Re: [-empyre-] meta view

when i think a-life,  I am more inclined to take it in a more fluid
philosophic vein  - an example mitchell previously gave of " the pursuit of
the emergent moment of
excess and surprise"
i personally would call something  a-life  if  meet the conditions of
alterity .. which opens up the doors..
is there separateness from ourselves  and   a sense of unpredictability?
is it resistant to, and independent of, our aspirations and wishes?
is it a non finite structure, could it exceed imposed borders, boundaries
and limitations?
does it  incite responses from others?

In a recent conversation I had about these concepts with the philosopher Maggie Boden she suggested (humorously) that maybe the only way to get a handle on alife "art" was to create an alife "art critic" and that maybe only automata could appreciate automaton-created artworks.

This is an interesting take on your concept of "going beyond".  Certainly
as an artist practicing in this area I'm aware of wanting to moving forward
into a new domain of creativity (and that this is the natural route for art
to take - harking back to Mitchell's pre-history again).  This is based on
my conviction that art does have a historical direction (in contrast to
say Alan Sondheim's belief) and a part of this is the constant re-invention
and re-definition of both "art" and "creativity".

A problem also implicit in your words - the exploration of novelty for
novelty's sake - the pit that BritArt (& a lot of contemporary art) has
fallen into. A personal value judgement here - that what I'm doing (&
others in the field) is more valuable/meaningful that what many in the
art mainstream are doing.  Perhaps they are too hung up on "making a
living" (a strange concept that has appeared twice in this stream! -
Is there really anyone out there that believes that art - at any level
apart from the most banal/peripheral - is about "making a living"?)
and not about undertaking the obligation of necessary research.

I like Ross-Ashby's concept of requisite variety - here's another of
his quotes:  "Division of the world's system into Natural and Man-made
died with Darwin."  A wonderful and neglected pioneer of cybernetics:

(the section on requisite variety begins on pp.206 of the book - that's
103 of the pdf!!)

And as an aside, those who have read the wonderful "Secret Oral Teachings
of Tibetan Buddhist Sects" by Alexandra David-Neel will know that one of
the foundation concepts she attempts to communicate is that of going
"beyond beyond".  [And then perhaps as Eliot suggests find yourself back
where you started from...]
Paul Brown          PO Box 413, Cotton Tree QLD 4558, Australia  
mob 0419 72 74 85                           fax +1 309 216 9900
Visiting Fellow - Birkbeck

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