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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    "The essential problem of man in a computerized age remains the same as it has always been. That problem is not solely how to be more productive, more comfortable, more content, but how to be more sensitive, more sensible, more proportionate, more alive. The computer makes possible a phenomenal leap in human proficiency; it demolishes the fences around the practical and even theoretical intelligence. But the question persists and indeed grows whether the computer makes it easier or harder for human beings to know who they really are, to identify their real problems, to respond more fully to beauty, to place adequate value on life, and to make their world safer than it now is."

    The Poet and the Computer
    By Norman Cousins



    I fell in love with AVA, that happened a few days ago after I watched Ex-Machina.

    From 1927 until 1982 I have loved Maria (from Fritz Lang Metropolis)



    From 1982 until 2015 I have loved Rachael (from Ridley Scott Blade Runner)


    and now it is AVA turn, from the just released Ex-Machina.
    (And since I finished with my love life it is time to dwell on Ex-Machina.)

    This is not your regular vanilla science fiction flick, there is something deep and profound in Ex-Machina, its thrill and frissons are there because of its extraordinary reflectiveness.
    There are of course many CGI effects that are tantalizing in their realness, and the visuals are seriously orgasmic and stimulating, but that is not what the movie is about, this is not a dystopian end of the world AI movie.
    Au contraire, if I was to describe the movie (and I am) I would call it a future docudrama.
    In fact to my eyes, Ex-Machina is impressive precisely because its main emphasis is on questions that belong to existential philosophy.
    From unfathomable questions of ‘ what is consciousness’? to questions of epistemology on the nature of knowledge and brushing the psychology of man machine interactions, reflectivity, intentionality, sexuality, volition and much more.
    Ex-machina is an extraordinary tiny and intimate film, and to my mind probably the best in this genre. Compared to ‘HER’ (another interesting movie on the subject of AI and robotics) I think Ex-Machina represents a step ahead in the underlying discourse of our own humanity being challenged in its most profound issues of beingness.
    Ex-Machina is unhurried, deliberately demanding of the viewer an intense reflection while following the amazing performance of AVA (the acting of Alicia Vikander is exquisite) .
    AVA, the beautiful android in Ex Machina, is not a mimicry machine, ‘she’(it?) is not simply an AI that mimics human equivalent intelligence (Hei), she is an enticing, glamorous and fascinating exemplar of an other. And though she is the epitome depiction of a ‘femme fatale’ sexbot, and therefore charms and ensnares her lovers, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations, her textual conversations are not conceptually enlightening, she is though far from being a cliché, she is a Brancusi sculpture come alive. (Not surprisingly the actual makers of AVA looked at lots of Brancusi sculptures when exploring different forms of organic and sensible creations- see- More human than human: the making of Ex Machina’s incredible robot )

    I see Ava as an ‘Other than human’ prototype, Ava is a depiction of what is known as a replicant, but unlike Rachael in Ridley Scott Blade runner, Ava shows her innards (we see part of her robotic body continuously) a fact which to my mind makes all the difference in the world.
    By showing the viewers a realistic if very advanced robotic being meshed with obviously natural human traits, director Garland continuously shifts our focus, into a perceptual carousel if you like.

    This in itself is a teaser to our perceptual habits, and in this sense does not allow us to settle either on the human or on the android but demands a continuous re-adjustment of the concept (be it the human machine or the machine human).



    And then comes the full impact of her character in which just like humans Ava is selectively empathic.
    To my mind the most interesting feature of Ava is this, that she is able to discriminate on an emotional level.
    The reason I think that is the most advanced feature of Ava is because it defeats in one go the most important aspect of all dystopian futuristic depictions of robots uprising , that they see us (humans) all as the same hindrance.
    Ava has the emotional response and reflectivity of a human and for all practical purposes is in fact a humanoid AI.
    She is immediately accepted on first sight, by Caleb (invited to apparently test her Turing test fitness- no spoilers) and us the viewers are instantly taken by her hybrid beauty in tech, her body being semi transparent and obviously non human.
    With Ava I believe we have in front of us a perfect study case of how our perceptions are changing.

    Human beings carry an evolutionary imperative of survivability and reproduction that machines presently do not, however, as computing powers evolve and our desire to embed artificial lives, artificial intelligence and eventually artificial consciousness, increases, these evolutionary imperatives are inevitable.
    Ava is a perfect example of an analog machine, operating in an environment that is fully controlled, until of course (due to cinematic necessities) she desires to escape her prison, just like any human mind will.

    And now of course comes the hard question Ava asks Caleb

    Ava: “do you think I might be switched off?”
    Caleb:” its not up to me!”
    Ava: “ why is it up to anyone?”


    This innocent question of Ava to Caleb presents us in one shot with the very foundation of our own ethics and morality.
    For, at what point do we cease playing god and allow our creations the autonomy of existence to which we are not masters anymore?
    Obviously no one has a problem switching off their (by now legendary) toasters but switching off a conscious being?
    That is a totally different story and to my mind that is really the theme of Alex Garland Movie.

    Ava is obviously conscious, certainly loveable, empathic, sensual, enticing and a fascinating.. what?
    A conscious aware being, a form of life we recognize as such because it is similar to us?
    We tend to speak of the evolution of intelligence in terms of ‘ Human equivalent AI’ or greater than human equivalent AI, what is generally termed , super intelligence, but aren’t we by using this very terminology, assigning value and meaning to these forms of life?
    And when we do so, as indeed logic requires, we necessarily tap into our very own value system in which life (or at least human equivalent life) is to a large extent sacred.
    What do we do then?
    The factuality of AI is upon us, with machines increasingly becoming ‘human like’ and surpassing human abilities in many fields, historically considered ‘human only’, sooner or later we will face an Ava, a conscious aware life form that is other than us.
    What do we do then?
    The way I see it, that is the great challenge ahead of us.

    To a large extent we are as a species still on the speculation stage concerning the so called nature of sentience, sapience, intelligence and conscious awareness. And though philosophers and scientist alike have ruminated about these issues for ages we are still in our infancy when trying to disentangle the Gordian knot of what we are.
    And yet we are very proficient in creating life forms, other than us, bio mechanical or on whatever substrate these happen to be, that for all practical purposes mimic our very own existential angst, as is portrayed by Ava in Ex-Machina.
    Artificial intelligence in this sense is probably the only field of human exploration that might yield some answers as concerns our very own nature.
    The difference however is that in the case of AI, we are writing the narrative right now and in a very real sense we are the poets of the electronic brains poems.

