RE: x 13 the random

Posted by Plasma Studii | Sun Jan 22nd 2006 2:32 p.m.

i agree. but there seem to be 3 kinds of "random". we only have one
word.

random: as in some event that truly has no causality. it's actually
impossible to determine and may not even exist. even at a quantum
level. simply because we have no way of determining the outcome,
doesn't at all imply there's no causality. likewise, we often assume
causes. in standard billiard ball physics, we assume ball A hits ball
B and thus A causes ball B to move. that's an assumption though. it's
presumptuous for us even to determine any true randomness or causes
exist at all. (incidentally many use "arbitrary" to mean "random",
though it really means the opposite.)

pseudo-random: like from a rand() function. called "pseudo" because
actually they choose (usually based on the time of day or how cycle
count of your CPU) from a (fixed) list of jumbled numbers. the result
is technically pre-determined. just impossible for us to guess.

random: chaos. the stars may appear to be placed randomly. but of
course, they are not. a stranger's sneeze doesn't REALLY occur at a
random time, but it appears so to us. even brownian motion, the path
of electrons, etc. someone decided to call it random, but at most they
can only say "we are way too far from guessing now". humans can't
objectively know if they are ever correct in determining causality.
much less ruling out the infinite possibilities of all possible causes
of an event, merely because we think we can rule out a few.

but that still leads me to believe that, even if the word is rather
wishy-washy, there's a function to "randomness" (of whichever kind).
there is a use for not knowing a result, leaving it up to other forces.
especially, since those other forces will probably be determining it
any way. we are only humoring ourselves to think we decide any
outcomes at all.

i may think i choose to paint a brush stroke here. [sfx: thwip] but
there are very real neurological chains of events that determine my
choice. that are only afterwards called my preferences. there's no
point in arguing determinism vs. free will though, because we can't
possibly know free will objectively exists. and whether it does or
doesn't the end result is the same, i feel satisfied by my choice of
paint strokes or not. even if my satisfaction is also a result of
those chains.

but it's inspiration (at least to me) when i can say "this result is
not up to me, it's up to RANDOMNESS." maybe inspiration is a result of
stripping away the illusion of determinism. the responsibility of
guessing is relieved, which (for me) tends to spark new ideas.

On Jan 22, 2006, at 12:43 PM, Nad wrote:

> Eric Dymond wrote:
>
>> so in other words:
>> We can only exist in a closed universe.
>> Any amount of randomness will always create complex numbers.
>> Complexity abounds, randomness however always exists as an
>> immeasurable and non-quantifiable condition.
>>
>
> Frankly speaking, i haven't understood what you mean.
> are you referring to pseudo-random numbers?
>
> However I wanted to remark that we do not know what kind
> of universe we are living in.
> There is a video called "the shape of space", which
> i can recommend:
> http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/video/sos/about.html
> its about about some aspects of how one could possibly observe
> the shape of space.
>
> there is also to remark that we do not really understand
> quantum mechanics.
>
> nad
> +
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
>
  • Dirk Vekemans | Sun Jan 22nd 2006 3:58 p.m.
    Lewis LaCook published a very thorough article on stochastic computing in
    Rhizome Digest back in 2004. He kindly reposted this on his new open blog:

    http://www.lewislacook.org/node/6

    greetings,
    dv

    > -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
    > Van: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org]
    > Namens judsoN
    > Verzonden: zondag 22 januari 2006 22:32
    > Aan: Rhizome listserv; Nad
    > Onderwerp: RHIZOME_RAW: RE: x 13 the random
    >
    > i agree. but there seem to be 3 kinds of "random". we only
    > have one word.
    >
    >
    > random: as in some event that truly has no causality. it's actually
    > impossible to determine and may not even exist. even at a quantum
    > level. simply because we have no way of determining the outcome,
    > doesn't at all imply there's no causality. likewise, we often assume
    > causes. in standard billiard ball physics, we assume ball A
    > hits ball
    > B and thus A causes ball B to move. that's an assumption
    > though. it's
    > presumptuous for us even to determine any true randomness or causes
    > exist at all. (incidentally many use "arbitrary" to mean "random",
    > though it really means the opposite.)
    >
    > pseudo-random: like from a rand() function. called "pseudo" because
    > actually they choose (usually based on the time of day or how cycle
    > count of your CPU) from a (fixed) list of jumbled numbers.
    > the result
    > is technically pre-determined. just impossible for us to guess.
    >
    > random: chaos. the stars may appear to be placed randomly. but of
    > course, they are not. a stranger's sneeze doesn't REALLY occur at a
    > random time, but it appears so to us. even brownian motion, the path
    > of electrons, etc. someone decided to call it random, but at
    > most they
    > can only say "we are way too far from guessing now". humans can't
    > objectively know if they are ever correct in determining causality.
    > much less ruling out the infinite possibilities of all
    > possible causes
    > of an event, merely because we think we can rule out a few.
    >
    >
    > but that still leads me to believe that, even if the word is rather
    > wishy-washy, there's a function to "randomness" (of whichever kind).
    > there is a use for not knowing a result, leaving it up to
    > other forces.
    > especially, since those other forces will probably be
    > determining it
    > any way. we are only humoring ourselves to think we decide any
    > outcomes at all.
    >
    > i may think i choose to paint a brush stroke here. [sfx: thwip] but
    > there are very real neurological chains of events that determine my
    > choice. that are only afterwards called my preferences. there's no
    > point in arguing determinism vs. free will though, because we can't
    > possibly know free will objectively exists. and whether it does or
    > doesn't the end result is the same, i feel satisfied by my choice of
    > paint strokes or not. even if my satisfaction is also a result of
    > those chains.
    >
    >
    > but it's inspiration (at least to me) when i can say "this result is
    > not up to me, it's up to RANDOMNESS." maybe inspiration is a
    > result of
    > stripping away the illusion of determinism. the responsibility of
    > guessing is relieved, which (for me) tends to spark new ideas.
    >
    >
    > On Jan 22, 2006, at 12:43 PM, Nad wrote:
    >
    > > Eric Dymond wrote:
    > >
    > >> so in other words:
    > >> We can only exist in a closed universe.
    > >> Any amount of randomness will always create complex numbers.
    > >> Complexity abounds, randomness however always exists as an
    > >> immeasurable and non-quantifiable condition.
    > >>
    > >
    > > Frankly speaking, i haven't understood what you mean.
    > > are you referring to pseudo-random numbers?
    > >
    > > However I wanted to remark that we do not know what kind
    > > of universe we are living in.
    > > There is a video called "the shape of space", which
    > > i can recommend:
    > > http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/video/sos/about.html
    > > its about about some aspects of how one could possibly observe
    > > the shape of space.
    > >
    > > there is also to remark that we do not really understand
    > > quantum mechanics.
    > >
    > > nad
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Corey Eiseman | Tue Jan 24th 2006 1:21 p.m.
    You know, all of this has reminded me of something years ago, my drawing teacher said to me when I was in art school: "you need to learn how to surprise yourself." that has always stuck with me.

    (I may as well give him a shout out.. his name is Robert Rivers,
    http://www.art.ucf.edu/main.php?URL=rivers)

    While doing charcoal drawings we were encouraged to spontaneously turn our drawing boards upside down and keep drawing, move to another location, etc. resulting in drawings like this
    http://toegristle.com/corey/drawing/mannequins.shtml

    Over time I started getting more into making interesting surfaces to draw on, which led to collage and assemblage. But eventually I had to get a job in the real world, and I started learning more about computers and programming, and that's when the fun begins.

    There's no doubt that randomness (or pseudo-randomness) was an important aspect of my early efforts, or like Eric said I spent a good chunk of the late 90s trying to emulate random sequences

    there was the spam poem anti-art machine,
    http://toegristle.com/netart/spam/
    very much an homage to Burroughs cut up technique. (I think he once said "Language is a virus from outer space." I love that quote.)

    spam-scab, an ascii art collage machine,
    http://toegristle.com/spam-scab/

    At one point I tried to write a script that made random html tables, background colors, etc. that turned into this series in photoshop
    http://toegristle.com/corey/digital/testpatterns/

    I remember that endeavor very much reinforced that randomness was never going to just automatically produce good work. I was never happy with the output of the script but it led to some interesting screenshots that I could play with in photoshop when I started combining them in different layers.

