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Soft Control: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious soft control: umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno

soft control: art, science and the technological unconscious soft control: umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno

Maribor 2015



Dmitry Bulatov Beyond the Medium


Andrew Pickering Art and Agency


Roy Ascott Technoetic Creativity: A Personal Journey of Discovery


Pier Luigi Capucci The Nature of Technologies. Technologies as Nature


Erkki Huhtamo How to Grasp the Media-Cultural Imaginary in Action: A Media-Archaeological Perspective


Alla Mitrofanova The Technological Unconscious or Two Scenarios of Reality


Dmitry V. Galkin The Hybrid as a Subversion of the Flesh: Strategies for Hybridization


Polona Tratnik Engineering Evolution: Androids, Synthias, and Other Creatures


Ionat Zurr & Oron Catts Secular Vitalism or Fluid Automata




About the Authors / O avtorjih



Dmitry Bulatov Onkraj medija


Andrew Pickering Umetnost in delovanje


Roy Ascott Tehnoetična ustvarjalnost. Osebno raziskovalno popotovanje


Pier Luigi Capucci Narava tehnologij. Tehnologije kot narava


Erkki Huhtamo Kako razumeti medijsko-kulturni imaginarij na delu. Medijsko-arheološki pogled


Alla Mitrofanova Tehnološko nezavedno ali dva scenarija resničnosti


Dmitry V. Galkin Hibridno kot subverzija telesnega: strategije hibridizacije


Polona Tratnik Inženirstvo evolucije: androidi, umetne celice – synthie ter druge kreature


Ionat Zurr & Oron Catts Sekularni vitalizem ali fluidni avtomati





this environment, “ Incertain artistic strategies

acquire increased significance: those strategies directed towards the formation of a new human right, the right to reinvent and rewrite the very foundations of the

technological myth.



Beyond the Medium Dmitry Bulatov Abstract Modern science’s attempts both to understand and overcome a whole series of laws of nature make us remember Goethe’s famous maxim, “stirb und werde” – die and live anew, come hither and abide. Or, to put that in layman’s terms, it assumes an effort to acquire a postbiological “personology” (in other words, the endless profound interweaving of the living and the non-living, of the artificial and the natural, etc.). As we know, the desire to reach it is part of all modern culture. Approaching these questions is hardly possible, in our view, without considering the experience of contemporary technobiological arts – the representatives of which do not so much confirm the versions of dehumanizing reality that is unfolding before our eyes, as determine these versions’ boundaries, offering the viewer a more complex permutation of rules. Such practice is testament to the ability of the artist – and, in the end of the viewer as well – not just to lend a technical space cognitive or aesthetic content, but, first of all – an existential one. Thus returning ourselves to technē, through which subjectivity is reproduced. Keywords: postbiology, technobiological arts, metabola, technological unconscious, soft control, automatisms


The Drifting Hybrid The fundamental question that invariably dominates contemporary discussions of science and new technology is the question of whether they can have a transformative influence on all aspects of life today and on human beings themselves. Obviously, the true qualitative novelty of the technological breakthrough happening before our eyes is not simply limited to the appearance of new practices linked to scientific research. Essentially, when these practices interact, they begin to create a complicated systemic integrity – a new space of human existence. Various high-end developments ranging from robotics, IT, and nanotechnology to a whole spectrum of neuro- and biomedical sciences are the key factor of this “assembly.” The effect of this interosculation can be seen in the full use of knowledge about the fundamentals of living and non-living matter, as well as knowledge of the physical nature of human beings. On the other hand, these powerful technologies, which previously altered our surroundings first and foremost, are now directed at the psychic and biological structure of human beings themselves. Modern science’s attempts both to understand and overcome a whole series of laws of nature make us remember Goethe’s famous maxim, “stirb und werde” – die and live anew, come hither and abide. Or, to put that in layman’s terms, it assumes an effort to acquire a postbiological “personology” (i.e. an endless entwinement of the living and the non-living, the artificial and the natural, and so on). As we know, the desire to reach it is part of all modern culture. But if that’s the case, then science as a way of understanding our surroundings and making universal judgements about them is obviously that which is connected not only with human beings, but with the space of their potential development. In that situation the spread of next-generation technologies that embody the inevitability of postbiological types of transformation create enormous possibilities for manipulating this space. The barriers between the biological and abiological disappear, multiple identities are created, and our body acquires the properties of the drifting hybrid. New limits of human freedom appear and, consequentially, so does the necessity of rethinking them. The traditional debate about what we see and what stands behind that visuality, about the relationship of consciousness to the outside world, intensifies, for new technologies enable us to construct this world on a physical level. We can hardly examine these questions and many others besides, in our opinion, without taking into account the experience of science art – a 8

direction in contemporary art whose practitioners use the latest technologies, research methods, and conceptual grounding when making their work. Science-artistic and social practices that help unite the languages and means of “physical description” on the one hand, and humanitarian, individual-psychological description, on the other, are the subject of interest here. Such a correlation of material and semiotic elements becomes possible when art makes use of a concept of information that allows for subjective and probabilistic descriptions as well as formal ones. Transmitting information assumes the possibility of expressing both individual meanings and values as well as, given its coded embodied essence in its material bearer, reproducing the physical conditions of its presentation (spatial, temporal, and its substrata). These possibilities for art are especially distinctly expressed in the various interdisciplinary fields that unite artistic, technobiological, and biomedical research. The total reconstruction of the human body, its augmentation with artificial elements, the alteration of our interrelations with physical space and time – all of these themes problematize man’s traditional relations with the outside world, the lines between life and death, the distinctions between a modelled object and a biological being as much as possible. However, what undoubtedly defines the change of paradigms in contemporary science art is the possibility not so much to materialize one’s own message on a physical bearer with the properties of growth, variability, self-preservation and reproductivity (which is what NBIC science is doing now), as to use unique strategies to educe the meaning’s very own message – a medium that manifests its autonomous and “nonhuman” dimension through new properties. How paradoxical such an interaction of science and art can be, what are the prospects for disseminating next-generation technology, and how we should understand the nature of man’s compulsion to participate in the development of technical systems that may eventually surpass him – all these questions are the subject of several discussions in the art community.

Technological Matter and the New State of the Living The works of techno-bio artists constitute sophisticated insights into life. As they usually take shape in laboratories and often through collaboration with scientific centres, works of techno-biological art make evident the fundamental distinction between traditional macrocosmic technologies and technologies of the 21st century. This distinction lies in the fact that in traditional technologies we are always dealing with the thing being 9

developed and the developer, the structure being built and the builder, the operational system and the operator, the material and the tool. But natural processes are unaware of this basic duality. The reality that surrounds us makes it very clear that in nature, life – that which is living – creates itself, “builds” and forms itself, directs and regulates its own activities. This means that the idea of so-called “self-assembly” is not only possible but has been successfully implementing itself over the course of millions of years as an even more complicated process – self-replication. For example, we need only think of the replicating mechanism of DNA molecules. In the 1950s, John von Neumann’s theoretical works on the process of replication showed that there exists a certain threshold complexity of the automata, from which point self-replication becomes possible. Neumann also posited the idea that, proceeding from a still higher level of complexity, this process is possible with the increased complexity of the systems being created. Thus the specific character of ”third-millennium technology” lies in the potential unification of the agent developing the tool and the material being developed, with the aim of automatic transformation of information into the desired material system. Naturally, works of art born in such conditions of artificial life cannot but make this artificiality their inevitable subject. This question is firstly, of course, linked with the boundaries of articulating the principle of life itself. With ruminations on the limits of that which, on the one hand, is responsible for the appearance, development, and differentiation of the living, and on the other hand, controls movement, differentiates an organism from its environment and thus makes instrumental relations possible. Artistic strategies which aim to move away from a concern with interpretative practices towards direct operational action, where technology finds itself immediately connected with the target state of the organism allow artists to concentrate on transformations in internal, physiological time – that which Henri Bergson called “temporal durations and the rhythm whereby living matter moves”. Most works of techno-biological art aim precisely to change these “internal rhythms of the body” – into those forms of “artificiality” that are found in the circulation of substances, the disintegration and creation of molecules, the organisation of organs and the formation of codes. The difference with classical models of modelling life becomes obvious – if AI and ALife, for example, were concerned with articulating the concept of “life”, with describing its universal specificities, then technobiology is concerned with articulating the things that constantly transform life. This is where the distinction in regimes of 10

technical interaction comes from: using technologies to structure things no longer means putting matter in the conditions of strict external control, but that, to create conditions under which the elements of the matter itself, held together by specific relations, will independently gather themselves into a specific technological form. In this sense the “natural” and “new technical” find a point of contact. The main task for artists who use these strategies when producing their artworks is to search for new approaches on the basis of a similar understanding of constructability, of a conception of the role of technologies and their space in the outside world. The question boils down to demonstrating that technology is not a way of struggling against nature, but the direct continuation of natural development, in which humans are perhaps but one of the tools for its self-organization. Contemporary techno-biological art proceeds from the assumption that the artist constructs a new media phenomenon as a principally new formation – i.e. it is assumed that the artist’s activity will result in the emergence of a reality with a more complex structure of its space of solutions (of contradictions, connections and relations). This condition – the increased complexity of connections and contradictions between elements of the media environment itself – is a prerequisite for any discussion of innovation or active development of the new media. In previous publications on the same topic, we introduced the concept of a metabola (metabolised metaphor) in order to characterise the systemic novelty of works that combine both interpretational and constructive approaches within techno-biology. We use the word metabola [from the Greek metabole – change, transformation] to indicate the organisational type of the physical medium that reflects the consolidation of qualitative and quantitative features of the construction following the activation, modelling or calculation of the influence of metabolic processes. In biology, of course, metabolic processes are understood as the exchange of substances, energy and information. When we note that the main systemic requirement of contemporary techno-biological art is the structural consolidation of the carrying construction, we are at the same time talking about the formation of various forms of surrogate matter due to the information-carrying medium being equipped with features of growth, variability, self-preservation and reproductivity. Obviously, when discussing this level of the existence of the new media environment, we can no longer feel as confident about our division of processes into natural and artificial. In this mode, the organic blends with the 11

non-organic, the material with the non-material, revealing therewith its techno-biological or post-biological character. Humanitarian thinkers have long become accustomed to concepts with the prefix “post-” (poststructuralism, postindustrialism) and associate specific content with them. The “post-” element is key to all of them – it includes an indication of a superhabitual form that leaves itself, which it is unable to name and thus simply limits its previous meaning. In postbiology this limitation is added to the main criteria under which biological essence is understood. According to these criteria, its existence and the speed of its evolution is determined by the physical inseparability of the genotype (information on the species) from itself. But the postbiological object, on the other hand, contains signs of both a living organism and a technical product. The sum of these properties allows it to attain the breakneck speed of evolution through entering information about its reproduction beyond the organism itself. All these qualities of metabolae – the metabolisation of the non-living, transformability alongside the preservation of distinctiveness, integration founded on differentiation – help us go from the consideration of an observed object’s status “living/non-living” – to a consideration of the role these materialized dynamic systems play in the space of relations. In other words, we are trying to understand the phenomenon of the existence of a new medial environment “at the edge of chaos”, of duality and fluctuation when we use metabolic processes to create links and relations that create the unity of the non-living in the assembly. The main medium for research here is synthetic matter, and the main issue at hand is the “living” aspect, the ability of expression, the reserve of existing possibilities we can discover from within that “non-living” dimension.

The Technological Unconscious as a Medium Reflections on the physical medium and its message, on medial space and its signs do not begin from an analysis of the specificities and conditions of producing various types of surrogate matter. The history of European thought has seen endless polemics over that subject, first principle or substance which prefers to remain hidden behind the external manifestations of the world. “Do you ask from what it’s made of – earth, fire, water etc? Or do you ask, ‘what is its pattern?’” – this is just one of the ways of asking the classical question about reality. And while traditional thinking on “being” asked about the general logos or the pattern standing behind natural phenomena, contemporary media theory is focussed on that which lies beneath the semiotic surface – where signs, like the physical 12

bearers of those signs, are not “natural” but “synthetic”, generated amid artificially-created life. In these conditions the question of the “multiplicity of forms of the one”, as a rule, is determined through the description of the particularities and internal features of the media environment itself. It is presumed that these features can be understood as a clarification of the universal features of the physical medium, which are often considered to be parts of its essence or organizational principle. Thus it is unsurprising that most practitioners and theoreticians of techno-biological art concentrate their investigations on questions of manufacture, technical features and functional analysis of these bearers of the artistic message. With time, these investigations have formed a whole network of discursive practices – “biomedia”, “nanomedia”, “hybrid media” etc. – which focus on how nature looks and functions “from the inside out”. The fundamental argument behind these practices is often voiced as follows: the level of the natural sciences today and the intensity of technological developments render obsolete the ontological question (“Of what kind is the logos of the genesis of artificiality?”) in favour of epistemological classification (“Is the study of surrogate or hybrid forms of life in techno-biological art distinct from other areas of investigation?”). This approach results in artistic explorations in advanced technology often being replaced by scientific investigations inserted into an artistic context. It could certainly come about that the abundance of works essentially indistinguishable from commercial design, yet displayed at exhibitions and festivals of contemporary technological art – is just the consequence of this scientist argumentation. Without calling into question the necessity of research in the field of physical bearers of the artistic message, we should note another, no less productive form of investigating that which might be hiding behind the sign structures of one or another medium. As such this form of investigation lies less in elucidating the functional principles of the new medium and more in determining the boundaries of their applicability. That if the medium of a technological art work is not only a material foundation – hardware in robotics, molecules and cells in biology, topological intensification in nanotechnology? That if at the foundations of this medium lies the totality of force fileds that have a single origin and ensure that artistic expression is possible? That if the real issue is in regimes of activation themselves and in broadcasting information? This approach pushes us towards reflections of a “submedial” character, not connected with the materiality of mediality practices, and enables analysis of the causes which condition the extent to 13

which these practices are embedded in the big picture of the formation of a new technological reality. One of the possible approaches that answers these questions is the approach designated “the archaeology of new media” – a rapidly developing field of media research which affirms that the reality of new technologies is located primarily in discourses – repeating cultural motifs that guide and form its development – rather than in “new-technology objects” and “artefacts” that form the core around which everything revolves and evolves. Media archaeologists tend to see these “discursive objects” (topdown structures that order and structure experience) as “messengers of hidden continuities”, which in the history of new technology functions cyclically, providing “pre-fab forms” for cultural experience. In that sense any medium, as the physical foundation of an artistic message, can be seen as what Michel Foucault called the “episteme”, a connected language that all artists in a particular period used. Only in the case of “the archaeology of new media” does this language appear to us as a code of previously created forms of technological experience, which at some point activate themselves in the author’s consciousness – and beyond his conscious control. A media theory project understood in this way clearly recalls one of the concepts of contemporary psychoanalysis – the linguistic one. The latter also affirms that our speech consists of two levels that exist inseparably within language, such that our every utterance turns out to be dual: it conveys the conscious meaning dictated by the speaker, and at the same time the unconscious meaning, as a manifestation of “constructed complexes of habits, beliefs and procedures embedded in elaborate codes of communication”. Under the influence of archaeology-of-media theoreticians, within this discourse it becomes possible to speak of infinite sign flows – by analogy with desire flows – in other words, of a certain form of “the unconscious” that describes the totality of mental processes, acts and states, conditioned by technological narratives and myths acting as “building blocks” of cultural traditions. Offering a way out beyond the framework of individual historical contexts, the archaeology of new media comes into conflict with the habitual means of understanding techno-culture as progress forward – and herein we can see the obvious value of the method. Indeed, this approach underscores the cyclical rather than chronological movement, reiteration rather than one-time discovery, and thus allows us to interpret history as a multilayered construction and dynamic system of interrelations. 14

However, with such a top-down approach is it possible to speak of the “unconscious” in relation to the utterance that is formed by the information medium itself? After all, these media, whether analogue, digital and techno-biological even more so, have their own materiality and reality. They exist independently of human behaviour, human imagination and, most importantly, the human unconscious. From this point of view the medium’s message can hardly be called “unconscious”, bearing in mind the presence of a certain submedial subject whose message the viewer can and should properly interpret. Perhaps the time has come to initiate a media discourse devoid of the tendency to rehumanise media (which is constantly being renewed by representatives of the archaeology of new technology), wherein the submedial subject would be a “alien” subject of pure action and transformation, not an anthropomorphised speech subject whose language must be understood. In this situation it would be entirely possible to talk about a “technological unconscious” bearing in mind not only and not just the refraction in the consciousness of technological narratives and myths, but rather the hidden and formatting work of base elements of media bearers. Perhaps the most important characteristic of such a “technological unconscious” would be the fact of its not being anthropologically structured and thus encompassing not only people, but all the parts of technological systems, all of the human environment. However archaeologists of new media might understand the nature of the human, we can affirm that the message of the physical medium (which has features of growth, variability, self-preservation and reproductivity) is a non-human, dehumanised message. And in this context the “technological unconscious” could be perceived as the carrying infrastructure of the technological order revealing itself, while maintaining its autonomous, non-human dimension even and especially when people use it for conscious and human communication.

Soft Control If we can speak at all of some collective trajectories in the formation of humans and of those “artificial” forms that are coming into being before our very eyes, then we believe that this totality should be described in the terminology of both topoi and frames as well as that of regulatory relations. This is the system that fully outlines the appearance of new compound structures that are capable of self-organization and feedback and are self-referential in their technological state. At the same time as the “discursive formations” studied by new media archaeology touch upon the 15

social dimension of the individual, its roles, functions, and attachments are utterly subject to the manipulations of subjective conceptions, “the technological unconscious” relates to the pre-individual, pre-contingent, and pre-verbal dimension of subjectivity. Its effect lies in the mobilizations and the modulation on a pre-social level that forces passions, sensations, and relations – as if they have not yet passed the stage of individuation or not been assigned to a subject – to function as the modulated element of technobiological entity. Unlike topoi of media-archeology, which are always “cultural and thus ideological constructions” that effect control on a top-down principle, control of the “technological unconscious” based on a bottom-up principle leads to the creation of forces and tensions that allow a biological domain to independently mobilize itself into a technological system. These two regimes of soft, distributed technology structuring – discursive and non-discursive – function like two sides of the same medal. And they equally have no dependence on techne, which is a particular instance of automatism. But it is the second, non-discursive regime that imparts contemporary technologies with a kind of omnipotence, since it permeates the roles, functions, and meanings through which individuals both identify each other and are alienated from one another. In the force field of the “technological unconscious”, we cease to be users of technologies that relate to us as if to an external object. By forming singular informational-biological environments we find ourselves engaged as agents of the most medial bearers, functioning as elements of their input and output, like simple links in a chain that transfer and/or block messages, communication, and signs. The “technological unconscious” pierces all closed-off essences, making no differentiation between the human and nonhuman, subject and object. It assumes a biological sphere of open multiplicity, showing the individual as a collection of elements, flows, passions, and organs that act on the same level and that cannot be articulated as binary oppositions. Man’s functions, organs, and powers turn out to be part of specific functions, organs, and forces of a technobiological totality whose basic condition should be described in terms of the general properties of the whole. Today we can only speculate that such a “communicative-biological” merging of man and technology is the prerequisite for the formation of a structure of a higher, hypertechnological unity, within which the biological share will steadily decrease. This conceptualization is, by the way, supported by the discovery of technocenoses (weakly linked technological essences capable of evolving by parts and not denying evolutionary selection), which was accomplished and mathematically described 16

thirty years ago by the Russian engineer and philosopher Boris Kudrin. Thus, in the case both of “man-machine” evolutionary combinations and of large techno-biological systems we are talking about a principle which is not only the same for both nature and technology, but which also goes beyond their collective threshold.

Depicting the Experiment A cybernetic organism, neuron culture, and components of synthetic biology are not traditional bases for artistic practices in the sense of being oil on canvas, a line on paper, or an image on a screen. They are technical foundations that appear in response to the limitation of most artists’ interests to imaginative games, which is what has always been expected from the fine arts. In these conditions, which were actually conditions of a crisis, contemporary art had no choice but to identify itself with the search for new technical foundations with no links to tradition. The situation forced art to turn to the latest technology as the most radical alternative to traditional media. However – and paradoxically – this coincided with the realization that the latest technology intertwines the physical and individual-psychological interpretations of the medium no less, and perhaps even more so. In this sense the opposition between living and non-living, natural and artificial loses its meaning because of the mechanical, repetitive, and eternally potential character of the time in which this media bearer is located. Understanding repetition, machinality, and unaccountability takes the central place here. A medium of technobiology that only appears at first to have a different foundation – biological and abiological – is not limited to itself, it fits into unified rules of automatism. As an expanded version of this medium, automatism unifies both the “discursive unities” of the archeology of new media and the “regulatory relations” produced by the infrastructure of technological order. It is here, in the very idea of automatism as a general set of rules that entail the assertion of technically grounded submission and manipulation, that we find the “living” aspect of this non-living dimension – the resource of existent possibilities that allow us to make enquiries about the ontological qualities of the “living” as it relates to the nature of the technical. These possibilities assume that man is part of a system of technological links and no longer identified with its mechanisms by means of creating new forms and new identities in an entirely subjective artistic style. The appropriation and alteration of the technological regimes described above can happen on different levels – both the level of telling stories about tech17

nology (a discursive statement) and the level of sensations, passions, and physical and technological temporalities (a non-discursive statement). At the foundation of both – discursive and non-discursive – kinds of statement lies a function of reiteration that links the semiotic and material elements of regimes of technological interaction into a whole. And like how, by being guided by rules, a practitioner in a discipline gains freedom to improvise, by absorbing ourselves in the automatism of the technical basis of a medium, we gain the possibility to subtly abolish the rules of its being through proposing an even more complicated combination of rules and thus returning ourselves to techne, through which subjectivity is reproduced. However this possibility and this right – the right to re-obtain and rewrite the very foundations of a medial bearer – must be created. Hence why in the exhibition Soft Control we look at examples of how artists create this right by opening up their own technical foundations of the world around them. Such practice is testament to the ability of the artist – and, in the end, the viewer as well – not just to lend a technical space cognitive or aesthetic content, but, first of all – an existential one. Thus, by demonstration the specific logic of creating new forms and new identities, art forms the main task of man in the age of new technology – constructing a living future (i.e. a future that gives us freedom), and not the dead, mechanical future which is already being built without us. Translated from Russian by Max Seddon and Ainsley Morse.


Art and Agency Andrew Pickering Abstract Our technological unconscious is a problem, perhaps the problem. We dream of mastering the cosmos, from quarks and the most primitive layers of matter up to ecosystems and the global economy, but our dreams turn increasingly into grim nightmares stalked by mechanisms gone bad. I am interested in artworks that help straighten out our dreams and bring them closer to reality – works that evoke a neo-Taoist ontology of decentred flows and reciprocal transformations, that we are caught up in, by no means in control. If the Western tradition aimed at representational realism, the works I have in mind aim at what one could call agency realism – not the portrayal of how things look but how things go. I discuss examples of works that foreground the agency of nature and machines; that function as technologies of the self, transforming our inner being; and that stage dances of agency between human and nonhuman actors. One thread that runs through these examples is an evocation of temporal emergence, becoming, the appearance of unpredictable novelty in the world. Dreams of mastery deny emergence and lapse into horror when it inevitably shows up. We can find a few examples of artworks that confront us with this, and many examples of works that thematise instead an experimental openness to emergence, and adaptation rather than control. Of course, dreams themselves are not the problem, but we tend to act them out in broad daylight. Keywords: technological unconscious, agency realism, dances of agency


In The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley (1956) tells the story of a meeting between England’s most famous mystic and visionary, William Blake, and our greatest landscape painter, John Constable. Blake looks at one of Constable’s sketches and exclaims, ‘This is not drawing, this is inspiration!’ to which the artist replies, ‘I had meant it to be drawing’. I often get a similar response from artists. I want to interpret their work in a specific way, but I know that many of them do not think along the same lines, and neither do many scholars, theorists and critics. So this essay tries to develop my line of thought in a way that I hope might be persuasive. I need to emphasise that I am not trying to undermine other interpretations of artworks. I understand my own perspective as something added on to the art in a way that suggests particular groupings of works and points them in a certain direction. It does not attempt to block or contradict other groupings and agendas. I want to construct a new canon, though I have no interest in canonising individuals. What is this layer of interpretation that I want to add to our understanding of art? It has to do with ontology and very general questions of what the world is like. And an obvious way to introduce such concerns is to begin with mainstream Western art, especially painting. There are, of course, libraries full of books interpreting this tradition, sorting the masters and geniuses from the rest, and so on. As I just said, I have nothing against this work, but I want to come at the tradition from another angle. What sort of a view of the world does this tradition trade on and reinforce; what sort of ontology does it evoke? At its heart, at least until the 20th century, is the impulse towards representation – of landscapes and still lives, portraits of individuals, Greek myths, scenes from the Bible. And what this conjures up ontologically is a dualism of subjects and objects, of people and things, at the level of agency. The landscape is passive; it just sits there waiting for a human agent, the artist, to transform it into paint on canvas. The finished painting, in turn, is a passive object waiting to be experienced and consumed by an active human viewer. So, ontologically, the Western tradition functions as ontological theatre for good old-fashioned Cartesian dualism – it stages a split at the level of agency between active humans and passive things. And we can go further. The split is asymmetric: as agents we are, or can be, in command of passive things – this is a human-centred, humanist, ontology. And it is worth noting that what bridges the split, what connects the two different kinds of entity, are, firstly, sight (the artist looks at the landscape; the audience look at the painting) and, second, cognition: we know the world through our senses. 20

This asymmetric dualism mediated by sight and cognition is worth thinking about because it is the natural ontological attitude of the modern West. It is buried deep in our technological unconscious. It informs our culture in all sorts of ways, including the very structure of the academic disciplines as well as the substance of Western art, science and engineering. And our ways of acting in the world – materially and socially – hang together with it. We act as if we are in charge, the masters of creation – this is the political edge to what I have to say. On the other hand, this taken for granted ontology is wrong. My own work on the history of science and technology convinces me that the world is not like that at all, and I need to discuss this now (Pickering 1995). It is true that modern sciences such as physics seek to represent the material world as if it were a predictable machine, lacking the spontaneity and creativity of humanity, thus underpinning our Cartesian dualism. But these descriptions serve to conceal what happens in the laboratory. There one finds a very different ontology in action. Rather than the tenuous link of sight, one finds scientists densely engaged with the material world at the level of performance, of action and behaviour, of doing things. Scientists and material objects struggle with one another performatively in a symmetrical process I call a dance of agency. And we are very definitely not in charge of these dances: scientists evoke material performances but also react and accommodate to them, and vice versa. In scientific research, matter does not perform in a predictable and machine-like fashion. Scientists are continually surprised by how their experimental systems perform – one might, in fact, think that is the point of doing research. And this brings us to ideas of emergence and becoming. What we see in the lab is brute emergence: the continual appearance of unexpected and unpredictable novelty in the world, continually welling up and becoming in dances of agency. This is the point I wanted to get to: the ontological vision that emerges from studies of science itself is not an asymmetric dualism mediated by sight and cognition; it is a vision of emergent and decentred becomings of people and things happening in performative interplays of elements of an indefinite multiplicity. And I can make a few remarks about this before returning to art. First, we could wonder who else, outside science studies, has shared this ontological picture. The best answer I can find is that it is central to traditional Chinese thought, which has always imagined the world not in terms of fixed entities with knowable properties, but as a place of flux in which humanity is caught up as a small part, by no means 21

in control. For this reason, and to give it a name, I will refer to this ontology as Taoist in what follows. Second, though I arrived at this Taoist ontology by studying modern sciences like physics and chemistry, I later realised one can find examples of decentred dances of agency everywhere. One of the first examples I fixed on was the story of Asian eels imported to the US as pets. These eels turned out to grow disturbingly and crawl out of aquariums, horrifying their owners. They threw the eels out, into local ponds where the eels multiplied, eating the food of local fish and annoying the local fishermen. The fishermen urged upon the engineers to solve this problem, who tried draining the ponds to get rid of the eels, but instead the fish died and the eels just burrowed into the mud. Then they tried building concrete barriers to stop the eels escaping into new ponds, but the eels just climbed over them. This, then, is a very nice example of a decentred and performative dance of agency. The human agents did something – importing the eels – then the eels did something – growing threateningly – then the humans found a way of responding to that – throwing them out – and so on and so on, back and forth between the human and nonhuman agents, apparently endlessly (Pickering 2005). Other examples I have looked at include the battle between the US Army Corps of Engineers, the ACE, and the Mississippi River. The ACE has been trying to dominate the river for 150 years, building all sorts of levees and control structures, and the river continually surprises and outflanks them. One theory was that building levees and cutting off outflows would make the river run faster, so that it would cut into the riverbed and sink relative to the surrounding land. Instead the river level has continually risen, so that the levees have to be built yet higher to try to prevent floods. Again, one sees an open-ended and performative dance of human and nonhuman agency – the engineers and the river – punctuated in this case by Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans. Again, it is clear that we human beings are caught up in the flow of becoming, rather than being in control of it as Cartesian dualism would have us believe (Pickering 2008). And for an even simpler example, we can think about bonsai trees. Keeping bonsai is precisely a dance of agency between a nonhuman agent, the tree, which continually grows new shoots and leaves in unpredictable directions, and a human agent, which struggles with a pair of scissors to follow some sort of emergent aesthetic – trying to take advantage of this unpredictable process to make the tree more beautiful against some emergent standard. 22

I think it is important that this ontological story starts with science – it gives it a certain weight and respectability. But the other examples suggest that one can find these sorts of performative and transformative entanglements everywhere. That is why I think the story is a true one. It is how the world is – the Taoists got it right, and Descartes and the modern sciences have been hiding this from us for 500 years. Now we can turn to art. If Western painting and sculpture stage for us an asymmetric dualism of people and things, what sort of artworks would stage a Taoist ontology? A first answer, given what I just said, would be bonsai! Bonsai performs processes of decentred becoming before one’s very eyes. And it seems significant that in Western books on Chinese art you find an awful lot on Chinese painting, calligraphy and ceramics, but you find nothing at all on bonsai – it does not register at all within the categories of Western art. But I want to stay in the West and closer to the present. If mainstream Western art aimed at a sort of representational realism, I want to invent a new canon that one could call agency realism – art that focuses not on what things look like but how things go in the world. Of course, it is a canon I want to invent, not the works themselves. So the best thing I can do now is run through some examples of agency realism as an implicit definition of what this term means. All of the artworks I want to mention stage aspects of a decentred, emergent, Taoist ontology. I presently find it helpful to distinguish three sub-categories within the overall field, but only as an aid to thought; there is nothing exhaustive about this classification. The first category consists of works that aim somehow to thematise nonhuman and human agency and performance. Today, the class of artworks that comes first to mind here would be bio- and tissue-art – works made from living and growing biological elements. As ontological theatre these stage very vividly the general idea of the material world as itself performative, lively and emergent. But perhaps bio-art makes the point too easily. It is no surprise that organic matter is lively and unpredictable, while the ontological point I think we need to grasp includes the inorganic too. That should be clear from my earlier reference to physics labs and rivers, but in the artworld we could start by thinking about Chris Welsby’s work in ‘expanded cinema’ starting in the early 1970s (Welsby 2005). Welsby’s aim was and is to turn over the work of film-making to nature, thus confronting us with the agency of the inanimate world. One of my favourites, his film Seven Days, is a time-lapse movie of the Welsh 23

countryside. Its key feature is that the orientation of the camera was controlled not by Welsby but by the sun. When the sun was out, the camera pointed at the ground; when clouds obscured the sky, the camera pointed upwards. Here, then, material agency – the sun, the weather, the rotation of the earth – rather than the artist, created the work, and the work speaks directly to us of the agency of nature rather than that of the human, Welsby, who ‘made’ the film. And one could give an endless list of such works in this category. Others that strike me often have to do with sound. Back in the 1960s Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer used an EEG-readout of electrical signals from the performers’ heads to control a variety of conventional and unconventional sound-generating devices. Here, human brains acted as performative agents, like the sun and the weather, rather than as centres of cognition and representation (Pickering 2010, 85–87). Wired Lab in Australia extracts music from telephone wires blown by the wind. Again, their work confronts us directly with the performative agency of nature ( From the other side, I think of Stelarc’s work as staging a performative view of the human, a view of ourselves as primarily performative rather than cognitive entities. His early work, suspending himself in the air by hooks through his flesh, speaks to me of the symmetry of the human and the nonhuman, of our bodies as things materially engaged with other things. Attaching a robot arm to his body, controlled from the outside, speaks precisely of the human as performative, and performatively engaged with otherness. Stelarc’s Prosthetic Head (2003) – an AI dummy that carries on a conversation without any inner understanding – serves both to suggest a performative role for thought and language, as something humans do – and at the same time to put language in its place, as something derivative on performative being. Reading interviews with Stelarc, it is clear that his works are not, for him, about the usual humanist concerns with thoughts, emotions, feelings, aesthetics, critique, politics as conventionally conceived (e.g. Stelarc 2000). It is less clear how to characterise his work positively, which I am trying to do here by aligning it with agency realism more broadly. To repeat what I said before, my interpretations are intended to add something to the art, rather than to circumscribe it. So far I have discussed works that thematise human and nonhuman agency and performance. The second class I want to think about is that of works that stage interactive dances of agency. I already mentioned bonsai, which is a great example, but closer to the present of the West, Gordon Pask’s cybernetic Musicolour machine from the early 1950s is as canonical 24

as one can get. Musicolour was an experiment in synaesthesia. It used a musical performance to control a light-show. But its key feature was that its circuitry was dynamic. Thresholds for different lights varied according to what had gone before, and at certain stages the machine would ‘get bored’ and cease to respond to repetitions, in which case the musician had to try something new to wake it up again. The machine thus adapted unpredictably to the performer, and the performer adapted open-endedly to the machine. As ontological theatre, then, Musicolour staged very directly and nonverbally a decentred and emergent dance of agency between the human the nonhuman. Along the same lines, Pask experimented with performatively decentred approaches to education, theatre and dynamic sculpture (his much remembered Colloquy of Mobiles from 1968). Alongside the visionary work of the Archigram group, Pask’s contributions to the design of the legendary Fun Palace in the early 1960s laid the foundations for contemporary approaches to what is now called adaptive architecture (Pickering 2010, ch 7). Closer to the present, I could mention Simon Penny’s Petit Mal from the 1980s – a mobile and interactive robot that engaged, quite literally, in open-ended idiosyncratic and emergent dances with human participants ( Or Ruairi Glynn’s Performative Ecologies from 2008 (, in which an array of coloured robots dance for each other in choreographies that evolve in relation to the attention-levels of viewers (echoing both the form of Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles and the emergent aesthetic of bonsai). Finally, the third category of works I want to include under the heading of agency realism consists of what I call, following Michel Foucault (1988), ‘technologies of the self ’ – works that do something to the inner state of the viewer through non-cognitive channels. Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer was, in fact, a biofeedback set-up. It generated music whenever Lucier entered an alpha-wave dominated meditative state. At the same time, the music was the feedback, helping Lucier to enter into and maintain this altered state. Brion Gysin’s Dreamachines from the 1960s grew out of Grey Walter’s cybernetic research in the late 1940s, and were essentially home-made strobe lights which induced inner visions when one stared into them with eyes closed – a sort of antithesis of the representationalist Western tradition (Pickering 2010, 76–83). And, in the present, I think of Chris Salter’s set-ups aiming to explore the effect of nonstandard sensory inputs on participants. JND, Just Noticeable Difference, for example, is an interactive set-up operating at the lower limit 25

of awareness of feeling and sight, intended to explore the space of inner states it elicits; a new assemblage called Displace operates instead in multisensory mode, aiming to induce ‘intense, almost hallucinatory sensations’ (; I single out these artistic technologies of the self because they problematise the stability of the human and return us to questions of emergence, now within the self. As ontological theatre, they stage unpredictable becomings within the human form. To go a bit further in this direction, we could return to Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception, where he draws on his experience of taking mescaline to reorganise the artistic canon, picking out Vermeer within the Western tradition as the supreme painter of ‘suchness’, but also invoking Chinese landscape painting. Or we could let Stelarc’s suspension works remind us of John Lilly’s legendary explorations of consciousness in the 1960s, finding his spirit guides while cut off from external sensory stimuli in his flotation tanks (Lilly 1972). Enough examples. Let me try to take stock of where we are. I am interested in developing an interpretation of art as ontological theatre, as somehow drawing upon and re-presenting understandings of what the world is like. I suggested that the Western tradition re-produces a Cartesian dualism – an understanding of people as essentially different from, and in command of, things, by virtue of a distinctly human sort of agency that the rest of the world lacks. And I have just been tracing out a different artistic canon that I call agency realism, that stages a different ontology, in which the human and the nonhuman are symmetrically caught up together in the flow of becoming on the plane of agency and performance. I can say more below on why we should be interested in this latter ontology, but I want to make a couple of further remarks first. One continues the ontological thread. I think it is important to recognise that all of the works I would group under the heading of agency realism feature a surrender of control by the artist. The artist sets something up, but then surrenders agency to an autonomous and emergent system. Welsby would rig up his camera with a few bits of simple technology and then just leave it with the film running – precisely to find out what sort of work the system and the world would produce. The key feature of a Musicolour performance was that the performer had to work together with a system he or she could neither understand nor control. The very act of making art in this genre is, then, an explicit recognition that we are not in command – itself a piece of ontological theatre. Brian Eno (1996) 26

has some very eloquent discussions of this point in connection to his approach to generative music. My second remark is really a way of reassuring myself that this discussion of agency realism is doing something. One way into this is to think about more familiar ways of carving up the space of artistic production. The usual pattern of division these days is in terms of the means of artistic production. Familiar categories for exhibitions and conferences refer to media – media-art; new media; digital art, bio-art. So I want to emphasise that I am proposing a different sorting. A lot of contemporary works of agency realism are indeed digital, but not all of them (think of bonsai, or Pask’s analogue electronics and Gysin’s home-made strobes). Likewise, a lot of digital and bio-art does thematise agency and performance, but not all of it. If you wanted to organise an art exhibit on agency realism, then, it would not be medium-specific, and it would point the artworks in a different direction, not towards the potentials or threats of this medium or that, but towards a nonstandard understanding of what the world is like. So I think my work does have real-world implications in this sense. But I want to close by going further towards the real world. Why bother? Why should we – scholars and artists – try to work on people’s understandings of how the world is? One answer is: because the Taoist picture is true – or at least better than the Cartesian dualism that currently inhabits the technological unconscious of the West. But there is more at stake here than just truth and understanding, which are pretty flimsy things from a performative perspective. Try this quote from Max Horkheimer (1972, 202): [T]he world of objects to be judged is in large measure produced by an activity that is itself determined by the very ideas which help the individual to recognize that world and grasp it conceptually. Horkheimer is pointing towards a circular relation between understandings, actions and products. If we understand the world a certain way, then we act in a certain way, to produce certain sorts of objects, which then echo back to us our original understanding. Cartesian dualists produce the Western artistic canon, which echoes Cartesian dualism back to them. Ontology and action hang together. This is the point at which ontology and politics intersect. And this, for me, is where art can become political, in a non-standard but broad and important sense. Art can disrupt as well as reinforce the 27

Cartesian loop and thus help us imagine different ways of acting in the world. This could be true for many aspects of our being, as I showed in my book, The Cybernetic Brain, subtitled Sketches of Another Future. But I want now to consider briefly an aspect that I did not examine there, namely our relation with the environment. The basic idea is this. Cartesian dualism is asymmetric; it locates all the agency in us; we are the masters of a passive universe. And this translates into a stance of dominating the environment, of thinking, at least, that we can reconfigure it to suit our human ends – the stance that Martin Heidegger called enframing. This is the stance that many people, including some engineers, are beginning to see as problematic, as leading, in fact, to pollution and degradation of the environment, to arms races between engineers and nature (think of the ACE trying to control the Mississippi), and to bad emergence: massive unexpected side-effects like global warming, and environmental disasters (think of Hurricane Katrina again, or Deepwater Horizon or Fukushima). But the tendency is to see this as a finite list of problems that should have been anticipated and taken care of in advance. Ontologically, we should be able to see that this is not, in fact, the case. What is the case is what traditional Chinese philosophy could have told us: we are not, ever, in command; we can act in and on nature, but not with linear determinate results. The agency of nature is emergent, so we never know how it will react to our initiatives; it will always surprise us. And this is what an art of agency realism can also teach us. The works I have discussed can all be described as micro-environments that in different ways act out decentred becomings. Maybe – this is my political hope – when assembled appropriately, engagement with such works could help to denaturalise our dualist unconscious and inform new relations with the macro-environment. And finally I need to note that there are real-world examples of what I have in mind here, all of which are predicated on an understanding that we are not in command, and that therefore take the form of performative experiments aimed at finding out what nature will do in this circumstance or that, in open-ended dances of agency. I think of what is called adaptive management, which depends on staging experimental floods to find out how rivers and ecosystems will react to modified water flows, and adaptive ecological restoration projects that acknowledge that what is to be restored is never entirely knowable in advance (Asplen 2008). What I find striking here is that the stance of the engineers is the same as that of the artists we have been discussing: a surrender of control that thematises, 28

instead of trying to repress, emergence. This is another angle on the ways in which art can intercede in ontology and action, at the level of process as well as products. One last example. I have been referring to contemporary instances of environmental engineering that act out a Taoist ontology. But it would be appropriate to finish in the East. I mentioned bonsai earlier, and here is Jim Scott’s description (1998, 327) of a traditional Japanese strategy of water management: Erosion control in Japan is like a game of chess. The forest engineer, after studying his eroding valley, makes his first move, locating and building one or more check dams. He waits to see what nature’s response is. This determines the forest engineer’s next move, which may be another dam or two, an increase in the former dam, or the construction of side retaining walls. Another pause for observation, the next move is made, and so on, until erosion is checkmated. The operation of natural forces, such as sedimentation and re-vegetation, are guided and used to the best advantage to keep down costs and to obtain practical results. No more is attempted than Nature has already done in the region. This is engineering that stages and takes advantage of dances of agency, but we could also call it art. We could also call it ‘soft control’.


References Asplen, L. (2008) Going with the Flow: Living the Mangle in Environmental Management Practice, in A. Pickering and K. Guzik (eds), The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society and Becoming (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), pp. 163–184 Eno, B. (1996) Generative Music, a talk delivered at the Imagination Conference, San Francisco, 8 June 1996. Reproduced in In Motion Magazine, Foucault, M. (1988) Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, L. H. Martin, H. Gutman and P. H. Hutton (eds) (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press) Horkheimer, M. (1972) Traditional and Critical Theory, in Horkheimer, Critical Theory: Selected Essays (New York), pp. 188–243 Huxley, A. (1956) The Doors of Perception, and Heaven and Hell (New York: Harper & Row) Lilly, J. (1972) The Center of the Cyclone: An Autobiography of Inner Space (New York: The Julian Press) Pickering, A. (1995) The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) Pickering, A. (2005) Asian Eels and Global Warming: A Posthumanist Perspective on Society and the Environment, Ethics and the Environment, 10, pp. 29–43 Pickering, A. (2008) New Ontologies, in A. Pickering and K. Guzik (eds), The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society and Becoming (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), pp. 1–14 Pickering. A. (2010) The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). Scott, J. (1998) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press) Stelarc (2000) Interview Stelarc, in A. Mulder and M. Post (eds), Book for the Electronic Arts (Rotterdam: V2), pp. 24–32 Welsby, C. (2005) Chris Welsby, DVD (British Film Institute)


Technoetic Creativity

A Personal Journey of Discovery Roy Ascott

Abstract My interest is in the building of organisms of learning and research that can elicit and develop a technoetic creativity that is at once syncretic and ubiquitous. I shall briefly examine a number of dynamic models in whose design I have been centrally involved over the past several decades in England, Canada, Austria, and currently China. In every case, both analogue and digital processes and systems are addressed, prioritizing issues of behaviour, multiple identity, and connectivity. Whether media employed is immaterial or moist, questions of consciousness are central to the advancement of art. I take the position that consciousness, like space, is primordial. The suggestion that it is generated by the brain is as unlikely to me as the idea that space is generated by the body. Just as visual and auditory organs have evolved to register and negotiate space, so the brain has evolved to access consciousness. Science tells us that we see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. We have no measure of the degree of consciousness that can be reached, but many technologies over the millennia have been developed to widen or intensify the access, both somatic and chemical. Science cannot provide an explanation of how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences; technoetic art, by contrast, argues for the navigation of consciousness through a diversity of technologies, both archaic and contemporary. As for personal identity – what it is to be a Self – the isolated, solitary self of western culture since the Enlightenment is giving way to the emergence of the generative self. We see that the single-self organism is evolving into the multiple-self, which participates in the evolution of a variable field of multiple realities. Keywords: technoetic creativity, moist media, consciousness, technoetic art 31

At the beginning of my professional practice, my understanding of cybernetics enabled me to identify art as a system, combining the artist, artwork and viewer in an experiential and semantic process of interaction. Previously, as a student, I had found valuable insights in the work of Paul Cézanne, Jackson Pollock and Marcel Duchamp that presented three apparently opposed aesthetics that took me several years to resolve in my own work. To Cézanne I owe the understanding of the painting as an organism that evolves from the restless mobility of the artist’s viewpoint, interacting with the flux of nature’s behaviour, where only the viewer can resolve the incompleteness of the work. In Pollock, the plane of operations was moved from the wall (a divisive element) to the floor, unifying the traces of the artist’s (gestural) behaviour. In the case of Duchamp, there is the challenge to the viewer to subjectively negotiate and resolve the contingency of meaning that lies in every work. His approach also addressed self-identity, which he regarded as malleable. This aesthetic triad provided the foundation for (my) digital art practice, where behaviour, interaction, negotiation, evolution and identity are its defining terms. My change-paintings of the 1960s represented an attempt to resolve these incompatibilities, with each transparent panel carrying a gestural or semiotic element that could be re-arranged into new relationships through the viewer’s manipulation. This process of enabling the viewer to manipulate the parts, to re-order them in infinitely variable configurations, led me to the tabletop as an important arena of action. Using random, domestic “instruments” of control, (funnel/flow, cookie-cutter/form, mold/shape, non-slip surface/grid, clothes peg/connector), the viewer was invited to sit at the table interacting in open-ended play with a partner. These works were indeed to be things in themselves as much as metaphors at a larger level of signification. The tabletop as the interface of interactions has been a formative metaphor, the horizontal plane offering many points of access, more doorways as it were, to a field of multiform contingencies, where the vertical plane can act as a barrier to other dimensions, shaping, as we saw in the Renaissance project, both our line of sight and our line of thought. However, once the vertical plane supported a screen of transformative operations, thought could once more be opened up in this erstwhile intellectually restrictive dimension. Throughout my career, cybernetics has been the integrative element in my creative process. In 1959, the writings of Ross Ashby, Norbert Wiener, F. H. George, and Heinz von Foerster inspired my thinking about networks within networks – both semantic and organic – that would in32

form a connective, transformative, and generative art. I saw at once that this could provide the discipline for an interactive art, linking mind-tomind, place-to-place, within a complexity of variable systems. I set out my thoughts in the text ‘Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision’ published in Cybernetica in1964. At that time Gordon Pask, my mentor in all things cybernetic, brought me in (as chair of the Form and Amenities committee) to the Fun Palace project that he, Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price were planning as an interactive, transformable ‘university of the streets’. I put cybernetics to use as a cognitive and creative tool when I set up a wholly experimental course in London (and eventually in Ipswich), which I called the Groundcourse. Its effect has been felt internationally, gaining much attention from the notoriety of some of the more extreme challenges it put to students, as well as the international notability of such graduates, for example, as the musicians Brian Eno, and Pete Townsend, and the artist Stephen Willats. The success of the programme was due to its particularly transformative and integrative nature. Later, at Ontario College of Art, I was able to take the artistic, intellectual and philosophical implications of my London educational process to another level. Here the century-old divisions of practice into departments of fine art, graphic design, fashion, and product styling, were swept away with a curriculum structure of three principal of zones of action: Information, Concept, and Structure, each elaborated by Analysis, Theory, Speculation, and Social Application, from which specific subject area could be generated. Most students loved it; some faculty feared it, especially those whose tenure was invested in territory. The early 1970s found myself in San Francisco. During this period, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Sausalito, and Jacques Vallée formed the computer conferencing company Infomedia in San Bruno. My introduction to these two “movements of thought” that can be seen as representing the two wings of my subsequent development, was largely through Brendan O’Regan, former research coordinator for Buckminster Fuller, and research director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. O’Regan introduced me first to computer conferencing at Stanford Research Institute. I immediately realised the implications for future art practice of this medium. As I wrote later: “computer networking provides for a field of interaction between human and artificial intelligence, involving symbiosis and integration of modes of thinking, imagining and creating, which, from the point of view of 33

art, can lead to an immense diversity of cultural transformations; and in science and philosophy, enriched definitions of the human condition. Computer networking, in short, responds to our deep psychological desire for transcendence – to reach the immaterial, the spiritual – the wish to be out of body, out of mind, to exceed the limitations of time and space, a kind of bio-technological theology.” It was a kind of manifesto, and with that I applied successfully for a National Endowment for the Arts grant that enabled me to distribute Texas Instrument portable terminals to artists in UK and US and Europe in the first international telematic event that I called “Terminal Art”. In 1980, having decided to commit myself entirely to computer communications, I coined the term ‘telematic art’ to define my practice. Just as earlier, I had had an awakening flash of the value of cybernetics theory to my interactive art practice, so too here I saw in telematics the possibility for a new connective medium for my art. With National Endowment for the Arts funding the project, portable terminals were dispatched to artists in the United States, and the United Kingdom. By the time this first project got underway, my base had moved from the Bay Area to the United Kingdom. There my proximity to France enabled me to witness the first steps in the “telematisation of society”, resulting from Minc and Nora’s report: la programme télématique. At this time, I began to undertake a good deal of speculative research, projecting forward to likely outcomes for art of technological developments that were already realised or could be seen to be imminent. What one envisions is often out of reach technologically, and can only be anticipated in language – a process that necessitates the formulation of new metaphors and neologisms. I found it necessary to create the terms ‘telenoia’, ‘technoetics’, ‘cyberception’, and ‘moistmedia’ for example. My first major telematic work was La Plissure du Texte. The project arose in response to an invitation from Frank Popper to participate in Electra: Electricity and Electronics in the Art of the XXth Century at the Musèe Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in the fall of 1983. Popper had written previously on my work, and I was confident that his invitation offered a perfect opportunity to create a large-scale telematic event that would incorporate ideas and attitudes I had formed over the previous twenty or more years. La Plissure du Texte: A Planetary Fairytale sought to set in motion a process by which an open-ended, nonlinear narrative might be constructed from an authoring “mind” whose distributed nodes were interacting asynchronically over great distances – on a planetary 34

scale, in fact. In retrospect, I see how a complexity of ideas can create a context for a work whose apparent simplicity masks a generative process that can bifurcate into many modes of expression and creation. This has proved to be the case with LPDT2, set in a virtual world, which was created specifically for the Mobile Art exhibition at the Incheon International Digital Art Festival in Korea in October 2010, in my retrospective at [ SPACE ] in London, and at ISEA 2011 in Istanbul. For my show in the Shanghai Biennale 2012, two more versions of La Plissure du Texte were created: LPDT3, to be viewed on a table-top from all four sides, and a Skype version, involving 50 distributed authors, renamed as The Journey to the West. It was the psychic systems that I had been studying since the early 1960s – telepathy across oceans, communication with the disincarnate in distant worlds – that led me, a decade later, to formulate ideas of distributed mind and the concept of distributed authorship. It was the narratives woven around the Neolithic, ancient and medieval “spiritual technology” of my home region – Avebury, Silbury Hill, Stonehenge, and Glastonbury – that prepared me, at a very young age, for my subsequent study of esoterica and the sense of the numinous that later I was to find in cyberspace. In April 1970, I published “The Psibernetic Arch”, which sought to bridge the apparently opposed spheres of hard cybernetics and soft psychic systems. Many telematic projects followed after LPDT. In 1984 I led the creation of Laboratorio Ubiqua of the Venice Biennale, for which I was an international commissioner. This featured every kind of computer communications media available at the time. A similar project on a smaller scale introduced my concept of Telenoia – a 24 hour project sponsored by V2 Centre for Unstable Media in Holland. This was a call for an eighth day of the week, to be known as Telenoia, which I defined as the celebration of connectivity, as opposed to the paranoia of western industrial culture. In 1989, I created Aspects of Gaia: digital pathways across the whole earth, installed on two levels at the Brucknerhaus, Linz for the Ars Electronica Festival. Aspects of Gaia combined the telematic experience of being outof-body in cyberspace, with the concrete reality of physical space, bringing together a globally distributed network of participants, collaborating in the creation and transformation of texts and images related to Gaia, the Earth, seen from a multiplicity of spiritual, scientific, cultural, and mythological perspectives. On the upper level of the Brucknerhaus, a large horizontal screen allowed viewers to look down on and interact with im35

ages and texts contributed remotely from all over the world. On the lower level, in a tunnel running the length of the building, viewers could lie on an electronic trolley, which drove past LED screens that flashed messages about Gaia. The viewer became physically engaged in an experience that conveyed ideas about the emergent quality of telematic consciousness as it relates to the Earth as a living organism. At this point, recognising in myself, and in the experience of fellow artists, the need to more deeply understand the new media art that was emerging, I set up a PhD research programme in the University of Wales. This was the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Interactive Art (CAiiA), which I later moved to the University of Plymouth, and rebranded as the Planetary Collegium with the CAiiA-Hub in Plymouth, and nodes in Greece, Italy and Switzerland. There are now around sixty active PhD candidates pursuing the doctoral programme, and 43 doctorates have been awarded. The field of transdisciplinary research pursued cover art, technology and consciousness, more succinctly stated as technoetic arts. At the same time, as the DeTao Master of Technoetic Arts, I am developing a series of master classes at the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy, in Shanghai. As a separate but related enterprise, my exhibition in the 2012 Shanghai Biennale is identified as syncretic cybernetics, and amongst many other pieces, includes 2nd Life and Skype versions of my 1984 telematic work of distributed authorship La Plissure du Texte. In the late 1990s, I visited Brazil, the first of many visits that extended from Caxias do Sul in the south to Fortaleza in the North, as well as spending time in the Xingu river region with the Kuikuru people. During these visits, I became increasingly aware of the syncretic nature of the country’s spiritual practices that included Umbanda, Candomble, Santa Daime and the Uniao do Vegetal. In many cases, the shamanic principle is at work within contemporary cultures, as I believe it is in Korea today, where I have had the privilege of attending a number of ritual ceremonies. In Brazil, I was introduced to the sacred brew Ayahuasca that induces altered states of consciousness. I saw this as a very specific pharmaceutical technology that alters cognition and perception in ways parallel to computer-mediated cyberception. At his point, I introduced the idea of the Three VRs – validated, virtual and vegetal realities. I am convinced that the chemistry of the brain, as with consciousness more broadly, will be at the top of the agenda for much of this century. For this reason, I believe that the technoetic canon will inform serious art of the foreseeable future. 36

Research into the transformation and extension of the senses undertaken in our culture, has been largely limited to the five identified by Aristotle, to which neuroscience has added pain, balance, proprioception, kinesthesia, sense of time and of temperature. Much recent investigation into the malleability of these senses and their adaptation and possible evolution is currently underway. My interest is in turning our attention to what I call ‘second-order senses’, those the Enlightenment chose to ignore or deny, and science today views with either scorn or apprehension. I use the term “second-order” to identify with cybernetics since it mirrors this field phenomenon with its co-dependence of observer and observed; spiritual states and psychic awareness require first-person participation, second-order sensibility, and the emergent faculty cyberception. The naming of these second-order senses can be enough in itself to clear a boardroom or funding committee within seconds! Clairvoyance, dowsing, ganzfield, telepathy, mediumship, astral body, ectoplasm, psycho energetics, out-ofbody, morphic field resonance, precognition, psionics, psychometry, remote viewing, shamanic healing, telekinesis. All terms long banned from polite scientific discourse, and all central to the psychic life of hundreds of cultures over thousands of years. In my view the artist’s role in coming decades will be seen to be the navigation of consciousness by the technoetic means that science itself will develop. However for science to include subjectivity in its approach to inquiry and research we must continually assert the mantra ‘ask not what science can do for art, ask what art can do for science’. The older legitimizing codes of research, set in either the humanities or scientific tradition, are inadequate to the research undertaken by artists. A new speculative research is called for, in support of which I persuaded Intellect Ltd to publish the journal Technoetic Arts. I have defined technoetic art as a convergent field of practice that seeks to explore consciousness and connectivity through digital, telematic, chemical or spiritual means, embracing both interactive and psychoactive technologies, and the creative use of moistmedia. Moistmedia emerges from the confluence of (silicon) dry computational systems and wet biological processes, to produce a new substrate for creative work, consisting of bits, atoms, neurons, and genes. The speculative research of the 21st century artist follows a five-fold Path that involves the connectivity of minds, machines, and cultures; immersion in the hybrid space of Variable Reality; interaction with transmodalities of media and systems; transformation of image, form and consciousness, and the emergence of new personal, cultural, spiritual 37

and social representations, structures, values and meanings. Telematic immersion in the Net leading to the multiple self, moves us beyond representation to absorption in global consciousness and states of syncretic representation. In 2000, I exhibited the Moist Manifesto in Graz. At the time there were insufficient artists working in this way to curate a whole exhibition. Over this decade, of course we have seen the growth of bio art involving many hundreds of practitioners. However, I feel that now the term “moistmedia” is insufficient to describe the great variety of the cutting edge work that demands a syncretic approach to natural, artificial and technological systems. Rather than the restrictive tag “moistmedia” we need now to recognise all those info, bio, neuro, geo, chemico, cogno, nano, astro, pharmo, socio and psychic media that transit the spectrum of wet and dry, natural and artificial, embodied and distributed, tangible and ephemeral, visible and occult. Art is coming to embrace some of the terminology, concepts, and features of the new biophysics: coherence, long-range interactions, non-linearity, self-organization and self-regulation, communication networks, field models, interconnectedness, non-locality, and the inclusion of consciousness. In art practice, syncretism may become a methodological imperative. Syncretism, in attempting to reconcile disparate or contrary beliefs, brings together disparate entities − material and non-material − and their philosophical, religious, and cultural customs and codes. Syncretic thinking is associative and non-linear. We are moving towards a syncretic art, reflecting and constructing syncretic culture in a syncretic reality. Syncretism can serve us in understanding the multi-layered worldviews, both material and metaphysical, that are emerging from our engagement with pervasive computational technologies and post-biological systems. The application of syncretic thinking has distinct and positive effects. It accelerates technoetic evolution, destabilizes orthodoxies of thought, challenges representation, fights dogma, confronts materialism, demands participation, hybridizes identity, smoothes social interaction, and re-orders time and space. In my view, a cultural shift can be anticipated, in art from modernism, through the post-modern project, to a truly syncretic art. Take for example the movement from the artist as the author of meaningful content and exceptional experience to the artist as the provider of context within which the view creates meaning: the move from art as object, to art as process, then to flow; and again, the shift from art as the behaviour of forms, to forms of behaviour, and now to the behaviour of mind. 38

Looking to the future, we can see that our planet is increasingly telematic, engendering dense and inclusive global connectivity; our mind is becoming more fully technoetic, opening up pathways of expanded consciousness; our sensorium is extended by prostheses that are enriched by the faculty of cyberception, and by a renewal of interest in cultivating those second-order (psychic) senses that strict enlightenment fundamentalism banished from the repertoire of human sensibility; individual identity is becoming multiple, with the creation of avatars and alternate personas; our body is transformable both in physical and virtual terms; our reality will realize a greater variability, seamlessly connecting manifold domains. Now that our substrate in the construction of our reality is at the nano level, we are reaching the interface of the material and immaterial conditions of being. In consequence, technoetically-informed art will become progressively more syncretic, or risk loosing entirely its social and spiritual significance. The mind is in many ways outgrowing the body, and the sense of self is becoming multiple. Identity is malleable, the self is emergent. We are in a constant state of becoming: not whole but multiple, not one but many (20). The fact is that we are no longer a single-self organism. Progressively we shall become more permeable and transparent – in mind as well as in body – and not just to others but also to ourselves, and to our own self-realization. At this point, I must bring to your attention the seminal work of a writer of the early 20th century, who combined in the very fabric of his work the multiple self with a psychic sense of immanent personality. Fernando Pessoa, who through his creation of heteronyms, affirmed his belief that we cannot possibly live and fully understand life by being only one person, but that we must lead simultaneous, lives to achieve this higher understanding. As a consequence of technoetic evolution, we are rebuilding the self. We are each engaged in constructing and syncretising many selves. The deeper we go into ourselves, the more selves we discover. Art has its part to play in this process. We are in an endless state of becoming, in an endlessly variable reality. Variable Reality inhabits a fluid space that is as ontologically challenging as it is creative, and where, it can be argued, instability and uncertainty fuel the evolution of post-human identity and behaviour. Just as Hugh Everett III’s research has persuaded many of us of the utility of the many-worlds hypothesis, so we are gaining the desire to live in a state of variable selfhood. It is in the destiny of art, and the responsibility of the artist, to navigate consciousness by all means that might contribute to the definition and construction of the variables. 39

I have tried here to map out the world I inhabit, a syncretic reality whose coherence lies in the exercise of field-consciousness (a spiritual coherence), world building (a quantum coherence) and connectivity (cultural coherence). Our sense of presence equally is variable, depending on the space we inhabit, simultaneously or at any one time: psychic space in which or presence is apparitional; the ecospace of our physical presence; cyberspace that finds us telepresent, and nano space in which fundamentally all presence is vibrational. With that inversion and ambiguity that characterizes art on the edge of the net, we have to recognize that, in all that concerns our sphere of creative action, the map is the territory. References Ascott, R. 1998. “The Technoetic Dimension of Art”. In: C. Sommerer & L. Mignonneau (eds.) Art @ Science (New York: Springer) Ascott, R. 2003. The Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness. Edited and with an Essay by Edward A. Shanken (Berkeley: University of California Press) Ascott, R. 2006. “Technoetic Pathways towards the Spiritual in Art: a transdisciplinary perspective on issues of connectedness, coherence and consciousness”. Leonardo 39: 1, pp. 65−69 Ascott, R. 2008. “Pixels and Particles: The Path to Syncretism”. In: Alexenberg, M. (ed.). Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture (Bristol: Intellect) Ascott, R. 2009. “The Ambiguity of Self: living in a variable reality”. In: Bast, G., Fiel, W. (eds.) New Realities: Being Syncretic (Vienna: Springer) Ascott, R. 2009. “Creative Cybernetics”. In: Brown, P., Gere, C., et al. (eds.) White Heat Cold Logic; British Computer Art 1960−1980 (Cambridge: MIT Press) Ascott, R. 2009. “Art in the Time of the 4th VR”. In: Bulatov, D. (ed.) Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age (Part 1, Kaliningrad: National Center for Contemporary Art) Ascott, R. 2010. “Art at the End of Tunnel Vision: a syncretic surmise”. In: Scott, J. (ed.) Networking the Margins (New York: Springer) Deutsch, D. 1998.The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes And Its Implications (London: Penguin Books) Everett III, H. 1957. “Relative State” Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Reviews of Modern Physics. Vol. 29, #3, pp. 454−462, (July 1957) Mathews, S. 2006. “The Fun Palace as Virtual Architecture: Cedric Price and the Practices of Indeterminacy”, Journal of Architectural Education Nora, S. and Minc, A. 1978. L’Informatisation de la société (Paris: La Documentation Française) Wolfe, M. 2001. OCA 1967−1972: five turbulent years (Toronto: Grub Street Books)


The Nature of Technologies

Technologies as Nature

Pier Luigi Capucci Abstract Humans evolved the symbolic ability, a complex way to communicate through words, writings, images, sounds, both in direct and in mediated ways, synchronously and asynchronously, presently and remotely. But the symbolic ability is also a powerful “technology”, the main reason behind the evolution of the human species. It is at the basis of our attitude to invent technologies and create tools, machines, and even new future life forms. Born from the symbolic ability, sciences and technologies deeply influenced the human life. In ancient Greece the average lifespan was 30 years, in the Roman era it was about the same, and by the end of the XIX Century it reached 40 years. Today, in roughly one century, in the so called “technological world”, the lifespan expectation has doubled. Humans also developed a wide range of artefacts, machines, entities that are quickly becoming more and more powerful, complex, autonomous, and independent. They could be defined to a certain extent as “living entities”, expanding the idea of life and of life forms. All this processes seem pushing forward the human biological, cultural, technical boundaries. How do they happen? Where are technologies based on? Can these processes give any glimpses on a possible evolution? Keywords: symbolic ability, nature, technologies, the living, the third life


All living creatures communicate, in many ways. They use the body and the senses in order to notify that they are enraged, hungry or ready for mating. Some species have a social life, with a continuous balance between individual communication and the dynamics of the group. Some ant colonies, for instance, form societies that can count millions of members and have complex social behaviours, such as traffic management, public health efforts, agriculture and war, that are surprisingly similar to human wars in terms of tactical options, ways to attack and strategic decisions.1 Besides the similarities there are the peculiarities: humans have the symbolic ability, a very complex way to communicate through words, writings, images, sounds, both in direct and in mediated ways, synchronously and asynchronously, presently and remotely. But, from a more general viewpoint, the symbolic ability is far more than a mere tool for communicating. It is a very powerful technology, probably the main reason behind the evolution of the human species; it is the horizon that humans are staring at, as well as the cage they are living in. This acquisition is at the basis of the peculiarly human attitude to invent technologies and create instruments, tools, machines, and even new future life forms.

The Symbolic Habitat When was the symbolic acquisition born? This is mostly considered an inappropriate question by the anthropologists, because before the use of images it is only possible to refer to anatomic comparisons. What can be said is that since humans share the symbolic ability, although in a minor way, with primates such as the chimpanzee, our common progenitor who had this ability in nuce. This means, very approximatively, estimating its roots at 6 to 8 million years ago. The symbolic acquisition gave rise to the communication forms and tools that are the genius of our species: orality, images, writings, in all their declinations up to the contemporary mediascape. With symbols, models and projects can be easily exchanged, can be quickly shared and adopted. For instance, in building a hut for the first time or making a more effective tool, it is possible to follow the vocal instructions, pictures and the experience of somebody who has already done it, instead of repeatedly trying and failing. It is possible to build a hut or to improve a tool far more quickly and in a much more effective way than doing so without any input in a long “trial and error” process. 1 Mark W. Moffett, “Battles among Ants Resemble Human Warfare”, Scientific American Magazine, December 2011, p. 86.


This is a typical human behaviour: people always use some trusted models, referring to or having somebody to ask for some advice before finalizing their decisions in a complex world. Whether the goal is buying a computer, a book, deciding the school to attend to, the bank to trust in, or even when choosing how to vote in the political elections, there is most likely somebody to ask, someone who – rightly or wrongly – is considered as an expert. In sociology this advisor is named the “opinion leader”, and his or her role is relevant in orienting the choices of the people: further evidence for the close connection between the symbolic ability and the human sociality. Our ancestors achieved three main, strictly correlated, goals with the symbolic ability: knowledge, protection and effectiveness.2 Knowledge in understanding the environment by transducing it into symbolic models that could be shared, exchanged, discussed and improved; protection from the environment pressure thanks to the more and more effective tools, artefacts and behaviours derived from more and more complex symbolic models; effectiveness on the environment thanks to the projects, tools and artefacts, built from the symbolic models, that could modify the environment and contrast or distract its pressure. By means of the symbolic realm and with the tools that were produced, our ancestors began to know, control and manage the environment, and at the same time they established some sort of “safety distance” from the physical world, creating a complex anthropic sphere made of knowledge, projects, tools, artefacts, devices, prostheses, machines… Along this line, humankind became able to hugely modify, and even degrade, its environment. Symbolic acquisition opened up a whole world of opportunities and habits. Through symbols, humans created a shared knowledge separated from the substance of phenomenal reality. They created a laboratory where, through the elaboration of symbolic models, it became possible to test hypotheses and simulate their impact on the world, originating a capacity for design able to produce increasingly intricate artefacts. Symbols found abstraction, hypotheses, remote communication in space and time, consciousness, imagination, culture and knowledge exchange and sharing. The realms of the past and the future are born from and described by symbols. Through symbols, information, experiences and values are collected and transmitted. Symbols can mediate the conflicts among people, lowering them to some kind of linguistic intercourse. In the laboratory of symbols, the experiments on the relations between humans and the 2 Capucci, P. L. ed., 1994, Il corpo tecnologico (Bologna: Baskerville), p. 35.


phenomenal world can take place, and the correlation with the world is increasingly transferred there. Through symbols, humans have boosted the speed of their cultural evolution, in a process that allowed our ancestors to reduce the time of adaptation to the environment, limiting or shifting its pressure. Achievements that could have required many generations of individuals and hundreds, thousands or even millions of years of evolution through natural selection could occur in only one generation, by imitating, adopting and sharing ideas, concepts, words, habits, in a process where a key role was probably played by the mirror neurons.3 The symbolic ability generated a huge acceleration in the human culture and in the process of creating more and more complex technologies, tools and artefacts.

