The old testament tells us that God created the human being in his image. That text thus sets the bar for human ascendence- not as God’s progeny, but as his rival upstart. Its all about mastery. Creating a form in my image affirms my potential for self-control and the possibility of an autonomous self-creation or re-creation – I am god. But the created will be endowed with all those qualities the creator perceives as self-defining. We are God’s photoshopped self-image. Our own attempts at creating an active or generative intelligence, or an autonomous system, are similarly motivated and tend to follow this pretense to a divine status. Richard Doyle writes in Wetware about the the way this dynamic plays out as a form akin sexual selection (Doyle, 2003). The most desirable, most affirming, reflections of life and intelligence are replicated while the most challenging and alien are marginalized. Viral and distributed intelligence is marginalized in preference to the unified and central. The intense and relational is framed by its extensity and interiorized. This paper examines this dynamic in the contemporary new media ecology. It examines the notion of a spirited technics suggested by Bernard Stiegler and the Ars Industrialis group of which he is a founding member and argues that redefining intelligence might suggest ways to approach a generative or improvisational art capable of extending human intelligence rather than simulating or referencing it (Ars Industrialis, 2005). In the process I speak to New Robotics and a-life, Munster and Murphie’s Asssemblage of Collective Thought (1996), John Zorn’s Game Pieces (1974-1990), James Turrell’s Between that Seen (1991), Shaw and Del Favero’s work toward an interactive cinema, and my own experiments in generative composition the results of which will underscore my presentation.
- Mat Wall-Smith