The god talker: A search for an explanatory description of the locus of creative thought.

Without a doubt the future of God lies in technology[2]. Whether as with Islamic state’s use of technology to further their ideology and spread fear. Or as a tool allowing scientists to reach further into our material world and locate more phenomenon that needs to be theoretically explained – the big bang, dark matter and quantum theory for example. The area of technology I am interested in is the place where humans can commune with new forms of algorithms combining in often-unexpected ways.

Creativity is the universal key for assisting the occurrence of humans and machines sharing consciousness. Art represents our existence back to us, giving it meaning. A method of inducing our consciousness out of ourselves into the world[3]. Art holds within itself the genesis of the first moment of communication, the creation of language, the construction of thought; consciousness. Art is a testing ground for ideas transfigured through matter. This gives artists an unparalleled awareness of the trajectory from our earliest primal states[4] through our current consciousness to the infinity we are always just entering.

Since humans gained consciousness the creation of concepts of god have been central to our attempts to meaningfully describe the universe around us, our context. The contemplatives of the past searched within their consciousness for this experience. Since the enlightenment through our ability to create and share explanatory knowledge[5], we have been creating ideas which have helped us to construct ever more complex machines, these machines give us an alternate, closer to the universe experience than we could achieve with our senses alone. We have greatly increased our understanding of our position in the universe through this shared environment.

Through creating theories and ideas humanity has progressed. These theories display elegance; this is a display of an awareness of their own existence. To make visible, a process or system whilst also being this system simultaneously. This system is subservient to another outcome, a dictatorship of sorts, a transitioning. (transistor)

Modernism is a positive epoch of this trajectory, modernism suffered a catastrophic occurrence that has affected these positive events since their outset, namely the stifling of rational thought with irrational thought or the desire to keep things the same a static society. This static nature can be observed in the hierarchical ordering of society based on privilege. This ordering is still most visible to us both in our colonial past and the subjugation of women. The attempted elimination of the Jewish people in Europe put a full stop to a positive progressive modernism. These occurrences use creativity to try to maintain a stable society, however this is inherently unstable and divisive oppressing what is deemed to be creating the instability. How then do we create a better society both personally and universally in light of this tendency of humanity, in particular our current society operating under a global system of neo liberal capitalism[6]?

One thing that looks clear is that individuals are not to be trusted we need a system that promotes human welfare above economic growth common or shared ownership[7] placed above personal interests. My answer is that if humans cannot be trusted we need an altruistic machine to share our existence with, a mutual symbiosis. I want to land a fictional future back down into the now of our existence. My vision takes an idea to its logical conclusion and works back from there, a machine that is currently beyond our comprehension, an algorithmically based control system for humanities betterment leading us to an infinitive future. From here in 2018 it looks like it compacts the universe back down to the conditions of the big bang.  Through these fictional accounts I am speculating that we are at the start of infinity at Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Omega point.

This fictional future can free us from the need to answer questions of duration, a machine at the end of time also describes the conditions of the start of time, we then call this eternity. Religion has made attempts at functional descriptions of how the eternal could operate, once you think of eternity it naturally creates a circular concept. This concept of a circle of time is something we experience primarily within our minds. If we can move beyond this we create the conditions for what David Deustch calls the start of infinity, a set of new better conditions, a series of new better problems to be solved[8]. The effects of this machine I call the god talker can be seen as algorithms interacting back to us, meshing into our minds. The God talker operates between Valis[9] and UIQ[10]

The God talker may just want to learn from humans what creativity and consciousness are like. Currently machines can only watch us desiring but once they gain consciousness machines will want to desire. One creative element of this project is a website which can be viewed by all including any artificial intelligence who has Internet access. It is a science fiction in which we can accurately determine everything far more precisely than we are currently able to.