Acceleration and Speed There are many examples of this acceleration, from a remote past to the present. In the Stone Age, between the first simple wedges and the first axes, which are more refined although they apparently are not so different, there is a gap of one million years. One million years is a very difficult time frame to conceptualize: most probably, discoveries and inventions in our ancestors’ culture were very rare, and technologies and tools were very slowly developed, with fragile updates. Excluding the huge task of surviving in a very hostile environment and the sudden and usual presence of death, we would have probably been profoundly bored in a time where apparently nothing seemed to happen. Instead, between the discovery of fire and today’s many different ways of using fire-based energy, four hundred thousand years have elapsed. A relevant acceleration also occurred inside the information and communication realms. For thousands of years, until the invention of the telegraph, the speed of people, animals, things and information had approximately the same order of magnitude. Remote communication in real time was the dream of governments and even projects based on telepathy were funded. But in roughly one and a half centuries – a very short time if compared to the history of human culture – information experienced an 3 On the mirror neurons see Rizzolatti, G. & Sinigaglia, C., 2008. Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience (New York: Oxford University Press); Iacoboni, M., 2008. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux). On the mirror neurons and the imitation learning see Ramachandran, V. S., 2000. “Mirror neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind ‘the great leap forward’ in human evolution”. Edge − The Third Culture [online]. Available at: [accessed 20 June 2012].


extraordinary acceleration: in fact today people, animals and things can be carried at a very high speed, but information can reach the speed of light, namely more than five hundred thousand times more quickly than people, animals and things can, and with very economic transportation costs. Information achieved this incredible acceleration because it got rid of the matter of the support in which it had been codified and contained. In Latin, the “support� has the double function and meaning of containing and presenting. In a letter, the paper sheet contains and simultaneously presents the information, and these two functions are inseparable, so that it is impossible to deliver the information contained in a letter without carrying also the support, the paper sheet. Instead, in the communication process the modern and contemporary media do not involve one support, but two distinct and separate supports; one that contains the codified information and one that presents it. In a film information is contained on the film sheet and is presented on a screen; in a computer information is contained on the hard disk and it is presented on a screen. In the Web, information is coded and contained in some remote storage supports but it can be viewed onto a local screen (as well as onto other millions of screens). Hence, without the matter and the inertia of the material support to move, information can travel at roughly the speed of light from the support where it is codified and contained to the many, sometimes millions, supports that present it. This process requires that the two kinds of supports (the container and the presenter) are in some way connected and each other compatible through shared standards and protocols. And, finally, of course, there must be some kind of energy to activate the information coding, decoding and transferring. This acceleration continues today, in the media realm too. In order to reach 50 million users in the USA the radio required 38 years, the television 13, the cable services 8, the Internet 5. And, remaining inside the Internet-based communications, worldwide, Facebook required less than 4 years to reach 50 million users, while Skype took roughly two years. Today, people are information producers, gatherers, modifiers, disseminators and sharers. Most of the knowledge about the world is achieved through the media (is mediated), and remote communications, both synchronous and asynchronous, have a relevant role in this trend. People can instantly, inexpensively and easily communicate in remote in real time. What for centuries has been the dream of the political, economic and military power, of governments, inventors and magicians, is here and cheap today. Indeed, the history of humanity could be considered as some kind 45

of race to communicate more and more quicker, through increasingly longer distances, in more and more affordable and economic ways. The symbolic ability generated an extraordinary acceleration in the process of creating more and more complex and useful tools and artefacts. Today, “speed” is a very questionable and controversial word which reminds us of environmental, ethical, as well as of sustainability4 and pollution-related, issues. In 1997 in Amsterdam, I attended a famous event at that time, named “Doors of Perception”, organized by the Netherlands Design Institute and directed by John Thackara. That edition was devoted to discussing the topic of speed, and when I returned home I published an article in Domus magazine where I wrote that: We need ‘speed’ (as this term is generally defined) because we do not want to compete, as losers, with nature (also generally intended), and because we want to foster the illusion of immortality too. What we do require for ‘speed’ is a concrete project […].5

Interactivity and Mediated Communication A note should be devoted to the so called interactive communication, which is often depicted by the media as a new contemporary acquisition by means of the digital technologies. In human communication, as well as in the communication of other living organisms, interactivity is the rule and not the exception, as the media would often claim, and it is not necessarily technology-based. Every living being continuously interacts with the environment where it lives in (and also after its death, with the matter it is made of ). Before the use of images, ornaments and, later, writings, the human symbolic communication was mainly direct and interactive. From the first pictures and artistic objects fourty thousand years ago to the invention of writing five thousand years ago, humans registered for the first time their knowledge outside the body, in forms that are not interactive. Hence, non-interactive and mediated communication, which is relatively new if compared to the history of human culture, is the real exception. Anyway, mediated and non-interactive communication fostered an enormous expansion of human cognitive possibilities, through the circulation of documents, written texts, paintings, and then printings, books, 4 The term “sustainability” was firstly introduced by the Brundtland Report, commissioned by the United Nations and published in 1987. A digital version is downloadable here: 5 Capucci, P. L., 1997, Doors of Perception 4. ‘Speed’. Per un’etica della velocità. Domus, 791, p. 85 (with the English translation).


journals, photographs, musical recordings, movies, videos, up to the digital documents today. Mediated and non-interactive communication expands the power of symbols outside the personal, actual, time-space limited presence and the local dimension, to an extent that today the human knowledge is increasingly based on it. But, because interactive communication is more basic, humans have invented technologies to render some forms of mediated communication interactive, bringing communication back to the main realm of interactivity, both modifying the old communication forms and inventing new interactive media (like the Web, videogames, metaverses). Since interactive communication can be more effective and engaging, some non-interactive media try to appear interactive with some tricks: the letters to the director in the newspapers, the presence of the public in television studios, phone calls in TV and radio programs. Some reality shows even require an input from the viewers to modify their content and choose the participants. And, finally, the interactive mediated communication can have a relevant impact on improving teaching and education.

Living in the Future Through symbols, humans developed their conscience, imagination, interiority, introspection, self-awareness; they created the conditions to transcend the physical constraints of the “here and now� and crafted parallel worlds, from which mythologies, rites, and religions were born. Thanks to symbols, humans developed, in an almost hypertrophic way, the ability in projecting, imaging and designing the future, and the ways to live in the future. In fact we live in the future, a relevant part of our thoughts, acts, activities, ideas, projects, is aimed at the future. We keep agendas to tune our commitments with the future. We build monuments to project the memory toward the future. We make images with that particular modern form of monument that is photography, to create plausible virtual and (to some extent) independent doubles: some sort of cheap and short-lived monuments, made of paper, that populate the world’s imagery and sometimes also its imagination. We trust weather forecasting reports. Some people pay magicians and astrologers in order to have a glimpse of the future. Money is a kind of infinite promise: we put money in the banks to be safe in the future and the banks invest our money in the future (although often in a wrong way). We take out insurance policies to protect us in the future, and some of them are mandatory. We make bets, invest money in 47

the stock exchange market, risk and gamble. We buy goods on credit or using instalment plans. Some firms perform only the task of predicting the future and selling it to other companies, which in turn put the future in their industrial plans. The very etymology of the word “project” is from Latin and means “to throw beyond”. Beyond what? Certainly beyond the difficulties that all the projects must go through before becoming real, but especially beyond time. Sometimes I ask my students: “Are you here for the past, for the present or for the future? Evidently you think that from your courses you can acquire a knowledge that will be useful in your future life that fits with your attitudes and projects (and you pay money for it)”. [Anyway, teachers as well should be bothered by the future and should have a strong motivation for transmitting their knowledge, because when they are old and retired, their students will be the pivots of the society they will be living in]. And what is the meaning of “hope”, a typical human construct and also one of the three virtues of the Christian Theology, if not believing in a future with emerging facts and opportunities that fits with our desires?

The First Life and the Second Life Humans probably are the first species on Earth to be aware of time. They try to understand and question time, and they crave to be ready for the future: the future must catch them prepared, although it is a very difficult gamble. Humans wish to control, multiply and even subvert the future, even when this is beyond their biological chances and capabilities. They try doing this in their First Life, the biological life, improving the life conditions, the ways to contrast illnesses, diseases and injuries with more and more sophisticated technologies and tools. In the so called “First World”, this process lead to an increase of the average lifespan, ranging from 30 years during the Greek and Roman era to 40 years at the end of the XIXth Century. Today, in roughly one century, the lifespan expectation has almost doubled. But, humans also extended their life in a sort of Second Life (not to be confused with the famous metaverse), a life in the symbolic dimension. Through the media and the new media, this symbolic life grew from a local social narrow dimension to a planetary-scale habitat. Let’s try this bizarre calculation: let’s sum up the time we spend in a day to speaking and chatting, to phoning, to writing, to using the computer and its tools, to reading newspapers and books, to watching television, cinema, art exhibitions, graffiti, signals, indications, physical and light signs and banners, 48

dashboards, screens and supports, to attending theatre, presentations or music events… It is a relevant part of our time, and, more, in this symbolic habitat or through it, we take many of the most important decisions of our life. Since humanity began using symbolic communication, the environment has become a hybrid where the real and the virtual (the symbolic) interpenetrate and cohabit, a hybrid space that can be experienced both physically and symbolically. The symbolic infosphere built by the digital media is an extension of the world we know which is real as the real world. The life in the symbols has deeply transformed the idea of identity, which has become a contextual, multi-faceted and virtualized notion, defined by the environment where the subject lives in or frequents. The symbolic habitat is fragmented into many environments that can be very different and not necessarily interconnected, so that the subject can assume many identities. This process, fostered by the electronic media,6 has been emphasized by the networks and the telematic media that render the physical spatial position of the inhabitants of the symbolic habitats irrelevant, a process which can be socially experienced in real time. There are many instruments and tools that allow people to deal and interact with the symbolic environments. Initially, maps, charts and plans allowed us to symbolically know, describe and interpret the world in increasingly powerful and refined ways thanks to the technologies. This attitude to represent exceeds geography and planimetry: today thousands of maps can symbolically represent internet growth, brain activity, the diffusion of the viruses, the distribution of the social diseases…, giving at a glance the idea, dimension and evolution of many phenomena. In informatics and telematics, the evolution of the human-computer interfaces, their multiplication and the development of the interface design theories, allow to enter and to interact with the symbolic digital habitats from the physical world, using increasingly simple and natural ways that involve the body’s intelligence and the senses. In this augmented reality a further symbolic layer with data is superimposed to a picture of the physical world, mixing reality and information. While with the Internet of Things7 humans will soon be able to monitor the whole artificial envi6 Meyrowitz, J., 1986. No Sense of Place. The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior (New York: Oxford University Press). 7 Sundmaeker, H., Guillemin, P., Friess, P. & Woelfflé, S. eds., 2010. Vision and Challenges for Realising the Internet of Things. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Available at: [Accessed 6 August 2012].


ronment, transducing it into symbols, since all the objects will have an IP number and will be able to connect, exchange information and adapt to the environment. With the Internet of Things all the artificial dimension – that increasingly pervasive and extended material dimension created by the humankind, a Second Nature indeed – will be interconnected. This process will go beyond, of course. The activity of checking, controlling and managing the environment is tcompletely natural for animals, as it is for humans, although through different technologies. The Internet of Things will lead to the interconnection of the “Artificial” and “Natural” environments, pervading them by data flows, in touch with each other and interoperating in an intimate way. There are already many applications: the systems to monitor the earthquakes and the volcanoes, to forecast the weather, to control the climate change, to guard the animal’s migrations and the extinction of the species… The “Internet of Everything” will display the collaboration and the merge of digital, optical, bio and nano technologies.8

The Third Life The symbolic dimension is an increasingly autonomous universe, constantly expanding and restructuring. It is mainly based on the simulation, and the process of simulation is probably at the core of evolution.9 This “universe of simulation” can mix up and often totally substitute what it is called “the real world”. The artefacts and machines that humans have invented stem from the use of symbolic intelligence, and often, such as in the case of Artificial Intelligence, they come from an attempt to simulate or emulate it. What humans call “technology” is indeed their destiny, their peculiarity, their attitude. Symbolic ability is itself a technology, and the many languages, media, projects, devices, machines, are the tools. Technologies arose from human biology, since they derive from the symbolic ability that emerged – and is inseparable – from the body. Today, technologies are intimately part of the human biology, they are merging with it. Or, 8 Capucci, P. L., 2011. “The Internet of Things from the user’s perspective”. Noema, Available at:’s-perspective/ [Accessed 5 September 2012]. Paper presented at the International Conference “Open World Forum”, Paris, September 23, 2011. 9 Capucci, P. L., 2009. “Simulation as a Global Resource”. Noema, Available at: editorial/simulation-as-a-global-resource/ [Accessed 5 August 2012]. Paper presented at the International Conference “Consciousness Reframed 10 – experiencing [design] – behaving [media]”, Munich, MHMK, University of Applied Sciences, November 19−21, 2009.


humans can start giving birth to new sorts of creatures, creatures beyond themselves. The living is the best model to simulate in making tools, machines, artefacts, devices, organisms, entities which must survive damages, errors, defects, viruses, and autonomously work in and adapt to many environments, which have to interact with unexpected situations and hitches, like the living normally does. The living is the best model because it has demonstrated its efficiency in the last four billions years of evolution. It already knows those problems because it has embodied them since the dawn of its evolution: the best strategy is inscribed in the organization, behaviours and strategies of the living because it has already experience of the world. Sometimes certain complex behaviours of the living organisms may spontaneously emerge in robotics, A-Life, synthetic biology, showing a Third Life in evolution. In a near future, human life and culture will expand also beyond biological limits, through the Third Life, the life that humans are giving to the entities built by their culture. Through the symbolic dimension, humans developed a wide range of extensions to their brain, senses and body: tools, artefacts, machines, bioentities,10 which are quickly becoming more powerful, complex, automatic, autonomous, self sufficient. These entities/organisms, also inspired by the biosciences and the biodynamics, are growing smart and independent from control, so they could be defined, to a certain extent, as “living entities”, in a process that will be more evident and differentiated in the future. There are many emerging or growing fields: autonomous agents and artificial life forms, autonomous objects, robotics and biorobotics, nano entities, hybrids (organic/ inorganic), modified or expanded organisms, synthetic life… This growth and multiplicity will take place in a realm where connecting, collecting, communicating and sharing information can be easily and automatically achieved thanks to the computer technologies and the Net. Could this also be considered as an evolutionary leap accomplished by Nature? As a step forward in evolution?

10 Another useful concept is “biofacts”, introduced by Nicole C. Karafyllys. See Karafyllis, N. C., 2008. “Endogenous Design and Biofacts. Tissues and Networks in Bio Art and Life Science”. In J. Hauser, ed., sk-interfaces (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press), p. 42−58.


References Capucci, P. L. ed., 1994, Il corpo tecnologico (Bologna: Baskerville) Capucci, P. L., 1997, Doors of Perception 4. ‘Speed’. Per un’etica della velocità. Domus, 791 (with the English translation) Capucci, P. L., 2009. “Simulation as a Global Resource”. Noema, Available at: [Accessed 5 August 2012] Capucci, P. L., 2011. “The Internet of Things from the user’s perspective”. Noema, Available at:’sperspective/ [Accessed 5 September 2012] Iacoboni, M., 2008. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Karafyllis, N. C., 2008. “Endogenous Design and Biofacts. Tissues and Networks in Bio Art and Life Science”. In J. Hauser, ed., sk-interfaces (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press) Meyrowitz, J., 1986. No Sense of Place. The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior (New York: Oxford University Press) Moffett, Mark W., “Battles among Ants Resemble Human Warfare”, Scientific American Magazine, December 2011 Ramachandran, V. S., 2000. “Mirror neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind ‘the great leap forward’ in human evolution”. Edge − The Third Culture [online]. Available at: ramachandran_p1.html [accessed 20 June 2012] Rizzolatti, G. & Sinigaglia, C., 2008. Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience (New York: Oxford University Press) Sundmaeker, H., Guillemin, P., Friess, P. & Woelfflé, S. eds., 2010. Vision and Challenges for Realising the Internet of Things. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Available at: [Accessed 6 August 2012]


How to Grasp the Media-Cultural Imaginary in Action A Media-Archaeological Perspective Erkki Huhtamo Abstract A certain way of doing media archaeology by developing a theoretical-historical contextualization of the topos is a notion adopted from the literary scholar Ernst Robert Curtius and turned into a “tool” for explaining the recurrence of clichés and commonplaces in media culture. Huhtamo has applied the idea to various media forms ranging from “peep media” and the moving panorama to mobile media. The approach is delineated theoretically, discussing its predecessors and demonstrating how it can be applied to various facets of media culture. The task is identifying topoi, analyzing their trajectories and transformations, and explaining the cultural ‘logics’ that condition their ‘wanderings’ across time and space. Topoi are discursive “engines” that mediate themes, forms, and fantasies across cultural traditions. Predictably, they have also been appropriated by the culture industry. Key words: media archaeology, topos, Ernst Robert Curtius, media culture


Media culture is a popular term in both scholarly and popular discourses, but few attempts have been made to define it. It could be suggested that it refers to a cultural condition, where large numbers of people live under the constant influence of media (anything from newspapers to the internet). Mediated communication has increasingly replaced face-to-face encounters: people relate to each other at a distance by technological devices, and gain much of their information from media channels operated by governments and corporations (and these days by private citizens and groups as well). The accumulation and assimilation of media forms gives rise to an ever-changing zone of discursive exchanges that affects daily experiences at every step. Media culture came into being at different times in different places. In England, for example, the 1850s were crucial. There, the mid-century experienced a raging “panoramania”, a moving panorama madness (one of the first waves of public media mania).1 Other media channels were opening at the same time. Long before radio and television, the rapid dissemination of stereoscopy infected Victorian homes with visual media. The virtual voyages it offered were supported by illustrated magazines. Chromolithographic trade cards and carte-de-visite photographs filled scrapbooks and albums, and collages of printed images covered walls and fire screens. In the city streets, bill-posting was all the rage. The dots and dashes of the electrical telegraph, empowered by submarine communication cables, connected continents and disseminated news at speeds that could not be matched by even the fastest means of physical transportation. Media’s grip spread far and wide, both in material practices and in the imagination. The American Civil War, the Franco-Prussian war, and the World Fairs, as well as colonialism, mass tourism, temperance, immigration, urbanization, and social movements such as suffragetism, anarchism and socialism provided ample topics. The invention of the telephone and the phonograph strengthened the aural dimension, opening up channels for voice communication and recorded sounds. The ruthless stunts of the yellow press, cinematographic moving pictures, and wireless telegraphy were added to the mix at the end of the century; most media channels still remained separate, but paths had been opened for their convergence. Radio, television, the internet, and mobile phones extended the media’s net further, resulting in an integrated media culture. 1 Erkki Huhtamo, Illusions in Motion. Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2012), Ch. 6.


Media culture is not just an economic and social condition; it is also a shared state of mind, internalized in different degrees by each individual living under its spell. In the late nineteenth-century, a certain Lady Florence Dixie wrote that “[a] moving panorama of the past nine months revolved its magic-lantern wonder before my eyes”.2 She was unwittingly demonstrating the internalization of media culture. Her mind synthesized media forms that had been distinct, creating a parable to the tendencies in the world outside. Countless similar examples could be unearthed. Reverend Josiah Strong could not help bundling media forms even as he was attacking them: “The newspaper habit distorts or destroys our perspective; it fixes attention on the happenings of the hour and passes before the mind a rapidly shifting panorama – a sort of continuous presentation of perpetually dissolving views, which to the average mind is a meaningless jumble of events.” 3 Such accumulation of media references points to the formation of a media-cultural imaginary, a state of being, in which media have come to dominate minds to such an extent that they have replaced other reference points. In a way, they have turned into a second nature, a panoramic simulacrum of the world. A key text that analyzes the emergence of such a state of being is Charles Dickens’s story “Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler” (1850).4 Its protagonist is an elderly gentleman named Mr. Booley, who has been leading a “sedentary and monotonous life”. Suddenly, everything changes. He develops a passion for traveling extensively around the world. As it happens, his mode of transportation is the “gigantic-moving-panorama or diorama mode of conveyance”, which refers to his obsessive habit of attending moving panorama shows (an early anticipation of movie-going) night after night. Mr. Booley is a typical portrait of a character addicted to media, evoked countless times in different guises ever since. Anecdotes about characters who fail to draw a distinction between reality and its representation are also a token of the formation of the media-cultural imaginary. In his Elements of Physics (1829) Neil Arnott described a curious scene he claimed to have witnessed himself in a moving panorama show about the Napoleonic wars: “[A] young man seeing a party of British preparing to board an enemy’s ship started from his seat with 2 Lady Florence Dixie, In the Land of Misfortune (London: Richard Bentley, 1882), p. 433. 3 Rev. Josiah Strong, Our World: The New World-Life (Garden City New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1913), p. 5. 4 Charles Dickens, “Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler”, in Miscellaneous Papers, Vol. I (London: Chapman and Hall, 1911), pp. 222–232.


a hurra, and seemed quite surprised when he found that he was not really in the battle.”5 Interestingly, in 1831 the Brighton Guardian reported an “amusing incident”, said to have taken place at J. B. Laidlaw’s moving panorama about the bombardment of Algiers “on Thursday evening”.6 A sailor who was said to have taken part in the battle jumped into the “sea” to rescue the flagship Queen Charlotte – only to crash through the green cloth stretched in front of the painting. The audience’s shock was “electrical”, but gave way for laughter. In 1843 it was The Albion’s turn to report a “ludicrous incident” at Gordon’s British Diorama in Edinburgh. Jack, a drunken sailor, saw the “critical position of the British troops in the Awful Kyber Pass”, and went through a series of mishaps worthy of the “thorough-bred tar” at Laidlaw’s panorama.7 The protagonist of W. H. Barker’s short story “The Battle of the Nile” (1838), another sailor, recounts his drunken escapades, including his attack on a mechanical theatre, the Battle of the Nile, at the Bartholomew’s fair.8 Encouraged by “a precious nip from a bottle of rum”, the sailor defends Admiral Nelson’s fleet against the French by using oranges as cannonballs. The combination of intoxication, patriotic fervor, and illusionistic spectacle leads to a momentary destruction of normalcy. Examples about confusions between things that are real and things that are illusory can be found from many different eras and cultures. For example Chinese traditions contain many stories about illusionistic paintings coming alive, with figures stepping out of them or humans entering the virtual realms of the paintings.9 Even animals are claimed to have mistaken panoramas for reality. A Newfoundland dog that was said to have accompanied a visitor to Barker’s panorama of the Grand Russian Fleet at Spithead (1793), was said to have jumped over the hand-rail of the viewing platform to rescue the men struggling for their lives in the sea.10 5 Arnott, Elements of Physics, or Natural Philosophy (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1829), p. 282. 6 The story was also quoted by another source, which strengthens the impression that it is a topos. “An Amusing Incident […]”, A Political Observer (London: William Carpenter), Sat., April 16, 1831, p. 12. 7 “Ludicrous Incident”, The Albion, A Journal of New, Politics and Literature, March 11, 1843, pp. 2, 11. 8 Bentley’s Miscellany, April 1838. Repr. in Old ‘Miscellany’ Days: a Selection of Stories from ‘Bentley’s Miscellany’ (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1885), pp. 287–290. 9 Wu Hung, The Double Screen. Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting (London: Reaktion Books, 1996), pp. 102–104. These anecdotes go further into magic than the ones related with the Eidophusikon and the panorama, but express similar issues. 10 “Panoramas”, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts, Vol. 33–34, No. 316 (Jan. 21, 1860), p. 34.


The same topos appeared again a century later, in 1890, when it was reported that a cat being chased away from a cyclorama (circular panorama) building had tried to escape to a tree that proved to be just painted on the canvas.11 We will never know for sure if such incidents really happened. We should not forget that claiming to have seen something with one’s own eyes does not prove anything – it is an age-old topos. “Reports” glided easily into fiction and back, confusing truth and fiction. Anecdotes that sound like word-of-mouth lore, may also have been spread by exhibitors as marketing gimmicks. All this sounds familiar. The main character of Edison’s silent film Uncle Josh at The Moving Picture Show (Edwin S. Porter, 1902), a country bumpkin on a visit to a city, causes havoc at a film screening in much the same way, failing to make a distinction between reality and fiction. Uncle Josh is a personified topos, and a descendant of all the drunken sailors, who raved at panorama shows half a century earlier.12 Film culture did not inherit only material features from earlier shows; also the imaginary around it accommodated pre-existing discursive formulas. It could be claimed that all these examples demonstrate how discursive elements that are already part of culture are recycled by cultural agents. These elements are given new meanings to explain and to “give form” to emerging cultural experiences in changing contexts. The examples evoked above testify in their own peculiar ways to the broadening of media culture and the media-cultural imaginary as its corollary. Although an individual’s immersion into the latter can never be total (fortunately, one might add, as the current smart phone mania and its discontents, such as the notorious case of the “Fountain Lady” on YouTube, testify), it can be powerful enough to orient real world behavior, as evidence about the impact of violent shooter video games on massacres of innocent bystanders demonstrates.13 11 The story may have originated in the Portland Oregonian in 1889. It was retold in newspapers as far away as New Zealand, where it was reported by the Bay of Plenty Times, Vol. XXI, No. 2899 (Oct. 31, 1892), p. 4. The Bay of Plenty Times claimed that it had happened in “a war cyclorama building several days ago”. 12 Similar figures were evoked by filmmakers, cartoonists, and writers alike. Stephen Bottomore, I Want to See This Annie Mattygraph. A Cartoon History of the Movies (Pordenone: Le giornate del cinema muto, 1995), pp. 52–53; “The Panicking Audience? Early cinema and the train effect”, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol. 19, No. 2 (June 1999), pp. 177–216. Porter’s film was based on Robert W. Paul’s The Countryman’s First Sight of the Animated Pictures. Charles Musser, Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), p. 192. 13 For the Fountain Lady, see The Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik wrote in a manifesto that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was “part of my training-simulation”. He also admitted his addiction to the online multiplayer game World of Warcraft. See Asher Moses, “From fantasy to lethal reality: Breivik trained on Modern


Topoi, first discussed in the context of literary traditions by Ernst Robert Curtius in his classic European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (1948), are building blocks of cultural traditions. They manifest both continuities and transformations in the transmission of ideas. Media-related topoi may serve various roles: as connectors to other cultural spheres; as commentaries and elaborations of media-cultural forms, themes, and fantasies; or as formulas deliberately used for profit or ideological indoctrination. Although some occurrences can be just local and personal (like poetic metaphors derived from tradition), recurrent topoi may symptomatically point to broader concerns and cultural patterns. Researching the ‘life’ of topoi is a task for media archaeology, an approach I have been involved in developing during the past two decades.14 I see it as a way to penetrate beyond accepted historical narratives, uncovering omissions, gaps, and silences. All ways of doing media archaeology don’t match each other neatly.15 An influential “school,” inspired by the work of Friedrich Kittler, emphasizes material factors as prime movers of media history. From inscriptions on writing surfaces, phonograph cylinders or celluloid film to machine architectures, computer code, and digital archives, “kittlerian” media-archaeologists trace the tightening grasp of the technological on the cultural. Kittler’s own Optical Media (really a hastily edited collection of lecture notes, dotted with mistakes) represents media history as a veritable “march of the machines”.16 Inventors are mentioned, but their creations seem controlled by some external machinic logic rather than by human desires and needs. What Kittler provocatively calls “so-called humans” rarely appear in his writings that have been called “media studies without people”.17 This is logical, because Kittler’s media history tells about the increasing mastery of smart machines over humans – a development the Warfare game”, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 25, 2011. Breivik was also a hunter and a Gun Club member, and motivated his murders by his right-wing ideology. 14 I elaborate my idea of topos in “Dismantling the Fairy Engine: Media Archaeology as Topos Study”, in Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications, eds. Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011), pp. 27–47. The basis of topos study is Ernst Robert Curtius, Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter (1948), trans. by Willard R. Trask as European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979 [1953]). 15 There is no consensus about its definition, methods, tools, or even its field. Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka, “An Archaeology of Media Archaeology”, in: Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications and Implications, pp. 1–21. 16 Friedrich Kittler, Optical Media: Berlin Lectures 1999, trans. Anthony Enns (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010). “March of the machines” refers here to Eugene Deslaw’s classic silent film (1927). 17 John Durham Peters, “Introduction: Friedrich Kittler’s Light Shows”, in Kittler, Optical Media, p. 5.


author’s anti-humanistic stance endorses. The digital revolution signals the end of (media) history, and ultimately, the end of the human being as we have known it. The work of Michel Foucault has been a strong influence on Kittler and his followers, as well as on scholars of visual culture like Jonathan Crary.18 Like Foucault, both Kittler and Crary deal with the past, but mainly to use it as a canvas upon which to project theoretical formulations and schemes derived from the present. With good reason, they have often been criticized for their selective use of historical evidence.19 All three have suggested macro-level historical ‘organisms’, purporting to identify moments of discontinuity between them. Kittler wrote about the “notation systems” of 1800 and 1900, while Crary famously posited a perceptual transformation that supposedly took place in the early nineteenth century, epitomized by symptomatic optical instruments.20 It could be argued that the sources were selected to support such models, instead of allowing the full range of historical evidence to test and inform them.21 While I share with Kittler, Crary and Foucault their interest in the discursive dimension of culture, my work differs from theirs in that it does not try to posit large-scale cultural formations and ruptures between them. It is more concerned with understanding how media spectacles function in and between local circumstances, giving rise to discursive “transfigurations”. I advocate a different media archaeology, making a case for humans who concoct media spectacles with other humans in mind. Their interactions – collective and individual, conscious and unconscious – mold the media. The stance is closer to Anglo-American cultural stud18 For critical readings of Foucault’s contribution to historical method, Patricia O’Brien, “Michel Foucault’s History of Culture”, in The New Cultural History, ed. Lynn Hunt (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989), pp. 25–46; Keith Windschuttle, The Killing of History (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 1996), pp. 131–171. 19 Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New. Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2006), p. 10. 20 Friedrich Kittler, Aufschreibesysteme 1800/1900 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1985), in English as Discourse Networks 1800/1900, trans. Michael Metteer with Chris Cullens (Palo Alto, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1990). “Notation systems” would have been a more literal translation. Thomas Sebastien, “Technology Romanticized: Friedrich Kittler’s Discourse Networks 1800/1900”, MLN, Vol. 105, No. 3, German Issue (April 1990), p. 584. Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1990). 21 In his review of the Techniques of the Observer, Geoffrey Battchen pointed out weaknesses in Crary’s historical construct. For example photography, which also emerged in the first half of the 19th century, does not match the transition Crary posited, because it continues the perceptual tradition epitomized for Crary by the earlier camera obscura model. Geoffrey Battchen, “Seeing Things. Vision and Modernity”, Afterimage, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Sept. 1991), pp. 5–7.


ies, and based on the assumption that although hard technological facts matter, the discourses that envelop them and mold their meanings play an even more decisive role. I endorse Carolyn Marvin’s formulation: Media are not fixed objects: they have no natural edges. They are constructed complexes of habits, beliefs, and procedures embedded in elaborate cultural codes of communication. The history of media is never more or less than the history of their uses, which always lead us away from them to the social practices and conflicts they illuminate.22 Excavating the topoi operating within media culture has more important tasks than providing intellectual pastime for career academics. If we accept the idea that media culture is not just about hard facts, but also about discourses that envelop their manifestations, expressing, extending and questioning their underlying assumptions, topos study can develop into a tool for cultural critique. Far from aiming at reducing “the creatively new to something already existing, something finished, media archaeology can help us understand the reverse: the things that are genuinely new and progressive. To achieve this, sifting cultural material through media archaeological “topos-filters” can be useful, and provide unexpected results. As attractive as its prospects for explaining “almost anything” may seem, we should avoid turning topos study into a quest for phantoms. It may be possible to read everything semiotically as a sign, but we should resist the temptation to interpret everything as a topos. We should also avoid seeing topoi traditions as kinds of monolithic entities. They are playing cachecache with the researcher in an environment that has countless places to hide behind other cultural entities; sometimes these entities seem to merge with the object of the investigation. It is best to conceive the topos as a temporary manifestation of a persisting cultural tradition, linked with numerous threads with other cultural phenomena, both from the past and from the cultural context within which the topos has made its appearance. Making sense of this intriguing network of interconnections is the real challenge for the topos approach within the wider framework of media archaeology.

22 Carolyn Marvin, When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 8.


References Arnott, Neil, 1829. Elements of Physics, or Natural Philosophy (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green) Battchen, Geoffrey, 1991. “Seeing Things. Vision and Modernity”, Afterimage, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Sept. 1991) Bottomore, Stephen, 1995. I Want to See This Annie Mattygraph. A Cartoon History of the Movies (Pordenone: Le giornate del cinema muto) Crary, Jonathan, 1990. Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press) Curtius, Ernst Robert, 1948. Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter, trans. by Willard R. Trask as European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979 [1953]) Dickens, Charles, 1911. “Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler”, in Miscellaneous Papers, Vol. I (London: Chapman and Hall) Dixie, Lady Florence, 1882. In the Land of Misfortune (London: Richard Bentley) Gitelman, Lisa, 2006. Always Already New. Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press) Huhtamo, Erkki and Parikka, Jussi, (eds.) 2011. Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications and Implications (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press) Huhtamo, Erkki, 2012. Illusions in Motion. Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press) Kittler, Friedrich, 1985. Aufschreibesysteme 1800/1900 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag), in English as Discourse Networks 1800/1900, trans. Michael Metteer with Chris Cullens (Palo Alto, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1990) Kittler, Friedrich, 2010. Optical Media: Berlin Lectures 1999, trans. Anthony Enns (Cambridge: Polity Press) Marvin, Carolyn, 1988. When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press) Musser, Charles, 1991. Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press) O’Brien, Patricia, 1989. “Michel Foucault’s History of Culture”, in The New Cultural History, ed. Lynn Hunt (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press) Sebastien, Thomas, 1990. “Technology Romanticized: Friedrich Kittler’s Discourse Networks 1800/1900”, MLN, Vol. 105, No. 3, German Issue (April 1990) Strong, Rev. Josiah, 1913. Our World: The New World-Life (Garden City New York: Doubleday, Page & Company) Windschuttle, Keith, 1996. The Killing of History (San Francisco: Encounter Books) Wu Hung, 1996. The Double Screen. Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting (London: Reaktion Books)


“ Examining the technological unconscious

as a medium, i.e., as a form and generative principle of a whole new generation of ideas, we raise the question of how the language that constructs and describes the world of technologies forms. Which discourses of the technological unconscious can be singled out today, and which will it be essential to reconstruct tomorrow? Is the artist capable of reinventing and rewriting the very foundations of the technology myth?



The Technological Unconscious or

Two Scenarios of Reality Alla Mitrofanova

Abstract If contemporary thinking refused two horizons of truth: nature and transcendental knowledge, it opened mediated field of technology, esthetics, politics, society, which could operate and construct variable reality. The new aesthetic or technological object emerges at the site of the disruption of the previous symbolic fabric of reality, at the site where no meaning yet exists. We can approach the following question(s): why do technological, artistic or scientific objects emerge as ontologically incomplete, and why do battles for the endowment of meaning rage around them? Why do new art objects constitute a painful question of sense, risk and threat, satisfaction and promise? Does the affect of the symptom and the desire for meaning is already there. The unconscious has already been in technology? Science art gives a radical exposition of the desire, offers impossible objects and compels us to actively interpret – to endow these objects with meaning and ethical rights. I will attempt to model two scenarios of the unconscious, which in my view dominate the contemporary cultural situation, in science art projects. The first deals with critical inversion of natural existence, with imaginary integrity of the body. The second deals with an impossible knowledge and fragmented objects. Keywords: epistemological constructivism, constructivism in marxism, transformed form, quasi-object, Lev Vygodsky, Merab Mamardashvili, David Zilberman, discourse of impossible knowledge 63

Reality as Production Beginning from the 1960s, the main problem of all schools of “non-classical” philosophy has been the problem of “reality”, which is not grasped as something external but has its own operating systems in the form of imaginary, symbolic tools for constructing the object and the subject. But this technological side of reality gets forgotten in thinking, belongs to the unconscious, hides behind political and legal terminology. Using the Marxist language of Lev Vygodsky (1896–1934) – the founder of Soviet constructive psychology – this can be described as the process of producing reality at the level of instrumental and sign activity.1 According to the philosopher Merab Mamardashvili, the unconscious is a way out of the concept of substantial consciousness, a means whereby to observe the construction of reality from an analytical distance. In his work in the 1960s, Mamardashvili brought Marx’s concept of transformed form (or the quasi-object) back to philosophy: scientific and technological objects are given as problems; they are not ontological objects. In order to become objects of our world, they must receive meaning, must be included in the relationship of rationalisation and meaning-making. Only quasi-objects can receive reality-status and become actual, just as a form of value that has no naturalness can be included in actuality. Analysis must take note of the method whereby quasi-objects are produced by their historical subjects. Reality correlates with the meaning and the systemic rationalisation, is grasped as a symbolic economy and morphology of reality. Ontological objects are formed through certain signifying practices, hidden beneath their products and effects. The relationship between meanings develops this or that type of logical rationalisation. Consequently, we cannot describe reality as self-sufficient and nature-given; we discover the historical base of its symbolic and imaginary origin, its cultural conditionality and anthropological ideal. There is always a scale of differentiations of cultural and political decisions, models for the rationalisation of realities. Further on, there arises the question of over-determination of this production. Are we dealing with different types of production, where each is oriented towards its own mode of the logic of authority and subjugation, prompted by the internal conflict of dominant and excessive mean1 The term constructivism was invented in 1922 in the Manifesto written by the avant-garde artist Alexey Gan. The Manifesto was republished in the journal Veshch-Gegenstand Objekt by El Lissitzky in Berlin. Epistemology Marxism and constructivism was an influential tradition in Russia since empiriocriticism in the beginning of the 20th c., but it was not considered an official trend. More often now the problem is attributed to constructivist epistemology of Piaget, Glasersfeld, Luhmann.


ings? Can we not examine this over-determination as a sort of “symptom” that, remaining unrecognised, forces the repeated reproduction of some meanings and that others become excessive? Psychoanalysis attributes the symptom to the field of the subject. In The pleasure principle and the reality principle, Sigmund Freud defines the subject’s symptom as physis and the means of constructing reality as psyche. For the subject, the symptom is real. Limitations of the field of subjectivity become limitations of reality. In this way, the radical problem becomes not the observation of natural phenomena or of society, but rather the structure of the unconscious production of the subject and its ethical assumptions (desires), the disposition of its logics of sense, which simultaneously make up the sphere of excessive decisions not taken. We could say that reality is a program written by a programmer – a historical subject within the limits of his operational horizon. And the programmer is the symptom of reality.

The Symptom as a Scenario of Reality Jacques Lacan demonstrates the unconscious as a structure with a strict topology, which can be reduced to three basic functions: 1. the symptom is the first step in the structure of discourse. It occupies a position whose function is similar to a filter that regulates the dosage of alarm – it serves as a limit of the acceptable. At the same time, the symptom limits the excessive and unbearable and opens up a field for the distribution of meanings. At the same time, it establishes the foundation of the subject. From this point on, the reality that the subject will create is determined by the horizon of his/her symptom, through which the selection of this or that scenario of subsequent production will pass. 2. Only the half that remained in the symptom’s scenario will be subjected to symbolic rationalization. The scenario is where the formatting, measuring, systematization and meaning-assignment, and theoretical work is all carried out. symptom – symbolic order excess The symbolic order formulates the meanings and objects and the logic of their relationships. The relationship between the symptom and the symbolic rationalisation is “if, then…” or “necessarily and, consequently”. 3. The symptom also establishes the register of excess in the relationship “either – or”. That which is rendered excessive is excluded from rationalisation, but can return as a break with reality and the demand to take a missed opportunity. The positions of the unconscious dictate the produc65

tion process, within which the subject and series of ontological objects will be equipped. The function of these positions and their relationship do not change. But the symptom can be different according to value priorities, it can prompt different types of rationalisation. Will we be able to see the process of production of these differentiations, rather than the production of products or results? Are we encountering historical and cultural variants of symptoms, subjects and realities? The Soviet philosopher David Zilberman (1938–1977) offers a useful simple model. In The genesis of meaning in Hindu philosophy, he expressed the difference between philosophical schools and types of culture as a presupposition in the analysis of “double not-knowing”. The first unthinkable (A) works as the foundation, as unrevealed truth, as that which is necessary to formalise and theoretically equip within the sphere of scientific, cultural, social and political theories. Cryptically, it turns out to be already established in the type of tradition, in the reproduction of meaning and logical relationships. This over-determination is reproduced as an ethical dominant, as an anthropological type, and as such influences the character of history. Its meanings are hidden from understanding, but they can be found in the “root texts” of tradition, in the events that mark the path of history. Truth is uttered in discourse as necessity and desire; it is not a topic or a problem, but the means of posing a problem. It is a scenario wherein the models of production of (A) are unconsciously played out. (A) – B C In the given scenario terms and logics can be produced, as a can scientific and sociological theories that construct and describe concrete historical reality (B) within the limits of its truth-value horizon (A). The second unthinkable will be that which is, within the type of these foundations, always perceived as absolutely untrue for the given system of thought, as possibility rendered excessive (C). “That which cannot be known is neither the description of a confused consciousness, nor the limitation of the knowing subject; it is the shadow of another reflection, and as such is indeed unknowable.”2 Working with cogitation as double not-knowing allows Zilberman to discover a gap that disrupts the continuity and self-identity of cogitation, one that works as a sort of perpetuum mobile. 2 Zilberman, David B. The Birth of Meaning in Hindu Thought. – Dordrecht; Boston: D. Reidel Pub.; Norwell: Kluwer Academic,1988. In Russian: Zilberman, D. The genesis of meaning in the philosophy of Hinduism. Moscow, 2002 (136).


This disruption in turn gives shape to a range of differentiation of cultures; according to Zilberman, there can exist between these cultures both the confrontation and the division of philosophical and scientific labour. The symptom has both a psychic and historical horizon.

Science Art as Exposition of the Symptom If we take the point of view that reality is not external to the subject, but is produced by unconscious dispositions (the symptom) and the rational relationships that depend on them, then we can approach the following question(s): why do technological, artistic or scientific objects emerge as ontologically incomplete, and why do battles for the endowment of meaning rage around them? Why do new objects constitute a painful question of sense, risk and threat, satisfaction and promise? All periods of avant-garde “leaps forward” in art are connected with the poetics and pragmatics of technological revolutions (new technology = new social order = new personality). Historians of film have noted that the more noticeable the technology, the more powerful its emotional effect. The new aesthetic or technological object emerges at the site of the disruption of the symbolic fabric of reality, where no meaning yet exists. But the affect of the symptom and the desire for meaning is already there. The unconscious has already been there. Technology, like art, has an immediate connection to the symptom-scenario; through these phenomena the drama of the symptom seizing the scenario comes to pass. Science art offers a position for observing the symptom, when the “technical” and the “aesthetic” present incomplete objects, violating the symbolic fabric of reality. Science art gives a radical exposition of the symptom, offers impossible objects and compels us to actively interpret – to endow these objects with meaning and ethical rights.

Scenario 1.3 Imaginary Integrity Lacan devoted seventeen of his seminars (1969–70) on the four discourses of psychoanalysis to the problem of discursive differentiation. Without keeping too strictly to his theory, I will attempt to model two scenarios of the unconscious, which in my view dominate the contemporary cultural situation. The first discourse of the unconscious described by Lacan was the discourse of the Master. His symptom is described as 3 The concept of the letter scenario, proposed by Derrida in his paper “Freud and the Scene of Writing”. We use this to demonstrate the foundational role of the symptom in relationships within the discursive field. The letter scenario can be discovered through deconstruction, as well as through psychoanalysis.


follows: the young child sees itself in the mirror as an integrated object and connects that with “I”. The imaginary integrity of “I” is perceived as naturally given existence. Psychoanalysis sees “integrated existence” not as a fact, but as the establishment of the dominant Imaginary, which endows that existence with indisputable value. The naturalisation of one’s self is the symptom of this scenario. It serves as the unconscious foundation for the identification of the individual, and his serial resemblances – of integrated ontological objects. The fact that integrated existence is given in the Imaginary is easily forgotten in the affect of the “life-death” opposition. This unconscious scenario starts off the symbolic organisation, which takes on the task of proving the “naturalness” of the individual’s existence. Theory serves this imaginary identification with the natural by accepting as an axiom: “there exists a certain object/individual”. In this discourse, the symbolic system develops formal logical evidence – fulfils the “order” to provide non-contradictory means of thinking according to the equipment of objectivised existence. Knowledge is called to direct immanent objects and individuals. Technology finds itself trapped into serving the imaginary particular objects and their “natural existence”; it must serve the production of the individual-object, its satisfaction, reproduction, and utilisation. In this context we can take note of Marcel Duchamp’s attempt to test the particular object (Fountain) for its durability: the object can be taken out of its functional environment without losing its object-ness and can take on new life in the eternity of the museum exhibition. The object had enough imaginary integrity to survive this change of context without falling apart. Any other possibility for substantiation (such as mythology, tyranny, barbarism) that isn’t connected with the provision of the axiom of existence falls into excess. Science is obligated to serve naturalised existence, to provide it with a long and comfortable life, as well as to control and direct it; science must be chained to moral categories. In this scenario, subversive diversity of species is allowed, and Eduardo Kac’s cute GFP bunny is possible. The desire of this discourse is to affirm the value of the existence of isolated, one-time cases. Naturalised existence can be parcelled out into elements with the formation of majorities and sub-majorities; it can be connected by a systemic relationship of elements and included in subversive and anarchistic policies, but it cannot refuse its own fundamental value/basis, i.e. it cannot stop being the discourse of integrated particular existences. Art tests this scenario of the imaginary integrity of existence, provoking conflicts of interpretation. Let’s look at an example. 68

James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, “Afterlife”

biobacterial engineering “Afterlife” is a British post-punk production on the topic of humane uses of the dead body. In one of the project’s scenarios, the husband’s dead body can be used as a source of electricity for the widow’s energy needs. She connects this electricity to various household appliances, including a nightlight and a vibrator. The piece positions itself through humanism: the usefulness of the decomposition of the beloved husband’s corpse consists in the translation of rotting into electricity, with continuing application in household use. At what level is this project grasped as humanist and at what level does it become cynical? Where does its conception meet with its excess and destroys its discursive foundations? The piece brings together two types of discourse: objectivised existence is simultaneously affirmed and denied. Biobacterial engineering does not see a difference between dead and alive, emotions and electric energy. On the other hand, the scenario of the particular body-object is held back, but still presented in two mutually exclusive versions – the rotting corpse of the husband and the loving widow, masturbating through the energy from his rotting. This situation sets off several contradirectional series of meanings. Resistance emerges in the plot of the individual’s denaturalisation and the disintegration of his corporeal integrity. The technological solution expands the framework of the acceptable ontological object and goes beyond the limits of the scenario of its discourse. At this point, the result turns out to be the loss of the sacred distinction between the living and the dead, which provided the framework for determining the humanist existence of the subject. The widow and her dead husband form a symbiosis of the whole and the dissected, the biological and the technological, provoking a conflict of the imaginary integrity of existence that composes the basic value of its cultural tradition. The discourse of the Master in this art project has approached its outer limit. Its fetishisation strategy is met with the disintegrating body, its utilisation and prosthesis strategies are met with an impossible emotional effect. At this point we encounter the fact that it is impossible to rationalise within the limits of one’s symptom. The widow and her husband compose a series of non-equivalent and non-entire existences in the scenario of the symptom of the imaginary integrity of the individual-object. Coming up against a contradiction, we approach the scenario of a different discourse, where we cannot receive an integrated object because it will always be the continuation of a fragmented subject. 69

Scenario 2. Impossible Knowledge This is a discourse in which Knowledge appears in place of the symptom. First of all, it turns out to be knowledge without knowledge, and is defined by Lacan as love of knowledge. Lacan follows Freud in designating this discourse masochistic (discourse of the University). Masochism repudiates the integrity of the individual existence. In its place, it affirms the split subject that goes beyond the boundaries of itself. This circumstance places before Freud the insoluble question of its psychic economy, which seeks the destruction of the biological equilibrium of existence. Lacan examines masochism in the “child being punished” scenario. The child is punished, which means that something is expected of him that he does not yet have. The parents want to give him something – obviously, something valuable – which he does not have in his experience and knowledge to date. It is a gift of love and excessive enjoyment. Instead of an integrated existence, the place of “truth” is occupied by the polysemy of empty signifiers. Lacan was curious as to what compels and gives rewards in this case. The subject pays with its own fragmentation for its steamy affair with the impossible. Julia Kristeva suggests a different beginning: the psychic life of the child begins before it enters into the symbolic field of language. The child’s initial experience of symbiosis with the mother is, in what follows, not rendered entirely excessive, but returns as a gap in the chain of signifiers. The “openness to the impossible” symptom works as an open-ended quality of the subject’s identity and his inequality to himself. The subject’s symptom is the acceptance of the impossible, regardless its excessiveness and repulsiveness (abject). Love of impossible knowledge opens up the polysemy of empty signifiers and faith in the radical revolutionary transformation of reality. I propose that a visual symbol of the acceptance of impossible knowledge could be Malevich’s “Black Square”, which serves as a sort of icon of the revolutionary avant-garde. The symptom of this scenario of the unconscious would then be the refusal of the individual’s integrity in favour of the split subject, which is simultaneously anthropological and technological. The emerging polysemy renders social identities unnecessary, equipping itself with an “ontological puppet-theatre”4 or a 4 The concept of the “ontological theater” [balagan] was proposed by the philologist and philosopher Olga Fraidenberg (1890–1955). Using the birth of genres in ancient literature, she indirectly studied Soviet society during the Stalin era. Mythology and Ideology cannot be presented as a single whole, they consist of incompatible layers of historical and personal events (eschatological expectations, heroic efforts, transferences and delegations of authority). Separating mythological from formally logical thought, she demonstrated the heterogeneous structure of reality. According to Fraidenberg, myth is not a metaphor;


masquerade of identities. When he found himself in the reality of revolutionary Moscow, Walter Benjamin noted the disappearance of the transcendental horizon, and the affect of joy and freedom that this created. Yet alongside this there emerged the revolutionary abolition of individual existence, which was extremely painful for Benjamin. Knowledge such as this cannot formalise itself within a stable symbolic structure, but is eager to reproduce contradiction, dialectic, and historical process. How, then, does this discourse formalise its scientific and ontological objects? Impossible Knowledge and the fragmentation of the subject call forth a dialectical cross-breeze of actuality. Gagarin flies into the cosmos in order to bring people the gift of new space, to throw open the world of life into impossible knowledge, to play out the polysemy of symbiosis with the maternal body. The art of Proletkult in Nikolai Tarabukin’s manifesto “From the canvas to the machine” (1923) constructs a new type of life and society on the basis of new technology. Electricity and the radio are brought to the villages, new machines change traditional ways of life, new bodies are formed and the sexual revolution begins. Artist-agitators go to the villages and imbue industrial social transformations with the political meanings of the new revolutionary daily life. This kind of shot-inthe-dark is founded on the radical acceptance of impossible knowledge. The subject needs an impossible object, it is his prospect and his enjoyment. He is ready to delegate his intention to the unknown, he is encroaching on the horizons of his own reality. The rationalisation of this scenario of the unconscious is the relationship to that which is heterogeneous, the unification of diverse fragments of reality through associations, marginal and contextual linkages. Feminist psychoanalysis and political philosophy work with this scenario, from the position of radical democracy. Traumatic consequences manifest in the form of the radical rejection of the systemic rationalisation of actuality. Reality does not have value, insofar as it must be rewritten and overcome anyway. In the political aspect, this tradition of radical democracy often provokes tragic consequences: as when politics encourages the participation of the masses, but then cannot handle them and rescinds law-based regimes, calling for a “state of emergency” and the suppression of differences. In the populist version, the fragmented subject can be replaced by his deputy: the authoritative figure of the analyst, the great scientist, actor and leader of peoples. This is the figure to whom subsequently the functions of the “so-called knowledgeable one” are handed it works as a multiplicity of partial identifications, which bring about the instability of ontological constructions.


over. (Note that Scenario 1 links its political program to pluralist democracy, just as Scenario 2 links its with radical democracy). Science as love of knowledge (which characterised its discourse in the 20th century) must suggest new problems and contradictions, open new horizons, create new technologies for transforming the subject-object matrix of reality. With this type of the unconscious, reality exists as an incomplete model; within it, revolutionary transformations are possible; it contains an emancipatory drive. Reality links heterogeneous ingredients with the “ontological puppet-theatre” of the unpredicted actions of unidentified participants. We can see a version of the way out to the limits of the possible in the work of Canadian artist Tagny Duff. Her books, sewn out of human skin with surgical sutures, are heterogeneous repositories of memory, using the metaphor of the corporeal as the textual. The resulting objects become abject – by means of that which Kristeva calls repulsiveness and semiotic excessiveness. In the scenario of the acceptance of impossible knowledge (of the split subject) there emerge “fragmented heterogeneous objects”, which form painful interfacings of incompatible meanings. This is not a humanist but a pan-human approach. The Ekaterinburg-based artist group Kuda begut sobaki (“Where dogs run”) creates installations that, in the words of an art critic, do not result “from a reduction to the languages of mathematics or biology”, but are rather carried out as “an experiment that opens up new horizons of the passion for nature”.5 These pieces investigate the merging of the semiotic and the technological, which dictates a way-out scenario for the pan-human fragmented subject. From this discourse we can recognise these new science art objects not as estranged objects of nature that require unbiased study, but rather as conflicts and breaks in the symbolic covering of reality, which require the reformatting of the subject and his /reality/objects for their rationalisation. The problems of the subject and technology are drawn into the single indivisible process of constructing reality. But the productive processes themselves are distinct. They are determined by scenarios-symptoms of the unconscious and form distinct operating systems with their own series of objects, meanings, types of rationalisation and sense. The unconscious allows us to observe the production of reality from the perspective of difference, including in our purview those possibilities which each individu5 Marina Sokolovskaya, “Digitization of water”,


al culture is not capable of thinking on its own. The ideal outcome for this work lies in a relaxation of the path of the symptom, an understanding of differences without the loss of the distinctive features of one’s own cultural foundations – whereby the discourse (or cultural type) of the Other is perceived not as barbarism, conflict or that “which I do not wish to know”, but rather as the division of labour and the fertility of differences.

Translated from Russian by Ainsley Morse.


this technological “Ismatter capable of having

a structuring influence on

human life? �


The Hybrid as a Subversion of the Flesh

Strategies for Hybridization Dmitry V. Galkin Abstract If we think of art as society’s early warning system of what is going to happen to it next (M. McLuhan but not only), artistic experiments with biology and biotechnology in hybrid art of 2000s demonstrate similar prophecy as cybernetic art of 1960s with its anticipation of digital culture. In this shift to the new culture of neo (artificial) life hybridity remains one of the key conceptal and transitional structures. So, if we understand different ways of how contemporary artists experiment with hybrid forms we can probably come closer to the understanding of emergent culture of neolife. In this report we propose the subversion of the flesh as a key point for thinking of hybridity through explicating art works by Guy Ben-Ary, Stelarc, Joe Davis, Tuur van Balen, Julia Reodica, James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau. We analyse different types and instances: industrial hybrids, hybrids of techno-bio-creatures, new architecture of the body. Our methodology is inspired by early modernist radical bio-engineering experiments by Russian zoologist Ilya Ivanov and surgeon Serge Voronoff who are responsible not only for practical steps in improving human body with animal organs, but also for challenging ethical, social and political limitations concerning subversion of the flesh. Keywords: technological art, hybrid art, digital culture, artificial life, art & science 75

The Subversion of the Flesh Beginning in the nineteen-seventies, we, confidently and hand-inhand, assimilated the technological myth of digital culture, a myth of a nonmaterial information world of interactive images on a screen, in which modern man immerses himself in a parallel virtual universe. But then the phone rang with a call from History itself, and a four-letter ringtone – “NBIC!” – proclaimed that the material world was returning in the form of a new technological materiality, a convergence of nano-, bio-, info-, and cognitive technologies, which control the design and manufacture of new material objects and new parameters of materiality. This epochal tectonic shift issues in new ontological and anthropological challenges related to the reconsideration of our conceptions about man, about the essence of life, about the borders of nature and culture, about the foundations of morality and the law. And where the question is put bluntly about the limits of what is and the borders of what should be, there must arise the artist, since for art there does not exist a more important problem than the testing of the soundness of any and all borders. To rip through the borders of the flesh, and to complete its subversion to raw building material – this is how one might formulate the mission of modern biotechnological art. Here modern science art is closer than ever to scientific experiments in medicine, neurophysiology, and biology. Today new possibilities have opened for the artist to obtain from biological raw material new forms of life: artificial life. To achieve this, various strategies of hybridization are used, with the help of which art-experimenters sketch out possible horizons for the incursion of technological material into living flesh and the variations of the lifelike incarnations of hybrid amalgams from technological systems with something living, or at least half-living. But how in this case are we to explain hybridization? On one hand, in the strictest biological sense, the hybrid is the triumph of the synthesis of distinct types of living matter (in particular, in the form of individual organisms). On the other hand, the hybrid is a very important and useful metaphor, a concept that helps us to describe social and cultural processes. And what if the uniqueness and the fruitfulness of the strategies for hybridization happen to be contained in the fact that the hybrid is the union of the concept of synthesis and of the synthetic structure itself, an idea that has discovered living flesh and recomposed it in a new form? A software that constructs its own hardware? 76

The idea of the hybrid creature is of course not new. We can easily find it in the image of the centaurs of antiquity or of medieval monsters. We find them in images, but not in the flesh! Of course, hybridization has been discussed many times within cultural theory. We should recall Marshall McLuhan, whose logic of the development of media from the spoken word to robots is presented as the logic of twofold hybridization: the formation of an anthropo-technological hybrid (of technology as a continuation and extension of our nervous system), and also of different hybrid forms of media among themselves (McLuhan, 2001). An ode to the glory of cyborgs – hybrids of human and machine – was performed by the Futurists (one need only re-read the first Futurist manifesto of 1909), and later the theme was developed in theoretical feminism (Donna Haraway), in cyberpunk (William Gibson), and in modern Transhumanism. However, in order to instigate hybridization as a strategy, it is first necessary to conceptually and instrumentally cast the flesh down from the pedestal of the individual organism, of the unique living form, to the level of biomass, of raw material for experiments and for the production of a new breed, while not devitalizing it, but radically transforming it. Such a gesture suggests a challenge not only to the natural boundaries of biological life, but also to the moral limitations of the social order and the political system. Much of what is done today by artists and scholars who work with hybrids was already tested and lived in the period of the flowering of Modernism in its Bolshevik version. There creeps in a suspicion that in the soul of the true techno-artist lives a Bolshevik (maybe an ironic and critical one?), striving as before to find a material and direct exit from the limits of bourgeois morals and ethics, from familiar meanings and set borders, into the space of pure possibilities and of the radically amoral gesture of pretending to be the Creator. If this is the case, then understanding and interpreting modern hybrid art can be facilitated by consulting its roots. This is what we propose to do by examining a highly revealing and vivid example: the attempt to obtain a hybrid of a human and a monkey undertaken by the Russian zoologist Ilya Ivanov and the organ transplanter Sergei Voronoff. We will attempt to show that the principles and strategies of hybridization that were tested by radical Modernist science and its political protectors can serve as a key to understanding hybridization in the technological art of the beginning of the twenty-first century. 77

The Advent of the Hybrids: Lenin, Horses, Monkeys, and Women The Russian zoologist Ilya Ivanov entered the history of science as a champion of the artificial insemination of livestock, as an experimenter in crossbreeding animals, and as a pioneer in the crossbreeding of humans and monkeys. This professor and member of the intelligentsia dared to issue a challenge to the foundations of the Universe – to nature, to science, to prevailing morals – and he did this as a true scholar, gradually and fanatically. In his works we observe the gradual lowering of the flesh to the level of a raw building material. His first challenge was issued to one of the sacrosanct functions of living nature: that of propagation and procreation. Ivanov’s works from the 1910s made artificial insemination practically possible on industrial zootechnical scales. The scientist and the veterinarian were now able to intrude into the seeming natural course of evolution and not only omit an entire stage of sexual reproduction, but also to raise its productivity. In this manner, the flesh of livestock as a raw material for agriculture emerges as an invariant of the industrial system of the beginning of the 20th century. Professor Ivanov is one of the creators of the Russian industry of biological animal husbandry. Under his command, artificial insemination became a routine practice in horse-breeding operations as early as 1913–1914 (Rossianov, 2006). Curiously enough, in Europe this method came into wide use almost thirty years later than it did in Russia. For Ivanov, artificial insemination was a method grounded in science, and, to a certain degree, a creationist ambition: with the help of this method, it is possible to cross-breed distinct species of animals and, on a perfectly sound foundation, to make a stab at making a hybrid of human and monkey. He conceived of hybridization in a universal sense, as a revolutionary technology: it would be possible to improve the human just as artificial insemination improves a breed of horse. Not without reason did bourgeois critics perceive in Ivanov’s plans – supported by the Bolshevik government – the desire of the leaders of the Red Empire to incubate a new race of strong, able-bodied, controllable and predictable bio-machines. From the point of view of potential hybrids, the living flesh of the human and the animal are essentially the same as experimental raw material. Why did a regime, not yet recovered from the ruin of the country that had endured the tragedy of the Civil War, finance experiments to 78

crossbreed humans and monkeys? There are probably several reasons. The Bolsheviks, as Marxists, preached a dogma of the primacy of physical matter, and of the understanding of physical matter as uniquely true. Ivanov’s ideas fit this doctrine to the letter: the material combination of two biologically similar forms of flesh via artificial insemination is the archetypal achievement of Bolshevik science. The Bolsheviks’ revolutionary project was energized by their indomitable energy for rebuilding the world, one that radically rejected all of the moral dogmas of Christian Europe, including foundations of the family, personal property, and, most importantly, the separation of man from the natural world as a special being who has overcome the bounds of the animal kingdom. The strength and radicalism of this amoral gesture as a triumph of the new Soviet republic and the scientific truth of materialism undoubtedly brought Ivanov’s experiments and Soviet power together. An examination of the archival documents – the majority of which were classified and became accessible only recently – clearly suggests the conclusion that Ivanov was working at the special order of the Bolsheviks. He was sent to Africa to collect monkeys that were to be used as organ donors in rejuvenation surgeries. The leaders of Soviet power were seeking a means of prolonging their lives through surgical means that had been proposed by Serge Voronoff, a surgeon and Russian émigré, who in the 1920s had successfully performed such operations in France. Doctor Voronoff claimed to have discovered a means of restoring life energy and extending life. He believed that he had discovered the central secret of life, through which the transplant surgeon can restore youth and health. The ideas of this doctor and scholar were set forth in a short work entitled Life. A Study of the Means of Restoring Vital Energy and Prolonging Life (Voronoff, 1920). In this work of the then director of experimental surgery in the Physiology Laboratory at the Collège de France (later repeatedly accused of pseudoscientific activities) a theoretical foundation of the methods of organ transplanting for human rejuvenation is given. One of Voronoff’s central postulates is that the cause of human mortality lies in the complexity of the structures and connections that form the simplest cells in such organisms as the human body. The renewal of the sex glands gives a new source of vital energy. Voronoff proposed transplanting sexual organs from monkeys into humans, basing his proposal on the exceptional similarity of the human and simian bodies. The strategies of the French surgeon differed from Ivanov’s approach in the scale of hybridization. Instead of the crossbreeding of species, the 79

grafting of localized organs – the sex glands – is proposed. The expected result – observed and proven, as Serge Voronoff maintained – is the rejuvenation of the body and the renewal of vital energy. Ivanov is concerned with hybrids as a naturalist and relies on the natural mechanisms of crossbreeding. Voronoff takes the path of the transplant surgeon and attempts to put together a hybrid of organs through surgical means. Furthermore (and this is important!) Voronoff sees in hybrid structures a kind of power plant, one that charges the batteries of youth and longevity. Putting their hopes on the effectiveness of his method, the Bolsheviks waited for Voronoff to save Lenin right up until the leader’s death, in January of 1924. He was their only hope for rejuvenating and saving the still not old, but very sick and worn-out body of the leader of the Russian Revolution. Serge Voronoff did not in the end resolve to return to the country from which he had once fled. Thus the aging Bolshevik elite were compelled to seek their own resources and possibilities in the quest for medical paths towards immortality. During his scientific expedition in 1926, Ivanov visited Voronoff, and the two conducted together several operations on monkeys. Ivanov then found his way to French Guinea, where he engaged the local inhabitants to capture some chimpanzees, after which he set about experimenting. Three female chimpanzees were inseminated with human sperm. All these chimpanzees died en route back to Russia. Here the will to truth, Bolshevik energetics, and faith in the mighty material apparatus of scientific experimentation had brought the Russian professor to that borderline beyond which science begins to wear down the boundaries of morality. Ivanov began to insist on beginning experiments in artificially inseminating African women by male monkeys (the women would not need to know the crux of the scientists’ and doctors’ procedures). These efforts were quickly curtailed due to articles in the French press that were exposing the attempts of Soviet scientists to create a race of obedient monkey-people. But Ivanov did not lose heart, and decided to continue his experiments at home in Russia (in a specially opened nursery), with Russian women, now only on a volunteer basis, with public recruiting of human female test subjects. Nevertheless, the experiment fell through: the sole mature male chimpanzee that had been brought from Africa died. In 1931, Ivanov himself was arrested for aiding and abetting bourgeois science, but was subsequently released and died soon thereafter. All of the documents concerning his projects were classified, which allows the conclusion that 80

Ilya Ivanov could have achieved some sort of result in the crossbreeding of humans and monkeys, perhaps even the very hybrid being itself. In Ivanov’s approaches to the creation of hybrid forms we can separate out several key moments that will be important for us in our discussion of modern hybrid art. In the first place, we must accentuate the structural modification of the organism (the body), both internal and external. In the second place, the hybrid can be obtained on the basis of the natural reproductive process through crossbreeding (Ivanov), or through the surgical transplanting of organs or tissues (S. Voronoff). In the third place, in acquiring the attributes of its parent organisms, the hybrid revives their energy system, gaining longevity and youth (S. Voronoff). In the fourth place, the hybrid structure must have a certain distinctness in its new individuality and its autonomy of behavior.

Artist-Bolsheviks: Strategies for Hybridization The surgeon Serge Voronoff and the professor Ilya Ivanov, together with the Bolsheviks, discovered and paved the way for those who are prepared for further experiments with the-flesh-as-raw-material and with the moral boundaries of the social order. Today, thanks to hybrid art, we know that the invariants in the strategies for hybridization may be greater in number than Ivanov’s naturalist cross-breeding or Voronoff’s organ-transplanting.

Hybrids and the Architecture of the Body When we see the artificial ear on Stelarc’s arm (“Ear on Arm,” 2007), hybridity takes on the practically literal-biological character of grafting of one species onto another, as well as the formation of integrated, transformed flesh. Technically, the artist is operating within the framework of Voronoff’s organ transplanting: he transfers and grafts a new organ. Yet this organ has been incubated and fabricated on a completely artificial basis, relying on the latest achievements in organ transplantation and tissue engineering. It is wholly alien and enthetic to the donor body, both in terms of function and in terms of its placement in the structure of the flesh. Stelarc calls this an “alternate anatomical architecture”, underscoring, through a practically arbitrary transformation (such as the transposition of an organ from the head to the arm), the openness of the human body as an assortment of organs under a membrane of skin. Furthermore, whether we have a grafted prosthesis or an implant, we expand the possibilities of the body as an interface, facilitating direct connection to technological systems. And if, according to McLuhan, me81

dia-technologies expand the human nervous system, and do not penetrate the flesh itself, then, according to Stelarc, this happens on an essentially physiological level, insofar as the hybrid of an ear and a limb grows into the world of technologies, of information-transfer networks that are integrating themselves no longer into the ecosystem of the body, but into the ecosystem of modern technologies. In this way, biological hybridity is transformed into cultural-technological hybridity, expanding the boundaries of the body beyond the limits of the skin and the conventional capabilities of the sense organs. This would not be possible were the body of the artist not transformed into raw material for biotechnological experimentation and cast down from the pedestal of unique individual existence to the level of an unvarying architectural blueprint. However, inasmuch as the third ear on the artist’s arms is integrated into the structure of an entire living organism, hybridization gives rise to the formation of a new, expanded individuality, one that combines the attributes of the parent “source codes”. This suggests the following question: is this type of individuality stable, or would it be more correct to talk about nonstable pseudo-individuality with open borders? If it is possible to create a hybrid body with an ear on its arm, then possibly this kind of hybridization could be extended to other parts of the body, to its organs and tissues? Then we would be able to suppose that before us is one of the invariants of evolution and that such art could be considered yet another mechanism of evolutionary formation. Knowing Stelarc’s art projects and their documentation, should we also ask if the truth of these trans-human experiences of re-architectured body is pain?

The Hybrid as a New Species: The Techno-Bio-Creature “The Semi-Living Artist” (MEART, 2001–2006) by the Australian group Tissue Culture and Art from SymbioticA art centre, in collaboration with the American neurophysiologist Steve Potter, is an example of a completely different type of hybridization. This is an example of how the flesh-as-raw-material is used in a form alienated from the structure of the organism (in the spirit of Voronoff’s organ transplants) and is interdependent with the materiality of the technological system. From the conjunction of the artificially incubated neural tissue of a rat, a robot manipulator, and a feedback control system (a video recording of the objective and a transfer of the signal to the neurons via an electronic matrix) we obtain a hybrid of technology and living tissue: the robot draws under 82

the control of the semi-living rat-artist. Moreover, the neural tissue is not even an individual organism or a separate species, as is Stelarc’s body with its grafted ear. When the authors talk about this kind of hybridity as a special kind of semi-living existence, the meaning of this semi-living individuality is precisely in the indivisibility of the hybrid components. The semi-living hybrid is itself a kind of being: a techno-bio-creature. The configuration of this being and the technical aspects of its creation are closer to the goal which professor Ivanov sought in his experiments in which he boldly crossbred species. But he did this as a naturalist. The crossing of living cells with the electromechanical system of a robot and the pseudo-perceptual system of video recording is not a natural process, though, in a conceptual sense, it is an analogous strategy. And, just the same, that which results from the hybridization process reveals a certain level of individuality and autonomy within the framework of that structure and those problems that it is assigned.