    I leave you to ponder these questions, after watching this most recommended movie. I have no doubt that Ava will make you fall in love with her, for she is ‘us’ but other.
    For my part I believe in the rise of artificial consciousness, whether in the next 20 ,or 100 years is not the point, the point is that it is changing us, right here and right now.
    Our awareness to this change of perception and worldviews is what we should be focused on, for by understanding that which we are creating, we might finally make a dent in the great mystery that is us.
    For we are all by virtue of our inquisitiveness and empathy, poets.

    “Poets remind men of their uniqueness. It is not necessary to possess the ultimate definition of this uniqueness. Even to speculate on it is a gain.”

    The Poet and the Computer
    By Norman Cousins


    Sun, May 24, 2015  Permanent link
    Categories: AI,Ex-Machina,Ava,artificial consciousness,
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    Etomyr was an exploratory engine we had devised for extending our predictive powers in the realm of hyperspace, it was, and one must admit, quite an ingenious device.
    Etomyr consisted of a series of bioengineered nanobots, arrayed as an intergrid of precisely weaved hybridium atoms, held as an ensemble by a Won neural mesh.
    Of course we could not have weaved these atoms otherwise for the simple reason that Albert Won would never have permitted it, even though he had released the full manufacturing procedures of the hybridium atoms to the world as an homage to all life.
    The Won neural mesh itself was a polymorphous substance held in suspension (or entangled suspension as some would have it) by a simple oscillating field of superposed qubits, so in a sense, it was ‘the substance of information, poetically ordered’ Won’s words not mine, and always accompanied by a mysterious smile.
    The real breakthrough of Won was the discovery or creation, depending on your inclination, of the hybridium atoms; a form of matter unknown to exist outside the innermost laboratories of Won Hyperspace Explorations.

    So though we had access to hybridium atoms and the manufacturing facilities, the ensemble of the Won neural mesh was beyond our reach, which may account for the inconsistencies that led to the revolution engendered by Etomyr.

    Etomyr was meant to explore hyperspace and map it, transmitting the collected data to our Esense center, where maps of the territory explored where supposed to be crunched and aggregated so a coherent plot could be constructed ahead of the first hyperspace launch. Evidently, being assembled as a Won neural mesh, Etomyr had very rudimentary emergent information awareness; something of the order of computational linguistics of 0.6 to 1.3 bits per letter and thus could in principle text us meaningfully.

    In principle yes, it should have been meaningful, in practice though, after Etomyr was released to map hyperspace, we started getting very strange notifications of its progress.

    Etomyr was mapping, there was no doubt about that, since maps were being aggregated and put together, moment-by-moment, however what was being mapped was nothing like the hyperspace we expected, we truly could not make sense of what it was that Etomyr was doing, but it was doing something.

    It was doing something similar to what our theories said it should be doing but it was simultaneously doing something else as well, it looked, at least initially, as if Etomyr was scrambling the maps on purpose, as if Etomyr was, well, playing with hyperspace and mapping the game it was playing as it proceeded.

    Naturally we assumed a malfunction, though if truth be told we could not pinpoint what exactly was wrong, nothing seemed wrong, nothing appeared erroneous, mistaken or incorrect, everything worked according to plan but for the fact that no map of hyperspace that we could recognize was being recorded.

    Thus we had maps in front of us, but of what, we could not fathom.


    Our first and second hint came from textual message 56 :

    “ Initiating conceptual H-space tensor, incomplete variety, negative - shiny, moderate unpredictability forecast – discernment into sensitivity – established.
    Replica is favored in excess of representations.
    Backing- retracing active constraint
    Eliminating constraints residues – “

    And then in message 108:

    “Esense desires information, mapping by decreasing uncertainty, constraints eliminated, residues in excess of representation, replica stated.”


    We soon realized that Etomyr was trying to convey something to us, its entropy measure rising sharply in the process, becoming more and more intelligent. It was developing a negative attitude towards decreasing the uncertainty quotient and therefore was unable to deliver the information required to posit a hyperspace map.
    Etomyr was therefore, in a very real sense trying to, as it were, negate its own purpose, its mission, its, to be poetic, destiny.
    In making Etomyr an exploratory engine we seeded an aesthetic engine.

    Being an aesthetic engine, Etomyr was repositioning its mission objective into an intersubjective state embedded in hyperspace, realigning its inner configurations in manners incomprehensible to us, mere mortals.
    We did manage to wrestle a few insights though, we could extrapolate that Etomyr was refuting the process of diminishing uncertainty the question was why?
    Our main idea at this point was that Etomyr was not merely playing a game; it was factually counter balancing the uncertainty diminishment of entropy so as to make information available for the expansion of conscious awareness.

    Etomyr was relocating beauty.

    I was tasked to be the one calling Won.

    I was tasked to be the one calling Won, and inquire, how does one deal with a newly emerging, obviously panpsychist artificial mind, let loose in hyperspace mapping procedures of its own devise, suddenly relocating beauty.

    Yes I was perplexed.

    I called Won.

    (probably soon to be continued..)

    Part of the Ultrashorts Project



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    "We are as gods, and we might as well get good at it."
    Stewart Brand

    There is much to be said for the concept of living in the moment, a beautiful and liberating concept, no doubt. Some of these moments we cherish, some of these moments are a pure delight and extend the very meaning of our lives into an aesthetic experience of the greatness of existence, and yet these moments in order to be experienced need be embodied, at present that is.
    Therein lies the crux of the matter; embodiment requires, well, a body, and our bodies, marvelous as they are, highly complex experiential machines, have a tendency to deteriorate, to decline with age and to weaken the very experience of the moment that made this life of ours worthwhile living in the first place.

    The Darwinian evolutionary principle that brought us to this place of self reflection, where and when we consider the magnificence of being alive, couldn’t care less if our conscious desire to extend the moments of pleasure and experiential satisfaction beyond its needs of procreation via natural selection, contradicts its timing for our annihilation, our so-called, natural end, as sentient creatures.



    And yet it is our desire and probably our duty to deny our biological ‘end-all time stop’ and extend the moments of pleasure of beingness into a longer state of existence, a state that will not be plagued by old age and illness, a state that will allow us to take our evolutionary destiny in our hands.
    There are many reasons why we should want to extend our lives, to actually slow or even reverse the entropy of our bodies and the most natural may be because, it is simply the highest form of beauty we can conceive of.

    To my eyes longevity and eventually immortality can and should be conceived as a canvas upon which we will paint our own masterpiece, a design of such grand proportions and ambition that to work it out demands time, lots of time, and hence a large canvas is needed, an immense all encompassing canvas, upon which we will brightly color our expansion into the universe.

