[ISEA2023] Paper: Claudia Pederson — Life-as-it-could-be: Symbiosis in Interspecifics’ Codex Virtualis_Genesis


Short Paper. Theme: AI – Generative Sub Theme: Symbiotic Imaginaries

This paper discusses Codex Virtualis_Genesis (2020-2022) as an artistic engagement of artificial life (AL) that explores the nature of informational life as a symbiotic process. Created by Mexico City-based transnational collective Interspecifics (INT), this work follows on from the expanded notions of life central to the field of artificial life, including organic, inorganic, material, and virtual forms. According to its founder, Christopher Langton, “there is nothing . . . that restricts biology to carbon-based life; it is simply the only kind of life that has been available to study”. From this perspective, Langton proposed in the late 1990s that AL be dedicated, as he put it, to speculating “. . . beyond life-as-we-know-it into the realm of life-as-it could-be”. This discussion examines Codex Virtualis_Genesis in light of Langton’s proposal as a speculative inquiry into a symbiotic view of life, and as well in contrast to notions of artificial life art as a predominantly technophilic practice. Instead connected to the speculative imagination, the synthetic life forms of Codex Virtualis_Genesis offer a glimpse into life otherwise: as an interspecific relation.

  • Claudia Costa Pederson holds a PhD. in Art History and Visual Studies from Cornell University (USA). She is the author of Gaming Utopia, Ludic Worlds in Art, Design, and Media (IUP 2021) and recipient of the Warhol Art Writers Grant 2022.