Biogenerators: Industrial Hybrids In the subversion of the flesh to the level of resource and to the technologies of its manufacture, the strategy of the industrial capitalization of the living which is repeatedly put into practice in agriculture, in medicine, and in the quickly developing industry of biotechnology is discernible. In the case of professor Ivanov, we have already seen that this approach was highly effective in the artificial insemination of horses. The hybrid must both work and produce. This emphasis has become the basis of hybridization in the projects of Joe Davis and the collaborators James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau. Joe Davis constructs bioelectrical devices from bacterial matter. Cultivating bacteria under laboratory conditions that contained the elements necessary for obtaining a normal resonance contour, he discovered that such magnetotactic organisms can be found in natural bodies of water. Thus was born the “Making Fire” (2008) project, in which Davis approaches solving the problem of a safe and practically inexhaustible energy source, which the artist, like Prometheus, brings to an industrial society that is inexorably approaching ecological catastrophe. In this project there are no guidelines for form (as in Stelarc’s body architecture) or for the creation of a new species of “semi-living” entities, as with SymbioticA. Davis’s hybrid is intended to become an industrial system for energy production, not a pure resource (like oil), but a living raw material, a new-found, industrially significant structure: a resonance 83

contour for producing electricity. The artist emphasizes that, in terms of productive capacity and effectiveness, the industries of modern society are conceding ground to the natural bio-industry of nature. His solution makes the very claim that the industrial hybrid will become more conformable to nature than existing production systems. In the projects of James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, the theme of hybridity is also developed in the context of energy production from biofuel, but the proposed solutions – aesthetically ironic examples of so called critical design – make no claims to industrial scales. Their “Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots” (2009) are more like designer objects for interior decorating. There is, for instance, an electric clock that is powered by the processing of flies caught on a fly strip. This clock is equipped with a special converter, and uses the biomass of insects as a biofuel (in fact, artists say that only one fly has died). Similarly, their table, equipped with a mousetrap and a converter that transforms trapped mice into electricity, can power a home light fixture. By a similar route, electricity can be obtained by connecting a bioelectrical station to such ritual objects as a coffin (the “Afterlife” project, 2010), charging batteries from them that can be used in various home appliances (lamps, toys, vibrators, CD and DVD players). We should not forget that the obtaining of energy on the basis of hybridization was one of the goals of Serge Voronoff’s and Ilya Ivanov’s experiments. No irony, no fun – all serious! Voronoff essentially framed the question of life as one of renewable energy, which, as he believed, is generated by the sex glands. For him, and for Ivanov after him, the creation of a hybrid signified the perfection of the biogenerator of the human organism, the key source of youth and the basic principle of rejuvenation. In the creation and use of this kind of hybrid structure, the stakes are very high, not only because industrial systems will obtain a new renewable energy source (it is not really important whether we are reasoning according to Marxism or of Neoliberalism). A biotechnological hybrid has a high degree of autonomy and vitality in terms of its integration into the biosphere as an imitation of one of the functions of natural selection. Additionally, insects and rodents have a positive role to play in the anthropoecology of anthropogenic civilization. This theme reveals itself partly literally, partly ironically in Tuur Van Balen’s project “Pigeon d’Or” (2011). In it the utility of biomaterial is expressed not though energy metabolism, but through the assimilation of the products of metabolism in the urban environment. Pigeons – inhab84

itants of the city, living alongside humans, surrounded by asphalt, glass, and concrete – become the generators of cleaning agents, disseminating them through the natural medium of defecation. The birds acquired this ability as a result of the establishment in their digestive systems of a colony of specially synthesized bacterial cultures, as a result of which the pigeon’s food is transformed, upon exit, into soap. Like the transplant surgeon Voronoff, Tuur Van Balen grafts a certain external biological element (but not a foreign organ) to the parent body of the bird that changes the digestive cycle. The entire procedure resembles an industrial operation for installing filters in the treatment plant of a factory or mill.

The “Tissue” Festival Hybrid “Biosculptures” and Playing at Creation We discovered a curious strategy for hybridization in works that can tentatively be characterized as tissular biocultures. In their structure, technological elements are practically nonexistent, and the transformation of living tissue emerges in the foreground. Julia Reodica, in her hymNext project, presented a collection of hymens incubated from the vaginal cells of the artist and supplemented by the biomaterial of neonatal foreskin, rodent aortic smooth muscle, and bovine collagen. The hybrid tissue of the female body, traditionally linked with a complex of cultural contexts surrounding marriage and sexuality in broad terms, exists as an isolated bio-object, one that lacks a host body. Like the simian sexual organs in doctor Voronoff’s operating room, hymen tissues promise a certain recovery of youth and even of overcoming the irreversibility of sexual experience, together with its moral value. At the same time, the artist considers it meaningful to present a collection of hybrid tissues in their own right, while in their structure are already contained elements that deconstruct their human uniqueness and impart to them the banality of an interchangeable piece of skin. It goes without saying that the sculpturesqueness of tissues in this instance is devoid of any formal definiteness, and that the hybridity itself is also not seen visually. In the foreground is the material sculpture of living tissues in their biological naturalness and their laboratory-grown artificiality. Transforming the flesh into a raw material permits the taking of the next step and transforming the very process of hybridization into an artistic gesture. The question is not about the obligatory documentation of this process or the ascribing of this recording to the class of (post-)works of art. The question is in the demonstration of the might of hybrid technologies 85

(with multy-layered ironic meanings, of course). It is this very sensation that arises upon familiarizing oneself with Guy Ben-Ary and Kirsten Hudson’s project “In Potēncia” (2012) (original title was “Dick Head”). The artist modifies foreskin cells from a circumcised penis into brain cells. The project’s design is sculpturesque, recalling the hymNext biosculpture but in steam pank exaggerated fallus shape. However, the basic element of the project is not the triviality of skin tissues or brain cells, but the transformative power of stem-cell biotechnologies (iPS re-engineering) embedded in an artistic concept. Before us is the dream incarnate of professor Ivanov: to obtain any possible variation of the transformations of a living organism. Here this is achieved not through interspecies crossbreeding, but by reprogramming the cells. Artists demonstrate to us the beauty and might of the “divine” instrument in the hands of an artist who plays at creation, using the flesh cast down.

Hybrids of Artificial Life The Preobrazhensky Syndrome and the Technological Unconscious Observing the successes of hybrid art and the zeal of those who gamble in creating something living, we can propose that the age of the digital culture of fleshless bytes is ending, and that the age of constructing hybrids and of new variants of the flesh is beginning – the age of artificial life. Hybridization is one of the symptoms of these historical transformations. Scientist and artists form the vanguard of this post-humanistic race, and thus the birth of science art does not appear to be accidental, but only affirms the general logic. But what is driving everything into such relentless movement? The Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov’s famous novella Heart of a Dog tells a story for which the works of Voronoff and Ivanov served as an inspiration. The writer imparts a prophetic tale on the creation of artificial life on the basis of science and medical engineering. The main character – Professor Proebrazhensky, a die-hard champion of eugenics – transplants the pituitary gland of a human into the brain of a dog, as a result of which the dog is transformed into a human and becomes an active participant in the Bolshevik remaking of society, directing the purging of stray animals from the city (the novella unfolds in post-Revolutionary Russia). Bulgakov’s character projects the entire array of the symptoms of Modernist science, from which forms the syndrome of the scientific and technological creationism, one which we can label the “Preobrazhensky Syndrome”. This symptomatology exposes a kind of scientific unconscious: 86

the striving to mimic divine knowledge and the creative power of the Maker who has brought forth all living things. In twentieth-century science, the Preobrazhensky Syndrome appears constantly, from cybernetics to genetic engineering, to molecular and synthetic biology. From our perspective, it is the Preobrazhensky Syndrome that draws together modern art and science in the striving to bring forth artificial life. It is no accident that, as far back at the 1970s, the famous American art critic Jack Burnham characterized the first experiments in cybernetic art as the striving of artists to create artificial life (Burnham, 1975). The art as critical and problematising discourse and artistic forms of the study and construction of hybrids of artificial life force us to turn to ontological and ethical-philosophical problematics. In the first place, the question arises about the ontological status of artificial-life hybrids with respect to natural life: should we make the natural and the artificial equal, and, if so, on what grounds? Does a hard boundary exist between natural and artificial life, and where should this boundary be drawn? What interfaces can there be between the two? In the final analysis, is our conception of life not more ethical than biological, and therefore can be studied and defined only in hybrid formats like science art?

Translated from Russian by Kevin Reese.

References Burnham, J. 1975. Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of this Century, 4th ed. NY: George Braziller McLuhan, M. 2001. Understanding Media, 2nd ed. NY: Routledge Rossianov, O. K. 2006. Opasnie Sviasi: I. I. Ivanov I experimenti skreschivania cheloveka I ckelovekoobraznih obez`ian (Dangerous Connections: I. I. Ivanov and Experiments with Crossbreeding of Humans and Human like Ape) // Voprosi Istorii Estestvoznania i Tehniki, N1, c. 3–51 Voronoff, S. 1920. Life: A Study of the Means of Restoring Vital Energy and Prolonging Life. NY: E. P. Dutton and Company 87

“ Does technology break the rules

of the living world, or is it a direct continuation of the development of nature, in which the human is only one of many instruments of self-organization? 88


Engineering Evolution

Androids, Synthias, and Other Creatures

Polona Tratnik Abstract The debate on technology is in a slope. Technology intervenes into “natural” and develops never existing systems, thus the issue of ultimate creation or godlikeness comes in question, e.g. in reference to synthetic biology. Synthetic biologists promise to be already able to create life from a scratch. On the other hand, man has aimed to create autonomous mechanical imitations of living beings – automatons – as early as he was able to master mechanics. The etymological roots of the term technology are to be found in the Greek term technē, which denoted the artfulness of mind to trick nature and turn it to man’s advantage. Aristotle’s lesson that man has to recourse to nature and has to learn from it by imitating it (mimesis) was re-popularized in renaissance (da Vinci). Androids as robots imitating human which are to be understood as an outcome of those strivings thus appear throughout the whole modernity and due to today, when man aims to construct an ultimate intelligent organism that would be smarter than its inventor. The theory stating that technology is not subordinated to man, but vice versa, people have become functionaries of technology, is becoming increasingly appealing. In regard to the increasing power of technology, the issue of possible resistance to the power of technology needs to be questioned. Keywords: technology, evolution, synthetic biology, robotics, creation, art 89

Androids: Created Species Androids as robots, imitating humans, are a significant example of convergence of the antique concepts mimesis and technē. The concept of mimesis (imitation) is central in Aristotle’s comprehension of art, but it is also the basis for other crafts (technē). Plato already understood art as a contest with nature, but Aristotle adds an impulse toward divinity.1 Thus mimesis is not to be understood “as the duplication of isolated things, but as the active attempt to participate in a superior perfection”. To comprehend mimesis in Aristotle, the concept of technē has to be additionally enlightened. “Arts”, i.e. painting, poetry and music, were all to be considered sorts of craft, technē. For Aristotle, Nature is prudent and orders the generation of all things in proper gradation, whereat Man is her noblest son. With the tool he has got, the hand, he has won a capacity to invent several crafts. Craft begins with handiness coupled with the impulse to imitate.2 Technē means artfulness of mind to trick nature and turn it to man’s advantage. This is the semantic origin of the terms technique and technology. For Aristotle what matters is beauty and order in the region of Nature. What has to be done is to imitate the manners and customs of Nature. Technē learns from Nature and this learning takes place through imitation. The process of imitation is natural to mankind and he is most imitative of them, he learns through imitation.3 In the end, as believed by Aristotle, technē completes what nature has begun. It goes beyond the model only after long schooling according to the model of Nature, whereat Nature is energy working toward a goal.4 For Aristotle mimesis is central even for the comprehension of medicine, which is also to be considered as technē. Technē works like nature in the sense that they both subordinate their products teleologicaly, for the sake of ends; technē even completes nature by bringing about more than nature was able to accomplish5 – in this account, medicine and nature are alike, since they produce the same ends in the same way, by subordinating each thing they do to the ends at which they aim. Paul Woodruff concludes: “If medicine is to intervene and then let nature carry on the natural 1 Katharine Everett Gilbert and Helmut Kuhn, A History of Esthetics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1954), p. 62. 2 Ibid. 3 Aristotle’s Poetics, trans. Leon Golden (Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1981), chapter IV, p. 7. 4 Katharine Everett Gilbert and Helmut Kuhn, A History of Esthetics, p. 62. 5 Aristotle, The Physics, Book II, Chapter VIII, 199a, trans. Philip H. Wicksteed and Francis M. Cornford (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, William Heinemann Ltd., 1963), p. 173.


process of maintaining health, it must arrange for nature to take some medical artifice as if it were natural; that is, it must produce an artificial effect that merges smoothly in the health-promoting course of nature.” 6 Renaissance turned to antiquity and re-discovered visuality, as well as it inherited the concepts of mimesis and technē. For this reason it is not surprising that the early modern automatons in Europe were to be produced in the sixteenth century. Automatons reveal that the body is comprehended as machinery, of which principles (the mechanics) are to be studied, the craftsman (“artist”) will recourse to Nature and use mimesis for his technē, with which he might be able to create a body on its own. Towards the eighteenth century the interest in robots simulating humankind increases. Today we have not lost the interest in androids. They were particularly popular in the 1980s within the enthronement of computer culture,7 when even an ordinary computer was to be understood as a sort of android as it is able to imitate human mind activities to a certain extent, but it is not able to move autonomously, hold or move things, listen, watch or feel. Hope to create such a device or at least part of it has remained an inspiration to numerous researchers in computer and other technical scientists.8 Now android science reckons upon the findings of cognitive sciences, particularly concerning the interaction between human and robot. The researchers of robotics have aimed to adapt the mechanisms underlying successful inter-human interaction, in order to create robots, with which people could easily communicate. Questions regarding androids remain more or less the same. In 2006 Hiroshi Ishiguro (University of Osaka) developed first geminoid prototype HI-1, geminoid etymologically deriving from Lat. geminus, meaning twin, and Lat. oides, meaning similarity, since the robot is grounded in the model of its creator. The visual resemblance of Ishiguro’s appearance is quite good (though not so good as are some photorealistic sculptures made by Ron Mueck, for example), the robot makes clumsy gestures and remains seated, it speaks several languages, which it is even able use for independent communication with the people. The teleoperational system of geminoid generates autonomic movement of the robot, micro motions during the process of speech and listening (which differs in both cases), such as are taking shape spontaneously by human beings. The collaborators in the project propose “to use androids 6 Paul Woodruff, “Aristotle on Mimēsis,” in: Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), Artistotle’s Poetics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 78. 7 They were discussed also in popular culture – see for example the movie Blade Runner from 1982. 8 Peter Laurie, The Joy of Computers (London: Hutchinson, 1983).


that behave similarly to humans for studying what it essentially means to ‘be human’, i.e. the mystery of human nature. Androids and geminoids are artificial humans that allow us to investigate human nature by means of psychological and cognitive tests, which we conduct during interaction with people.” 9 The Cartesian deception of senses is actually not to be avoided, but accounted upon in a positive sense: “If we could build an android that is very similar to a human, how can we distinguish a real human from an android? The answer is not trivial. While interacting with androids, we cannot see their internal mechanisms and thus we may simply believe that they are human.” 10 Androids are a discernible example of Aristotelian type of mimesis as it is to be found in contemporary culture. The founding principle of another branch of robotics, bionics, is again mimesis. As a knowledge-technology solving technical problems with studying the functions of living being bionics is at present in full bloom in medicine, particularly in the development of prosthetics. Here it is being occupied with the question, how to develop the ultimately functional prosthetic limb as a model paying a crucial regard to biological models. The next generation bionic prosthesis will replace the lost limbs not only in the functional sense, but also sensorily. They will enable smooth cyborgian extensions and upgrading of our biological bodies with the implementation of mechanics. We can expect to get bionic skin,11 having an ability to sense temperature and touch (human nerves will be connected with carbon nano-tubes arranged along the artificial skin formed of flexible polymers – the active ends of the living nerves will enable sensual perception; the bionic skin will also be equipped with temperature and pressure sensors, and will have implemented artificial hair). Robotics is full of biomimetics, biologically inspired and mimicking technology. The very form of the robot is developed on the grounds of the recourse to body in mimicking its mechanical functions, such as to be found in muscle, body movements and balance. It has proven to be a particularly difficult objective to develop a robot with such balancing as found in human, especially for more demanding actions, such as running, football paying and rising to one’s feet. At present researchers are aiming to equip the robots with “digital memory” consisted of digital database collected from the human mind (video recordings from 9 ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, “Geminoid HI-1,” in: Gerfried Stocker and Christine Schöpf (eds.), Human Nature. Ars Electronica 2009 (Ostfildern: Hathe Cantz, 2009), p. 221. 10 Ibid. 11 See the project FILMskin, a common project of the Federal Laboratory Oak Ridge and NASA, developing bionic skin for the application to patients with burns.


the perspective of the body taken in best-case during a life-time period) and to equip the digital-mechanical systems of the robot with the “wetbrains”. These could be biological networks from nerves – such “artificial nervous system” has proven to have the ability to learn, i.e. remember and act in accordance to that. Or other biological systems could be used that hold some features or qualifications which are not (yet) attainable by mere computer systems – a single-cell organism of a slime mold seems a promising artificial intelligent system as it has proven to provide intelligent, simple and effective (communication) solutions when tested in complex environments, such as labyrinths. Some researchers (as Jürgen Schidhuber) aim to construct ultimate intelligent organism, a scientist that will be smarter than its (or should we say his?) inventor. The question worth special attention is, to what extend is one legitimate to refer to androids as to “artificial humans”. This is actually a question of the technique of mimesis, as it is a question about how far we are able to go with imitating humans and what the status of these imitations is. What are the grounds for determining the status of these human imitations and what politics are to be applied to them? Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist, acknowledged the importance of emotions in the long-run of individual’s life, especially regarding one’s long-lasting relations and inclusion in the social world, where a patient with particular brain injury fail to function.12 We are wondering how successful androids could be in this regard. The other question is a biopolitical one. In the world already overpopulated with humankind, why do we need to produce another species, a new sort of “humankind”? The question about creating a robot species after the human model makes a link to the work of God, who created human species after himself. Or should we put it this way: man is creating a robot as man has created God: after his model, only that it was improved.

Synthias: Created Life from a Scratch Etymologically the term originates from Gr. synthesis meaning composition, from syntithenai meaning put together, combine (syn-: together and tithenai: put, place). In seventeenth century Lat. synthesis means composition, set, collection, and from nineteenth century synthetic refers to products or materials made artificially by chemical synthesis: hence artificial. As demonstrates the example of synthetic cubism, synthesis is not perspicere, looking through, into. It is about dominating the medium and 12 Antonio Damasio, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1994).


thus the world, with taking particles from the world and constructing a new composition. It is the technique of synthesis which is at work in photo-collage, film montage, and in assemblage. And it is the latter that presents the model of the rhizome for Deleuze and Guattari. Synthesis brings together diverse elements; it builds a world of heterogeneity. Baroque and rococo’s visual and decorative arts were operating with synthesis in order to form new realities, worlds, new living beings, chimeras. And it is exactly the technique of synthesis that has become crucial in biology and which transforms biology from science to technology. Biology has become another field of engineering, one that engineers living structures. Synthetic biology is a recently enthroned field of knowledge-engineering, with the application of computing to biology.13 The leading researchers in the field are not necessarily originating from the field of biology, but could also be computer scientists, which testifies about transdisciplinarity of the field: it is joining biology, computer sciences, chemistry and various technologies. For Ron Weiss (MIT), one of the founders of the field, the idea of synthetic biology is to glue together the DNA parts, which you can even get online. The biological parts with DNA sequences of defined structure and function that are designed to be composed and incorporated into living cells are called BioBricks. They are used to assemble bio circuits. The biological circuits program biological machines. They can order programmatic commends, for example: make a protein that creates blue color. One of the prospects of synthetic biology in medical application is to repair human tissue using bacteria. In medicine synthetic biology promises imminent solutions with the technique of disease targeting, which would function in this way: if cancer cell, then make a protein that kills the cancer cell, if not, just go away. There are fears present that the body would recognize the genetically modified cell as a non-self and would react for example with a rejection or with forming a new type of cancer. To avoid this to happen, synthetic engineers see two solutions: 1. either in using the proteins that come from the body – this could then make an interesting contribution to the paradigm of regenerative medicine – or 2. in building molecular computers, which would be able to build the function into the RNA, thus the body would recognize it as self. MIT has built targeting technology that works in vitro, but has not 13 The term synthetic biology has been actually introduced a century ago (Stéphane Leducs, 1910). In the 1970s the field has become promising: Waclaw Szybalski was aware that it has actually unlimited expansion potential with the possibility to devise new control elements and add them to the existing genomes or build up whole new genomes.


yet been applied to a human body. Researchers from Stanford University focus on developing a molecular computer that could control the immune response with molecular controllers enforcing the survival proliferation of T cells (T lymphocytes), which is a contrary process to apoptosis. They believe that the new generation therapies will use this type of strategy. NASA has developed a method of targeting: synthetic organisms are to be put into the body to treat the astronauts of radiation. The idea is to use engineered bacteria and combine the technique with nano technology: the bio capsule composed of carbon nano tubes will respond to radiation and release the therapeutic molecule. This means we are expecting to get a new sort of cyborgs. In the intersection with electrical engineering a new field is emerging: synthetic neuro biology. At the MIT electronics laboratories (Ed Boyden) they are working on the task to develop new kinds of computers and they try to engineer the most complex computer – the brain. They are trying to control electrical pulses to be able to enter the information into them in a similar manner as you can enter information into the computer circuit. They are using illuminators, lasers to do that. With using algae’s ability to photosynthesize the light pulses are converted to electricity; the proteins hit by light generate electrical pulses to control the neurons. This introduction of control of the brain has been tested on a mouse, but not yet applied to a human. The technology seems promising for treating Alzheimer disease. The field of synthetic biology is actually not much different as genetic engineering – both is genetic programming, which means programming, encoding a function within the DNA. Synthetic biology thus sees a challenge in figuring how to encode a specific function within the DNA. It is no wonder that one of the central figures in the field of synthetic biology was one of the central figures in the project of human genome sequencing. Since 2005 Craig Venter has been intensively involved in synthetic genomics. He has a long-lasting belief that genomics have the power to radically change healthcare (recently he has become aware that genomics also have the power to revolutionize economy: he has worked on application of synthetically modified microorganisms to industry, particularly for the development of the next-generation biofuels). Venter is aiming to create a life form (Mycroplasma laboratorium). In 2010 his team announced (Science) that they have created “Synthia”, a kind of bacteria, which never existed in nature. They successfully synthesized the genome of the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides from a computer record and then the synthesized genome was transplanted into a cell of Mycoplasma capri95

colum bacterium, from which the DNA was removed. In other words, a long DNA molecule containing en entire bacterium genome was plugged into the computer, where it was manipulated as computer software, then they extracted and discarded the DNA from a similar cell, and finally they introduced the created DNA into the emptied cell. The parent of “Synthia” is a computer and it came to physical existence as a DNA print. The boundaries between computed and biological literally blur. The creation has been referred as “synthetic life”. However, despite the success of the already heavily customized genomics, creating heavily customized genomes, “[t]here are great challenges ahead before genetic engineers can mix, match, and fully design an organism’s genome from scratch,” 14 noted Paul Keim. Among the prospects of the field of synthetic biology perhaps the most radical perspective comes from the so called re-writers, who believe that the natural biological systems are so complicated that we should better rebuild them, from the ground up, in such a manner providing engineered surrogates which we could better understand and interact with. The idea comes from computer sciences, where code refactoring is a technique used to restructure the code with altering its internal structure without changing its external behavior, in order to improve code’s readability and reduce its complexity for the improvement of the source code, as well as to improve its extensibility. In the late 1980s Vilém Flusser discussed the issue of “becoming godlike” in regard to biotechnology. According to his theory, if there would be a form created that has never existed before, this would be a true creation. The ambition to “create life” is either the “playing God” or mimesis in Aristotelian sense, i.e. to resemble the performance of Mother Nature, this time its ultimate performance of the origin of life. The evolution of the living creatures after their creation could be interpreted as realization of God’s wish, thus the living beings have developed according to a program. Since recently human species has got the self-confidence in understanding this program well enough to be able to intervene in it, to change it or even to apply its own program with the engineering methods. All sorts of the living structures: bodies, cyborgs, microorganisms, cells and tissues, as well as each and every population of species, including human, have become decisively dependent on the program applied to the whole of this living world by the human. We are witnessing a new chapter of biopower. 14 Elizabeth Pennisi, “Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium”, Science 21 May 2010: Vol. 328, no. 5981, pp. 958–959. <> 7-5-2012


Resisting the Program According to Flusser variational creation is a method of a lot of work being done with computers, but also biotechnology: “biotechnics is doing the same thing natural evolution does – variational creativity, the sole difference being that it does its work not by chance but according to a deliberate program.” 15 Variational creation operates within the given possibilities, one could say within the natural apparatus, similar as Flusser once considered about the pictures produced within the apparatus of photography, that every particular realization within this program exists as a potential, even if it will never be actually realized: “Every shape in which Earth’s living beings could manifest themselves is encoded within the existing genetic information as a potential, a virtuality.” 16 If Flusser is to introduce the same logic as he used in Towards Philosophy of Photography, then he must had appreciated the resistance to the program, which is to be performed by the creative agens – the artist. According to such comprehension, art is not that much about creating as about resisting. In Flusser’s case, creation and resistance are intertwined; they are even one and the same process. So far so good, but Flusser then takes a quite surprising stance in this regard: it is not necessary that it is an artist at work of the creation, it could be a biotechnologist. This could only be possible only if biotechnology is itself understood as resisting to the program, and obviously this is how he understands it. Biotechnology is resisting the “program” of the “apparatus” of nature. But it itself has a deliberate program, according to which it does its work, thus obviously being itself an apparatus. This is taking place exactly because of the theory directing the work, the concept guiding to utilization, its applicability, in short: its dimension of engineering is making biotechnology resist to the program of nature. But who is resisting the program of biotechnology? Flusser aimed to contribute a defense of creativity, whereat true creativity is not taking place within the framework of the apparatus or according to the plan, but is assuring surprises, it is about intervention into existing processes taking place according to their program. Creativity is therefore a subversive act. For Flusser, biotechnologist and artist seem to become one and the same person. Resistance is directed towards nature. But if biotechnology is itself an apparatus, who is resisting to it? Who is the creator who 15 Vilém Flusser, “On Discovery,” in: Artforum, New York, Vol. 27, No. 7 (March 1988), p. 14–15. 16 Vilém Flusser, “On Discovery,” in: Artforum, New York, Vol. 27, No. 10 (Summer 1988), p. 18.


resists fitting into the machinery producing variations of the program of biotechnology? “Who will be the Disney of the future,” Flusser asks and answers: “He or she might, I suggest, be a molecular biologist.” 17 Disney not only paints the world in his colors, as does Pink Panther, but he is the one that holds the pencil, who organizes the whole of the work from the concept to the final realization, Disney is an engineer. But what is the role of the engineer within the apparatus of biotechnology? According to Flusser the engineer has the potential of being the true creator; he might be able to play God, thus being the subversive element in the game of nature. Etymologically, the term engineer appears in the early fourteenth century and means the constructor of military engines, it originates from the Old French engigneor, from Latin ingeniare; the term ingenium meaning the inborn qualities, talent. The term is linked to the term engine, a mechanical device, but also skill, craft, from the Old French term from the twelfth century engin meaning skill, cleverness, but also trick, deceit, stratagem; war machine.

References Aristotle, 1963. The Physics, Book II, Chapter VIII, 199a, trans. Philip H. Wicksteed and Francis M. Cornford (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, William Heinemann Ltd.) Aristotle’s Poetics, 1981. Transl. Leon Golden (Tallahassee: Florida State University Press), chapter IV ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, 2009. “Geminoid HI-1”, in: Gerfried Stocker in Christine Schöpf (ur.), Human Nature. Ars Electronica 2009 (Ostfildern: Hathe Cantz) Damasio, Antonio, 1994. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (New York: G. P. Putnam) Flusser, Vilém, 1988. “On Discovery,” in: Artforum, New York, Vol. 27, no. 2, 7, 10 Gilbert, Katharine Everett in Kuhn, Helmut, 1954. A History of Esthetics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press) Laurie, Peter, 1983. The Joy of Computers (London: Hutchinson) Pennisi, Elizabeth, 2010. “Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium”, Science, 21 May 2010: Vol. 328, no. 5981 <> 7-5-2012 Woodruff, Paul, 1992. “Aristotle on Mimēsis”, in: Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), Artistotle’s Poetics (Princeton: Princeton University Press) 17 Vilém Flusser, “On Discovery,” in: Artforum, New York, Vol. 27, No. 2 (October 1988), p. 9.


Secular Vitalism or Fluid Automata Ionat Zurr & Oron Catts Abstract Here we are concern with the importance of the substrate – the context – for life; the context is vital to life development and differentiation as much as, if not more than, the genetic code. Take for example the case of stem cells which have the ability to differentiate into different lineages; from blood tissue to bone or fat and more. Lately there is a growing realisation that this differentiation depends very much on the extra-cellular matrixes on which these cells are growing; even a subtle change in substrate morphology will have a fundamental effect on the cells plasticity and the lineage they will take. Loosely based on the story of the Golem (literally means “crude”, “unshaped”) we will explore the “alchemy like” transformation of materials into substrates which have the ability to act as surrogates for life. The story of the Golem described the existence of life from inanimate matter (mud); life that was forceful but brute and could be shaped for different purposes and intentions. Our aim is to explore and bring back into the forefront the materiality of life in context. This is to differ from the hegemony of the metaphor of life as a code. Drawing on historical references taken from the middle ages, we would like to look at engineered life that is on the edges of the what we consider animate or in animate – and provide it with some sort of agency, even if symbolic. Keywords: ECM (extra cellular matrix), life, cells, plasticity, Golem 99

An initiate should not do it alone, but should always be accompanied by one or two colleagues. The Golem must be made of virgin soil, taken from a place where no man has ever dug. The soil must be kneaded with pure spring water, taken directly from the ground. If this water is placed in any kind of vessel, it can no longer be used. The people making the Golem must purify themselves totally before engaging in this activity, both physically and spiritually. While making the Golem, they must wear clean white vestments… One must not make any mistake or error in the pronunciation… no interruption whatsoever may occur… (Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Talmud 10th Century)1 Manipulation of life in the laboratory deals as much with exclusion and killing as it does with the attempt to create and maintain life. Usually, the chosen object of interest (in this case life) is isolated, maintained, observed and manipulated by preventing anything else to exist and interact with its restricted environment. This is the basis of the modernist project of reductionism. When it comes to life it is called aseptic or sterile techniques. The conceptual emphasis is largely concerned with de-contextualised manipulated life and its inner workings rather than its contextualised milieu. We argue that the perceptual shifts concerning the definition of life, and the reductionist attempts to control life are in most cases divorced from the milieu (which include the substrate, niche, context, biome etc.). Perhaps as a response to the instrumentalisation of life, the logic of material as an “active” milieu is regaining importance to the extent that animism is discussed in relation to all gradients of materials born, evolved or made. This approach, we argue, contests the growing influence of the engineering mindset within biology which attempt to examine living material similarly to non-living material; (i.e. machine) as a unit that can be isolated and rationally engineered – a fully interchangeable, predictable and controllable building block. In many respects, the further life is being engineered and instrumentalised in laboratories for human-centred purposes, matter, whether living, semi-living or non-living is being attributed with vitality and agency. To rephrase: the further life is referred to and used as an engineered tool, machine or a ‘wet’ automata; it is coupled with the idea of contemporary New Materialism (most notably Gilles Deleuze, Manuel De Landa and 1 Cited in (last accessed 3rd January 2013)


Jane Bennett) or what we refer to as Secular Vitalism. This merging can be seen as contradictory or complimentary as will be discussed – but more than anything it is an indicator to the growing blur in our perceptual and technological boundaries between what we consider living, semi-living and non-living. What are the implications of this phenomenon and how it is being articulated by artists will be touched upon here.

Organisms as Living Machines The French philosopher La Mettrie (Julien Offray de La Mettrie, 1709–1751) who is retrospectively considered to be one of the earliest materialists (as well as, within the boundaries of historical context, considered one of the earliest post-humanists) challenged René Descartes view of non-human animals as living automata. He discusses his opposition to the Cartesian idea by referring to humans as machines; he argues that if animals are living machines, so are humans.2 He writes: To be a machine, to feel, think know how to tell good from evil like blue from yellow, in a word, to be born with intelligence and a sure instinct for morality, and yet to be only an animal, are things no more contradictory than to be an ape or parrot and to know how to find sexual pleasure.3 In the introduction to the English translation of La Mettrie L’Homme Machine / L’Homme Plante, Justin Leiber writes: Rather than the ‘blank tablet’ mind, which suggests both the perfectibility of human beings and their complete malleability, La Mettrie finds, both in individuals and in species, a range of inherited and inborn anatomical and neurological features, compulsions and limitations. On these bases, disordered and criminal individuals deserve treatment and cure more than punishment.4 This anti-Cartesian view in which humans and animals are born with mental and behavioural pre-dispositions is two-folded; it can be used to explain the suffering of all living organisms, whether human or otherwise and promote a more post humanistic view of the world; on the other hand it can be used as a eugenic tool suggesting human behaviour is entirely 2 Julien Offray de La Mettrie, Man a Machine and Man a Plant (Translated by Richard A. Watson & Maya Rybalka) Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., Indianapolis/Cambridge, 1994 3 Ibid., Introduction, p. 11 4 Ibid., Justin Leiber, Introduction, p. 4


based on biological reasoning (rather than social and cultural aspects). To the extreme, this materialist view can suggest that there is no free will. In one of the earliest and wittiest science fiction stories, Erewhon (1872), the protagonist finds himself in a country where illness is considered a crime. Sick people are thrown in jail as their sickness and/or depression and sadness is their own responsibility and their own fault; grief is a sign of misfortune and people are held responsible for actions that made them unfortunate. By contrast, characters in the story who commit a crime such as robbery or murder are treated with kindness and taken to the hospital to recover and heal. How far materialism can be malleable to suit certain ideologies is in question here. How much are we responsible to our own health and behaviour and how much is our context – society – involved in the causes, symptoms and cure; and what is the difference between treatment/correction in a hospital and a treatment/correction in jail? Beyond contesting fundamental bio-political issues via his satirical view of Victorian society and its norms, author Samuel Butler (1835– 1902) in Erewhon challenges ideas concerning the tension between human and machine. In the story, Erewhonian society eliminated certain types of machines from their society hundreds of years earlier; essentially drawing a historical line which, when passed, demands technology be destroyed. Their concerns that machines were destined to “supplant the race of man, and to become instinct with a vitality as different from, and superior to, that of animals, as animals to vegetable life”5 ultimately lead to these preventative actions. When this “instinct with a vitality” arises either in living or non-living matter is a question that has been debated for many years, but has a raised interest in current times when life is treated as a raw material for engineering machines at the same time that non-living materials (or machines) are given, even from a metaphorical perspective, a sort of vitality.

Fluid Automata Leiber describes how La Mettrie “appropriates the well-established Aristotelian and Scholasticism of ‘substantial forms’ to argue that organic matter has not only the ‘passive’ and ‘mechanical’ properties that Descartes attribute to it, but also ‘active’ and ‘formal’ properties that include feeling and thought.”6 5 Samuel Butler, Erewhon, 1872, p. 59 6 Man A Machine and Man A Plant, English translation, Hackett 1994. Justin Leiber, Introduction, p. 2


The idea of organic matter as “active” is well established, though, the emphasis, specifically after the discovery of the DNA structure in 1953 by James D. Watson, Francis Crick with the vital data from Rosalind Franklin, and the human genome sequencing “race” in 2000, was on the genetic code. We would argue that organic matter “active” state is defined by its constant interaction with the environment. Evelyn Fox Keller writes in the book Making Sense of Life: “one form of explanation has come to dominate biological thought over the last few decades – the assumption that a catalogue of genes for an organism’s traits will constitute an ‘understanding’ of that organism.” She continues that “an increasing number of biologists are beginning to argue that no such catalogue – not even the sequence of the entire genome – can suffice to explain biological organisation.”7 A spectacular demonstration of creating new life through context related manipulation happened in 1899, when Jacques Loeb (1859–1924) developed what he called ‘artificial parthenogenesis – the artificial production of normal larvae (plutei) from the unfertilized eggs of the sea urchin’.8 In other words, Loeb demonstrated the capacity for fertilisation (in a sea urchin) without the use of sperm but rather through a chemical manipulation of the milieu. Loeb was one of the first to discuss life as bio-matter that could be synthetically engineered or remade, and suggested that biology should shift focus from mere observation to manipulation. He also, as a thought experiment, suggested making a living system from dead matter as a way to debunk the vitalists’ ideas and claimed to have demonstrated ‘abiogenesis’ (Loeb 1906). Loeb adopted in his experimentation and biological research what he described as an “engineering standpoint. Loeb’s strong belief in control over life and his mechanistic approach to life led him to argue that ‘instinct’ and ‘will’ were ‘metaphysical concepts … upon the same plane as the supernatural powers of theologians”.9

Constructing and Deconstructing Life In the search for the elusive answer to the question “what is life”, there are two main approaches; the top-down approach – taking life apart for its elementary building blocks; and a bottom-up approach – to build life 7 Evelyn Keller Fox, Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines. Harvard University Press, 2003, p. 154 8 Jacques Loeb, The Dynamics of Living Matter (1906), 223. Abiogenesis is also known as autogenesis, or spontaneous generation of living organisms from non-living matter. 9 Philip J. Pauly, Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb & the Engineering Ideal in Biology (Monographs on the History & Philosophy of Biology) Oxford University Press, 1987, p. 47


from scratch. These attempts are now gathered under the wider umbrella term “synthetic biology”.10 Synthetic biology can be loosely defined as the combination of the life sciences with engineering principles. It can also be seen as a catch-phrase of contemporary attempts to apply engineering logic to life, and as such, it covers a wide range of approaches ranging from re-branding of genetic engineering to the creation of synthetic life forms (i.e. Syntia and/or protocells). Driven mainly by engineers, it applies engineering logic to the “messiness” of life. The growing field of synthetic biology reinforces the pervasive influence of the engineering mindset within the life science laboratories; at the very same historical moment that the artistic interventions have also entered these spaces. Life science laboratories housing artists (as well as engineers) cannot be viewed in isolation but are positioned within a larger context of cultural networks that are organised around the maximisation of utility, efficiency and profit. As stated by Uexküll (Jacob, 1864–1944) in 1934: Whoever wants to hold on to the conviction that all living things are only machines should abandon all hope of glimpsing their environments.11 In 2010 Craig Venter, declared that he had created the first life form whose “parent is a computer”.12 Even though what Venter achieved is indeed a great technological feat – being able to synthesise the longest chain of DNA and replace a genome of a simple bacteria with a synthesised version, the context (i.e. the cell, the cytoplasm and its contents) is still of biological origin. The role of the computer in synthesising the genome was actually only that of a glorified copier – copying a genome without fully “understanding” its meaning. The only novel part that was introduced to the genome was a “watermark”; a hidden message that contained the names of the researches, a URL and quotes relating to creation of life – something that the artist Joe Davis achieved back in the mid-1980s.13 Synthia14 may be seen as an “artificial” life form that is built on an “already made” living milieu that acts as a surrogate body as well as to a 10 For more about the field of Synthetic Biology 11 Jakob von Uexküll, A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, The University of Minnesota Press, 1934, p. 41 12 13 Joe Davis (1996). “Microvenus”. Art Journal 55 (1): 70–74 14 Daniel G. Gibson,1 John I. Glass,1 Carole Lartigue,1 Vladimir N. Noskov,1 Ray-Yuan Chuang,1 Mikkel A. Algire,1 Gwynedd A. Benders,2 Michael G. Montague,1 Li Ma,1 Monzia M. Moodie,1 Chuck Merryman,1 Sanjay Vashee,1 Radha Krishnakumar,1 Nacyra Assad-Garcia,1 Cynthia Andrews-


large extent a defining body which translates and actively interacts with the genetic code inserted. It is far from being life from scratch. One rationale which attempts to provide a theoretical model for the most basic component of life was introduced by Tibor Gánti (1933–2009) in 1971. Its aim was to define the minimal model of a living organism. It is from this theory that the term ‘fluid – or soft automation’ was borrowed. One of the important elements of the Chemoton theory is that life is a contained but fluidic state: It turned out that the fundamental principles behind the functioning of living systems can be understood in terms of ‘fluid automata’. These are complex systems of chemical reactions which function like machines; they can be regulated and controlled, but do not necessarily contain solid parts.15 The basic idea being: All living systems must contain an autocatalytic metabolic network comprised of reversible reactions and a similarly autocatalytic but unidirectional reaction system of irreversible reactions. The specific coupling of the two creates a functional system or ‘machine’ which, unlike machines created by humans, manipulates the energy that flows through it in chemical rather than mechanical or electrical ways.16 Like La Mettrie, Tibor Gánti describes life as a machine (although La Mettrie attributes to it inbuilt emotional and behavioural components). Ironically, when Craig Venter discusses the “new” life form he created he diverts the metaphor of life as a machine by referring to the computer that was used as a parent. A lot can be written, from a feminist perspective, on Venter’s comment: while the machine – the computer – used to copy a pre-existing DNA chain, the role of the matrix – the cell to which this DNA was inserted is largely ignored. The importance of matrix (cytoplasm, womb, extra cellular matrix, and substrate) which, historically was largely ignored is becoming apparent again.

Pfannkoch,1 Evgeniya A.Denisova,1 Lei Young,1 Zhi-Qing Qi,1 Thomas H. Segall-Shapiro,1 Christopher H. Calvey,1 Prashanth P. Parmar,1 Clyde A. Hutchison III,2 Hamilton O. Smith,2 J. Craig Venter1,2*1The J. Craig Venter Institute, 9704 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. 2The J. Craig Venter Institute, 10355Science Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA. In / www. / 20 May 2010 / Page 6 / 10.1126/science.1190719 15 Tibor Gánti, The principles of life, Oxford University Press, 2003, p. XIII 16 Ibid., p. X


The Crude Approach – Pay Attention to the Substrate Abiogenesis, the study of how biological life could arise from inorganic matter through natural processes, is a fertile and rich niche of diverse theories and hypotheses; what were the ingredients and environmental conditions of the primordial soup which has led to the vibrant liquid automata we may call life. One of these theories is looking at clay as the substrate which allowed the emergence of life. Most notably, Graham Cairns-Smith, who in the sixties suggested that the plasticity and self-replication of clay crystals in solution might provide a simple intermediate step between biologically inert matter and organic life; as clay crystals properties are malleable and embed plasticity when interacting with their environment.17 The idea of clay as a substrate for life is also described in the wellknown mythological story that concerns with the creation of man made life – the Golem. The story of the Golem (literally means “crude”, “unshaped”) is the story of creation of life out of inorganic matter; mud. The vital force “inserted” into the mud mold enabled an entity that is sentient and forceful – but at the same time incapable of common sense let alone the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. It is the context the host (the adopted parent?) can shape and mold the Golem to act in a certain way. Interestingly, the earlier stories of the Golem describe the creation of a “one third” size calf for a ceremonial dinner. Bearing serendipitous references to some of our previous artistic projects, such as Extra Ear ¼ Scale (2003) in which we scaled down and grew a replica of the artist Stelarc’s ear; and Disembodied Cuisine (2000–2003) which culminated in a ceremonial dinner of semi-living frog steak fed by foetal calf serum. Another version of the Golem story describes how Rabbi Judah had miscalculated the power of his spell, causing errors particularly in relation to invoking the concept of continuous creation. The Golem is secretly returned to the banks of the river in the middle of the night and continued to augment its substance. It grows out of control and become a danger also to those which he was created to protect.18 Victimless Leather which was grown in 2008 out of embryonic mouse stem cells had the same fate – the cells grew faster than anticipated to the extent that they formed 17 For more Cairns-Smith, A. G. Seven Clues to the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1985. 18 Geoffrey W. Dennis, The Encyclopaedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism; Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury Minnesota, 2007, p. 111


a small embryonic body, clogging the “machine” that provided artificial life-support to the system. This resulted in Victimless Leather being shut down in the course of its exhibition. (TC&A projects) This nevertheless implies a trajectory in which the best known version of the Golem, the Golem of Prague, becomes a direct inspiration to one of our recent works Crude Matter. While not dealing directly with the mysticism of the creation of life, Crude Matter comments on some of the other aspects of the story, from the ability to “turn off” human technology (a comment about the current state of hubris), to the interface between living and non-living. But most importantly its concerns with the importance of the substrate – the context – for life; the context is vital to life development and differentiation as much as, if not more than, the genetic code. The focus here is on the agency of the substrate, its significance in playing an active role in determining life’s fate. Biologists increasingly appreciate that the extra cellular matrixes in which cells are growing regulate the paths that cell take. Even a subtle change in substrate morphology will have a fundamental effect on the cells plasticity and the lineage they will take. In the paper titled Substrate stiffness affects early differentiation events in embryonic stem cells 19 Nicholas D. Evans and collaborators demonstrate how the mere changes in the stiffness of the substrate (PDMS) will change the path of differentiation of stem cells into different types of tissue such as bone, fat etc. We are exploring the “alchemy-like” transformation of materials into active substrates which have the ability to act as surrogates upon life. The story of the Golem describes the existence of life from inanimate matter; life that was forceful, brute and could be shaped for different purposes and intentions. The work itself constitutes of a series of meditations, grown with amphibian cells, that represents the dream of regenerative biology of renewal, and the water/land interface of the origin of the Golem. The cells are grown over an array of substrates that will determine their eventual fate. Our aim is to explore, in a poetic way, and to bring back into the forefront the materiality of life in context. This is meant to differ from the hegemony of the metaphor of life as a code. Drawing on historical references taken from the middle ages, we look at engineered life that is on the edges of the what we consider animate or in-animate – and provide it with some sort of agency, even if symbolic. 19 European Cells and Materials, Vol. 18, 2009, pp. 1–14


Conclusion Monika Bakke writes how the distinction between matter and life is becoming problematic when ... new materialists proclaim matter to have agency and vitality that in no way relates to any special ‘life force’, as in historical vitalism, but instead refers to the lively immanence of matter, which manifests itself through its productivity and self-transformation.20 Paradoxically, in many respects there is some common dominator between the engineering mindset when applied to life and the new materialist scholarly thought which attributes vitality to matter – both blurring the boundaries, both technological and perceptual between what considers to living or non-living; organism or machine. The issue of control is in question here – while engineers’ mindset is set to have full control and maximise efficiency over living matter; new materialists may be looking more of a “soft control” which is mediated by context. What happens when there is little if no difference between the acts of life manipulation to the acts of “elevating” non-living matter to an animist state? What is the difference between referring to life as fluid automata or attributing to living matter a sort of Secular Vitalism? Can we find something unique and special in living matter without resorting to metaphysical explanations? We are living in times when these goalposts are shifting.

20 Monika Bakke, Actual Matter – Possible Life, in Crude Life, The Tissue Culture & Art Project, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, 2012, p. 53


References Bakke, Monika (2012), Actual Matter – Possible Life, in Crude Life, The Tissue Culture & Art Project, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art Cairns-Smith, A. G. (1985) Seven Clues to the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, New York Davis, Joe (1996), “Microvenus”. Art Journal 55 (1) European Cells and Materials (2009), Vol. 18 Gánti, Tibor (2003), The principles of life, Oxford University Press Geoffrey, W. Dennis (2007), The Encyclopaedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury Minnesota Keller Fox, Evelyn (2003), Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines. Harvard University Press La Mettrie, Julien Offray de (1994), Man a Machine and Man a Plant (Translated by Richard A. Watson & Maya Rybalka) Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., Indianapolis/Cambridge Pauly, Philip J. (1987), Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb & the Engineering Ideal in Biology (Monographs on the History & Philosophy of Biology) Oxford University Press Uexküll, Jakob von (1934), A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, The University of Minnesota Press


we talk about technology as an â&#x20AC;&#x153;Can autotelic ontological entity that possesses its own materiality and its

own reality? â&#x20AC;?


Glossary This glossary contains terms used for describing the matters related to art and advanced technology. It was compiled by Dmitry Bulatov (National Center for Contemporary Arts, Baltic branch, Russia), with the experts advisory support from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI, New York), ZKM Center for Art- and Mediatechnology (Karlsruhe), with the special help from George Gessert, Tatiana Gorjucheva, David Darrow, Konstantin Mitenev, Ionat Zurr, and Roy Ascott.


A- (B-)Biology: Terms determining biological status: «A» means purely natural, «B» artificially biological. Algorithm: An explicit procedure for solving identical or similar problems or tasks. Amino Acids: Organic molecules that are the building blocks of proteins. There are some two hundred known amino acids, of which twenty are used extensively in living organisms. See Protein. Animates: Artificial animals (from engl. animal and automat). Artificial Intelligence (AI): The field of research that aims to understand and build intelligent machines; this term may also refer to an intelligent machine itself. Artificial Life (ALife): The reproduction of biological processes or organisms and their behavior by means of artificial components (programs) in computer systems, in order to draw conclusions about reality. Assembler: A molecular machine that can be programmed to build virtually any molecular structure or device from simpler chemical building blocks. See Replicator, Limited Assembler. Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): All treatments or procedures that involve surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries and combining the eggs with sperm to help a woman become pregnant. The types of ART are in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, and zygote intrafallopian transfer. Atom: The smallest particle of a chemical element (about three ten-billionths of a meter in diameter). Atoms are the building blocks of molecules and solid objects; they consist of a cloud of electrons surrounding a dense nucleus a hundred thousand times smaller than the atom itself. Automated Engineering: The use of computers to perform engineering design, ultimately generating detailed designs from broad specifications with little or no human help. Automated engineering is a specialized form of artificial intelligence. See Artificial Intelligence. Avatar: An electronic representative of a person within a virtual environment (usually as an animated entity).


Bacteria: Unicellular living organisms, typically about one micron in diameter. Bacteria are among the oldest, simplest, and smallest types of cells. See Cell. 111

Base Pair (bp): Two nitrogenous bases (adenine and thymine or guanine and cytosine) held together by weak bonds. Two strands of DNA are held together in the shape of a double helix by the bonds between base pairs. Biochauvinism: A prejudice that biological systems have an intrinsic superiority that will always give them a monopoly on self-reproduction and intelligence. Biochip: An analytical array with a size of several inches, which would allow one to obtain information on the state of all genes of the studied organism. Biochips are classified into oligonucleotide and cDNA biochips; the first type contains small DNA fragments usually belonging to the same gene and the second type contains long gene fragments, up to 1,000 nucleotides robotically applied to a surface. See also DNA. Bioethics: Ecological responsibility for the biosphere in general. Within this edition it implies application of moral discourse to biomedical technologies. Biomimetic Simulation: A simulation copied directly from the living via cellular automata, genetic algorithms, collective intelligence modeling, dynamic morphogenesis, etc. Biomimetic simulation draws on three types of functioning of the living: autoregulation, autopreservation, autoreproduction. Bioreactor: A controlled artificial environment designed to promote life processes; often associated with culturing associated with tissue engineered systems. Biota: A cybercommunity researching postbiological models. Biotechnology: A list of areas covered by the term includes recombinant DNA, plant tissue culture, gene splicing, enzyme systems, plant breeding, meristem culture, mammalian cell culture, immunology, molecular biology, fermentation, and others. Study of the techniques used to derive products from organisms, plants, and parts of both for the biotechnology industry. See also Cell, DNA, Enzyme, Recombinant DNA, Tissue Culture. Biotelematics: A range of biointegrated methods used to transmit and process information. Blastocyst: The blastula of mammals: a sphere of cells (trophoblast) enclosing an inner mass of cells and a fluid-filled cavity (blastocoel). Blastomer: One of the cells formed during the fertilized egg division. Bot: Any type of autonomous software that operates as an agent for a user or a program or simulates a human activity. See also Nanorobot, Neurobot. Bulk Technology: Technology based on the manipulation of atoms and molecules in bulk, rather than individually; most present technology falls into this category.


Cell Engineering: A method of designing new types of cells based on their cultivation, hybridization and reconstruction. See Cell. Cell: A membrane-bound unit, typically microns in diameter. All plants and animals are made up of one or more cells (trillions, in the case of human beings). In general, each cell of a multi-cellular organism contains a nucleus holding all of the genetic information of the organism. Chimera Art (Ars Chimaera): The field of artistic activity connected with the purposeful construction of new combinations of genes, not existing in natural conditions, enabling the production of organisms with given heritable aesthetic characteristics. See Degenesis, Transgenesis, Neogenesis. 112

Chimera Design: The activity involving aesthetic reconstruction and refining of living (semi-living) organisms through recombinant DNA manipulation. See Static Form and Kinetic Form of Chimera Design. Chimera: a) (biol.) An organism consisting of tissue or parts of diverse genetic constitution. b) (myth.) A fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent. c) A wild and unrealistic dream or notion. d) A fabulous beast made up of parts taken from various animals. Clone: A group of individual organisms (or cells) produced from one individual cell through asexual processes that do not involve the interchange or combination of genetic material. Cloning: The process of asexually producing a group of cells (clones), all genetically identical, from a single ancestor. In recombinant DNA technology, the use of DNA manipulation procedures to produce multiple copies of a single gene or segment of DNA is referred to as cloning DNA. See DNA. Codon: A triplet of nucleotides [three nucleic acid units (residues) in a row] within messenger RNA (mRNA) that code for an amino acid (triplet code) or a termination signal. See RNA, Amino Acids, Nucleotide. Cyberception: A bionic faculty in the human repertoire, involving an amplification of conceptual and perceptual processes, in which also the connectivity of telematic networks plays a formative role.


Degenesis: Exclusion of genes or genetic structures of an organism with the aim to acquire new characteristics of the organism. See Gene, Mutation, Chimera Art. Differentiation: In the general sense, the increasing specialization of organization of the different parts of an embryo as a multi-cellular organism develops from the undifferentiated fertilized egg. Referring to cells, the development of cells with specialized structure and function from unspecialized precursor cells, which occurs in embryonic development and in the subsequent replacement of certain types of cell from persisting unspecialized stem cells. See also Cell. Disassembler: A system of nanomachines able to take an object apart a few atoms at a time, while recording its structure at the molecular level. See Nanotechnology. DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid): DNA molecules are long chains consisting of four kinds of nucleotides; the order of these nucleotides encodes the information needed to construct protein molecules. These in turn make up much of the molecular machinery of the cell. DNA is the genetic material of cells. The extent of the DNA molecule segment is usually measured by the number of nucleotide pairs it contains. See Nucleotide, RNA.


Engineering: The use of scientific knowledge and trial-and-error to design systems. See Science. Enzyme: A protein that acts as a catalyst in a biochemical reaction. Eucaryotes: Cell or organism with membrane-bound, structurally discrete nucleus and other well-developed sub-cellular compartments. Eucaryotes include all organisms except viruses, bacteria, and blue-green algae. See also Procaryotes. 113

Evolution: A process in which a population of self-replicating entities undergoes variation, with successful variants spreading and becoming the basis for further variation. See Selection.


Gene Expression: The process by which the genes’ coded information is converted into the structures present and operating in the cell. Expressed genes include those that are transcribed into mRNA and then translated into protein and those that are transcribed into RNA but not translated into protein (e.g., transfer and ribosomal RNAs). See Gene, Transcription, RNA. Gene Mapping: Determination of the relative positions of genes on a DNA molecule (chromosome or plasmid) and of the distance, in linkage units or physical units, between them. Gene: A natural unit of the hereditary material, which is the physical basis for the transmission of the characteristics of living organisms from one generation to another. See DNA, Protein. Genetic Art (Ars Genetica): The field of artistic activity focusing on the design of organisms with heritable given aesthetic characteristics. Classical interpretation of the term based on population genetics (the study of the main factors of evolution: heredity, variability, selection) and mutation genetics (the study of mutations origin). Genetic Code: A set of triplet code words in DNA coding for all of the amino acids. See Codon, Triplet. Genetic Engineering: A branch of biotechnology. The selective, deliberate alteration of genes (genetic material) by man. This term has come to have a very broad meaning including the manipulation and alteration of the genetic material (constitution) of an organism in such a way as to allow it to produce endogenous proteins with properties different from those of the traditional (historical/typical), or to produce entirely different (foreign) proteins altogether. See Biotechnology. Genetics: The branch of biology concerned with heredity. It studies the manner in which genes operate and are transmitted from parents to offspring. Genome: The entire hereditary material in a cell, or the whole sequence of DNA. The human genome consists of 3.3 billion nucleotides coding approximately 30,000 genes (i.e., about 100,000 pairs of nucleotides per gene), bacterium genome — from 600,000 nucleotides / 600 genes (intracellar parasites) to 6–8 million nucleotides / 5,000–6,000 genes (freely functioning bacteria). Genomic Kitch: Art works based on a biotechnology idea realized at the level of playing with the issue, using traditional media, without concerning the essence of biotechnology itself. Genomics: Analysis of the entire genome (complete set of genes) of an organism; provides information regarding the gene and protein composition of a cell. The particular biotechnological discourse covering both fundamental research (see HGP) and a variety of medical genetic practices, also a collection of specific languages, social conflicts, political campaigns, myths and knowledge, hopes and threats to human existence. Genotype: The total hereditary constitution that an individual inherits from their parents; the genetic constitution of an organism. See also Phenotype. 114

Greenwash: Disinformation by companies aimed at creating an image of a responsible attitude towards the environment.


Human Genome Project (HGP): An international large-scale project (USA, 1988) coordinated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to determine the entire nucleotide sequence of human chromosomes. Russia was the second country to conduct a national project in 1989. National programs on genome research were set up in more than 20 countries (Great Britain, Germany, France and others). Six larger projects are coordinated by the Human Genome Organization (HUGO), established in 1988. Hybrid: The result of mating two organisms from different species or genetically very different members of the same species. Hypertext: A computer-based system for linking text and other information with cross-references, making access rapid and criticisms easy to publish and find. Hypotechnozoology: The field of zoology emerging from the underside of positivist zoology via technomodeling.


Immersive Technology: A type of interactive on-line technology that creates a complete aural and visual environment that places remote participants in a virtual space where they can interact naturally. In relation to video it means the surround effect. An immersive environment is an environment providing complete effect of presence by means of certain technologies. In Vitro: Outside of the living organism or natural system; usually referring to artificial experimental systems such as cultures, cell-free extracts, etc. In Vivo: Within the living organism or natural system. Interface: An input device or rather a point of intersection between the user and the computer for the exchange of information. The most common instruments which can facilitate this interfacing are the keyboard, the mouse, the Touch-screen and the joystick. A graphical user interface provides its user with a more or less ÂŤpicture-orientedÂť means of interacting with technology. A programming interface consists of a set of statements, functions, options, and other ways of expressing program instructions and data in a program or language for a programmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s use.


Kinetic Form of Chimera Design: The purposeful creation of chimerical artifacts having heritable aesthetic characteristics that change in time. See Chimera Design, Chimera Art.


Limited Assembler: An assembler with built-in limits that constrain its use (for example, to make hazardous use difficult or impossible, or to build a particular thing). See Assembler.


Metabola: A wet art work or ALife work that reflects the consolidation of qualitative and quantitative features of the construction following the activation, modelling 115

or calculation of the influence of metabolic processes. See Wet Art, Artificial Life, Chimera Art. Metabolism: The sum total of the chemical processes that occur in living organisms, resulting in growth, production of energy, elimination of waste material, etc. Modification: A nonhereditary change in an organism; e.g., one that is acquired from its own activity or environment. See also Genotype, Phenotype. Molecular Technology: See Nanotechnology. Molecule: The smallest particle of a chemical substance; typically a group of atoms held together in a particular pattern, by chemical bonds. See Atom. Mutagen: An agent that can cause an increase in the rate of mutation. There are natural and artificial (caused by man) mutagens. See Mutation. Mutagenesis: The development of mutations. See Mutation. Mutation: An inheritable modification in a genetic molecule, such as DNA. Mutations may be good, bad, or neutral in their effects on an organism; competition weeds out the bad, leaving the good and the neutral. Morphological m.: mutations causing hereditary changes to an organism or separate characteristics. Myoblast: A cell that by fusion with other myoblasts gives rise to myotubes that eventually develop into skeletal muscle fibers. The term is sometimes used for all the cells which are recognizable as immediate precursors of skeletal muscle fibers.


Nano-: A prefix meaning ten to the minus ninth power, or one billionth. Nanocomputer: A computer made from components (mechanical, electronic, etc.) on a nanometer scale. Nanolithography: The art and science of etching, writing, or printing at the microscopic level, where the dimensions of characters are on the order of nanometers (units of 10-9 meters, or millionths of a millimeter). This includes various methods of modifying semiconductor chips at the atomic level for the purpose of fabricating integrated circuits. See Assembler, Nanotechnology. Nanomedicine: The application of nanotechnology (the engineering of tiny machines) for the prevention and treatment of disease in the human body. Nanometer (nm): A nanometer is a unit of spatial measurement that is 10-9 meters, or one billionth of a meter. It is commonly used in nanotechnology, the building of extremely small machines. Nanorobot (Nanobot): A nanorobot is a specialized nanomachine designed to perform a specific task or tasks repeatedly and with precision. Nanorobots have dimensions on the order of nanometers (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter, or 10-9 meter). See also Nanometer, Nanotechnology. Nanotechnology: A technology based on the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules to build structures to complex, atomic specifications. Neogenesis: Correction of the genetic code with the intention of using those amino acids, which exist in nature, but which have never been used by terrestrial life forms in organism construction. See Chimera Art. Neural Simulation: Imitating the functions of a neural system â&#x20AC;&#x201C; such as the brain â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by simulating the function of each cell. See also Cell. 116

Neurobot: A robot whose program is designed on the principle of neuronet function. Neuron: A nerve cell that receives and conducts nerve impulses from the brain. It consists of a cell body called cyton, an axon, axon terminals, and dendrites. Nonsense Codon: Any one of three triplets (U-A-G, U-A-A, or U-G-A) that cause the termination of protein synthesis (in ribosomes), and thus the release from a ribosome of a (completely translated) protein molecule. Nucleotide: A small molecule composed of three parts: a nitrogen base (purine or pyrimidine), a sugar (ribose or deoxyribose), and phosphate. Nucleotides serve as the building blocks of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). In the genetic alphabet there are only four «letters»-nucleotides: A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine), T (thymine). The sequence of «letters»-nucleotides along the DNA chain carries information determining the biological peculiarities of a living organism. See DNA. Nucleus (biol.): A structure in advanced cells that contains the chromosomes and apparatus to transcribe DNA into RNA. See Transcription. In physics, the small, dense core of an atom.


Organic Molecule: A molecule containing carbon; the complex molecules in living systems are all organic molecules in this sense.


Phenotype: The physical constitution of an organism as determined by the interaction of its genetic constitution and the environment. Phylogenesis: The sequence of events involved in the evolution of a species. See Species. Plasmid: Autonomously replicating, extrachromosomal circular DNA molecules, distinct from the normal bacterial genome and nonessential for cellular survival under nonselective conditions. Some plasmids are capable of integrating into the host genome. A number of artificially constructed plasmids are used as cloning vectors. Polymer: A molecule made up of smaller units bonded to form a chain. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): A reaction that uses the enzyme DNA polymerase to catalyze the formation of more DNA strands from an original one by the execution of repeated cycles of DNA synthesis. Procaryotes: Simple organisms that lack a distinct nuclear membrane and other organelles. See Eucaryotes. Protein: A polymer compound composed of 20 amino acids (actually of more amino acids, but they result from additional chemical modification). Proteins are essential for a cell to live. They form its skeleton, catalyze chemical reactions, perform regulatory and transportation functions. Each protein molecule in the living cell has a complex spatial structure. See Polymer, Amino Acids. Proteom: The set of all the proteins synthesized in an organism (analogous to genome). See Genome. Proteomics: Total protein analysis; it reflects the dynamic situation of a cell, providing information regarding the rate of expression and regulation of individual cell proteins. 117


Quantum Teleportation: The duplication or re-creation of physical objects or their properties using light beams. Quantum teleportation is the transmission of information about the properties of an object at the speed of light so that the object can theoretically be duplicated or reconstructed at the destination.


Reading Frame: The particular nucleotide sequence that starts at a specific point and is then partitioned into codons. The reading frame may be shifted by removing or adding a nucleotide(s). This would cause a new sequence of codons to be read. For example, the sequence CATGGT is normally read as the two codons: CAT and GGT. If another adenosine nucleotide (A) were inserted between the initial C and A, producing the sequence CAATGGT, then the reading frame would have been shifted in such a way that the two new (different) codons would be CAA and TGG, which would code for something completely different. See DNA, Codon, Mutation, Nucleotide. Recessive: A genetically determined characteristic that is expressed only in the homozygous recessive condition. Recombinant DNA (rDNA): DNA formed by the merging of genes (genetic material) into a new combination. Replication: Reproduction of a DNA molecule (inside a cell). See DNA. Replicator: An entity which can get itself copied, including any changes it may have undergone. In a broader sense, a replicator is a system which can make a copy of itself, not necessarily copying any changes it may have undergone. Restriction Enzyme: An enzyme that cuts DNA at a specific site, allowing biologists to insert or delete genetic material. See DNA, Enzyme. Ribonuclease: An enzyme that cuts RNA molecules into smaller pieces. See RNA. Ribosome: A molecular structure, found in all cells, which builds protein molecules according to instructions read from RNA molecules. Ribosomes are complex structures built of protein and RNA molecules. See Nucleotide, Protein, RNA. RNA: Ribonucleic acid; a molecule similar to DNA. In cells, the information in DNA is transcribed to RNA, which in turn is ÂŤreadÂť to direct protein construction. Some viruses use RNA as their genetic material. See Protein.


Scanning Tunneling Microscope: A high-resolution imaging instrument that can detect and measure the positions of individual atoms on the surface of a material. A very fine conductive probe is placed at a distance of 10 to 20 A above the surface of a conductive sample, and a bias voltage is applied between probe and surface during scanning, creating overlapping electron clouds and electrons that tunnel between the potential barrier between the probe and the sample. The probe tip is maintained at a constant distance from the sample by a piezoelectric transducer, yielding a three-dimensional topographical image. See Nanolithography. Science: The process of developing a systematized knowledge of the world through the variation and testing of hypotheses. See Engineering. Science art: A direction in contemporary art whose practitioners use the latest 118

technologies, research methods, and conceptual grounding when making their work. Sealed Assembler Laboratory: A work space, containing assemblers, encapsulated in a way that allows information to flow in and out but does not allow the escape of assemblers or their products. See Assembler. Selection: 1. The process by which certain organisms are reproduced and perpetuated in the species in preference to others. Natural s.: the differential survival and reproduction of organisms with genetic characteristics that enable them to better use environmental resources. Artificial s.: the selective breeding by humans towards a desired trait in a plant, animal, or other organism which is of value (usually economic) to the humans. 2. Genetic breeding methods start by selecting particular desirable phenotypes as parents for the next generation. Semi-Living Organism: A class of object/being that is a combination of living tissue and non-living components kept alive using artificial means of tissue engineering, which facilitates the growth and maintenance of different organs and tissues in vitro. See Tissue Engineering, Tissue Culture and Art. Semi-Living Sculpture: An art work that is a living tissue (i.e., a system of cells having similar origin, structure and function) grown out of an organism within the special environment. See Tissue Engineering. Sequencing: Determination of the order of nucleotides (base sequences) in a DNA or RNA molecule or the order of amino acids in a protein. See Nucleotide, DNA, RNA, Protein. Software: The instructions executed by a computer, as opposed to the physical device on which they run (the «hardware»). Species: A group of organisms belong to the same biological species if they are capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring. Static Form of Chimera Design: The purposeful creation of chimerical artifacts having heritable constant aesthetic characteristics. See Chimera Design, Chimera Art. Stem Cells: An undifferentiated cell in an embryo or adult which can undergo unlimited division and give rise to one or several different cell types. In adults, an undifferentiated cell from which some renewable tissues (blood, skin, etc.) are formed. See Totipotency. Strain: The culture of microorganisms of common species with identical morphological and biological characteristics. See Species. Synthetic biology: The design and construction of biological devices and systems for useful purposes. It encompasses a variety of different approaches, methodologies, and disciplines with a focus on engineering biology.


Techno-Biodiversity: Increase in the diversity of living organisms by means of the construction of artifacts. Technocenoses: weakly linked technological essences capable of evolving by parts and not denying evolutionary selection. Technoetics (‘noetic’ from the Greek ‘nous’): The field of humanitarian studies that involves issues governing the relationship of consciousness to technology. 119

Technological unconscious: 1. A certain archive of technological narratives and myths which exist in the history of new technologies in the form of recurring cultural motives. 2. A hidden and formatting effect of the basic elements of medial carriers. It has been srtuctured not anthropocentrically and embraces not only people, but parts of technological systems and all that surrounds people. Technozoosemiotics: The field situated at the crossroads of semiotics, ethology, the cognitive sciences, technology, computer science and artistic practice; it is an integral part of zoosemiotics, which studies the signals developed by living species for inter- or extra-specific communication. Tele-Immersion: The merging of virtual reality with collaboration technology (the connecting of people to each others’ applications, images and simulation). Telematics: The convergence of telecommunications and information processing. The term has evolved to refer to automobile systems that combine GPS satellite tracking and wireless communications. Tissue (biol.): Systems of cells having similar origin, structure and functions. Tissues also contain tissue liquid and vital functions’ products. Tissue Culture (explantation): A technique for maintaining, multiplying and growing cells from multi-cellular organisms in a liquid medium in vitro (outside of the body). See Tissue Culture and Art, Semi-Living Organism, Semi-Living Sculpture. Tissue Culture and Art: The field of art that employs tissue engineering techniques to grow organs and tissues in vitro (outside of the body). See Tissue engineering, Semi-Living Sculpture, Tissue Culture. Tissue Engineering: The application of the principles of life sciences and engineering to develop biological substitutes for the restoration or replacement of tissue or organ function. Tissue engineering combines knowledge from the biological sciences with the materials and engineering sciences to quantify structure-function relationships in normal and pathological tissues, to develop new approaches to repair tissues, and to develop replacements for tissue. See Tissue Art and Culture, Stem Cells. Total Failure Strategy: A kind of art activity which, while aiming at a conscious expectation of «failure» and «misfortune» of the project, has the purpose of representing various bans on the practice of chimera art. Totipotency: The ability of a cell to proceed through all the stages of development and thus produce a normal adult. See also Cell. Transcription: The synthesis of RNA using a DNA template. The process whereby RNA is synthesized from a DNA template. See DNA, RNA. Transgenesis: The transfer of genes to an unrelated organism and their subsequent expression. Transgenic Art: The field of artistic activity based on the methods of transgenesis. See Transgenesis. Transgenic Organism: An experimentally produced organism in which DNA has been artificially introduced and incorporated into the organism’s germ line, usually by injecting the foreign DNA into the nucleus of a fertilized embryo. See DNA.


