions therefore gravitated around the particular challenges and musical innovations she was imminently preoccupied with at the time — which made for some fascinating comparisons and contrasts between these and the very different contexts and approaches entailed in working on a musical project at FoAM.
Hong Kong’s socially conscious photography isn’t considered “as charming” as Chinese photography in the market. Yet, that is also the reason why Hong Kong photography is so uniquely crucial to the Chinese-speaking community.Hong Kongers are not unfamiliar with the name Liu Xiaobo. The Chinese human rights activist who called for political reforms of the communist party was detained after his participation in Charter 08 in 2008, and was later sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”. China is notorious for imprisoning activists and anyone whose speech are considered a threat to the communist single-party rule. Liu’s misfortune is certainly not a rare event in China, in fact he is one along the line of political prisoners, from human right lawyers investigating the school collapse during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 to more recently Lee Bo, the staff of Causeway Bay Bookstore in Hong Kong selling party-banned political books, who reportedly was arrested in Hong Kong by Chinese authority to help with an “ongoing investigation”.
Lynne Kelly, author of The Memory Code has studied the way memory is embedded in landscape in many cultures. Drawing on these techniques she’s developed her own memory code or Songline to remember swathes of information she was not otherwise able to do. As with many oral cultures, she’s used the environment around her.
Lynne Kelly: Well, I started with the countries of the world. So I started in my studio, my office where I work, and in each location around that office, the first 10, I’ve put the top 10 countries of the world, starting China, India, the United States. Then I go out, right around the garden, right around the house, down the street, pick up the bread and come back, and by the house not far from home I’m down to Pitcairn Islands with 66 population. Each house and each location represents a country. So now if I’m watching the news and a country comes up, like Reunion when they found the plane crash parts, my brain automatically goes to that position. It doesn’t have to go in sequence because it’s fixed in sequence by the landscape, and I can add that bit of information and it just grows and grows because there is a structure. So I’ve done all of prehistory and history. I start 4,000 million years ago, walk around, prehistory, takes about a kilometre to do that. Right around history, back to today, on a portable device, sort of like the Aboriginal tjuringa but modelled more on the African Luba, Western African lukasa. I’ve encoded a complete field guide to the 408 birds of Victoria.
just a few weeks after his hack, I asked him if he wanted to do an interview with some colleagues from VICE Canada, who were working on a documentary on the growing market of cyber mercenaries, companies that sell hacking and spying tools to police and intelligence agencies all over the world. After some back and forth, Phineas Fisher agreed—with one strange condition. “I’ll do a video interview if you get kermit the frog (or a homemade non-trademark violating puppet) and a voice actor to read lines I type in chat,” Phineas Fisher told me. And so, our friends in Canada got a homemade puppet and chatted with Phineas Fisher in his first-ever extended interview.
‘Ký ức’ is Vietnamees voor herinnering, of eigenlijk het ontbreken ervan. Deze titel dekt voor mij de lading. Niet alleen inhoudelijk, maar ook vanwege zijn abstracte typografische uitstraling. De meeste mensen waar ik mijn werk aan laat zien spreken geen Vietnamees en voor hen blijft de titel, zonder uitleg, ontastbaar. Dat suggestieve komt altijd terug in mijn werk. Ik houd van details die verwijzen naar mijn werkwijze, maar die niet in eerste instantie alles onthullen. Zo heeft het boek een rode omslag van lee filter, die verwijst naar de verpakking van Vietnamese kokosnootsnoepjes die ik als kind at.
Now, in the case of climate change, because there’s so many possible solutions, it’s not like the Manhattan Project. I don’t think anyone’s saying, “Hey, pick just one approach, and pick some ranch in New Mexico, and just have those guys kind of hang out there.” Here, we want to give a little bit of money to the guy who thinks that high wind will work; we want to give a little bit of money to the guy who thinks that taking sunlight and making oil directly out of sunlight will work. So there’s dozens of those ideas, and there’s enabling technologies for those ideas. That’s the kind of thing that we should be funding more of.
Well, there is no longer any difference between work and play. There’s no such thing as leisure and non-leisure. We’re all working all the friggin’ time. But when we’re working, we’re goofing off half that time anyway. Does anyone even know when they’re working anymore? I’m talking about in what the Situationists called the ‘overdeveloped’ world. I do all my work in coffee shops, and I see people constantly juggling stuff that’s either work or not work, god only knows what it is. As the grid tightens, it in certain senses becomes more diffuse.
It might be argued that some of the main themes infused in generative art are those to do with a kind of techno-utopianism and futurism. Have you come across any generative artworks that deal with dystopian themes or have a sense of anachronism about them? More importantly are the technologies and software used in creating these artworks inherently defining their aesthetics?