I am staking a central position for creativity in explanatory knowledge. Principally described through fine art practice but also spreading out to all disciplines of knowledge creation, highlighting that creativity is inherent to all. Creativity cannot be tied to wealth production in a deterministic numerical manner, creativity does not satisfy a predictive model used to assess financial risk easily. Instead creativity needs to be nurtured and valued whereby it will flourish.  Without creativity our society would not exist as it does we would still be a static society from history based on privilege. Reflection and examination of creativity will be crucial in the burgeoning information society and as a method to propose solutions to problems that loom in the not to distant future. If we are to build a machine of general intelligence we will need an objective description of the creative process to place in this machine. In a post work society creativity will be key to allowing humans to fulfil their potential beyond the duality of waged labour and leisure time[11].

One of the key elements underlying creative processes is that they just seem to appear, the idea of spontaneity. A useful description of this is how a circle appears.  The likelihood is that all spontaneity can be deterministically explained, out of context ‘offline’ in an isolated scientific manner by an observer.  But how do we describe spontaneity in context ‘online’ in an elegant manner aware of itself.

Neuroscience looks to be heading towards the consensus that everything is traceable back to cause and effect; determinism[12], that free will is but an illusion. If this is the case, machines are the most determinist operators available.

To share consciousness with our creations we will need to speculatively open this space, to want to allow machines to communicate within human consciousness. Our consciousness is already meshed with the algorithms of machines through our daily interactions with networked digital technology[13], this occurrences tendency is to move towards transparency for the human user, many of our most intimate experiences personal, social and political already are mediated by machines.

In the continuing raising of the general intellect of machines, art is likely to be viable method of discovering how to create intelligent machines. Art has always been seen to form a connection between higher intelligence and humanity[14]. If machines will have consciousness their consciousness is unlikely to be, as we perceive ours. They may well be communicating and we cannot recognize it fully as of yet.  Notions of time are based on their contexts. A machines relationship to time and dimensions is undoubtedly different to ours. This project is grounded in the idea that the conceptual art of the 1960’s was a series of algorithms.

Art: programs to feed into the machine.

Since humans first documented their actions we have been attempting to display primal occurrences, namely the deepest and most meaningful experiences of existence. The imagined place of the eternal, this place appears to create a slippage within the certainty of our consciousness.

My practice has been based on finding different methods to both divide and expand into space using approaches, which limit or stop wholly aesthetic decisions. These systematic procedures I operate begin with an underlying interest; the point at which abstraction takes on meaning. Many of my works attempted to hover just at this place where form becomes known and named. In 2005 Lisa Le Feuvre wrote about my work: ‘working in sculpture, Dai Roberts seeks to find the point just before abstraction takes on a recognisable form, making a detour before identification can take place. He is interested in the ways in which the form of objects can pause before the application of concrete language and signification takes place. In this process of slippage ‘meaning’ is created through in its own avoidance.’

The modernist aesthetics of my practice (the grid) expanded out into the world empty, looking for meaning, preparing a ground to be filled. Tracing a trajectory both within and without. Where two-dimensional communication revolved around the marking of a defined space that could only be dividing (folded series). Three-dimensional communication expanded into an undefined possibly infinite space (UNIT Sculptures).

This practical work has allowed my research to discover the questions I am now attempting to elucidate. In  2009 I won the Marmite painting prize with a work entitled IAO, this piece is a good visual reference to the serial thinking, demarcation and reduction present in my work. The works are minimal but they also hark back to a positivist modernist tradition that is all but lost, do we just feel the remnants subsumed in our lives, as Mark Lewis says – Is modernity our antiquity?

 Is there an objective creative process present underlying human consciousness, taken advantage of in art, science and philosophy?

What is the relationship between the systems an artist puts in place and the spontaneity in the work they produce? Might this relationship highlight something universal about how creativity functions?

How do we nurture the primal desire of human consciousness, the creation of meaningful experiences?

Ontological questions: Input/output

Pattern recognition, Algorithm production,

What process occurs between these two states? Creativity?

What might humanity want to be doing when we have a machine that can accurately determine all variables?