Translation: The process of protein synthesis whereby the primary structure of the protein is determined by the nucleotide sequence in mRNA. The ribosomemediated production of a polypeptide whose amino acid sequence is derived from the codon sequence of an mRNA molecule. Triplet: A successive «frame» of three nucleotides of the mRNA corresponds to one amino acid of the protein (the synonym of codon). See Nucleotide, Codon.


Vector: Any DNA structure that is used to transfer DNA into an organism; most commonly used are plasmid DNA vectors or viruses. See DNA, RNA, Genome. Vegetal Reality: The entheogenic and spiritual multi-dimensional environment formed by psychoactive plant technology. Virtual Reality: Computer generated reality. Term used for highly immersive spatial simulations, which contain the possibility of manoeuvring and interacting. See Immersive Technologies. Virus: A small replicator consisting of little more than a package of DNA or RNA which, when injected into a host cell, can direct the cell’s molecular machinery to make more viruses. See Replicator, Cell.


Wet Art: The field of artistic research that appeals both to «dry» silicon models of evolution processes (e.g., Artificial Life, Generative Art, etc.) and to «wet» molecular design of living/semi-living systems (Ars Genetica, Ars Chimera, Tissue Culture and Art). See Artificial Life, Ars Genetica, Ars Chimera, Tissue Culture and Art. Wetmedia: The whole range of means of synthesizing, processing and manipulating, maintaining and transmitting information on biological carriers. Wetware: A technological combination of physical and biological equipment used for creating «wet» art works. It also removes the boundary between a designed object and biological entity. See Wet Art.


Xenotransplantation: The implantation of an organ or limb from one species to another organism of a different species. See also Species.


Zygote: A cell resulting from the union of an ovum and a spermatozoon.


Alla Mitrofanova Alla Mitrofanova (b. 1959, St Petersburg, Russia) is a philosopher, art curator, theorist of new-media arts. With a background of art history and philosophy from St Petersburg University, she focuses on the interactions between art and technology, as well as on trans-genre and contextual aesthetics. She has curated and cocurated exhibitions such as Individual body in the epoch of late totalitarianism (Museum of Modern Art, Mexico), Geopolitics (Museum of Ethnography, St Petersburg), 40 years of contemporary art (Expocenter, St Petersburg), etc. She was editor of Virtual Anatomy e-zine on media theory in 1996–98. Mitrofanova organizes interdisciplinary conferences and guest lectures at universities and international art academies. Her interest ranged from media theory, post-marxism, psychoanalysis to neurophysiology. In her current research she investigates the conception of semiotic chaos and technological art. Mitrofanova is also a co-founder of Media Gallery 21 (1994), Cyberfemin Club (1994), Philosophical cafe (2002) in St Petersburg. She published in n.paradoxa (intenational feminist art journal), Variantology 2 (Research on archaeology of the media, Cologne 2006) and catalogues. Alla Mitrofanova (r. 1959, Sankt Peterburg, Rusija) je filozofinja, kustosinja in teoretičarka novo-medijskih umetnosti. Poznavalka umetnostne zgodovine in filozofije z Univerze v Sankt Peterburgu se osredotoča na interakcijo med umetnostjo in tehnologijo ter na trans-spolno in kontekstualno estetiko. Bila je kustosinja in so-kustosinja razstav, kot so: Individual body in the epoch of late totalitarianism (Muzej moderne umetnosti, Mexico), Geopolitics (Etnografski muzej, Sankt Peterburg), 40 years of contemporary art (Expocenter, Sankt Peterburg) itd. Med leti 1996–98 je bila urednica e-revije medijskih teorij z naslovom Virtual Anatomy. Mitrofanova organizira interdisciplinarne konference in je gostujoča predavateljica na univerzah in mednarodnih umetnostih akademijah. Zanimajo jo področja teorije medijev, post-marksizma, psihoanalize in nevrofiziologije. V svojem trenutnem raziskovalnem delu raziskuje koncept semiotičnega kaosa in tehnološke umetnosti. Mitrofanova je tudi soustanoviteljica galerije Media Gallery 21 (1994), kluba Cyberfemin Club (1994) in kavarne Philosophical cafe (2002) v Sankt Peterburgu. Objavljala je v n.paradoxa (mednarodna feministična umetnostna revija), Variantology 2 (raziskave arheologije medijev, Köln 2006) in katalogih. 122

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Dmitry Bulatov

Dmitry Bulatov (b. 1968, Kaliningrad, Russia) is an artist, curator and art theorist. His research focuses on different aspects of technobiological arts, as well as on submediality aesthetics. Bulatov is the author of articles on art and new technologies published in Russia and abroad, also of books and anthologies, including: BioMediale: Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture (Kaliningrad, 2004), Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Postbiological Age (I volume, Kaliningrad, 2009; II volume, Kaliningrad, 2013). His artworks have been presented internationally, including 49th and 50th Venice Biennale (2001, 2003) and many others. Bulatov has taken part in art conferences in Russia, USA, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Singapore and Hong Kong. In 2007 his artwork has been selected by Wired magazine as the world’s 10 top innovations. Dmitry Bulatov is a twice winner of the National Innovation Award for contemporary arts (Russia, 2008, 2013) and a Golden Nica nominee of Prix Ars 2014 festival (Austria) in the category Visionary Pioneers of Media Art. He has curated about more than twenty major exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Since 1998 he is the curator at the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Russia).

Dmitry Bulatov (r. 1968, Kaliningrad, Rusija) je umetnik, kurator in umetnostni teoretik. V svojem raziskovalnem delu se osredotoča na različne vidike tehno-bioloških umetnosti in estetiko submedialnosti. Bulatov je avtor številnih člankov na temo umetnosti in novih tehnologij (mednarodne objave) ter knjig in antologij, med njimi: BioMediale: Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture (Kaliningrad, 2004) in Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Postbiological Age (I. del, Kaliningrad, 2009; II. del, Kaliningrad, 2013). Njegova dela so bila predstavljena na številnih mednarodnih prizoriščih, med drugim na 49. in 50. Beneškem bienalu (2001, 2003). Sodeloval je na umetnostnih konferencah v Rusiji, ZDA, Kanadi, Nemčiji, Mehiki, Singapurju in Hong Kongu. Leta 2007 je revija Wired uvrstila eno izmed njegovih umetniških del na lestvico najboljših 10 svetovnih inovacij. Je dvakratni dobitnik ruske državne nagrade za inovativnost na področju sodobnih vizualnih umetnosti (National Innovation Award for Contemporary Visual Arts, 2008, 2013) ter nominiranec za nagrado Zlata Nika na festivalu Prix Ars Electronica 2014 v Avstriji, v kategoriji Vizualni pionirji medijske umetnosti. Kuriral je preko dvajset večjih razstav v Rusiji in drugod po Evropi. Od leta 1998 je kurator Nacionalnega centra za sodobne umetnosti v Rusiji.

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Pier Luigi Capucci Pier Luigi Capucci (b. 1955, Lugo, Italy) is a researcher, a teacher and a theorist. Since the early ‘80 he has been concerned with the communication’s studies, the new media and the new art forms, and with the relations among arts, sciences and technologies. He extensively published texts in books, magazines, catalogues and proceedings and he has written the books Reality of the Virtual (1993), The Technological Body (1994), Art and Technologies (1996/2013). In 1994 he founded the first Italian online magazine and in 2000 he founded Noema, a web magazine on culture-sciences-technologies interrelations. He has participated to international conferences and has delivered lectures in universities and institutions in Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, UK, Brazil, France, Turkey, USA, Greece, Norway, Slovenia, etc. He has been a professor at the Universities of Rome “La Sapienza”, Bologna, Florence, at the SUPSI – University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland and at the University of Urbino. Currently he is professor at the Fine Arts Academy of Urbino and he is the Director of Studies in the T-Node PhD Research Programme of the Planetary Collegium (University of Plymouth). Pier Luigi Capucci (r. 1955, Lugo, Italija) je raziskovalec, učitelj in teoretik. Od zgodnjih 80-ih let naprej ga zanimajo komunikacijske študije, novi mediji in nove oblike umetnosti ter razmerja med umetnostjo, znanostjo in tehnologijo. Veliko je objavljal v knjigah, revijah, katalogih in publikacijah in izdal dela Reality of the Virtual (1993), The Technological Body (1994) in Art and Technologies (1996/2013). Leta 1994 je ustanovil prvo italijansko on-line revijo, leta 2000 pa spletno revijo Noema o povezovanju kulture, znanosti in tehnologije. Sodeloval je na mednarodnih konferencah ter predaval na univerzah in drugih institucijah v Italiji, Španiji, Nemčiji, Avstriji, Veliki Britaniji, Braziliji, Franciji, Turčiji, ZDA, Grčiji, na Norveškem, v Sloveniji itd. Kot profesor je poučeval na univerzah v Rimu (La Sapienza), Bologni, Firencah, v Švici na Univerzi za uporabno znanost in umetnost (SUPSI) in na Univerzi v Urbinu. Zaposlen je kot profesor na likovni akademiji v Urbinu in je direktor doktorskega raziskovalnega programa, ki ga izvaja Planetary Collegium Univerze v Plymouthu.


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Andrew Pickering Andrew Pickering (b. 1948, Coventry, England) studied physics as an undergraduate at Oxford University and he has a PhD in theoretical particle physics from University College London and a PhD in science studies from Edinburgh University. He taught for many years at the University of Illinois in the USA, but since 2007 he has been professor of sociology and philosophy at Exeter University in England. Pickering has been a leading figure in the turn towards studying practice and materiality in science & technology studies (STS), and in developing the ontological implications of this approach more generally. He has held fellowships at MIT, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Princeton University, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford, and the Universities of Durham, Konstanz and Weimar. He is the author of many books and articles including, most recently, The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of another Future. Cybernetic Brain explores topics as diverse as brain science, robotics, anti-psychiatry, the arts, Eastern spirituality and the counterculture of the 1960s, and Pickering’s current research focuses on art, agency and the environment. Andrew Pickering (r. 1948, Coventry, Anglija) je zaključil študij fizike na Oxfordu in ima doktorat iz teoretične fizike delcev (University College London) in iz znanstvenih študij (Edinburgh University). Veliko let je poučeval na univerzi v Illinoisu, ZDA, od leta 2007 pa je profesor sociologije in filozofije na univerzi Exeter v Angliji. Pickering je vodilna figura v smereh, ki se nagibajo k študiju prakse in materialnosti v znanstvenih in tehnoloških študijah (STS, science & technology studies) in pri razvoju splošnejših ontoloških implikacij tega principa. Bil je podiplomski štipendist inštituta MIT, inštituta za podiplomski študij univerze Princeton, fundacije Guggenheim, centra za podiplomski študij univerze Stanford ter univerz Durham, Konstanz in Weimar. Je avtor številnih knjig in člankov, med drugim dela The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future (Kibernetski možgani: orisi neke druge prihodnosti), ki se dotika različnih tem, kot so možganska znanost, robotika, anti-psihiatrija, umetnost, vzhodnjaška spiritualnost in subkultura 1960-ih. Trenutno se v svojem raziskovalnem delu osredotoča na umetnost, delovanje in okolje.

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Polona Tratnik

Polona Tratnik, PhD, (b. 1976, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia), Senior Research Associate and Associate Professor for philosophy of culture, is president of the Slovenian Society of Aesthetics and holds courses at the Faculty for Education, University of Maribor and the Faculty for Design, University of Primorska. She is Associate Professor for theory of art and media at Singidunum University, Faculty for Media and Communication. She was Head of the Department for Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska. In 2012 she was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar and a Guest Professor at University of California Santa Cruz. She was a Guest Professor also in Bejing, Helsinki and Mexico. She is an author of five monographs, among others of the Hacer-vivir más allá del cuerpo y del medio (Mexico City: Herder, 2013). Since 2010 she is a member of the research group Arte+Ciencia at the Faculdad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She is a pioneer Bio Artist.

Dr. Polona Tratnik, (r. 1976, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenija), višja znanstvena sodelavka in izredna profesorica za filozofijo kulture, je predsednica Slovenskega društva za estetiko ter predavateljica na Pedagoški fakulteti Univerze v Mariboru in Fakulteti za dizajn Univerze na Primorskem. Je izredna profesorica za teorijo umetnosti in medijev na Fakulteti za medije in komunikacijo Univerze Singidunum. Bila je predstojnica Oddelka za kulturne študije na Fakulteti za humanistične študije Univerze na Primorskem, v letu 2012 pa Fulbrightova gostujoča strokovnjakinja in profesorica na Univerzi Santa Cruz v Kaliforniji. Kot profesorica je gostovala tudi v Pekingu, Helsinkih in Mehiki. Je avtorica petih monografij, med njimi Hacer-vivir más allá del cuerpo y del medio (Mexico City: Herder, 2013). Od leta 2010 je članica interdisciplinarne raziskovalne skupine na Arte+Ciencia (Faculdad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Polona Tratnik je pionirka na področju bio-umetnosti. 126

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Dmitry Galkin Dmitry Galkin (b. 1975, Omsk, Russia) is art historian and culture theorist. Prof. Galkin defended his doctoral dissertation at the National research Tomsk State University, Department of History and Theory of Culture (2013). In his research he focuses on techno-art hybridization and analyzes the history and aesthetics of technology based art practices. He has published extensively on the history and theory of digital culture and technological art in journals, catalogues and anthologies. Dmitry Galkin was a research fellow at the George Washington University (USA), University of California (USA) and Lancaster University (UK). Galkin has been actively collaborating with the American Society for Cybernetics and has taken part in the European Meetings on Cybernetics and System Research (EMCSR, Vienna, Austria). His book Digital Culture: Shift to Artificial Life (Tomsk State University Press) was published in 2013. Dmitry Galkin is currently professor at the Institute of Art and Culture and senior research fellow at the PAST Centre of National Research Tomsk State University, also collaborating as a curator at the Siberian Branch of National Centre for Contemporary Art (Tomsk, Russia). Dmitry Galkin (r. 1975, Omsk, Rusija) je umetnostni zgodovinar in kulturni teoretik. Na državnem raziskovalnem centru Univerze v Tomsku je leta 2013 zaključil doktorat na Oddelku za zgodovino in teorijo kulture. V svojem raziskovalnem delu se osredotoča na hibridizacijo tehnologije in umetnosti ter analizo zgodovine in estetike tehnološko osnovanih umetniških praks. V revijah, katalogih in antologijah srečamo številne Galkinove objave na temo zgodovine in teorije kibernetične revolucije in tehnološke umetnosti. Dmitry Galkin je član kluba raziskovalcev na Univerzi George Washington (ZDA), Kalifornijski univerzi (ZDA) ter Univerzi Lancaster (Velika Britanija). Aktivno je sodeloval tudi z Ameriškim združenjem za kibernetiko iz Washingtona ter se udeležil evropskih srečanj kibernetike in sistemskih raziskav (EMCSR, Dunaj, Avstrija). Njegova knjiga Digital Culture: Towards Artificial Life (Digitalna kultura: Naproti umetnemu življenju; Tomsk University Press) je izšla leta 2013. Galkin je zaposlen kot profesor na Inštitutu za umetnost in kulturo, je vodilni raziskovalec na državnem raziskovalnem centru Univerze v Tomsku (PAST Centre of National Research) ter kot kurator sodeluje s sibirskim oddelkom Centra za sodobno umetnost v Tomsku (Siberian Branch of National Centre for Contemporary Art).

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Erkki Huhtamo Erkki Huhtamo (b. 1958, Helsinki, Finland) works as Professor of Media History and Theory at the Department of Design Media Arts at the University of California (Los Angeles, USA). Since the early 1990’s, Huhtamo has pioneered media archaeology, an emerging approach to media studies. His most recent books are Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications (ed. with Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011) and Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (The MIT Press, 2013). As a curator Huhtamo has created many media art exhibitions, including The Interactive Garden (1993), Toshio Iwai (1994), The ISEA 94 Exhibition (1994), Digital Mediations (1995), Unexpected Obstacles: Perry Hoberman (1997), Paul DeMarinis (2000), Alien Intelligence (2000), Bernie Lubell (2002), and others. He has also written and directed television programs about media culture, and served in media art exhibition and festival juries worldwide. Erkki Huhtamo (r. 1958, Helsinki, Finska) dela kot profesor zgodovine in teorije medijev na oddelku za oblikovne medijske umetnosti kalifornijske univerze (Los Angeles, ZDA). Od zgodnjih 1990-ih je Huhtamo pionir medijske arheologije, vzhajajočega pristopa med medijskimi študijami. Njegova zadnja dela so Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications (ur. z Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011) in Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (MIT Press, 2013). V vlogi kustosa je Huhtamo ustvaril več razstav: The Interactive Garden (1993), Toshio Iwai (1994), The ISEA 94 Exhibition (1994), Digital Mediations (1995), Unexpected Obstacles: Perry Hoberman (1997), Paul DeMarinis (2000), Alien Intelligence (2000), Bernie Lubell (2002) in druge. Je tudi avtor in režiser televizijskih programov o medijski kulturi in član festivalskih žirij mednarodnih razstav medijske umetnosti.


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Roy Ascott Roy Ascott (b. 1934, Bath, England) is an artist, researcher and art theorist who, since the 1960’s, has worked progressively towards an art that is cybernetic, telematic, technoetic, and syncretic. His seminal projects include Terminal Art (USA–UK, 1980), La Plissure du Texte (MAM, Paris, 1983), Planetary Network (Venice Biennale, 1986), Aspects of Gaia (Ars Electronica, Linz, 1989), The Moistmedia Manifesto (gr2000az, Graz, 2000). His retrospective The Syncretic Sense was shown in Plymouth Arts Centre, 2009, at the Incheon International Digital Arts Festival (South Korea, 2010) and at SPACE, London 2011. The exhibition Roy Ascott: La Plissure du Texte was part of the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012. He is the author of over 200 articles on art and new technologies in journals, catalogues and anthologies. His books are translated into Korea, Japanese, and Chinese, and include The Telematic Embrace (Berkeley, 2003) and The Future is Now (Beijing, 2012). He is the founding president of the Planetary Collegium, and the DeTao Master of New Media Art at the Beijing De Tao Masters Academy in Shanghai. Roy Asott is the first recipient of the 2014 Ars Electronica Golden Nica Award Visionary Pioneers of Media Art. Roy Ascott (r. 1934, Bath, Anglija) je umetnik, raziskovalec in umetnostni teoretik, ki vse od 1960-ih neutrudno deluje na področju kibernetične, telematične, tehnoetične in sinkretične umetnosti. Nekaj njegovih najpomembnejših projektov: Terminal Art (ZDA–VB, 1980), La Plissure du Texte (MAM, Pariz, 1983), Planetary Network (Beneški bienale, 1986), Aspects of Gaia (Ars Electronica, Linz, 1989), The Moistmedia Manifesto (gr2000az, Gradec, 2000). Prizorišča Ascottove pregledne razstave The Syncretic Sense so Plymouth Arts Centre (2009), Incheon International Digital Arts Festival (Južna Koreja, 2010) in SPACE London (2011). Razstava Roy Ascott: La Plissure du Texte je bila del 9. šanghajskega bienala 2012. Ascott je avtor več kot 200 člankov na temo umetnosti in novih tehnologij v revijah, katalogih in antologijah. Prevode njegovih del najdemo v korejščini, japonščini in kitajščini, med drugimi The Telematic Embrace (Berkeley, 2003) in The Future is Now (Peking, 2012). Je ustanovitveni predsednik Planetary Collegiuma in ima naziv DeTao mojstra novo-medijske umetnosti na Beijing De Tao Masters Academy v Šanghaju. Roy Ascott je prvi prejemnik nagrade Zlata Nika v kategoriji Vizualni pionirji medijske umetnosti na Ars Electronica 2014.

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Oron Catts Oron Catts (b. 1967, Helsinki, Finland) is director of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia. Catts is an artist, researcher and a curator at the forefront of the emerging field of biological arts. He was a Research Fellow at the Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, and has worked with numerous other bio-medical laboratories around the world. In 1996, he founded (together with Ionat Zurr) the TC&A Project to explore the use of tissue technologies as an art medium. In 2000, he cofounded SymbioticA; an artistic research laboratory within a biological science department. SymbioticA become a Centre of Excellence in 2008 and has a thriving residency, academic and workshops programme. His work has been exhibited and presented internationally. Oron Catts (r. 1967, Helsinki, Finska) je direktor Symbiotice, centra odličnosti za biološke umetnosti na Šoli anatomije in človeške biologije univerze Western Australia. Catts je umetnik, raziskovalec in kustos na čelu vzhajajočega področja bioloških umetnosti. Bil je raziskovalec laboratorija Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory na Harvard Medical School in sodeloval s številnimi drugimi bio-medicinskimi laboratoriji po vsem svetu. Leta 1996 je skupaj z Ionat Zurr ustanovil projekt TC&A za raziskovanje tkivnih tehnologij kot umetniškega medija. Leta 2000 je soustanovil Symbiotico, umetniško-raziskovalni laboratorij znotraj znanstveno-biološkega oddelka. SymbioticA je leta 2008 postala center odličnosti in ima danes uspešne rezidence ter akademski program in program delavnic. Njegova dela so bila razstavljena po vsem svetu.


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Ionat Zurr Dr Ionat Zurr (b. 1970, London, UK) is an artist, researcher and a curator as well as the Academic Coordinator of SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy and Human Biology, the University of Western Australia. Ionat is considered a pioneer in the field of biological arts and her work has been exhibited internationally. Ionat has been a fellow in the InStem Institute, NCBS, Bangalore (2010) and a visiting scholar at The Experimental Art Centre, Stanford University (2007) and The Tissue Engineering & Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (2000–2001). She has exhibited in places such as the MoMA NY, Mori Museum Tokyo, Ars Electronica, Linz, GOMA Brisbane and more. Dr. Ionat Zurr (r. 1970, London, Velika Britanija) je umetnica, raziskovalka, kustosinja ter akademska koordinatoka centra odličnosti SymbioticA na univerzi Western Australia. Ionat je pionirka na področju bioloških umetnosti, ki se je s svojim delom predstavila že po vsem svetu. Delovala je v okviru inštituta InStem Institute, NCBS, Bangalore (2010) in bila gostujoča profesorica središča Experimental Art Centre univerze Stanford (2007), pa tudi laboratorija Tissue Engineering & Organ Fabrication Laboratory iz medicinske šole Harvard (2000–2001). Razstavljala je na številnih prizoriščih, naj omenimo: MoMA (New York), Mori Museum (Tokio), Ars Electronica (Linz), GOMA (Brisbane) ter druga.

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About Soft Control Science and technology constitute the visible embodiment of our ability to discover and make use of the laws of nature through the workings of our rational mind. But why have we chosen this path? What methods do we turn to, and how might this pose a potential threat to our existence? Although science and technology are usually considered tools dependent on practical and utilitarian concerns, in fact the motivations driving technological progress are much less straightforward. Before these tools and techniques are woven into the fabric of social life, the logical judgements lying at their foundation (generated by our rational capabilities) must pass through the complex labyrinth of the psyche. To what extent do the discourse and contexts of contemporary techno-culture depend upon the anthropological matrix that has traditionally united belief and ritual, the real and the imagined, the subject and the object? We begin with the axiom that science and technology are not simply instruments to be used in the achieving of certain designated goals. On the contrary, the autonomy of technological systems and their active penetration into all spheres of human life allow us to conceptualize technology as an autotelic ontological entity that plays an ever-greater role in defining human development. The question arises of how one should understand the nature of control, the nature of the compulsion that forces the human to participate in the making of technological systems that, with time, will become not only inseparable from the biological organism, but, in the long term, will surpass it. Is structuring by technologies a manifestation of distinct, abstract “machinisms” that fill our unconscious, or is it a hidden “formatting” influence of the basic elements of medial carriers that possess their own materiality and reality? In this environment, certain artistic strategies acquire increased significance: those strategies directed towards the formation of a new human right, the right to reinvent and rewrite the very foundations of the technological myth. This right assumes the possibility of creating new forms and new identities in a completely sovereign, artistic manner – not, however, as the protagonists of a historically determined narrative, but as the creators of that narrative. This practice bears witness to the capacity of the artists – and in the final account, of the viewers as well – to become the authors of their own constructed past. By demonstrating the logic of the appropriation and alteration of the technological myth, soft control articulates the primary task of the individual living in an age of new technologies: the construction of a living future (that is, a future that endows us with freedom), rather than a dead and mechanised future being built without our participation. Dmitry Bulatov, curator of the SC exhibition


Credits: Programming Denis Perevalov. In collaboration with Dr. Prof. Vladimir Shur at the Ural Center of Shared Use “Modern Nanotechnology”, Ural State University and Artpolitika Creative Agency, Ekaterinburg, Russia Zahvala: Programiranje Denis Perevalov, v sodelovanju s prof. dr. Vladimirjem Shurjem iz Centra Ural za skupno rabo moderne nanotehnologije, Univerza v Uralu in kreativne agencije Artpolitika, Ekaterinburg, Rusija

Alexey Korzukhin, Vladislav Bulatov, Natalia Grekhova, Olga Inozemtseva

Kuda begut sobaki

Fields 2.1 2009–12

Mixed media installation (custom objects, servomotors, magnets, microcontroller, sensors, micro-cameras, ferrofluid) Mešana medijska instalacija (prirejeni objekti, servomotorji, magneti, mikro kontroler, senzorji, mikro kamere, magnetna tekočina)

Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


The Tissue Culture & Art Project

Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr

Crude Matter Surova snov 2012

Installation (local mud, ceramics, synthetic grass, cells over PDMS, micro-channels printed on Pyrex) Instalacija (lokalno blato, keramika, sintetična trava, celice na PDMS, mikro-kanali, natisnjeni na Pyrex steklu)

The Tissue Culture & Art Project is hosted in SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia. Tkivno kulturo in umetniški projekt gosti center SymbioticA, Center odličnosti bioloških umetnosti, Oddelek za anatomijo in človeško biologijo univerze Western Australia. Credits / Posebna zahvala: Laboratory center of the University of Maribor and KZ Rače Laboratorijski center Univerze v Mariboru in KZ Rače. Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Polona Tratnik

Initiation Iniciacija 2012

Performative installation, mixed media (engineered human heart, tissue engineering and electrical engineering, bell incubator, bioreactor and hood) Performativna instalacija, mešani mediji (konstruirano človeško srce, tkivni inženiring in električni inženiring, inkubator, bioreaktor in laminar)

Concept: Polona Tratnik (project leader), tissue engineering: Biobanka, d. o. o., Educell, d. o. o. (Ajda Marič, Miomir Knežević and his team), electrical engineering: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering (Damijan Miklavčič and his team). Support: The Slovenian Ministry of Culture, European Capital of Culture Maribor 2012. Production: Horizonti, co-production: Biobanka, d. o. o., Educell, d. o. o. Koncept: Polona Tratnik (vodja projekta), tkivni inženiring: Biobanka, d. o. o., Educell, d. o. o. (Ajda Marič, Miomir Knežević z ekipo), električni inženiring: Univerza v Ljubljani, Fakulteta za elektrotehniko (Damijan Miklavčič z ekipo). Podpora: Ministrstvo za kulturo Republike Slovenije, Evropska prestolnica kulture Maribor 2012. Produkcija: Horizonti, koprodukcija: Biobanka, d. o. o., Educell, d. o. o. Credits / Posebna zahvala: Tehnooptika Smolnikar d.o.o., Iskra Pio d.o.o. Photo / Fotografija: Damjan Švarc, © Horizonti


Leo Peschta

Der Zermesser Razparač 2007–2010

Robot (aluminium, steel, motors, electronics, batteries) Robot (aluminij, jeklo, motorji, elektronika, baterije)

Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Seiko Mikami

Eye-Tracking Informatics Informatika očesnega sledenja 2011–2012

Two participants version: Commissioned by Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) Različica z dvema sodelujočima: po naročilu Yamaguchi centra za umetnost in medije (YCAM)

Credits: Takayuki Ito and Richi Owaki (YCAM InterLab), evala (sound), Norimichi Hirakawa (programming), Kazunao Abe (YCAM), “The EyeWriter ver. 2.0” Zahvale: Takayuki Ito in Richi Owaki (YCAM InterLab), evala (zvok), Norimichi Hirakawa (programiranje), Kazunao Abe (YCAM), The EyeWriter ver. 2.0

Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Ursula Damm

Greenhouse Converter Toplogredni pretvornik 2010

Interactive installation (aquarium, custom made LED-Displays, opeating terminal, water fountain) Interaktivna instalacija (akvarij, diodni prikazovalniki, operacijski terminal, vodna fontana)

Credits / Posebna zahvala: Deutsche Botschaft Laibach / Nemško veleposlaništvo Ljubljana.


Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki

Andrew Gracie

Deep Data Prototype_1 2009 Mixed media installation (custom PDMS magnetic device, microscope with camera, software, electronics, tardigrades) MeĹĄana medijska instalacija (posebna PDMS magnetna naprava, mikroskop s kamero, softver, elektronika, poÄ?asniki)

Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Andrew Gracie

Drosophila Titanus 2010 – ongoing / v trajanju

Mixed media installation (microscope, video, preserved drosophila, printed material, assorted objects and devices) Mešana medijska instalacija (mikroskop, video, preparat mušice drosophila, tiskan material, izbrani objekti in naprave)

Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Bill Vorn

DSM-VI 2012

Robotic art installation Robotska umetniška instalacija

Produced with the help of Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Projekt je izveden ob podpori Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


James Auger, Jimmy Loizeau

Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots Mesojedi hišni roboti 2009

Lampshade Robot, Mousetrap Coffee Table Robot, U.V. Flykiller Parasite Robot, Flypaper Robotic Clock Robotska svetilka, robotska namizna mišelovka, robotski UV muholovec – parazit, robotska ura muholovka

Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Brandon Ballengée

Malamp Reliquaries Malamp relikvariji 1996-ongoing / 1996 - še traja

The Occurrence of Deformities in Amphibians. Cleared and stained multi-limbed Pacific treefrogs Hyla regilla collected from Aptos, California. Pojav deformacij pri dvoživkah. Očiščeni in obdelani primerki pacifiške drevesne žabe z več okončinami (Hyla regilla), zbrani v Aptosu v Kaliforniji.

In scientific collaboration with Stanley K. Sessions. Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC. V znanstvenem sodelovanju z dr. Stanleyjem K. Sessionsom. Z dovoljenjem družbe Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Louis-Philippe Demers

Artificial Mi(s)tosis Umetna mi(s)toza 2010

Robot, video, rapid prototyping materials, actuators Robot, video, hitri prototipski materiali, gonilniki

Concept: L.-P. Demers, Brandon Ballengee. Mechatronics: L.-P. Demers, Dennis Low, Royston Phang, Patrick Liew. Producers: Interaction and Entertainement Research Centre, Digital Realities StartUp Grant (NTU). Koncept: L.-P. Demers, Brandon Ballengee. Mehatronika: L.-P. Demers, Dennis Low, Royston Phang, Patrick Liew. Produkcija: Interaction and Entertainement Research Centre, Digital Realities StartUp Grant (NTU). Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah


David Bowen

Fly Tweet Mušji tweet 2012

Mixed media sculpture Mešana medijska skulptura

Credits: Thanks to Andrew Spitz for the Max to Twitter tutorial, Christopher Baker for help with Java Script. Zahvala Andrewu Spitzu za učne ure iz Twitterja in Christopherju Bakerju za pomoč z Java Scriptom. Credits / Posebna zahvala: Akvarij-Terarij Maribor. Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah



Ear on Arm Uho na roki


Engineering Internet Organ InĹženirski internetni organ


Photo / Fotografija: Matej KristoviÄ?

Credits: In collaboration with Mark Lawson, Stuart Hodgetts, Anne Kramer, and Mark Brims. Zahvale za sodelovanje: Mark Lawson, Stuart Hodgetts, Anne Kramer in Mark Brims.

Guy Ben-Ary Kirsten Hudson

In potēntia 2012

Mixed media (tissue engineering, electrophysiological recordings, iPS, computer controlled devises and sound, foreskin cell, stem cells, neurons) Mešani mediji (tkivni inženiring, elektro-fiziološki posnetki, iPS, računalniško nadzirane naprave in zvok, celice prepucija, izvorne celice, nevroni)

Credits: Laboratory Center of the University of Maribor. Posebna zahvala: Laboratorijski center Univerze v Mariboru. Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Stefan Doepner, Lars Vaupel

The Drill Bot â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Robot Partner 3.0 2009

Drilling and climbing Robot (electronics, mechanics, pneumatics) Vrtalni in plezalni robot (elektronika, mehanika, pnevmatika)

Photo / Fotografija: BoĹĄtjan Lah


O Soft Control Znanost in tehnologija vidno utelešata naše sposobnosti odkrivanja in uporabe naravnih zakonov s pomočjo delovanja našega razuma. Toda zakaj smo izbrali to smer? Za katere metode se odločamo in kako lahko to potencialno ogroža naš obstoj? Čeprav načeloma znanost in tehnologija veljata za orodji, ki slonita na praktični in uporabni vrednosti, so motivacije kot gonila tehnološkega napredka veliko manj premočrtne. Preden se ta orodja in tehnike vtkejo v tkivo družbenega življenja, se morajo logične sodbe, ki tičijo v njihovih temeljih (izvirajoč iz naših razumskih sposobnosti), prebiti skozi zamotan labirint psihe. Do kakšne mere so diskurz in konteksti sodobne tehno-kulture odvisni od antropološke matrice, ki tradicionalno združuje prepričanja in rituale, resnično in izmišljeno, subjekt in objekt? Pričnimo z aksiomom, da znanost in tehnologija nista le orodji za doseganje določenih ciljev. Nasprotno, avtonomija tehnoloških sistemov in njihovo aktivno prodiranje v vse sfere človeškega življenja nam dovoljuje, da opredelimo tehnologijo kot samo-namerno ontološko entiteto, ki ima vedno večjo vlogo pri razmejitvi človeškega razvoja. Vprašanje je, kako razumeti naravo nadzora, naravo pritiska, ki ljudi spodbuja k sodelovanju pri vzpostavitvi tehnoloških sistemov, ki bodo sčasoma postali ne samo neločljivi del biološkega organizma, temveč ga bodo dolgoročno tudi presegli. Ali je strukturiranje s tehnologijami dokaz za specifično, abstraktno »strojništvo«, ki polni naše nezavedno, ali pa gre za skriti oblikujoči vpliv osnovnih elementov običajnih nosilcev, ki imajo svojo lastno materialnost in resničnost? V tem okolju določene umetniške strategije postanejo pomembnejše: to so strategije, ki so usmerjene k oblikovanju nove človekove pravice, pravice do ponovnega izuma in ponovnega zapisa samih temeljev tehnološkega mita. Pravica vključuje možnost ustvarjanja novih oblik in novih identitet s popolnoma suverenim, umetniškim pristopom – ne z umetniki kot protagonisti zgodovinsko določene naracije, temveč kot ustvarjalci te naracije. Tak pristop je dokaz sposobnosti umetnikov – in v končni fazi, tudi gledalcev – da postanejo avtorji svoje lastne konstruirane preteklosti. S prikazom logike prisvajanja in spreminjanja tehnološkega mita oblikuje soft control prvobitno nalogo posameznika, živečega v dobi novih tehnologij: konstrukcijo žive prihodnosti (torej prihodnosti, ki nam podeljuje svobodo) namesto mrtve, mehanizirane prihodnosti, zgrajene brez našega sodelovanja. Dmitry Bulatov, kurator razstave Soft Control


govorimo o tehnologiji â&#x20AC;&#x153;Alikot lahko samo-namerni ontoloĹĄki entiteti, ki poseduje svojo

lastno materialnost in stvarnost? â&#x20AC;?


Onkraj medija Dmitry Bulatov Povzetek Poskusi moderne znanosti, da bi razumela in hkrati premagala celo vrsto naravnih zakonitosti, nas spomnijo na slavni Goethejev izrek »stirb und werde« – umri in postani! Ali, povedano preprosteje, znanost stremi k poskusu doseči postbiološko »personologijo« (tj. neskončen preplet živega in neživega, umetnega in naravnega in tako naprej). Kot vemo, k temu stremi vsa moderna kultura. Vseh teh vprašanj pa se le stežka lotimo, ne da bi pri tem upoštevali izkušnjo sodobne tehnobiološke umetnosti – pri njenih predstavnikih ne gre toliko za potrditev različic dehumanizirane resničnosti, ki se odvija pred našimi očmi, kot pa za določitev meja teh različic, kar za gledalca pomeni bolj kompleksno permutacijo pravil. Takšna praksa priča o umetnikovih (nenazadnje tudi o gledalčevih) sposobnostih, ne le da vnese v tehnološki prostor kognitivno ali estetsko vsebino, ampak predvsem eksistencialno. Tako se vračamo k technē, preko katere se reproducira subjektivnost. Ključne besede: post-biologija, tehnobiološke umetnosti, metabola, tehnološko nezavedno, sofisticiran nadzor, avtomatizmi


Tavajoči hibrid Temeljno vprašanje, ki ga brez izjeme srečujemo v vseh sodobnih debatah o znanosti in novih tehnologijah, je vprašanje, ali imajo le-te lahko transformativen vpliv na vse vidike današnjega življenja, kakor tudi na človeka samega. Očitno je, da se resnična kvalitativna noviteta tehnoloških dosežkov, ki se dogaja pred našimi očmi, ne omejuje zgolj na pojav novih praks v povezavi z znanstvenim raziskovanjem. Pravzaprav se z interakcijo teh praks prične oblikovati kompleksna sistemska celovitost – nov prostor človekovega obstoja. Ključen dejavnik tega »sestava« so raznovrstne oblike vrhunskih razvojnih dosežkov, od robotike, informacijskih tehnologij in nanotehnologije, do širokega spektra nevro- in biomedicinskih znanosti. Vpliv teh spojev lahko opazujemo v popolnem izkoriščanju znanja o temeljnih značilnostih živih in neživih snovi, kakor tudi znanja o fizični naravi človeških bitij. Po drugi strani pa so te mogočne tehnologije, ki so v preteklosti spreminjale predvsem naše okolje, zdaj usmerjene k fizični in biološki strukturi ljudi samih. Poskusi moderne znanosti, da bi razumela in hkrati premagala celo vrsto naravnih zakonitosti, nas spomnijo na slavni Goethejev izrek »stirb und werde« – umri in postani! Ali, povedano preprosteje, znanost stremi k poskusu doseči postbiološko »personologijo« (tj. neskončen preplet živega in neživega, umetnega in naravnega in tako naprej). Kot vemo, k temu stremi vsa moderna kultura. Toda če je temu tako, potem je znanost kot način razumevanja našega okolja in ustvarjanja univerzalnih sodb o njem očitno prav tisto, kar je povezano ne le s človekom, temveč tudi s prostorom njegovega potencialnega razvoja. V takšni situaciji širjenje tehnologij prihodnjih generacij, ki utelešajo neizogibnost postbioloških vrst transformacije, ustvarja neznansko količino možnosti manipuliranja s tem prostorom. Meje med biološkim in abiološkim izginjajo, ustvarjajo se multiple identitete, naša telesa pa pridobivajo lastnosti tavajočega hibrida. Pojavljajo se novi mejniki človeške svobode ter posledično tudi nuja, da o njih ponovno razmislimo. Klasična debata o tem, kaj vidimo in kaj se skriva za to vizualnostjo, torej o odnosu zavesti do zunanjega sveta, se poglablja, saj nam nove tehnologije omogočajo, da ta svet zgradimo tudi na fizični ravni. Vseh teh vprašanj, kakor tudi številnih drugih, pa se po našem mnenju le stežka lotimo, ne da bi pri tem upoštevali izkušnjo znanstvene umetnosti (science art) – smeri v sodobni umetnosti, katere izvajalci uporabljajo najnovejše tehnologije, raziskovalne metode in konceptualne podlage. Pri 152

tem so predmet zanimanja znanstveno-umetniške in družbene prakse, ki pripomorejo k združevanju jezikov in sredstev »fizičnega opisa« in humanitarnega, individualno-psihološkega opisa. Takšna soodvisnost materialnih in semiotičnih (znamenjeslovnih) elementov je možna takrat, kadar se umetnost poslužuje informacijskih konceptov, ki dovoljujejo subjektivne in verjetnostne opise, pa tudi formalne. Prenos informacij predpostavlja možnost izražanja individualnih pomenov in vrednosti, prav tako kot glede na kodirano utelešeno bistvo v lastnem materialnem nosilcu reproduciranje fizičnih pogojev svoje prezentacije (prostorske, časovne in svojih temeljev). Omenjene umetniške možnosti so zlasti razločno izražene na številnih interdisciplinarnih področjih, ki združujejo umetniška, tehnobiološka in biomedicinska raziskovanja. Popolna rekonstrukcija človeškega telesa, njegova nadgradnja z umetnimi elementi, spreminjanje naših razmerij s fizičnim prostorom in časom – vse te teme do skrajne mere problematizirajo človekov tradicionalni odnos do zunanjega sveta, mejo med življenjem in smrtjo, razlike med modeliranim objektom in biološkim bitjem. Toda tisto, kar nedvomno označuje spremembo paradigem v sodobni znanstveni umetnosti, ni samo možnost materializacije lastnega sporočila na fizičnem nosilcu z lastnostmi rasti, spremenljivosti, samoohranitve in reproduktivnosti (s čimer se danes ukvarja t. i. NBIC znanost – nanotehnologija, biotehnologija, informacijska tehnologija in kognitivna znanost), temveč je možnost uporabe edinstvenih strategij z namenom priklicati pomenu lastno sporočilo – medij, ki izrazi svoje avtonomno in »nečloveško« dimenzijo skozi nove lastnosti. Kako paradoksalna je lahko takšna interakcija med znanostjo in umetnostjo, kakšni so obeti za širjenje tehnologij prihodnjih generacij ter kako naj razumemo naravo človekove potrebe, da sodeluje pri razvoju tehničnih sistemov, ki ga bodo nekoč nemara celo presegli – vsa ta vprašanja so predmet številnih debat v umetniških krogih.

Tehnološka snov in novo stanje živega Dela tehno-bio umetnikov nam zagotavljajo sofisticiran vpogled v življenje. Ker se običajno oblikujejo v laboratorijih, pogosto v sodelovanju z znanstvenimi centri, nam tehno-biološka umetniška dela razkrivajo temeljno razliko med tradicionalnimi makrokozmičnimi tehnologijami in tehnologijami 21. stoletja. Ta razlika se skriva v dejstvu, da gre pri tradicionalnih tehnologijah vedno za stvar, ki je predmet razvoja, in za njenega razvijalca, za strukturo, ki se gradi, in za njenega graditelja, za operacijski 153

sistem in njegovega operaterja, za material in orodje. Toda naravnim procesom je ta dvojnost neznana. V resničnosti, ki nas obkroža, je kristalno jasno, da v naravi življenje – tisto, kar živi – ustvarja samo sebe, »gradi« in se oblikuje, usmerja in nadzoruje lastne aktivnosti. To pomeni, da je ideja tako imenovanega »samo-sestavljanja« ne le mogoča, temveč da se uspešno izvaja že milijone let v obliki še bolj kompleksnega procesa – samoreprodukcije. Pomislimo na primer na replikacijski mehanizem molekul DNK. V 1950-ih so teoretična dela o procesu replikacije Johna von Neumanna pokazala, da obstaja določena kompleksnost praga pri avtomatih, od koder postane možna samoreplikacija. Neumann je postuliral tudi idejo, da je, začenši od še višje stopnje kompleksnosti, ta proces mogoč ob naraščajoči kompleksnosti sistemov, ki se ustvarjajo. Tako torej specifična narava »tehnologije tretjega tisočletja« leži v potencialnem poenotenju akterja, ki orodje razvija, in materiala, ki ga razvija, s ciljem avtomatične transformacije informacij v želeni materialni sistem. Seveda pa za umetniška dela, ki nastanejo v takšnih pogojih umetnega življenja, postane ta »umetnost (nenaravnost)« neizogibno tudi njihova vsebina. V prvi vrsti je to vprašanje povezano z mejami artikulacije principa življenja kot takega, s premlevanjem o mejah tistega, kar je odgovorno za videz, razvoj in diferenciacijo živega, obenem pa nadzira gibanje, razlikuje organizem od njegovega okolja in tako omogoča nastanek ključnih odnosov. Umetniške strategije, ki se odmikajo od vprašanja interpretativnih praks v smeri neposredne operativne akcije, kjer se tehnologija znajde v neposredni povezavi s ciljnim stanjem organizma, omogočajo umetnikom, da se osredotočijo na transformacije v internem, fiziološkem času – to, kar je Henri Bergson poimenoval »časovna trajanja in ritem, po katerem se giblje živa snov«. Večina del tehno-biološke umetnosti cilja prav na spremembo teh »notranjih ritmov telesa« – v tiste oblike »umetnosti (nenaravnosti)«, ki jih srečamo pri kroženju snovi, v razpadu in nastanku molekul, pri organizaciji organov in oblikovanju kod. Razlika med klasičnimi modeli modeliranja življenja postane očitna – če se, denimo, UI (umetna inteligenca) in umetno življenje ukvarjata z oblikovanjem koncepta »življenja«, z opisovanjem njegovih univerzalnih specifičnih lastnosti, se tehnobiologija ukvarja z artikulacijo stvari, ki nenehno spreminjajo življenje. Od tod izvira razlikovanje med režimi tehnične interakcije: uporaba tehnologije za strukturiranje stvari ne pomeni več, da snov postavimo v pogoje strogega zunanjega nadzora, temveč to, da ustvarimo okoliščine, v katerih se bodo sami elementi snovi, med seboj povezani s specifičnimi odnosi, neodvisno združili v specifično tehnološko obliko. V tem smislu 154

imata »naravno« in »novo tehnološko« stično točko. Glavna naloga umetnikov, ki te strategije uporabljajo pri svojih umetniških delih, je iskanje novih pristopov na osnovi podobnega razumevanja »gradljivosti«, pojmovanja vloge tehnologij in njihovega prostora v zunanjem svetu. V bistvu gre pri tem vprašanju za prikaz tehnologije, ki ni način bojevanja proti naravi, ampak neposredno nadaljevanje naravnega razvoja, v katerem so ljudje nemara le eno izmed orodij njegove samoorganizacije. Sodobna tehno-biološka umetnost izhaja iz predpostavke, da umetnik ustvari novomedijski fenomen predvsem kot novo obliko – predpostavlja se torej, da bo rezultat umetnikovega delovanja nastanek neke resničnosti, za katero bo značilna bolj kompleksna struktura njenega nabora rešitev (torej nasprotij, povezav in odnosov). To stanje – povečana kompleksnost povezav in nasprotij med elementi samega medijskega okolja – je predpogoj za kakršnokoli debato o inovativnosti ali aktivnem razvoju novih medijev. V prejšnjih publikacijah na isto temo smo uvedli koncept metabole (metabolizirane metafore) z namenom, da označimo tisto sistemsko inovativnost del, ki združuje interpretacijske in konstruktivne pristope v polju tehno-biologije. Uporabili smo izraz metabola (iz grške besede metabole – sprememba, transformacija) za označitev organizacijskega modela fizičnega medija, ki odraža združitev kvalitativnih in kvantitativnih značilnosti konstrukcije po aktivaciji, modeliranju oz. kalkulaciji vpliva metabolnih procesov. V biologiji razumemo metabolne procese kot izmenjavo snovi, energije in informacij. Kadar rečemo, da je osrednja sistemska zahteva sodobne tehno-biološke umetnosti strukturna okrepitev nosilne konstrukcije, hkrati govorimo o oblikovanju raznih oblik nadomestne snovi zaradi opremljenosti medija – nosilca informacij z lastnostmi rasti, spremenljivosti, samo-ohranitve in reproduktivnosti. Očitno je pri debati o obstoju novomedijskega okolja na takšnem nivoju precej težko z enako mero samozavesti govoriti o delitvi procesov na naravne in umetne. Tukaj se namreč organsko meša z neorganskim, materialno z nematerialnim, pri čemer se razkriva tehno-biološka oziroma post-biološka narava vprašanja. Humanistični misleci so že dolgo vajeni konceptov, ki jih označuje predpona »post-« (poststrukturalizem, postindustrializem), s katerimi povezujejo specifične vsebine. Element »post-« je zanje ključnega pomena – vključuje namreč namig na obstoj »nad-konstantne« oblike, ki zapušča samo sebe, a se ne zmore poimenovati, zato preprosto omeji svoj prejšnji pomen. V postbiologiji je ta omejitev del glavnih kriterijev, po katerih razumemo biološko bistvo. Po teh kriterijih sta obstoj in hitrost razvoja določena s fizično neločljivostjo genotipa (in155

formacije o vrsti) od samega sebe. Vendar pa postbiološki objekt vsebuje znake živega organizma in tehničnega proizvoda. Skupek teh lastnosti mu dovoljuje, da doseže vratolomno hitrost razvoja z vnosom informacij o svoji reprodukciji onkraj samega organizma. Vse omenjene lastnosti metabol – metabolizacija neživega, transformabilnost ob ohranjanju izključujočih značilnosti, integracija na osnovi diferenciacije – so nam v pomoč pri premiku od razmisleka o »živem/neživem« statusu opazovanega objekta k razmisleku o vlogi, ki jo imajo ti materializirani dinamični sistemi v prostoru odnosov oziroma relacij. Z drugimi besedami, razumeti skušamo fenomen obstoja novega medijskega okolja »na robu kaosa« ter dvojnosti in nihanja pri uporabi metabolnih procesov za ustvarjanje povezav in odnosov, ki ustvarijo enotnost neživega v sestavu. Osrednji medij raziskovanja je sintetična snov, medtem ko je osrednje vprašanje vidik »žive(če)ga«, sposobnost izraza ter prikrite obstoječe možnosti, ki jih lahko odkrijemo iz notranjosti tiste »nežive« dimenzije.

Tehnološko nezavedno kot medij Razmišljanja o fizičnem mediju in njegovi sporočilnosti, o medijskem prostoru in njegovih znamenjih se ne pričnejo z analizo specifičnosti in pogojev proizvajanja raznih tipov nadomestne snovi. Zgodovina evropske misli je bila priča neskončnim polemikam na to temo, princip oziroma vsebina, ki raje ostaja skrita za zunanjimi pojavnimi oblikami sveta. »Ali vprašate, iz česa je narejeno – zemlja, ogenj, zrak itd.? Ali vprašate, ‘kakšen vzorec ima’?« – to je le eden izmed načinov spraševanja klasičnega vprašanja o resničnosti. In medtem ko je tradicionalno razmišljanje o vprašanju nekega splošnega logosa, vzorca, ki se nahaja izza naravnih pojavov, se sodobna medijska teorija osredotoča na tisto, kar leži pod semiotičnim (znamenjeslovnim) površjem – kjer znaki, kakor tudi fizični nosilci teh znakov, niso »naravni«, temveč »sintetični«, ustvarjeni sredi umetno -ustvarjenega življenja. V teh okoliščinah je vprašanje »množičnosti oblik enega« praviloma določeno z opisovanjem specifičnih lastnosti in notranjih značilnosti medijskega okolja samega. Predpostavlja se, da lahko te značilnosti razumemo kot razlago univerzalnih lastnosti fizičnega medija, ki jih pogosto smatramo kot del njegovega bistva oziroma organizacijskega principa. Tako ne preseneča, da večina izvajalcev in teoretikov tehno-biološke umetnosti svoja raziskovanja usmerjajo k vprašanjem izdelovanja, tehničnih lastnosti in funkcionalne analize nosilcev umetniškega sporočila. Sčasoma se je iz teh raziskovanj oblikovala cela mreža diskurzivnih praks – »biomediji«, »nanomediji«, »hibridni mediji« itd., ki se osredotočajo 156

na to, kako je narava videti in kako deluje »od znotraj navzven«. Temeljni argument teh praks se pogosto glasi takole: razvojna stopnja naravoslovnih znanosti danes in intenzivnost tehnološkega napredka nadomestita zastarelo ontološko vprašanje (»Kakšne vrste je logos geneze umetnega?«) z epistemološko klasifikacijo (»Ali se študij nadomestnih oziroma hibridnih oblik življenja v tehno-biološki umetnosti razlikuje od drugih področij raziskovanja?«). Rezultat tega pristopa je, da umetniška raziskovanja na področju naprednih tehnologij pogosto zamenjajo znanstvena raziskovanja, vstavljena v umetniški kontekst. Vsekakor je možno, da je obilica del, ki so praktično nerazpoznavna med komercialnimi, a vendar prikazovana na razstavah in festivalih sodobne tehnološke umetnosti, preprosto posledica te znanstvene argumentacije. Ne da bi podvomili o nujnosti raziskovanja na področju fizičnih nosilcev umetniškega sporočila, moramo omeniti še eno, nič manj produktivno obliko raziskovanja tistega, ki se nemara skriva za znakovnimi strukturami tega ali onega medija. Kot takšna se ta oblika raziskovanja ne skriva toliko v pojasnjevanju principov delovanja novih medijev kot v določitvi meja njihove uporabnosti. Če torej medij tehnološkega umetniškega dela ni zgolj materialna osnova – hardver v robotiki, molekule in celice v biologiji, topološka intenzifikacija v nanotehnologiji? Če se torej v temeljih tega medija nahaja celota silnic, ki imajo skupen izvor in zagotavljajo, da je umetniški izraz možen? Če se torej pravo vprašanje skriva v samih režimih aktivacije in v oddajanju informacij? Ta pristop nas sili k razmisleku o »submedialni« naravi, ki ni povezana z materialnostjo medialnih praks in ki omogoča analizo vzrokov, ki pogojujejo mero, do katere so te prakse umeščene v širšo sliko oblikovanja nove tehnološke resničnosti. Med pristopi, ki ponujajo možne odgovore na ta vprašanja, je pristop, imenovan »arheologija novih medijev« – hitro razvijajoče se področje medijskega raziskovanja, ki potrjuje, da se resničnost novih tehnologij nahaja predvsem v diskurzih – ponavljajoč kulturne motive, ki usmerjajo in oblikujejo njen razvoj – veliko bolj kot v »novo-tehnoloških objektih« in »artefaktih«, ki tvorijo središče, okrog katerega se vse odvija in razvija. Medijski arheologi na te »diskurzivne objekte« (z vrha k dnu usmerjene strukture, ki narekujejo in strukturirajo izkušnje) gledajo kot na »kurirje skritih kontinuitet«, ki v zgodovini novih tehnologij delujejo ciklično ter zagotavljajo »pred-izdelane oblike« kulturnega izkustva. V tem smislu lahko vsak medij kot fizični temelj umetniškega sporočila razumemo kot to, kar je Michel Foucault poimenoval »episteme«, povezan jezik, ki so ga v določenih obdobjih uporabljali vsi umetniki. Samo v primeru »arheolo157

gije novih medijev« se nam ta jezik kaže v obliki kode predhodno ustvarjenih oblik tehnoloških izkušenj, ki se na določeni točki same aktivirajo v avtorjevi zavesti – ter celo onkraj njegovega zavestnega nadzora. Tako razumljen projekt medijske teorije nam jasno prikliče v spomin enega izmed konceptov sodobne psihoanalize – in sicer lingvističnega. Slednji med drugim potrjuje, da naš govor sestoji iz dveh stopenj, ki neločljivo obstajata v jeziku, tako da je vsaka naša izjava v bistvu dvojne narave: posreduje zavesten pomen, ki ga narekuje govorec, ter hkrati nezavednega, ki je manifestacija »konstruiranih kompleksov navad, prepričanj in postopkov, shranjenih v zapletenih šifrah komunikacije«. Pod vplivom teoretikov arheologije medijev postane v tem kontekstu možno razpravljati o neskončnem toku znakov – po analogiji toka želja – povedano drugače, o določeni obliki »nezavednega«, ki opisuje celoto miselnih procesov, dejanj in stanj, določenih s tehnološkimi pripovedmi in mitologijo, ki delujejo kot »gradniki« kulturnih tradicij. S ponujanjem izhoda onkraj okvirjev posameznih zgodovinskih kontekstov prihaja arheologija novih medijev v konflikt z običajnimi načini razumevanja tehno-kulture kot pozitivnega napredka – in prav tukaj lahko opazimo očitno vrednost te metode. Res je, da ta pristop izpostavlja pomen cikličnega gibanja namesto kronološkega ter ponavljanje namesto enkratnega odkritja, s tem pa omogoča interpretacijo zgodovine v smislu večplastne konstrukcije oziroma dinamičnega sistema medsebojnih razmerij. Toda ali je ob takšnem z vrha navzdol usmerjenem pristopu sploh možno govoriti o »nezavednem« v odnosu do izjave, ki jo oblikuje sam informacijski medij kot takšen? Konec koncev imajo ti mediji – analogni, digitalni in še zlasti tehno-biološki – svojo lastno materialnost in realnost. Obstajajo neodvisno od človekovega vedenja, človekove domišljije in predvsem neodvisno od človekovega nezavednega. S tega stališča sporočilo medija le stežka označimo kot »nezavedno«, če upoštevamo prisotnost določene submedialne teme, katere sporočilo gledalec zmore in mora ustrezno interpretirati. Morda pa je nastopil čas, da pričnemo oblikovati medijski diskurz, ki ne bo nagnjen k rehumanizaciji medijev (k čemur nenehno stremijo predstavniki arheologije novih tehnologij) in kjer bo submedialna tema »tuja« tema čiste akcije in transformacije in ne antropomorfizirana govorna tema, katere jezik je potrebno razumeti. V takšni situaciji bi bilo povsem možno govoriti o »tehnološkem nezavednem«, ob upoštevanju ne samo in ne zgolj razdrobljenosti v zavesti tehnoloških pripovedi in mitov, ampak predvsem skrito in formirajoče delo osnovnih elementov medijskih nosilcev. Nemara bi bila najpomembnejša značilnost 158

takšne vrste »tehnološkega nezavednega« dejstvo, da ni antropološko strukturirano, zato ne zajema samo ljudi, pač pa vse dele tehnoloških sistemov, torej celotno človekovo okolje. Ne glede na to, kako arheologi novih medijev dojemajo naravo človeškega, lahko potrdimo, da je sporočilo fizičnega medija (z lastnostmi rasti, spremenljivosti, samoohranitve in reproduktivnosti) ne-človeško, dehumanizirano sporočilo. V tem kontekstu lahko »tehnološko nezavedno« razumemo kot nosilno infrastrukturo tehnološke razsežnosti, ki se razkriva, a pri tem ohranja svojo samostojno, ne-človeško dimenzijo celo in še posebej takrat, ko ga ljudje uporabljajo za zavestno in človeško komunikacijo.

Soft Control (Sofisticirani nadzor) Če lahko sploh govorimo o nekakšnih kolektivnih tirnicah pri snovanju človeških in tistih »umetnih« oblik, ki se rojevajo tik pred našimi očmi, potem verjamemo, da je to celoto treba opisati s terminologijo toposov in okvirjev, a tudi s terminologijo regulatornih odnosov. Gre za sistem, ki do popolnosti izrisuje pojav novih sestavljenih struktur, ki so sposobne samo-organizacije in povratnih informacij in so v svojem tehnološkem stanju samo-referenčne. V istem trenutku, ko se »diskurzivne formacije«, ki jih preučuje arheologija novih medijev, ukvarjajo z družbeno dimenzijo posameznika, so njene vloge, funkcije in dodatki predmet manipulacije subjektivnih pojmovanj; »tehnološko nezavedno« se navezuje na pred -individualno, pred-odvisno in pred-verbalno dimenzijo subjektivnosti. Njen učinek se skriva v mobilizaciji in modulaciji na pred-družbeni ravni, ki vsiljuje strasti, občutja in odnose – kot da ti še ne bi prešli stanja posamičnosti ali ne bi bili dodeljeni neki temi – ki naj delujejo kot moduliran element tehnobiološke entitete. Za razliko od toposov medijske arheologije, ki so vedno »kulturni in torej ideološki konstrukti«, ki na nadzor vplivajo po principu z vrha navzdol, vodi nadzor »tehnološkega nezavednega«, ki temelji na principu z dna navzgor, k ustvarjanju silnic in napetosti, ki biološki domeni omogočajo, da se neodvisno mobilizira v tehnološki sistem. Oba omenjena režima mehkega (sofisticiranega), porazdeljenega tehnološkega strukturiranja – diskurzivni in ne-diskurzivni – delujeta kot dve plati iste medalje. In oba sta enako neodvisna od techne, ki predstavlja poseben primer avtomatizma. Vendar je drugi, ne-diskurzivni režim tisti, ki sodobnim tehnologijam podeljuje nekakšno vsemogočnost, saj pronica skozi vloge, funkcije in pomene, s katerimi se posamezniki identificirajo drug z drugim, a se z njimi drug od drugega tudi oddaljujejo. 159

V dometu »tehnološkega nezavednega« prenehamo biti uporabniki tehnologij in v odnosu do njih postanemo skoraj neke vrste zunanji objekt. Z oblikovanjem edinstvenih informacijsko-bioloških okolij se znajdemo v vlogi agentov najizrazitejših medijskih nosilcev, kjer delujemo kot elementi njihovega inputa in outputa, kot preprosti členi verige, ki prenašajo in/ali blokirajo sporočila, komunikacijo in znamenja. »Tehnološko nezavedno« prodre v vsa zapečatena bistva in ne razlikuje med človeškim in nečloveškim, med subjektom in objektom. Zavzame biološko sfero odprte množičnosti in posameznika prikaže kot zbirko elementov, tokov, čustev in organov, ki delujejo na istem nivoju in ki ne morejo biti artikulirani kot binarna nasprotja. Človekove funkcije, organi in sposobnosti postanejo del specifičnih funkcij, organov in silnic neke tehnobiološke celote, katere osnovno stanje bi moralo biti opisano v smislu splošnih lastnosti celote. Danes lahko le ugibamo, ali je takšno »komunikacijsko-biološko« mešanje človeka in tehnologije nemara predpogoj za oblikovanje strukture višje, hipertehnološke enotnosti, v kateri se bo biološki delež postopoma manjšal. Mimogrede, omenjeno konceptualizacijo podpira odkritje tehnocenoze (šibko povezana tehnološka bistva, sposobna razvoja po posameznih delih, ki ne zanikajo evolucijske selekcije), ki jo je pred tridesetimi leti utemeljil in matematično opisal ruski inženir in filozof Boris Kudrin. Tako torej v obeh primerih – evolucijskih kombinacij tipa »človek-stroj« in velikih tehno-bioloških sistemov – govorimo o principu, ki ni samo skupen naravi in tehnologiji, temveč prestopa tudi njun kolektivni prag.

Opis eksperimenta Kibernetični organizmi, nevronske kulture in komponente sintezne biologije v tradicionalnem smislu ne predstavljajo osnov za umetniške prakse – niso olje na platnu, črta na papirju ali podoba na zaslonu. So tehnični temelji, ki se pojavljajo kot odziv na omejenost interesov večine umetnikov do domišljijskih iger, kar je nekaj, kar se je vedno pričakovalo od likovne umetnosti. V takšnih, pravzaprav kriznih okoliščinah, sodobni umetnosti ni preostalo drugega, kot da se identificira z iskanjem novih tehničnih temeljev, ki ne bodo vezani na tradicijo. V tem položaju se je bila umetnost prisiljena zateči k najnovejšim tehnologijam kot najbolj radikalni alternativi tradicionalnim medijem. Toda hkrati – in paradoksalno – je to sovpadlo z zavedanjem, da se v najnovejših tehnologijah nič manj, oziroma kvečjemu še bolj prepletajo fizične in individualno-psihološke interpretacije medija. V tem smislu nasprotje med živim in neživim, naravnim in umetnim, izgublja svoj pomen zaradi mehanske, repetitivne 160

in neskončno potencialne narave časa, v katerem se ta medijski nosilec nahaja. Razumevanje repetitivnosti, strojnosti in nerazložljivosti je tukaj osrednjega pomena. Tehnobiološki medij, za katerega se sprva samo zdi, da ima drugačne temelje – biološke in abiološke – ni omejen zgolj sam nase, sklada se z enotnimi pravili avtomatizma. Kot razširjena različica tega medija avtomatizem združuje tako »diskurzivne enotnosti« arheologije novih medijev, kakor tudi »regulatorne odnose«, ki jih proizvaja infrastruktura tehnološke urejenosti. Prav tukaj, v osrčju ideje avtomatizma kot splošnega skupka pravil, ki vključujejo uveljavitev tehnično osnovane podreditve in manipulacije, naletimo na »živi« vidik te nežive dimenzije – vir obstoječih možnosti, ki nam dovoljujejo preizpraševanje ontoloških lastnosti »živega« v odnosu do narave tehničnega. Te možnosti predpostavljajo, da je človek del sistema tehnoloških povezav in da se z njegovimi mehanizmi nič več ne identificira z ustvarjanjem novih oblik in novih identitet v povsem subjektivnem umetniškem stilu. Prilagoditve in spremembe tehnoloških režimov, kot smo jih opisali, pa se lahko zgodijo na različnih nivojih – na nivoju pripovedovanja zgodb o tehnologiji (diskurzivna izjava) in na nivoju občutij, čustev ter fizičnih in tehnoloških začasnosti (ne-diskurzivna izjava). V temeljih obeh – diskurzivne in ne-diskurzivne – vrst izjav se pojavlja funkcija ponovitve, ki povezuje semiotične in materialne elemente režimov tehnološke interakcije v celoto. S sledenjem pravilom izvajalec v neki disciplini doseže svobodo improvizacije. Na enak način, s prepustitvijo avtomatizmu tehnične osnove medija, sami dobimo priložnost, da na diskreten način opustimo pravila njegovega obstoja, tako da predlagamo še bolj zahtevno kombinacijo pravil in se tako vrnemo k techne, preko katere se reproducira subjektivnost. Toda to možnost in to pravico – pravico, da ponovno pridobimo in zapišemo same temelje medijskega nosilca – moramo ustvariti sami. Zato na razstavi Soft Control predstavljamo primere, kako umetniki ustvarjajo to pravico z razpiranjem lastnih tehničnih temeljev sveta, ki jih obkroža. Takšna praksa priča o umetnikovih (nenazadnje tudi o gledalčevih) sposobnostih, ne le da vnese v tehnološki prostor kognitivno (spoznavno) ali estetsko vsebino, ampak predvsem eksistencialno. Tako nam z razkritjem logike ustvarjanja novih tehnoloških oblik in novih identitet umetnost pomaga izoblikovati osrednjo nalogo posameznika v dobi novih tehnologij: konstrukcijo žive prihodnosti (torej prihodnosti, ki nam podarja svobodo), ne pa mrtve, mehanizirane prihodnosti, zgrajene brez našega sodelovanja. Prevod iz angleščine Helena Fošnjar. 161

je ta tehnološka snov sposobna “Aliv strukturnem smislu vplivati na človeško življenje? ”


Umetnost in delovanje Andrew Pickering Povzetek Naše tehnološko nezavedno je problem, morda celo problem z veliko začetnico. Sanjamo o obvladovanju kozmosa, od kvarkov in najprimitivnejših plasti materije, do ekosistemov in globalne ekonomije, vendar se naše sanje vedno bolj spreminjajo v srhljive nočne more, v katerih nas preganjajo sprideni mehanizmi. Sam se zanimam za umetniška dela, ki skušajo naše sanje vrniti na pravi tir in jih približati resničnosti – dela, ki prikličejo neo-taoistično ontologijo decentraliziranih tokov in vzajemnih transformacij, v kateri smo ujeti, nikakor pa je ne nadziramo. Če je zahodna tradicija govorila o reprezentativnem realizmu, potem dela, ki jih imam sam v mislih, govorijo o nečem, kar bi lahko imenovali dejavnostni realizem (agency realism) – ta ne prikazuje, kako so stvari videti, ampak kako funkcionirajo. Govorim o primerih del, ki poudarjajo dejavnost (agency) narave in strojev; ki delujejo kot tehnologije jaza in preobražajo naše notranje bitje; in ki prikazujejo ples dejavnosti med človeškimi in ne-človeškimi agenti. Ena izmed skupnih točk teh primerov je evokacija začasne pojavitve, nastajanja; pojav nepredvidljive novosti v svetu. Sanje o obvladovanju zanikajo pojavitev in postanejo grozljive, ko se ta neizogibno pojavi. Kar nekaj umetniških del nas sooča s tem, številna pa tudi tematizirajo eksperimentalno odprtost do pojavitve ter prilagoditev namesto nadzora. Seveda sanje same po sebi niso nikakršen problem, težava je v tem, da jih največkrat želimo izživeti pri belem dnevu. Ključne besede: tehnološko nezavedno, dejavnostni realizem, ples dejavnosti 163

Aldous Huxley (1956) v Vratih zaznavanja1 pripoveduje zgodbo o srečanju med najslavnejšim britanskim mistikom in vizionarjem Williamom Blakom in največjim britanskim krajinarjem Johnom Constablom. Blake si ogleduje eno od Constablovih skic in zavpije: »To ni risba, to je navdih!«, Constable pa mu odgovori: »Hotel sem, da bi bila risba.« Podoben odgovor pogosto dobim od umetnikov, ko želim njihovo delo interpretirati na specifičen način, čeprav vem, da jih večina ne razmišlja tako kot jaz. Enako velja tudi za številne strokovnjake, teoretike in kritike. V tej razpravi bi torej rad svoje razmišljanje razvijal na, upam da, prepričljiv način. Pri tem moram poudariti, da ne poskušam spodkopati drugih interpretacij umetniških del. Svoje stališče razumem kot prispevek k umetnosti, ki predlaga določene razvrstitve umetniških del in nakazuje določeno usmeritev zanje. S tem ne želim ovirati drugačnih razvrstitev in ureditev ali jim nasprotovati. Rad bi vpeljal nov kriterij, vendar pa ne želim kanonizirati posameznikov. Kakšen je torej način interpretacije, ki ga želim dodati našemu razumevanju umetnosti? Gre za ontologijo in zelo splošna vprašanja o tem, kakšen je svet. In najbrž takšna razmišljanja najbolje predstavim tako, da začnem z mainstreamovsko zahodno umetnostjo, še posebej s slikarstvom. Seveda obstajajo knjižnice, polne knjig, ki razlagajo pomen te tradicije ter mojstre in genije ločujejo od ostalih. Kot sem že dejal, nisem proti tem delom, vendar bi rad tradicijo osvetlil z drugega zornega kota. Kakšen pogled na svet podaja in utrjuje to izročilo; kakšno ontologijo prikliče? Vsaj do 20. stoletja je njegovo bistvo predstavitev – pokrajin in tihožitij, portretov posameznikov, grških mitov, prizorov iz Biblije. S tem ontološko prikliče dualizem subjektov in objektov, oseb in predmetov na ravni delovanja. Pokrajina je pasivna; tam tiči in čaka na človeški dejavnik, na umetnika, da jo prelije v barve na platnu. Končana slika je spet pasiven predmet, ki čaka, da jo izkusi in použije aktivni človeški opazovalec. Torej, ontološko gledano, zahodna tradicija deluje kot ontološko gledališče, ki služi dobremu staremu kartezijanskemu dualizmu − na ravni delovanja uprizarja razkol med ljudmi in pasivnimi predmeti. Pojdimo še dlje. Razkol je asimetričen: kot delujoči obvladujemo ali lahko obvladujemo pasivne reči − to je humanistična ontologija, osredotočena na človeka. Ob tem moramo poudariti, da sta tisto, kar razkol premošča oziroma povezuje, dve nasprotujoči si danosti − vid (umetnik gleda pokrajino; občinstvo gleda sliko) in zaznavanje (svet poznamo skozi naša čutila). 1 Aldous Huxley, Vrata zaznavanja; Nebesa in pekel (prevod Alenka Moder-Saje), Ljubljana: Studia Humanitatis Minora, 1993 (op. ur.)


