Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Digital Art and Philosophy #4

In this original Digital Art and Philosophy class, we will become familiar with different forms of digital art and related philosophical issues. Digital art is anything related to computers and art such as using a computer to create art or an art display that is digitized. Philosophical aspects arise regarding art, identity, performance, interactivity, and the process of creation. Students may respond to the material in essay, performance, or digital art work (optional). Instructor: Melanie Swan. Syllabus:

  • Be the first to comment

Digital Art and Philosophy #4

  1. 1. Image: Emese Szorenyi Digital Art and Philosophy #4Natural Aesthetics: BioArt, Biomimicry, Generative Art, SynBio. Melanie Swan University of the Commons and the Emerald Tablet Gallery Syllabus:
  2. 2. Digital Art is anything involving computers and art 2
  3. 3. Sub-categories of Digital Art Information Visualization Play, Performance, Virtual RealityNatural Aesthetics: BioArt, Generative Art Identity, the Future 3
  4. 4. Review: Philosophy of Digital Art1. Intro: Interactivity gives more direct access to perception2. Information visualization: representing the unrepresented3. Play, performance & virtual reality – Performance of identity and sociality – Unity of Apollo and Dionysius – Gamer mindset: optimism, motivation, action, team-building – Ethics: act-based -> agent-based -> situation-based – Existence of virtual reality artworks 4
  5. 5. Natural Aesthetics Topic ClustersBioArt Macro-scale Biomimicry: Micro-scale Biomimicry: Dwelling, The City, Spatiality Generative Art, Synthetic Biology 5
  6. 6. Ongoing Theme of Distinguishing ‘What is Real’ Proliferation in the categories of realismIs this image of something real? What kind of real? Real life? Artificial Life? Synthetic Biology? Computer-generated image? 6
  7. 7. What is BioArt?• Artwork created using live tissue, bacteria, or other living organisms together with scientific processes• Collaboration of artists and biologists• Artists experimenting with biology as an artistic medium 7
  8. 8. Notable BioArtworks• Earmouse (1997) – Human ear grown on the back of a mouse (science turned into art)• GFP (green-fluorescent protein) Art – Bunny (2000) – GlowCats (2011)• Lawn Chair sculpture (2002) – Denise King, Carnivorous Contraptions, Chlorophilia show 8
  9. 9. The Algae Opera (2012) Digital Design Weekend, Victoria and Albert Museum, London• Interactive performance and audience consumption piece• Deep lung capacity of opera singer is perfect morphology for producing CO2 to feed algae in a real-time experiment• BioArt as commentary: produced by Agri, a collaborative arts group examining the future of agriculture 9
  10. 10. Tissue Engineered BioArt• Semi-Living Worry Dolls (Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr 2002 SymbioticA artistic laboratory)• hymNext Designer Hymen Series (Julia Reodica 2006)• BioArt Exhibition Issues – Maintaining wet bioart in a gallery – Technique-sharing with local biologists, bioreactors – Living-matter transport (e.g.; UK Human Tissue Authority) – Artist/Biologist collaboration (e.g; BioArt Initiative RPI) 10
  11. 11. Special Guest Speaker! Healthy Art Lab Eco Art Practice 11
  12. 12. B.U.R.G. (Building User Response Gizmos) Site specific installation using energy data from a commercial building and small office components (computer, light, charger), and turning them into human systems (heart and lungs). San Jose, CA 2010 12
  13. 13. Aesthetics in Fluorescent-staining 13
  14. 14. Best Science Pictures of the Year• National Geographic coverage – 2012 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge – 2009 BioScapes Microscope Imaging Contest Water Flea Crown of ThornsMRI of Human Brain 3D CT Scan of Clam and Neuro-synaptic White Matter Whelk Shell Computer Chip 14
  15. 15. Biomimicry• Definition (bio: life, mimesis: imitate): Emulating or being influenced by nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements in order to solve human problems• Wide-ranging levels of application – Materials: biomolecular interface – Organisms: cell, organ, structure – Ecosystem: species, environment – Planet and Universe: natural laws, energy, complexity, turbulence 15
  16. 16. Biomimicryat the Macro Scale 16
  17. 17. Biomimicry at the Macro Scale Himalayas Water Tower Winner Evolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition 17
  18. 18. Philosophies of Environment, Geography, Spatiality, and Place• Environmental philosophy – Branch of philosophy concerned with the natural environment and human’s place within it – General tenet: well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life• Conceptual concerns – Defining, valuing, protecting, sustaining environment and nature – Moral status of animals and plants• Practical concerns – Overfished oceans, pesticides and pollutants, extinction, deforestation 18
