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December 08, 2006

Leonardo "Digtial Wild"


The Collaboration of Art and Nature

Leonardo "Digtial Wild": Guest editors Dene Grigar and Sue Thomas have culled a neat collection of explosive essays from the hefty haul of initial contributions received and emerged with a two-themed anthology on Wild Nature and the Digital Life, which delves into the collaboration of art and nature.

In Dene Grigar’s editorial, she explains that the first volume explores a range of issues relating to the “Emergent and Generative” in nature, the digital, and art. The second wave of another four papers, edited by Sue Thomas, features essays that are “Performative and Locative” in scope.

Peter Hasdell starts the proverbial ball rolling, with his contribution, Artificial Ecologies: Second Nature Emergent Phenomena in Constructed Digital – Natural Assemblages. Participants are asked to develop projects that learnt, borrowed, or stole from natural systems. In essence, constructing part natural/part artificial assemblages functioning as small-scale quasi-ecosystems. This unearths a “garden of strange delights” where a “level of unpredictability of outcome arose, freed from constraints of orthodoxy."

The next essay to flutter into sight is Tara Rodgers’ Butterfly Effects: Synthesis, Emergence, and Transduction. This paper describes a music project in progress that attempts to model monarch butterfly behaviors and migration patterns in sound, using the programming language SuperCollider. The goal is to achieve a dynamically generated composition that combines core elements into a complex system, describing patterns of emergence and survival."

Musical composition figures also as the subject of Dave Burraston and Andrew Martin’s Digital Behaviours and Generative Music, an essay about reaction-diffusion systems, cellular automata, and computer music.

Jennifer Willet’s Bodies in Biotechnology: Embodied Models for Understanding Biotechnology in Contemporary Art serves as an introduction to an evolving series of texts exploring the intersection between computation, biology, art, science, and education. Its focus is on “moving away from computational models and reuniting notions of embodiment with the language and representation of biotechnology with a social and political mandate towards informed discourse and public consent."

In the second-themed collection, Adam Gussow’s Kudzu Running: Pastoral Pleasures, Wilderness Terrors, and Wrist-Mounted Technologies in Small-Town Mississippi, transports us to the moment when, during what was intended to be a 30-minute jog on Thacker Mountain, the author realizes he is lost. He is then “forced to reassess both the implicit romanticism of my own understandings of nature and the real utility of the competing metric technologies I’ve grown addicted to."

On a larger scale, in Mapping the Disaster: Global Prediction and the Medium of ‘Digital Earth’, Kathryn Yusoff reports on “the mapping of disaster in digital prediction models. Concentrating on the imminent disaster of climate change, the author asks how global digital models can be expanded to incorporate a wild nature and wild data."

Jeremy Hight then looks into how the “developments in locative technology, location-based narrative and the expansion of the research and work allow new hybrid narrative forms, but more importantly, allows the entire landscape to be “read” as a digitally enhanced physical landscape” in his offering Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape.

The closing essay is Brett Stalbaum’s Paradigmatic Performance: Data Flow and Practice in the Wild, which incorporates many of the areas discussed in this volume. He uses real-time data modelling to explore ‘the intersection of data and the real via artist made technologies, with the goal of generating new configurations of exploration at time when it may be assumed that the Earth is already thoroughly explored."

The essays are packaged with a small but powerful gallery of two works, also curated by Dene Grigar and Sue Thomas.

Karl Grimes’ Future Nature “continues [his] analytical engagement with the themes of retrieval and digital resurrection, bringing to light and into the light the specimens and objects previously hidden in dispersed archives and research databanks. The project takes as its base the unique animal embryos and foetuses housed in the Hubrecht Collection of Comparative Embryology, Utrecht, Netherlands, the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany, and the Tornblad Institute in Lund, Sweden".

Elisa Giaccardi’s efforts with Hal Eden and Gianluca Sabena breathed life to The Affective Geography of Silence — Towards a Museum of Natural Quiet, a project which resulted in a “virtual museum in which natural quiet is transformed into a living and affective geography that changes over time according to participants' perceptions and interpretations of their natural environment”.

Posted by jo at December 8, 2006 02:15 PM