Louis Bec ::: Biography

ARTIFICIAL LIFE UNDER TENSION
A Lesson in Epistemological Fabulatory

1) Background
~Artificial life [1] is a construct that accommodates a tensorial space. [2]
~Thus it is the result of marked tension between the living and the technologically created near-living.
~Its techno-ecosystemic niche presents as a 'potential' for chimerization. [3]
~It is subject to a tension existing between life defined as an intrinsic property of matter and life redefined as a technological simulation device.

~This tension describes a distinctive trajectory in the overall relationship between the arts and the sciences.
~Thus it opens up entirely new fields of exploration and plays a part in the current reconfiguration of knowledge and forms of expression.
~This trajectory traverses the scientific, artistic and technological domains, in all their diversity, evolutions and mutations. Via the multiplicity of interactions thus generated it gives rise to offset 'epistemological and esthetic tensions.'

This on-line version of the book "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture" is not full. The unabridged edition can be purchased in printed form as anthology. Requests should be sent to: bulatov@ncca.koenig.ru (full information) or in written form: 236000, Russia, Kaliningrad, 18, Marx str., The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”. Phone requests: Kaliningrad +7(0112)216251, Saint-Petersburg +7(812)3885881, Moscow +7(095)2867666. On-line bookshop (in Russian): http://www.yantskaz.ru. Full reference to this book: "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture". Edited and curated by Dmitry Bulatov. The National Centre for Contemporary art (Kaliningrad branch, Russia), The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”: Kaliningrad, 2004. ISBN 5-7406-0853-7

~The areas of representation and modeling of the living are explored by elasticity deformation. The newer areas of interactivity, digital information and networks, the programming of processes relating to movement, real time, virtual space and man/animal/machine interfaces, are explicitly designated as fundamental activities for experimental creation.


Louis Bec. Malaskunodousse, 1997-99, artificial life model, softimage.

~In fact, artificial life is inhibited by the animate schema of the living.
~Its role is that of an autonomous behavioral agent, in techno-sensorial [5] interaction with the fluctuating environment of that knowledge out of which, patiently and via its own learning capacity, it develops its behavior and its inventive adaptation.
~The artistic and scientific convergences and divergences artificial life testifies to are based on a primeval tremor.
~An imperceptible tremor of the living, a vibration going back to time immemorial. By giving rise to a logical proliferation wave, it compels recognition of the 'pro-creation' of techno-biodiversity [6] as a fundamental mode of human expression.

2) Modeling
~Modeling is the conceptual and operational tensor of artificial life.
~Generally speaking, in the artistic as well as the scientific areas the aim of modeling is to produce a median object situated between the data and the modelmaker.
As the bearer of variable, manipulable parameters this median object allows for the processing of emotional, imaginative information in an artistic setting [7] in the same way as for logical, rational information in a scientific one.
~The artificial life artefact programmatically compacts quantitative and syntactic data and qualitative and semantic data, in order to produce a 'meta-model' by chimerization or new 'artificial metabolic potentialities' by modeling.

~Modeling is thus in itself the construction of a variable tension between a phenomenon to be simulated and a device that simulates.

~Artificial life modelings give concrete expression to choices made between analytic modeling strategies and systemic or heuristic ones.
~And so, when modeling tends to reduce the distance between the phenomenon under study and its artefact, analogical modeling results.
~In this case, the model will obey the principles of connection or similarity. The choice of parameters and of their experimental variabilities will give rise to formal, behavioral and cognitive representations or will describe the successive infrastructure or process states duplicated.
~The result is an esthetics of mimesis. [8]
In material terms, this takes the form of a realism that consists of imitating life as it is. Digital technologies are fascinated by the representation of reality as stabilisation of tension.
Thus the majority of artificial life modelings belong implicitly and explicitly to the logic of analogy, resemblance and biomimetics.
~More interesting, on the other hand, are those new forms of esthetics that seem to be developing via autonomy or the principles of programmatic delegation. They consist in giving 'flexibility' to the artificial life artefact, via a non-programmed freedom capable of generating unexpected 'emotional' events; in this they reproduce the behavior of an independent or interdependent living thing.


Louis Bec. Istione Sarksi, 1997-99, artificial life model, softimage.