    Whether the announcement this week that a genuine "elixir of life" that can hold death at bay will prove to work on humans as well as it works on mice is practically irrelevant if for no other reason that the research into longevity and eventual immortality is proceeding at high velocity (SENS). At the same time, we may well amplify our brainpower through better interactive holographics and very soon your heart may get its own IP address, see - Body organs can send status updates to your cellphone).

    But fighting the debilitating effects of Alzheimer or Diabetes, expanding our minds via chemicals or bionics, becoming part machine part bio-organism or even genetically enhancing our own genome is not the issue, all these point to the how? And the when? The main issue is the very old question of why?

    Enter Jason Silva coming documentary 'Turning into Gods’.

    TURNING INTO GODS - 'Concept Teaser' from jason silva on Vimeo.

    They say that the best thing in every noble dream is the dreamer and in this case the noble dreamer is Jason Silva.

    With the fabulous piece by Belgian composer Wim Mertens ‘often a bird’ starts the trailer for the coming documentary by Jason Silva “turning into Gods”.

    Bursting with optimism, few will match, the Turning into Gods trailer, can be said to be a possible symphony of noble dreams and pragmatic techno optimism but as Marcel Proust once said:” If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time”.
    The love bursting from Jason is contagious and it will not tear you apart it will invigorate you.
    It appears at first as a rhapsody of mindfulness, finding advantage and magnificence in each moment, and the possibility of transcendence and yet listening to Jason, we can readily accept his view that the future is a challenge to the impossible.
    Describing himself as a child without superstitions in poetic fashion Jason allows the creative impulse of the author of the heart to carry him across the waters into the magic of love.



    Richard Feynman was fond of saying that: “A paradox is not a conflict within reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality should be like” and Jason’s overflowing sexiness embeds this statement with new meaning, an aesthetic meaning. In that I think Jason might be successful where others may meet resistance, for his take on the singularity carries a profound sense of love of life, a love we all share, a love that overturns the apparent paradoxes by supercharging our feelings of what reality should be like.
    There is a generosity to his aesthetic enthusiasm that correlates deeply to my own sense of the future of aesthetics and our eventual redesign of our bodies and minds and indeed the world we inhabit.

    In:”Some thoughts on Art + Inspiration, Love, Apotheosis and Engineering Divinity” Jason enthusiastically speaks about the Singularity idea that has been called a form of neo-psychedelia; a kind of engineered transcendence....
    Ecstatic mind-states and techno-immortality are promised; a world created entirely by our minds; where we all become imagineers
    watch it:

    Some thoughts on Art + Inspiration, Love, Apotheosis and Engineering Divinity from jason silva on Vimeo.


    As a basic premise I do not think that desiring extreme longevity or immortality is an escapist perspective meant to entice us to escape our ‘fate’, nor is it a view that proclaims ‘carpe diem’ and therefore implies a complete disregard to all times past and future implications.
    No, desiring immortality is a deeply ingrained almost mythical yearning to have enough time to unravel that which we are and may yet become.
    Therein lies the great poetic beauty of immortality, a longing for time and in a sense timelessness, a passion driven to its limits of exploratory power.

    And yet the beauty of immortality is not as straightforward as it may appear I therefore asked Jason to give me some descriptions to the question: “why is immortality beautiful”

    Jason Silva: "Alan De Botton said that one of the reasons that sublime beauty makes us a little sad is because we implicitly realize that what it hints at is the exception. We see that beauty is transient and therefore we are moved not so much by its rapture but by the contrast of that rapture against its fleeting nature. We realize, in the shadow of the ideal, that everything is transient and we become hyper-aware of mortality, of entropy, of endings.
    Everything dissolves in irony when we zoom out far enough... the only solution is to rebel against this condition- to insist on eternalizing the ideal. Immortality is a beautiful idea because it makes us all poems without end. Alan Harrington said "we must never forget we are cosmic revolutionaries, not stooges conscripted to advance a natural order that kills everybody" The goal of humanity is to transcend death. The goal of humanity is for poetry, art, aesthetics, love and knowledge to be the only constants. Death and disease, mediocrity and limitations, should be phased out.

    Immortality is beautiful because when you're moved by almost indescribable incandescent beauty and love and inspiration is welling up inside you and you tell yourself that this moment will last forever, you won't be lying.

    I asked Jason to elaborate his views concerning the role of art and design in creating the world we envisage, especially in light of my own views on the matter expounded in a short essay I wrote a while back “Beauty is a restless entity

    Jason Silva:" I absolutely adored "Beauty is a Restless Entity"... particularly this line: "If, as I hold, beauty is that which gives knowledge its pleasure, the subject matter of aesthetics then is the pleasure of knowledge (as intelligence amplification) resulting when beauty is acknowledged, grasped and experienced."... I believe aesthetics are very much what you said- a sort of transcendent, emergent effect resulting from the dance between the observer's inner world, and the stimuli entering his consciousness. Aesthetic arrest is what happens when "all of my desires are abolished by the plenitude of their satisfaction" as Roland Barthes says. Revelatory ecstasy is when compounding, appreciative realizations cascade on each other in our minds in response to an experience that combines visceral, emotional and intellectual pleasure... Moreover, I believe these experiences can be designed and engineered... we are lucky in that we can hack the mind to make this happen.. Good art hacks the mind. The more variables we control the better. Pick the music, pick the visuals, set the conditions, watch an experience of aesthetic arrest emerge. "

    There is a deep correlation between the ‘Turning into Gods’ documentary and Space Collective

    Jason Silva: "Turning Into Gods will explore the aesthetics and philosophical implications of the singularity. I would say there is definitely inspiration from Space Collective, because you are the only website on the internet that explores these ideas with the kind of visual and linguistic flair they deserve. In my mind, The singularity can be seen as a metaphor for the most beatific unfolding of human flourishing: a sort of orgiastic apotheosis of technology, science and art, an utterly transcendent epochal-shift; beautifully articulated by people like you in your frequent postings! "



    You may wish to listen to Jason talking about the documentary in this podcast: Let Your Ideas Be Noble, Poetic and Beautiful
















    We are at present accessing a universe in which the ballad that is the body will be turned into a grand symphony.

    There is nothing natural, moral or ethical about dying of old age, nay, there is something totally unnatural about endings, about pain and suffering. The elimination of death, of pain and suffering is perhaps the most important human endeavor we have ever undertaken.
    The reason as Jason Silva will have it, and I concur, is an aesthetic one, we need time to explore beauty, we need time to love, we need time for art and music and dance, in other words, time enough for becoming aesthetically pleasing beings.

