[ISEA97] Paper: Kevin Murray – Glass Angels and Data Insects


This talk is about the way insect colonies offer themselves up as mirrors for their human hosts. They provide a language for arguing between the needs of the collective and the individual. Like insects themselves these representations mutate over time and than evolve into exotic models of human behaviour. McLuhan spoke of the mission of humans to ”fecundate” technology, and here we’ll examine our evolution into the bees of the electronic world.

  • Kevin Murray (Australia) is a freelance writer/curator currently working on a book about digital atavism entitled Shock of the Old. In 1992, he was awarded a PhD from the University of Melbourne for a thesis in nar­rative psychology, Life as Fiction. While continuing to work in this area, he now focuses on the link between emerging digital cultures and traditional crafts. Matters of Substance is a series of articles about the status of clay, glass, stone, metal and fibre in an immaterial age.This series and arti­cles about automatic doors, barcodes, smiles, marathon runners and dentists are available online (werple.net.au/~kmurray). His curatorial method is speculative. Exhibitions touring Australia raise questions such as, “What if someone else colonized Australia?”, “Are there hidden links between professions and crafts?”, “Is the art gallery a courtroom?”. Online versions of these exhibitions are avail­able at the above address. He is currently organizing Crack the Binary (ode, a conference on multimedia criticism for Melbourne 1-2 Nov (cinemedia.net/CCP).

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