~Dynamic modeling of complex systems takes place when the system integrates the model into its own tensions as an active system agent. The agent modifies the behavior of the system and as a consequence modifies itself.
~Artificial life modeling is n~longer the representation, effected from the outside, of a living organization. It presents as a self-organizing, autonomous, tensorialized entity.
~This modeling takes the form of interactive devices, evolutional morphogeneses, simulation of universes that vary according to data implementation or are seized via different capture modes.

This on-line version of the book "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture" is not full. The unabridged edition can be purchased in printed form as anthology. Requests should be sent to: bulatov@ncca.koenig.ru (full information) or in written form: 236000, Russia, Kaliningrad, 18, Marx str., The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”. Phone requests: Kaliningrad +7(0112)216251, Saint-Petersburg +7(812)3885881, Moscow +7(095)2867666. On-line bookshop (in Russian): http://www.yantskaz.ru. Full reference to this book: "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture". Edited and curated by Dmitry Bulatov. The National Centre for Contemporary art (Kaliningrad branch, Russia), The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”: Kaliningrad, 2004. ISBN 5-7406-0853-7

~Every living entity must refloat its livingness s~as to recognize what the living is. In precisely this way it als~artificializes itself extendably.

3) Biotelematics
~Positivist epistemology has weighed heavily on the proponents of artificial life.
~For a long time it prevented the carrying out of a modeling of life as it might be.
~Anchored in a knowledge object and not in a knowledge projection, biomimetic modeling [10] has had the effect of putting the emphasis on biphase connection modeling and not on tensile coherence modeling.

~We know that artificial life develops according to the principles of extensive viability and of proliferation and exploration strategies.
~The conditions for bringing about technological biodiversity, for the creation of unknown forms of life and post-biological virtual worlds, can thus only come about in a new, truly and totally artificial space.

~Cyberspace is the artificial place where the tension of digital communication is at work.

~A mass of information circulates in the form of electric and light impulses in an artificial space that has become a planetary electromagnetic field.


Louis Bec. Maiandrosse, 1997-99, artificial life model, softimage.

~Artificial life intends to infiltrate proliferating digital biotelematic organisms into this environment and colonize the communication networks. [11]
~This new environment possesses a material layer made up of cables, Hertzian circuits, optical fibers, satellites, computers, microchips and s~on. In this environment the machines are commutators linked to machines and the silicon microchips are interconnected.
~Considered as a virtual provider of the living, this environment could contribute to the emergence of unknown binary life-forms; these would make up, s~to speak, a hypotechnozoology [12] capable of appearing in all the network's visualization terminals.
~The environment can model their behavior and point up other types of adaptive abilities.
~It can establish a technozoosemiotics of coding and cryptography and generate duplicative activities via technical autoreplication artefacts.
~It can facilitate the incubation of distributed intelligence colonies capable of multiplying in all the network's dimensions and complexity.
~It can secrete dynamic non-linear morphogeneses appropriate to the communication protocols.
~This set of operations necessarily entails structural, textual, textural and behavioral mutations via encoding/decoding, cryptography, and data compression/decompression/depression.

4) Technozoosemiotics
~Artificial life is now emerging from a data-processing space. It generates an information surplus.
~It is a technozoosemiotic tension produced by the connection of the living with the near-living.
~It directs the the semaphoric infrastructure [13] of an artificial life cooped up in its conventional modeling of the strata of the living. [14]
~Henceforth it compels recognition as a transducer/translator, between signal and sign.

This on-line version of the book "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture" is not full. The unabridged edition can be purchased in printed form as anthology. Requests should be sent to: bulatov@ncca.koenig.ru (full information) or in written form: 236000, Russia, Kaliningrad, 18, Marx str., The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”. Phone requests: Kaliningrad +7(0112)216251, Saint-Petersburg +7(812)3885881, Moscow +7(095)2867666. On-line bookshop (in Russian): http://www.yantskaz.ru. Full reference to this book: "Biomediale. Contemporary Society and Genomic Culture". Edited and curated by Dmitry Bulatov. The National Centre for Contemporary art (Kaliningrad branch, Russia), The National Publishing House “Yantarny Skaz”: Kaliningrad, 2004. ISBN 5-7406-0853-7

~Artificial life is situated at the intersection of the multiple exchanges linking all the components of the biomass and the natural and technological environment. The information surplus resulting from these reciprocal activities has to be processed by the interfaces of a 'biologically living/technological/data processing/instrumentological' complex.
~Thus artificial life as technozoosemiotics elaborates conversational agents and inserts transduction and transcoding spaces between kinesthetic, paralinguistic systems and grammaticalized, discretized forms of language.


