KARMA I - IV
Some Notes Regarding the Works:
KARMA I - IV
Some Notes Regarding the Works KARMA I - IV:
The works consist of closed
ecologies of deterministic automata
which, after a random start,
continually re-process their own
numerical and visual output.
Within each ecology the automata
differ slightly in colour
transformation rule, movement rule and
"footprint" (i.e the visible
trace left behind as the automat moves
around the screen space).
As they move through their self created
visual environment they modify
it but are also themselves controlled
and modified by it.
Between the different works
(KARMA I to IV) the automata remain
principally the same but leave
different combinations of visible
By introspectively generating visible form from empty space
the programs could be considered to be models of, or metaphors for, the
creative process. The way in
which the automata reinterpret the result of their actions
to generate new variations in behavior can be considered to be a visual
generalization of the Gödel paradox
exhibited by formal systems when interpreted as statements regarding themselves.
The works may also be considered as offering alternative paradigms for
currently fashionable media hype.
The programs are extremely simple to operate. There are two
operational procedures i.e. "START" and "STOP". During operation the programs
do not ask to be
reconfigured, talked to, played with, kicked or stroked. They are not User
Unfriendly -just a little bit reserved!
Although not prone to conversing with humans, the automata
are extremely interactive between themselves. Variation in behavior (subsequent
to the random start
configuration) is exclusively derived from the image and/or the
internal states of the (other) automata. Just because the players won't
play with you doesn't mean there
isn't a game going on!
When running, the programs actually generate a Virtual world
with Real Interactions taking place within it. This is surely a true "Virtual
Reality" in comparison with
the illusionary shadows one is generally asked to
fly through in "Virtual Space". Anyhow, didn't Philosophers tell us that
Reality (outside a computer) is always
When operating, the programs form an intersection between
visual, auditory, mathematical, electronic and conceptual (metaphorical)
worlds. Although at present all
processing takes place in the visual/mathematical world
the sound could be considered as being produced by an auditory automat
reading a self generated (visual)
score. It is highly probable that interpreting the visual
image generates auditory structures that are more complex than could be
produced without doing so. Maybe
media are more interesting as generators of information than as carriers
The programs do not de-humanize, de-materialize, the human
body or hybridize it into cyber-space. However, if one considers the introspective
operation to be
concerned with the functioning of the computer's own
internal states within its own "silicon" body then the work could be considered
to be highly relevant to a
consideration of mind/body interactions. In a mind without
body the mind may need to become the body -a body without mind is generally
concidered to be dead!
Creativity and Context:
Possibly, conceptualized mind/body interactions are more
important than we realize. With the increasing dematerialization of information
by the computer one may
easily be tempted to forget that medium (and context) play
an important role in the creative process. Within the computer the consequence
of the physical medium is
virtually reduced to zero. This suggests that the conceptual
medium (language/context) must become more significant. 'T aint what you
do, it's the way that you do it!
Each work requires an Amiga computer to run on. The programs
are developed on an Amiga 3000 but should run on any other Amiga. Because
the running speed
affects the sound, a fast Amiga (minimal 3000 -preferably
4000) is recommended. If more than one work is being presented then identical
machines should be used
for each work.
It is also advisable to use an external amplifier and speakers (for each
work), as monitor speakers are generally of poor quality.
For presentation a monitor can be used standing on a computer
(with the speakers on either side) placed on a simple plinth (or table)
which can also be used to hide
the rest of the equipment (i.e. the amplifier plus
the mouse and keyboard, which in principle are not required after start
up). Alternatively, if video projectors are
available, the images could be projected onto a flat white screen (wall,
ceiling or floor) with the speakers mounted appropriately.
The images can be recorded on video but then the real-time
(continuous) performance nature of the work is destroyed. In sound saturated
environments the work
can be presented
without sound. Unfortunately the artist is unable to provide equipment.
Costs are therefore dependant on local conditions.
Because the works are real-time programs (under continuous
development) which vary each time they are run, any documentation (slides
or video) can only give an
indication of the type of image which may be produced.
T.E.Batten Amsterdam 1996