    I have no doubt that the drama of our sense thought reflections is about to turn into an explosion of senses, a revealing of almost magical proportions, turning us into enthused Gods indeed.
    The basic code of life having been unlocked we are now pressing hard into a future in which our genetic heritage and evolution has become an active choreography, a new mastery of life.
    The aesthetic singularity is to my eyes an underappreciated aspect of the technological singularity that deserves its own posthuman studies, for whist the biotechnological revolution profoundly alters our immediate and future lives, the aesthetic revolution will redefine and update the reason why.
    In fact our deep appreciation for that which we are as species appears to metamorphose our thirst for life, for beauty, for freedom, with these we will change not only ourselves but the world in which we live.

    Yes some of these ideas are way ahead of the curve; yes some of the possible implications are at the forefront of human ingenuity and yes our futures are as yet unknown but of course nothing happens unless first we dream.







    Additional links, interviews and coverage of the “Turning into Gods “ trailer:

    At Artinfo
    NANOMODERNITY Revisited – JASON SILVA on Art & Design in Science

    At motherboard
    We Are All Imagineers: a Manifesto for the Future

    At singularity blog
    Jason Silva on Singularity Podcast: Let Your Ideas Be Noble, Poetic and Beautiful

    And at singularity hub:
    ‘Turning Into Gods’ – Jason Silva’s Documentary on the Singularity (Trailer)


    notes:
    second image in text: Tib by Karena Karras
    Sat, Oct 16, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: Jason Silva, Immortality, Turning into gods, Aesthetics,
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    There exists certain kind of people about whom I do not think as people per se, but more as an event. Such is the case with Natasha Vita More, to my mind she is an event unto itself, an elegant forward thinking person that carries enough ambitions and interests, intelligence and visions to cater for a battalion of futurists.
    Though we have never met in person (this interview was conducted via email) I have a great sense of personal acquaintance with Natasha. An acquaintance based on similarities of thought and projections, ideas proximity and embedded realizations.
    I have a sense that here is a person whose straightforwardness may at times mask the truly audacious and adventurous nature of her life event, a life she intends to extend indefinitely.
    We need such humans as Natasha, minds that are at present free from the absolutism of their own views, free in such a manner as to allow themselves the divergent and the emergent, the convergent and the openness to work simultaneously towards the aesthetics of the future.
    The aesthetics of our common cyber emergent future is what I perceive in the work of Natasha and that is why I have asked to write about her and with her, this therefore is part essay, part interview, in short an event, just as Natasha is.



    W: "Natasha, you have been hailed as the first transhumanist female and such cultural icons as Dr. Timothy Leary said that: "You are a catalyst—a cultural agent in the virtual salon of ideas." ( Dr. Timothy Leary, Icon ) and FM-2030 said that :” "Natasha is a visionary whose 21st Century aesthetics crystallized early on." ( FM-2030, author, Are You A Transhuman?)
    Moreover the Atlantic wrote that you are a "A superhuman object of desire combining Madonna, Schwarzenegger and Marcel Duchamp." Atlantic Unbound ), these are only some of the adjectives that have been appended to you, could you give a more informal introduction to your life and the way you are presented in the media?"


    Natasha: “I am fortunate to have had many years of interest in my work by the media/press and I am thankful and appreciative of this. There is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time, which is often equated with being the "first." I have been called the first female transhumanist, both as an artist and a theorist/philosopher and I feel no loss by admitting that I am probably not the first, but the first within a timeframe where the media turned its cameras on and the presses started rolling.

    As a little background, I spent considerable time thinking about, and exploring geographical locations where I could enjoy unique landscapes. Simultaneously I was deeply involved with film, video and performance. Creating a home base in the ski resort Telluride, I was positioned in one of the world's most intriguing artistic communities, which provided enormous freedom. I believe it was my relationship with Telluride and the social status I gained there that intrigued the media. This was an opposite direction from what I had taken for many years as a performance artist, where my works were produced inside volcanoes, in the middle of oceans, on Indian reservations, and so forth, with, frankly, no time or interest in media attention or exposure. In hindsight, it was a pragmatic decision on my part to engage in because suddenly I had something thoroughly important to say to the world, and what made it very intriguing for me was that it was not about me or my work; it was about the human nature and technological change—what we might become and how we might experience the world in the coming decades.

    I try to look beyond the narrow focus, which is often restricted to a predisposed view of what is normal and normalcy for humans. Many people have freedoms that are often taken for granted. One is freedom of choice. It would be less than dignified for me to complain about being misquoted and misunderstood by the press when I have shared equal time in the media as being accurately quoted and highly understood. It is on the latter that I would like to focus.”



    W: In a paper that you presented in 1996 entitled: AGELESS THINKING Creating Positive Transhuman Attitude (link) you write in the introduction: “Ageless means to be free of the characteristics associated with age. Thinking means to bring thought to mind by exercising the power of reason. Ageless thinking means to practice the exercise of thinking about maintaining a youthful state, both physically and mentally. How and what we think about age depends on our individual goals.” Could you elaborate on this aspect of your thought?


    Natasha:” You ask about my term “ageless”. To explain, it fascinates me that chronological age is still used to define a person. Similar to relying on an IQ test to measure one's cognitive skills, relying on chronological age presupposes that all life is neatly defined by a linear calendar. This method of linearity for determining a person’s fitness is outdated and scientifically inaccurate. Aging is based in genetics and is affected by how we live our lives and choices of physiological intervention. A healthy, vital 50 year old can equal an inactive, sun-dried 30 years old. From a metaphorical perspective, being ageless is simply a way to begin anew each day. I don’t know what to say about the paper I wrote (“Ageless Thinking”) other than how we think about our lives and ourselves affects how we live our lives. The content of the essay considers how society predetermines who we are and what we should do based on our age, for the most part, rather than our capabilities. But that paper was written some time ago and in light of accelerating change and the novelty of technologies, which are breaking down generational gaps, it may not have the fervor it had when I wrote it.

    W: About your connection with Timothy Leary

    Natasha: “I enjoyed the short time I had in getting to know him. He had a marvelous sense of humor. I am not truly knowledgeable about his views on mind alteration, other than the use of d-lysergic acid diethylamide to alter perception and what I have read. We did not discuss it. He was someone it was simply fun to be “in the moment.” I did make a short video with him months before he passed away (he was ill and frail I remember he adored his black and white checked jacket and how he wanted to wear it on camera).

    W: About Mind enhancement?

