Existence: Individualism or Mechanism?
The creative processes of my studio practise has been to conceptualize and explore the natural world, while questioning the existence of individuality within a system.
Although the concept of my project has stayed the same, there has also been major developments which have happened due to a combination of events.
While researching and writing my research paper I had begun thinking more about life, linking aspects of metaphysical/ontological inquiry, nature and chaotic systems together. I also researched a mathematician called Benoit Mandelbrot. I began looking at how natural fractals in the world form the shapes of mountains, coastlines and river basins, and began comparing the structures of plants to blood vessels, lungs and placenta's. This led me thinking more about our lungs and breathing, and the connection between our bodies and the natural world, which took me in the direction to experiment recording breathing sounds whilst simultaneously filming generative elements of nature. I also started experimenting with balloons with people's air inside. During this time I had an idea for projecting a video of generative elements of nature through the balloons but this didn't work out so I started thinking on different but similar lines.
At first I thought of making a 5ft geodesic dome, since geodesic domes have been used here in the UK at the Eden Project. The domes at the Eden Project are well known for their artificial environments containing biological organisms, which reminded me of balloons containing different people's air. I then started pondering on ideas of having actual plants growing in the dome along with balloons of people's air in the construction of the dome. Inside there would also be a video of the dome at different places such as the beach and in woodlands etc.
I then went from thinking how the geodesic domes of the Eden project have created unnatural environments for biological life-forms to exist to thinking about what if the domes were actually hybrid artificial life-forms. This then led me to thinking about other ways that dome tent structures are used for exploration and how this dome structure could become an imagined living entity.
The artificial dome environment would in essence be an artificial entity which would not be questioning itself, but would question you the visitor a biological life form, and so the person entering the dome would be the focus of the installation, well from the point of view taken from the artificial life form. The balloons would now be part of the imagined hybrid artificial entity and the only true organic form would be the visitor (viewer). Upon entering there will be a sign on the floor saying - 'Enter Alone'. When inside the entity will express in text format that you have entered a an hybrid artificial life-form, along with asking you a selection of questions which will be merged with a combination of random video clips of generative elements of nature accompanied by sounds of quiet breathing. My intention is for the dome entity is to be an explorer, since the tent structure has both a protective and exploratory nature. In the case of the entity a protective skin/structure which wishes to learn more about the natural world and its inhabitants. While the entity wishes to learn from your thoughts, you will also be questioning yourself.
For my BA dissertation, I researched aspects of Posthumanity which I previously found interesting to look back on, since the imagined hybrid AI entity which had developed within my studio practise has some similar attributes due to its interest in organic life forms. I started thinking on opposite lines where a Transhuman thinks about transcendence to Posthuman, but instead thinking about an AI Trans-Machine, a machine interested in organic life-forms and wanting to learn more about them by adding organic elements to itself, thus transcendence to becoming Post Machine.
The dimensions of the fictional artificial life form (dome/tent structure) will be 200cm x 200cm, height:140cm. I'm aiming at everything being contained within this space. I will be using a laptop and speakers inside, which will be slightly disguised. The materials for the dome will be made using elasticated tent tubes, with a strong tarpaulin floor base with added eyelets in to secure the poles. The white tarpaulin floor sheet will be covered by large bubbled bubble wrap which will be pre-popped. The top cover of the dome will be made using cling film and small amounts of thin blue wire to create a vein, web type effect. Along with 30 or so, 5 inch clear balloons interweaved into the mesh. This will be accompanied by various individual breathing sounds of which some of the individual's air will be inside these balloons. I am uncertain how long the video will be, but I'm aiming at somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes.
Photo of maquette (dome/tent AI life-form).
At this point I am now gathering video clips for the video inside the entity. I have also written a selection of questions that I want to ask the viewer. In my previous studio practise I have colourised and used effects in most of my videos, but I'm now uncertain if I will do this for the video to be played inside the dome/tent AI life-form. I feel in some cases the natural effects work best, but at this point I'm still undecided.
Next I will do lots of experiments with video and see which works best. The final video may end up with a mixture of both, which would be quite apt since this is from the view point of an AI which is trying to understand the world, so I quite like this idea that the visuals would go in and out of phase.