Louis Bec. Emballone Notheia, 1999, artificial life model, softimage.

~Artificial life as technozoosemiotics is situated at the crossroads of semiotics, ethology, the cognitive sciences, technology, computer science and artistic practise; it is an integral part of zoosemiotics, which studies the signals elaborated by living species for inter- or extra-specific communication.
~Working permanently and diffusely, this transversal interspecific communication can be regarded as one of the fantastical issues involved in artistic creation.
~Art is haunted by the living, by animality, by its representations and modelings.
~Body art, the introduction of the living into the plastic arts [15], current interactive artificial life devices - all of which redefine the living as an expressive substance in its own right - have not got to the bottom of tw~still unanswered questions:

1. Is it not the case that, at the very heart of artistic endeavor, there has long been the demiurgic ambition to create the living via multiple simulations?
D~cloning, genetic engineering and the creation of transgenic animals open the way to teratological art?

2. Communication with other species has yet to work. But d~not domestication, zootechnics, animal cognition studies and the search for paralanguages, and extraterrestrial biology testify to an irresistible need for interchange with the other belonging to a species originating elsewhere?

~This is why it is not surprising to see artistic approaches appearing which get out from under the usual psychological pressures and 'situate man's creative activities in the lineage of those of animals and other living organisms.' [16]
~These approaches draw on technological advances, concepts and modeling in the cognitive sciences, animal and human ethology in its search for animal protoculture as the roots of culture, the origin of language, voice-recognition, the emergence of higher symbolic functions and s~on.

Certain lines of artistic research have become genuinely involved in interspecific animal communication. [17]

In their combining of expressive modalities such as image, sound and text - but als~behavior, movement and gesture - are transdisciplinary artistic, scientific and technological approaches als~leading to the making of tomorrow's tools for widespread interspecific communication?

Had we been more attentive, maybe we would have spotted signs of what was to come.
We probably need to g~back to Beuys's famous tete-a-bete with a coyote in America.
This performance has to be seen as a premonitory act, a still unfocused attempt to point out that the future of a unequivocal, totally new and richly promising artistic activity lies in the logosystemic [18] establishment of a 'danced' relationship between all the components of the biomass.

References and Notes:
[1]. "Artificial life is the study of manmade systems exhibiting behavior characteristic of natural living systems. Via attempted simulation of "life analagous" behaviors on computers and other artificial media, it complements the traditional approach of the biological sciences, whose mode of functioning is the analysis of living creatures. In its extension of the empirical foundations of biology beyond the carbon chains of earth-based organisms, artificial life can contribute to theoretical biology by situating life as we know it in the broader context of life as it might be." Chris Langton, Artificial Life, Santa Fe, 1988.
[2]. Set of numbers making up a system used to represent the tensions in a space or a solid.
[3]. Chimerization: the process of creating zoological chimeras using parts of different organisms.
[4]. Theoretical biology seems to take n~interest in behavioral creations effected in substrata other than organic terrestrial molecules. Simulation raises the problem of the nature of the phenomenon reproduced, for it cannot be claimed that the model really captures the essence of the phenomenon. What interest is there in a project that claims to study life as it might be while being validated by life as we know it?
[5]. Techno-sensorial: refers to the oversizing of sensoriality by the use of technical prostheses.
[6]. Techno-biodiversity: increase in the diversity of living organisms via to the construction of artefacts.
[7]. When painting, for example, is set the task of using matter to reproduce a phenomenon or capture an emotion, it becomes a variable model allowing for constant parameter manipulation.
[8]. The notion of a model is from the outset implicit in the definition of mimesis, of imitation: to state (with Aristotle) that art imitates nature is equivalent to saying that art takes nature as its model, in terms of its objects, even more s~of its functioning and maybe of its underlying principle.
[9]. A sunken hulk gradually becomes covered with elements of the living, at the same time as it is transformed by rust and the rotting of wood. Its technical structure becomes the substratum and the skeleton for a multitude of living species. The effects of the undersea environment, the adaptive and behavioral processes of the organisms and the physical, mechanical and chemical changes undergone by the boat bring into play a chimerization between naval technology and the benthic living world. The intrication here is s~close-knit that the refloated boat can be regarded as a living artefact.
[10]. Biomimetic modeling drew on three types of functioning of the living: autoregulation, autopreservation, autoreproduction. Via cellular automata, genetic algorithms, collective intelligence modeling, dynamic morphogeneses and behavioral robotics there emerges a simulation copied directly from the living.
[11]. See the work of Thomas Ray and his Tierra project.
[12]. Hypotechnozoology: a zoology emerging from the underside of positivist zoology via technological modeling.
[13]. Technosemaphorics: a technological sign-bearing device.
[14]. The different phases that have characterized the living: animation, mechanism and organization.
[15]. Kounelis was one of the first artists to exhibit living forms in a gallery.
[16]. Atlan, R. Creativite biologique et auto-creation du sens ('Biological Creativity and Self-created Meaning') (Castella Albeuve, Switzerland, 1986).
[17]. Animal Art (Graz: Steirischer Herbst, 1987).
[18]. Logosystemics: a system made up of the elements of a discourse in their interaction.