  19. 19. The Philosophy of Spatiality • Basic space – Mathematical space, distances between cities, dimensions of home • Lived space – The world in which we move and find ourselves at home – An experience not usually reflected upon, like ‘lived time’ or the sense of having a body – Personally and culturally-determined: close-talker, crowded elevator, lofty cathedral, open outdoors 19
  20. 20. Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) and the Philosophy of Spatiality• Perception is a process of continuous interaction between subject and surroundings (The Phenomenology of Perception 1945)• Concept: originary self-experience – Everyday experience: we separate spatial experience and self-consciousness, the world of things and the world of consciousness – At their root, not two different realities; cannot be defined separately from each other – There is an original spatializing - the originary self experience which is the experience identically of I and here (cannot experience an I without a here) 20
  21. 21. Feeling at home, dwelling, belonging, placeness 21
  22. 22. Natural DwellingLiving Treehouses (Fab Tree Hab) - Mitchell Joachim, Terreform (2003) Tree Circus 22
  23. 23. Theory of Place: “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” (Heidegger 1951) • Theory and conceptualization of place • Feeling at home, placeness, dwelling • Central theme of dwelling1 – Not the conventional shelter or lodging – As human implacement, being ‘in’ place • Dwelling makes becoming possible – The placeness of place – Meaningfulness of our being • The manner in which we dwell is the manner in which we exist on Earth – as an extension of our identity, of who we are1LiuF. On Place-ness of Place: ‘Dwelling.’ The Sustainability Collection. 23
  24. 24. Theory of Place: “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” (Heidegger 1951) Dwelling Virtually• Virtual placeness – What is it to dwell online, to dwell virtually? – How can we build virtual spaces where we can dwell meaningfully? – How can we dwell virtually with meaningful placeness?• Heidegger: extend our identity, authenticity, meaningfully become our true selves• ‘Home’ trope in technology 24
  25. 25. Theory of Place: “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” (Heidegger 1951)• Placeless, non-place, homelessness, alienation – Due to the loss of the meaningfulness of being (Letter On Humanism 1949) – Lost in the crowd voice, dwelling in forgetfulness, dwelling here without experiencing dwelling here – Our essence is lost to us, we are forgetting and not seeing the possibility of becoming our true being 25
  26. 26. Nihilism and Nietzsche“Nihilism stands at the door, whence comes this uncanniest of all guests?” – The Will to Power (Nietzsche 1885)• Nihilism: A viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless; placelessness, homelessness; life is meaningless• Past values had lost their force and with that collapse, nihilism became an uncanny caller• Madman with a lantern in the marketplace at noon: “God is dead”(The Gay Science 1882) “I cant go on. Ill go on.”- The Unnamable [The Unspeakable] (Samuel Beckett 1953) 26
  27. 27. The City • Over 50% people living in cities (2008); estimated 5 billion in 2030 27
  28. 28. The CityCities of the Future 28
  29. 29. MasdarEnergy City of the Future 29
  30. 30. Philosophy of the City (2008) "I am a lover of learning, and trees and open country wont teach me anything, whereas men in the city do." (Socrates in Platos Phaedrus, 230 d 3-4)• Concerns of philosophy of the city – Link to philosophies of place and environment – Seek ground for social ethics, political theory – Understand and resolve urban L’Enfant’s Plan of Wash DC problems: inequality, prejudice – Look at the relationship between place and identity formation• Anti-urban theory: intractability of cities, urban blight• EvoDevo: evolved vs designed space Rocinha favela, Rio de Janeiro 30
  31. 31. Foucault: Panopticism, Biopower andDisciplinary Power (Discipline and Punish 1975) • Panopticon: institutional building allowing unseen observation of all inmates – Internalizes self-monitoring, self-surveillance • Society defined by micropower relations – Top-down biopower – Self-imposed disciplinary power Panopticon • Modern societies observe and normalize – Prison, factory, school, hospital, corporation – Ordered defined spaces and behaviors – Known and normalized what it is to be in this space • Contemporary examples? – Quantified self-tracking – Smartphone ID cards Quantified Self Gadgetry 31