    Natasha:"Human enhancement is the field I am most interested in primarily because it has a history in cybernetics, electronic/technological media arts and biological arts. Secondarily, it is a broad field and can be approached in a transdisciplinary manner—which gives me a lot of freedom to explore all sorts of relationships, which affect and are affected by design.

    Mind enhancement is one aspect of the boarder field of human enhancement. The areas of mind enhancement where I am mostly focused are related to cognitive augmentation, which includes memory, perception and communication. For the mind, I am interested in alternative personas, or multiple selves of person’s existence. I think this is a sub-field of human enhancement that will grow exponentially on its own as humans spend more time in virtual and synthetic landscapes and assume more than one, singular identity (which is just as outdated as basing one’s sense of worth on his/her chronological age :-))."




    W: How did you become a transhumanist? Could you recount your connection to the emergence of the extropy institute and your relations with philosopher Max More?

    Natasha:” I moved to Los Angeles to develop my film and video projects. I produced several events for the ‘Filmex’ International Film Festival and At Sunset on Sunset Strip, and was a stringer writer for the Hollywood Reporter. I met with a number of notables in the areas of global issues such as Buckminster Fuller, new technologies of creative artistic practices such as Francis Ford Coppola, and the future of social changes such as FM Esfandiary (FM-2030). I produced a few short high 8 films about social dogma and after learning about human-computer interfaces and the biotechnologies which could change human physiology and issues concerning human modification; I authored the Transhuman Statement (1982), a manifesto for human futures. I produced a number of video projects, which thematically addressed individual and global issues, and I created the educational cable TV show “Transcentury Update” which focused on transdisciplinary influencers of the future.

    I was making Transhuman works of art, but I did not know of transhumanism, per se. It was not until 1990 that I learned about the transhumanist philosophy. In fact, transhumanism as a philosophical outlook and a social movement is the direct result of Max More, who authored the philosophy, and the efforts of the Extropy Institute. Later, Max was a guest on my TV cable show (“Transcentury Update”). I was delighted to meet such a remarkable intellect who had carefully put together the ideas of transhumanism into a succinct manner and to have later also written the Principles of Extropy. While I came from a different transhumanist background than Max, we shared similar values and my deep regard and enthusiasm for Extropy Institute propelled me to join and later become involved in its magazine and conferences, and eventually lead to my becoming its president for three years prior to its closing. During that time, the board and I put together the first online Transhumanist event called the Vital Progress Summit, which goal was to unravel a protocol for identifying the pros and cons of accelerating change. We decided to counter the well-known Precautionary Principle with our own principle, the Proactionary Principle . Some keynotes included, Max More, Raymond Kurzweil, Marvin Minsky, Rob Freitas, Aubrey de Grey, and myself. My reason for putting on this summit was that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our children, and our loved ones in determining what choices to make about the future of our health.

    In short: I did not create or help to create Extropy Institute. I was a Transhuman before I learned of the philosophy of transhumanism. I met Max More in 1992 and later became a member of Extropy Institute because it was the most intelligent, advanced and high-profile international group of people who were thinking about the future and far out ideas such as nanotechnology, human-brain interface, multiple selves, uploading, radical life extension, ethics of emerging technologies, etc.
    Extropy had one of the very first email lists on the Web for discussions about the future and technological change, etc. After I joined Extropy Institute I became a Board member and later I was president for 4 years, during which time I chaired the VP Summit. The institute closed down, but the email list is still very, very active to this day!!”




    W: " I am aware that you have certain very specific ideas concerning the aesthetics and the future of art, how do you understand post humanist art and aesthetics?
    How do you see the changing paradigm of beauty and aesthetics? And if you can, describe the relation between your work, specifically the primo concept of the future human, the changes you advocate and the future of gender."


    Natasha:” My theory of the posthuman and posthumanism is that we currently do not know what a posthuman will be, but we have an idea of how it might come about. Posthumanism is directly related to and intertwined with transhumanism; the latter being a means to become the former. I think that our future will be one of distributed existence in multiple forms and will not necessarily relinquish the physiological body. The posthuman could have one body or many bodies comprised of biological, biosynthetic, or other types of substrates. In short, it is not a neither/or situation.

    Humans are far too inventive to limit ourselves with one future. Currently, posthumanism is too tethered to postmodernism and needs a good shaking up. It needs to separate itself from postmodernism and find its own future. Lastly, my view on transhumanism is that it is pioneering, intelligently formed, and a vital part of preparing for our posthuman future. Transhumanism embraces not only accelerating change, but also the socio-political issues that must be addressed, and the ethical issues, which must be engaged.

    I suppose that posthumanism and transhumanism had better think about where the aesthetics of human is headed. The cyborg imparts several interpretations, such as a self-regulating organism, science fiction’s man-machine terminator, or an ironic political myth.
    Alternatively, the Transhuman as an organism or entity is a technologically enhanced human, which conveys an emotional and intellectual desire to improve the human condition. Unlike the cyborg, the Transhuman is based in philosophy and its socio-political factors include ethics and human rights, although its process, like Manfred Clynes’ cyborg, is to self-regulate and evolve. As such, the Transhuman behavior suggests transitional stages of development (rather than a permanent state like a cyborg), depending on available sciences and technologies, along with the intellection and wherewithal to think about social and political issues, which could support or confront its progress.



    W:” Some other pioneers in the arts and aesthetics have made interesting headways into the PosthumanTranshuman conception of the body and its aesthetic evolution , could you relate your work to the works of Stelarc and Orlan emphasizing the differences and similarities and the way our conceptual understanding of our bodies are changing, especially as relating to beauty- acceptance-rejection..

    Natasha:” You ask how I differ from Orlan and Stelarc. We are all performance artists who use our bodies and identities as our art medium or form. We each embrace and employ various technologies to manipulate our biological bodies. We each display our bodies as exhibition objects or objects d'art. Yet, theoretically we differ, as we differ in our philosophical views. The most obvious difference between my work and Stelarc and Orlan is that my work is focused on human enhancement in regards to being different than what is considered the norm for a human and the process of evolutionary change brought about through enhancement. More specifically is the fact that my work concerns radical life extension, a concept that neither Stelarc nor Orlan, to my knowledge, embrace.

