[-empyre-] fwd form ken rinaldo - interactivity

On 27/11/2004, at 1:13 AM, Mauro Annunziato wrote:

In a word you are discovering the emergence of "relations". Understanding of
relations seem to be the key of the final complexity.

Ken, I'd like to hear your comments on this idea, and Maria's initial
question about interactivity. Your work focuses on a sculptural presence and
a dynamic interactivity. Are those interacting with your works also
discovering "relations"?

HI Mitchell and community:

Yes thanks for your question and the interesting dialogue. I very much
enjoyed reading the Scale issue. Congrats to all for some excellent writing
in this issue.

For some other thoughts on emergence, culture and the sublime check out:

 Vol. 31, Issue 5 - Sixth Annual New York Digital Salon for a nice series of
articles which I pulled together on a life including contributions by :
Mitchell Whitelaw, Edward A. Shanken, Yves AMU Klein and Nell Tenhaaf
online is my contribution to the series of texts.
http://www.artnode.dk/contri/rinaldo/index.html  and further discuss many of
the themes touched on here including FPGA's and emergence.

My research into living systems, and the notion that playing with a pet or
simple insect can be immensely satisfying, put me on a path  years ago to
create sculptural objects and installations that engage artificial life.
Since we exist in physical space and do not question our state of "being
alive," it seemed logical that, in order for the works to have the aura of
"being alive," they needed to exist in physical space. This progression of
my artwork involved the development of unique interfaces for humans and
other species, as well as the development of approaches to artificial-life
programming techniques. This research also confirmed for me, that corporeal
and body oriented experiences, can offer fully engaging points of entry into
software and hardware based interactive agents and spaces and can provide
complex and friendly environments for living creatures.

Certainly. There are a whole set of relations which are developed through
interaction with the work. These relations are visual and complex but more
importantly they are physical and therefore involve embodied interaction.
This interaction does not reside solely in the channel of vision as in
metaphorical or imagistic languages or sound per se and in my works I
struggle to involve many senses, including the kinesthetic sense of movement
and touch. For me touch is central.

I am most interested in corporeal knowledge, that comes through physical
interaction and the sensuality of material. The kinds of relations that are
developed through the works are very much a  part of their physicality and
have to do with the way we relate to texture, color, form and our cultural
and biological relations to material,  which now display and manifest
behavior...  which is embodied and expressive.

Scale is most important. With Autopoiesis the works are bigger than you and
therefore there are power relations which come about where you are no longer
the master of that universe. LIkewise with the Cybersqueeks their small
fetal size and the kind of voices and sounds they emit in relation to your
interaction creates a kind of nurturance relationship with the work.

There are social relations with Autopoiesis which are the result of
interaction with the works directly and engaging an artificial entity that
really does have agency and expresses body language and has a voice.   These
relations develop between the entity and itself, the entity and the
participant, and the participants who use each other's social interactions
with the work, to learn and discover how to interact and what is socially

The phenomenon of Autopoiesis is a characteristic of all living systems,
which are "self-making." This characteristic was defined and refined by
Chilean biologists Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana "Autopoiesis"
translates as "auto production" from the Greek word poiesis, which means
"production" or "creation." The theory focuses on autonomous systems as they
are determined by their structure. For Maturana, autopoietic theory gets at
the heart of the "constitutive dynamics of living systems" a dynamic
involving living systems and their ability to structurally couple with their
environments while maintaining self-referential structure. In Autopoiesis,
the human environment affects the behavior of the robotic artworks, which in
turn effects the behavior of the viewer. This allows a conversation of one
reacting to, responding to and influencing the other in the creation of a
unique robot-human evolution.

That Autopoiesis is constructed of dried grapevines is significant, as
robots are generally constructed of steel and other more machine-friendly
materials. The grapevines soften the works, make them more approachable and
place them within the realm of the biological. The grapevines also
demonstrate a kind of frozen cellular consciousness, which is fixed in time
and evident in their dried form. Natural grapevine behaviors can be revealed
with stop-action photography, to demonstrate vine tropism toward light,
where vines are seen to wrap around other branches to climb toward the sun.
Likewise in Autopoiesis, each sculpture moves toward the infrared heat of
the human participants and mimics on a macro scale the behavior of the
material from which the arms are constructed.

There are also power relations which are the result of trying to understand
where you reside in making the work do what you expect it to do... or not.

When I first displayed the work at the Kiasma Museum as part of Erkki
Huhtamo's Alien Intelligence show I was both surprised and pleased to see
how much emotion the work really elicits Including squeals of joy and
laughter but also children who would burst into tears, having never really
experienced an artificial entity which displayed levels of intelligent
autonomy, awareness and interaction.



empyre forum


Ken Rinaldo
Associate Professor
Art & Technology
The Ohio State University
Columbus Ohio

614 292-5072


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