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54


Telegarden

From The Technological Herbarium (1) - Telegarden by Ken Goldberg
Gianna Maria Gatti

On the indispensable interaction between user and garden is founded the second of the objectives pursued by the Telegarden team: that of making users realize that they are not alone in taking care of the living installation. In Telegarden, as the authors make clear, the people become aware of the electronic presence of the others while engaging in the shared goal of taking care of the plants, interrupting their 'skipping' around from one site to the next, stopping to 'smell the roses'. If navigation is usually impersonal and renders invisible the reality that there are other users connected to the same site, Telegarden attempts to reduce this feeling of 'solitude'. Telegarden does not limit itself to awakening awareness in its users of how the web can be used at the same time by several persons. The installation makes sense only in so far as it is a community of navigators who collaborate together, grouped around an environment.


 
Nanoletter T

Biopoetry
Eduardo Kac

Since the 1980s poetry has effectively moved away from the printed page. From the early days of the minitel to the personal computer as a writing and reading environment, we have witnessed the development of new poetic languages. Video, holography, programming and the web have further expanded the possibilities and the reach of this new poetry. Now, in a world of clones, chimeras, and transgenic creatures, it is time to consider new directions for poetry in vivo. Below I propose the use of biotechnology and living organisms in poetry as a new realm of verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal creation.


 
Gatti's book cover

Gianna Maria Gatti's The Technological Herbarium
Alan N. Shapiro

Gianna Maria Gatti's book The Technological Herbarium (subtitled: "Vegetable Nature and New Technologies in Art Between the Second and Third Millennia") is a study of 'interdisciplinary' works of art that exemplify the increasing importance of science and technology in artistic creation. Her analysis, however, goes beyond that of a journalistic or curatorial survey of artworks. Her work embodies the invention of a strong philosophical concept that enables the glimpsing - in the coming together of nature and new technologies in the domain of art - of a new real. The hybrid of art and technoscience is the carrier of a new worldview, a new era for cyberspace, new cognitive thought and cybernetic epistemology, and the emergence of authentic post-metaphysical thinking as pointed to by twentieth-century philosophers like Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gregory Bateson.


 
Jello World

Terza Vita
Franco Torriani

E' ipotizzabile una terza vita, oltre a quella definita seconda, che trascenda i mondi virtuali? Più processi in corso che, nella loro complessità, implicano modifiche graduali del vivente - e di quanto a esso si ispira - non rendono l'ipotesi del tutto irrealistica. Passerà per l'infinitamente piccolo questa evoluzione verso una ulteriore vita, verosimilmente più sofisticata delle precedenti? L'anelito arcaico verso vite altre è, specie da metà secolo scorso in poi, soggetto a un impatto tecnologico e culturale che ne ha turbato i cicli di lungo periodo. Intorno a cinquant'anni or sono, un allora futuro Nobel della Fisica, Richard Feynman, propose di guardare in basso, c'è tanto spazio laggiù, pensando a macchine costruite usando gli atomi come elementi costitutivi. Questo mondo popolato di nanomacchine, di queste Engines for Creation, ispirò un celebre libro di Eric Drexler, ricco di scenari conturbanti.


 
robot

NeMe: Hot to Bot
Edward A. Shanken

The idea that non-living matter could be used to invoke, influence, and emulate living beings is probably as old as human life itself. Over thousands of years this concept has become deeply ingrained in the human imagination as a locus of desires and fears about the future; and about the role of art and technology in forming it. In reviewing some of this history, I shall focus on, for lack of a better term, the moral of the story; in other words, what prevailing attitudes towards robots and other surrogate beings at a certain place and time tell us about the values of that culture. This background sets the stage for a similar consideration of robots with regard to contemporary morals, mythologies, and values, as they relate to the production of robots and artificial life forms by artists. Norman White has written that, “For me, Art comes alive only when it provides a framework for asking questions.” The intersecting histories of art and automata offer a fertile context for people like White to frame interesting questions and make art come alive – and come alive in a sense that arguably extends beyond the merely metaphorical.



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