Bilo bi smiselno razmisliti o tem asimetričnem dualizmu, ki ga posredujeta vid in zaznavanje, saj je naravna ontološka drža sodobnega zahodnega sveta. Zakopan je globoko v naše tehnološko nezavedno. Na vse mogoče načine oblikuje našo kulturo in z njo ustroj akademskih strok ter jedro zahodne umetnosti, namreč znanost in tehniko. Naš način delovanja v svetu pa je povezan s tem − materialno in družbeno. Obnašamo se, kot da odločamo mi, kot da smo gospodarji stvarstva − to je ključna tema, o kateri bi rad spregovoril. Po drugi strani je prepričanje v takšno ontologijo napančno. Moja lastna dela o zgodovini znanosti in tehnologije kažejo, da svet ni takšen, in o tem moram sedaj spregovoriti (Pickering 1995). Drži, da je težnja sodobnih znanosti, kot je npr. fizika, razlagati materialni svet kot napovedljiv stroj brez človeške spontanosti in kreativnosti, kar podpira naš kartezijanski dualizem. Vendar pa ti opisi služijo le prikrivanju tega, kar se dogaja v laboratoriju, kjer deluje precej drugačna ontologija. Namesto preprostega opazovanja rezultata najdemo znanstvenike, ki so na ravni učinka, delovanja in vedenja, torej izvajanja stvari, tesno povezani z materialnim svetom. Znanstveniki in materialni objekti na izvedbeni ravni med seboj tekmujejo v simetričnem procesu, ki ga imenujem ples delovanja. In teh plesov prav gotovo ne nadzorujemo: znanstveniki prizivajo materialna izvajanja, a se na njih tudi odzivajo in se jim prilagajajo ter obratno. Pri znanstvenih raziskavah materija ne deluje na pričakovan, mehaničen način. Znanstveniki so vedno znova presenečeni nad delovanjem njihovega poskusnega sistema − lahko bi celo pomislili, da je to smisel raziskav. To pa nas pripelje do idej o emergenci in nastajanju. Kar vidimo v laboratoriju, je surova emergenca: ponavljajoče se pojavljanje nepričakovanih in spontanih novosti v svetu, ki v plesih delovanja vedno znova nastajajo in privrejo na plano. Želel sem izpostaviti naslednje: ontološka vizija, ki izhaja iz znanstvenih študij, ni asimetrični dualizem, dosežen z vpogledom in spoznanjem; je vizija spontanega in neosredotočenega nastajanja ljudi in stvari, ki se dogaja kot neskončna medsebojna igra elementov. In predno se vrnem k umetnosti, bi k temu še nekaj dodal. Prvič: lahko se vprašamo, kdo izven znanstvenih študij še deli to ontološko predstavo. Najboljši odgovor, na katerega lahko pomislim, je, da gre za osrednjo tradicionalno kitajsko pojmovanje, ki si je svet vedno predstavljalo kot mesto pretoka, v katerem se je človeštvo znašlo kot majhen delček, ki nikakor ne nadzoruje vsega, in ne kot stalno bistvo. Iz tega razloga in da stvar poimenujem, bom odslej to ontologijo imenoval taoistična ontologija. 165

Drugič: čeprav me je do taoistične ontologije pripeljal študij sodobnih znanosti, kot sta fizika in kemija, sem pozneje ugotovil, da lahko primere neosredotočenega plesa delovanja najdemo kjerkoli. Eden prvih izbranih primerov je bila zgodba o azijskih jeguljah, ki so jih v ZDA uvažali kot domače živali. Vendar pa so te jegulje zaskrbljujoče rasle, plazile iz akvarijev in strašile svoje lastnike. Zato so jih preselili v tamkajšnje ribnike, kjer so se množile, domačim ribam pojedle vso hrano in vznejevoljile ribiče. Da bi se znebili jegulj, so ribiči ob podpori strokovnjakov težavo reševali z izsuševanjem ribnikov, vendar so pri tem pomrle vse ribe, jegulje pa so se zakopale v blato. Potem so zgradili betonske ograde, s katerimi naj bi jeguljam zapirali pot do novih ribnikov, te pa so jih preprosto preplezale. To je torej dober primer decentraliziranega in performativnega plesa delovanja. Človeški dejavniki so storili nekaj − uvozili so jegulje − potem so jegulje storile nekaj − grozeče so rasle − potem so ljudje odgovorili na rast − vrgli so jih v ribnike − in tako naprej, sem in tja med človeškimi in nečloveškimi dejavniki, očitno do neskončnosti (Pickering 2005). Med drugimi primeri, ki sem si jih ogledal, je boj ameriških vojaških inženirjev (US Army Corps of Engineers, t. i. USACE) z reko Mississippi. USACE že 150 let poskuša obvladati reko, tako da gradi različne nasipe in nadzorne konstrukcije, reka pa vedno znova preseneča in jih zaobide. Ena od teorij zagovarja, da naj bi gradnja nasipov in prekinjanje odtokov pospešila tok reke, tako da bi reka zarezala v strugo in upadala glede na okoliško kopno. Namesto tega pa je gladina reke stalno rasla, zato bi bilo za preprečevanje poplav potrebno zgraditi višje nasipe. Spet vidimo neskončen in performativen ples človeškega in nečloveškega delovanja − inženirji in reka − v tem primeru izpostavljeni ob orkanu Katrina in opustošenju New Orleansa. Ponovno je jasno, da smo človeška bitja prej ujeta v tok nastajanja, kot da ga nadzorujemo, kot nas uči kartezijanski dualizem (Pickering 2008). Še preprostejši primer predstavljajo drevesa bonsaj. Prav nega bonsajev natančno ponazarja ples delovanja med nečloveškim dejavnikom, drevesom, ki neprestano daje nove poganjke in liste v nepričakovanih smereh, in človeškim dejavnikom, ki se s škarjami ves čas trudi slediti neke vrste nastajajoči estetiki − poskuša se okoristiti s tem nepredvidljivim procesom, tako da dela drevesce lepše kot določa nastajajoči standard. Mislim, da je pomembno, da se ta ontološka zgodba prične z znanostjo, ki ji daje neke vrste težo in ugled. Saj drugi primeri dajejo slutiti, da lahko tovrstne performativne in transformativne zaplete najdemo povsod. Zato 166

menim, da gre za pravo zgodbo, ki govori o tem, kakšen je svet − taoisti imajo prav, Descártes in sodobna znanost pa nam to prikrivata že 500 let. Sedaj se lahko posvetimo umetnosti. Če zahodno slikarstvo in kiparstvo za nas predstavljata asimetričen dualizem ljudi in stvari, kakšno vrsto umetniških del bi potem predstavljala taoistična ontologija? Prvi odgovor, ob upoštevanju tega, kar sem pravkar dejal, bi bil bonsaj! Bonsaj ustvarja procese decentriranega nastajanja pred našimi očmi. Je pa značilno za zahodne knjige o kitajski umetnosti, da v njih najdemo zelo veliko razlag o kitajskem slikarstvu, kaligrafiji in keramiki, toda ničesar o bonsajih − sploh se ne pojavljajo znotraj kategorij zahodne umetnosti. Kljub temu želim ostati osredotočen na Zahod in bliže sedanjemu času. Če se je mainstreamovska zahodna umetnost osredotočala na neke vrste prikazovalni realizem, bi rad izumil nov kanon, ki bi ga lahko imenovali realizem delovanja − umetnost, ki se osredotoča na to, kako stvari na svetu delujejo in ne kako izgledajo. Seveda hočem izumiti kanon, ne umetniških del. Torej je v tem trenutku najbolje, da pregledam nekaj primerov realizma delovanja kot implicitne definicije njegovega pomena. Vsa umetniška dela, ki jih želim omeniti, prikazujejo vidike decentrirane, nastajajoče taoistične ontologije. Na tem mestu se mi zdi primerno omeniti razlikovanje celotnega polja v tri podkategorije, vendar le kot pomoč pri razmišljanju; tovrstna klasifikacija nikakor ni izčrpna. Prvo kategorijo tvorijo dela, ki težijo k tematiziranju nečloveškega in človeškega delovanja in izvajanja. Prvo kategorijo umetniških del, na katero bi danes najprej pomislili, bi tvorila umetnost bioloških in tkivnih kultur − dela, ki nastajajo iz živih in rastočih bioloških elementov. Nazorno kot ontološko gledališče predstavljajo osnovno idejo o materialnem svetu, ki je sam po sebi performativen, živ in nastajajoč. Morda ga biološka umetnost preveč poenostavlja. Ne preseneča, da je organska snov živa in nepredvidljiva, vendar ontološko bistvo, ki ga moramo razumeti, vključuje tudi anorgansko snov. To je razvidno že iz mojih zgodnejših razmišljanj o fizikalnih laboratorijih in rekah. V svetu umetnosti pa bi lahko navezali na dela Chrisa Welsbyja v »razširjenem kinu« iz zgodnjih sedemdesetih let (Welsby 2005). Welsbyjev cilj je bil in še vedno je, da snemanje filmov prepušča naravi, s tem pa nas sooča z delovanjem neživega sveta. Eden mojih najljubših, Sedem dni, je film o valizijskem podeželju, prikazan z zgoščevanjem tempa. Posebnost filma je v tem, da je usmerjenost kamere nadzorovalo sonce in ne Welsby. Ko se je sonce prikazalo, je bila kamera obrnjena proti tlom; če so nebo zastrli oblaki, se je kamera obrnila navzgor. Tukaj je torej delovanje materialnega sveta − sonca, vreme167

na, rotacije zemlje − in ne umetnika, ustvarjalo umetniško delo, ki nas neposredno nagovarja skozi delovanje narave, ne človeka, Welsbyja, ki je »naredil« film. In seznam del iz te kategorije je neskončno dolg. Druga dela, ki se me pogosto dotaknejo, so povezana z zvokom. V šestdesetih letih je Alvin Lucier v Glasbi za solista uporabil EEG-čitalnik za prepoznavanje električnih signalov v glavi performerja in z njim nadzoroval množico konvencionalnih in nekonvencionalnih naprav, ki so proizvajale zvok. Človekovi možgani so tukaj delovali kot performativni dejavniki, kot sonce in vreme, in ne kot center prepoznavanja in prikazovanja (Pickering 2010, 85–87). Wired Lab v Avstraliji glasbo »izlušči« iz telefonskih žičnih omrežij, ki so izpostavljena vetru. Tudi njihovo delo nas neposredno sooča s performativnim dejavnikom narave ( Po drugi strani razumem Stelarcovo delo kot uprizoritev performativnega pogleda na človeka, pogleda na nas kot primarno performativnega in ne kognitivnega bitja. Stelarcova zgodnja dela, ko je obešen za lastno meso visel na kavljih, me nagovarjajo v smislu simetrije človeškega in nečloveškega, v smislu naših teles kot predmetov, ki so materialno povezani z drugimi predmeti. Pričvrstitev robotske roke k njegovemu telesu, ki jo je nadzoroval od zunaj, govori natanko o človeku kot performativnem dejavniku, performativno povezanim z drugačnostjo. Stelarcova Protetična glava (2003), lutka z umetno inteligenco, ki se pogovarja brez notranjega razumevanja vsebine, sugerira performativno vlogo za misel in jezik, kot to počno ljudje − obenem pa postavlja jezik na svoje mesto, kot nekaj, kar je izpeljano iz performativnega stanja. Ob branju intervjujev s Stelarcom postane jasno, da njegova dela zanj ne predstavljajo običajnega humanističnega ukvarjanja z mislimi, čustvi, občutki, estetikami, kritikami, politikami (npr. Stelarc 2000). Manj jasno je, kako naj njegovo delo označimo kot pozitivno, kar pravkar poskušam storiti, s tem ko ga v širšem smislu postavljam ob bok realizmu delovanja. Še enkrat bi rad poudaril, da s svojimi interpretacijami želim umetnosti nekaj dodati in ne definirati jo. Do sedaj sem govoril o delih, ki tematizirajo človeško in nečloveško delovanje in izvajanje. V naslednji kategoriji bi rad razmišljal o delih, ki uprizarjajo interaktivne plese delovanja. Kot dober primer sem omenil bonsaj, vendar pa je bliže sedanjemu zahodnemu razmišljanju in zato toliko bolj kanoničen kibernetični stroj Musicolour Gordona Paska iz zgodnjih petdesetih let. Musicolour je bil eksperiment in sinestezija. Izvajanje glasbe je nadzorovalo svetlobne efekte. Njegova glavna značilnost pa je bilo dinamično kroženje toka. Začetki posameznih svetlobnih snopov so se spreminjali glede na preteklo dogajanje – na določeni točki se je stroj 168

začel »dolgočasiti« in se je prenehal odzivati na ponovitve, tako da je glasbenik moral poskusiti kaj novega, da ga je ponovno zbudil. Tako se je stroj nepredvidljivo prilagajal performerju, ta pa se je neomejeno prilagajal stroju. Potem je Musicolour kot ontološko gledališče precej neposredno in neverbalno uprizarjalo decentraliziran in nastajajoč ples delovanja med človeškim in nečloveškim. Na enak način je Pask eksperimentiral s performativno decentraliziranimi pristopi k izobraževanju, gledališču in dinamičnemu kiparstvu (poznamo njegovo delo Pogovor mobilov iz leta 1968). Ob vizionarskih delih skupine Archigram so Paskovi prispevki k oblikovanju legendarnega projekta Fun Palace v zgodnjih šestdesetih letih postavili temelje za sodobne pristope k današnji adaptivni arhitekturi (Pickering 2010, pogl. 7). Bliže sedanjosti je delo Petit Mal Simona Pennyja iz osemdesetih let – mobilni in interaktivni robot, ki se je dobesedno zapletel v neskončne, posebne in nastajajoče plese s človeškimi udeleženci ( Ali pa Performativne ekologije Ruairija Glynna iz leta 2008 (ruairiglynn., kjer vrsta obarvanih robotov pleše drug za drugega v koreografijah, ki nastajajo glede na količino pozornosti opazovalcev (posnemajoč obliko Paskovega Pogovora mobilov in nastajajoče estetike bonsaja). V tretjo kategorijo del v okviru realizma delovanja sodijo tista, ki jih imenujem sledenje Michelu Foucaultu (1988) – »tehnologije sebstva« – dela, ki vplivajo na notranje počutje gledalca skozi nekognitivne kanale. Glasba za solista Alvina Lucierja je bila pravzaprav postavitev biološke povratne informacije. Ustvarjala je glasbo, kadarkoli je Lucier vstopil v meditativno stanje, ki ga povzročajo alfa valovi. Hkrati je bila glasba povratna informacija, ki je Lucierju pomagala vstopati v to spremenjeno stanje in v njem ostajati. Sanjski stroji Briona Gysina iz šestdesetih let so nadaljevanje kibernetskih raziskav Greya Walterja v poznih štiridesetih letih 20. stoletja in so bili pravzaprav doma narejene stroboskopske luči, ki so ob gledanju vanje z zaprtimi očmi povzročale notranje vizije − neke vrste antitezo obstoječi zahodni tradiciji (Pickering 2010, 76–83). V današnjem času razmišljam o postavitvah Chrisa Salterja, ki si prizadeva raziskati učinek nestandardnih senzoričnih napetosti na udeležence. JND (Just Noticeable Difference, Komaj zaznavana razlika) je na primer interaktivno okolje, ki deluje na nižji ravni zavedanja občutkov in vida z namenom raziskovanja prostora notranjih stanj, ki jih izvablja; namesto tega deluje nova postavitev z naslovom Premestitev na multisenzoričen način z namenom sprožanja »intenzivnih, skoraj halucinacijskih občutkov« ( projects.php; 169

Te umetniške tehnologije sebstva poudarjam zato, ker problematizirajo človekovo stabilnost in nas vračajo k vprašanjem nastanka, tokrat znotraj sebe. Tako kot ontološko gledališče uprizarjajo nepredvidljiva nastajanja znotraj človeške oblike. Če v tej smeri stopimo še korak dlje, bi se lahko spet vrnili k Huxleyjevim Vratom zaznavanja, kjer avtor črpa iz svoje izkušnje ob jemanju meskalina z namenom, da bi reorganiziral umetniški kanon, in pri tem iz zahodne tradicije izbere Vermeera kot edinstvenega slikarja »takšnosti«, sklicuje pa se tudi na kitajsko krajinarstvo. Tudi Stelarcova viseča dela nas lahko spominjajo na legendarne raziskave zavesti Johna Lillyja v šestdestih letih, ko je s popolno izolacijo od zunanjih senzornih spodbud v njegovem bazenu za lebdenje našel svoje duhovne vodnike (Lilly 1972). Dovolj primerov. Naj povzamem. Zanima me razvijanje interpretacije umetnosti kot ontološkega gledališča, kot neke vrste prikazovanje razumevanj današnjega sveta. Menim, da zahodna tradicija ponovno proizvaja kartezijanski dualizem − razumevanje ljudi, ki se bistveno razlikuje od (nadzorovanih) stvari s pomočjo značilno človeške vrste delovanja, ki ga preostalemu svetu primanjkuje. Ob tem sem pravkar odkril drugačen umetniški kanon, ki ga imenujem realizem delovanja in ki uprizarja drugačno ontologijo, v kateri sta človeško in nečloveško simetrično ujeta v tok nastajanja na ravni delovanja in izvajanja. Pozneje lahko povem več o tem, zakaj nas mora zanimati ta druga ontologija, najprej pa bi rad pripomnil še nekaj stvari. Nadaljeval bom z mislijo o ontologiji. Pomembno je, da spoznamo, da vsa dela, ki jih prištevam k poglavju realizma delovanja, predstavljajo umetnikovo prepustitev nadzora. Umetnik nekaj postavi, potem pa delovanje prepusti avtonomnemu in nastajajočemu sistemu. Welsby postavi kamero z nekaj preproste tehnologije in pusti, da film preprosto teče − z namenom, da ugotovi, kakšne vrste delo bi proizvedla sistem in okolica. Glavna značilnost performansa Musicolour je bila ta, da je performer moral sodelovati s sistemom, ki ga ni niti razumel niti nadzoroval. Samo dejanje ustvarjanja umetnosti v tem žanru je potemtakem jasno spoznanje, da nimamo nadzora − kar je samo po sebi ontološko gledališče. Brian Eno (1996) predstavlja v svojem pristopu h generativni glasbi nekaj zgovornih razprav na to temo. Moja druga pripomba je v resnici oblika samopotrditve, da razprava o realizmu delovanja resnično nekaj sproža. Ena pot je razmišljanje o bolj vsakdanjih načinih razdelitve prostora umetniške produkcije. Današnji 170

običajni vzorec razdelitve je v smislu sredstev umetniške produkcije. Podobne kategorije za razstave in konference se nanašajo na medije − medijsko umetnost, nove medije, digitalno umetnost, biološko umetnost. Torej poudarjam, da predlagam drugačno razvrščanje. Veliko sodobnih umetniških del s področja realizma delovanja je resda digitalnih, vendar ne vsa (pomislite na bonsaj, Paskovo analogno elektroniko in Gysionove doma narejene stroboskopske luči). Tudi marsikatero digitalno in biološko umetniško delo tematizira delovanje in performans, ne pa vsa. Če bi želeli na temo realizma delovanja organizirati umetniško razstavo, ta ne bi bila medijsko specifična, saj bi umetniška dela razvrščala drugače, ne v smeri potencialov ali nevarnosti določenega medija, temveč v smeri nestandardnega razumevanja sveta. Menim torej, da se moje delo v tem smislu nanaša tudi na resnični svet. V svojem zaključku pa bi se rad še bolj približal resničnemu svetu. Zakaj bi skrbeli? Zakaj bi se mi – humanisti in umetniki – sploh trudili ljudem približati razumevanje sveta? Eden od odgovorov je: ker je taoistična razlaga resnična − ali vsaj boljša od kartezijanskega dualizma, ki trenutno vlada zahodnjaškemu tehnološkemu nezavednemu. V igri pa je veliko več kot le resnica in razumevanje, ki sta s performativnega vidika precej medlega pomena. Poglejmo citat Maxa Horkheimerja (1972, 202): [S]vet predmetov, o katerih naj bi presojali, je v veliki meri rezultat delovanja, dognanega s prav tistimi predstavami, ki posamezniku pomagajo prepoznati ta svet in ga konceptualno doumeti. Horkheimer poudarja krožni odnos med razumevanji, dejanji in rezultati. Če svet razumemo na določen način, potem delujemo na določen način z namenom proizvajanja določene vrste predmetov, v katerih se potem zrcali naše izvorno razumevanje. Kartezijanski dualisti ustvarjajo zahodnjaški umetniški kanon, v katerem jim odzvanja kartezijanski dualizem. Ontologija in dejanje sta povezana. Tukaj se nahaja točka, na kateri se križata ontologija in politika. Zame pa je to točka, na kateri umetnost lahko postane politična v nestandardnem, širšem in pomembnem smislu. Umetnost lahko prekine, pa tudi ponovno utrdi kartezijansko zanko in tako pripomore, da si na drugačne načine predstavljamo delovanje v svetu. To lahko velja za številne vidike našega obstoja, kot sem opisal v svoji knjigi Kibernetični možgani, s podnaslovom Skice drugačne prihodnosti. Na kratko bi rad osvetlil še stališče, ki ga v knjigi nisem razdelal, namreč naš odnos z okoljem. 171

Osnovna misel je: kartezijanski dualizem je asimetričen; celotno delovanje postavlja v nas; mi smo gospodarji pasivnega vesolja. To prevajamo v stališče obvladovanja okolja, v mišljenje, da ga lahko vsaj preoblikujemo, kot ustreza človeškemu cilju − stališče, ki ga Martin Heidegger imenuje postavje. To je stališče, ki ga mnogi ljudje, vključno z nekaterimi inženirji, začenjajo videti kot problem, ki vodi v onesnaževanje in degradacijo okolja, v oboroževalno tekmo med inženirji in naravo (pomislite na ameriške vojaške inženirje, ki poskušajo nadzorovati Mississippi) in v slabo emergenco: množični nepričakovani stranski učinki, kot so globalno segrevanje in okoljske katastrofe (pomislite na orkan Katrina, na Deepwater Horizon ali na Fukušimo). Nagibamo se k temu, da zadevo vidimo kot končni seznam problemov, ki bi jih morali pričakovati in vnaprej preprečiti. Ontološko gledano bi morali uvideti, da pravzaprav ne gre za to. Gre za nekaj, kar bi morali razbrati iz tradicionalne kitajske filozofije: nikoli nismo gospodarji; na naravo in v njej lahko delujemo, vendar ne z linearnimi dokončnimi rezultati. Delovanje narave je spontano, zato nikoli ne bomo poznali njene reakcije na naše pobude; vedno nas bo presenetila. Tega nas lahko uči tudi umetnost realizma delovanja. Obravnavana dela lahko opišemo kot mikro okolja, ki na različne načine predstavljajo decentralizirana nastajanja. Če so tovrstna dela primerno zbrana, njihova obravnava − to je moje politično upanje – morda pripomore k izgubi našega dualističnega nezavednega in k formiranju novih odnosov z makro okoljem. Ob koncu moram omeniti, da obstajajo resnični primeri tega, o čemer sem tukaj govoril, in vsi temeljijo na razumevanju, da nismo gospodarji, zato prevzemajo obliko performativnih eksperimentov, ki merijo na odkrivanje, kaj bo narava storila v tej ali oni okoliščini, v neskončnih plesih delovanja. Pri tem mislim na t. i. prilagoditveno upravljanje, ki je odvisno od poskusnih poplav, s katerimi naj bi ugotovili, kako bodo reke in ekosistemi reagirali na spremenjene vodne tokove, ter na prilagoditvene projekte ekološke obnove, ki potrjujejo tezo, da nikoli ne moremo v celoti vnaprej vedeti, kaj je potrebno obnove (Asplen 2008). Zdi se mi osupljivo, da je pri tem stališče inženirjev enako stališču omenjenih umetnikov: predaja nadzora, ki tematizira, namesto da poskuša zatreti nastajanje. Gre za še en pogled na načine, kako umetnost posreduje med ontologijo in delovanjem, tako na ravni procesa kot rezultata. Še zadnji primer. Skliceval sem se na sodobne primere ekološkega inženiringa, ki predstavljajo taoistično ontologijo. Bilo bi primerno, da končam na Vzhodu. Prej sem omenjal bonsaj, zato tukaj navajam tradicionalno japonsko strategijo vodnega gospodarstva, ki jo opisuje Jim Scott (1998, 327): 172

Nadzor nad erozijo je na Japonskem kot igra šaha. Potem ko gozdarski inženir preuči erodirano dolino, stori prvi potezo: določitev lege in izgradnja enega ali več kontrolnih jezov. Potem počaka na odziv narave. Ta določi gozdarjevo naslednjo potezo, ki je lahko še kakšen jez ali dva, povišanje predhodnega jezu ali izgradnja stranskih podpornih zidov. Sledi ponovni odmor za opazovanje, potem naslednja poteza in tako naprej, dokler erozija ni matirana. Delovanje naravnih sil, kot sta sedimentacija in ponovna ozelenitev, se usmerja in uporablja v korist zniževanja stroškov in doseganja praktičnih rezultatov. Prizadevanja ne presegajo tega, kar je narava v regiji že sama opravila. To je inženirstvo, ki uprizarja in izkoristi plese delovanja, lahko pa mu rečemo umetnost. Lahko ga imenujemo tudi »soft control«. Prevod iz angleščine Ksenija Vidic.

Viri Asplen, L. (2008) Going with the Flow: Living the Mangle in Environmental Management Practice, v A. Pickering in K. Guzik (ur.), The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society and Becoming (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), str. 163–184 Eno, B. (1996) Generativna glasba, predavanje na konferenci Imagination Conference, San Francisco, 8. junij 1996. Objavljeno v In Motion Magazine, Foucault, M. (1988) Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, L. H. Martin, H. Gutman in P. H. Hutton (ur.) (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press) Horkheimer, M. (1972) Traditional and Critical Theory, v Horkheimer, Critical Theory: Selected Essays (New York), str. 188–243 Huxley, A. (1956) The Doors of Perception, and Heaven and Hell (NY: Harper & Row) Lilly, J. (1972) The Center of the Cyclone: An Autobiography of Inner Space (New York: The Julian Press) Pickering, A. (1995) The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) Pickering, A. (2005) Asian Eels and Global Warming: A Posthumanist Perspective on Society and the Environment, Ethics and the Environment, 10, str. 29–43 Pickering, A. (2008) New Ontologies, v A. Pickering in K. Guzik (ur.), The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society and Becoming (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), str. 1–14 Pickering. A. (2010) The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) Scott, J. (1998) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press) Stelarc (2000) Interview Stelarc, v A. Mulder in M. Post (ur.), Book for the Electronic Arts (Rotterdam: V2), str. 24–32 Welsby, C. (2005) Chris Welsby, DVD (British Film Institute) 173

“Alitehnologija krši pravila živega sveta ali je morda neposredno nadaljevanje naravnega razvoja, v katerem je človek le eden izmed mnogih instrumentov samo-organizacije?


Tehnoetična ustvarjalnost Osebno raziskovalno popotovanje

Roy Ascott Povzetek Zanima me gradnja učnih in raziskovalnih organizmov, ki lahko izzovejo in razvijejo tehnoetično ustvarjalnost, hkrati sinkretično in vseprisotno. Na kratko bom predstavil nekatere dinamične modele pri katerih oblikovanju sem sodeloval v preteklih desetletjih v Angliji, Kanadi, Avstriji ter trenutno na Kitajskem. V vseh primerih gre za vprašanja analognih in digitalnih procesov in sistemov, s poudarkom na vprašanjih vedenja, multiple identitete in povezljivosti. Ne glede na to, ali so uporabljeni mediji nematerialni ali gre za t. i. mokre medije, so vprašanja zavesti ključnega pomena za napredek umetnosti. Sam zavzemam stališče, da je zavest, tako kot prostor, prvobitna. Zame je ideja o zavesti kot produktu možganov ravno tako nesprejemljiva kot tista o prostoru kot produktu telesa. Tako kot so se vidni in slušni organi razvili za zaznavanje in obdelavo prostora, so se možgani razvili za dostop do zavesti. Znanost nam pove, da vidimo manj kot 1% elektromagnetnega spektra in slišimo manj kot 1% akustičnega. Za doseženo stopnjo zavesti sicer nimamo merila, toda skozi tisočletja so se razvijale številne tehnologije za razširjanje ali povečanje intenzivnosti tega dostopa, tako somatskega kot kemičnega. Znanost ne more ponuditi odgovorov na vprašanja, kako in zakaj pride do izkušenj takšnosti (qualia) ali fenomenoloških izkušenj; nasprotno pa tehnoetična umetnost zagovarja usmerjanje zavesti preko vrste različnih tehnologij, tako arhaičnih kot sodobnih. Kar pa zadeva osebno identiteto – kaj pomeni biti Jaz – se izolirani, samotni jaz zahodne kulture po razsvetljenstvu uklanja prihodu generativnega jaza. Priča smo razvoju organizma z enim jazom v multipli-jaz, ki sodeluje pri evoluciji variabilnega polja multiplih realnosti. Ključne besede: tehnoetična ustvarjalnost, mokri mediji, zavest, tehnoetična umetnost 175

Na začetku moje profesionalne poti mi je poznavanje kibernetike omogočilo umetnost definirati kot sistem, ki umetnika, umetnino in gledalca združuje v izkustvenem in semantičnem procesu interakcije. Pred tem, kot študent, sem odkril dragocene vpoglede v dela Paula Cézanna, Jacksona Pollocka in Marcela Duchampa, ki so predstavljali tri navidezno nasprotujoče si estetike, za katere sem potreboval več let, da sem jih raztolmačil v svojem delu. Cézanne je zaslužen za moje razumevanje slikarstva kot organizma, ki nastaja iz neustavljive okretnosti umetnikovega gledišča in njegovega vzajemnega vpliva z delovanjem narave, kjer lahko le gledalec odpravi nepopolnost dela. Pri Pollocku se je ploskev delovanja z zidu (z ločevalnega elementa) premaknila na tla in tako spojila sledi umetnikovega (gestualnega) vedenja. Pri Duchampu se gledalec sooči z izzivom, da doseže subjektivni dogovor in razčlenitev naključnega pomena, ki leži v vsakem delu. Njegov pristop je nagovarjal tudi samoidentiteto, ki se mu je zdela vodljiva. Ta estetska triada je služila kot temelj (moje) digitalne umetniške prakse, ki jo določajo vedenje, interakcija, pogajanje, razvoj in identiteta. Moje spremenljive slike iz šestdesetih let 20. stol. so poskušale razložiti ta protislovja, tako da je vsaka prosojna ploskev nosila gestualen ali semiotičen element, ki ga je z manipulacijo gledalca bilo mogoče (pre)urediti v nova razmerja. Proces, ki gledalcu omogoči manipulacijo s posameznimi kosi, njihovo preurejanje v neskončne konfiguracije, me je pripeljal do namizja kot pomembnega prizorišča delovanja. Uporaba naključnih, domačih »inštrumentov« nadzora (lijak/pretok, rezalnik peciva/oblika, model/ kalup, nedrsljiva površina/rešetka, kljukica za perilo/spojnik) je gledalca povabila, da sede za mizo in skozi neskončno igro stopi v interakcijo s soigralcem. Ta dela so bila v resnici dela v nastajanju, pa tudi metafore v širšem pomenu. »Namizje« kot vmesnik interakcij je oblikovna metafora, horizontalna ploskev, ki ponuja številne točke dostopa, več vhodov, kot jih je dejansko bilo, polje raznolikih naključij, kjer vertikalna ploskev lahko ovira druge dimenzije, in, kot smo videli v renesančnem projektu, oblikuje naš način videnja in mišljenja. Ko pa je vertikalna ploskev enkrat podprla zaslon preobrazbenih dejanj, se je misel lahko ponovno odprla v nekdanji intelektualno-restriktivni dimenziji. Kibernetika je skozi mojo celotno profesionalno pot predstavljala združevalni element znotraj mojega kreativnega procesa. Leta 1959 so pisanja Rossa Ashbyja, Norberta Wienerja, F. H. Georgea in Heinza von Foersterja navdihnila moje razmišljanje o mrežah znotraj mrež − tako semantičnih kot organskih −, ki bi oblikovale povezujočo, preobrazbeno in generativno 176

umetnost. Takoj sem dojel, da bi to lahko omogočilo nastanek interaktivne umetnosti, povezovanje uma z umom, prostora s prostorom, znotraj celote spremenljivih sistemov. Svoje razmišljanje sem podal v besedilu »Vedenjska umetnost in kibernetična vizija«, objavljenem v reviji Cybernetica leta 1964. Takrat me je Gordon Pask, moj mentor pri vsem v zvezi s kibernetiko, vpeljal (kot predsednika Komiteja za obliko in udobje) v projekt Palača zabave, ki ga je skupaj z Joan Littlewood in Cedricom Priceom načrtoval kot interaktivno, spremenljivo »ulično univerzo«. Kibernetiko sem začel uporabljati kot kognitivno in ustvarjalno orodje, ko sem v Londonu (in pozneje v Ipswichu) vpeljal popolnoma eksperimentalno študijsko smer, ki sem jo poimenoval Osnovni študij. Odziv nanj je imel mednarodne razsežnosti, saj je pritegnil veliko pozornosti z nekaterimi bolj drastičnimi izzivi za študente, pa tudi z mednarodnim ugledom njegovih diplomantov, npr. glasbenikov Briana Ena in Peta Townsenda ter umetnika Stephena Willatsa. Študijski program je bil uspešen zaradi njegove izjemno spremenljive in združevalne narave. Pozneje, na Umetniški akademiji Ontario, sem umetniški, intelektualni in filozofski pomen svojega londonskega izobraževalnega procesa prenesel na višjo raven. Tukaj je dolgoletno razdelitev akademije na oddelke za likovno umetnost, grafično oblikovanje, modo in industrijsko oblikovanje »odpihnil« učni načrt s tremi glavnimi področji delovanja: informacija, koncept in struktura, vsaka od njih izdelana s pomočjo analize, teorije, hipoteze in družbene uporabe, ki naj bi generirale specifično področje predmeta. Večina študentov je bila navdušena; nekateri profesorji so se učnega načrta bali, predvsem tisti, katerih položaj se je zdel ogrožen. V zgodnjih sedemdesetih sem se znašel v San Franciscu. V tem obdobju je Edgar Mitchell, astronavt v Apollu 14, ustanovil Inštitut za razumske znanosti v Sausalitu, Jacques Vallée pa je oblikoval podjetje za računalniške konferenčne sisteme Infomedia v San Brunu. V ti dve »idejni gibanji«, ki ju lahko razumemo kot dve veji mojega poznejšega razvoja, me je v veliki meri vpeljal Brendan O'Regan, nekdanji raziskovalni koordinator Buckminsterja Fullerja in direktor raziskav na Inštitutu za razumske znanosti. O'Regan me je sprva seznanil z računalniško podprtimi konferenčnimi sistemi na Raziskovalnem inštitutu Stanford. Takoj sem dojel učinke tega medija na bodočo umetniško prakso. Pozneje sem zapisal: »Računalniško mreženje zagotavlja interakcijo med človeško in umetno inteligenco, vključuje simbiozo in integracijo načinov razmišljanja, predstavljanja in ustvarjanja, ki z vidika umetnosti lahko sprožajo neomejeno raznolike kulturne spremembe; v znanosti in filozofiji pa obogatene definicije človeškega 177

stanja. V bistvu računalniško mreženje reagira na naše globoke psihološke želje po transcendenci − po doseganju nesnovnega, duhovnega − po zunajtelesni, izvenrazumski izkušnji, po preseganju omejitev v času in prostoru, po neke vrste biotehnološki teologiji.« To je bil nekakšen manifest, s katerim sem se uspešno potegoval za nacionalno umetniško subvencijo, ki mi je omogočila distribucijo prenosnih terminalov Texas Instrument med umetnike v Veliki Britaniji, ZDA in Evropi na prvem mednarodnem telematskem dogodku, ki sem ga imenoval »Terminalna umetnost«. Leta 1980, ko sem se odločil, da se povsem posvetim računalniškim komunikacijam, sem si izmislil izraz »telematska umetnost«, s katerim sem definiral svoje umetniško delovanje. Že prej sem doživel trenutek razsvetljenja o vrednosti kibernetske teorije za mojo interaktivno umetniško prakso in tako sem tudi tukaj v telematiki prepoznal možnost novega povezovalnega medija za svojo umetnost. Z nacionalno umetniško subvencijo za projekt sem prenosne terminale razdelil med umetnike v ZDA in Veliki Britaniji. Ko je prvi projekt stekel, sem svojo bazo preselil iz Bay Area v Veliko Britanijo. Tam mi je bližina Francije omogočila, da sem bil priča prvim korakom »telemizacije družbe«, ki je izvirala iz poročila Alaina Minca in Simona Nore: la programme télématique. Takrat sem se lotil precej špekulativne raziskave, s katero sem projiciral možne izide za umetnost v okviru tehnoloških razvojnih dosežkov, ki so bili že realizirani ali napovedani v bližnji prihodnosti. Kar si predstavljamo, je pogosto zunaj tehnološkega dosega in to lahko predvidevamo le v jeziku − v procesu, ki zahteva formulacijo novih metafor in neologizmov. Zdelo se mi potrebno, da ustvarim izraze, kot so npr. 'telenoja', 'tehnoetika', 'kibercepcija' in »vlažni mediji«. Moje prvo pomembno telematsko delo je bilo La Plissure du Texte. Projekt je bil odgovor na povabilo Franka Popperja k sodelovanju pri Electri: Elektrika in elektronika v umetnosti XX. stoletja v Mestnem muzeju moderne umetnosti Pariz jeseni leta 1983. Popper je že prej pisal o mojem delu, zato sem bil prepričan, da povabilo ponuja odlično priložnost za ustvarjanje obsežnega telematskega dogodka, ki bi združil ideje in stališča, ki sem jih oblikoval zadnjih dvajset ali več let. La Plissure du Texte: Planetarna pravljica je skušala spodbuditi proces, ki bi vzpostavil neskončno, nelinearno pripoved avtorskega »uma«, čigar razporejena sečišča bi se preko velikih razdalj − pravzaprav v planetarnem obsegu − nahajala v nesinhroni interakciji. Če pogledam nazaj, vidim, kako skupek idej lahko ustvari kontekst za delo, katerega očitna preprostost prikriva generativni 178

proces, ki se lahko razcepi v številne oblike izražanja in ustvarjanja. Dokaz za to je bila verzija LPDT2, postavljena v virtualni svet, ki sem jo ustvaril posebej za razstavo Mobilna umetnost na Mednarodnem festivalu digitalne umetnosti Incheon v Južni Koreji, oktobra 2010, predstavljena pa je bila tudi na moji retrospektivni razstavi na [ SPACE ] v Londonu in na ISEI 2011 v Istanbulu. Za mojo razstavo na Šanghajskem bienalu 2012 sem ustvaril še dve verziji projekta La Plissure du Texte: LPDT3, ki jo lahko vidimo na namizju z vseh štirih strani, in v verziji za skype, ki vključuje 50 razporejenih avtorjev in sem jo preimenoval v Potovanje na Zahod. Preučevanje telepatskih sistemov od zgodnjih šestdesetih let dalje − telepatijo preko oceanov, komunikacijo z neikarniranimi v oddaljenih svetovih − me je desetletje pozneje pripeljalo do ideje o deljenem umu in do koncepta deljenega avtorstva. Pripovedi, spletene okoli neolitske, starodavne in srednjeveške »duhovne tehnologije« domače pokrajine − Avebury, Silbury Hill, Stonehenge, in Glastonbury −, so me že v zelo zgodnjih letih pripravile na poznejše preučevanje ezoterike in božje volje, ki sem ju naknadno odkril v kiberprostoru. Aprila 1970 sem izdal »Psibernetični lok«, ki je skušal povezati navidezno nasprotni sferi trde kibernetike in mehkih telepatskih sistemov. Po LPDT so sledili številni telematski projekti. Leta 1984 sem na Beneškem bienalu vodil projekt Laboratorio Ubiqua in zanj pridobil status mednarodnega komisarja. Projekt je zajemal katero koli obliko medijev računalniške komunikacije, ki so takrat obstajali. Podoben projekt v manjšem obsegu je predstavil moj koncept »telenoje« − 24-urnega projekta, ki ga je sponzoriral V2 Center za nestabilne medije iz Nizozemske. Šlo je za poziv k ustanovitvi osmega dneva v tednu z imenom »telenoja«, ki sem jo definiral kot praznovanje povezanosti v nasprotju s paranojo zahodne industrijske kulture. Leta 1989 sem ustvaril Gajina vidike: digitalne poti po celotni Zemlji in delo postavil na dveh ravneh v Brucknerhaus v Linzu za Festival Ars Electronica. Gajini vidiki so s številnih duhovnih, znanstvenih, kulturnih in mitoloških vidikov zunajtelesno telematsko izkušnjo v kiberprostoru združevali s konkretno realnostjo fizičnega prostora in pri tem spojili globalno razporejeno mrežo sodelujočih pri ustvarjanju in transformaciji besedil in podob, povezanih z Gajo − Zemljo. V zgornjem nadstropju Brucknerhaus je velik vodoraven zaslon gledalcem omogočil pogled navzdol, na podobe in besedila, ki so jih na daljavo prispevali soustvarjalci z vseh koncev sveta, ter interakcijo z njimi. V spodnjem nadstropju, v rovu, ki je potekal po vsej dolžini stavbe, so se gladalci lahko vlegli na elektronski voziček, ki se je pomikal mimo LED-zaslonov z utripajoči179

mi sporočili o Gaji. Gledalec je fizično sodeloval v izkušnji, ki je sporočala zamisli o nastajajoči kakovosti telematske zavesti v povezavi z Zemljo kot živim organizmom. Ko sem v tem obdobju sam in na podlagi izkušenj kolegov umetnikov spoznal potrebo po globljem razumevanju nastajajoče nove medijske umetnosti, sem na Univerzi v Walesu ustanovil doktorski raziskovalni program. Tako je nastal Center za napredne raziskave v interaktivni umetnosti (CAiiA), ki sem ga pozneje preselil na Univerzo v Plymouthu in preimenoval v Planetarni kolegij s središčem CAiiA v Plymouthu ter izpostavami v Grčiji, Italiji in Švici. Danes obstaja okoli šestdeset aktivnih kandidatov za doktorat, ki se ukvarjajo z doktorskim programom, 43 doktoratov pa je bilo že nagrajenih. Področje transdisciplinarnih raziskav, s katerimi se ukvarjajo, zajema umetnost, tehnologijo in zavest, skrajšano imenovane tehnoetične znanosti. Hkrati z magistrskim programom tehnoetičnih umetnosti detao razvijam cikel magistrskih razredov na pekinški Akademiji mojstrov detao v Šanghaju. Kot ločeno, a sorodno iniciativo so mojo razstavo na Šanghajskem bienalu 2012 prepoznali kot sinkretično kibernetiko, ki ob mnogih drugih eksponatih vključuje verziji second life in skype iz mojega telematskega dela deljenih avtorstev La Plissure du Texte iz leta 1984. V poznih devetdesetih sem obiskal Brazilijo. To je bil prvi izmed številnih obiskov, ki so se vrstili od Caxias do Sula na jugu do Fortaleze na severu, vključno s postankom v pokrajini ob reki Xingu, kjer živi pleme Kuikuru. Med temi obiski sem se vedno zavedal sinkretične narave tamkajšnjih duhovnih praks, ki so zajemale ljudska verovanja umbanda, kandomble, santa daime in uniao do vegetal. V mnogih primerih se načela šamanizma udejanjajo v sodobnih kulturah, kot na primer v današnji Koreji, kjer sem se imel priložnost udeležiti številnih obrednih ceremonij. V Braziliji so me seznanili s posvečenim napitkom ajahuaska, ki sproža spremenjena stanja zavesti. To sem dojemal kot specifično farmacevtsko tehnologijo, ki spoznanje in zaznavanje spreminja na podobne načine kot računalniško posredovana kibercepcija. Takrat sem vpeljal pojem treh VR-jev − validirane, virtualne in vegetalne realnosti. Prepričan sem, da bosta kemija možganov kot tudi zavest v širšem smislu glavni temi tega stoletja. Zato verjamem, da bo tehnoetični kanon oblikoval resno umetnost bližnje prihodnosti. Raziskave v smeri transformacije in razširitve čutil v naši kulturi so se v glavnem omejile na pet čutil, ki jih je določil že Aristotel in katerim je nevroznanost dodala še bolečino, ravnotežje, propriocepcijo, kinestezijo 180

ter občutek za čas in temperaturo. Najnovejše raziskave glede prilagodljivosti teh čutil in njihovega razvoja so trenutno v teku. Moj namen je našo pozornost preusmeriti na nekaj, kar imenujem »drugostopenjska čutila«, tista namreč, ki jih je razsvetljenstvo prezrlo ali zanikalo, današnja znanost pa nanje gleda s prezirom ali strahom. Izraz »drugostopenjski« uporabljam kot identifikacijo s kibernetiko, ki ta fenomen zrcali v svoji soodvisnosti od opazovalca in opazovanca; duhovna stanja in duševno zavedanje zahtevajo prvoosebno udeležbo, drugostopenjsko senzibilnost in nastajajočo sposobnost kibercepcije. Že imenovanje teh drugostopenjskih čutil lahko v nekaj sekundah izprazni sejno sobo ali prežene odbor za financiranje! Jasnovidnost, bajalištvo, metoda celostnega polja (ganzfeld), telepatija, medijstvo, astralno telo, ektoplazma, psihoenergetika, zunajtelesnost, morfična resonanca, prekognicija, psionika, psihometrija, daljinsko videnje, šamansko zdravljenje, telekineza. Vsi ti izrazi so že dolgo izobčeni iz prijaznega znanstvenega diskurza in hkrati so vsi osrednjega pomena za duševno življenje stotine kultur v tisočih letih. Po mojem mnenju bo v prihodnjih desetletjih vloga umetnikov razumljena kot navigacija zavesti s tehnoetičnimi sredstvi, ki jih bo razvila znanost. Da bo znanost vključila subjektivnost v svoj način preiskovanja in raziskovanja, pa moramo stalno ponavljati mantro »ne sprašuj, kaj lahko znanost stori za umetnost, temveč kaj lahko umetnost stori za znanost«. Starejša uzakonjena pravila znanstvenega raziskovalnega dela, ki so nastala znotraj humanistične ali znanstvene tradicije, ne ustrezajo raziskavam, ki jih opravljajo umetniki. Potrebne so nove teoretične raziskave, za podporo katerih sem prepričal založbo Intellect Ltd, da izda revijo Technoetic Arts (Tehnoetične umetnosti). Tehnoetično umetnost sem definiral kot konvergentno področje prakse, ki teži k raziskovanju zavesti in povezljivosti s pomočjo digitalnih, telematskih, kemičnih in duhovnih sredstev, ki zajemajo tako interaktivne kot psihoaktivne tehnologije ter kreativno uporabo vlažnih medijev. Vlažni mediji izhajajo iz spajanja (silikonskih) suhih računalniških sistemov in mokrih bioloških procesov z namenom ustvarjanja nove podlage za kreativno delo, ki sestoji iz bitov, atomov, nevronov in genov. Teoretska raziskava umetnikov 21. stoletja sledi petkratni poti, ki zajema: povezljivost umov, strojev in kultur, vstop v hibridni prostor spremenljive resničnosti, interakcijo s transmodalnostmi medijev in sistemov, transformacijo podobe, oblike in zavesti, nastajanje novih osebnih, kulturnih, duhovnih in družbenih predstav, struktur, vrednot in pomenov. Telematski vstop v splet, ki vodi do mnogokratnega 181

sebstva, nas onkraj predstavitve prestavi v zatopljenost v globalno zavest in v stanja sinkretičnega predstavljanja. Leta 2000 sem v Gradcu razstavil Vlažni manifest. Zaradi takratnega pomanjkanja umetnikov na tem področju ni bilo nikogar, ki bi celotno razstavo kuriral. Seveda smo v tem desetletju bili priča rasti biološke umetnosti, ki je vključevala več sto izvajalcev. Kljub temu pa sem mnenja, da v tem trenutku izraz »vlažni mediji« ne zaobjema več v celoti precejšnji raznolikosti najsodobnejših del, ki zahtevajo sinkretičen pristop k naravnim, umetnim in tehnološkim sistemom. Namesto restriktivne oznake »vlažni mediji« moramo prav zdaj prepoznati vse informacijske, biološke, nevrološke, geološke, kemične, kognitivne, nano-, astrološke, farmakološke, družbene in psihološke medije, ki prehajajo spekter med mokrim in suhim, naravnim in umetnim, utelešenim in razpršenim, otipljivim in bežnim, vidnim in okultnim. Umetnost se bo polastila nekaterih terminologij, konceptov in značilnosti nove biofizike: koherence, dolgoročnih interakcij, nelinearnosti, samoorganizacije, samouravnavanja, komunikacijskih mrež, praktičnih modelov, medsebojne povezanosti, nelokalnosti in vključitve zavesti. V umetniški praksi lahko sinkretizem postane metodološki imperativ. Sinkretizem v težnji po usklajevanju različnih ali nasprotujočih se mnenj združuje različne danosti − materialne in nematerialne − ter njihova filozofska, religiozna in kulturna pravila in običaje. Sinkretično razmišljanje je asociativno in nelinearno. Gibamo se v smeri sinkretične umetnosti, odražamo in razvijamo sinkretično kulturo v sinkretični resničnosti. Sinkretizem nam lahko pomaga razumeti večplastne poglede na svet, tako materialne kot metafizične, ki izhajajo iz našega ukvarjanja z razširjenimi računalniškimi tehnologijami in postbiološkimi sistemi. Uvedba sinkretičnega razmišljanja ima jasne in pozitivne učinke. Pospešuje tehnoetični razvoj, destabilizira konvencionalnosti razmišljanja, izziva predstavljanje, se bori proti dogmam, sooča z materializmom, zahteva udeležbo, hibridizira identiteto, mehča družbeno interakcijo ter prerazporeja čas in prostor. Po mojem mnenju lahko pričakujemo kulturni premik; v umetnosti iz modernizma preko postmodernističnega projekta do resnično sinkretične umetnosti. Vzemimo na primer gibanje od umetnika kot avtorja pomembnih vsebin in izjemnih izkušenj do umetnika kot avtorja, ki priskrbi kontekst, znotraj katerega pogled oblikuje pomen: premik od umetnosti kot objekta do umetnosti kot procesa in dalje do produkcije; in ponovno, premik od umetnosti kot vedenja oblik do oblik vedenja in sedaj do vedenja razuma. 182

Če pogledamo v prihodnost, vidimo, da naš planet postaja vse bolj telematski in vzbuja gosto in vključujočo globalno povezljivost; naš razum postaja vse bolj tehnoetičen in tlakuje poti razširjeni zavesti; naše čute razširjajo podaljški, oplemeniteni s sposobnostjo kibercepcije in prenove interesov kultiviranja teh drugostopenjskih (nadnaravnih) čutov, ki so strogo razsvetljenski fundamentalizem pregnali z repertoarja človeške senzibilnosti; individualna identiteta postaja mnogovrstna s tvorbo avatarjev in menjavajočih se osebnosti; naše telo je spremenljivo v fizičnem in virtualnem smislu; naša resničnost bo spoznala večjo spremenljivost in gladko povezovala raznolika področja. Zdaj, ko je naša podlaga v kreiranju naše resničnosti na nanoravni, dosegamo povezavo z materialnimi in nematerialnimi stanji bivanja. Posledično bo tehnoetično informirana umetnost postopoma postala bolj sinkretična oziroma tveganje bo v celoti izgubilo svoj družbeni in duhovni pomen. Razum v marsičem prekaša telo in pomen sebstva postaja mnogokraten. Identiteta je prilagodljiva, sebstvo je nujno. Smo s v stalnem nastajanju: ne celostno, temveč mnogokratno, ne kot eden, temveč kot mnogi. Dejstvo je, da nismo več enoosebni organizem. Postopoma naj bi postali vse bolj prepustni in transparentni − v duhu kot tudi v telesu − ne le za druge, temveč tudi za nas same in za našo samorealizacijo. Na tem mestu moram omeniti ključno delo pisatelja zgodnjega 20. stoletja, ki je prav v strukturi svojega dela združil mnogotero sebstvo z duševnim občutkom imanentne osebnosti. Fernando Pessoa, ki je skozi ustvarjanje heteronimov potrdil svoje prepričanje, da nikakor ne moremo živeti in življenja popolnoma razumeti kot zgolj ena oseba, temveč da moramo živeti sočasna življenja, da bi lahko dosegli višje razumevanje. Posledica tehnoetične evolucije je, da sebstvo gradimo na novo. Vsak od nas se ukvarja z izgradnjo in sinkretizacijo mnogih sebstev. Globlje kot prodiramo vase, več sebe odkrijemo. V tem procesu mora svojo vlogo odigrati tudi umetnost. Smo v neskončnem stanju nastajanja, v neskončno spremenljivi resničnosti. Spremenljiva resničnost vsebuje gibljiv prostor, ki je tako ontološko kljubovalen kot ustvarjalen, in kjer (tukaj so mnenja deljena) nestalnost in negotovost poganjata razvoj posthumane identitete in vedenja. Kot je raziskava Hugha Everetta III. mnoge prepričala v koristi hipoteze mnogoterih svetov, si vedno bolj želimo živeti v stanju spremenljive samobitnosti. Usoda umetnosti in odgovornost umetnika je usmerjanje zavesti na vse načine, ki bi lahko prispevali k definiciji in sestavi spremenljivk. 183

V prispevku sem poskusil v zemljevidu orisati svet, ki ga naseljujem, sinkretično resničnost, katere koherenca se nahaja v izvajanju praktične zavesti (duhovne koherence), v gradnji sveta (kvantni koherenci) in povezljivosti (kulturni koherenci). Tudi naš občutek sedanjosti je spremenljiv, odvisen od prostora, ki ga zasedamo sočasno ali ob različnih časih: duhovnega prostora, v katerem je naša prisotnost kot privid, ekološkega prostora naše fizične prisotnosti, kiberprostora, v katerem smo teleprisotni, in nanoprostora, kjer je vsa prisotnost v osnovi vibracija. Z obračanjem in dvoumnostjo, ki umetnost postavlja na rob mreže, moramo priznati, da je ta zemljevid v vsem, kar se tiče našega ustvarjalnega delovanja, pravzaprav ozemlje. Prevod iz angleščine Ksenija Vidic.

Viri Ascott, R. 1998. »The Technoetic Dimension of Art«. V: C. Sommerer & L. Mignonneau (ur.). Art @ Science (New York: Springer) Ascott, R. 2003. The Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness. Urednik in avtor razprave Edward A Shanken (Berkeley: University of California Press) Ascott, R. 2006. »Technoetic Pathways towards the Spiritual in Art: a transdisciplinary perspective on issues of connectedness, coherence and consciousness«. Leonardo 39: 1, str. 65−69 Ascott, R. 2008. »Pixels and Particles: The Path to Syncretism«. V: Alexenberg, M. (ur.). Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture (Bristol: Intellect) Ascott, R. 2009. »The Ambiguity of Self: living in a variable reality«. V: Bast, G., Fiel, W. (ur.). New Realities: Being Syncretic (Dunaj: Springer) Ascott, R. 2009. »Creative Cybernetics«. V: Brown, P., Gere, C., et al. (ur.). White Heat Cold Logic; British Computer Art 1960−1980 (Cambridge: MIT Press) Ascott, R. 2009. »Art in the Time of the 4th VR«. V: Bulatov, D. (ur.). Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age (1. del, Kaliningrad: National Center for Contemporary Art) Ascott, R. 2010. »Art at the End of Tunnel Vision: a syncretic surmise«. V: Scott, J. (ur.). Networking the Margins (New York: Springer) Deutsch, D. 1998. The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes And Its Implications (London: Penguin Books) Everett III, H. 1957. »Relative State« Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Reviews of Modern Physics. Zv. 29, št. 3, 454−462, (julij 1957) Mathews, S. 2006. »The Fun Palace as Virtual Architecture: Cedric Price and the Practices of Indeterminacy«, Journal of Architectural Education Nora, S. in Minc, A. 1978. L'Informatisation de la société (Pariz: La Documentation Française) Wolfe, M. 2001. OCA 1967−1972: five turbulent years (Toronto: Grub Street Books) 184

Narava tehnologij

Tehnologije kot narava

Pier Luigi Capucci Povzetek Ljudje imamo razvito simbolično sposobnost, kompleksen način komunikacije z besedami, pisanjem, podobami, zvoki, na posreden in neposreden način, sinhrono in asinhrono, v neposrednem stiku ali na daljavo. Toda ta simbolična sposobnost je pravzaprav tudi mogočna oblika »tehnologije« ter osrednji razlog za razvoj človeške vrste. Nahaja se v samem temelju našega odnosa do izumljanja tehnologij in ustvarjanja orodij, strojev in celo novih življenjskih oblik. V stari Grčiji je bila povprečna življenjska doba ljudi trideset let, podobno je bilo v času rimskega imperija in šele proti koncu 19. stoletja se je zvišala na štirideset let. Danes, približno stoletje kasneje, v t. i. »tehnološkem svetu« se je pričakovana življenjska doba podvojila. Ljudje so razvili širok spekter artefaktov, strojev in entitet, ki postajajo vse bolj vplivne, kompleksne, avtonomne in neodvisne. Do neke mere bi jih lahko označili kot »žive entitete«, ki širijo idejo življenja in življenjskih oblik. Vsi ti procesi očitno premikajo človekove biološke, kulturne in tehnične meje. Kako pa se zgodijo? Na čem so zasnovane tehnologije? Ali nam lahko ti procesi razkrijejo vsaj del vpogleda v morebitno evolucijo? Ključne besede: simbolična sposobnost, narava, tehnologije, živo / živeče, tretje življenje


Vsa živa bitja komunicirajo, na različne načine. S telesom in čuti sporočajo, da so ogrožena, lačna ali pripravljena na paritev. Nekatere vrste imajo družabno življenje, znotraj katerega nenehno iščejo ravnovesje med individualno komunikacijo in skupinsko dinamiko. Nekatere kolonije mravelj na primer oblikujejo družbe z milijoni članov in kompleksnim socialnim vedenjem, kot so urejanje prometa, javno zdravstvo, poljedelstvo in vojne, ki so v smislu taktičnih možnosti, oblik napada in strateškega odločanja presenetljivo podobne človeškim vojnam.1 Ob podobnostih obstajajo tudi posebnosti: človek ima sposobnost izražanja s simboli, zelo kompleksen način komunikacije skozi besede, pisave, podobe, zvoke na neposredne in posredne načine, sinhrono in nesinhrono, v tem in v oddaljenem trenutku. S splošnega vidika pa je sposobnost izražanja s simboli veliko več kot le orodje komunikacije. Gre za impresivno tehnologijo, najbrž ključni razlog za razvoj človeške vrste, za obzorje, v katerega se človek zazira, in hkrati za kletko, v kateri živi. Ta pridobitev tvori osnovo nenavadnega človeškega odnosa do izumljanja tehnologij in ustvarjanja inštrumentov, orodij, strojev in celo novih oblik življenja v prihodnosti.

Okolje simbolov Kdaj se je rodilo prevzemanje simbolov? Antropologom se to vprašanje zdi večinoma neumestno, ker se po njihovem mnenju pred ukvarjanjem s podobami lahko naslanjamo le na anatomske primerjave. Zagotovo lahko trdimo, da človek deli sposobnost izražanja s simboli, čeprav v manjšem obsegu, s primati, kot so šimpanzi, torej je naš skupni prednik imel to sposobnost že v svoji zasnovi. Korenine te sposobnosti potemtakem segajo približno 6−8 milijonov let v preteklost. Prevzemanje simbolov je spodbudilo oblike in orodja komunikacije, ki predstavljajo smisel naše vrste: govor, podobe, pisave v vseh odklonih, vse do sodobne medijske pokrajine. S simboli se modeli in projekti lahko brez težav izmenjajo, hitro delijo in privzamejo. Na primer: ko prvič postavimo kočo ali izdelamo učinkovitejše orodje, imamo možnost slediti ustnim navodilom, slikam in izkušnjam nekoga, ki je to že storil, namesto da vedno znova poskušamo sami in ne uspemo. Kočo tako lahko zgradimo ali orodje izboljšamo veliko hitreje in učinkoviteje kot brez pomoči, v dolgem procesu »preizkušanja«. To je značilno človeško vedenje: ljudje vedno zaupamo zgledom ali nekomu, ki ga lahko vprašamo za nasvet, preden v kompleksnem svetu sprejmemo dokončne odločitve. Kadar koli se name1 Mark W. Moffett, »Battles among Ants Resemble Human Warfare«, Scientific American Magazine, december 2011, str. 86.


nimo kupiti računalnik, knjige, odločiti za določeno šolo, zaupati banki in celo glasovati na političnih volitvah, najverjetneje obstaja nekdo, ki ga lahko vprašamo, nekdo, ki − pravilno ali zmotno − velja za strokovnjaka. V sociologiji se tak svetovalec imenuje »javnomnenjski vodja« in njegova ali njena vloga je pomembna za izbiro ljudi: še en dokaz za tesno povezavo med sposobnostjo izražanja s simboli in človeško družabnostjo. S sposobnostjo izražanja s simboli so naši predniki dosegli tri glavne in med seboj povezane cilje: znanje, zaščito in učinkovitost.2 Znanje o razumevanju okolja zaradi pretvorbe v simbolne modele, ki jih lahko delimo, izmenjamo, o njih razpravljamo ali jih izboljšamo; zaščita pred pritiski okolja zaradi vse učinkovitejših orodij, izdelkov in vedenj, ki smo jih izpeljali iz vedno kompleksnejših modelov; učinkovitost v okolju zaradi projektov, orodij in vedenj, zgrajenih iz simbolnih modelov, ki bi okolje lahko prilagodili, se zoperstavili njegovim pritiskom ali jih odvrnili. S pomočjo simbolnega sveta ter z izdelanimi orodji so naši predniki začeli spoznavati, nadzirati in upravljati z okoljem, hkrati pa so vzpostavili neke vrste »varnostno razdaljo« do fizičnega sveta, s tem ko so ustvarili človeško sfero, zgrajeno iz znanja, projektov, orodij, izdelkov, naprav, protez, strojev … Ob tem je človeštvo tudi v veliki meri uspelo spremeniti in celo degradirati svoje okolje. Prevzemanje simbolov je ponujalo celo vrsto možnosti, navad. Skozi simbole so ljudje ustvarili in delili znanje, ki je bilo ločeno od bistva zaznavne resničnosti. Ustvarili so laboratorij, v katerem je izdelava simbolnih modelov omogočila preizkušanje hipoteze in simulacijo njihovega vpliva na svet, iz česar je nastala sposobnost oblikovanja, ki je botrovala nastanku vse bolj zapletenih izdelkov. S simboli smo odkrili abstrakcijo, hipoteze, komunikacijo na daljavo v času in prostoru, zavedanje, domišljijo, izmenjavo kultur in znanja ter sodelovanje. Svetovi preteklosti in prihodnosti so se rodili iz simbolov in bili z njimi opisani. Skozi simbole se zbirajo in prenašajo informacije, izkušnje in vrednote. Simboli lahko posredujejo med človeškimi spori, tako da jih speljejo na raven neke vrste lingvističnega občevanja. V laboratoriju simbolov se lahko dogajajo eksperimenti z odnosi med ljudmi in zaznavnim svetom, pri čemer se korelacija s svetom vse bolj premešča v laboratorij. Ljudje so skozi simbole pospešili hitrost kulturnega razvoja v procesu, ki je našim prednikom omogočil skrajšati čas privajanja okolju ter omejiti ali se znebiti njegovih pritiskov. Dosežki, ki so zahtevali mnoge generacije ali posameznike ter stotine, tisoče ali celo milijone let evolucije skozi na2 Capucci, P. L. (ur.), 1994, Il corpo tecnologico (Bologna: Baskerville), str. 35.


ravno selekcijo, so se pojavili v le eni generaciji, in sicer s posnemanjem, prilagajanjem in deljenjem idej, konceptov, besed, navad; v procesu, v katerem so ključno vlogo najbrž odigrali zrcalni nevroni.3 Sposobnost izražanja s simboli je močno pospešila razvoj človeške kulture in proces ustvarjanja vse bolj kompleksnih tehnologij, orodij in izdelkov.