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COLOPHON

CONTENTS:

I. LABORATORY: science and technology

Svetlana Borinskaya. Genomics and Biotechnology: Science at the Beginning of the Third Millennium.

Mikhail Gelfand. Computational Genomics: from the Wet Lab to Computer and Back.

Irina Grigorjan, Vsevolod Makeev. Biochips and Industrial Biology.

Valery Shumakov, Alexander Tonevitsky. Xenotransplantation as a Scientific and Ethic Problem.

Abraham Iojrish. Legal Aspects of Gene Engineering.

Pavel Tishchenko. Genomics: New Science in the New Cultural Situation.
II. FORUM: society and genomic culture

Eugene Thacker. Darwin's Waiting Room.

Critical Art Ensemble. The Promissory Rhetoric of Biotechnology in the Public Sphere.

SubRosa. Sex and Gender in the Biotech Century.

Ricardo Dominguez. Nano-Fest Destiny 3.0: Fragments from the Post-Biotech Era.

Birgit Richard. Clones and Doppelgangers. Multiplications and Reproductions of the Self in Film.

Sven Druehl. Chimaera Phylogeny: From Antiquity to the Present.
III. TOPOLOGY: from biopolitics to bioaesthetics

Boris Groys. Art in the Age of Biopolitics.

Stephen Wilson. Art and Science as Cultural Acts.

Melentie Pandilovski. On the Phenomenology of Consciousness, Technology, and Genetic Culture.

Roy Ascott. Interactive Art: Doorway to the Post-Biological Culture.
IV. INTERACTION CODE: artificial life

Mark Bedau. Artificial Life Illuminates Human Hyper-creativity.

Louis Bec. Artificial Life under Tension.

Alan Dorin. Virtual Animals in Virtual Environments.

Christa Sommerer, Laurent Mignonneau. The Application of Artificial Life to Interactive Computer Installations.
V. MODERN THEATRE: ars genetica

George Gessert. A History of Art Involving DNA.

Kathleen Rogers. The Imagination of Matter.

Brandon Ballengee. The Origins of Artificial Selection.

Marta de Menezes. The Laboratory as an Art Studio.

Adam Zaretsky. Workhorse Zoo Art and Bioethics Quiz.
VI. IMAGE TECHNOLOGY: ars chimaera

Joe Davis. Monsters, Maps, Signals and Codes.

David Kremers. The Delbruck Paradox. Version 3.0.

Eduardo Kac. GFP Bunny.

Dmitry Bulatov. Ars Chimaera.

Valery Podoroga. Rene Descartes and Ars Chimaera.
VII. METABOLA: tissue culture and art

Ionat Zurr. Complicating Notions of Life - Semi-Living Entities.

Oron Catts. Fragments of Designed Life - the Wet Palette of Tissue Engineering.
VIII. P.S.

Dmitry Prigov. Speaking of Unutterable.

Wet art gallery

Biographies

Bibliography

Webliography

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