  32. 32. Reconfiguration of Space: Vertical Farms, 32
  33. 33. Reconfiguration of Space: Transportation 33
  34. 34. Reconfiguration of Space: Seasteading 34
  35. 35. De Novo Production of Space• How should we organize our physical and virtual space: new venues and emergent models – Physical-world: co-working, co-housing – Online-world: social networks, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram – Virtual-world: video games, ARGs• EvoDevo: deliberate or evolutionary layout of space? – Provide structure for organic growth – How to reduce bias in any model? – How to facilitate empowerment, agency, choice? 35
  36. 36. Implication for the Future: Ambient Real-Time ServicesFinancial Footprints — spending patterns in Spain during Easter 2011by MIT Senseable City Lab with BBVA 36
  37. 37. Biomimicry at the Micro Scale 37
  38. 38. Digital Art OntologiesArt created using aComputer Human-created Program-created: Generative Art, AI art Art about computing or technology Art displayed with technological means 38
  39. 39. Artificial Life (A-Life)• Definition – A field of study and an associated art form – Examines systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution – Using simulations with software (AI), hardware (robotics) or wetware (biochemistry, tissue engineering)• Artificial life imitates traditional biology by trying to recreate some aspects of biological phenomena• Multiple practitioner audiences and work product intentions• Continuum analysis: natural to artificial 39
  40. 40. Artificial Life (A-Life) - Science Tentacular - Evolved Virtual Creatures (2007) (2010) 40
  41. 41. Artificial Life (A-Life) - Art 41
  42. 42. Reading: The Further Exploits of AARON, the AI Painter (Harold Cohen, 1995)• Gantry-connected painting unit (C/LISP)• Declarative (this is an arm) and procedural knowledge (how to connect an arm) Ray Kurzweil and Harold Cohen (1967) 42
  43. 43. Reading: The Further Exploits of AARON, the AI Painter (Harold Cohen, 1995)• Is artificial life being creative? – What does an independent machine intelligence do, given some knowledge of the world and rudimentary physical capabilities – Is more possibility space illuminated? Philosophical issue: incomplete nature of representation• Minimum conditions for a set of marks to function as an image? – Depends on the intentionality of the mark generator 43
  44. 44. Reading: What is Generative Art? (Margaret Boden, 2009)• Defining the Social Space of Art – Progression of categories of digital art to be considered art by the art world• Major traditional galleries accept that traditional and CG-art are players in the same space – Harold Cohen’s AARON (Tate) – Edmonds’s work as a development of ColorField painters (Washington DC)• London’s Kinetica gallery (2007) – Interactive, robotic, and kinetic art 44
  45. 45. What is Generative Art?• Art created with the use of an autonomous system – System independently determines features Evolved Noise Condensation Cube (Karl Sims 2012) (Hans Haacke 1963)Generative Art - Computers, Data, and Humanity | Off Book | PBS (2011) 45
  46. 46. Generative Art • EvoDevo: top-down designed vs bottom-up evolved; building a garden or planting a seed • Distinction between artist and works, rights, crowdsourced artworks (remix)77 Million Paintings (Brian Eno 2007) 46
  47. 47. Contemporary Innovation in Biology1. Regenerative Medicine: Tissue Engineering, Stem Cell Therapies, 3D BioPrinting (Focus: replacement)2. Synthetic Biology (Focus: enhancement & de novo genesis)3. Genetic Engineering: RNAi, Zinc Finger Nucleases, histone remodeling4. Nanomedicine, Targeted Nanoparticles5. Era of Big Health Data: Omics6. Personalized Medicine and Crowdsourced health7. Biomolecular Interface: organic/inorganic hybrids 47
  48. 48. Philosophical Issues related to Innovation in Biology• Is it all right to interfere with natural processes? – Have always been manipulating (e.g.; plant and animal breeding), this is just a better way – What constitutes a qualitative change? Nodes: crop- breeding, GMO, SynBio – Order of magnitude issue – how can we think of change at the new paradigm level or order of magnitude level• Is there a different set of concerns with de novo generation? 48
  49. 49. Synthetic Biology “This century’s transistor” • Definition: Synthetic biology (synbio) is – Design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells, – Redesign of existing biological systems • Biology as an engineering medium – Engineering principles applied to harness the fundamental components of biology • Main approaches – Metabolic engineering (bacteria produce diesel) – Extending E. coli capacity (yeast produces medicine) – Biomimicry (replicate biological function in synthetic systems) – de novo Synthesis (create new functionality)Source: Swan, M. Synbio Revolution: Biology is the Engineering Medium, 6/26/11 49
