Re: [-empyre-] Sonya Rapoport's new work
Sonya Rappoport has been working for many years making interactive installations
and websites. Her chapter in the book "Processing(ing) Interactive Art:
Using People as Paint, Computer as Brush, and Installation Site as Canvas"
details how her work uses people's responses to queries in an installation
environment -- in works such as Digital Mudra and Biorhytmn. Now
she is expanding interactive concepts of communication to outer space.
Sonya is not able to participate directly in the list this month, but she has contributed
an abstract of her latest work The work is currently under development and
I'm not familiar enough with the details to respond to questions about it,
but, as is usual in her work, she approaches the issues in a way that is both
humorous and insightful -- stepping outside the usual approaches to communication,
raising questions about the process.
SONYA RAPOPORT: KABBALAH/ KABUL: Sending Emanations to the Aliens
The following is an abstract of Sonya Rapoport's presenation given in Paris in March 2003 at a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Workshop entitled ENCODING ALTRUISM: The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition.
Kabbalah/ Kabul: Sending Emanations to the Aliens endeavors to integrate the infinite outer universe with
the altruistic universe that resides within us on earth. It adapts an artwork-in-progress for the web from a form that is
meaningful to human beings, into a form that attempts to communicate with other beings on a distant
planet. The art project's hybrid imagery combines primal humanity perceived in Afghan news photos, with
scientific procedures such as cell differentiation, injection of stem cells, cell replication, and gene splicing.
These provide the technology for creating altruistic DNA. The images are visually and conceptually interfaced
on many levels that represent both the source of the altruistic emanations to be communicated and the
means of transmission.
The basis for communicating altruistic emanations to extraterrestrials comes from the mystical doctrine of
Kabbalah, a system of communication by the use of numbers, letters, and words. The message form is the
Sephirot (Tree of Life) diagram, the major icon and universally recognized symbol of Kabbalah. A translation
of the circles and lines of the Sephirot diagram into mathematical formulas can be transmitted by frequency
waves into outer space. Then, since numerical values are built into the Hebrew alphabet and words can be
reduced to their mathematical equivalent, the actual altruistic emanations can be transmitted numerically.
Alternatively, the altruistic emanations may be prepared for transmission by translation into a mathematical
code of their genes.
The golem, an artificial anthropoid, was originally conceived as a tool or metaphor to guard against evil and
persecution. In this work we construct a new age golem to be a vessel for depositing and dispersing
altruistic emanations. Ancient processes, supplemented by current scientific technology, produce the
blowfly-golem, the Interstellar Message Vehicle (IMV). A glassblower blows the robot-like carapace out of a
compost heap of righteous earth. The blowfly, through its life cycle, is the manufacturer of the righteous
earth. It nibbles on the corpses of virtuous sages, and it ingests, incorporates, and transmits their altruistic
DNA through its pupae.and maggots. Once the golem carapace is molded, it encapsulates, fuses, and
stabilizes itself, morphing into the body of the blowfly, an insect of phenomenal muscle efficiency with high
energetic currency in all its cells. Signals from the blowfly's high frequency wing oscillations are transferred
into electromagnetic waves that carry the golem's message of altruism across space.
Our chimera vehicle for transmitting altruistic emanations to extraterrestrial beings is the blowfly-golem.
Golem deeds are good deeds, so the new age blowfly-golem emanates positive, altruistic messages. It is a
living being that encourages other living beings to receive and accept the messages it sends. The
blowfly-golem has a body, which we can use physically and metaphorically, to mold and convey our altruistic
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