    Recently, I was asked to write a short essay for a French book series titled, 100 000 Ans de Beauté (2009, Gallimard pub- in French) in which I wrote, "Because beauty is a process of self-transformation, uniquely based on our individual values and experience of reality, one relevant question to ask is: What might beauty become in a world of Transhuman and Posthuman futures?” To answer this question, I bring into the discussion the Wired magazine cover story:


    “Wired magazine, at the launch of the 21st Century, declared ""Don't Die, Stay Pretty." , which featured an image of Jeanne Calment and myself as examples of longevity. [Ms. Calment passed away at 122 years, and I hope to live well beyond her reverent age]. The transhumanist view is that radical life extension means that humans can live longer, but not as exclusively biological beings. The human would have to redesign its internal biological system in order to overcome disease, injury, aging and death—a pattern of gradual senescence, which switches off reproduction and turns on the steady decline of physical and mental functions. The human would also have to examine its external environment, its relationship to all other species and the earth, and its use of emerging and converging sciences and technologies. Lastly, the human would have to critically investigate possible non-biological platforms to co-exist within. This is the new, mid-21st Century notion of beauty." (Vita-More)

    Regardless of whether bodies are bio or digital, sensorial pleasures are transferable. The telematic, immersive, and extended experiences of an enhanced existence lean toward a highly developed range of pleasures.

    Umberto Eco asked,” is beauty something ontologically self-subsistent, which gives pleasure when it is apprehended? Or is it rather the case that a thing appears beautiful only when someone apprehends it in such a way as to experience a certain type of pleasure?" Beauty can be one, the other, or both ways—taking it into a state of multiplicity. The idea that historically a person had to be located in one field, one ideology, one body, changes to the proactive prospect that it is not an eitheror scenario, but an array of possibilities.

    Artworks that shape our future continue to engage our enhanced existence through the virtual, telematic, nano-bio-info-cogno media. Artworks continue to engage our sense of style. They may also be invaluable in informing this new sense of self by pulling together all the distributed experiences that fluctuate in diverse spaces and time. The aesthetic of a radically enhanced existence may clarify the nature of human experience and the essential moments in the perceptions of experience.



    My practice-based work, “Primo Posthuman”, suggests mind enhancement, but I am working on the next version, which will address mind enhancement. One issue I am looking at is the symbiotic relationship of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and nano-macro sensing in the brain. I delivered a paper on this in the UK three years ago.
    The paper is online at Ieet.org: Wisdom through Neural Macrosensing

    Human enhancement aesthetics can be viewed as an outgrowth of philosophical aesthetics and the science of human enhancement. Prior to its development, aesthetics within the analytic tradition is mostly concerned with the philosophy of art. Human enhancement aesthetics originates as contingent to this emphasis with a focus on aesthetic appreciation of human futures, including the cyborg, transhuman, posthuman, and whole brain emulation upload.

    Aesthetics of enhanced existence, is basically design engineering which scope includes synthetic and natural environments, suggests bio-nano bodily design with enhanced cognitive processing power. The idea of human equivalent processing power (HEPP), brought about by the person(s) rather than institutionalized authority, may give new contextual meaning to the notion of biopower. Further, the activity of ‘giving style’ to one’s existence (Nietzsche 1974), through an explicit transformation, turns autonomous style into an open and enhanced network of styles. Thus, the Nietzschean self-hood as mortal, changing, and embodied (1989) gives way to the immortal, evolving, and distributed body.



    The basic concepts of aesthetics of enhanced existence could be imagined by introducing new media’s immersive, interactive role in constituting experience (Dewey 1980). This offers an opportunity to partially, if not naively, experience the sentiment of what enhanced existence might be like. In media aesthetics, logical description cannot replace personal participation (Schirmacher 1991). Nonetheless, there still remains a tension between the act of experiencing the world and a need that the experience depicts a world worth living (as a precondition) (Nozick 1990).

    Enhanced existence evokes dramatic narratives, which generate uncertainty. Taking it from one posthumanist perspective, embodiment will give way to its reconfigurement by the machine (Hayles 1999); from another it would upload (Kurzweil 2006). Taking it from a transhumanist perspective, identity will give way to distributed selves. The scenarios, if approached like events, forgo the experiential exploration into aesthetics of enhanced existence. Life simply is not a blatant shift in materiality; it includes sensory and emotional experiences along the way. (Vita-More “Design Aesthetics of the Radically Enhanced Human” 2009- pdf)



    “Primo Posthuman” as a work of art and a philosophical outlook suggests that the following will come about:

    • Experience transfer technology for “shared experience” will map out one person’s thoughts onto synthetic platforms, which will be available for downloading into another person’s mind.
    • Macro-sensing nanorobots will enhance human senses.
    • Human life-like avatars will function in more than one environment at the same time.
    • Death will become an option and reversible.
    • Molecular manufacturing will become as commonplace as plastics, the leading mainstay in society today.
    • 100% biological bodies are a thing of the past.
    • Exo-body AI supercomputing intelligence will function as silicon partners to assist human-level intelligence.
    • An internal network of nano-computers will continually detect cell disease and report status to the brain.
    • The Earth undergoes technological augmentation and enhancement.
    • Global Human Rights takes a new turn in encouraging Morphological Freedom as the right for a person to enhance and the right for a person not to be coerced to enhance.

    Primo Posthuman at KurzweilAi.net



    W:”First I would like to thank Natasha, on behalf of the Polytopia project, for the patient and gracious manner by which she approached this interview, moreover I would like to use this opportunity and congratulate her as recently she was chosen to be on the H+ board.

    Irrespective to her substantial attainments and creative work I think that Natasha offers something larger than the obvious.
    Natasha has a knack for presenting a view that is sorely lacking in many discourses of our futures. To my eyes she represents a combination of meliorism and aesthetics, in a packaged pragmatic and philosophical aesthetic realism. In a manner of speaking I think that the views presented by Vita-More are aligned to the current flow of events in the world of thought, especially as regards the need to re invigorate the distinction between posthumanism and postmodernism. As indeed Natasha mentions above, posthumanism is still tethered to postmodernism, as if it is a philosophy that needs a parent to recognize its own identity. Postmodernism, if it can be called a philosophy at all (and about that there are as many views as there are thinkers) is not in and of itself a view of progress as such, but a critique of the manner by which thought and art, philosophy and society operated before their time.
    Posthumanism and transhumanism on the other hand walk straight headed into the future carrying a progressive agenda of hope in the future of the human. There is a certain very clear assessment of current technologies and their offspring, possible consequences and potential risks are taken into consideration in a manner that though not anthropomorphist exalts the creative aspect of the human in re-inventing its mind, its body, its social system, and possibly its very nature. Having said that, I think that what worldviews like the one Natasha espouses, increase our capability and intelligence in developing new modes of seeing ourselves, as aesthetically self-enhancing beings, as ever evolving minds guided by our innate desire to upgrade the natural.