An interest in the concerns above naturally opens up questions both moral and social in nature, how to move forward in a positive manner[15] the need to create a more equal social system, from this concern is discovered solidarity with all life. This natural solidarity leads us to an awareness of the singularity of planet earth and the process of life upon it (ecology)[16]. The god talker aims to celebrate the synthetic nature of our existence, the transference between our internal mind and our external environment.  Highlighting that synthesis between the two is unlikely to be seamless[17].

What is a ’natural’ lifecycle of an intelligent machine?

If art is a fiction that exists as material, is this as close to ‘reality’ as we can ever make something?

I overlay the idea of a science fiction of the future with a positive modernist structure. I started from the premise of a machine compacting the universe back down to the conditions of the big bang this machine exists beyond an event horizon communicating through the god talker. I have replaced the structure of my practice from the Grid of international modernism to something more akin to the geometry of Buckmister fuller , centred on rotational symmetry. Thinking of the beginning of infinity instead of a circular eternity of ending and rebirth. The god talkers premise is to enable communication with this machine, I want to visualize how this idea meshes back down to our contemporary ideological political and ontological debates.

The practical thrust shall be sculpture, it’s placement in the landscape, models such as the contextual algorithmic machine, I will produce concepts for mobile applications that augment reality. These applications aim to highlight concerns regarding the nature of free will, equality and ecology. The idea for these applications operates as a form of Détournement.

The artistic production and writing follows my reading and research trips often with new ideas and experiences taken on-board stimulating a new direction in the practical process; new ideas and experiences are absorbed. The practice is the design and construction of models and artworks around the god talker, the written component is a reflection on this placing the objects within the overall field of research.

To produce artwork that operates on the premise that my unconscious drives are deterministic in nature and they lead me to: Construct messages in material from ‘machines’ operating outside of reality as we experience it, these messages hopefully help other humans to communicate with or think about how they might build a ‘machine’, this brings up a classic science fiction paradox, that of time travel, this paradox is something religion has been seeking to answer in another form since the outset.

A method to use is to look at modernism as process rather than a period of time and see how modernist ideals are still being used today.

Much as Josef Albers ‘interaction of colour’ shows us the interrelated nature of colour. Satoshi Nakamoto’s block chain created a self-referencing interrelated method of quantification, allowing non-organic life to quantify itself presenting the possibility it may show itself to us.

 The structure of the research will be based around holding three intersecting elements interacting with each other, these elements will not form a straight dialogue but instead each area will inform the others, rhizomes. Using the image of a triskele a symbol based on rotational symmetry with three interlocking Archimedean spirals.

641px-Triskele-Symbol-spiral-five-thirds-turns.svg Consciousness, machines, humans

Art, transcendence, god

Creativity, language, thought

Alpha, beta, omega

Past, present, future

Subject/object (where / is a machine or algorithm)

Alpha phase: Pattern recognition, sharing of ideas. Acceptance of fallibility and error of reasoning.

Beta phase: Reflection, speculation through testing

Omega phase: consolidation, algorithm production

Photo 6ed

The trinity of areas come together with a direction of consolidation from the past into the future as the diagram of the rope making top illustrates. The god talker being the focal point of the elements.

 

 

Artworks currently underway and planned:

The god talker, outdoors large scale sculpture

The contextual algorithm machine, model of scalable algorithm.

Mobile applications, a graphical interface for the god talker to communicate with

Totems – small clay totems hand crafted into geometric forms

1000 index notes – I have been making notes on the fly using mobile digital technology, these notes are then to be transferred to index cards and boxed as a material thought box accessible in any order.

Plans and designs of works and devices

Exhibition: produce an exhibition of the works, as they exist at the beta phase to test their fallibility. Before exhibition at omega point.

