Re: [-empyre-] URL for Louis Bec/ Cyprès project ARAPUCA
Hello Brian and all,
Just to explain some points of Bec's research. One of the main points of Bec's research is the "fabulatory epystemology",so even before 3D modelling was available he was creating creatures changing some biological parameters of "natural" creatures. Sometimes he has developed a creature that was later discovered by researchers in nature. This is the approach Bec is following to prove art and science are part of the same thinking. So interaction is not the main goal of his research, since most of this works are just howing this new creatures in a environment, more that creating an interaction with the viewer.
There are also these scientific papers for those of you so inclined:
Bec's Arapuca project bears a lot of similarity in my current focus, which is
called the Generalized Cellular Signaling model. I would like to know what
exactly the artificial creature is extracting from the environment in order to
achieve homeostasis. Once a creature is softwared, homeostasis can be as simple
as defining a single variable. What's interesting about his approach is the
systems/holistic view of the organism. There are both advantages and drawbacks
to the approach, though the obvious benefit is the visceral evocation possible
in a large scale 'living' being. The biggest drawbacks to this approach is that
there are a number of assumptions being made about just how all of the internal
organs function and their interrelationships. Arguably, that is part of his
goal, given previous quotes on the subject by Bec. However, I do feel that from
the images there seems to be a minimum amount of true interaction with these
creatures, so it is no more real than watching an animation or tapping on the
side of an aquarium to hope for a reaction.
My approach with GCS is close to the polar opposite. I am developing artificial
'creatures' bottom-up, using cells and molecules as the atomic elements. Quite
a bit of literature now exists extolling the bounty of intelligence of such
simple objects as cells. From slime molds that can solve mazes to trees that
attack each other and communicate with their neighbors, cells exhibit much more
intelligence than science ever imagined. The creatures in GCS are no more than
independent systems of cells, prokaryotic or eukaryotic, bacterial or neuronal
that communicate not only with each other through electrical and chemical
signals, but with the external world.
I do like the concept behind Arapuca:
"These three projects are organized around technological problems related to the
notion of living. The living, in this case, is regarded as an initiator,
release mechanism and producer of events, and phenomena within interactive
I'll finish this rather disconnected email by saying what I find most
interesting about this statement is the dichotomy between the inherent
associations related to the word "living" and the utter lack of anything
resembling life in the definition. This is a common trend in biotechnology
right now, that of perceiving life as a set of information processing machines.
It really forces a lot of ontological questions on us and what exactly the role
of cognition is in all of it.
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