Saturday, March 28, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] Invention as a nexus of the real and the imaginary


I very much like your phrase:

" invention as a nexus of the real and the imaginary "

Tied to the question of invention as fiction.

When we did the Leonardo 4Oth anniversary in Prague
we had a one day discussion on what the burning issues
were in the art science technology field, and Roy Ascott true to
form put " the nature of consciousness' on the list.

It really is a wonderful process, consciousness. We are are
a complicated collection of cells and neural connections, and
somehow we spend our time constructing stories about ouselves
and about the world around us. It seems to me that both artist
and scientists are indeed in the story construction business, and as
you put it " inventions are the nextus of the real and the imaginary"

In the exhibition were numerous instruments designed to measure angles between
stars, and other instruments and positions of stars. Generations of
scientists invented
instruments to do this. Part of a story about the sky and our
relationships to it. Now we
have GPS satellites, and astrometry satellites and there are very few
in the angle measuring business. And the instruments look pretty ridiculous now.

Looking at the artefacts in the exhibition one had to wonder how they
were used and
what kind of 'story telling' the inventors told them selves to develop
such complicated

Later last night I was doing some web browsing and read Ricardo Nascimento self
introduction to yasmin and happened on his "Suffering Machine", a machine designed

"When the piece falls and tries to stand up again is the strong moment
of its existence and somehow it always finds a way to reconstruct

Another behavior of this machine is when someone gets closer, in order
to touch or suppose help the machine, it kills himself as a
contradictory behavior."

Maybe 400 years now we will see in an exhibition both the astromers
astrometry machines
and the 'suffering maching"

Today the complicated machines developed by astronomers to do
astrometry are useless=they
are in collections of artefacts of part of the story of invention of
machines that led us to have
an understanding of the sky. The Suffering Machine is already useless
except as part of
a cultural construction of our relationship to machines and their
place in our lives.

Inventions have a very short period where they have meaning in
science.They are quickly
superceded by other inventions.

So coming back to Roy Ascotts burning issue on what is the nature of
consciouness. It seems
to me that the " invention as fiction" line of reasoning can identify
machines as "fictions' or
"artefacts" that we create outside our bodies to help us connect and
interact with the world
outside our bodies, that help us create in our minds "stories" or
"Mental Models" or "scientific theories"
that we can then "test" through their use.

its been an interesting month of chat !! I encourage you to read
Artists as Inventors-Inventors as Artists (Paperback)
by Dieter Daniels (Editor), Barbara U. Schmidt (Editor)

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