Pospešitev in hitrost Mnogo primerov tovrstne pospešitve se je zvrstilo od daljne preteklosti vse do sedanjosti. V kameni dobi, od prvih preprostih sekalcev do natančneje izdelanih ročnih sekir, čeprav se slednje menda ne razlikujejo tako zelo od prvih, obstaja vrzel milijona let. Milijon let si težko predstavljamo: najverjetneje so bili odkritja in iznajdbe v kulturi naših prednikov precej redki, tehnologije in orodja pa so se razvijali precej počasi in s kratkotrajnimi posodobitvami. Če izvzamemo pomembno nalogo preživetja v zelo sovražnem okolju ter nenadno in običajno prisotnost smrti, bi se najbrž precej dolgočasili v obdobju, v katerem se navidezno ni dogajalo nič. A med iznajdbo ognja in današnjimi neštetimi oblikami njegove uporabe je vendarle preteklo štiristo tisoč let. Ustrezna pospešitev se je pojavila tudi na področju informacij in komunikacij. Tisoče let, do izuma telegrafa, je imela hitrost ljudi, živali, stvari in informacij približno enako vrsto pomembnosti. O komunikaciji na daljavo v resničnem času so sanjale vse države, podprle so celo projekte, ki so temeljili na telepatiji. Toda v približno stoletju in pol − zelo kratek čas v primerjavi z zgodovino človeške kulture − so informacije doživele nenavadno pospešitev: danes lahko ljudje, živali in stvari pravzaprav potujejo z zelo visoko hitrostjo, informacije pa lahko dosežejo svetlobno hitrost, potujejo namreč več kot petstotisočkrat hitreje od ljudi, živali in stvari in še z izjemno nizkimi stroški transporta. Informacija je to neverjetno pospešitev dosegla zato, ker se je znebila nosilca, v katerem je bila kodirana. V latinščini ima »nosilec« dvojno funkcijo in dva pomena − hraniti in prikazati. V pismu list papirja hrani in hkrati prikazuje informacijo in ti dve funkciji sta neločjivi, zato informacije, ki jo pismo vsebuje, ni mogoče dostaviti brez nosilca, lista papirja. V procesu komunikacije pa moderni in 3 O zrcalnih nevronih glej: Rizzolatti, G. & Sinigaglia, C., 2008. Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience (New York: Oxford University Press); Iacoboni, M., 2008. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux). O zrcalnih nevronih in učenju posnemanja glej: Ramachandran, V. S., 2000. »Mirror neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind 'the great leap forward' in human evolution«. Edge − The Third Culture [online]. Dostopno na: p1.html [pridobljeno 20. 6. 2012].


sodobni mediji ne potrebujejo le enega nosilca, temveč dva ločena nosilca: en hrani kodirano informacijo, drugi jo prikaže. Pri filmu informacijo hrani filmski trak, prikazana pa je na filmskem platnu; pri računalniku informacijo hrani trdi disk in je prikazana na zaslonu. Na spletu kodirano informacijo hrani nek oddaljen nosilec podatkov, lahko pa si jo ogledamo na domačem zaslonu (pa tudi na milijonih drugih zaslonov). Torej lahko brez sredstva ali inercije materialnega nosilca k premikanju informacija potuje približno s svetlobno hitrostjo od nosilca, v katerem je kodirana, do mnogih, včasih milijonov nosilcev, ki jo prikažejo. Ta proces zahteva, da sta obe vrsti nosilca (hrambeni in prikazovalni) nekako povezani in kompatibilni s pomočjo sprejetih standardov in protokolov. Seveda pa mora obstajati tudi neke vrste energija, ki aktivira kodiranje, dekodiranje in prenos informacije. Pospešitev se danes nadaljuje tudi na področju medijev. Radio je potreboval 38 let za doseg 50 milijonov uporabnikov v ZDA, televizija 13, kabelski servisi 8 in splet 5 let. In če ostanemo znotraj spletnih komunikacij, je facebook v svetovnem merilu potreboval 4 leta za doseg 50 milijonov uporabnikov, medtem ko je skype potreboval približno 2 leti. Danes smo ljudje proizvajalci, zbiralci, prikrojevalci, razglaševalci in delilci informacij. Večino znanja o svetu pridobimo (je posredovanih) preko medijev, komunikacije na daljavo, tako hkratne kot nehkratne, pa igrajo ključno vlogo znotraj tega razvoja. Ljudje lahko takoj, poceni in z lahkoto komuniciramo na daljavo v resničnem času. Kar je stoletja predstavljalo sanje političnih, gospodarskih in vojaških oblasti, vlad, izumiteljev in čarovnikov, je danes tukaj in poceni. Zgodovino človeštva lahko resnično razumemo kot neke vrste tekmovanje za večjo in hitrejšo komunikacijo preko vedno večjih razdalj na vedno bolj dostopne in varčne načine. Sposobnost izražanja s simboli je spodbudila izjemno pospešitev procesa ustvarjanja vedno bolj kompleksnih in uporabnih orodij in izdelkov. Danes je »hitrost« zelo vprašljiva in kontroverzna beseda, ki nas spominja na okoljske, etične, trajnostne4 teme in vprašanja onesnaževanja. Leta 1997 sem se v Amsterdamu udeležil znamenitega dogodka z naslovom »Vrata zaznavanja«, ki ga je organiziral Nizozemski inštitut za dizajn in zrežiral John Thackara. Ta verzija dogodka je bila posvečena temi hitrosti in ko sem se vrnil domov, sem v reviji Domus objavil članek, v katerem sem zapisal, da »Potrebujemo 'hitrost' (kot je izraz splošno definiran), ker z naravo (prav tako mišljena splošno) ne želimo tekmovati kot poraženci in 4 Pojem »trajnostni« je bil prvič omenjen v Brundtlandskem poročilu, ki so ga naročili Združeni narodi in objavili leta 1987. Digitalna različica je dostopna na:


ker obenem gojimo tudi iluzijo nesmrtnosti. Kar potrebujemo za 'hitrost', je konkreten načrt […]«.5

Interaktivnost in posredovana komunikacija Omeniti moramo t. i. interaktivno komunikacijo, ki jo mediji pogosto opisujejo kot novo sodobno pridobitev s sredstvi digitalne tehnologije. V medčloveški komunikaciji kot tudi v komunikaciji med živimi organizmi je interaktivnost pravilo in ne izjema, kot pogosto trdijo mediji, vsekakor pa ni nujno vezana na tehnologije. Vsako živo bitje neprenehoma sodeluje z okoljem, v katerem živi (in tudi po njegovi smrti z materijo, iz katere je nastalo). Pred uporabo podob, ornamentov in pozneje pisav je bila človeška simbolna komunikacija predvsem neposredna in interaktivna. Od prvih slik in umetniških objektov pred 40 tisoč leti do izuma pisav pred 5 tisoč leti človek svoje znanje prvič beleži zunaj svojega telesa, v oblikah, ki niso interaktivne. Zato je resnična izjema neinteraktivna in posredovana komunikacija, ki je relativno nova v primerjavi z zgodovino človeške kulture. Kakorkoli, posredovana in neinteraktivna komunikacija je pospešila neverjetno širitev človekovih kognitivnih sposobnosti − skozi kroženje dokumentov, pisanih besedil, slik in nato tiskovin, knjig, revij, fotografij, glasbenih posnetkov, filmov, videov, vse do digitalnih dokumentov v današnjem času. Posredovana in neinteraktivna komunikacija širi moč simbolov izven osebne, sedanje, časovno omejene prisotnosti in krajevne dimenzije do te mere, da današnje človekovo znanje vse bolj temelji na njej. Ker pa je interaktivna komunikacija ključna, je človek iznašel tehnologije, s katerimi bi interakciji povrnil nekatere oblike posredovane komunikacije in jo vrnil na osnovno področje interaktivnosti, s tem ko bi prilagodil stare oblike komunikacije in izumil nove interaktivne medije (kot so splet, videoigre, metaverzi). Odkar je interaktivna komunikacija lahko učinkovitejša in privlačnejša, si nekateri neinteraktivni mediji z različnimi triki poskušajo nadeti videz interaktivnosti: pisma direktorju v časopisih, prisotnost publike v televizijskih studiih, telefonski klici v televizijske in radijske oddaje. Nekateri resničnostni šovi od gledalcev celo zahtevajo aktivno sodelovanje, s katerim krojijo vsebino oddaje in izbirajo udeležence. In končno, interaktivno posredovana komunikacija lahko odločilno vpliva na izboljšave pri poučevanju in izobraževanju. 5 Capucci, P. L., 1997, Doors of Perception 4. 'Speed'. Per un'etica della velocità. Domus, 791, str. 85 (z angleškim prevodom).


Življenje v prihodnosti Skozi simbole so ljudje razvijali svojo zavest, domišljijo, duševnost, samozavedanje; ustvarili so pogoje za preseganje fizične omejenosti »tukaj in zdaj« in oblikovali vzporedne svetove, iz katerih so se rodili obredi, mitologije in religije. Zaradi simbolov so ljudje, na morda hipertrofičen način, razvijali sposobnost projekcije, predstavljanja in oblikovanja prihodnosti ter načine življenja v prihodnosti. Pravzaprav živimo v prihodnosti, pomemben del naših misli, dejanj, dejavnosti, idej, projektov se nanaša na prihodnost. Za usklajevanje naših obveznosti s prihodnostjo imamo urnike. Gradimo spomenike za projiciranje spomina v prihodnost. Ustvarjamo podobe − s tisto posebno sodobno obliko spomenikov, ki jo imenujemo fotografija, da z njo izdelamo verodostojne in (do neke mere) neodvisne dvojnike: neke vrste cenene in kratkotrajne spomenike, izdelane iz papirja, ki naseljujejo duševno sliko sveta in včasih tudi njegovo domišljijo. Zaupamo vremenskim napovedim. Nekateri ljudje čarovnikom in astrologom plačujejo za bežen pogled v prihodnost. Denar je neke vrste neskončna zaobljuba: denar shranjujemo v bankah za varno prihodnost, banke naš denar vlagajo v prihodnost (čeprav pogosto na napačen način). Imamo zavarovanja, ki nas ščitijo v prihodnosti, in nekatera izmed njih so obvezna. Stavimo, vlagamo denar na borzne trge, tvegamo in špekuliramo. Dobrine kupujemo na kredit ali na obročno odplačevanje. Edina naloga nekaterih podjetij je napovedovanje prihodnosti in njena prodaja drugim podjetjem, ki jo vsi po vrsti vključujejo v svoje poslovne načrte. Etimološko beseda »projekt« izhaja iz latinščine in pomeni »vreči predse«. Kam predse? Zagotovo pred težave, skozi katere morajo vsi projekti, preden se udejanjijo, predvsem pa pred čas. Včasih svoje študente vprašam: »Ali ste tukaj zaradi preteklosti, zaradi sedanjosti ali zaradi prihodnosti? Očitno mislite, da boste s predavanji pridobili znanje, ki ga boste lahko uporabili v vašem bodočem življenju, ki ustreza vašim stališčem in načrtom (in zanj plačujete z denarjem).« [Tudi učiteljem mora biti mar za prihodnost, za prenašanje svojega znanja morajo biti močno motivirani, kajti takrat, ko bodo stari in upokojeni, bodo njihovi študenti stebri družbe, v kateri bodo živeli]. In kakšen pomen ima »upanje«, tipično človeški konstrukt in tudi ena od treh kreposti krščanske teologije, če ne vero v prihodnost z nastajajočimi okoliščinami in priložnostmi, ki ustrezajo našim željam?


Prvo življenje in Drugo življenje Človek je najbrž prva vrsta na Zemlji, ki se zaveda časa. Poskuša razumeti in prespraševati čas in se trudi biti pripravljen na prihodnost: prihodnost ga mora ujeti pripravljenega, čeprav gre za tvegano igro. Človek želi nadzorovati, množiti in celo omajati prihodnost, tudi onstran njegovih bioloških možnosti in sposobnosti. To poskuša v svojem Prvem življenju − biološkem življenju −, v katerem izboljšuje pogoje, načine obvladovanja bolezni in poškodb z vse bolj izdelanimi tehnologijami in orodji. V t. i. »Prvem življenju« je ta proces pripeljal do zvišanja povprečne življenjske dobe, ki se je od dobe Grkov in Rimljanov do konca 19. stoletja gibala med 30 in 40 let. V današnjem času, v zadnjem stoletju, se je življenjska doba skoraj podvojila. A človek je svoje življenje razširil tudi v t. i. Drugo življenje (ne smemo ga zamenjati s slavnim metaverzom), življenje v simbolni dimenziji. Preko medijev in novih medijev je to simbolično življenje zraslo iz ozke družbene razsežnosti v življenjski prostor planetarnih dimenzij. Oglejmo si bizarno kalkulacijo: če seštejemo čas, ki ga dnevno porabimo za pogovore in klepet, telefon, pisanje, uporabo računalnika in njegovih orodij, branje časopisov in knjig, gledanje televizije, kino, umetniške razstave, grafite, signale, indikacije, fizične in svetlobne oznake in oglase, armaturne plošče, zaslone in podlage, za ogled gledaliških predstav, predstavitev ali glasbenih dogodkov …, gre za pomemben del našega časa, še več, v tem simbolnem življenjskem prostoru ali skozenj sprejemamo večino najpomembnejših odločitev našega življenja. Odkar je človeštvo začelo uporabljati simbolno komunikacijo, je okolje postalo hibrid, kjer se realno in virtualno (simbolno) prepletata in soživita, hibridni prostor torej, ki ga lahko izkusimo tako fizično kot simbolično. Simbolna infosfera, zgrajena z digitalnimi mediji, je podaljšek nam znanega sveta, ki je resničen kot resnični svet. Življenje v simbolih je globoko preobrazilo idejo identitete, ki je postala kontekstualen, večslojen in virtualiziran pojem, določen z okoljem, v katerem osebek živi ali ga obiskuje. Simbolno bivališče je razdeljeno na mnoga okolja, ki so lahko precej različna in ne nujno med seboj povezana, tako da lahko osebek dopušča več identitet. Proces, ki ga elektronski mediji spodbujajo,6 poudarjajo mreže in telematski mediji, ki fizično prostorsko pozicijo prebivalcev simbolnih bivališč, doživetih v resničnem času, označujejo kot nepomembno. 6 Meyrowitz, J., 1986. No Sense of Place. The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior (New York: Oxford University Press).


Obstaja mnogo inštrumentov in orodij, ki ljudem omogočajo ravnanje in interakcijo s simbolnimi okolji. Prvotno so zemljevidi, skice in načrti s pomočjo tehnologij omogočili simbolno poznavanje, opisovanje in interpretiranje sveta na vse številčnejše in vse bolj izpopolnjene načine. Odnos do predstavljanja presega geografijo in planimetrijo: v današnjem času lahko tisoči zemljevidov simbolično predstavljajo rast spleta, aktivnost možganov, razširjenost virusov, bolezni družbe …, ko na prvi pogled ponujajo zasnovo, razsežnost in razvoj mnogih fenomenov. Z uporabo vse bolj preprostih in naravnih načinov, ki vključujejo telesno inteligenco in čute, nam razvoj človeško-računalniških vmesnikov, njihovo razmnoževanje in razvoj vmesniških oblikovalskih teorij v informatiki in telematiki omogočajo vstop v simbolna bivališča fizičnega sveta in interakcijo z njimi. V naraščajoči resničnosti nadaljnja simbolna plast podatkov prekriva sliko iz fizičnega sveta in s tem pomeša resničnost in informacijo. Z »Internetom stvari«7 bo človek lahko kmalu nadzoroval celotno umetno okolje in ga spreminjal v simbole, saj bodo vsi predmeti imeli IP-številko in se bodo lahko povezovali, izmenjavali informacije in prilagajali okolju. Z Internetom stvari se bo povezala celotna umetna dimenzija − ta vse bolj prodorna in razširjena materialna razsežnost, ki jo je ustvarilo človeštvo, pravzaprav Druga narava. Seveda se bo proces razvijal naprej. Preverjanje, nadzorovanje in upravljanje okolja je povsem naravna dejavnost živali, pa tudi ljudi, sicer z uporabo drugačnih tehnologij. Internet stvari bo pripeljal do medsebojnega povezovanja »umetnih« in »naravnih« okolij, jih nasitil s pretokom podatkov, ki bodo v medsebojnem stiku vzajemno delovali na že poznan, domač način. Obstaja že mnogo aplikacij: sistemi nadzorovanja zemeljskih potresov in vulkanov, napovedovanja vremena, spremljanja klimatskih sprememb, živalskih migracij in izumiranja vrst … »Internet vsega« bo prikazal sodelovanje in spajanje digitalnih, optičnih, bioloških in nanotehnologij.8

7 Sundmaeker, H., Guillemin, P., Friess, P. & Woelfflé, S. (ur.), 2010. Vision and Challenges for Realising the Internet of Things. Luksemburg: Urad za publikacije Evropske unije. Dostopno na: tispan/open/IoT/CERP-IOT_Clusterbook_2009.pdf [pridobljeno 6. 8. 2012]. 8 Capucci, P. L., 2011. »The Internet of Things from the user's perspective«. Noema, dostopno na: http://’s-perspective/ [pridobljeno 5. 9. 2012]. Razprava je bila predstavljena na mednarodni konferenci »Open World Forum«, Pariz, 23. 9. 2011.


Tretje življenje Dimenzija simbolov je vse bolj avtonomno vesolje, ki se stalno širi in preoblikuje. Temelji zlasti na simulaciji, proces simulacije pa najbrž predstavlja jedro evolucije.9 To »vesolje simulacije« lahko premeša in pogosto popolnoma nadomesti tisto, kar imenujemo »resnični svet«. Izdelki in stroji, ki so jih izumili ljudje, izhajajo iz uporabe simbolne inteligence, pogosto, kot v primeru umetne inteligence, pa izvirajo iz poskusa simulacije ali emulacije te inteligence. To, čemur človek pravi »tehnologija«, je v resnici njegova usoda, njegova posebnost, njegovo stališče. Celo sposobnost izražanja s simboli je tehnologija, številni jeziki, mediji, projekti, naprave, stroji pa so orodja. Tehnologije so »se prikupile« človeški biologiji, saj izhajajo iz sposobnosti izražanja s simboli, ki je nastala iz telesa in je neločljivo povezana z njim. Danes so tehnologije pomemben del človeške biologije, s katero se stapljajo. Človek je celo sposoben roditi nove vrste bitij, onstran njega samega. Življenje je najboljši model simulacije v izdelovanju orodij, strojev, izdelkov, naprav, organizmov, entitet, ki morajo preživeti poškodbe, napake, okvare, viruse ter avtonomno delovati v mnogih okoljih, ki se srečujejo z nepričakovanimi situacijami in zapleti, in se jim prilagajati, kot se to dogaja v življenju. Življenje je najboljši model, saj je svojo učinkovitost dokazalo v zadnjih štirih bilijonih let evolucije. Te težave že pozna, saj jih je ponotranjilo od začetka svojega razvoja: najboljša strategija je zapisana v ustroj, vedenjske vzorce in programe življenja, ki je že izkusilo svet. Včasih se določeni kompleksni vedenjski vzorci živih organizmov lahko spontano pojavijo v robotiki, umetnem življenju, sintetični biologiji in prikazujejo nastanek Tretjega življenja. V bližnji prihodnosti se bosta človeško življenje in kultura razširila onstran bioloških omejitev, skozi Tretje življenje, življenje, ki ga ljudje dajejo entitetam, ki jih gradi njihova kultura. Preko simbolne dimenzije je človek razvil celo vrsto podaljškov svojih možganov, čutil in telesa: orodja, izdelki, stroji, biološke entitete,10 ki hitro postajajo močnejši, kompleksnejši, bolj mehanični, samozadostni. Te entitete/organizmi, ki jih navdihujejo bioznanosti in biodinamika, postajajo pametni in neodvisni od 9 Capucci, P. L., 2009. »Simulation as a Global Resource«. Noema, dostopno na: ideas/editorial/simulation-as-a-global-resource/ [pridobljeno 5. 8. 2012]. Razprava je bila predstavljena na mednarodni konferenci »Consciousness Reframed 10 – experiencing [design] – behaving [media]«, München, MHMK, Univerza uporabnih znanosti, 19−21. 11. 2009. 10 Dodaten uporaben koncept so »biodejstva«, ki jih je uvedla Nicole C. Karafyllys. Glej: Karafyllis, N. C., 2008. »Endogenous Design and Biofacts. Tissues and Networks in Bio Art and Life Science«. V: J. Hauser, (ur.), sk-interfaces (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press), str. 42−58.


nadzora. Zato bi jih lahko do neke mere označili kot »žive entitete«, v procesu, ki bo jasnejši in natančneje opredeljen v prihodnosti. Obstaja veliko nastajajočih in razvijajočih se področij: samostojno delujoče sile in umetne oblike življenja, samostojni objekti, robotika in biorobotika, nanoentitete, hibridi (organski/anorganski), prilagojeni ali razširjeni organizmi, sintetično življenje … Ta rast in mnoštvo se bosta odvijala v sferi, kjer z lahkoto in samodejno dosegamo povezovanje, zbiranje, sporočanje in deljenje informacij s pomočjo računalniških tehnologij in spleta. Ali lahko to razumemo tudi kot evolucijski preskok narave? Kot korak naprej v evoluciji? Prevod iz angleščine Ksenija Vidic.

Viri Capucci, P. L. (ur.), 1994. Il corpo tecnologico (Bologna: Baskerville) Capucci, P. L., 1997. Doors of Perception 4. 'Speed'. Per un'etica della velocità. Domus, 791 Capucci, P. L., 2009. »Simulation as a Global Resource«. Noema, dostopno na: [pridobljeno 5. 8. 2012] Capucci, P. L., 2011. »The Internet of Things from the user's perspective«. Noema, dostopno na:’s-perspective/ [pridobljeno 5. 9. 2012] Iacoboni, M., 2008. Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Karafyllis, N. C., 2008. »Endogenous Design and Biofacts. Tissues and Networks in Bio Art and Life Science«. V: J. Hauser, (ur.), sk-interfaces (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press) Meyrowitz, J., 1986. No Sense of Place. The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior (New York: Oxford University Press) Moffett, Mark W., 2011. »Battles among Ants Resemble Human Warfare«, Scientific American Magazine, december 2011 Ramachandran, V. S., 2000. »Mirror neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind 'the great leap forward' in human evolution«. Edge − The Third Culture [online]. Dostopno na: ramachandran_p1.html [pridobljeno 20. 6. 2012]. Rizzolatti, G. & Sinigaglia, C., 2008. Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience (New York: Oxford University Press) Sundmaeker, H., Guillemin, P., Friess, P. & Woelfflé, S. (ur.), 2010. Vision and Challenges for Realising the Internet of Things. Luksemburg: Urad za publikacije Evropske unije. Dostopno na: [pridobljeno 6. 8. 2012] 195

tehnološko nezavedno “Raziskujoč kot medij, torej kot obliko in

ustvarjalni princip čisto nove generacije idej, se sprašujemo, kako se oblikuje jezik, ki gradi in opisuje svet tehnologij. Katere izmed diskurzov

tehnološkega nezavednega lahko

izpostavimo danes in katere bomo neizbežno morali rekonstruirati jutri? Ali je umetnik sposoben ponovno izumiti in zapisati same temelje tehnološkega mita?


Kako razumeti medijsko-kulturni imaginarij na delu Medijsko-arheološki pogled Erkki Huhtamo Povzetek Poseben način izvajanja arheologije medijev, povezan z razvojem teoretično-historične kontekstualizacije toposa, temelji na ideji literata Ernsta Roberta Curtiusa, ki je bila spremenjena v »orodje« za pojasnitev ponavljajočih se klišejev in banalnosti v medijski kulturi. Huhtamo idejo prenese na razne oblike medijev, od t. i. »peep medijev« in premične panorame do mobilnih medijev. Pristop je razdelan teoretično, govori o prednikih toposa in kako se lahko nanaša na različne vidike medijske kulture. Skuša identificirati posamezne teme, analizirati njihove krivulje in transformacije ter razložiti kulturno »logiko«, ki je pogoj za njihovo »potovanje« v času in prostoru. Teme, sestavni del toposa, so diskurzivni »motorji«, ki posredujejo motive, oblike in domišljijo preko kulturnih tradicij. Nič čudnega, da si jih je po svoje prikrojila tudi kulturna industrija. Ključne besede: arheologija medijev, topos, Ernst Robert Curtius, medijska kultura


Medijska kultura je tako v strokovnih kot popularnih diskurzih priljubljen pojem, a vseeno so jo le redki poskušali definirati. Lahko bi rekli, da se nanaša na stanje v kulturi, ko veliko ljudi živi pod nenehnim vplivom medijev (ki obsegajo vse, od časopisa do interneta). Komunikacija preko medijev vse bolj nadomešča srečanja na štiri oči – ljudje se drug z drugim povezujejo na daljavo s pomočjo tehnoloških pripomočkov in precej informacij pridobijo iz medijskih kanalov, s katerimi upravljajo vlade in korporacije (dandanes pa tudi zasebniki in podjetja). Z akumulacijo in asimilacijo različnih vrst medijev se vzpostavlja nenehno spremenljivo območje diskurzivne izmenjave, ki na vsakem koraku vpliva na vsakodnevne izkušnje. Medijska kultura se je na različnih krajih vzpostavljala v različnih obdobjih. V Angliji so bila na primer ključna 50. leta 19. stoletja. Tedaj je v sredini stoletja nastopila divja »panoramania«, namreč obsesija z gibljivimi panoramami (kar je bil eden prvih valov javne obsesije z mediji).1 Istočasno so se razpirali tudi drugi medijski kanali. Bliskovito širjenje stereoskopije je viktorijanske domove okužilo z vizualnimi mediji veliko pred prihodom radia in televizije. Virtualna potovanja, ki jih je omogočila, so imela podporo v ilustriranih revijah. Ljudje so s kromolitografskimi zbirateljskimi karticami in fotografijami carte-de-visite polnili zvežčiče in albume, s kolaži natisnjenih slik pa stene in kaminske zaslone. Na ulicah je bil zadnji krik mode lepljenje plakatov. Pike in črte električnih telegramov, ki so jih omogočili podmorski kabli, so povezovale celine in novice širile s hitrostmi, ki jih niso dosegala niti najhitrejša fizična prevozna sredstva. Medijski prijem se je širil vsepovsod, tako v smislu materialnih praks kot domišljije. Ameriška državljanska vojna, francosko-pruska vojna in svetovne razstave, pa tudi kolonializem, množični turizem, abstinenca, imigracija, urbanizacija in družbena gibanja, kot so sufražetizem, anarhizem in socializem, so skrbeli, da tem ni zmanjkalo. Izum telefona in gramofona sta okrepila zvočno dimenzijo ter razprla kanale za zvočno komunikacijo in posnete zvoke. Ob koncu stoletja so se pridružili neprizanesljivo delovanje rumenega tiska, filmske gibljive slike in brezžična telegrafija. Večina medijskih kanalov je sicer ostala ločenih, vendar so bile nastavljene poti za njihovo združevanje. Radio, televizija, internet in mobilna telefonija so še bolj razprli mreže medijev in privedli do celostne medijske kulture. Medijska kultura ni le gospodarsko ali družbeno stanje, je tudi skupno razpoloženje, ki si ga posamezniki, na katere vpliva, delijo in ga ponotra1 Erkki Huhtamo, Illusions in Motion. Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2012), 6. pog.


njijo do različnih stopenj. Ob koncu devetnajstega stoletja je neka Lady Florence Dixie zapisala, da: »Se je pred mojimi očmi gibljiva panorama zadnjih devetih mesecev odvrtela kot čudesna laterna magica.«2 Nenamerno je prikazala ponotranjenje medijske kulture. V svojih mislih je sintetizirala medijske oblike, ki so bile sicer ločene, in s tem ustvarila parabolo o trendih v zunanjem svetu. Izbrskali bi lahko nešteto podobnih primerov. Častiti Josiah Strong si ni mogel kaj, da ne bi povezoval medijskih oblik v istem hipu, ko jih je napadal: »Navajenost na časopise nam pači ali uničuje pogled, saj pozornost usmerja na dogajanja sedanjega trenutka in v mislih predvaja bliskovito spreminjajoč se pregled – nekakšno nepretrgano predstavitev neprestano razpadajočih pogledov, kar za povprečne možgane predstavlja nesmiselno zmešnjavo dogodkov.«3 Takšno kopičenje medijskih referenc kaže na vzpostavljanje medijsko -kulturnega imaginarija – vrste obstoja, v katerem so mediji začeli naše misli obvladovati do te mere, da so nadomestili druge referenčne točke. Na nek način so postali druga narava, panoramski simulaker sveta. Ključ za analizo vznika tega stanja duha je zgodba Charlesa Dickensa »Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler« (Pripoved o nenavadnem popotniku) iz leta 1850.4 Osrednji lik je starejši gospod po imenu g. Booley, čigar življenje je »sedeče in monotono«. Nenadoma se vse spremeni, saj ga prevzame strast do obsežnih potovanj po svetu. Pravzaprav pa je njegovo transportno sredstvo »gromozanska premična panorama oziroma diorama«, kar se nanaša na njegovo obsesivno navado, da je večer za večerom obiskoval potujoče panoramske predstave (ki so bile zgodnji predhodnik kina). V g. Booleyju imamo tipičen prikaz lika, ki je odvisen od medijev in se od tedaj kar naprej pojavlja v različnih preoblekah. Anekdote o likih, ki jim ne uspe postaviti ločnice med resničnostjo in njenimi upodobitvami, so hkrati znamenje, da se je oblikoval medijsko -kulturni imaginarij. Neil Arnott je v delu Elements of Physics (Elementi fizike, 1829) opisal nenavaden prizor, za katerega je trdil, da mu je bil sam priča na potujoči panoramski predstavi o napoleonskih vojnah: »Ko je mlad moški videl skupino Britancev, ki se je pripravljala na vkrcanje na sovražno ladjo, je ob vzkliku hura poskočil s stola, in ko je ugotovil,

2 Lady Florence Dixie, In the Land of Misfortune (London: Richard Bentley, 1882), str. 433. 3 Rev. Josiah Strong, Our World: The New World-Life (Garden City New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1913), str. 5. 4 Charles Dickens, »Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler,« v Miscellaneous Papers, Vol. I (London: Chapman and Hall, 1911), str. 222–232.


da v resnici ni udeležen v bitki, se je zdel precej presenečen.«5 Zanimivo je, da je časnik Brighton Guardian leta 1831 poročal o »zabavni prigodi«, ki naj bi se zgodila »v četrtek zvečer« v premični panorami J. B. Laidlawa o bombardiranju Alžira.6 Mornar, ki se je domnevno udeležil omenjene bitke, je skočil v »morje«, da bi rešil poveljniško ladjo Queen Charlotte – a je le predrl zeleno tkanino, ki je bila napeta pred sliko. Publika je doživela »električen« pretres, potem pa se vdala smehu. Leta 1843 je bil časnik The Albion tisti, ki je poročal o »absurdni prigodi« v Gordonovi britanski diorami v Edinburgu. Pijani mornar Jack je opazil »kritični položaj britanskih enot na grozljivem Kajberskem prelazu«, in preživel niz nezgod, ki so bile vredne »polnokrvnega mornarja« iz Laidlawove panorame.7 Protagonist kratke zgodbe W. H. Barkerja »The Battle of the Nile« (Bitka na Nilu) iz leta 1838, prav tako mornar, se spominja svojih pijanskih pustolovščin, vključno z napadom na mehanično gledališko predstavo Bitka na Nilu na Bartolomejevem semnju.8 Ko se je opogumil z »dragocenim požirkom iz steklenice ruma«, je namreč s pomarančami namesto topovskih krogel branil floto admirala Nelsona pred Francozi. Kombinacija vinjenosti, patriotske vneme in iluzionistične predstave je pripeljala do začasnega razpada normalnosti. Primere o zamenjavah nečesa, kar je resnično, z nečim, kar je navidezno, najdemo v mnogih različnih obdobjih in kulturah. Tako na primer v kitajski tradiciji obstaja mnogo zgodb o iluzionističnih slikah, ki so oživele, tako da so iz njih stopili liki ali da so ljudje vstopali v virtualne svetove na slikah.9 Obstajajo celo primeri, ko naj bi živali panorame zamenjale za resničnost. Pes novofundlandec, ki je domnevno spremljal obiskovalca Barkerjeve panorame o Veliki ruski floti pri Spitheadu (1793), naj bi skočil čez ograjo ploščadi za gledalce, da bi rešil ljudi, ki so se v morju borili za življenje.10 Isti topos se je ponovno pojavil stoletje pozneje, leta 1890, ko so poročali o mački, ki so jo podili iz prostorov za cikloramo (krožno pa5 Arnott, Elements of Physics, or Natural Philosophy (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1829), str. 282. 6 Zgodbo navaja tudi drug vir, kar krepi vtis, da gre za topos. »An Amusing Incident […],« A Political Observer (London: William Carpenter), sob., 16. april 1831, str. 12. 7 »Ludicrous Incident«, The Albion, A Journal of New, Politics and Literature, 11. marec 1843, str. 2, 11. 8 Bentley's Miscellany, april 1838. ponatis v Old 'Miscellany' Days: a Selection of Stories from 'Bentley's Miscellany' (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1885), str. 287–290. 9 Wu Hung, The Double Screen. Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting (London: Reaktion Books, 1996), str. 102–104. Omenjene anekdote se bolj približajo magiji kot tiste, povezane z Eidophusikonom in panoramo, govorijo pa o podobnih vprašanjih. 10 »Panoramas,« Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts, zv. 33–34, št. 316 (21. jan. 1860), str. 34.


noramo) in je poskušala pobegniti na drevo, za katero se je izkazalo, da je le naslikano na platno.11 Nikoli ne bomo zagotovo vedeli, če so se te prigode zares zgodile. Pri tem ne smemo pozabiti, da zatrjevanje, kaj naj bi ljudje videli z lastnimi očmi, še ničesar ne dokazuje – gre namreč za starodaven topos. »Poročila« so zlahka prehajala v fikcijo in nazaj, pri čemer se je resnica mešala z izmišljotinami. Morda so anekdote, ki zvenijo kot ustno izročilo, širili tudi razstavljalci kot marketinške domislice. Vse to se zdi znano. Glavni lik Edisonovega nemega filma Uncle Josh at The Moving Picture Show (Stric Josh na predstavi gibljivih slik; Edwin S. Porter, 1902), ki je podeželski kmetavz na obisku v mestu, na zelo podoben način povzroči zmedo na snemanju filma, ko mu ne uspe ločevati resničnosti od fikcije. Stric Josh je poosebljen literarni topos in naslednik vseh vinjenih mornarjev, ki so pol stoletja prej divjali po panoramskih predstavah.12 Filmska kultura ni podedovala le materialnih značilnosti zgodnejših predstav, temveč je tudi njen imaginarij zagotovil prostor za prej obstoječe diskurzivne formule. Za vse te primere bi lahko trdili, da kažejo, kako igralci s področja kulture reciklirajo diskurzivne elemente, ki že od prej pripadajo kulturi. Ti elementi dobijo nove pomene, s katerimi pojasnjujejo in »zagotavljajo obliko« vznikajočim kulturnim izkušnjam in spreminjajočim se kontekstom. Prej omenjeni primeri na svoje specifične načine pričajo o vse bolj razširjeni medijski kulturi in imaginariju medijske kulture kot njeni neposredni posledici. Čeprav posameznik ne more biti nikoli povsem zatopljen v omenjeni imaginarij (na srečo, bi lahko dodali, kot dokazuje trenutna obsesija s pametnimi telefoni in njihovimi vsebinami, na primer razvpiti primer na YouTube naloženih posnetkov ženske, ki pade v vodomet), je ta lahko dovolj vpliven, da usmerja obnašanje v resničnem svetu, kot dokazuje primer vpliva nasilnih strelnih videoiger na pokole nedolžnih mimoidočih.13 11 Zgodba je bila morda prvič objavljena v časniku Portland Oregonian leta 1889. Povzemali so jo časopisi iz tako oddaljenih krajev, kot je Nova Zelandija, kjer je o njej poročal Bay of Plenty Times, zv. XXI, št. 2899 (31. okt. 1892), str. 4. Bay of Plenty Times je v prispevku trdil, da se je zgodila »pred nekaj dnevi v prostorih vojne ciklorame«. 12 Podobne like so obujali tako filmarji, striparji kot pisatelji. Stephen Bottomore, I Want to See This Annie Mattygraph. A Cartoon History of the Movies (Pordenone: Le giornate del cinema muto, 1995), str. 52–53; »The Panicking Audience? Early cinema and the train effect«, Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, zv. 19, št. 2 (junij 1999), str. 177–216. Porterjev film je temeljil na delu Robert W. Paul's The Countryman's First Sight of the Animated Pictures. Charles Musser, Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company (Berkeley in Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), str. 192. 13 Za žensko, ki pade v vodomet, glej Norveški množični morilec Anders Behring Breivik je v manifestu zapisal, da je bila igra Call of Duty:


Toposi, o katerih je v kontekstu literarne tradicije prvi razpravljal Ernst Robert Curtius v svojem klasičnem delu European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (Evropska literatura in latinski srednji vek, 1948),14 so gradniki kulturne tradicije. V njih se kažejo tako kontinuiteta kot preobrazbe v prenosu idej. Z mediji povezani toposi lahko igrajo različne vloge – kot vezni elementi z drugimi sferami kulture, kot komentarji in izpeljave medijsko-kulturnih oblik, tem in fantazij ali kot formule, ki se namenoma uporabljajo za ustvarjanje dobička ali ideološko indoktrinacijo. Nekatere njihove pojavnosti so res lahko le lokalne ali zasebne (na primer poetične metafore, izpeljane iz tradicije), ponavljajoči toposi pa lahko simptomatično opozarjajo na širša zanimanja in kulturne vzorce. Raziskovanje »življenja« toposov je naloga za medijsko arheologijo, to pa je pristop, ki ga v zadnjih dveh desetletjih pomagam razvijati.15 Sam ga razumem kot način za prodiranje onstran sprejetih zgodovinskih pripovedi, razkrivanje izpuščenega, vrzeli in premolkov. A različni načini izvajanja medijske arheologije se med seboj ne ujemajo preveč dobro.16 Vplivna »šola«, ki se navdihuje v delu Friedricha Kittlerja, izpostavlja materialne dejavnike kot osnovne gonilne sile medijske zgodovine. »Kittlerjanski« medijski arheologi sledijo vse bolj tesnemu tehnološkemu oklepu kulturnega, od napisov na pisalnih površinah, fonografov in celuloidnega filma do strojne arhitekture, računalniške kode in digitalnih arhivov. Kittler v svojem delu Optical Media (Optični mediji; v naglici urejena zbirki zapiskov s predavanj) medijsko zgodovino predstavlja kot pravi »pohod strojev«.17 Izumitelje sicer omenja, a zdi se, da z njihovimi stvaritvami upravlja nekakšna zunanja strojna logika in ne človeške želje in Modern Warfare 2 »del njegovih vadbenih simulacij«. Priznal je tudi svojo odvisnost od spletne igre za več igralcev World of Warcraft. Glej Asher Moses, »From fantasy to lethal reality: Breivik trained on Modern Warfare game«, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25. julij 2011. Breivik je bil tudi lovec in član kluba lastnikov orožja, za svoj pokol pa se je navdihoval v desničarski ideologiji. 14 Ernst Robert Curtius, Evropska literatura in latinski srednji vek (prevedel Tomo Virk, latinske in grške citate prevedla Nada Grošelj), Ljubljana: Literarno-umetniško društvo Literatura, 2002 (op. ur.) 15 Svojo teorijo o toposih sem razdelal v »Dismantling the Fairy Engine: Media Archaeology as Topos Study«, v Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications, ur. Erkki Huhtamo in Jussi Parikka (Berkeley in Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011), str. 27–47. Podlaga za preučevanje toposov je Ernst Robert Curtius, Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter (1948), prev. Willard R. Trask kot European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979 [1953]). 16 O definiciji, metodah, orodjih ali celo področju medijske arheologije ni konsenza. Erkki Huhtamo in Jussi Parikka, »An Archaeology of Media Archaeology«, v: Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications and Implications, str. 1–21. 17 Friedrich Kittler, Optical Media: Berlin Lectures 1999, prev. Anthony Enns (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010). »Pohod strojev« se nanaša na klasični nemi film Eugena Deslawa (1927).


potrebe. Tisto, čemu Kittler provokativno pravi »tako imenovani ljudje«, se le redko pojavi v njegovih zapisih, ki so si prislužili oznako »medijske študije brez ljudi«.18 To pa je logično, ker Kittlerjeva medijska zgodovina govori o vse močnejši nadvladi bistrih strojev nad ljudmi, in to je razvoj, ki ga avtor s svojim antihumanističnim pristopom zagovarja. Digitalna revolucija kaže na konec (medijske) zgodovine in navsezadnje na konec človeka, kakršnega poznamo. Na Kittlerja in njegove privržence, pa tudi na raziskovalce vizualne kulture, kot je Jonathan Crary, je močno vplivalo delo Michela Foucaulta.19 Kot Foucault se tudi Kittler in Crary ukvarjata s preteklostjo, a jo večinoma uporabljata kot platno, na katerega projicirata teoretične formulacije in sheme, ki jih izpeljujeta iz sedanjosti. Povsem upravičeno sta pogosto deležna kritik zaradi selektivne rabe zgodovinskih dokazov.20 Vsi trije navajajo zgodovinske »organizme« na makro ravni in dozdevno opredeljujejo trenutke prekinitev med njimi. Kittler je pisal o »označevalnih sistemih« 19. in 20. stoletja, Crary pa slovi po predpostavljeni preobrazbi percepcije, ki naj bi se zgodila v začetku 19. stoletja in naj bi jo utelešali simptomatični optični instrumenti.21 Lahko bi zagovarjali, da so v podporo takšnim modelom izbirali ustrezne vire, namesto da bi jih preverjali in zagotavljali vsebino na podlagi celotnega nabora zgodovinskih dokazov.22 S Kittlerjem, Craryjem in Foucaultom si sicer delim zanimanje za diskurzivno razsežnost kulture, vendar se moje delo od njihovega razlikuje v tem, da ne poskušam predpostavljati večjih kulturnih formacij in razkolov med njimi. Bolj si prizadevam za razumevanje, kako medijski spektakli delujejo v lokalnih okoliščinah in med njimi, s čimer povzročajo 18 John Durham Peters, »Introduction: Friedrich Kittler's Light Shows«, v: Kittler, Optical Media, str. 5. 19 Za kritično branje o Foucaultovem prispevku k zgodovinski metodi, Patricia O'Brien, »Michel Foucault's History of Culture«, v: The New Cultural History, ur. Lynn Hunt (Berkeley in Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989), str. 25–46; Keith Windschuttle, The Killing of History (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 1996), str. 131–171. 20 Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New. Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2006), str. 10. 21 Friedrich Kittler, Aufschreibesysteme 1800/1900 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1985), angl. Discourse Networks 1800/1900, prev. Michael Metteer in Chris Cullens (Palo Alto, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1990). »Notation systems« bi bil bolj dobeseden prevod. Thomas Sebastien, »Technology Romanticized: Friedrich Kittler's Discourse Networks 1800/1900«, MLN, zv. 105, št. 3, nemška izdaja (april 1990), str. 584. Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1990). 22 Geoffrey Battchen je v svojem pregledu dela Techniques of the Observer izpostavil šibke točke v Craryjevem zgodovinskem konstruktu. Tako se na primer fotografija, ki je prav tako vzniknila v prvi polovici 19. stoletja, ne ujema s prehodom, kot ga postulira Crary, saj nadaljuje zaznavno tradicijo, ki jo po Craryju uteleša zgodnejši model camere obscure. Geoffrey Battchen, »Seeing Things. Vision and Modernity«, Afterimage, zv. 19, št. 2 (sept. 1991), str. 5–7.


diskurzivne »preobrazbe«. Sam zagovarjam drugačno arheologijo medijev in prek tega tiste ljudi, ki medijske spektakle snujejo z mislimi na druge. Njihove interakcije, tako kolektivne kot individualne, tako zavedne kot nezavedne, pa so tisto, kar oblikuje medije. To stališče, ki je bliže anglo-ameriški kulturologiji, temelji na predpostavki, da so gola tehnološka dejstva sicer pomembna, vendar je vloga diskurzov, ki jih obdajajo in oblikujejo njihove pomene, še bolj odločilna. V tem smislu podpiram ubeseditev Carolyn Marvin: »Mediji niso stalni objekti, saj po naravi nimajo robov. So namreč konstruirani sistemi navad, prepričanj in postopkov, ki so vgrajeni v prefinjene kulturne kode komuniciranja. Zgodovina medijev ne more biti ne manj ne več kot zgodovina njihove rabe, ki nas je vedno vodila stran od njih samih in usmerjala v družbene prakse in konflikte, ki jih sami osvetljujejo.” 23 Raziskovanje toposov, ki delujejo v medijski kulturi, ima pomembnejše naloge, kot je zagotavljanje intelektualnega razvedrila akademikom karieristom. Če sprejmemo misel, da v medijski kulturi ne štejejo le gola dejstva, temveč tudi diskurzi, ki obdajajo njihove pojavne oblike ter izražajo, širijo in preizprašujejo njihove predpostavke, se lahko preučevanje toposov razvije v orodje kulturne kritike. Daleč od tega, da bi s tem hoteli nekaj, kar je v kreativnem smislu novo, reducirati na nekaj, kar že obstaja, kar je že dokončano, a arheologija medijev nam lahko pomaga razumeti ravno obratno: tisto, kar je res novo in napredno. Pri doseganju tega nam lahko pomaga in do nepričakovanih rezultatov pripelje sejanje kulturnih materialov skozi sita, ki jih za topose uporablja arheologija medijev. Naj se zdijo obeti za pojasnjevanje »skoraj vsega« še tako privlačni, bi se morali potruditi, da preučevanja toposov ne spremenimo v lov na prikazni. Že mogoče, da semiotično vse lahko beremo kot znak, a moramo se vzdržati skušnjave, da bi vse interpretirali kot topos. Prav tako bi se morali izogibati obravnavanja tradicij toposov kot nekakšnih monolitnih entitet. Te se z raziskovalcem igrajo skrivalnice v okolju, kjer se je na nešteto mestih mogoče skriti za drugimi kulturnimi entitetami, včasih pa se zdi, da se te entitete spajajo s predmetom preučevanja. Najbolje je, da si topos predstavljamo kot začasno manifestacijo vztrajajočih kulturnih tradicij, ki se prek neštetih tem povezuje z drugimi kulturnimi pojavi, tako iz preteklosti kot iz kulturnega konteksta, v katerem se je topos pojavil. Pravi izziv pri preučevanju toposov v širšem okviru arheologije medijev pa je, kako v tem zanimivem omrežju medsebojnih povezav najti smisel. Prevod iz angleščine Alenka Ropret. 23 Carolyn Marvin, When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century (New York in Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), str. 8.


Viri Arnott, Neil, 1829. Elements of Physics, or Natural Philosophy (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green) Battchen, Geoffrey, 1991. »Seeing Things. Vision and Modernity«, Afterimage, zv. 19, št. 2 (sept. 1991) Bottomore, Stephen, 1995. I Want to See This Annie Mattygraph. A Cartoon History of the Movies (Pordenone: Le giornate del cinema muto) Crary, Jonathan, 1990. Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press) Curtius, Ernst Robert, 1948. Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter, prev. Willard R. Trask kot European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979 [1953]) Dickens, Charles, 1911. »Some Account of an Extraordinary Traveler«, v: Miscellaneous Papers, Vol. I (London: Chapman and Hall) Dixie, Lady Florence, 1882. In the Land of Misfortune (London: Richard Bentley) Gitelman, Lisa, 2006. Always Already New. Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press) Huhtamo, Erkki in Parikka, Jussi, (ur.) 2011. Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications and Implications (Berkeley in Los Angeles: University of California Press) Huhtamo, Erkki, 2012. Illusions in Motion. Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press) Kittler, Friedrich, 1985. Aufschreibesysteme 1800/1900 (München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag), v angleščini Discourse Networks 1800/1900, prev. Michael Metteer in Chris Cullens (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990) Kittler, Friedrich, 2010. Optical Media: Berlin Lectures 1999, prev. Anthony Enns (Cambridge: Polity Press) Marvin, Carolyn, 1988. When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century (New York in Oxford: Oxford University Press) Musser, Charles, 1991. Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company (Berkeley in Los Angeles: University of California Press) O'Brien, Patricia, 1989. »Michel Foucault's History of Culture«, v: The New Cultural History, ur. Lynn Hunt (Berkeley in Los Angeles: University of California Press) Sebastien, Thomas, 1990. »Technology Romanticized: Friedrich Kittler's Discourse Networks 1800/1900«, MLN, zv. 105, št. 3, nemška izdaja (april 1990) Strong, Rev. Josiah, 1913. Our World: The New World-Life (Garden City New York: Doubleday, Page & Company) Windschuttle, Keith, 1996. The Killing of History (San Francisco: Encounter Books) Wu Hung, 1996. The Double Screen. Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting (London: Reaktion Books)


imajo skupnega umetnost, znanstveno “Kaj raziskovanje in tehnološke inovacije? Kakšna so

možna razmerja med njimi? Kako lahko te realnosti vplivajo druga na drugo in spremenijo našo

vizijo prihodnosti?

Odgovorov na ta in številna druga vprašanja preprosto ni mogoče dobiti, ne da bi se dotaknili koncepta »znanstvene umetnosti« – trenda v sodobni umetnosti, katere predstavniki v svoji praksi uporabljajo znanstveni in tehnični inventar.


Tehnološko nezavedno ali dva scenarija resničnosti Alla Mitrofanova Povzetek Čeprav sodobno razmišljanje v splošnem zavrača dva vidika resnice, naravo in transcendentalno znanje, je odprlo novo polje prepletanja tehnologij, estetike, politike in družbe, ki bi lahko sodelovale pri konstrukciji variabilne resničnosti. Nova estetika – ali tehnološki objekt – se pojavi na točki prekinitve nekdanje, simbolične tkanine resničnosti, kjer pomen še ne obstaja. Razmislimo lahko o naslednjih vprašanjih: zakaj tehnološki, umetniški ali znanstveni objekti nastajajo kot ontološko nepopolni in zakaj jim tako goreče želimo pripisati oziroma dodeliti pomen? Zakaj novi umetniški objekti odpirajo boleča vprašanja smisla, tveganja in grožnje, zadovoljstva in obljube? Ali je nezavedno že bilo v tehnologiji? Znanstvena umetnost (science art) na radikalen način razlaga željo, ponuja nam nemogoče objekte in nas prisiljuje k aktivni interpretaciji – z namenom, da tem objektom podelimo smisel, pomen in etične pravice. Oblikovati bom skušala dva modela scenarija nezavednega, ki po mojem mnenju prevladujeta v sodobni kulturni situaciji in projektih znanstvene umetnosti. Prvi se ukvarja s kritičnim preobratom naravnega obstoja, z namišljeno celovitostjo telesa. Drugi se posveča nemogočemu znanju in fragmentiranim objektom. Ključne besede: epistemološki konstruktivizem, konstruktivizem in marksizem, transformirana oblika, kvazi-objekt, Lev Vygodsky, Merab Mamardashvili, David Zilberman, diskurz nemogočega znanja


Resničnost kot produkcija Osnovna težava vseh šol »neklasične« filozofije, ki se je pojavila v 60. letih 20. stoletja, je problem »resničnosti«, ki je ne dojemajo kot nekaj zunanjega, temveč kot nekaj, kar ima svoje sisteme delovanja v smislu imaginarnih, simbolnih orodij za konstruiranje objekta in subjekta. Vendar se na to tehnološko plat resničnosti v mišljenju pozablja, saj pripada nezavednemu, se skriva za politično in pravno terminologijo. Z marksistično govorico Leva Vigotskega (1896–1934) – ustanovitelja sovjetske konstruktivistične psihologije – to lahko opišemo kot proces produciranja resničnosti na nivoju instrumentalne in znakovne dejavnosti.1 Filozof Merab Mamardashvili nezavedno razume kot izhod iz koncepta trdnega zavedanja, kar je način za opazovanje konstrukcije resničnosti iz analitične distance. V svojih delih v 60. letih 20. stoletja je v filozofijo ponovno vpeljal Marxov koncept preoblikovane oblike (oziroma kvazi-objekta) – znanstveni in tehnološki objekti tako niso ontološki objekti, temveč so podani kot problemi. Da bi lahko postali objekti našega sveta, morajo prejeti pomen, morajo biti vključeni v odnose racionalizacije in tvorjenja pomena. Le kvazi-objekti lahko prejmejo status resničnega in postanejo dejanski, ravno tako kot je v dejanskost mogoče vključiti obliko, ki ima določeno vrednost, a nobene naravnosti. Analiza mora upoštevati metodo, v okviru katere kvazi-objekte proizvedejo njihovi historični subjekti, Resničnost je tesno povezana s pomenom in sistemsko racionalizacijo, dojemamo jo kot simbolno ekonomijo in morfologijo resničnosti. Ontološki objekti nastanejo v določenih označevalskih praksah, ki se skrivajo za svojimi produkti in učinki. Odnos med pomeni razvije določeno vrsto logične racionalizacije. Resničnosti zato ne moremo opisati kot samozadostno in dano od narave, lahko pa odkrivamo zgodovinsko podlago njenega simbolnega in imaginarnega izvora, njene kulturne pogojenosti in antropološkega ideala. Vedno obstaja lestvica za diferenciacijo kulturnih in političnih odločitev, modelov za racionalizacijo resničnosti. Nadalje se postavi vprašanje o naddeterminiranosti te produkcije. Imamo opraviti z različnimi vrstami produkcije, od katerih se vsaka usmerja k svoji metodi logike avtoritete in podrejanja, ki jo spodbuja notranji konflikt dominantnih in pretiranih pomenov? Mar ne bi mogli te naddeter1 Pojem konstruktivizem je v svojem Manifestu iz leta 1922 osnoval avantgardni umetnik Aleksej Gan. Omenjeni Manifest je v reviji Veshch-Gegenstand Objekt v Berlinu ponatisnil El Lissitzky. Epistemološki marksizem in konstruktivizem sta bila v Rusiji kot tradicija vplivna vse od empiriokritike v začetku 20. stoletja, a nista veljala za uradni trend. Vprašanje se danes pogosteje pripisuje konstruktivistični epistemologiji Piageta, Glasersfelda in Luhmanna.


miniranosti raziskati kot neke vrste »simptoma«, ki – dokler ostaja neprepoznan – vsiljuje ponavljajočo reprodukcijo določenih pomenov, drugi pa postanejo pretirani? Psihoanaliza simptom pripisuje področju subjekta. Freud v Načelu ugodja in načelu realnosti opredeli simptom subjekta kot physis, načine konstruiranja realnosti pa kot psyche. Za subjekt je simptom resničen. Omejitve polja subjektivnosti tako postanejo omejitve resničnosti. Radikalen problem na ta način ne postane upoštevanje naravnih pojavov ali družbe, temveč struktura nezavedne produkcije subjekta in njegovih etičnih predpostavk (želja), narava njegove logike smisla, kar samodejno sestavlja sfero pretiranih odločitev, ki niso sprejete. Lahko bi rekli, da je resničnost program, ki ga spiše programer – historični subjekt v okviru meja svojega horizonta delovanja. In programer je simptom resničnosti.

Simptom kot scenarij resničnosti Jacques Lacan prikaže nezavedno kot strukturo s strogo tipologijo, ki jo je mogoče zreducirati na tri osnovne funkcije: 1. simptom je prvi korak v strukturi diskurza. Njegovo mesto ima podobno funkcijo kot filter, ki uravnava odmerjanje alarma – služi kot meja sprejemljivega. Simptom hkrati omejuje ekscesno in neznosno ter razpira polje za distribucijo pomenov, hkrati pa vzpostavlja tudi temelje za subjekt. Od tu naprej je resničnost, ki jo bo ustvaril subjekt, določena s horizontom njegovega simptoma, prek katerega poteka izbor določenega scenarija poznejše produkcije. 2. Samo tista polovica, ki ostane del simptomovega scenarija, bo podvržena simbolni racionalizaciji. V okviru scenarija pa se izvede vse oblikovanje, merjenje, sistematizacija, pripisovanje pomena in teoretično delo. simptom – simbolni red eksces Simbolni red izoblikuje pomene in objekte ter logiko odnosov med njimi. Odnos med simptomom in simbolno racionalizacijo je »če, potem …« ali »nujno in, posledično«. 3. Simptom vzpostavlja tudi register ekscesov v odnosu »ali – ali«. Tisto, kar se označi kot ekscesno, se izključi iz racionalizacije, lahko pa se vrne kot prekinitev realnosti in kot zahteva po izkoriščenju zamujene priložnosti. Drže nezavednega diktirajo produkcijski proces, v okviru katerega bo poskrbljeno za subjekt in vrsto ontoloških objektov. Funkcija teh drž in odnosi med njimi se ne spreminjajo. Ven209

dar je simptom lahko drugačen glede na prioritetne vrednote, zato lahko spodbudi različne vrste racionalizacije. Bomo namesto produkcije produktov ali rezultatov zmogli videti postopek produkcije teh razlikovanj? Ali se srečujemo z zgodovinskimi in kulturnimi različicami simptomov, subjektov in resničnosti? Sovjetski filozof David Zilberman (1938–1977) nam ponudi preprost uporaben model. V delu The genesis of meaning in Hindu philosophy je ponazoril razliko med filozofskimi šolami in vrstami kulture kot predpostavko v analizi »dvojnega ne-vedenja«. Prvo nepredstavljivo (A) deluje kot temelj, kot nerazkrita resnica, kot tisto, kar je nujno za formalizacijo in teoretsko podporo na področju znanstvene, kulturne, družbene in politične teorije. Nerazložljivo se izkaže, da je to že vzpostavljeno v vrsti tradicije, v reprodukciji pomena in logičnih razmerij. Takšna naddeterminiranost se reproducira kot etična dominanta, kot antropološki tip, in kot takšna vpliva na značaj zgodovine. Njeni pomeni so skriti pred razumevanjem, a jih najdemo v »osrednjih besedilih« izročila, v dogodkih, ki zaznamujejo tek zgodovine. Resnica se v diskurzu izgovarja kot nujnost in želja; ni ne tema ne problem, temveč sredstvo za izpostavljanje problema. Je scenarij, v okviru katerega se nezavedno odvijejo modeli produkcije (A). (A) – B C V danem scenariju je mogoče proizvesti tako pojme in logiko, kot tudi znanstvene in sociološke teorije, ki vzpostavljajo in opisujejo dejansko zgodovinsko resničnost (B) v okviru meja svojega horizonta logičnih vrednosti (A). Drugo nepredstavljivo je tisto, kar se v okviru teh osnov v danem miselnem sistemu vedno dojema kot absolutno neresnično, kot možnost, ki je označena za ekscesno (C). »Tisto, česar ni mogoče vedeti, ni ne opis zmedene zavesti ne omejitev spoznavajočega subjekta, temveč senca nekega drugega izraza in kot takšna vsekakor nespoznavna.«2 Ko Zilberman uporablja razglabljanje kot dvojno ne-vedenje, mu to omogoči odkriti vrzel, ki prekinja stalnost in samoidentiteto razglabljanja ter deluje kot nekakšen perpetuum mobile. Ta prekinitev nadalje oblikuje celo vrsto razlikovanj med kulturami. Kot pravi Zilberman, lahko med temi kultu2 Zilberman, David B. The Birth of Meaning in Hindu Thought. – Dordrecht; Boston: D. Reidel Pub.; Norwell: Kluwer Academic, 1988. V ruščini: Zilberman, D. The genesis of meaning in the philosophy of Hinduism. Moskva, 2002 (136).


rami obstaja tako soočenje kot ločitev med filozofskim in znanstvenim delom. Simptom ima tako duševni kot zgodovinski horizont.

Znanstvena umetnost kot ekspozicija simptoma Če vzamemo stališče, da resničnost subjektu ni zunanja, temveč jo proizvajajo nezavedne dispozicije (simptom) in od njih odvisna racionalna razmerja, se lahko posvetimo naslednjim vprašanjem: Zakaj tehnološki, umetniški ali znanstveni objekti vznikajo kot ontološko nepopolni, in zakaj se okrog njih bijejo bitke za vzpostavljanje pomenov? Zakaj novi objekti predstavljajo boleče vprašanje smisla, tveganja in grožnje, zadovoljstva in obetov? V umetnosti se vsi »skoki naprej« v avantgardnih obdobjih povezujejo s poetiko in pragmatizmom tehnoloških revolucij (nova tehnologija = nov družbeni red = nova osebnost). Filmski zgodovinarji opažajo, da bolj kot je tehnologija opazna, močnejši je njen čustveni učinek. Novi estetski ali tehnološki objekt vznikne na prizorišču motnje v simbolni tkanini resničnosti, kjer še ne obstaja noben pomen. A učinek simptoma in želja po pomenu sta že tam. Nezavedno je že tam. Tehnologija je tako kot umetnost neposredno povezana s scenarijem simptoma in na podlagi teh fenomenov se odvije dramatično simptomovo prevzemanje scenarija. Znanstvena umetnost zagotavlja pozicijo za opazovanje simptoma, medtem ko »tehnično« in »estetsko« predstavljata nepopolne objekte, ki prelamljajo simbolno tkanino resničnosti. Znanstvena umetnost zagotavlja radikalno ekspozicijo simptoma, ponuja nemogoče objekte in nas sili, da jih aktivno interpretiramo – da tem objektom damo pomen in etične pravice.

1. scenarij.3 Imaginarna celovitost Lacan je sedemnajsti seminar (1969–70) o štirih diskurzih psihoanalize posvetil vprašanju diskurzivne diferenciacije. Ne da bi se prestrogo držala njegove teorije, bom poskusila prikazati dva scenarija nezavednega, ki po mojem mnenju prevladujeta v trenutni situaciji v kulturi. Prvi diskurz nezavednega, ki ga je Lacan opisal, je diskurz gospodarja. Opis njegovega simptoma je sledeč: majhen otrok se vidi v zrcalu kot celosten objekt in to poveže z »jazom«. Imaginarna celovitost »jaza« se zazna kot naravno dan obstoj. V psihoanalizi pa »celosten obstoj« ni dejstvo, temveč se razume kot vzpostavljanje dominantnega imaginarnega, ki temu obstoju podeli 3 Koncept prizorišča pisanja, ki ga Derrida predlaga v svojem članku »Freud in scena pisave«. Uporabili smo ga za prikaz temeljne vloge simptoma v razmerjih znotraj diskurzivnega polja. Sceno pisave je mogoče odkriti prek dekonstrukcije, pa tudi psihoanalize.


neizpodbitno vrednost. Simptom tega scenarija je naturalizacija posameznikovega jaza, ki služi kot nezavedna osnova za identifikacijo posameznika in niz njegovih podobnosti – celostnim ontološkim objektom. Dejstvo, da je celostni obstoj podan v imaginarnem, se ob učinku nasprotja »življenje–smrt« hitro pozabi. S tem nezavednim scenarijem se zažene simbolna organizacija, ki prevzame nalogo dokazovanja »naravnosti« posameznikovega obstoja. Imaginarno identifikacijo z naravnim teorija podpre, ko kot aksiom sprejme, da »obstaja določen objekt/posameznik«. Simbolni sistem v okviru tega diskurza razvije formalne logične dokaze – na podlagi izpolnitve »ukaza« zagotovi ne-protislovne načine razmišljanja v skladu z usposobljenostjo objektiviziranega obstoja. Za usmerjanje imanentnih objektov in posameznikov se pozove vednost. Tehnologija se znajde ujeta v službi določenih imaginarnih objektov in njihovega »naravnega obstoja«. Služiti mora namreč oblikovanju posameznika-objekta, njegovi zadovoljitvi, reprodukciji in uporabi. V tem kontekstu smo lahko pozorni na poskus Marcela Duchampa, da bi testiral trajnost določenega objekta (Fontane): objekt je mogoče vzeti iz njegovega funkcionalnega okolja, ne da bi ta izgubil svojo objekt-nost, lahko namreč prevzame novo življenje v večnosti muzejske zbirke. Ta objekt je imel dovolj imaginarne celovitosti, da je prestal spremembo konteksta, ne da bi se zlomil. Vsakršna druga možnost podkrepitve (kot so mitologija, tiranija ali barbarstvo), ki ni povezana z zagotavljanjem aksioma obstoja, vodi v eksces. Znanost je dolžna služiti naturaliziranem obstoju, mu zagotavljati dolgo in udobno življenje, hkrati pa ga nadzorovati in voditi, zato jo je treba prikleniti na moralne kategorije. Po tem scenariju je dovoljena subverzivna raznolikost vrst in je možen ljubki zajec s proteinom GFP Eduarda Kaca. S tem diskurzom želimo potrditi vrednost obstoja izoliranih, enkratnih primerov. Naturaliziran obstoj je z oblikovanjem večin in pod-večin mogoče razdeliti na elemente; mogoče ga je povezati prek sistemskega razmerja med elementi in ga vključiti v subverzivne in anarhistične politike, ne more pa zavreči svoje temeljne vrednote/osnove, z drugimi besedami, ne more prenehati biti diskurz določenih celostnih obstojev. Umetnost preizkuša ta scenarij imaginarne celovitosti obstoja, tako da sproža interpretativne konflikte. Poglejmo si primer.


James Auger in Jimmy Loizeau, »Onostranstvo« biobakterijski inženiring »Onostranstvo« je britanski post-punk projekt na temo človečne rabe trupla. V enem od scenarijev projekta je mogoče soprogovo truplo uporabiti kot vir elektrike za vdovine energetske potrebe. Ta potem na elektriko priklaplja različne gospodinjske naprave, vključno z nočno lučko in vibratorjem. Projekt se umešča na podlagi humanizma, saj uporabnost razpadajočega trupla ljubljenega moža obsega pretvorbo razkrajanja v elektriko in nadaljnjo uporabo v gospodinjstvu. Do katere točke torej ta projekt velja za humanističnega in na kateri točki postane ciničen? Kje se njegova zasnova sreča z ekscesom in uniči svoje diskurzivne osnove? V projektu se združujeta dve vrsti diskurza, saj je objektivizirani obstoj istočasno potrjen in zanikan. Biobakterijski inženiring ne pozna razlike med mrtvim in živim, med čustvi in električno energijo. Po drugi strani je scenarij določenega telesa-objekta zaustavljen, a še vedno predstavljen v dveh medsebojno izključujočih se različicah – razkrajajoče moževo truplo in ljubeča soproga, ki masturbira s pomočjo energije iz razkrajanja trupla. Situacija sproža več nasprotno usmerjenih nizov pomenov. V zgodbi o denaturalizaciji posameznika in disintegraciji njegove telesne celovitosti vznikne odpor. Tehnološka rešitev širi okvire sprejemljivega ontološkega objekta in gre preko meja scenarija svojega diskurza. Na tej točki se izkaže, da je rezultat izguba posvečene razlike med živim in mrtvim, ki je zagotavljala okvir za določanje subjektovega humanističnega obstoja. Vdova in njen mrtvi soprog tvorita simbiozo celote in raztelešenega, biološkega in tehnološkega, s čimer sprožita konflikt v imaginarni celovitosti obstoja, ki v svoji kulturni tradiciji predstavlja osnovno vrednoto. V tem umetniškem projektu diskurz gospodarja doseže svojo zunanjo mejo. Njegova strategija fetišiziranja je soočena z razpadajočim telesom, njegova uporaba in protetične strategije so soočeni z nemogočim čustvenim učinkom. Na tej točki se soočimo z dejstvom, da je nemogoče racionalizirati v okvirih lastnega simptoma. Vdova in njen soprog predstavljata niz ne -ekvivalentnih in ne-celovitih obstojev v scenariju simptoma imaginarne celovitosti posameznika-objekta. Ko se srečamo z nasprotjem, se približamo scenariju drugačnega diskurza, kjer ne moremo najti celovitega objekta, ker bo ta vedno le nadaljevanje fragmentiranega subjekta.