    What is my point? the artist has to have the eye to choose the snapshots, the "happy accidents," out of the random chaos. She has to make choices.

    I've come to think of randomness as a tool an artist can use.

    Best regards,

    Corey Eiseman
    http://toegristle.com/

    Plasma Studii wrote:

    > i agree. but there seem to be 3 kinds of "random". we only have one
    > word.
    >
    >
    > random: as in some event that truly has no causality. it's actually
    > impossible to determine and may not even exist. even at a quantum
    > level. simply because we have no way of determining the outcome,
    > doesn't at all imply there's no causality. likewise, we often assume
    > causes. in standard billiard ball physics, we assume ball A hits
    > ball
    > B and thus A causes ball B to move. that's an assumption though.
    > it's
    > presumptuous for us even to determine any true randomness or causes
    > exist at all. (incidentally many use "arbitrary" to mean "random",
    > though it really means the opposite.)
    >
    > pseudo-random: like from a rand() function. called "pseudo" because
    > actually they choose (usually based on the time of day or how cycle
    > count of your CPU) from a (fixed) list of jumbled numbers. the
    > result
    > is technically pre-determined. just impossible for us to guess.
    >
    > random: chaos. the stars may appear to be placed randomly. but of
    > course, they are not. a stranger's sneeze doesn't REALLY occur at a
    > random time, but it appears so to us. even brownian motion, the path
    > of electrons, etc. someone decided to call it random, but at most
    > they
    > can only say "we are way too far from guessing now". humans can't
    > objectively know if they are ever correct in determining causality.
    > much less ruling out the infinite possibilities of all possible
    > causes
    > of an event, merely because we think we can rule out a few.
    >
    >
    > but that still leads me to believe that, even if the word is rather
    > wishy-washy, there's a function to "randomness" (of whichever kind).
    > there is a use for not knowing a result, leaving it up to other
    > forces.
    > especially, since those other forces will probably be determining
    > it
    > any way. we are only humoring ourselves to think we decide any
    > outcomes at all.
    >
    > i may think i choose to paint a brush stroke here. [sfx: thwip] but
    > there are very real neurological chains of events that determine my
    > choice. that are only afterwards called my preferences. there's no
    > point in arguing determinism vs. free will though, because we can't
    > possibly know free will objectively exists. and whether it does or
    > doesn't the end result is the same, i feel satisfied by my choice of
    > paint strokes or not. even if my satisfaction is also a result of
    > those chains.
    >
    >
    > but it's inspiration (at least to me) when i can say "this result is
    > not up to me, it's up to RANDOMNESS." maybe inspiration is a result
    > of
    > stripping away the illusion of determinism. the responsibility of
    > guessing is relieved, which (for me) tends to spark new ideas.
    >
    >
    > On Jan 22, 2006, at 12:43 PM, Nad wrote:
    >
    > > Eric Dymond wrote:
    > >
    > >> so in other words:
    > >> We can only exist in a closed universe.
    > >> Any amount of randomness will always create complex numbers.
    > >> Complexity abounds, randomness however always exists as an
    > >> immeasurable and non-quantifiable condition.
    > >>
    > >
    > > Frankly speaking, i haven't understood what you mean.
    > > are you referring to pseudo-random numbers?
    > >
    > > However I wanted to remark that we do not know what kind
    > > of universe we are living in.
    > > There is a video called "the shape of space", which
    > > i can recommend:
    > > http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/video/sos/about.html
    > > its about about some aspects of how one could possibly observe
    > > the shape of space.
    > >
    > > there is also to remark that we do not really understand
    > > quantum mechanics.
    > >
    > > nad
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
Your Reply