Rob Myers
Since 2003
Works in United States of America

Rob Myers is an artist and hacker based in the UK.

I have been creating images of the contemporary social and cultural environment through programming, design software and visual remixing since the early 1990s. My work is influenced by popular culture and high art in equal measures. My interest in remixing and sampling has led to my involvement in the Free Culture movement. I have been involved in the public consultation regarding the Creative Commons 2.0 and CC-UK licenses. All my visual art is available under a Creative Commons license.

My interest in programming has led to my involvement with the Free Software movement. I developed the Macintosh version of the Gwydion Dylan programming language compiler. All my software is available under the GNU GPL.
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On being

ps. Perhaps you didn't notice that I was using the process ID. $$ is one of those quirky "special variables" in Perl. It returns the process ID so $exist = $$; contains the process ID.

Oops. Sorry. I have now learnt a new Perl built-in variable.


On being

The history of the culture of AI is one of rigorous great failure. AI is a form of literature, the tragedic drama of the hacker class. Mez is indeed relevant here as the mirror image of AI, "Turings Man" ironized.

Can a program know whether it exists? It depends what we mean by "know". I have long argued that a problem with e.g. AARON is that computers don't care about the human body or human experience. A program would be interested (if it could be interested) in its own environment. The environment of memory and disk space, of process IDs and processor time.

If consciousness is an emergent property of more complex systems or requires spirit or whatever then it is nonsensical to try to produce a minimal program or any material(ist) system that embodies being. But it may function as as an evocative representation or as a metaphor.

Imagine a program that knows its own process ID (every running program in a system is given a unique number to identify it, this is the process ID), and will watch for the absence of that ID from the list of running processes. Now imagine the conditions under which the program could actually report the absence of its own process ID from the process list. Now imagine being present after your own death. Neither is possible in a materialist universe. So there is an analog there.


pid := getpid()

loop (contains (getAllPids(), pid))
..sleep (1)
end loop

print "I have died.

Bolter in "Turings Man" argued that computers are the "enabling technology" of contemporary culture, the defining metaphor of our age as clockwork and fire were for previous generations. Constructing a trivial program to represent/evoke/satirise/deliberately fail to capture the concept of being is like depicting the human figure using charcoal or ceramics or paint or steel or photography or CGI.

'Pataphysic or Meinongian ontology tend to make nonsense of being and existence. So does art. Badiou's ontology is materialist and atheist and yet is based on (mathematical) infinities. If we switch to Haskell we can treat being as lazily evaluated infinities and still fit them in a computer's memory. To fail to do so is more interesting as art than to succeed at many less ambitious tasks.


On being

Executio ergo sum?

Quines are good as well:

And so are polymorphic computer viruses:


On being

You could do this in Haskell and lazily evaluate an infinite series of being.

This could tie into Badiou's ontology.

I don't know Haskell well enough to write such a program though.


Fart Lighting and Other Utopian Visons on the Web.

why is it that a medium that was developed with utopianist visions such as the rise of the global brain and united consciousness, evolved into possibly little more then a arena for fart lighting clips, beheadings, beat downs, ownage, the aforementioned skater face plants, dramatic look gophers and the star wars kid?

The film "Forbidden Planet" answers this question.

This is what I’m painting.. This is what fascinates me about the web. What’s my problem?

You are a Realist. You are depicting the aesthetic phenomena of a society given the means to externalise representations of its most base desires.

That said you could always Google for knitting circles or local community projects rather than beheadings.