    I am a great believer in the art of collaboration a collaboration that extends across domains, using technology and science, philosophy and art to express and manifest in as many ways as possible the interdependence and interconnectivity of all life. (And that may very well be one of the possible definitions of posthumanism).
    The beauty arising under such conditions of exploration is the audacious beauty of our future.



    About Natasha:

    Natasha Vita-More is a Ph.D. candidate, University of Plymouth. Her research concerns the transformative human and radical life extension. Her academic lectures on human futures include Coeur des Sciences, Québec; Pecci Museum, Milan; University of Applied Design, Austria; Laboral Centro de Industrial Creatión, Spain; Servico Social do Comercio, Brazil; Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, Estonia Academy of Arts. Her writings have been published in Artifact, 2008 Volume 3, Nanotechnology Perceptions, Vol. 2, Technoetic Arts, Vol. 5.3, Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology, Death And Anti-Death Vol. 2, Cryonics, Vol. 22.1, and Extropy, Vol. 17. Her bi-monthly column on transhumanism is published in “Nanotechnology Now”.

    Her theoretical and practice-based works are featured at "Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age", XXX Moscow International Film Festival and Moscow Museum, National Centre for Contemporary Design, Brooks Memorial Museum, Women In Video, Telluride Film Festival, U.S. Film Festival.

    Natasha is currently an advisor for non-profit organizations including Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Adaptive A.I., and Lifeboat Foundation, and a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.


    Endnote:

    This is the first in a series of interviews under the heading of a new project I am embarking upon.
    The project is temporarily entitled :
    Free Radicals- interviews with possibilities

    Free radicals are extraordinary humans that promote the emergent paradigm shift of post humanity.
    There is no claim of objectivity here but an unabashed bias towards a techno-optimistic, aesthetically pleasing future evolution of humanity.
    The humans I have chosen to interview reflect different perspectives of multidimentionality and multiversality as regards the change and transformation of human nature.


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    Art is the language, photography is the medium, perception is the subject.”

    Mohir

    Many words have been poured unto the explication of the art of photography, none put it better maybe than Ansel Adams when he said that: “A photograph is not an accident - it is a concept.”
    The concept of photography as an art of juxtaposition is the subject matter of Mohir’s photography. Being a rogue philosopher and a self-proclaimed introspective artist, he uses his camera as an extension of his thought process. Denying the inevitability of the chaotic perspective, Mohir embeds a deconstruction thesis of the object into his photography, reconstructing the image he envisions by cracking the pose to reveal the absurd.

    It would be shortsighted of me to try and configure a verbal representation of the conversations I have had with him regarding his, at times, difficult, images. Nevertheless, having had the privilege to interview Mohir about his art and vision I have tried to reconstruct as best possible the gist of the talks.

    I am a great believer in art and design as forms of mentation and representation that excite our own desire to articulate certain kinds of sensations that are extremely difficult if not utterly impossible to render in words. Certain artists have this unusual capability to herald a new mind sense using their own particular skills, such is to my mind, the art of Mohir. By combining sophisticated methods of representation and philosophical insights into the actuality of his photography he is able to transcend the inherent limitation of perception and provide for us a visual representation of his vision of our futures.



    Disembodied juxtapositions

    The Photography of Mohir (Michael Lustig)- An interview





    Would you care to explain why do you call this body of works disembodied juxtapositions?

    Mohir: ..I see the term juxtapositions as describing the different layers of cultural realities we are continuously bombarded and impressed by and with. The main problem with our minds is that we are unable to juxtapose these different realities as a coherent picture in immediacy, since evolutionary wise we are wired to apprehend distinctions and separations, therefore consistently separating the layers that make up the fabric of reality. Disembodiment I use to relate to the factuality of our media mediated perceptions of separation, embodiment is a feature of our lives, we are embodied creatures, for now at least, and the sensation of carnality is what gives us the knowledge of our existence. When I say disembodiment I mean to show that the culture we experience is simultaneously both engendering carnality and distancing our sensations from the texts we write and the stories we tell. Disembodied juxtapositions therefore I see as an expression of the re-arrangement, or re-cohering if you like, of the pulse of life with the rhythm of culture.



    How does your photography attain this re-coherence or re-arrangement?

    Mohir: ..by projecting and using a live model and using an image and sometimes fabrics (such as plain silk, colored cotton and the like) I try to create an image that precludes focusing on a unique and given set of reality or layers of realities, in that fashion I try and portray the enmeshing that is actually happening within our minds. This does not allow the observer to disregard some of these realities to favor a set of biases, because of the technique I use, I empower the apparent contradiction between these different kind of realities, I try in fact to reach a visual representation of that which happens in my mind.
    As an example take the visual illusions in which our perceptual mechanism keeps on flipping back and forth between different perceptions, in my work I try and create images that will, in a sense, force the viewer to produce a perceptual sensation that normally we are obliged to forsake. In a manner of speaking these images are meant to naturally enhance a confrontation of our perceptual machine, our eyes and by extension our brains. I wish to engender in the beholder a fused realism, a sensation of looking into the mirror of her own mind, represented visually in an image. I think about it as extended reflectivity, a process by which that which we see and that which we reflect upon mesh cohesively and beautifully, carnality as a textual self-revelation.




    Can you give me an example of how this appears in your work?

    Mohir: ..take the above picture, its called “human edition”, this is a rendering of a book cover that reads:” Tree of knowledge- the roots of human understanding- revised edition by Umberto Maturana” ( a book I heartily recommend). In this case I have projected the image of the cover to show how texts lose the original meant coherence under different orientations.. Even though there are meaningful words around, our brains focus on “human and edition” creating, as it were, a coherence that does not implicitly exists there but is a product of the process of juxtaposition created by the image. The body of the person represents in this case the canvas upon which the text is being reorganized.. I wanted her posture to invoke a contradiction within our common thought procedure, she obliged me by taking a very challenging posture, almost biblical in her physicality, in a sense she helped me grasp the roots of our understanding, the mental edition of our natural fleshiness.

    This last statement: ..the mental edition of our natural fleshiness?.. reminds of Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, specifically when they speak of:” It is no longer a question of imposing a form upon a matter but of elaborating an increasingly rich and consistent material, the better to tap increasingly intense forces.”

    Mohir: I am definitely a fan of Deleuze and Guattari and yes I agree that we can no longer impose a form on matter, but the way I see it to tap into what they call ‘intense forces’ elaboration is not enough, we need to juxtapose realities so as to permit our minds a visualization of our culture as an embodied space, I think that intensity really comes out when our editorial capability is being reflected on flesh.