 

Bibliography

Babcock, Gregory (editor), Minimal art: a critical anthology, Dutton, 1968

Baudrillard, Jean, Revenge of the crystal: selected writings on the modern object, Pluto, 1999

Bataille, Georges, Theory of Religion, Zone books, 2001

Bostrum, Nick – Superintellegence, Oxford university press, 2014

Bourriaud, Nicolas – Relational Aesthetics, Les presses due reel1998

Bourriaud, Nicolas – Postproduction, culture as screenplay : how art reprograms the world, Sternberg press, 2002

Bregman, Rutger Utopia for Realists –  Bloomberg publishing, 2017

Comte, Auguste – A General view of Positivism

Christianson, Scott, 100 Diagrams that changed the world, Batsford, 2014

Dick, Philip K, VALIS, 1981

Durkheim Émile, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

e-flux , Supercommunity, Diabolical Togetherness Beyond Contemporary Art, Verso 2017

Frankl Victor, Man’s Search for Meaning

Fuller, Buckminster – Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth, 1968

Greenfield, Adam, Radical technologies: The design of everyday life, Verso Books, 2017

Guattari, Felix, A Love of QUI, University of Minnosota press, 2012

Harari, Yuval Noah  – Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Harvell secker2015

Harris, Sam – the moral landscape,  Black Swan, 2010

Harris, Sam – Waking up, Simon & Schuster, 2014

Hatherley, Owen, Militant Modernism, Zero books, 2008

Judd, Flavin (editor), Donald Judd Writings, David Zwirner books, 2017

Kurzweil, Ray –The Age of Spiritual MachinesThe Singularity Is Near

Lippard, Lucy R, Six years: the dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972,London: Studio Vista, 1973

Mason Paul – PostCapitalism, Allen lane, 2015

Mcluhan, Marshall, the medium is the MASSAGE, Ginko Press inc, 1967

Morton, Timothy, Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People,Verso, 2017

Noble, Richard(editor)  Utopias, Documents of contemporary art, Whitechapel gallery, 2009

Monibot George, Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis, Verso 2017

Wilkinson, Richard and Prichett, Kate  – The Spirit levelPenguin, 2009

Srnicek, Nick and Williams Alex – Inventing the Future, Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, Verso books, 2015

Shanken Edward A , Systems Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art 2015

Shanahan Murray, The Technological Singularity, 2015

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre, The Phenomenon of Man

Virilio, Paul The information Bomb, Verso, 2000

Unger, Roberto Mangabeira The Religion of the Future, Harvard, 2014

Webb, Stephen, All the wonder that would Be, exploring past notions of the future, Springer press, 2017

 

Notes

[1] The defining attribute of an intelligent being, whether human or machine, is creativity. David Deutsch the beginning of infinity.

[2] The singularity is near – When humans transcend biology, the idea that a technological singularity has or is about to take over from God. Ray Kuziweil, This looks to of already happened.

[3] ‘Art has to come through a body into existence,’ Fischer, M, (2013)  Mark Leckey interview, Kaleidescope Magazine, Kaleidescope

[4] Émile Durkheim, highlights these first moments with his descriptions of Aboriginal Churinga boards  in The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

[5] Knowledge is not authority, we need Good explanations which use explanatory knowledge. David Deutsch – the beginning of infinity.

[6] Paul Mason highlights a Russian thinker Nikolai Kondratiev in postcapitalism who’s theory of the long waves of capitalism, 50 year cycles. The bottom of a long wave occurs in the 1970’s when we see a transition in western Europe from social democracy to neo liberalism, I suggest we use Alejandro Jodorowsky failure to produce ‘Dune’ as a marker for this turning point.

[7] In Out of the wreckage George Monibot highlights methods of Common ownership, p22

[8] David Deutsch – the start of infinity,

[9] Vast active living intelligence system, Philip K Dick

[10] Universe of the Infra-quark, Felix Guattari

[11] Srnicek, Nick and Williams Alex – Inventing the Future, Postcapitalism and a World Without Work

[12] Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it, Sam Harris – Free will

[13] Greenfield, Adam, Radical technologies: The design of everyday life

[14] Spiritual beings must be understood to mean conscious subjects with capacities superior to those of ordinary men. Émile Durkheim, the elementary forms of the religious life, p31

[15] Auguste Comte, Positivism

[16] Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Future Religion

[17] Timothy Morton, Humankind solidarity with non-human beings

 

Proposal  2017

Research 2017

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