circulation of energy states

Posted by Rhizome | Mon Feb 3rd 1997 1 a.m.

Responding to netversations on the "Consciousness Reframed" listserv,
Paul Warren wrote:

I have been following the discussion between Bill Seaman and Simon Biggs
with much interest.

A lot of similar thinking went into a web artpiece I started working on
about a year and a half ago. I wanted to create an online being made
entirely out of available software which would create a digital
mechanized networked energy state.

My first criteria was some sort of primitive response mechanism which
would push certain artbot "attitudes" towards the viewer. So I built the
being's "head" from a table which used the idea of Benjamin's repeat
variable of media and diminished meaning turned upon itself. The viewer
could choose from a table of blind attitudes, each equal in importance.
I uses a simple META tag with a timed refresh in html code to build the
response mechanism. To make it as garish as possible, I made the table
black and pink.

I had neither the time or the funding to create an AI program, but that
was the basic underlying concept of the head.

Included in the artbot's basic concept was a sexuality which would be
entirely determined by the viewer's own set of fantasies, which could
then be projected upon the basic biological structure of sexuality (e.g,
male-female). But I also allowed for any range of possibilities within
the M-F polarity, something which I later found out Kinsey had also
investigated.

As an added twist, I embedded the green desire of money beneath the
basic sexual-biological background. You'll find it in the sexuality
background artwork, mindlessly repeated a la Warhol.

I also wanted to embed this artwork into the net as a piece which "fed
itself" and "nourished" whoever visited it with database access. This
allowed me to let the digibot reveal the extent of its own builder's
limits and possibilities (e.g., human beings) by using a medical
database and a spiritual site database, both of which were constructed
from search results from search engines.

While I learned a great deal from making the artbot, I also found that
no one within the artworld that I spoke to had even the slightest clue
as to what this thing was about. It certainly wasn't postmodern in any
sense of what that might mean.

So I have reluctantly decided that I need to back down from this edge in
order to create a bridge for this kind of thinking. From my experience,
I found that the artworld has no critical apparatus in place for work
which can deal with the shared energy matrix of computers and wetware.

I mainly wanted to post this to give you the benefit of my experience in
this zone of thinking as it relates to the present day art world. If you
want to "visit" the being, you can now find it on my home page at
http://www.interport.net/~pwnr.

There is also a Donald Kuspit review of the FutureLessFuture exhibition
(which was the original location of the being and which ended last fall)
that deals in a more critical/poetic manner with similar issues. In
regards to the specific issues being discussed here, I would recommend
that you look at what Kuspit had to say about the online being. If
you're in a hurry, you can scroll down to his discussion of the being at
the end of the essay.

Regardless of my need to back away a bit from this edge for
art-practical reasons, I say keep going with these concepts!!! IMHO,
this is definitely where the future of art will be in a few years.
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