  50. 50. Philosophical Issues related to Synthetic Biology (Metaphysics) • Nature of reality and existence – Definition of ‘What is life?’ – How much DNA change is required for a sub-species or ‘different’ organism? Constellations of related organisms – What are living machines, synbio products in themselves? • Ontological classifications – Organizing, naming, classifying modified and de novo plants and organisms – Develop an ontology of the products of synthetic biology using philosophy of language (e.g. theory of conceptual metaphors) – Redefining existing ontologies structured around outdated paradigms: living/non-living, organic/non-organicSource: Philosophy and Synthetic Biology: Philosophical Problems and Concerns in Working WithLiving Organisms 50
  51. 51. Philosophical Issues related to Synthetic Biology (Other) • Ethics – Safety, accountability, responsibilities, unintended consequences, right to do this work (playing God?), dual-use debate – Standard risk models appropriate? • Epistemology – How do I know that my methods are safe, etc.? – Limits on knowledge-seeking and dissemination? • Axiology (values, valorisation) – Synthetic biology product ownership, patentingSource: Philosophy and Synthetic Biology: Philosophical Problems and Concerns in Working WithLiving Organisms 51
  52. 52. Aristotle: Approaches to Knowledge I know how • Epistêmê: Scientific knowledge, theory. to do it Universal, invariable, context-independent theoretically • Technê: Craft art, practice, technique. I know how Pragmatic, variable, context-dependent, to do it oriented toward production, doing practically • Phronesis: Ethics. Deliberation about I know when values with reference to praxis (the to do it appropriate application of a skill) • Poiesis Taking Action. To make, transform, do, produce, bring-forth (Heidegger: I do it aletheia/truth/unconcealment, revealing)Source: The Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle 1st c BC) 52
  53. 53. de novo Generators Developing Code of Responsibilities • Contemplated knowledge-based action-taking1 – What are we actually doing? – What are living machines good for? – What are they in themselves? Artificial ligase enzyme • Practice standards – Signing, documenting work • Goal – Deliver function, safety, and beauty Mycoplasma laboratorium1Source: Boldt J, Living Machines, Metaphors, and Functional Explanations: Towards an Epistemological Foundationof Synthetic Biology, 2012 53
  54. 54. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology Mechanisms • Aesthetics • Molecular imaging December 2012 Volume 16 Issues 5–6 Pages 461-622 54
  55. 55. Synthetic Aesthetics How would you design nature? • Connecting synthetic biology, social science, and art and design1 – Teams: Bioengineers and Synbio Designers • Molecular Design Aesthetics – When we make new molecules should they be beautiful? Are naturally occurring molecules beautiful? What is an ugly protein? – Is ‘form follows function’ relevant? Can function be beautiful? – What aesthetic criteria to apply? Aesthetics of chirality1 and 55
  56. 56. Summary: Philosophical Issues in Natural Aesthetics• Proliferation of realism categories• Authenticity in representation persists – Infoviz: representing the unrepresented – Synbio: creating the unrepresented• Trend of one discipline using another’s medium – Artists -> biology, engineers -> biology, engineers -> art – Pervasive form and function, technology and aesthetics• Multiple practitioner audiences and intentions• Philosophical issues in de novo creation – Metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, axiology• Placeness, spatiality, dwelling, and homelessness and nihilism in new contexts 56
  57. 57. Agenda and Upcoming Session2/12 - Introduction "What is digital art?" and what philosophers say about it.2/19 - The Design Aesthetics of Meaning-Making: Information Visualization.2/26 - Democratized Creativity: Performance, Music, Virtual Reality, Gaming.3/5 - Natural Aesthetics: BioArt, GenArt, SynBio, Biomimicry, CrowdArt.3/12 - Portable ArtTech: Identity, Fashion, Wearable Electronics, the Future."Nietzsche, the Overhuman, and Transhumanism” (Stefan Sorgner, 2009)"Vitality of Digital Creation” (Timothy Binkley, 1997)Optional essay questions: 1) Explore the concept of dwelling homelessly in virtual spaces 2) What is post-nihilism? Comments and Feedback: 57
  58. 58. The Bay Lights• World’s largest LED display, Grand Lighting Tues 3/5 at 9 pm 58
  59. 59. Thank you! Image: Emese Szorenyi Digital Art and Philosophy Melanie Swan University of the Commons and the Emerald Tablet Gallery