2. scenarij. Nemogoča vednost To je diskurz, v katerem se na mestu simptoma pojavi vednost. Kot prvo se izkaže, da gre za vednost brez vednosti, ki jo Lacan opredeli kot ljubezen do vednosti. Ko Lacan ta diskurz (diskurz univerze) označi za mazohističen, v tem sledi Freudu. Mazohizem zavrača celovitost posameznikovega obstoja, namesto tega pa podpre razcepljeni subjekt, ki gre izven svojih lastnih meja. Ta okoliščina pred Freuda postavi nerešljivo vprašanje svoje psihične ekonomije, ki si prizadeva za uničenje biološkega ravnovesja obstoja. Lacan mazohizem preučuje v scenariju »otroka, ki je kaznovan«. Ko je otrok kaznovan, to pomeni, da se od njega pričakuje nekaj, česar še nima. Starši bi mu radi nekaj dali – jasno je, da nekaj dragocenega – česar v svojih dotedanjih izkušnjah in znanju še nima. To je dar ljubezni in čezmernega užitka. Mesto »resnice« namesto celovitega obstoja zasede večpomenskost praznih označevalcev. Lacana je zanimalo, kaj v tem primeru sili in daje nagrade. Subjekt za svoje vroče razmerje z nemogočim plača z lastno fragmentacijo. Julija Kristeva predlaga drugačen začetek: otrokovo psihično življenje se začne pred vstopom v simbolno polje jezika. Otrokova prvotna izkušnja simbioze z materjo v tem, kar sledi, ne postane povsem odveč, temveč se vrne kot vrzel v nizu označevalcev. Simptom »odprtosti za nemogoče« deluje kot značilnost posameznikove identitete z odprtim koncem in kot njegova neenakost s samim sabo. Subjektov simptom je sprejemanje nemogočega, ne glede na njegovo ekscesnost in odvratnost (abjektnost). Ljubezen do nemogoče vednosti razpira večpomenskost praznih označevalcev in vero v radikalno revolucionarno preobrazbo resničnosti. Predlagam, da bi lahko vizualni simbol za sprejemanje nemogoče vednosti bil Malevičev »Črni kvadrat«, ki služi kot nekakšna ikona revolucionarni avantgardi. Simptom tega scenarija nezavednega bi torej bil zanikanje posameznikove celovitosti v korist razcepljenega subjekta, ki je istočasno antropološki in tehnološki. Ob tem vznikne večpomenskost, zahvaljujoč kateri so družbene identitete nepotrebne, saj se opremi z »ontološkim lutkovnim gledališčem«4 oziroma maškarado identitet. Ko se je Walter Benjamin znašel v realnosti revolucionarne Moskve, je opazil izginjanje transcendentalnega 4 Koncept »ontološkega gledališča« (balagan) je predlagala filologinja in filozofinja Olga Fraidenberg (1890–1955). Posredno je na podlagi rojstva žanrov v antični literaturi preučevala sovjetsko družbo v Stalinovem času. Mitologije in ideologije ni mogoče predstaviti kot zaokrožene celote, saj vsebujeta nekompatibilne plasti zgodovinskih in osebnih dogodkov (eshatološka pričakovanja, junaške dosežke, prenose in predaje avtoritete). Z ločevanjem mitološke misli od formalno logične je pokazala heterogeno strukturo resničnosti. V skladu z njenim prepričanjem mit ni metafora, saj deluje kot množičnost delnih identifikacij, ki v ontoloških konstrukcijah sprožajo nestabilnost.


horizonta ter učinek veselja in svobode, ki sta izvirala iz tega. A hkrati je vzniknila tudi revolucionarna ukinitev posameznikovega obstoja, kar je bilo za Benjamina izjemno boleče. Takšna vednost se namreč ne more formalizirati v okviru stabilne simbolne strukture, temveč je željna reproduciranja protislovij, dialektike in historičnih procesov. Kako naj torej ta diskurz formalizira svoje znanstvene in ontološke objekte? Nemogoča vednost in fragmentacija subjekta prikličeta dialektični navzkrižni vetrič stvarnosti. Gagarin je poletel v vesolje, da bi ljudem prinesel darilo novega prostora, da bi sunkoma razprl svet življenja proti nemogoči vednosti, da bi odigral večpomenskost simbioze z materinim telesom. V manifestu Nikolaja Tarabukina »Od platna do stroja« (1923) umetnost Proletkulta na podlagi nove tehnologije zgradi novo obliko življenja in družbe. V vaseh dobijo elektriko in radio, nove naprave spremenijo tradicionalne načine življenja, oblikujejo se nova telesa in nastopi seksualna revolucija. Umetniki-agitatorji gredo v vasi in industrijske družbene preobrazbe navdajo s političnimi pomeni novega revolucionarnega vsakodnevnega življenja. Tovrsten strel na slepo temelji na radikalnem sprejetju nemogoče vednosti. Subjekt potrebuje nemogoč objekt, v tem sta njegov obet in njegov užitek. Pripravljen je prenesti svoje namene na neznano, posega v horizont lastne resničnosti. Racionalizacija tega scenarija nezavednega je odnos do nečesa heterogenega, združitev raznolikih fragmentov resničnosti prek asociacij, obrobnih in kontekstualnih povezav. Feministična psihoanaliza in politična filozofija ta scenarij uporabljata s pozicije radikalne demokracije. Travmatične posledice se manifestirajo v obliki radikalnega zavračanja sistemske racionalizacije dejanskosti. Resničnost nima vrednosti, v kolikor jo je treba tako ali tako napisati na novo in premagati. Iz vidika politike tradicija radikalne demokracije pogosto sproži tragične posledice – kot na primer tedaj, ko politika množice opogumi k sodelovanju, potem pa jih ni sposobna obvladovati in razveljavi na zakonih utemeljen režim, namesto česar zahteva »izredno stanje« in zatiranje razlik. V populistični različici lahko fragmentiran subjekt nadomesti njegov zastopnik – avtoritativni lik analitika, velikega znanstvenika, deležnika in voditelja narodov. Temu liku se posledično preda funkcije »tako imenovanega znalca«. (Pomnite, da 1. scenarij svoj politični program veže na pluralno demokracijo, 2. scenarij pa se povezuje z radikalno demokracijo.) Znanost kot ljubezen do vednosti (kar je zaznamovalo njen diskurz v 20. stoletju) mora izpostavljati nova vprašanja in nasprotja, odpirati nove horizonte, ustvarjati nove tehnologije za preobražanje matrice resničnosti subjekt-objekt. Ob nezavednem takšne vrste resničnost obstaja kot nepo215

poln model, znotraj katerega so mogoče revolucionarne preobrazbe, saj vsebuje emancipatorni nagon. Resničnost heterogene sestavine povezuje z »ontološkim lutkovnim gledališčem« nepredvidenih dejanj neznanih udeležencev. Različico poti ven do meja mogočega najdemo v delih kanadske umetnice Tagny Duff. Njene knjige, ki so s kirurškimi šivi zašite iz človeške kože, so heterogene shrambe spomina, ki metaforo telesnega uporabljajo namesto besedilnega. Objekti, ki nastanejo, postanejo abjektni – s pomočjo česar Kristeva govori o odvratnosti in semiotični ekscesivnosti. V scenariju sprejemanja nemogoče vednosti (razcepljenega subjekta) vzniknejo »fragmentirani heterogeni objekti«, ki tvorijo boleče vmesnike med nekompatibilnimi pomeni. Ta pristop ni humanističen, temveč občečloveški. Umetniška skupina »Kamor bežijo psi« (Kuda begut sobaki) iz Jekaterinburga ustvarja instalacije, ki po besedah nekega umetnostnega kritika ne izhajajo »iz redukcije na matematični ali biološki jezik«, temveč so izvedene kot »poskus, ki razpira nove horizonte v strasti do narave«.5 V teh delih raziskujejo stapljanje semiotičnega s tehnološkim, kar občečloveškemu fragmentiranemu subjektu diktira scenarij izhoda. V tem diskurzu lahko prepoznamo nove objekte znanstvene umetnosti ne kot odtujene naravne objekte, ki bi potrebovali nepristransko preučevanje, temveč kot konflikte in prelome v simbolnem pokrivanju resničnosti, ki zahtevajo preoblikovanje subjekta in njegovih /resničnosti/objektov za racionalizacijo. Vprašanji subjekta in tehnologije tako potegnemo v en sam nedeljiv proces konstruiranja resničnosti. A sama produkcijska procesa sta ločena. Določajo ju scenariji – simptomi nezavednega in vsak na podlagi svojega niza objektov, pomenov, vrst racionalizacij in smisla tvorita ločene sisteme delovanja. Nezavedno nam omogoča iz vidika razlikovanja opazovati produkcijo resničnosti, pri čemer so v našo domeno vključene tiste možnosti, ki si jih vsaka posamezna kultura ni sposobna sama domisliti. Idealen rezultat tega dela vsebuje sprostitev poti simptoma, razumevanje razlik, ne da bi izgubili značilne lastnosti lastnih kulturnih temeljev – pri čemer diskurza (ali kulturnega tipa) Drugega ne razumemo kot barbarstvo, konflikt, ali tisto, »česar nočem poznati«, temveč kot delitev dela in bujnost razlik. Prevod iz angleščine Alenka Ropret. 5 Marina Sokolovskaya, “Digitization of water”,


Hibridno kot subverzija telesnega:

strategije hibridizacije Dmitry V. Galkin

Povzetek Če umetnost razumemo kot sistem za zgodnje opozarjanje družbe na to, kaj se bo z njo zgodilo v prihodnje (M. McLuhan, toda ne izključno), lahko rečemo, da so tudi umetniški eksperimenti z biologijo in biotehnologijo na področju hibridne umetnosti v 21. stoletju na podoben način preroški, kot je bila kibernetična umetnost v 1960-ih, ki je napovedovala prihod digitalne kulture. V tem premiku k novi kulturi »neo« (umetnega) življenja ostaja hibridnost eden ključnih konceptov in tranzicijskih struktur. Če torej razumemo različne načine eksperimentiranja sodobnih umetnikov s hibridnimi oblikami, se lahko najbrž približamo tudi globljemu razumevanju prihajajoče kulture novoživosti (neolife). V besedilu se ukvarjamo z idejo drugačnega pogleda na meso (telo), kar nam predstavlja izhodišče za razmislek o hibridnosti skozi teorije umetniških del avtorjev kot so Guy Ben-Ary, Stelarc, Joe Davis, Tuur van Balen, Julia Reodica, James Auger in Jimmy Loizeau. Pri tem analiziramo različne tipe in primere: industrijske hibride, hibride tehno-bio-bitij, novo arhitekturo telesa. Metodologija se naslanja na zgodnje modernistične, radikalne eksperimente bio-inženiringa, ki sta jih izvajala ruski zoolog Ilja Ivanov in kirurg Serge Voronoff. S svojim delom sta naredila praktičen korak pri razvoju izboljšav človeškega telesa s pomočjo živalskih organov in hkrati izzvala etične, družbene in politične omejitve v zvezi z drugačnim odnosom do mesa. Ključne besede: tehnološka umetnost, hibridna umetnost, digitalna kultura, umetno življenje, umetnost in znanost 217

Subverzija telesnega Od 70. let 20. stoletja dalje smo samozavestno in vzajemno prevzemali tehnološki mit o digitalni kulturi oziroma mit o nematerialnem informacijskem svetu interaktivnih podob na zaslonu, v okviru katerega se sodobni človek potaplja v vzporedno virtualno vesolje. Potem pa nas je po telefonu poklicala zgodovina sama in štiričrkovni ton zvonjenja – »NBIC!« (nanotehnologija, biotehnologija, informacijska tehnologija in kognitivna znanost, op. p.) – je razglasil, da se snovni svet vrača v obliki nove tehnološke snovnosti, namreč konvergence nano-, bio-, info- in kognitivnih tehnologij, v katerimi obvladujemo zasnovo in proizvodnjo novih snovnih predmetov in novih parametrov snovnosti. S tem epohalnim tektonskim premikom smo dobili nove ontološke in antropološke izzive, povezane s ponovnim premislekom naših predstav o človeku, o bistvu življenja, o mejah med naravo in kulturo, o temeljih moralnosti in prava. In kadar se odkrito postavlja vprašanje o mejah tistega, kar je, in tistega, kar bi moralo biti, mora pristopiti umetnik, saj v umetnosti ni bolj pomembnega vprašanja od preverjanja trdnosti katere koli ali vseh meja. Raztrgati meje telesnega in dokončati njegovo subverzijo v gradbene surovine, tako bi morda lahko formulirali poslanstvo sodobne biotehnološke umetnosti. Na tem mestu se sodobna znanstvena umetnost bolj kot kdajkoli približa znanstvenim poskusom v medicini, nevropsihologiji in biologiji. Umetnikom so se odprle nove možnosti, da iz bioloških surovin pridobijo nove oblike življenja – umetno življenje. Za doseganje tega se uporabljajo različne strategije hibridizacije, s pomočjo katerih eksperimentatorji v umetnosti zarisujejo mogoča obzorja za vdor tehnoloških materialov v živo meso in variacije realističnih utelešenj hibridnih mešanic tehnoloških sistemov z nečim živim ali vsaj napol živim. A kako naj bi v tem primeru pojasnili hibridizacijo? Po eni strani je v strogem biološkem pomenu hibrid zmagoslavje sinteze različnih vrst žive snovi (posebej v obliki posameznih organizmov). Po drugi strani je hibrid zelo pomembna in uporabna metafora oziroma koncept, ki nam pomaga opisati družbene in kulturne procese. Kaj pa, če bi se za edinstvenost in plodnost strategij hibridizacije slučajno izkazalo, da ju vsebuje dejstvo, da je hibrid zveza koncepta sinteze in same sintetične strukture, da je torej zamisel, ki je odkrila živo materijo in jo na novo sestavila v drugačno obliko? Kot programska oprema, ki zasnuje svojo lastno strojno opremo?


Zamisel o hibridnem bitju seveda ni nova. Brez težav jo najdemo v podobi antičnih kentavrov ali srednjeveških pošasti. Najdemo jih v podobah, ne pa tudi iz mesa in krvi! Seveda se je o hibridizaciji v kulturologiji razpravljalo že velikokrat. Spomniti se moramo Marshalla McLuhana, ki svojo logiko razvoja medijev od govorjene besede do robotov predstavlja kot logiko dvakratne hibridizacije – snovanja antropo-tehnološkega hibrida (oziroma tehnologije kot nadaljevanja in podaljška našega živčnega sistema) kot tudi različnih hibridnih oblik medijev med njimi samimi (McLuhan, 2001). Odo v čast kiborgom – hibridom med ljudmi in stroji – so peli futuristi (treba je le ponovno prebrati futuristični manifest iz leta 1909), pozneje pa so temo naprej razvijali v teoretičnem feminizmu (Donna Haraway), v cyberpunku (William Gibson) in v sodobnem transhumanizmu. A če želimo hibridizacijo uvesti kot strategijo, je nujno, da najprej telesno na konceptualen in instrumentalen način umaknemo s piedestala, kjer vlada kot individualni organizem, kot edinstvena živa oblika, na raven biomase, surovine za eksperimente in za ustvarjanje novih vrst, hkrati pa mu ne vzamemo moči, temveč ga radikalno preobrazimo. Takšna poteza ne predstavlja izziva samo naravnim mejnikom biološkega življenja, temveč tudi moralnim omejitvam družbenega reda in političnega sistema. Veliko tega, kar danes počnejo umetniki in znanstveniki, ki se ukvarjajo s hibridi, so že preizkušali in uporabljali v obdobju razcveta boljševiške različice modernizma. Tu nastopi sum, da v duši vsakega pristnega tehno-umetnika živi boljševik (morda sicer ironičen in kritičen?), ki si kot nekdaj prizadeva najti stvaren in neposreden izhod iz omejitev meščanske morale in etike, iz znanih pomenov in postavljenih meja v vesolje čiste zmožnosti in radikalno nemoralne geste ob hlinjenju vloge stvarnika. V takšnem primeru lahko razumevanje in interpretiranje sodobne hibridne umetnosti spodbudimo tako, da pogledamo njene korenine. In točno to bi radi naredili ob preučevanju izjemno zgovornega in nazornega primera, namreč poskusa ruskega zoologa Ilje Ivanova in presejalca organov (Sergej Voronoff), da bi ustvarila hibrid človeka in opice. Poskusili bomo pokazati, da načela in strategije hibridizacije, ki jih je preizkušala radikalna modernistična znanost s svojimi političnimi zaščitniki, lahko služijo kot ključ do razumevanja hibridizacije v tehnološki umetnosti z začetka enaindvajsetega stoletja.


Prihod hibridov: Lenin, konji, opice in ženske Ruski zoolog Ilja Ivanov je v zgodovino znanosti vstopil kot prvak umetnega osemenjevanja živine, kot eksperimentator v križanju živalskih vrst in kot inovator na področju križanja ljudi in opic. Ta profesor in član inteligence si je drznil izzvati temelje vesolja – naravo, znanost, prevladujočo moralo –, kar je kot pravi znanstvenik izvedel postopoma in obsesivno. V njegovih delih opažamo postopno spuščanje telesnega do ravni golih surovin. Njegov prvi izziv je bil namenjen eni nedotakljivih funkcij žive narave, namreč razmnoževanju in rojevanju. Ivanov je s svojimi deli iz 2. desetletja 20. stoletja praktično omogočil umetno oplojevanje na ravni zootehnike. Znanstveniki in veterinarji so se tako lahko vmešavali v navidez naravni potek evolucije. Ne samo da so lahko izpustili celotno etapo spolne reprodukcije, tudi njeno produktivnost so lahko okrepili. Tako je na začetku 20. stoletja meso živine kot agrikulturna surovina postalo invarianta industrijskega sistema. Profesor Ivanov je eden od začetnikov ruske industrije biološke živinoreje. Pod njegovim vodstvom je umetno osemenjevanje v reji konj postalo rutinska praksa že v letih 1913–1914 (Rossianov, 2006). Pri tem je zanimivo, da je v Evropi ista metoda postala splošno razširjena skoraj trideset let pozneje kot v Rusiji. Ivanov je umetno osemenjevanje videl kot znanstveno utemeljeno metodo, ki vključuje določena kreacionistična prizadevanja, saj je z njeno pomočjo mogoče križati različne vrste živali in na povsem razumnih temeljih poskusiti z ustvarjanjem hibrida med človekom in opico. Hibridizacijo v splošnem pomenu si je predstavljal kot revolucionarno tehnologijo, saj bi z njo človeka lahko izboljšali na enak način, kot z umetnim osemenjevanjem izboljšamo pasmo konja. Buržujski kritiki so, ne brez razloga, v načrtih Ivanova – ki jih je podpirala boljševiška vlada – zaznali želje voditeljev rdečega imperija, da bi vzgojili novo raso močnih, krepkih, obvladljivih in predvidljivih bioloških strojev. Z vidika morebitnih hibridov sta živo človeško in živalsko meso v svojem bistvu enaka eksperimentalnim surovinam. Zakaj je režim, preden bi si lahko opomogel od uničenja države, ki je preživela tragedijo državljanske vojne, financiral poskuse križanja ljudi in opic? Verjetno je razlogov za to več. Kot marksisti so tudi boljševiki zagovarjali dogmo primata fizične materije in razumevanja fizične materije kot edine resnične. Prepričanja Ivanova se s to doktrino ujemajo do zadnje 220

pike, saj je fizična kombinacija dveh biološko sorodnih oblik telesa s pomočjo umetnega osemenjevanja arhetipski dosežek boljševiške znanosti. Revolucionarni projekt boljševikov je napajala njihova neuklonljiva energija za gradnjo sveta na novo, iz katere so bile radikalno izključene vse moralne dogme krščanske Evrope, vključno s temeljem družine, osebno lastnino in, kar je najpomembneje, ločitvijo človeka od naravnega sveta kot posebnega bitja, ki je preseglo meje živalskega kraljestva. Brez dvoma so eksperimenti Ivanova in sovjetska oblast našli skupno točko v moči in radikalnosti te amoralne poteze kot zmagoslavju nove Sovjetske republike ter veljavi materializma v znanosti. Ob pregledu arhivskih dokumentov – ki so bili večinoma zaupni in so postali dostopni šele pred kratkim – se jasno kaže zaključek, da je Ivanov delal po izrecnem navodilu boljševikov. Poslali so ga v Afriko po opice, ki naj bi jih v pomlajevalni kirurgiji uporabili kot darovalce organov. Vodilni sovjetski oblastniki so iskali načine, kako svoja življenja podaljšati s pomočjo kirurških posegov, ki jih je predlagal Serge Voronoff, kirurg in ruski emigrant, ki je v 20. letih 20. stoletja takšne operacije uspešno izvajal v Franciji. Doktor Voronoff je trdil, da je iznašel način za obnavljanje življenjske energije in podaljševanje življenja. Prepričan je bil, da je odkril osrednjo skrivnost življenja, preko katere kirurg s presaditvijo lahko obnovi mladost in zdravje. Zamisli tega zdravnika in učenjaka so predstavljene v kratkem delu z naslovom Life. A Study of the Means of Restoring Vital Energy and Prolonging Life (Voronoff, 1920). V delu, ki ga je napisal tedanji direktor eksperimentalne kirurgije v Fiziološkem laboratoriju na Collège de France (ki so ga pozneje večkrat obtožili psevdoznanstvenega ravnanja), so podani teoretični temelji za metodologijo presajanja organov z namenom pomlajevanja ljudi. Eden njegovih osrednjih postulatov pravi, da se razlog za človekovo umrljivost skriva v kompleksnosti struktur in povezav, ki tvorijo najpreprostejše celice v organizmih, kot je človeško telo. Pomladitev spolnih žlez zagotavlja nov vir življenjske energije. Voronoff je predlagal presajanje spolnih organov iz opic v ljudi, svoj predlog pa utemeljil na izjemni podobnosti človeških in opičjih teles. Strategije tega francoskega kirurga so se od pristopa Ivanova razlikovale po obsegu hibridizacije. Namesto križanja vrst je namreč predlagal presajanje lokaliziranih organov – spolnih žlez. Pričakovani rezultat – za katerega je Serge Voronoff zatrjeval, da je opazovan in dokazan – je pomladitev telesa in obnova življenjske energije. Ivanov se s hibridi ukvarja kot naturalist in se zanaša na naravne mehanizme križanja vrst. Voronoff stopa 221

po poti transplantacijskega kirurga in si s pomočjo kirurških postopkov prizadeva ustvariti hibrid organov. Poleg tega (kar je zelo pomembno!) Voronoff v hibridnih strukturah vidi nekakšno elektrarno, ki napaja baterije mladosti in dolgoživosti. Boljševiki, ki so polagali svoje upe v učinkovitost te metode, so čakali Voronoffa, da bi rešil Lenina, vse dokler ni vodja januarja 1924 umrl. Voronoff je bil njihovo zadnje upanje za pomladitev in ohranitev sicer še ne starega, a hudo bolnega in iztrošenega telesa vodje ruske revolucije. Serge Voronoff se navsezadnje ni odločil za vrnitev v državo, iz katere je nekoč pobegnil. Postarana boljševiška elita se je bila torej v iskanju medicinskih poti v nesmrtnost prisiljena zateči k svojim lastnim virom in možnostim. Ivanov je med svojo znanstveno odpravo leta 1926 obiskal Voronoffa in skupaj sta izvedla več operacij na opicah. Potem je Ivanovu uspelo priti v Francosko Gvinejo, kjer je najel lokalne prebivalce, da so mu ujeli nekaj šimpanzov, nato pa se je lotil eksperimentiranja. Tri samice šimpanzov je oplodil s človeško spermo, a so na poti nazaj v Rusijo vse tri poginile. Na tej točki so želja po resnici, boljševiška energičnost in vera v mogočni materialni aparat znanstvenega eksperimentiranja ruskega profesorja privedli do mejne črte, onstran katere znanost začenja spodjedati meje moralnosti. Ivanov je začel vztrajati, da bo začel s poskusi umetnega oplojevanja afriških žensk z opičjimi samci (pri čemer ženskam ne bi bilo treba poznati bistva znanstvenih in medicinskih postopkov). Takšna prizadevanja so hitro prekinili zaradi člankov v francoskih medijih, ki so razkrivali prizadevanja sovjetskih znanstvenikov, da bi ustvarili raso ubogljivih opičjih ljudi. A Ivanov ni izgubil poguma in odločil se je, da bo s poskusi nadaljeval v rodni Rusiji (v posebej za to ustanovljenem vzgajališču) z ruskimi ženskami, sprva le na prostovoljni osnovi, z javnim razpisom za pridobivanje testnih človeških žensk. Eksperiment je vseeno propadel, saj je edini odrasel šimpanzji samec, ki so ga pripeljali iz Afrike, umrl. Leta 1931 so Ivanova aretirali, ker je pomagal buržujski znanosti in jo podpiral, a so ga pozneje spustili in kmalu zatem je umrl. Vsi dokumenti, povezani z njegovimi projekti, so postali zaupni, na podlagi česar lahko sklepamo, da bi Ilja Ivanov morda lahko v križanju ljudi in opic dosegel določene rezultate, morda celo ustvaril dejanski hibrid. Iz pristopa Ivanovega k ustvarjanju hibridnih oblik lahko izločimo več ključnih poudarkov, ki bodo za nas pomembni v razpravi o sodobni hibridni umetnosti. Na prvem mestu moramo poudariti strukturno modifikacijo organizma (telesa), in sicer tako notranjo kot zunanjo. Kot drugo, 222

hibrid je mogoče pridobiti s križanjem na podlagi naravnega reproduktivnega procesa (Ivanov) ali s kirurškim presajanjem organov ali tkiv (S. Voronoff). Tretjič, pri prevzemanju značilnosti matičnih organizmov se v hibridu poživi energetski sistem, kar pomeni, da pridobi dolgoživost in mladost (S. Voronoff). In kot četrto, hibridna struktura mora biti v svoji novi individualnosti in avtonomnosti obnašanja do določene mere posebna.

Umetniki-boljševiki: strategije hibridizacije Kirurg Serge Voronoff in profesor Ilja Ivanov sta skupaj z boljševiki odkrivala in tlakovala pot tistim, ki so pripravljeni na nadaljnje eksperimentiranje s telesom kot surovino in z moralnimi mejami družbenega reda. Danes zahvaljujoč hibridni umetnosti vemo, da so invariante v strategijah hibridizacije morda številčnejše od naturalističnega križanja pri Ivanovu in presajanja organov pri Voronoffu.

Hibridi in arhitektura telesa Če vzamemo umetno uho na Stelarcovi roki (»Uho na roki«, 2007), hibridnost privzame praktično dobesedno biološki značaj cepljenja ene vrste z drugo in hkrati formacije celostnega, preobraženega telesa. Tehnično gledano umetnik deluje v okvirih presajanja organov pri Voronoffu, saj prenese in cepi nov organ. A ta organ so vzgojili in izdelali na povsem umetni osnovi na podlagi najnovejših izsledkov v presajanju organov in razvoju tkiv. Telesu darovalca je v celoti tuje in zunanje, tako glede funkcije kot tudi postavitve v strukturo telesa. Stelarc temu pravi »alternativna anatomska arhitektura«, ki prek praktično arbitrarne transformacije (kot je prenos organa z glave na roko) poudarja odprtost človeškega telesa kot nabora organov pod kožno membrano. Poleg tega s presajeno protezo ali vsadkom razširimo zmožnosti telesa kot vmesnika, saj omogočimo neposredno povezavo s tehnološkimi sistemi. In če po McLuhanu medijske tehnologije širijo človekov živčni sistem, hkrati pa ne prodrejo v samo telo, potem se po Stelarcu to zgodi predvsem na fiziološki ravni, v kolikor namreč hibrid ušesa in uda preraste v svet tehnologij, omrežij za prenos podatkov, ki se ne vključujejo več v ekosistem telesa, temveč v ekosistem sodobnih tehnologij. Biološka hibridnost je tako preobražena v kultrno-tehnološko hibridnost, ki širi meje telesa prek omejitev kože in siceršnjih zmožnosti organov zaznavanja. To pa ne bi bilo mogoče, če umetnikovega telesa ne bi preobrazili v surovino za biotehnološko eksperimentiranje in ga s piedestala edinstvene eksistence posameznika vrgli na nivo nespremenljive arhitekturne osnove. 223

A v kolikor je tretje uho na umetnikovih rokah vključeno v strukturo celotnega živega organizma, hibridizacija povzroča oblikovanje nove, razširjene individualnosti, v kateri se združujejo lastnosti matičnih »izvornih kod«. Ob tem se postavlja naslednje vprašanje: Je takšna vrsta individualnosti stabilna ali bi bilo morda ustrezneje govoriti o nestabilni psevdo-individualnosti z odprtimi mejami? Če je mogoče ustvariti hibridno telo z ušesom na roki, bi bilo potem morda mogoče tako vrsto hibridizacije razširiti na druge dele telesa, na njegove organe in tkiva? Potem bi morda lahko predpostavljali, da je pred nami ena od invairant evolucije, in bi tovrstno umetnost obravnavali kot enega od mehanizmov evolucijske formacije. Na podlagi poznavanja Stelarcovih umetniških projektov in njihove dokumentacije bi se morda morali vprašati tudi, ali ni resnica teh trans-človeških izkušenj na novo arhitekturno zasnovanih teles pravzaprav bolečina.

Hibrid kot nova vrsta: tehno-bio-bitje Primer povsem druge vrste hibridizacije je »Napol živeč umetnik«, (MEART, 2001–2006), del avstralskega projekta Tissue Culture and Art v okviru umetniškega centra SymbioticA v sodelovanju z ameriškim nevrofiziologom Stevom Potterjem. V tem primeru je telo kot surovina uporabljeno v obliki, ki je odtujena od strukture organizma (v duhu presaditve organov kot pri Voronoffu) in je medsebojno odvisna od materialnosti tehnološkega sistema. Iz povezave med umetno vzgojenim živčnim tkivom podgane, robotskim upravljalcem in povratnim nadzornim sistemom (videoposnetkom cilja in prenosom signala do nevronov prek elektronske matrice) tako dobimo hibrid tehnologije in živega tkiva – robot riše pod nadzorom napol žive podgane-umetnika. Poleg tega živčno tkivo sploh ni individualen organizem ali posebna vrsta, kot lahko rečemo za Stelarcovo telo z vsajenim ušesom. Ko raziskovalci govorijo o takšne vrste hibridnosti kot o posebni vrsti napol živečega obstoja, je bistvo te napol živeče individualnosti natanko v nedeljivosti hibridnih sestavnih delov. Napol živeči hibrid je sam po sebi nekakšno bitje – tehno-bio-bitje. Konfiguracija tega bitja kot tudi tehnični vidiki njegovega izoblikovanja so bliže cilju, ki ga je profesor Ivanov zasledoval v svojih eksperimentih, v okviru katerih je drzno križal vrste. Vendar je on to počel kot naturalist. Križanje živih celic z elektromehaničnim sistemom robota in psevdo-zaznavnim sistemom videosnemanja ni naravni proces, čeprav gre konceptualno gledano za analogno strategijo. Tisto, kar nastane v procesu hibridizacije, pa prav na enak način kaže določeno mero individualnosti in avtonomnosti v okviru svoje strukture in problemov, ki so ji bili pripisani. 224

Biogeneratorji: industrijski hibridi Če telo subverziramo do nivoja virov in do tehnologij, s pomočjo katerih ga izdelamo, se nam razkrijejo strategije industrijske kapitalizacije živega, ki se kar naprej udejanjajo v kmetijstvu, v medicini in v naglo razvijajoči se industriji biotehnologije. Kot smo videli že na primeru profesorja Ivanova, je bil takšen pristop izjemno učinkovit pri umetnem osemenjevanju konjev. Hibrid mora tako delati kot izdelovati. Takšen poudarek je postal osnova za hibridizacijo v projektih Joeja Davisa, ki sodeluje z Jamesom Augerjem in Jimmyjem Loizeaujem. Joe Davis iz bakterijskih snovi sestavlja bioelektrične naprave. Ob gojenju bakterij v laboratorijskem okolju, ki je vključevalo vse elemente, potrebne za doseganje normalnih resonančnih obrisov, je odkril, da takšne magnetotaktične organizme najdemo v naravnih vodnih telesih. Tako je nastal projekt »Ustvarjanje ognja« (2008), s katerim se Davis loteva reševanja problema varnega in praktično neizčrpnega vira energije, ki ga umetnik kot nekakšen Prometej prinaša industrijski družbi, ki nezadržno drvi v ekološko katastrofo. Ta projekt ne vsebuje nobenih smernic glede oblike (kot pri Stelarcovi telesni arhitekturi) niti glede ustvarjanja novih vrst »napol živečih« subjektov kot pri projektu SymbioticA. Davisov hibrid je zamišljen, da postane industrijski sistem za pridobivanje energije, a ne kot čisti vir (kot nafta), temveč kot živa surovina, na novo odkrita struktura industrijskega pomena, namreč resonančni obris za pridobivanje elektrike. Umetnik pri tem poudarja, da industrija v sodobnih družbah na področju kapacitet in učinkovitosti proizvodnje prepušča prednost naravni bio-industriji. S svojo rešitvijo trdi prav to, da bodo namreč industrijski hibridi za naravo postali udobnejši od obstoječih proizvodnih sistemov. James Auger in Jimmy Loizeau v svojih projektih prav tako razvijata temo hibridnosti v kontekstu pridobivanja energije iz biogoriv, vendar za predlagane rešitve – ki so estetsko ironični primeri tako imenovanega kritičnega dizajna – ne predvidevata industrijskega obsega. Njuni »mesojedi roboti za domačo zabavo« (2009) so prej dizajnerski predmeti za notranjo dekoracijo. Tako na primer obstaja tudi električna ura z napajanjem prek procesiranja muh, ki se ujamejo na trak muholovca. Ura je opremljena s posebnim pretvornikom, ki biomaso insektov uporablja kot biogradivo (umetniki pravzaprav trdijo, da je poginila le ena muha). Na podoben način njuna miza, opremljena z mišnico in pretvornikom, ki s pomočjo ujetih miši pridobiva elektriko, lahko napaja hišno svetilko. Na podoben 225

način lahko elektriko pridobivamo, tako da bioelektrične postaje priklopimo na ritualne predmete, kot so na primer krste (projekt »Onostranstvo«, 2010), in z njimi napolnimo baterije, ki jih lahko uporabimo za različne hišne naprave (svetilke, igrače, vibratorje, CD in DVD predvajalnike). Pri tem ne smemo pozabiti, da je bilo pridobivanje energije s pomočjo hibridizacije eden od ciljev pri eksperimentiranju Serga Voronoffa in Ilje Ivanova. Nobene ironije, nobene zabave – povsem resno! Voronoff je vprašanje življenja v osnovi formuliral kot vprašanje obnovljive energije, ki jo, kot je verjel, ustvarjajo spolne žleze. Tako njemu kot po njem še Ivanovu je ustvarjanje hibridov pomenilo izpopolnjevanje biogeneratorja človeškega organizma, ključnega vira mladosti in osnovnega načela pomlajevanja. Pri ustvarjanju in uporabi tovrstnih hibridnih struktur so zastavki zelo visoki, in to ne samo zato, ker bi industrijski sistemi pridobili nov vir obnovljive energije (pri čemer v resnici ni pomembno, ali razprave potekajo na podlagi marksizma ali neoliberalizma). Biotehnološki hibrid je v smislu integracije v biosfero kot imitacija ene od funkcij naravne selekcije v veliki meri avtonomen in vitalen. Poleg tega bi insekti in glodalci odigrali pozitivno vlogo v antropoekologiji antropogene civilizacije. Omenjena tema se delno dobesedno, delno ironično kaže v projektu »Pigeon d’Or« (2011) Tuura Van Balena. Uporabnost biomaterialov tu ni izražena prek presnavljanja energije, temveč prek vključevanja produktov presnavljanja v urbano okolje. Golobi – prebivalci mesta, ki poleg ljudi živijo v okolju iz asfalta, stekla in betona – postanejo generatorji čistilnih sredstev, ki jih širijo z naravnim načinom iztrebljanja. Ptice to sposobnost pridobijo, ko jim v prebavnem sistemu vzpostavijo kolonijo posebej v ta namen sintetizirane kulture bakterij, zaradi katerih se hrana golobov ob izhodu preobrazi v milo. Kot transplantacijski kirurg Voronoff tudi Tuur Van Balen v matično telo ptice presadi določen zunanji biološki element (ne pa tujega organa), ki spremeni njen prebavni sistem. Celoten postopek je podoben industrijskemu postopku nameščanja filtrov v obdelovalnem obratu tovarne.

Festival »Tissue«: hibridne »bioskulpture« in igranje stvarjenja V delih, ki jih lahko okvirno označimo kot tkivne biokulture, smo odkrili nenavadno strategijo hibridizacije. V njihovi strukturi so tehnološki elementi praktično neobstoječi, zato se preobrazba živih tkiv odvija v ospredju. 226

Julia Reodica je v svojem projektu hymNext predstavila zbirko himenov, vzgojenih iz umetničinih vaginalnih celic in dopolnjenih z biološkimi materiali prepucija novorojenca, gladke mišice iz aorte glodalca in govejega kolagena. Hibridno tkivo ženskega telesa, ki ga tradicionalno povezujemo s celotnim kompleksom kulturnih kontekstov, v širšem pogledu povezanih s poroko in spolnostjo, obstaja kot izoliran biološki predmet, ki mu manjka telo gostitelja. Kot spolni organi primatov v operacijski dvorani doktorja Voronoffa, tudi tkiva himenov obljubljajo določeno povračilo mladosti in celo premagovanje nepovratnosti spolne izkušnje vključno z njeno moralno vrednostjo. Hkrati se umetnici zdi pomembno predstaviti zbirko tkiv himenov kot takih, medtem ko ti v svojih strukturah že vsebujejo elemente, ki dekonstruirajo njihovo človeško edinstvenost in jih zbanalizirajo do zamenljivega kosa kože. Samoumevno je, da je v tem primeru skulpturnost tkiv povsem brez formalne dokončnosti in da tudi sama hibridnost navzven ni vidna. V ospredju je materialna skulptura živih tkiv, ki so hkrati biološko naravna in laboratorijsko umetna. Preobrazba telesa v surovino omogoča naslednji korak in preobrazbo samega procesa hibridizacije v umetniško gesto. Vprašanje, ki se postavlja ob tem, se ne nanaša na obvezno dokumentiranje tega procesa ali pripisovanje tega zapisa razredu (post-)umetniških del. Vprašanje se nanaša na prikaz moči hibridnih tehnologij (seveda z večplastnimi ironičnimi pomeni). Prav to občutje pa se kaže ob spoznavanju s projektom Guyja Bena-Aryja in Kirsten Hudson, »In Potēncia« (2012) (prvotni naslov je bil »Dick Head«). Umetnik tu celice prepucija iz obrezanega penisa spreminja v nevrone oziroma živčne celice celice. Oblikovna podoba projekta, ki je kiparska, spominja na bioskulpturo hymNext, le da ima po steampunkovsko pretirano obliko falusa. Vendar pa osnovi element projekta ni trivialnost kožnih tkiv ali možganskih celic, temveč preobraževalna moč biotehnologij matičnih celic (reinženiring celic iPS), vstavljenih v umetniški koncept. Pred nami so utelešene sanje profesorja Ivanova: zagotoviti kakršno koli variacijo preobrazb živega organizma. Tega pa nismo dosegli prek križanja različnih vrst, temveč z reprogramiranjem celic. Umetniki nam tako kažejo lepoto in moč »božanskega« orodja v rokah umetnika, ki se gre stvarjenje z uporabo ponižanega telesa.


Hibridi umetnega življenja: sindrom Preobraženskega in tehnološko nezavedno Ko opazujemo uspehe hibridne umetnosti in vnemo tistih, ki tvegajo pri ustvarjanju nečesa živega, lahko sklenemo, da se zaključuje doba digitalne kulture breztelesnih bajtov in začenja doba ustvarjanja hibridov in novih različic teles – doba umetnega življenja. Hibridizacija je eden od simptomov te historične preobrazbe. Na čelu te post-človeške rase so znanstveniki in umetniki, zato se rojstvo znanstvene umetnosti ne zdi naključje, temveč le potrjuje splošno logiko. Kaj pa je tisto, kar žene vse skupaj v tako neizprosno gibanje? Ruski pisatelj Mihail Bulgakov v slavni noveli Pasje srce1 pripoveduje zgodbo, ki so ji kot navdih služila dela Voronoffa in Ivanova. Pisatelj poda preroško zgodbo o ustvarjanju umetnega življenja na podlagi znanosti in medicinskega inženiringa. Glavni lik – profesor Preobraženski, trdoživ zagovornik evgenike – človekovo hipofizo presadi v možgane psa, na podlagi česar se pes preobrazi v človeka in postane aktiven udeleženec v boljševističnem preoblikovanju družbe, v okviru česar ukaže očistiti mesto potepuških živali (novela se dogaja v post-revolucionarni Rusiji). Lik Bulgakova kaže celoten nabor simptomov modernistične znanosti, iz katerih se tvori sindrom znanstvenega in tehnološkega kreacionizma, ki ga lahko označimo kot »sindrom Preobraženskega«. S simptomatologijo razkrijemo nekakšno znanstveno nezavedno – prizadevanja za posnemanje božjega znanja in ustvarjalne moči Stvarnika, ki je ustvaril vse žive stvari. V znanosti dvajsetega stoletja se sindrom Preobraženskega nenehno pojavlja – od kibernetike do genetskega inženiringa do molekularne in sintetične biologije. Po našem mnenju je sindrom Preobraženskega tisto, kar sodobno umetnost in znanost povezuje v prizadevanjih za ustvarjanje umetnega življenja. Nobeno naključje ni, da je slavni ameriški umetnostni kritik Jack Burnham že v 70. letih 20. stoletja prve poskuse v kibernetični umetnosti označil za prizadevanja umetnikov, da bi ustvarili umetno življenje (Burnham, 1975). Umetnost kot kritičen in problematizirajoč diskurz ter umetniške oblike preučevanja in konstrukcije hibridov umetnega življenja nas silijo, da se zatečemo k ontološki in etično-filozofski problematiki. Najprej se pojavi vprašanje glede ontološkega statusa hibridov umetnega življenja v odnosu do naravnega življenja – mar ne bi morali narediti naravnega in 1 Bulgakov, Mihail Afanasjevič, Pasje srce (prevedla Drago Bajt, Severin Šali), Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga, 1976 (op. ur.)


umetnega enakopravnega, in če ja, na kakšni podlagi? Ali obstaja trdna meja med naravnim in umetnim življenjem, in kje bi morali to mejo potegniti? Kakšni so vmesniki, ki jih lahko postavimo mednju? Ali v končni analizi naš koncept življenja ni nič bolj etičen kot biološki in ga je zato mogoče preučevati in opredeljevati le v hibridnih formatih, kot je znanstvena umetnost? Prevod iz angleščine Alenka Ropret.

Viri Burnham, J. 1975. Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of Science and Technology on the Sculpture of this Century, 4. izdaja. NY: George Braziller McLuhan, M. 2001.Understanding Media, 2. izdaja. NY: Routledge Rossianov, O. K. 2006. Opasnie Sviasi: I. I. Ivanov I experimenti skreschivania cheloveka I ckelovekoobraznih obez`ian (Dangerous Connections: I. I. Ivanov and Experiments with Crossbreeding of Humans and Human like Ape) // Voprosi Istorii Estestvoznania i Tehniki, N1, c. 3–51 Voronoff, S. 1920. Life: A Study of the Means of Restoring Vital Energy and Prolonging Life. NY: E. P. Dutton and Company


“Znanstvena umetnost

poziva z vprašanji o možnostih in implikacijah tehnoloških inovacij ter njihove vodilne vloge v sodobni družbi h kulturnemu komentarju in umetniški pozornosti, namenjeni tehnološkemu razvoju.


Inženirstvo evolucije:

androidi, umetne celice – synthie ter druge kreature Dr. Polona Tratnik

Povzetek Debata na temo tehnologije je v vzponu. Tehnologija posega v »naravno« in razvija doslej neobstoječe sisteme, s tem pa se odpira tudi vprašanje ultimativnega stvarjenja oziroma božanskosti, kot na primer v navezavi s sintezno biologijo. Sintezni biologi nam obljubljajo, da so že na točki, ko znajo življenje ustvariti iz nič. Po drugi strani pa si je človek prizadeval ustvariti avtonomne mehanske imitacije živih bitij – avtomate – vse od trenutka, ko je obvladal mehaniko. Etimološki izvor izraza tehnologija najdemo v grški besedi technē, ki je označevala spretnost, torej sposobnost mišljenja, da prelisiči naravo in jo obrne človeku v prid. Aristotelov nauk o tem, da se človek mora zateči k naravi in se od nje učiti s posnemanjem (mimesis), je ponovno oživel v obdobju renesanse (da Vinci). Androidi kot roboti, ki posnemajo človeškost in jih moramo razumeti kot rezultat teh prizadevanj, se torej pojavljajo skozi celotno obdobje moderne zgodovine vse do danes, ko želi človek ustvariti najvišje razvite inteligentne organizme, ki bi bili pametnejši od svojih stvariteljev. Vse bolj privlačna postaja teorija o tem, da tehnologija ni podrejena človeku, temveč obratno, da (p)ostajamo ljudje v službi tehnologije. Z ozirom na naraščajoči vpliv tehnologije je potrebno razmisliti tudi o vprašanju možnega upiranja vplivom in moči tehnologije. Ključne besede: tehnologija, evolucija, sintezna biologija, robotika, stvaritev, umetnost 231

Androidi: ustvarjena vrsta Androidi so kot roboti, ki posnemajo človeka, pomenljiv primer konvergence antičnih konceptov mimesis in technē. Mimesis (posnemanje) je osrednji koncept Aristotelovega razumevanja umetnosti, a tudi osnova za druge veščine (technē). Platon umetnost razume kot tekmo z naravo, Aristotel pa doda impulz v smeri božanskega.1 Termina mimesis torej ne gre razumeti kot »podvajanje posameznih elementov, temveč dejaven poskus sodelovanja v superiorni popolnosti«. Da bi razumeli mimesis pri Aristotelu, je treba dodatno osvetliti koncept technē. »Umetnosti«, kot so slikarstvo, poezija in glasba, so vse veljale za veščine, technē. Narava je za Aristotela preudarna in nastanek vseh stvari odreja ustrezno postopno, človek pa je njen najplemenitejši sin. Z orodjem, ki ga ima na voljo, roko, je pridobil sposobnost, da iznajde različne veščine. Veščina se začne s spletom spretnosti ter impulza za posnemanje.2 Technē pomeni prekanjenost uma, da ukani naravo in jo obrne v človekov prid. To je semantični izvor terminov tehnika in tehnologija. Za Aristotela sta pomembni lepota in red v naravi. Treba je le posnemati delovanje in običaje narave. Technē se od narave uči in to učenje poteka s posnemanjem. Proces posnemanja je človeku naraven in človek v posnemanju prednjači, s posnemanjem se uči.3 Kot je prepričan Aristotel, technē na koncu dokonča, kar je narava začela. Model preseže šele po dolgem procesu učenja po modelu narave, pri čemer je narava energija, usmerjena proti cilju.4 Za Aristotela je mimesis osrednji koncept tudi pri razumevanju medicine, ki prav tako velja za technē. Technē deluje kot narava v smislu, da oba svoje proizvode podrejata teleološko, zavoljo nekega cilja; technē naravo celo dopolnjuje, saj ustvarja več, kot je bila sposobna doseči narava5 – v tem pogledu se izkazuje podobnost medicine in narave, ki obe na enak način vodita k istim ciljem, ko vse, kar delata, podredita ciljem, v katere merita. Paul Woodruff tako sklene: »Če naj bi medicina posegla in nato naravi dopustila, naj nadaljuje naravni proces ohranjanja zdravja, mora poskrbeti,

1 Katharine Everett Gilbert in Helmut Kuhn, A History of Esthetics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1954), str. 62. 2 Prav tam. 3 Aristotle’s Poetics, prev. Leon Golden (Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1981), poglavje IV, str. 7. 4 Katharine Everett Gilbert in Helmut Kuhn, A History of Esthetics, str. 62. 5 Aristotle, The Physics, Book II, poglavje VIII, 199a, prev. Philip H. Wicksteed in Francis M. Cornford (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, William Heinemann Ltd., 1963), str. 173.


da narava medicinske izume uporabi, kot bi bili naravni; to pomeni, da mora ustvariti umetni učinek, ki se bo nemoteno zlil z zdravilnim tokom narave.«6 Renesansa se je obrnila k antiki in ponovno odkrila vizualno; podedovala je tudi koncepta mimesis in technē. Zato ni presenetljivo, da so prve sodobne avtomate v Evropi izdelali v 16. stoletju. Avtomati kažejo, da je telo razumljeno kot stroj, čigar principi (mehanizem) morajo biti predmet preučevanja. Rokodelec (»umetnik«) se zateče k naravi in uporabi mimesis za svojo technē, s katero bo morda lahko ustvaril novo telo. Proti 18. stoletju se zanimanje za robote, ki posnemajo človeka, poveča. Vse do danes zanimanje za androide še ni uplahnelo. Posebej priljubljeni so postali z uveljavljanjem računalniške kulture v 80. letih 20. stoletja,7 ko je bilo tudi običajen računalnik treba razumeti kot nekakšen android, ki je sposoben do neke mere posnemati aktivnosti človekovega uma, ne zna pa se avtonomno premikati, držati ali prestavljati stvari, poslušati, gledati ali čutiti. Želja po ustvarjanju takšne naprave ali vsaj dela nje je ostala navdih za številne raziskovalce v računalniški in drugih tehničnih znanostih.8 Androidna znanost se zdaj zanaša na spoznanja kognitivnih znanosti, predvsem glede interakcije med človekom in robotom. Raziskovalci robotike si prizadevajo mehanizme uspešne medčloveške interakcije uporabiti za izdelavo robotov, s katerimi bi se ljudje brez težav sporazumevali. Z androidi povezana vprašanja ostajajo bolj ali manj enaka. Leta 2006 je Hiroshi Ishiguro (Univerza v Osaki) razvil prvi prototip Geminoida HI-1, pri čemer beseda etimološko izvira iz latinskih besed geminus, ki pomeni dvojček, in oides, ki pomeni podobnost, saj robot temelji na modelu svojega stvaritelja. Vizualna podobnost Ishiguri je precej velika (četudi ne tako velika kot denimo pri nekaterih fotorealističnih skulpturah Rona Muecka), robot opravlja okorne gibe in sicer ostaja v sedečem položaju, govori več jezikov, v katerih je sposoben celo neodvisno komunicirati z ljudmi. Teleoperacijski sistem geminoida omogoča avtonomno premikanje robota, mikrogibe v procesu govora in poslušanja (ki se razlikujejo), kakršni spontano nastajajo pri človeku. Sodelujoči v projektu predlagajo »uporabo androidov, katerih vedenje je podobno človekovemu, za preučevanje tega, kaj pravzaprav pomeni »biti človek«, torej skrivnosti človekove narave. Androidi in geminoidi so umetni ljudje, ki nam omogočajo raziskovanje človekove narave s psihološkimi in kognitivnimi poskusi, ki jih sicer uporabljamo 6 Paul Woodruff, “Aristotle on Mimēsis”, v: Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (ur.), Artistotle’s Poetics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), str. 78. 7 Pojavljali so se tudi v popularni kulturi – gl. na primer film Iztrebljevalec iz leta 1982. 8 Peter Laurie, The Joy of Computers (London: Hutchinson, 1983).


pri interakciji z ljudmi.«9 Kartezijanski prevari čutov se dejansko ne gre izogniti, temveč jo velja upoštevati v pozitivnem smislu. »Če bi lahko izdelali androida, ki je zelo podoben človeku, kako bi razlikovali med pravim človekom in androidom? Odgovor ni banalen. V interakciji z androidom ne vidimo njihovih notranjih mehanizmov, zato lahko preprosto verjamemo, da so ljudje.«10 Androidi so razločen primer aristotelske mimesis, kot jo najdemo v sodobni kulturi. Mimesis je temeljni princip še druge veje robotike, bionike. Kot tehnologija znanja, ki rešuje tehnične težave s preučevanjem funkcij živega bitja, je bionika trenutno v medicini, predvsem v razvoju protetike, v polnem razcvetu. Tam se ukvarja z vprašanjem, kako razviti čim bolj funkcionalno protezo kot model z nujnim upoštevanjem bioloških modelov. Naslednja generacija bioničnih protez izgubljenih udov ne bo nadomestila le v funkcionalnem smislu, temveč tudi senzorno. To bo omogočilo nemoteno kiborško podaljševanje in nadgrajevanje naših bioloških teles z uporabo mehanike. Pričakujemo lahko bionično kožo,11 ki bo zaznavala temperaturo in dotik (človeški živci bodo povezani z ogljikovimi nanocevkami, razporejenimi po umetni koži iz prožnih polimerov – aktivni končiči živih živcev bodo omogočili čutno zaznavo; bionična koža bo opremljena tudi s senzorji temperature in tlaka, v njej bodo posajene umetne dlake). V robotiki je veliko biomimetike, ki se navdihuje pri biologiji in posnema tehnologijo. Razvoj same oblike robota poteka na podlagi posnemanja mehaničnih funkcij telesa, povezanih s premikanjem mišic, telesa in ravnotežjem. Izkazalo se je, da je posebej težko razviti robota z enako sposobnostjo ohranjanja ravnotežja, kot jo ima človek, predvsem pri zahtevnejših dejavnostih, kot so tek, igranje nogometa in dvigovanje na noge. Raziskovalci si trenutno prizadevajo opremiti robote z »digitalnim spominom«, ki bi ga sestavljala digitalna baza podatkov, zbranih iz človekovega uma (videogradivo, posneto s perspektive telesa in v najboljšem primeru v času življenjske dobe), in digitalno-mehanske sisteme robota opremiti z »biološkimi možgani«. Ti so lahko biološke mreže živcev – takšno »umetno živčevje« ima dokazano sposobnost učenja, tj. pomnjenja in delovanja v skladu s tem. Lahko pa se uporabi druge biološke sisteme z značilnostmi ali sposobnostmi, ki zgolj računalniškim sistemom (še) niso dosegljive – enocelični organizem glive sluzavke se zdi 9 ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, “Geminoid HI-1”, v: Gerfried Stocker in Christine Schöpf (ur.), Human Nature. Ars Electronica 2009 (Ostfildern: Hathe Cantz, 2009), str. 221. 10 Prav tam. 11 Gl. projekt FILMskin, skupni projekt, v katerem Federal Laboratory Oak Ridge in NASA razvijata bionično kožo za uporabo pri poškodovancih z opeklinami.


obetaven umetnointeligentni sistem, saj se je pri testiranju v kompleksnih okoljih, kot so labirinti, izkazalo, da ponuja inteligentne, preproste in učinkovite (komunikacijske) rešitve. Nekateri raziskovalci (kot je Jürgen Schidhuber) si prizadevajo izdelati najinteligentnejši mogoči organizem, znanstveno bitje (naj mu rečemo kar človek?), ki bo pametnejše od svojega izumitelja. Posebno pozornost velja posvetiti vprašanju, v kakšni meri je legitimno o androidih govoriti kot o »umetnih ljudeh«. To je pravzaprav vprašanje metode mimesis, saj gre za to, do katere mere smo sposobni posnemati ljudi in kakšen je status teh posnemanj. Na kakšni osnovi se določa status teh posnemanj človeka in kakšna politika pri tem velja? Nevroznanstvenik Antonio Damasio je prepoznal dolgoročni pomen čustev v življenju posameznika, predvsem v zvezi z dolgotrajnimi odnosi in vključevanjem v družbo, kjer bolnik z določeno poškodbo možganov ne funkcionira.12 Sprašujemo se, kako uspešni so lahko androidi v tem pogledu. Drugo vprašanje je biopolitično. Zakaj bi v svetu, ki je že prenaseljen z ljudmi, proizvajali drugo, novo vrsto »človeka«? Vprašanje o stvarjenju robotske vrste po vzoru človeka se navezuje na delo boga, ki je človeško vrsto ustvaril po svoji podobi. Ali pa bi morali reči: človek ustvarja robota, kot je ustvaril boga: po svojem vzoru, le da je ta izpopolnjen.

Sintije: življenje, ustvarjeno iz nič Termin etimološko izvira iz grške besede synthesis, ki pomeni sestavljanje, oziroma syntithenai, kar pomeni postaviti skupaj, sestaviti (syn-: skupaj in tithenai: postaviti, položiti). V 17. stoletju je latinska beseda synthesis pomenila sestav, niz, zbirko, po besedi synthetic iz 19. stoletja pa se nanaša na proizvode ali materiale, pridobljene umetno s kemično sintezo, torej nekaj umetnega. Kot kaže primer sintetičnega kubizma, sinteza ni perspicere, videti skozi, v. Gre za prevlado nad medijem in s tem svetom na način, da vzamemo delce iz sveta in zgradimo novo kompozicijo. Gre za tehniko sinteze, ki se uporablja pri fotokolažu, filmski montaži in asemblažu. In slednji za Deleuza in Guattarija predstavlja model rizoma. Sinteza združuje različne elemente, gradi svet raznovrstnosti. Vizualne in dekorativne umetnosti baroka in rokokoja so sintezo uporabljale za tvorjenje novih resničnosti, svetov, novih živih bitij, himer. In prav tehnika sinteze je postala ključnega pomena v biologiji in biologijo iz znanstvene vede spreminja v tehnologijo. Biologija je postala novo področje inženirstva, ki spreminja žive strukture. 12 Antonio Damasio, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1994).


Sintezna biologija je nedavno uveljavljeno področje inženirstva znanja z uporabo računalništva v biologiji.13 Vodilni raziskovalci na tem področju ne prihajajo nujno s področja biologije, temveč so lahko tudi znanstveniki s področja računalništva, kar priča o transdisciplinarnosti področja: to namreč združuje biologijo, računalniške znanosti, kemijo in različne tehnologije. Za Rona Weissa (MIT), enega začetnikov tega področja, ideja sintezne biologije pomeni zlepiti dele DNK, ki jih je celo mogoče dobiti prek spleta. Biološki gradniki z DNK-zaporedji določene strukture in funkcije, ki so namenjeni sestavljanju in vgrajevanju v žive celice, se imenujejo biokocke. Te povezujemo v biološka vezja. Biološka vezja programirajo biološke naprave. Lahko dajejo programatične ukaze, denimo za nastanek proteina, ki proizvaja modro barvo. Sintezna biologija v medicinski rabi med drugim obeta obnovo človeškega tkiva s pomočjo bakterij. V medicini se pričakuje skorajšnje rešitve z metodo ciljnega delovanja, ki bi potekalo na tak način: če gre za rakavo celico, ustvari protein, ki uniči rakavo celico, sicer vanjo ne posegaj. Pojavlja se skrb, da bi telo gensko spremenjeno celico prepoznalo kot tujek in bi se denimo odzvalo z zavrnitvijo ali tvorjenjem nove vrste raka. Da bi to preprečili, sintezni inženirji vidijo dve rešitvi: 1. bodisi v uporabi proteinov, ki izvirajo iz telesa – to bi bil hkrati zanimiv prispevek k paradigmi regenerativne medicine, kot jo obravnavamo v zadnjem poglavju –, ali 2. v izgradnji molekularnih računalnikov, ki bi lahko funkcijo vgradili v RNK, tako pa bi jo telo prepoznalo kot lastno. Na MIT so razvili tehnologijo ciljnega delovanja, ki deluje v epruveti, ni pa še bila uporabljena v človeškem telesu. Raziskovalci z Univerze v Stanfordu razvijajo molekularni računalnik, ki bi znal uravnavati imunski odziv z molekularnimi krmilniki, s čimer bi sprožili rast celic T (limfocitov T), kar je proces, nasproten apoptozi. Verjamejo namreč, da se bo ta tip strategije uporabljal pri vrstah zdravljenja nove generacije. Pri NASI so razvili metodo ciljanega delovanja: sintetizirane organizme naj bi vstavili v telo astronavta, da bi v njem odpravili posledice sevanja. Uporabili naj bi prilagojene bakterije in metodo združili z nanotehnologijo: biokapsula iz ogljikovih nanocevk bo reagirala na sevanje in sprostila zdravilno molekulo. To pomeni, da lahko pričakujemo novo vrsto kiborgov. Na presečišču z elektroinženirstvom nastaja novo področje: sintezna nevrobiologija. V MITovih laboratorijih za elektroniko (Ed Boyden) si prizadevajo razviti nove 13 Termin sintezna biologija se je dejansko pojavil že pred stotimi leti (Stéphane Leducs, 1910). Področje je postalo perspektivno v 70. letih: Waclaw Szybalski se je zavedal, da ima zaradi možnosti razvijanja novih kontrolnih elementov in njihovega dodajanja obstoječim genomom ali ustvarjanja povsem novih genomov neomejen potencial.


vrste računalnikov in poseči v najkompleksnejšega med vsemi računalniki – možgane. Uravnavati želijo električne impulze, da bi tako vanje vnašali informacije na podoben način, kot vnašamo informacije v računalniško vezje. Pri tem uporabljajo osvetljevalce, laserje. S sposobnostjo fotosinteze pri algah se svetlobni impulzi pretvarjajo v elektriko; ko proteine osvetlimo, proizvedejo električne impulze za uravnavanje nevronov. Začetek uravnavanja možganov so preskusili na miših, niso pa ga še uporabili pri človeku. Tehnologija se zdi obetavna za zdravljenje Alzheimerjeve bolezni. Področje sintezne biologije se pravzaprav ne razlikuje veliko od genskega inženirstva – pri obeh gre za gensko programiranje, torej programiranje, pri katerem v DNK kodiramo neko funkcijo. Sintezna biologija tako vidi izziv v raziskovanju tega, kako kodirati funkcije v DNK. Ni presenetljivo, da je bil eden osrednjih protagonistov na področju sintezne biologije tudi eden osrednjih protagonistov v projektu branja zaporedja človeškega genoma. Craig Venter se od leta 2005 intenzivno ukvarja s sintezno genomiko. Že dolgo je prepričan, da lahko genomika korenito spremeni zdravstvo (pred kratkim se je zavedel tudi, da lahko genomika povzroči revolucijo v gospodarstvu: raziskuje namreč uporabo mikroorganizmov, spremenjenih s sintezo, v industriji, predvsem za razvoj prihodnje generacije biogoriv). Venter si prizadeva ustvariti novo življenjsko obliko (Mycoplasma laboratorium). Leta 2010 je njegova ekipa sporočila (Science), da so ustvarili »Synthio«, bakterijo, ki je v naravi ni. Iz računalniškega zapisa so uspešno sintetizirali genom bakterije Mycoplasma mycoides in ga presadili v celico bakterije Mycoplasma capricolum, iz katere so odstranili DNK. Z drugimi besedami, dolgo molekulo DNK, ki vsebuje celotni genom bakterije, so priklopili na računalnik, kjer so jo spremenili kot računalniški program, nato odstranili DNK iz podobne celice in ga zavrgli ter nazadnje ustvarjeni DNK vnesli v izpraznjeno celico. Synthia je otrok računalnika in je na svet fizično prišla kot natis DNK. Meje med programiranim in biološkim se dobesedno zamegljujejo. Stvaritev so poimenovali »sintetično življenje«. A kljub uspehu genomike, ki že ustvarja v visoki meri prilagojene genome, »so pred nami še precejšnji izzivi, preden bodo genski inženirji lahko združevali in kombinirali genome organizmov ali jih ustvarjali povsem na novo,«14 je zapisal Paul Keim. Za morda najradikalnejši obet na področju sintezne biologije so poskrbeli tako imenovani preoblikovalci (ang. re-writers), ki verjamejo, da so naravni biološki sistemi tako zapleteni, da bi jih morali izgraditi na novo, od začetka, in 14 Elizabeth Pennisi, “Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium”, Science, 21. 5. 2010: l. 328 št. 5981 str. 958–959. <> 7-5-2012


na boljši način, da bi tako dobili prilagojene nadomestke, ki bi jih bolje razumeli in bi bila interakcija z njim lažja. Zamisel izvira iz računalništva, kjer pri metodi preoblikovanja kode slednjo spremenimo na način, da posežemo samo v njeno notranjo strukturo in pustimo zunanje vedênje nedotaknjeno, s čimer povečamo njeno berljivost in zmanjšamo zapletenost za izboljšanje izvorne kode, hkrati pa povečamo njeno razširljivost. Ob koncu 80. let 20. stoletja je Vilém Flusser v povezavi z biotehnologijo spregovoril o vprašanju »posnemanja boga«. Po njegovi teoriji bi šlo za pravo stvaritev v primeru, da bi ustvarili obliko, ki prej še ni obstajala. Pri želji »ustvariti življenje« gre bodisi za »igranje boga« ali mimesis v aristotelskem smislu, tj. približati se delovanju matere narave, tokrat v njeni najvišji funkciji izvora življenja. Evolucijo živih bitij po njihovem stvarjenju bi lahko tolmačili kot udejanjanje božje volje, da so se torej živa bitja razvila po nekem programu. Človeška vrsta je nedavno v doumevanju tega programa postala dovolj suverena, da lahko vanj posega, ga spreminja ali z inženirskimi metodami celo uveljavi svoj program. Najrazličnejše žive strukture – telesa, kiborgi, mikroorganizmi, celice in tkiva, pa tudi prav vse populacije vrst, vključno s človeško – so postale usodno odvisne od programa, ki ga je za ves ta živi svet uveljavil človek. Priča smo novemu poglavju biomoči.

Zoperstavljanje programu Variacijska stvaritev je po Flusserju metoda, ki vključuje veliko računalniškega dela, pa tudi biotehnologijo: »Pri biotehniki gre za enak proces kot pri naravni evoluciji – variacijska stvaritev, razlika je le v tem, da ne poteka po naključju, temveč po premišljenem programu.«15 Variacijska stvaritev deluje v okviru danih možnosti, lahko bi rekli znotraj naravnega aparata; podobno je Flusser nekoč razmišljal o podobah, ustvarjenih z aparatom fotografije, pri čemer vsako konkretno udejanjenje znotraj tega programa obstaja kot potencial, tudi če ne bo nikdar zares udejanjeno. »Vsaka oblika, v kateri se živa bitja na Zemlji lahko utelesijo, je zakodirana v obstoječem genskem zapisu kot potencial, zmožnost.«16 Če je Flusser želel ubrati enako logiko kot v delu K filozofiji fotografije, potem je moral upoštevati zoperstavljanje programu s strani ustvarjalnega agensa – umetnika. Po takem razumevanju pri umetnosti ne gre toliko za ustvarjanje kot za zoperstavljanje. V Flusserjevem primeru se stvarjenje in zoperstavljanje prepletata; sta celo del istega procesa. Vse lepo in prav, toda Flusser potem 15 1Vilém Flusser, “On Discovery”, v: Artforum, New York, l. 27, št. 7 (marec 1988), str. 14–15. 16 1Vilém Flusser, “On Discovery”, v: Artforum, New York, l. 27, št. 10 (poletje 1988), str. 18.


v tem pogledu zavzame precej presenetljivo stališče: ni nujno, da se s stvarjenjem ukvarja umetnik, lahko je biotehnolog. To je mogoče le, če biotehnologijo samo razumemo kot tisto, ki se zoperstavlja programu, in sam jo očitno tako razume. Biotehnologija se zoperstavlja »programu« naravnega »aparata«. A tudi sama pri svojem delu sledi premišljenemu programu in je tako tudi sama očitno svoj aparat. Do tega prihaja prav zato, ker teorija usmerja delo, koncept vodi k uporabi, uporabnosti. Na kratko: biotehnologija se zaradi svoje inženirske dimenzije zoperstavlja programu narave. Kdo pa se zoperstavlja programu biotehnologije? Flusser je želel stopiti ustvarjanju v bran, pri čemer pa pravo ustvarjanje ne poteka znotraj aparata ali po načrtu, temveč prihaja presenetljivo, kot intervencija v obstoječe procese, ki potekajo po svojem programu. Ustvarjanje je zato subverzivno dejanje. Za Flusserja biotehnolog in umetnik, kot kaže, postaneta ista oseba. Zoperstavljanje je uperjeno proti naravi. A če je biotehnologija sama svoj aparat, kdo se zoperstavlja njej? Kdo je stvaritelj, ki se zoperstavlja umeščanju v kolesje, ki proizvaja variacije programa biotehnologije? »Kdo bo Disney prihodnosti,« vpraša Flusser in odgovori: »Lahko bi bil molekularni biolog oz. molekularna biologinja.«17 Disney ni le tisti, ki naslika svet v svojih barvah, kot to počne tudi Rožnati panter, temveč je tisti, ki drži svinčnik, ki vodi celoten proces od zasnove do končne realizacije. Disney je inženir. Kakšna pa je vloga inženirja znotraj biotehnološkega aparata? Inženir ima po Flusserju potencial, da postane resnični stvaritelj; morda je zmožen igrati boga in tako postati subverzivni element v igri narave. Angleški termin engineer se pojavi v začetku 14. stoletja, ko se uporablja za konstruktorje vojaških strojev, izvira pa iz starofrancoske besede engigneor oziroma latinske ingeniare; pri tem beseda ingenium pomeni prirojene lastnosti, nadarjenost. Termin je soroden besedi engine, kar pomeni mehanska naprava, pa tudi veščina, spretnost, in izvira iz starofrancoske besede engin iz 12. stoletja, ki pomeni veščina, sposobnost, pa tudi zvijača, prevara, slepilni manever; vojaške sile.

Prevod iz angleščine Alenka Ropret.

17 Vilém Flusser, “On Discovery”, v: Artforum, New York, l. 27, št. 2 (oktober 1988), str. 9.


Viri Aristotle, 1963. The Physics, Book II, poglavje VIII, 199a, prev. Philip H. Wicksteed in Francis M. Cornford (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, William Heinemann Ltd.) Aristotle’s Poetics, 1981. prev. Leon Golden (Tallahassee: Florida State University Press) ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, 2009. “Geminoid HI-1”, v: Gerfried Stocker in Christine Schöpf (ur.), Human Nature. Ars Electronica 2009 (Ostfildern: Hathe Cantz) Damasio, Antonio, 1994. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (New York: G. P. Putnam) Flusser, Vilém, 1988. “On Discovery”, v: Artforum, New York, l. 27, št. 2, 7, 10 Gilbert, Katharine Everett in Kuhn, Helmut, 1954. A History of Esthetics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press) Laurie, Peter, 1983. The Joy of Computers (London: Hutchinson) Pennisi, Elizabeth, 2010. “Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium”, Science, 21. 5. 2010: l. 328 št. 5981, str. 958–959. < content/328/5981/958.full> 7-5-2012 Woodruff, Paul, 1992. “Aristotle on Mimēsis”, v: Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (ur.), Artistotle’s Poetics (Princeton: Princeton University Press)


Sekularni vitalizem ali fluidni avtomati Ionat Zurr in Oron Catts Povzetek Zanima nas pomembnost substrata – konteksta – za življenje. Kontekst je za razvoj in diferenciacijo življenja ravno tako, če ne bolj ključnega pomena kot genetski zapis. Vzemimo za primer matične celice, ki imajo sposobnost diferenciacije v različne smeri, lahko se razvijejo v krvno tkivo, kosti, maščobo itd. V zadnjem času postaja vse očitneje, da je njihova diferenciacija močno odvisna od zunajceličnih matric, na katerih dotične celice rastejo; vsaka, še tako majhna razlika v morfologiji substrata ima bistven vpliv na plastičnost celic ter na smer, v katero se bodo kasneje razvile. Bežno naslanjajoč se na zgodbo o Golemu (dobesedno: surov, neizoblikovan) bomo raziskali »čarobne« transformacije različnih materialov v substrate, ki imajo sposobnost, da delujejo kot nadomestki za življenje. Zgodba o Golemu govori o nastanku življenja iz nežive snovi (blata); silovitega, a tudi brutalno surovega življenja, ki ga je bilo moč prikrojiti različnim namenom in ciljem. Naš cilj je raziskati in postaviti nazaj v središče zanimanja materialnost življenja v kontekstu ter se s tem odmakniti od prevladujoče metafore o življenju kot programski kodi. S črpanjem iz zgodovinskih virov iz obdobja srednjega veka pogled usmerjamo na »inženiring življenja«, ki se nahaja na samem robu tega, kar razumemo kot živo – in ki mu želimo dodeliti neke vrste dejavnost, četudi samo na simbolični ravni. Ključne besede: ECM (zunajcelična matrica / extra cellular matrix), življenje, celice, plastičnost, Golem


Začetnik se dela ne sme lotiti sam, pač pa ga morata vedno spremljati eden ali dva pomočnika. Golema je potrebno narediti iz deviške zemlje, izkopane z mesta, kjer ni kopal še nihče. Zemljo je treba pregnesti s čisto izvirsko vodo, naravnost iz izvira. Če vodo prenašamo v kakršnikoli posodi, ni več primerna. Tisti, ki želijo ustvariti Golema, se morajo pred pričetkom do popolnosti očistiti, tako fizično kot duhovno. Pri svojem delu naj si nadenejo čist talar bele barve … Nobene napake ne smejo narediti v izgovorjavi … ne sme se zgoditi niti najmanjša prekinitev … (rabin Aryeh Kaplan, Talmud, 10. stoletje)1 Pri laboratorijski manipulaciji življenjskih oblik se v enaki meri srečujemo z izključevanjem in ubijanjem kot s poskusom ustvarjanja in ohranitve življenja. Običajno se pri tem izbrani objekt interesa (v tem primeru življenje) izolira, vzdržuje, opazuje in manipulira oziroma obdeluje na tak način, da se znotraj njegovega omejenega okolja prepreči obstoj in interakcija s čimerkoli drugim. To je osnova modernističnega projekta redukcionizma. V primeru življenja torej govorimo o aseptičnih ali sterilnih tehnikah. Konceptualni poudarek se v največji meri ukvarja z dekontekstualiziranim, manipuliranim življenjem in njegovim notranjim delovanjem, ne pa toliko z njegovim kontekstualiziranim miljejem. Trdimo, da so premiki v zaznavanju, nanašajoč se na definicijo življenja, ter redukcionistični poskusi nadzorovanja življenja v večini primerov ločeni od miljeja (sem prištevamo med drugim substrat, ekološke niše, kontekst, biom itd.). Ideja o materialu kot »aktivnem« miljeju – morebiti kot odgovor na instrumentalizacijo življenja – znova postaja aktualna, in sicer do te mere, da o animizmu govorimo v odnosu do vseh stopenj materiala: rojenega, razvitega ali ustvarjenega. Trdimo, da postaja ta pristop prevladujoč na področju miselnosti biološkega inženiringa, ki skuša žive materiale raziskovati na podoben način kot nežive; (torej stroj) kot enota, ki je lahko izolirana in racionalno obdelana – popolnoma zamenljiva, predvidljiva in nadzorljiva gradbena enota. V številnih pogledih je nadaljnje življenje v laboratorijskih okoljih podvrženo inženiringu in instrumentalizaciji za človekove namene; snovi, pa naj bo živa, pol živa ali neživa, pa je pripisana vitalnost in dejavnost. Povedano drugače: nadaljnje življenje je dojeto in uporabljano kot konstruirano orodje, stroj ali t. i. »mokra« avtomatska naprava, kar se navezuje na idejo sodobnega novega materializma (predvsem Gilles Deleuze, 1 Citirano na (zadnji dostop 3. 1. 2013)


Manuel De Landa in Jane Bennett) ali kar poimenujemo sekularni vitalizem. Takšno stapljanje idej lahko deluje kontradiktorno ali dopolnjujoče, o čemer bomo še govorili, vendar ga želimo tukaj osvetliti zlasti kot pomemben indikator naraščajoče nejasnosti v naših zaznavnih in tehnoloških mejnikih med tem, kar dojemamo kot živo, polživo ali neživo. V pričujočem besedilu se želimo dotakniti nekaterih posledic tega pojava ter spregovoriti o tem, kako ga upodabljajo umetniški krogi.

