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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2014

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2014

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Subject:

Fwd: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Can non-human entities perform?

From:

roger malina <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

roger malina <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 17 Mar 2014 09:52:08 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Ken victoria

I would like to rebound on the question 'can non humans perform' with a broader
question 'is performance a characteristic of living organisms" and differ a bit

my own take on this- and there is a huge literature and debate out there-is
that there is no way to define a conceptually clear boundary between living and
non living- that there are variations in degree and not in kind of
various characteristics- and systems that
have more of these characteristics exhibit more complex living behaviours - i
would cite some of stuart kauffman's writing

( note the boundary between human and non-human is clearer)

which gets me to code as performance

as many have written= the area computer based simulation has become
a very important strategy in science- where simulations often acquire the
status of hypotheses or even theory ( eg climate change, cosmology)-
and assumes a basic
idea that the universe is 'computable"

in this frame- i want to argue that the codes of simulations do 'perform'
and of course the whole field of artificial life art explores this ( the VIDA
competition is 15 years old this year- a teenager !
http://www.fundacion.telefonica.com/es/arte_cultura/vida/index.htm )

ken argues:
It is my view that thought and affect are elements of performance.
For this reason, my take on the issue is machines or inanimate artefacts
 cannot perform, though we can program them to engage in activities
that we may construe as performance.


with the argument that 'thought and affect' are elements of performance and that
code cannot have these properties

I wonder ! some of the personal robots that are being developed i
would think are beginning
to show 'affect' with personalised relationships with one particular
human and some simulation
systems are at least 'self reflexive' in a third order cybernetics sense

david parry has an article on the ethics of code

http://www.outsidethetext.com/articles/EthicsofCode.pdf

which explores some of the points

he states:
Clearly there is some slippage and overlap in terms here. For, from one angle
 narrative is just one aspect of simulation. A dramatic re-enactment
or a staged
play is meant to simulate an event that is not present. From this perspective,
narrative is but a subset of simulation. But it is equally important
to distinguish
 between these two representational modes, especially given the particular
prevalence simulations are taking in our digital world. The view that the world
 is simulatable given enough computational power is a world metaphor which
 is rapidly replacing the notion that one learns of the world through narration
 and linear representation.

roger malina



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 2:10 AM
Subject: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Can non-human entities perform?
To: [log in to unmask]


Dear Victoria,

Reading your interesting post, I thought it might be interesting to
venture a brief note on the question, "Can non-human entities
perform?"

If we look at this in philosophical terms, there are two ways to
consider it. One is to ask what kinds of entities can think or intend.
The other is to ask what kinds of entities possess agency, the
capacity to decide or purposefully pursue self-willed goals. My take
on it is that many kinds of non-human entities do these.

Mary Catherine Bateson (1972: 104-120) relates an interesting story of
a horse learning. Many who live with intelligent dogs have the sense
that dogs can think, reason, and draw logical inferences of a kind
that we would call "theorising" were human beings to draw these
inferences and articulate them in written or spoken narrative. This is
certainly the case for many non-human primates. In the same way, I'd
argue that horses, dogs, and other non-human thinking entities can
perform purposely in response to others or to the environment, and do
so outside the bounds of instinctual activity.

My experience of living with four dogs over a lifetime is that they
have all been thoughtful, though I don't believe that dogs think as we
think, and they don't usually think about the same things -- except at
dinner time, when all animals, human and non-human focus on food. It
is difficult to say how much or how often dogs think about themselves,
though I observe that dogs seem to have a sense of self and some
measure of self-awareness. All of my canine friends were playful,
though they differed in their interest in representing thinking or
play in a way that was specifically communicative or performative.

Whether non-human entities can perform in the same way that humans
perform or for the same reasons is another matter. They cannot state
their views on this issue.

It is my view that thought and affect are elements of performance. For
this reason, my take on the issue is machines or inanimate artefacts
cannot perform, though we can program them to engage in activities
that we may construe as performance.

Best regards,

Ken

Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor
| Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia |
University email
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | Private
email [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> | Mobile
+61 404 830 462 | Academia Page
http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman

Guest Professor | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University
| Shanghai, China ||| Adjunct Professor | School of Creative Arts |
James Cook University | Townsville, Australia

References

Bateson, Mary Catherine. 1972. Our Own Metaphor. A Personal Account of
a Conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation.
New York: Knopf.


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