Re: [-empyre-] meta view

At 08:40 PM 16/11/2004 +1100, you wrote:

This is not a silly idea, in fact some people working with artificial evolution have discussed the idea of a population of artificial "critics" which also evolve, and in fact co-evolve with the artwork. Image breeder Steven Rooke (apprently offline now) was one of these... Steven's work has always been concerned with a quite metaphysical idea of "beyond".

Not silly either is the question as to whether we can hope to recognise "good" a-life art... the concept of an artwork constitutes a frame in itself (despite a long history of avant-gardist efforts to bust open that frame (dada, fluxus, conceptual art, etc)). If what we want from a-life art is the other, and the beyond, then if we were to _really_ achieve that, why would the resulting work fit in our category of "art"? If it was sufficiently adaptive it wouldn't be hanging around on a plinth letting people gawk at it. In other words, there's a tension here between the known and the alien, the desires for alterity and familiarity.

As Edward Shanken argues in a Leonardo article (can trace the ref)... life is only ever "life as we know it" - how can it be anything else?

Indeed and art is also "art as we know it" does of course change over time albeit incrementally, but an artwork is still an artifact of conventions...and this is an issue for a-life art or so it seems to me. Which conventional language is it working within for the viewer or which discourse or range of discourses defines its viewing? In your book, Mitchell you give an interesting historical account of a-life's vitalist "origins". This is a problem for its mainstream acceptance now as the dominant paradigm for art now is as a purely cultural and even linguistic construct or by-product (or maybe symptom!). How does a-life fit in or become visible within that kind of frame? I am sure it can after all how separate is science from the language it uses to describe things and the culture within which it is embedded.

Yet like Melinda, I find that evolved hardware etc etc., contains some whiff of the alien which is really thrilling...

yes, very interesting indeed!!

Enjoying the discussions of this list very much...thanks for all the great links and observations. Unfortunately a belated new-comer to this area of art making but it is genuinely a fascinating learning curve!



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