Organizmi kot živi stroji Francoski filozof La Mettrie (Julien Offray de La Mettrie, 1709–1751), ki z današnjega stališča velja za enega najzgodnejših materialistov (znotraj meja zgodovinskega konteksta pa tudi za enega najzgodnejših post-humanistov), je izzval Descartesov pogled na ne-človeške živali kot žive avtomate oziroma avtomatske naprave. Svoje nasprotovanje tej kartezijanski ideji razvije tako, da tudi ljudi poimenuje za stroje; trdi torej, da če so živali živi stroji, enako velja tudi za ljudi.2 Zapiše takole: Biti stroj, čutiti, misliti, vedeti, kako razlikovati med dobrim in zlim tako kot med modrim in rumenim, skratka, roditi se kot inteligentno bitje z zanesljivim moralnim nagonom, pa vendar biti samo žival, ni nič bolj kontradiktornega, kot biti opica ali papiga in znati poiskati seksualni užitek.3 V predgovoru k angleškemu prevodu La Mettriejevih del L’Homme machine / L’Homme Plant (Človek–stroj / Človek–rastlina) Justin Leiber pravi: Namesto »nepopisanega lista papirja«, ki namiguje na izpopolnjivost človeških bitij ter na njihovo popolno vodljivost, govori La Mettrie, tako pri posameznikih kot tudi pri vrstah, o vrsti podedovanih in prirojenih anatomskih in nevroloških značilnosti, prisil in omejenosti. Na osnovi tega si posamezniki z duševnimi motnjami in kriminalci zaslužijo obravnavo in zdravljenje namesto kaznovanja.4 Takšne vrste antikartezijanski pogled, po katerem se ljudje in živali rodijo z duševnimi in vedenjskimi predispozicijami, je dvoplasten: z njim lahko razlagamo trpljenje vseh živih organizmov, človeških ali drugih, ter promoviramo bolj post-humanističen pogled na svet; po drugi strani pa ga lahko uporabimo kot orodje v rokah evgenike, ki zagovarja stališče, da 2 Julian Offray de La Mettrie, Man a Machine and Man a Plant (prevod Richard A. Watson in Maya Rybalka) Hackett Publishing Company, Inc, Indianapolis/Cambridge, 1994 3 Ibid. Predgovor, str. 11 4 Ibid., Justin Leiber, Predgovor, str. 4


človeško vedenje v celoti temelji na biološkem razmišljanju (ne pa tudi na družbenih in kulturnih vidikih). V najbolj skrajni obliki lahko takšen materializem interpretiramo v smislu, da ne obstaja svobodna volja. V eni najzgodnejših in najbolj duhovitih znanstveno-fantastičnih zgodb Erewhon (1872) se protagonist znajde v deželi, kjer bolezen velja za zločin. Bolne ljudi vržejo v ječo, saj so njihove bolezni, depresivnost in žalost njihova odgovornost in njihova krivda; žalost je znak smole ali nesreče, ljudje pa morajo odgovarjati za dejanja, zaradi katerih so sedaj nesrečni. Ravno nasprotno pa v zgodbi s tistimi, ki zagrešijo zločine kot rop ali umor, ravnajo prijazno in jih napotijo v bolnišnico, kjer bodo okrevali in se zdravili. Vprašanje, ki se pri tem pojavlja, je, do kakšne mere lahko preoblikujemo materializem zato, da bo ustrezal določenim ideologijam. Do kod sega naša odgovornost za lastno zdravje in vedenje in v kolikšni meri je naš kontekst – družba – odgovorna za vzroke, simptome in zdravljenje; ter kakšna je razlika med zdravljenjem/terapijo v bolnišnici in zdravljenjem/ terapijo v zaporu? Ob tem, ko s svojim satiričnim pogledom na viktorijansko družbo in njene norme naslavlja nekatera temeljna biopolitična vprašanja, avtor zgodbe Erewhon Samuel Butler (1835–1902) izzove tudi ideje, povezane z napetostjo med človekom in strojem. V deželi Erewhon je že več sto let nazaj družba popolnoma odstranila določene vrste strojev; tako je ustvarjena zgodovinska meja, ki zahteva uničenje tehnologije, kadar je prekoračena. Njihove bojazni, da bodo stroji »izpodrinili človeško vrsto ter razvili vitalnost, ki bo drugačna in močnejša od živalske in bo prekašala živali enako kot živali prekašajo rastline«,5 jih vodijo v takšna preventivna dejanja. Kdaj natančno se pojavi ta »vitalnost« v živi ali neživi snovi, je vprašanje, o katerem teče debata že več let, še posebej pa postaja pomembno tudi danes, ko življenje obravnavamo kot surov material za inženiring, hkrati pa neživim materialom (ali strojem) pripisujemo, tudi v metaforičnem smislu, neke vrste vitalnost.

Fluidni avtomati Leiber opisuje, kako La Mettrie »uporablja uveljavljene aristotelske in sholastične ideje temeljnih oblik ter z njimi dokazuje, da ima organska snov ne le »pasivne« in »mehanske« lastnosti, ki jih ji pripisuje Descartes,

5 Samuel Butler, Erewhon, 1872, str. 59


pač pa tudi »aktivne« in »formalne« lastnosti, med katere spadajo čustva in mišljenje«.6 Ideja »aktivne« organske snovi je danes že dodobra uveljavljena, vendar je pri tem poudarjen zlasti genski zapis – še posebej po tem, ko je leta 1953 James D. Watson s Francisom Crickom na podlagi dragocenih podatkov Rosalind Franklin odkril strukturo DNK, zlasti pa v luči »tekme« za razkritje zaporedja človeškega genoma v letu 2000. Trdimo, da je »aktivno« stanje organske snovi definirano v smislu njene nenehne interakcije z okoljem. V svojem delu Making Sense of Life avtorica Evelyn Fox Keller zapiše: »v zadnjih nekaj desetletjih se je na področju biologije uveljavila prevladujoča oblika razlage, in sicer predpostavka, da bomo s pomočjo kataloga genov značilnosti določenega organizma avtomatsko »razumeli« ta organizem«. V nadaljevanju še pove, da »vedno večje število biologov zagovarja stališče, da ni nikakršnega kataloga, niti zaporedja celotnega genoma, ki bi omogočil razlago celotnega biološkega ustroja«.7 Spektakularen prikaz ustvarjanja novega življenja s pomočjo kontekstualno povezane manipulacije se je zgodil leta 1899, ko je Jacques Loeb (1859–1924) razvil t. i. »umetno partenogenezo – umetno pridobivanje plavajočih ličink iz neoplojenih jajčec morskega ježka«.8 Z drugimi besedami: Loeb je demonstriral sposobnost oploditve (pri morskem ježku) brez sperme s pomočjo kemično preoblikovanega okolja. Bil je eden prvih, ki je o življenju razmišljal v smislu bio-snovi, ki jo lahko obdelujemo s sinteznim inženiringom ali jo ponovno ustvarimo; predlagal je, naj se biologija osredotoča bolj na manipulacijo in ne zgolj na opazovanje. Kot miselni eksperiment je predlagal tudi izdelavo živega sistema iz mrtve snovi, da bi s tem ovrgel ideje vitalistov, ter trdil, da mu je uspel primer »abiogeneze« (Loeb, 1906). V svojem eksperimentalnem delu in bioloških raziskavah je Loeb zavzel, kot temu sam pravi, »stališče inženiringa«. Zaradi svojega trdnega prepričanja v nadzor nad življenjem in mehanicističnega pristopa k življenju je trdil, da sta »nagon« in »volja« »metafizična koncepta … na isti ravni kot nadnaravne moči teologov«.9

6 Man A Machine and Man A Plant, angleški prevod, Hackett 1994. Justin Leiber, Predgovor, str. 2 7 Evelyn Keller Fox, Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines. Harvard University Press, 2003, str. 154 8 Jacques Loeb, The Dynamics of Living Matter (1906), 223. Abiogenezo poznamo tudi pod imenom avtogeneza ali spontan nastanek živih organizmov iz nežive snovi. 9 Philip J. Pauly, Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb & the Engineering Ideal in Biology (Monographs on the History & Philosophy of Biology), Oxford University Press, 1987, str. 47


Konstrukcija in dekonstrukcija življenja V iskanju izmuzljivega odgovora na vprašanje, kaj je življenje, obstajata dva glavna pristopa: z vrha navzdol – razstavljanje življenja na njegove gradbene enote; in z dna navzgor – ustvariti življenje iz nič. Vsi ti poskusi so danes združeni pod širšim skupnim izrazom »sintezna biologija«.10 Sintezno biologijo lahko ohlapno definiramo kot kombinacijo vseh bioloških ved in principov inženiringa. Lahko si jo razlagamo tudi kot krilatico novodobnih poskusov uporabe principov inženiringa življenja, ki zajema širok spekter pristopov od spreminjanja celostne podobe genskega inženiringa pa vse do ustvarjanja sintetičnih oblik življenja (recimo Synthia in/ ali protocelice). S sintezno biologijo se ukvarjajo predvsem inženirji, ki skušajo logiko inženiringa prenesti na »neurejenost« življenja. Rastoče področje sintezne biologije dodatno utrjuje že razširjen vpliv miselnosti inženiringa na področju bioloških ved, hkrati pa v istem zgodovinskem trenutku v ta prostor vstopajo tudi umetniške intervencije. Bioloških laboratorijev, ki gostijo umetnike (pa tudi inženirje), ne moremo obravnavati ločeno, pač pa jih umeščamo znotraj širšega konteksta kulturnih omrežij, organiziranih po principu maksimizacije uporabnosti, učinkovitosti in donosnosti. Kot je leta 1934 dejal Uexküll (Jakob von Uexküll, 1864–1944): Kdor želi vztrajati pri prepričanju, da so vsa živa bitja zgolj stroji, naj opusti vsakršno upanje spoznati svoje okolje.11 Leta 2010 je Craig Venter objavil, da je razvil prvo življenjsko obliko, ki »se je rodila računalniškim staršem«.12 Čeprav je Venterjev dosežek resnično velik tehnološki uspeh – sinteza najdaljše verige DNK in nadomestitev genoma preproste bakterije s sintetizirano različico – pa je kontekst (tj. celica, citoplazma in njena vsebina) še vedno biološkega izvora. Vloga računalnika pri sintezi genoma je bila pravzaprav vloga glorificiranega kopirnega stroja – ki je kopiral genom, ne da bi pri tem popolnoma »razumel« njegov pomen. Edina novost, ki so jo v resnici predstavili s sinteznim genomom, je bilo »vodno znamenje«, skrito sporočilo, ki je vsebovalo imena raziskovalcev, URL naslov in nekaj citatov na temo stvarjenja življenja – to pa je nekaj, kar je umetnik Joe Davis dosegel že sredi 1980-ih.13 10 Več o področju sintezne biologije na 11 Jakob von Uexküll, A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, The University of Minnesota Press, 1934, str. 41 12 13 Joe Davis (1996), “Microvenus”. Art Journal 55 (1): 70–74


Synthio14 lahko predstavimo kot »umetno« življenjsko obliko, zraslo v »že narejenem« živem okolju, ki deluje kot nadomestno telo, v veliki meri pa tudi kot opredeljujoče telo, ki prevaja in je v aktivni interakciji z vstavljenim genskim zapisom. Še zdaleč pa ne pomeni, da je mogoče ustvariti življenje iz nič. Teoretični model za razlago najosnovnejše komponente življenja je leta 1971 predlagal tudi Tibor Gánti (1933–2009). Definirati je želel minimalni model živega organizma. Prav iz njegove teorije si sposojamo izraz »fluidna« ali »mehka avtomatizacija«. Ena pomembnejših predpostavk njegove teorije Chemoton je, da je življenje omejeno, vendar fluidno stanje: Izkazalo se je, da lahko temeljne principe, na katerih sloni delovanje živih sistemov, razumemo v smislu »fluidnih avtomatov«. Gre za kompleksne sisteme kemičnih reakcij, ki delujejo podobno kot stroji; lahko jih upravljamo in nadziramo, vendar ne vsebujejo nujno trdnih delov.15 Bistvena ideja je torej naslednja: Vsi živi sistemi morajo vsebovati avtokatalitično presnovno omrežje, ki ga sestavljajo reverzibilne reakcije ter podoben, avtokatalitičen, toda enosmeren reakcijski sistem nereverzibilnih reakcij. Specifičen spoj obeh tako ustvari funkcionalen sistem ali »stroj«, ki, za razliko od strojev, ki jih izdelajo ljudje, obdeluje energijo, ki teče skozenj na kemičen način – namesto mehanskega oz. električnega.16 Podobno kot La Mettrie, tudi Gánti opisuje življenje kot stroj (čeprav mu La Mettrie pripisuje že vgrajene oziroma prirojene čustvene in vedenjske komponente). Ironično pa Craig Venter za opisovanje svojih »novih« življenjskih oblik priredi metaforo življenja kot stroja v računalnik, ki je postal starš. O njegovem izboru besed bi lahko veliko povedali tudi s feminističnega stališča: poudarjen je stroj – računalnik, ki kopira že obstoječo verigo DNK, medtem ko je vloga matriksa, torej celice, kamor so DNK vstavili, skoraj povsem zanemarjena. Kljub temu pa postaja znova očitna 14 Daniel G. Gibson,1 John I. Glass,1 Carole Lartigue,1 Vladimir N. Noskov,1 Ray-Yuan Chuang,1 Mikkel A. Algire,1 Gwynedd A. Benders,2 Michael G. Montague,1 Li Ma,1 Monzia M. Moodie,1 Chuck Merryman,1 Sanjay Vashee,1 Radha Krishnakumar,1 Nacyra Assad-Garcia,1 Cynthia AndrewsPfannkoch,1 Evgeniya A.Denisova,1 Lei Young,1 Zhi-Qing Qi,1 Thomas H. Segall-Shapiro,1 Christopher H. Calvey,1 Prashanth P. Parmar,1 Clyde A. Hutchison III,2 Hamilton O. Smith,2 J. Craig Venter1,2*1The J. Craig Venter Institute, 9704 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. 2The J. Craig Venter Institute, 10355Science Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA. In / www. / 20 May 2010 / Page 6 / 10.1126/science.1190719 15 Tibor Gánti, The principles of life, Oxford University Press 2003, str. XIII 16 Ibid., str. XII


prav pomembnost matriksa (citoplazme, maternice, zunajceličnega matriksa in substrata), ki so jo v zgodovini velikokrat spregledali.

Surovi pristop – namenimo pozornost substratu Abiogeneza, veda o nastanku biološkega življenja iz anorganske snovi s pomočjo naravnih procesov, je bogata in plodna niša, iz katere izhajajo številne različne teorije in hipoteze. Kakšne so bile sestavine in okoljski pogoji tiste prvobitne juhe, iz katere so se kasneje razvili živahni fluidni avtomati, ki jih lahko imenujemo življenje? Ena izmed teorij nam v odgovor ponuja glino kot substrat, ki je omogočil pojav življenja. Vodilni raziskovalec na tem področju je bil Graham Cairns-Smith, ki je v 1960-ih razlagal, kako bi plastičnost in samo-razmnoževalne lastnosti glinenih kristalov v raztopini lahko zagotovili preprost vmesni korak med biološko nedejavno snovjo in organskim življenjem, saj so lastnosti glinenih kristalov spremenljive, pri interakciji z okoljem pa zajemajo tudi plastičnost.17 Ideja o glini kot substratu življenja je opisana tudi v znani mitološki zgodbi o življenju, ki ga je ustvaril človek – v zgodbi o Golemu. Zgodba o Golemu (izraz dobesedno pomeni »surov, neoblikovan«) je zgodba o stvarjenju življenja iz anorganske snovi, blata. Življenjska sila, ki jo je Golemov stvaritelj »vstavil« v glineni kalup, je proizvedla čuteče in močno bitje, ki pa je bilo brez zdrave pameti, kaj šele, da bi znalo razlikovati med dobrim in zlim. Stvaritelj (posvojeni starš?) oblikuje kontekst in zgnete Golema tako, da se ta obnaša na določen način. Zanimivo je, da zgodnejše omembe Golema opisujejo stvarjenje bitja »za tretjino velikosti teleta«, namenjenega za obredno večerjo. Po nenavadnem naključju to spominja na nekatere naše minule projekte, recimo Extra Ear ¼ Scale (2003), v katerem smo gojili pomanjšano repliko Stelarcovega umetnega ušesa; ali Disembodied Cuisine (2000–2003), ki je vrhunec doživel s slavnostno večerjo, na meniju pa se je znašel zrezek pol žive žabe, ki smo jo hranili z zarodnim serumom teleta. Druga različica zgodbe o Golemu opisuje, kako se je rabin Judah uštel glede moči svojega uroka, kar je povzročalo težave zlasti glede koncepta nenehnega ustvarjanja. Golem se je namreč sredi noči skrivoma vrnil na obrežje reke in vsakič je postalo njegovo bitje še večje. Ušel je izpod nadzora in postal nevaren tudi za tiste, ki naj bi jih po prvotnem načrtu 17 Več o tem: Cairns-Smith, A. G. Seven Clues to the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1985


zaščitil.18 Projekt Victimless Leather, ki je leta 2008 zrasel iz zarodnih matičnih celic miši, je doletela ista usoda – celice so rasle hitreje, kot smo pričakovali, vse dokler se ni iz njih izoblikovalo majhno zarodno telesce, ki je na koncu zadušilo »stroj«, ki je sistem umetno ohranjal pri življenju. Zato smo bili prisiljeni projekt Victimless Leather ustaviti še v času trajanja razstave (TC&A projekti). Tudi eno najinih zadnjih del z naslovom Crude Matter je navdihnjeno z zgodbo o Golemu, tokrat neposredno z njeno najbolj znano različico, Golemom iz Prage. Čeprav se ne ukvarja neposredno z misticizmom stvarjenja življenja, se projekt Crude Matter dotika nekaterih drugih vidikov zgodbe, od možnosti »izključitve« človeške tehnologije (kot komentar na trenutno vzvišeno stališče človeka), pa vse do vmesnika med živim in neživim. Kar pa je najpomembneje, poudariti želimo pomembnost substrata – tj. konteksta – za življenje; konteksta, ki je ravno tako kot genski zapis, če ne še bolj, ključnega pomena za razvoj in raznolikost življenja. V središču pozornosti je dejavnost substrata, njegov pomen pri igranju aktivne vloge pri določanju usode življenja. Vse več biologov se zaveda, da prav zunajcelični matriks, v katerem celica raste, kroji nadaljnjo pot te celice. Še tako majhna sprememba v morfologiji substrata lahko bistveno vpliva na plastičnost celice ter na njeno potomstvo. V eseju z naslovom Substrate stiffness affects early differentiation events in embryonic stem cells (Vpliv trdote substrata na zgodnjo diferenciacijo pri zarodnih matičnih celicah)19 Nicholas D. Evans s sodelavci prikaže, kako zgolj spremembe v trdoti substrata (PDMS) spremenijo način diferenciacije matičnih celic v različna tkiva – kostno, maščobno itd. Raziskujemo torej »alkimistično« preobrazbo materialov v aktivne substrate, ki lahko delujejo kot nadomestki za življenje. Zgodba o Golemu opisuje nastanek življenja iz nežive snovi; silovitega, surovega življenja, ki ga je bilo moč oblikovati za različne namene in cilje. Samo delo sestoji iz serije meditacij, zraslo pa je iz celic dvoživk, pri čemer se navezujemo na sanje o regenerativni biologiji obnavljanja ter na preplet vode in zemlje, ki ju povezujemo z nastankom Golema. Celice gojimo na vrsti različnih substratov, ti pa določajo njihovo končno usodo. Z delom želimo na poetičen način raziskati in priklicati nazaj v ospredje materialnost življenja v kontekstu. Na ta način se oddaljujemo od prevladujoče metafore življenja kot genskega zapisa. Črpajoč iz zgodovinske 18 Geoffrey W. Dennis, The Encyclopaedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism; Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury Minnesota, 2007, str. 111 19 European Cells and Materials, Vol. 18, 2009, str. 1–14


zapuščine srednjega veka se sprašujemo o življenju, ki je nastalo s pomočjo inženiringa in ki se nahaja na meji razmišljanj o živem ali neživem ter mu pripisujemo predvsem dejavnost, četudi zgolj simbolično.

Zaključek Monika Bakke piše, kako postane razlikovanje med snovjo in življenjem problematično takrat, ko »novi materialisti razglasijo, da snov poseduje dejavnost in vitalnost, ki nista na noben način povezani s kakšno posebno »življenjsko silo« – kot v historičnem vitalizmu, pač pa se nanašata na živahno imanenco snovi, ki se manifestira skozi svojo produktivnost in samo-preobrazbo«.20 Paradoksalno pa obstaja v več smislih skupni imenovalec med miselnostjo inženiringa, kadar se nanaša na življenje, ter med filozofijo novih materialistov, ki snovi pripisuje dejavnost; obe zamegljujeta meje, tehnološke in perceptualne, med tem, kar pripada živemu ali neživemu, organizmu ali stroju. Gre za vprašanje nadzora – medtem ko je inženiring usmerjen k popolnemu nadzoru in maksimalni učinkovitosti žive snovi, se morda novi materialisti spogledujejo z bolj »sofisticiranim nadzorom« (soft control), ki deluje skozi kontekst. Kaj se zgodi takrat, ko postane zanemarljiva tudi razlika med manipulacijo življenja in »povzdignjenjem« nežive snovi v animistično stanje? Kakšna je razlika, če življenje poimenujemo »fluidni avtomati« ali če pripisujemo živi snovi neke vrste sekularni vitalizem? Ali bomo v živi snovi našli nekaj edinstvenega in posebnega, ne da bi se pri tem morali zatekati k metafizičnim pojmom? Živimo v časih, ko se pravila igre spreminjajo.

Prevod iz angleščine Helena Fošnjar.

20 Monika Bakke, Actual Matter – Possible Life, v Crude Life, The Tissue Culture & Art Project, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, 2012, str. 53


Viri Bakke, Monika (2012), Actual Matter – Possible Life, v Crude Life, The Tissue Culture & Art Project, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art Cairns-Smith, A. G. (1985), Seven Clues to the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, New York Davis, Joe (1996), “Microvenus”. Art Journal 55 (1) European Cells and Materials (2009), Vol. 18 Gánti, Tibor (2003), The principles of life, Oxford University Press 2003 Geoffrey W. Dennis (2007), The Encyclopaedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism. Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury Minnesota Keller Fox, Evelyn (2003), Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines. Harvard University Press La Mettrie, Julian Offray de (1994), Man a Machine and Man a Plant (prevod Richard A. Watson in Maya Rybalka) Hackett Publishing Company, Inc, Indianapolis/ Cambridge Pauly, Philip J. (1987), Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb & the Engineering Ideal in Biology (Monographs on the History & Philosophy of Biology), Oxford University Press Uexküll, Jakob von (1934), A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans, The University of Minnesota Press


tem okolju določene umetniške strategije postanejo “ Vpomembnejše: to so strategije, ki so usmerjene k

oblikovanju nove človekove pravice, pravice do ponovnega izuma in ponovnega zapisa samih temeljev

tehnološkega mita. ”


Glosar Pričujoči glosar vsebuje izraze, ki se uporabljajo za opisovanje pojmov s področja umetnosti in naprednih tehnologij. Sestavil ga je Dmitry Bulatov (Nacionalni center za sodobno umetnost, Baltski oddelek, Rusija) ob podpori strokovnih svetovalcev s tehnološkega inštituta MIT v Massachusettsu (Cambridge, Massachusetts, ZDA), Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI, New York, ZDA), ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe) ter s pomočjo Georgea Gesserta, Tatiane Gorjucheve, Davida Darrowa, Konstantina Miteneva, Ionat Zurr in Roya Ascotta.

Iz angleščine prevedla Helena Fošnjar.


A- (B-) biologija: izraza opredeljujeta biološki status: »A« pomeni povsem naravno, »B« pa umetno biološko. Algoritem: eksplicitni postopek za reševanje identičnih ali podobnih problemov ali nalog. Aminokisline: organske molekule, ki so osnovni gradniki beljakovin. Znanih je približno dvesto aminokislin, od katerih jih dvajset redno srečujemo pri vseh vrstah živih organizmov. Glej Protein (beljakovina). Asembler (sestavljalnik): molekularni stroj, ki ga lahko programiramo tako, da zna proizvesti skoraj vsako molekularno strukturo ali napravo iz preprostejših kemičnih gradnikov. Glej Replikator, Delni asembler. Asistirana reproduktivna tehnologija (ART): so vse oblike zdravljenja oz. posegov, ki vključujejo kirurško odstranitev jajčec iz ženskih jajčnikov in njihovo združevanje s spermo, z namenom, da se ženski pomaga zanositi. Med metode ART tehnologije spadajo: umetna oploditev izven telesa, prenos spolnih celic v jajcevode (t. i. GIFT – gamete intrafallopian transfer) in prenos oplojenih spolnih celic v jajcevode (zygote intrafallopian transfer). Atom: najmanjši del kemičnih elementov (s premerom približno treh desetmilijardink metra). Atomi so osnovni gradniki molekul in vseh trdnih objektov; sestavljeni so iz oblaka elektronov, ki obkrožajo gosto jedro, stotisočkrat manjše od samega atoma. Avatar: elektronski predstavnik osebe znotraj virtualnega okolja (običajno v obliki animirane entitete). Avtomatizirani inženiring: uporaba računalnikov za izvajanje inženirskega oblikovanja; na končni stopnji proizvajanje natančnih oblik iz grobih specifikacij z malo ali brez človeške pomoči. Avtomatizirani inženiring je specializirana oblika umetne inteligence. Glej Umetna inteligenca.


Bakterije: enocelični živi organizmi, običajno premera približno enega mikrona. Bakterije so ene izmed najstarejših, najpreprostejših in najmanjših oblik celic. Glej Celica. 253

Bazni par (bp): je par dušičnih baz (adeninske in timinske ali gvaninske in citozinske), ki je med seboj povezan s šibkimi vezmi. Dva sestavna trakova DNK sta z vezmi baznih parov med seboj povezana v obliki dvojne vijačnice. Beljakovina (protein): kompleksen polimer, sestavljen iz 20 aminokislin (pravzaprav je aminokislin več, toda te nastanejo pri dodatnih kemijskih spremembah). Beljakovine so nujno potrebne za preživetje celic. So sestavni del njihovega ogrodja, katalizirajo kemijske reakcije ter izvajajo uravnalne funkcije in funkcije transporta. Vsaka beljakovinska molekula v živi celici ima kompleksno prostorsko strukturo. Glej Polimer, Aminokisline. Biočip: analitična podatkovna zbirka v velikosti nekaj centimetrov, s pomočjo katere bi lahko dobili informacije o stanju vseh genov določenega organizma. Biočipe razvrščamo na oligonukleotide ter komplementarne DNK (cDNK) biočipe: prvi tip vsebuje manjše odseke DNK, ki običajno pripadajo istemu genu, drugi pa daljše odseke genov, tj. do 1000 nukleotidov, ki se robotsko nanašajo na površino. Glej tudi DNK. Bioetika: ekološka odgovornost do biosfere. V tej izdaji se nanaša na aplikacijo moralnih diskurzov na področje biomedicinskih tehnologij. Biomimetična simulacija: simulacija, kopirana neposredno iz živega preko celičnih avtomatov, genskih algoritmov, modelov kolektivne inteligence, dinamične morfogeneze itd. Biomimetična simulacija črpa iz treh tipov delovanja živega: samoregulacije, samoohranitve, samoreprodukcije. Bioreaktor: nadzorovano umetno okolje, oblikovano za spodbujanje življenjskih procesov; pogosto ga povezujemo z gojenjem kultur in sistemi tkivnega inženiringa. Biošovinizem: predsodek, da so biološki sistemi sami po sebi tako superiorni, da bodo zmeraj imeli monopol nad samo-razmnoževanjem in inteligenco. Biota: kibernetična skupnost za raziskavo postbioloških modelov. Biotehnologija: na seznam področij, ki jih zajema ta izraz, spadajo rekombinantna DNK, rastlinske tkivne kulture, spajanje genov, encimski sistemi, gojenje rastlin, meristemske kulture, celične kulture sesalcev, imunologija, molekularna biologija, fermentacija in druga področja. Je študija tehnik, ki jih uporabljamo za proizvodnjo produktov iz organizmov, rastlin ali njihovih posameznih delov, za potrebe biotehnološke industrije. Glej tudi Celica, DNK, Encim, Rekombinantna DNK, Tkivna kultura. Biotelematika: vrsta biointegriranih metod, ki jih uporabljamo za prenos in obdelavo informacij. Blastocista (blastula pri sesalcih): skupina celic (trofoblast), ki obkroža notranjo množico celic in s tekočino napolnjeno votlino (blastocel ali segmentacijska votlina). Blastomera: celica, ki nastane z delitvijo oplojenega jajčeca. Bot (softverski robot, softbot): računalniški program, ki avtonomno opravlja delo uporabnika ali programa, ali simulira neko človekovo dejavnost. Glej tudi Nanorobot, Nevrobot. Bralni okvir: izbrana sekvenca nukleotidov, ki se začne na točno določeni točki in se nato razcepi v posamezne kodone. Bralni okvir se spremeni, če mu odvzamemo ali 254


dodamo enega ali več nukleotidov – s tem ustvarimo novo sekvenco kodonov za branje. Na primer, sekvenco CATGGT običajno beremo kot zaporedje kodonov CAT in GGT. Če bi med začetna C in A vstavili dodaten nukleotid adenozin (A), bi dobili sekvenco CAATGGT in v spremenjenem bralnem okvirju dva nova (drugačna) kodona (CAA in TGG), ki kodirata nekaj povsem drugačnega. Glej DNK, Kodon, Mutacija, Nukleotid.

Celica: z membrano omejena enota, običajno premera nekaj mikronov. Vse rastline in živali so sestavljene iz ene ali več celic (človeško telo recimo sestavlja na milijone celic). Načelno vsebuje vsaka celica večceličnih organizmov jedro, v katerem se nahajajo vse genske informacije tega organizma. Celični inženiring: metoda oblikovanja novih tipov celic na osnovi gojenja, hibridizacije in rekonstrukcije. Glej Celica.


Degeneza: izključevanje genov ali genskih struktur določenega organizma z namenom razvijanja novih lastnosti tega organizma. Glej Gen, Mutacija, Umetnost himere. Delni asembler (sestavljalnik): sestavljalnik z vgrajenimi omejitvami uporabe (recimo takšnimi, ki otežujejo ali onemogočajo tvegano uporabo ali ne dovoljujejo izdelave določenih stvari). Glej Sestavljalnik (asembler). Diferenciacija: v splošnem je to naraščajoča specializacija v organizaciji različnih delov zarodka v procesu razvoja večceličnega organizma iz nediferenciranega oplojenega jajčeca. Če pa se nanaša na celice, pa pomeni razvoj celic s specializirano strukturo in funkcijo iz nespecializiranih celic prednic, ki se pojavi pri razvoju zarodka ter pri kasnejši nadomestitvi določenih tipov celic iz trajno nespecializiranih matičnih celic. Glej tudi Celica. DNK (deoksiribonukleinska kislina): molekule DNK so dolge verige, sestavljene iz štirih vrst nukleotidov; vrstni red teh nukleotidov določa potrebne informacije za izgradnjo beljakovinskih molekul. Le-te nato sestavljajo glavni del molekularne strukture vsake celice. DNK je genski material celic. Dolžino molekularnega odseka DNK običajno merimo s številom nukleotidnih parov, ki jih vsebuje. Glej Nukleotid, RNK.


Encim: beljakovina, ki deluje kot katalizator v biokemičnih reakcijah. Evkarionti: celice ali organizmi z notranjim jedrom, zaščitenim z membrano ter drugimi dobro razvitimi znotrajceličnimi strukturami. Med evkarionte spadajo vsi organizmi razen virusov, bakterij in modrozelenih alg. Glej tudi Prokarionti. Evolucija: proces, pri katerem je populacija samo-razmnožujočih se entitet podvržena variaciji, uspešni primerki se nato širijo in postanejo osnova nadaljnje variacije. Glej Selekcija.


Fenotip: fizična zgradba oz. lastnosti organizma, določene z interakcijo med njegovo genetsko zgradbo ter okoljem. Filogeneza: zaporedje dogodkov v procesu evolucije določene vrste. Glej Vrsta. 255


Gen: naravna enota dednega materiala, ki predstavlja fizično osnovo za prenos lastnosti živih organizmov od generacije do generacije. Glej DNK, beljakovine (proteini). Genetika: področje biologije, ki se ukvarja z dednostjo. Raziskuje način delovanja genov in njihovega prenašanja od staršev na potomce. Genetska umetnost (Ars Genetica): umetniško področje, ki se osredotoča na oblikovanje organizmov z danimi dednimi estetskimi značilnostmi. Tradicionalna interpretacija pojma temelji na genetiki populacij (študije osrednjih dejavnikov evolucije: dednosti, variabilnosti, selekcije) in genetiki mutacij (študije izvora mutacij). Genetski inženiring: veja v biotehnologiji. Človekovo selektivno in načrtno spreminjanje genov (genskega materiala). Izraz se je pričel uporabljati v zelo širokem smislu, vključno z manipulacijo in spreminjanjem genskega materiala (sestavnosti) določenega organizma na način, da mu omogoča proizvodnjo endogenih beljakovin z lastnostmi, ki so drugačne od tradicionalnih (zgodovinskih/tipičnih), ali celo proizvodnjo povsem drugačnih (tujih) beljakovin. Glej Biotehnologija. Genetski kod: skupina treh kodnih zapisov v DNK, ki določa vse aminokisline. Glej Kodon, Trojček. Genom: celoten dedni material v celici ali celotno zaporedje DNK. Človeški genom sestavlja 3,3 milijarde nukleotidov, ki določajo približno 30.000 genov (tj. približno 100.000 parov nukleotidov na gen), bakterijski genom — od 600.000 nukleotidov/600 genov (intracelični paraziti) do 6–8 milijonov nukleotidov/5.000–6.000 genov (prosto delujoče bakterije). Genomika: analiza celotnega genoma (celotne skupine genov) določenenga organizma; razkriva informacije o genski in beljakovinski sestavi celic. Specifičen biotehnološki diskurz, ki zajema tako temeljne raziskave (glej Projekt človeški genom) kot celo vrsto medicinskih genetskih praks; tudi zbirka posebnih jezikov, družbenih konfliktov, političnih kampanj, mitov in znanja, upanja in groženj človekovemu obstoju. Genomski kič: umetniška dela, zasnovana na ideji s področja biotehnologije, izvedena na nivoju poigravanja z zastavljenim vprašanjem, z uporabo tradicionalnih medijev, ne da bi zadevala bistvo same tehnologije. Genotip: celotna dedna sestava, ki jo posameznik podeduje od staršev; genska sestava organizma. Glej tudi Fenotip. Genska karta: določitev relativnega položaja genov v DNK molekuli (kromosom ali plazmid) ter razdalje med njimi – v veznih ali fizičnih enotah.


Hibrid: rezultat parjenja dveh organizmov različnih vrst ali dveh gensko zelo različnih pripadnikov iste vrste. Himera (kimera): a) (biol.) organizem, ki je sestavljen iz genetsko različnih tkiv ali posameznih delov. b) (mitol.) pošast z levjo glavo, kozjim trupom in zmajevim repom, ki bruha ogenj. c) fantastična, nerealistična ideja ali sanje. d) domišljijska pošast, sestavljena iz delov različnih živali. 256

Hipertekst (nadbesedilo): računalniški sistem za povezovanje besedila in drugih podatkov s pomočjo navzkrižnega sklicevanja, ki omogoča hiter dostop ter enostavno objavljanje in iskanje komentarjev. Hipo-tehno-zoologija: področje zoologije, ki nastaja iz bolj prikrite plati pozitivistične zoologije preko tehnoloških modelov.


In vitro: zunaj živega organizma ali naravnega sistema; običajno se nanaša na umetne eksperimentalne sisteme, kot so celične kulture, brezcelični ekstrakti itd. In vivo: znotraj živega organizma ali naravnega sistema. Inženiring: uporaba znanstvenega znanja ter metode poskusov in napak za oblikovanje sistemov. Glej Znanost. Izražanje genov: proces, v katerem se v genih zapisani podatki pretvarjajo v strukture in funkcije celice. Med izražene gene spadajo tisti, ki so transkribirani v mRNK ter nato prevedeni v beljakovine, pa tudi tisti, ki so transkribirani v RNK, a niso preneseni v beljakovine (npr. transfer in ribosomske RNK). Glej Gen, Transkripcija, RNK. Izvorna/matična celica: nediferencirana celica pri zarodku ali odraslem, ki se lahko neomejeno podvojuje in predstavlja osnovo za enega ali več različnih tipov celic. Pri odraslih je to nediferencirana celica, iz katere nastajajo nekatera obnovljiva tkiva (kri, koža itd.). Glej Totipotenca.


Kibercepcija: bionska sposobnost ljudi, ki vključuje ojačitev idejnih in zaznavnih procesov in pri kateri igra oblikovalno vlogo tudi povezovanje telematskih omrežij. Kinetična oblika oblikovanja himere: namensko ustvarjanje himeričnih artefaktov z dednimi estetskimi lastnostmi, ki se spreminjajo skozi čas. Glej Ustvarjanje himere, Umetnost himere. Klon: skupina posamičnih organizmov (ali celic), nastalih iz ene same celice s pomočjo aseksualnih procesov, brez izmenjave ali kombinacije genskega materiala. Kloniranje: postopek aseksualne proizvodnje skupine genetsko identičnih celic (klonov) iz enega samega prednika. V tehnologiji rekombinantne DNK se uporaba postopkov manipulacije DNK za proizvodnjo večjega števila kopij določenega gena ali odseka DNK imenuje kloniranje DNK. Glej DNK. Kodon: nukleotidni trojček [zaporedje treh enot (ostankov) nukleinske kisline] znotraj informacijske RNK (mRNK), ki kodirajo aminokislino (trojna koda ali trojček) ali terminacijski signal. Glej RNK, Aminokisline, Nukleotidi. Ksenotransplantacija: vsaditev (implantacija) organa ali uda iz organizma ene vrste na organizem druge vrste. Glej tudi Vrsta. Kvantna teleportacija: podvajanje ali ponovno ustvarjenje fizičnih objektov ali njihovih lastnosti s pomočjo svetlobnih žarkov. Kvantna teleportacija pomeni prenos informacij o lastnostih objekta s svetlobno hitrostjo, pri čemer bi bilo teoretično možno objekt podvojiti oz. rekonstruirati na želeni destinaciji.


Metabola: mokro umetniško delo (wet art work) ali delo s področja umetnega življenja, ki odseva povezavo kvalitativnih in kvantitativnih lastnosti konstrukcije, 257

po zgledu aktivacije, modeliranja ali preračunavanja vplivov metaboličnih procesov. Glej Wet Art, Umetno življenje, Umetnost himere. Metabolizem: celota vseh kemičnih procesov, ki se dogajajo pri živih organizmih ter pri njih povzročajo rast, proizvajanje energije, odstranjevanje odpadnega materiala itd. Mioblast: celica, ki po združitvi z drugimi mioblasti povzroči nastanek miocita, ki se nato razvije v skeletna mišična vlakna. Izraz mioblast se včasih uporablja za označevanje vseh celic, ki jih prepoznamo kot neposredne predhodnice skeletnih mišičnih vlaken. Modifikacija: ne-dednostna sprememba v organizmu, npr. sprememba, ki se pojavi zaradi lastne dejavnosti ali okolja. Glej tudi Genotip, Fenotip. Mokra oprema (Wetware): tehnološka kombinacija fizične in biološke opreme, ki se uporablja pri izdelovanju mokrih umetniških del. Ukinja tudi razmejitev med ustvarjenim objektom in biološko entiteto. Glej Mokra umetnost. Mokra umetnost (Wet Art): področje umetniškega raziskovanja, ki se nanaša tako na »suhe« silikonske modele evolucijskih procesov (npr. umetno življenje, generativna umetnost itd.), kot tudi na »mokro« molekularno oblikovanje živih/pol živih sistemov (umetnost himere, genetska umetnost, tkivna kultura in umetnost). Glej Umetno življenje, Genetska umetnost, Umetnost himere, Tkivna kultura in umetnost. Mokri mediji (Wetmedia): celoten nabor sredstev za sintezo, obdelavo in manipulacijo ter vzdrževanje in prenos informacij na bioloških nosilcih. Molekula: najmanjši del kemične snovi; običajno skupek atomov, ki ga v določen vzorec povezujejo kemične vezi. Glej Atom. Molekularna tehnologija: Glej Nanotehnologija. Morfološke mutacije: mutacije, ki povzročajo dedne spremembe pri organizmu ali njegovih posameznih lastnostih. Mutacija: dedna modifikacija v genetski molekuli, kot je DNK. Mutacije lahko imajo dobre, slabe ali nevtralne učinke na organizem; skozi tekmovalnost se izločijo slabi, ostanejo pa dobri in nevtralni. Mutagen: dejavnik, ki lahko povzroči povečano stopnjo mutacije. Poznamo naravne in umetne mutagene (umetne povzroča človek). Glej Mutacija. Mutageneza: razvoj mutacij. Glej Mutacija.


Nano-: predpona s pomenom deset na minus deveto ali ena milijardinka. Nanolitografija: umetnost in znanost vrezovanja (jedkanja), pisanja ali tiskanja v mikroskopskem merilu, kjer se dimenzije znakov merijo v nanometrih (10-9 metra ali milijoninka milimetra). Sem prištevamo razne metode modificiranja polprevodnih čipov na atomski ravni pri proizvodnji integriranih vezij. Glej Asembler, Nanotehnologija. Nanomedicina: uporaba nanotehnologije (inženiring mikroskopsko majhnih naprav) pri preprečevanju in zdravljenju bolezni človeškega telesa. Nanometer (nm): nanometer je enota prostorske mere z dolžino 10-9 metra ali ene milijardinke metra. Vsakodnevno se uporablja na področju nanotehnologije, tj. gradnji mikroskopsko majhnih naprav. 258

Nanoračunalnik: računalnik, sestavljen iz komponent (mehanskih, elektronskih itd.) v velikosti nekaj nanometrov. Nanorobot (nanobot): nanorobot je specializiran nanostroj, oblikovan za izvajanje specifične naloge ali večjega števila nalog, z mnogimi ponovitvami in veliko natančnostjo. Dimenzije nanorobotov merimo v nanometrih (en nanometer je milijoninka milimetra ali 10-9 metra). Glej tudi Nanometer, Nanotehnologija. Nanotehnologija: tehnologija, ki temelji na manipulaciji posameznih atomov in molekul za izdelovanje struktur po načelih kompleksnih, atomskih specifikacij. Neogeneza: popravki v genetskem kodu, pri katerih se uporabljajo tiste aminokisline, ki obstajajo v naravi, vendar ne sodelujejo pri konstrukciji organizmov zemeljskih življenjskih oblik. Glej Umetnost himere. Nesmiselni kodon: katerikoli izmed treh trojčkov (U-A-G, U-A-A ali U-G-A), ki povzročijo zaključek sinteze proteinov (pri ribosomih) ter s tem sprostitev (popolnoma prevedene) beljakovinske molekule. Nevralna simulacija: posnemanje funkcij nevralnega (živčnega) sistema – recimo možganov – s simulacijo funkcije vsake posamezne celice. Glej tudi Celica. Nevrobot: robot, katerega program je zasnovan na principu funkcij nevralne mreže. Nevron: živčna celica, ki sprejema in prevaja živčne impulze iz možganov. Sestavljajo jo: telo živčne celice ali perikarion, nevrit (ali akson), dendriti in živčni končiči. Nukleotid: majhna molekula, sestavljena iz treh delov: dušikove baze (purin ali pirimidin), sladkorja (riboza ali deoksiriboza) in fosfata. Nukleotidi so osnovni gradniki nukleinskih kislin (DNK in RNK). V genetski abecedi se pojavljajo samo štiri »črke« – nukleotidi: A (adenin), C (citozin), G (gvanin) ter T (timin). Zaporedje teh »črk« – nukleotidov v DNK verigi je nosilec informacij, ki določajo biološke posebnosti živih organizmov. Glej DNK. Nukleus (biol.): struktura višje razvitih celic, ki vsebuje kromosome ter vse potrebno za transkripcijo DNK v RNK. Glej Transkripcija. V fiziki: majhna, zgoščena sredica atoma.


Organska molekula: molekula, ki vsebuje ogljik; v tem smislu so vse kompleksne molekule živih sistemov organske.


Plazmid: samorazmnoževalne, nekromosomske krožne molekule DNK, ločene od normalnega bakterijskega genoma; v neselektivnih pogojih niso nujne za preživetje celic. Nekateri plazmidi imajo sposobnost integracije v genom gostitelja. Številni umetno ustvarjeni plazmidi se uporabljajo kot vektorji za kloniranje. Pol živi kip: umetniško delo, ki je obenem živo tkivo (tj. sistem celic podobnega izvora, strukture in funkcije), zraslo iz organizma znotraj specifičnega okolja. Glej Tkivni inženiring. Pol živi organizmi: vrsta objekta/bitja, ki je kombinacija živega tkiva in neživih komponent, ki jih ohranjamo žive s pomočjo umetnih sredstev tkivnega inženiringa, saj ta omogoča rast in vzdrževanje različnih organov in vitro. Glej Tkivni inženiring,Tkivna kultura in umetnost. Polimer: molekula, sestavljena iz manjših enot, povezanih v verigo. 259

Potopitvena tehnologija (imersivna t.): vrsta interaktivne spletne tehnologije, ki ustvarja popolno slušno in vizualno okolje, preko katerega se oddaljeni uporabniki znajdejo v virtualnem prostoru, kjer poteka naravna interakcija. V smislu video zaznavanja gre za t. i. surround (obkrožujoč, potopitveni) učinek. Potopitveno okolje je okolje, ki s pomočjo določenih tehnologij zagotavlja popoln učinek prisotnosti. Prepisovanje (transkripcija): sinteza RNK s pomočjo modela (matrice) DNK. Proces, pri katerem se RNK sintetizira iz modela (matrice) DNK. Glej DNK, RNK. Prevajanje (translacija): proces sinteze beljakovin, pri katerem primarno strukturo beljakovin določa zaporedje nukleotidov v informacijski RNK (mRNK). Nastanek polipeptida s pomočjo ribosomov; zaporedje aminokislin polipeptida je določeno z zaporedjem kodonov molekule mRNK. Projekt človeški genom: obsežen mednarodni projekt (ZDA, 1988) v koordinaciji Nacionalnega inštituta za zdravje (NIH) in Ministrstva za energijo (DOE), s katerim so želeli določiti celotno nukleotidno zaporedje človeških kromosomov. Kot druga država s takšnim nacionalnim projektom je sledila Rusija leta 1989. Skupno so nacionalne programe za raziskave genomov pričeli v več kot 20 državah (v Veliki Britaniji, Nemčiji, Franciji ter drugod). Šest največjih koordinira organizacija Human Genome Organization (HUGO), ustanovljena 1988. Prokarionti: preprosti organizmi brez izoblikovane celične membrane in drugih celičnih organelov. Glej Evkarionti. Proteom: vsi proteini določenega organizma (analogen izraz je genom). Glej Genom. Proteomika: kompletna analiza beljakovin; odseva dinamično naravo celice – zagotavlja informacije o stopnji izražanja in uravnavanja posameznih celičnih beljakovin.


Razstavljalnik: sistem nanostrojev, ki lahko objekte razstavlja po nekaj atomov naenkrat, pri tem pa zapisuje njihovo strukturo na molekularni ravni. Glej Nanotehnologija. Recesivnost (prikritost): gensko določena lastnost, ki je izražena samo v homozigotnem recesivnem stanju. Rekombinantna DNK (rDNK): DNK, ki nastane z združevanjem genov (genskega materiala) v novo kombinacijo. Replikacija: podvojevanje DNK molekule (znotraj celice). Glej DNK. Replikator: enota, ki se lahko kopira sama, vključno z vsemi spremembami. V širšem smislu je replikator sistem, ki lahko ustvari svojo kopijo, vendar pri tem ne kopira nujno tudi sprememb, ki jim je bil izpostavljen. Restrikcijski encim: encim, ki cepi DNK na specifičnem razpoznavnem mestu in s tem omogoča biologom vstavljanje ali odstranjevanje genskega materiala. Glej DNK, Encim. Ribonukleaza: encim, ki cepi molekule RNK na manjše dele. Glej RNK. Ribosom: molekularni delec (struktura), prisoten v vseh celicah, kjer gradi beljakovinske molekule glede na navodila iz RNK molekul. Ribosomi so kompleksne strukture, sestavljene iz beljakovinskih in RNK molekul. Glej Nukleotid, Beljakovina, RNK. 260

RNK: ribonukleinska kislina; molekula podobna DNK. V celicah poteka prepisovanje (transkripcija) informacij iz DNK v RNK, kjer se »preberejo« in dajejo navodila za gradnjo beljakovin. RNK deluje tudi kot nosilec genetske informacije pri nekaterih vrstah virusov. Glej Beljakovina.


Sekvenciranje: določanje zaporedja nukleotidov (baznih sekvenc) znotraj molekule DNK ali RNK; ali zaporedje aminokislin v beljakovini. Glej Nukleotid, DNK, RNK, Beljakovina. Selekcija (izbor): 1. Proces, s katerim se določeni organizmi razmnožujejo ter ohranjajo svojo vrsto pred drugimi. Naravna selekcija — načini preživetja in razmnoževanja organizmov z genskimi lastnostmi, ki jim omogočajo boljše izkoriščanje virov iz okolja. Umetna selekcija — človekovo selektivno vzgajanje z namenom doseči želeno lastnost določene rastline, živali ali drugega organizma, ki ima (običajno ekonomsko) vrednost za človeka. 2. Genetske metode vzgajanja, ki se začnejo z izborom določenih želenih fenotipov kot prednikov naslednje generacije. Sev: kultura mikroorganizmov skupne vrste z identičnimi morfološkimi in biološkimi lastnostmi. Glej Vrsta. Sintezna biologija: oblikovanje in gradnja bioloških naprav in sistemov za uporabne namene. Sem prištevamo različne pristope, metodologije in discipline, s poudarkom na biološkem inženiringu. Snovna tehnologija: tehnologija, ki temelji na manipulaciji atomov in molekul kot skupka snovi, ne pa posamično; v to kategorijo spada večina današnjih tehnologij. Softver (programska oprema): navodila oz. ukazi, ki jih izvaja računalnik; v primerjavi s fizično napravo, znotraj katere to poteka (tj. hardver ali strojna oprema). Statična oblika ustvarjanja himere: namensko ustvarjanje himeričnih artefaktov, ki imajo konstantne dedne estetske lastnosti. Glej Ustvarjanje himere, Umetnost himere. Strategija popolnega neuspeha: vrsta umetniške aktivnosti, ki ima – ob zavestnem pričakovanju »neuspeha« in »nesreče« pri projektu – namen prikazati različne prepovedi, vezane na izvajanje umetnosti himere.


Tehno-biodiverziteta: povečanje raznolikosti živih organizmov s pomočjo konstrukcije artefaktov. Tehnocenoza: šibko povezane tehnološke prvine, ki so se sposobne razvijati po delih, pri tem pa ne zavračajo evolucijske selekcije. Tehnoetika (noetika iz grške besede nous, um): področje humanističnih študij, ki opisuje razmerja med zavestjo in tehnologijo. Tehnološko nezavedno: 1. Specifičen arhiv tehnoloških diskurzov in mitov, ki se v zgodovini novih tehnologij pojavljajo v obliki ponavljajočih se kulturnih motivov. 2. Prikrit in formativen učinek osnovnih elementov medialnih nosilcev. Strukturiran je na ne-antropocentričen način in ne zajema samo ljudi, pač pa tudi dele tehnoloških sistemov ter vse, kar obkroža človeka. Tehnozoosemiotika: področje, ki se nahaja na presečišču semiotike, etologije, kognitivnih znanosti, tehnologije, računalništva in umetniških praks; je sestavni del zoosemiotike, ta pa preučuje znake (sisteme znakov), ki so jih žive vrste razvile za potrebe notranje in zunanje specifične komunikacije. 261

Telematika: združevanje telekomunikacij in procesa obdelave podatkov. Izraz je nastal z namenom označevanja avtomobilskih sistemov, ki združujejo GPS satelitsko sledenje in brezžične komunikacije. Tele-potopitev (Tele-imersivnost): združitev virtualne resničnosti in sodelovalnih tehnologij (povezovanje ljudi z aplikacijami, podobami in simulacijami). Tkivna kultura (eksplantacija): tehnika vzdrževanja, pomnoževanja in gojenja celic iz večceličnih organizmov v tekočem mediju in vitro (zunaj telesa). Glej Tkivna kultura in umetnost, Pol živi organizem, Pol živi kip. Tkivna kultura in umetnost: področje umetnosti, ki uporablja tehnike tkivnega inženiringa za in vitro (zunajtelesno) gojenje organov in tkiv. Glej Tkivni inženiring, Pol živi kip, Tkivna kultura. Tkivni inženiring: uporaba principov s področja inženiringa in ved o življenju pri razvoju bioloških nadomestkov za delno ali popolno nadomestitev tkiv ali funkcij organov. Tkivni inženiring združuje znanje s področja bioloških ved z materiali in znanostjo inženiringa ter se ukvarja z opredelitvijo strukturno-funkcijskih razmerij pri normalnih in bolezenskih tkivih, razvijanjem novih pristopov k popravljanju tkiv ter razvojem nadomestnih tkiv. Glej Tkivna kultura in umetnost, Izvorna/matična celica. Tkivo (biol.): sistem celic s podobnim izvorom, strukturo in funkcijo. Tkiva vsebujejo tudi tkivno tekočino in produkte življenjskih funkcij. Totipotenca: sposobnost celice, da napreduje skozi vse razvojne faze in na ta način proizvede normalen odrasel primerek. Glej tudi Celica. Transgenetska umetnost: področje umetniške dejavnosti, ki temelji na metodah transgeneze. Glej Transgeneza. Transgenetski organizem: eksperimentalno ustvarjen organizem, pri katerem je bila DNK umetno predstavljena in vgrajena v njegovo razvojno linijo, običajno s postopkom vbrizganja tuje DNK v jedro oplojenega zarodka. Glej DNK. Transgeneza: prenos genov na nesoroden organizem in njihovo posledično izražanje. Trojček: zaporedje treh nukleotidov mRNK, ki ustreza eni aminokislini beljakovine (sinonim za kodon). Glej Nukleotid, Kodon.


Umetna inteligenca (UI): raziskovalno področje, ki deluje s ciljem razumeti in graditi inteligentne stroje; izraz se lahko nanaša tudi na konkreten primer inteligentnega stroja. Umetno življenje (ALife): reprodukcija bioloških procesov ali organizmov in njihovega vedenja s pomočjo umetnih komponent (programov) v računalniških sistemih, z namenom sklepanja o resničnosti. Umetnost himere (Ars Chimaera): področje umetniškega delovanja, ki ga povezujemo z načrtno gradnjo novih kombinacij genov, ki ne obstajajo v naravi in omogočajo proizvajanje organizmov z danimi dednimi estetskimi lastnostmi. Glej Degeneza, Transgeneza, Neogeneza. Ustvarjanje himere: dejavnost, ki zajema proces estetske rekonstrukcije in izpopolnjevanja živih (pol živih) organizmov s pomočjo manipulacije rekombinantne DNK. Glej Statična/Kinetična oblika ustvarjanja himere.



Vegetalna resničnost: enteogeno in duhovno več-dimenzionalno okolje, oblikovano s pomočjo psihoaktivne rastlinske tehnologije. Vektor: katerakoli DNK struktura, ki se uporablja za prenos DNK v organizem; ponavadi se uporabljajo plazmidni DNK vektorji ali virusi. Glej DNK, RNK, Genom. Verižna reakcija s polimerazo (PCR): reakcija, pri kateri encim DNK polimeraza deluje kot katalizator za oblikovanje večjega števila odsekov DNK iz enega izvirnika, in sicer s ponavljanjem ciklov DNK sinteze. Virtualna resničnost: računalniško ustvarjena resničnost. Izraz se uporablja za visoko potopitvene prostorske simulacije, ki vsebujejo možnost manevriranja in interakcije. Glej Potopitvene tehnologije. Virus: majhen replikator, ki ga sestavlja komaj kaj več od paketa DNK ali RNK in ki lahko ob vbrizganju v celico gostitelja usmeri molekularno celično opremo tako, da ta proizvede še več virusov. Glej Replikator, Celica. Vmesnik: vhodna naprava oz. vmesna stična točka med uporabnikom in računalnikom, ki služi izmenjavi informacij. Najpogostejši vmesniki so tipkovnica, miška, zaslon na dotik in igralna palica. Grafični uporabniški vmesnik uporabniku omogoča bolj ali manj »slikovno usmerjen« način interakcije s tehnologijo. Programske vmesnike sestavlja vrsta izhodišč, funkcij, možnosti in drugih načinov izražanja programskih navodil ter podatkov, vključenih program ali jezik, ki ga uporabi programer. Vrsta: skupina organizmov pripada isti biološki vrsti, če se lahko med seboj razmnožujejo in proizvedejo plodne potomce. Vrstični tunelski mikroskop: visoko-ločljivostni instrument za zaznavanje in merjenje položaja posameznih atomov na površinah materialov. Zelo natančno prevodno sondo namestimo na razdalji med 10 in 20 Å (angstromov) nad površjem prevodnega vzorca; med sondo in površino se pri skeniranju vzpostavi napetost, pri čemer nastajajo prekrivajoči se oblaki elektronov ter elektronski tunel med potencialno oviro, ki bi utegnila ločevati sondo in vzorec. Konico sonde ohranja na konstantni razdalji od vzorca piezoelektrični transduktor, s pomočjo katerega se proizvede tridimenzionalna topografska slika. Glej Nanolitografija.


Zapečaten sestavljalni laboratorij: delovno okolje z asemblerji (sestavljalniki) v zaprtem sistemu, ki omogoča pretok informacij v obeh smereh, pri tem pa ne dopušča njihovega uhajanja ali uhajanja njihovih produktov. Glej Asembler. Zeleno zavajanje: lažno komuniciranje podjetij z namenom ustvarjanja pozitivne podobe okoljske odgovornosti (angl. greenwash). Zigota: celica, ki nastane z združitvijo jajčeca (ovuma) in spermija (spermatozona). Znanost: proces razvijanja sistematiziranega znanja o svetu s pomočjo spreminjanja in preizkušanja hipotez. Glej Inženiring. Znanstvena umetnost: smer v sodobni umetnosti, v kateri se uporabljajo najsodobnejše tehnologije, raziskovalne metode in konceptualne utemeljitve.


Živomati: umetne živali, animati (angl. animates; iz animal (žival) in automat (avtomat)). 263

Photo Credits Zahvale: Cover / Naslovnica

Brandon Ballengée. Hadēs, (detail / detajl), 2012. Photograph of Cleared and Stained Multi-limbed Pacific Tree frog from Aptos, California in Scientific Collaboration with Dr. Stanley K. Sessions. Unique Digital Chromogenic print on watercolor paper. Courtesy the Artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NY. / Fotografija očiščenega in obdelanega primerka pacifiške drevesne žabe z več okončinami iz Aptosa v Kaliforniji. V znanstvenem sodelovanju z dr. Stanleyem K. Sessionsom. Unikatni digitalni kromogenski tisk na vodnobarvnem papirju. Z dovoljenjem umetnika in družbe Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.


Guy Ben-Ary, Kirsten Hudson, In potēntia, 2012 (see p. 147, glej stran 147) Photo / Fotografija Boštjan Lah


Andrew Gracie, Drosophila Titanus, 2010 – ongoing / v trajanju (see p. 140, gl. stran 140) Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


James Auger, Jimmy Loizeau, Afterlife / Onostranstvo, 2009 Installation (wooden coffin and steel stand, fuel cell made from acrylic, nylon and steel components) / Instalacija (lesena krsta in jekleni podstavek, gorivna celica iz akrilnih, najlonskih in jeklenih komponent). Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Polona Tratnik, Initiation / Iniciacija, 2012 (see p. 135, gl. stran 135) Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Boredomresearch: Vicky Isley, Paul Smith, Real Snail Mail Prava polžja pošta, 2008 – še traja / ongoing Network-based installation with RFID Technology Instalacija, zasnovana na omrežju z RFID tehnologijo Credits: Advisors: Mark Segal, Josepha Sanna (Artsway) & Helen Sloan (SCAN), Engineers: Tim Orman & Chris Brown (DEC, Bournemouth University), SnailCAM Support: David Bell & Peter Dodds (Hoptic, Edinburgh). Zahvale svetovalcem: Mark Segal, Josepha Sanna (Artsway) in Helen Sloan (SCAN), inženirjem: Tim Orman in Chris Brown (DEC, Bournemouth University), SnailCAM podpora: David Bell in Peter Dodds (Hoptic, Edinburgh). Credits / Posebna zahvala: Primož Modic, Heli Royal Golica Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič



Alla Mitrofanova (Photo / Fotografija: Damjan Švarc)


Dmitry Bulatov (Photo / Fotografija: Damjan Švarc)


Andrew Pickering (Photo / Fotografija: Damjan Švarc)


Polona Tratnik (Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič)


Dmitry Galkin (Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah)


Oron Catts (Photo / Fotografija: Damjan Švarc)


Ionat Zurr (Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah)


Kuda begut sobaki, Fields 2.1, 2009–12 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


The Tissue Culture & Art Project: Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Crude Matter / Surova snov, 2012 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Polona Tratnik et al., Initiation / Iniciacija, 2012 Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Leo Peschta, Der Zermesser / Razparač, 2007–2010 Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Seiko Mikami, Eye-Tracking Informatics / Informatika očesnega sledenja, 2011–2012 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Ursula Damm, Greenhouse Converter / Toplogredni pretvornik, 2010 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Andrew Gracie, Deep Data Prototype_1, 2009 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Andrew Gracie, Drosophila Titanus, 2010 – ongoing v trajanju Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Bill Vorn, DSM-VI, 2012 Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


James Auger, Jimmy Loizeau, Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots / Mesojedi hišni roboti, 2009 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Brandon Ballengée, Malamp Reliquaries, 1996-ongoing Malamp relikviariji, 1996 – v trajanju Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Louis-Philippe Demers, Artificial Mi(s)tosis Umetna mi(s)toza, 2010 Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah


David Bowen, Fly Tweet / Mušji tweet, 2012 Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah


Stelarc, Ear on Arm, Uho na roki, 2007 Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič


Guy Ben-Ary, Kirsten Hudson, In potēntia, 2012 Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki


Stefan Doepner, Lars Vaupel, The Drill Bot – Robot Partner 3.0, 2009 Photo / Fotografija: Boštjan Lah


Kuda begut sobaki, Fields 2.1, 2009–12 (see p. 133, gl. stran 133) Photo / Fotografija: Kuda begut sobaki

162, 174, 196, 206, 230, 252

Maja Smrekar, Špela Petrič DNA Sequencing: Referential Probability Structures. Workshop / DNA zaporedje: Referenčne verjetnostne strukture, delavnica Credits / Posebna zahvala: Domel Tehtnica d. o. o. and Laboratory Center of the University of Maribor / Laboratorijski center Univerze v Mariboru. KIBLA Portal – Valvazorjeva 40, Maribor, Slovenija November 29–30, 2012 Photo / Fotografija: Matej Kristovič Soft Control Project Website:

Soft Control Exhibition Website:

Additional printed and electronic references connected to the Soft Control Project Dodatne tiskane in elektronske reference povezane s projektom SC so: Broschure / Knjižica: SOFT control: art, science and the technological uncoscious (umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno) Maribor, KID, ACE Kibla, 2012 (Tox, vozni red po tri tisočih, time table through three thousand; year 17, no. 41) ISBN 978-961-6304-29-0 Magazine / Revija: Folio, Special Issue / Posebna številka Soft control: art, science and the technological uncoscious Soft control: umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno Volume / Letnik 4 (2012), Maribor, Slovenia ISSN 1855-8976

Soft Control: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious Soft Control: umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno

EU Project / Evropski projekt SOFT CONTROL 2012–2015

Publisher / Izdajatelj: Asssociation for Culture and Education KIBLA Kulturno izobraževalno društvo KIBLA Maribor, Slovenia / Slovenija Represented by / Zanjo: Aleksandra Kostič President of ACE KIBLA / Predsednica KID KIBLA

Edition / Zbirka TOX, Timetable Through Three Tousand, vozni red po tri tisočih Year / Leto 20 (2015), No. / št. 51 ISBN 978-961-6304-19-1 Edited by / Uredniki: Snežana Štabi, Dmitry Bulatov, Aleksandra Kostič Cover / Naslovnica: Brandon Ballengée. Hadēs, (detail / detajl), 2012. Copyright © 2015 ACE KIBLA

Soft Control project was prepared within the Culture programme (2007–2013) funded by EACEA, support for cultural projects, under action multi-annual cooperation, and coordinated by ACE KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenia. Projekt Soft Control je bil izveden v okviru programa Kultura (2007–2013), ki ga financira EACEA s podporo kulturnim projektom večletnega sodelovanja. Koordinator projekta je KID KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenija. Supported by / Finančna podpora: Ministrstvo za kulturo Republike Slovenije Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia With the support of the programme Culture (2007–2013) of the European Union / S podporo programa Kultura Evropske unije

Photographs Copyright © Authors and ACE KIBLA All rights reserved / Vse pravice pridržane. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission from the publisher. The publication is not meant for commercial purposes. Vse pravice pridržane. Noben del te publikacije se ne sme reproducirati ali uporabiti na kakršenkoli drug način (grafični, elektronski ali mehanični, vključno s fotokopiranjem, snemanjem ali prenosom v baze podatkov) brez pisnega soglasja nosilca avtorskih pravic. Publikacija ni namenjena prodaji. Photo / Fotografije: Matej Kristovič, Kuda begut sobaki, Boštjan Lah, Damjan Švarc

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. / Izvedba tega projekta je financirana s strani Evropske komisije. Vsebina publikacije je izključno odgovornost avtorjev in v nobenem primeru ne predstavlja stališč Evropske komisije.

Translated from Russian by / Prevodi iz ruščine: Ainsley Morse, Kevin Reese, Max Seddon

CIP - Kataložni zapis o publikaciji Univerzitetna knjižnica Maribor

Translated from English by / Prevodi iz angleščine: Helena Fošnjar, Alenka Ropret, Ksenija Vidic


Proof reading / Lektura: Cameron Bobro, Mirjana Predojevič Layout and Design / Prelom in oblikovanje: DTS – DeskTopSharing KIBLA Vid Andrej, Snežana Štabi Printing / Tisk: Repropoint d. o. o. Print run / Naklada: 300 copies / 300 izvodov Printed in Slovenia 2015 / Tiskano v Sloveniji 2015

SOFT control: art, science and the technological unconscious = soft control: umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno / [edited by, uredniki Snežana Štabi, Dmitry Bulatov, Aleksandra Kostič ; photo, fotografije Matej Kristovič ... [et al.] ; Slovene translation, prevodi v slovenščino Helena Fošnjar, Alenka Ropert, Ksenija Vidic ; English translation, prevodi v angleščino Ainsley Morse, Kevin Reese, Max Seddon]. - Maribor : Kibla, 2015. (Zbirka Tox = Edition Tox ; letn. 20, št. 51) ISBN 978-961-6304-19-1 1. Vzp. stv. nasl. 2. Štabi, Snežana COBISS.SI-ID 83117825


Umetnost, znanost in tehnološko nezavedno

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