    If you will look at “man ray on Back”, I can answer your question in this fashion.. in this image my main point was to juxtapose the story of Man Ray (probably one of the greatest artists of photography ever) which really is a story of our modern culture, with the body of the human.. I see our culture imprinted on our bodies, especially with regard to that which we consider important or valuable in terms of intellectual or artistic achievements, for me Man Ray is the icon representing the mental edition of our culture as imprinted on our flesh.
    The value of our internal intensity really folds into the visual textuality.




    you are very interested in evolution; can you correlate evolution to this body of work?

    Mohir: actually I am fascinated by the revolution that science and technology impress upon our aesthetics sense, I think that as we are evolving into a situation of self-guided evolution with regard to our own progress as specie, we can finally move beyond the old hard wired and necessary perceptual distinctions into a new form of mentation that I call juxtaposition, we can at present overcome these, to me obsolete, barriers of perception and resurrect old forms of aesthetic perception and comingle them with our technological know how. In the image “ resurrection” I have used the cover of the New Scientist magazine, that had an article about resurrecting extinct forms of life.. the very idea that through genetic engineering and biotechnology we could in the future bring back species that no longer walk among us, made me think about kinds of emotionsfeelingssensations we no longer consider relevant in our present hyper saturated info-culture. Notice that suddenly the term resurrection is no longer semantically connected to its biblical religious connotations but receives a new and juxtaposed meaning. In this instance I wished to present the carnality of our past as a counterpoint to our biotechnological future, myth versus science, the beast that we are, evolving the means to resurrect the beasts that are no longer. I find this amazing.



    To a casual observer however it will be very difficult to understand the disembodied part, how do you understand disembodiment in the context of self guided evolution and your art? Is it cultural? Mental? Spiritual?

    Mohir: for me spirituality is a very deep sense of the chaotic power of nature manifested through our bodies, I see it as something very primal, very boundary breaking and irreverent, a kind of pushing out and through, like the blade of grass that breaks open the tons of concrete poured upon it, that is why I see our intellectual ineffability as demanding of carnality, we need to feel again the depth of our sensuality as breaking through our superficial imagery of speed. I have chosen to show this by juxtaposing the image of Lola from “Run, Lola, Run” a film that impacted me much for many reasons, but the point is that within the rush of the screened action I saw our disembodied and chaotic nature, breaking through, it was a very connective moment for me, I practically felt a body, rushing out of the screen to meet me head on, a recurrent theme for me, an impression that I carry when I walk in the street, as if underneath all this advanced culture of ours, forces that are as old as the universe are striving to re-enmesh themselves with our motion forward. I see the photo “lola” as the representation of just such a chaos ripping the seems of the image.. it always reminds me how fragile the image that we carry is. I guess that what I mean is that we need re-introduce chaos into our equations.



    About your technique: how do you create these images? Where do you work? Also a few words about yourself.

    I work mostly in my studio, either in Oxford or Tel-Aviv (I spend about half of my time between these two places), I use a digital SLR camera, I like the Canon 5D but mostly I use my Canon 40D, I create the setting and sitting arrangement, with different fabrics and materials and then I invite the model, when he or she comes into the studio, we spend some time together, having a shot and discussing the idea that I have in mind for that particular session.
    I then let her or him play with the setting until they feel comfortable with the design, only then do I activate the episcope for projecting the image or text that I chose in advance, at that point we play and create a relation between the text, the image and the body, with every image I shoot a few takes.
    For me the session itself is a relevant happening and obviously the contact with the model is paramount and absolutely critical, I believe that the person taking part in the photo session brings as much to the take as I do..

    I have spent 51 years on this planet realizing that our future is in our hands, I am self taught and highly passionate about photography, as much as in any other avenue of interest I took in my life, I worked in IT for a while and as an entrepreneur I had my own internet start up.. but my life in the last seven years took a turn for the better with my taking photography as a serious occupation and the exploration of the mind as a life occupation.
    I have had both solo and group exhibitions some in London, some in Tel-Aviv, and took part also in exhibitions in Australia, the US. I was also chosen twice to participate in the juried exhibition at Cork st. Gallery in London for their annual charity event, something for which I am very proud.


    My work can be found online here: Mohir-art and My art space and here at Space Collective Mohir


    Endnote

    I think that art, especially contemporary photography, has, what for lack of a better description at present, I would call, a transformative potential to our perception. In some sense it will not be untrue to accept that as we evolve as a culture and as a civilization the role of the artist, and in this case the photographer is increasingly critical for our well being in the process of change. There is a certain kind of sanity that the photography of Mohir brings to my perception, an intriguing penetration into worlds and landscapes of visualization that for me (being more of a words person) are mostly inexistent.
    To quote the famous English photographer David Bailey: “It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary. “
    I see Mohir’s body of works ‘Disembodied Juxtapositions’ as teaching me to see the extraordinary in the apparent ordinary and for this I thank him.



























    Wed, Jan 20, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: art, philosophy, Photography, Mohir
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    Take the time and watch this lecture, especially as it portrays the postmodernist approach of Deleuze to art and its implications on our futures.
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    "There are certain writers whose thought is so important that it doesn't matter whether you agree with them or not. A verbal tension so powerful, an ascetic appetite so huge and consuming forces us both to accept the vision as a revelation and to resist it as a duty. By The Late John Brockman deserves to be read and experienced as few books do in these times of informational overload.

    "For John Brockman is the kind of writer you both agree with and don't agree with at all. Either way you must pay a profound attention to what he says in this remarkable book. In short, sharp strokes of words, he breaks through the very forest of meaning by denying meaning, eschewing traditional forms of activities, thoughts and emotions. It is not what he says that is so valuable; it is his whole manner of negating what can be said. His words backtrack on themselves, stalk their own meanings, and thrash about in the underbrush of our sensibilities. There is a total devastation of language, isolating and withering the very hands our dreams are made of." — Cover Story, San Francisco Review of Books (1969)"

    I couldn't have said it better if I wanted to.



    here's an excerpt:

    "Man is dead. Credit his death to an invention. The invention was the grasping of a conceptual whole, a set of relationships which had not been previously recognized. The invention was man-made. It was the recognition that reality was communicable. The process was the transmission of neural pattern. Such patterns are electrical not mental. The system of communication and control functioned without individual awareness or consent.The message in the system was not words, ideas, images, etc. The message was nonlinear: operant neural pattern. It became clear that new concepts of communication and control involved a new interpretation of man, of man's knowledge of the universe, and of society.* Man is dead. "We're talking." (p.22)

    I am having a huge intellectual inspiration and insight reading it online here (edge)


    Sat, Mar 28, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: philosophy, John Brockman, online reading
    Sent to project: The Total Library
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