Introduction Contexts: Cybernetics (Norbert Wiener and Alan Turing) Mind Children (Hans Moravec) N. Katherine Hayles (‘Materiality of Informatics’) Asimov (Three Laws of Robotics)
I. Artificial Intelligence Context: AI Research; ‘top-down’ replication of the human mind. Texts: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), Demon Seed (1977) and the four Terminator films (1984, 1991, 2003, 2003, 2009). AIs are always-already embodied in the way they are imagined in popular culture.
II. Artificial Life ALife Research: Bottom-up ‘evolutionary’ approach to informatic life. Framing narrative: Visible Human Project. Key texts: Greg Egan’s Permutation City (1994) & Diaspora (1997). Key points: artificial life is imagined as ‘other’ (replicating/challenging colonial metaphors) and ‘life’ is only ‘meaningful’ in the face of finitude.
III. Artificial Space Explores ‘spaces’ in William Gibson’s Bridge trilogy (Virtual Light, 1993; Idoru, 1996; All Tomorrow’s Parties, 1999). Argues that spaces of resistance exist interstitially in both material and digital cultures. The Walled City paralleled with Wikileaks. Rei (Idoru) & nanofax = nanotechnology challenging material/informatic divide.
IV. Artificial People Argument: both at narrative and production levels, informatic bodies are deeply material and embodied. Narrative reading: Matrix franchise (digital bodies matter, finitude once more re Neo/Smith finale). Production reading: Lord of the Rings production, through special effects fan cultures, focuses on WETA’s Massive software and synthespians (ie Gollum).
The informatic Cave Troll’s stages of development (from left to right, top to bottom): Conceptual art; the clay maquette; the fully detailed model being scanned for a computersurface model; a wireframe surface; a Cave Troll skeleton; and a muscle-bound Cave Troll in search of its skin. [Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition]
Gollum; a pre-rendered Gollum; and Andy Serkis’ reference shot. [Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: Extended Edition]
Andy Serkis in a motion-capture suit, and the fully rendered Gollumcomposited using keyframe animation and the motion information captured. [Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: Extended Edition]
V. Artificial Culture Context: ‘artificial’ post-September 11? Context: Hollywood, 2002 Oscars (Nora Ephron post-Towers New York montage). Context: Spider-Man as New York ‘everyman’. Texts: Spider-Man (2002, 2004, 2007) trilogy. Resistance to ‘911’, bodies as metaphors, Spider- Man as ‘diplomat’, artificial culture as questioning (but ambiguous) re Iraq etc.
Conclusion Symbiotic connection between people, techology and bodies. Politics of ambiguity (ie no absolutes). Uses Wall-E and Avatar to link to environmental concerns and utility of ‘artificial culture’ as linking everything.
Find the book … More information: http://www.tamaleaver.net/artificial-culture/ On Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Culture-Identity-Tec On Routledge’s website:http://www.routledge.com/books/details/97804158991