[ISEA2011] Panel: Linda De­ment – Don’t an­thro­po­mor­phise me ei­ther

Panel Statement

Panel: Don’t Anthropomorpise Me: Electronic Performance Tools, Automatons and The Vanity Apocalypse

Our world is a sea of of par­ti­cles that, for no ap­par­ent rea­son, choose to form in the con­stel­la­tions and pat­terns that we are. Our edges are not hard. We are per­me­able. We are largely empty space. We are a con­stant flow, a dy­namic pat­tern, ex­chang­ing atoms with all that is around us; form­ing, con­geal­ing, shed­ding, re­form­ing; swept around by forces, ideas, ma­te­ri­als and en­ergy. Per­haps our first mis­take is to an­thro­po­mor­phise our­selves, think­ing we are sep­a­rate, co­he­sive, au­tonomous be­ings, in sin­gu­lar com­mand of our thoughts, de­ci­sions and ac­tions. In the robot we then see re­flec­tions and par­al­lels of our imag­i­nary free stand­ing, con­tained, in­de­pen­dence in its sim­i­lar os­ten­si­ble au­ton­omy, de­ci­sions and ac­tions. We be­lieve we can con­trol the robot with pro­gram­ming and screw­drivers. We be­lieve it is inert mat­ter. We be­lieve it is a lit­tle crea­ture like us. We be­lieve it is noth­ing like the com­plex crea­tures we are. We be­lieve, god like, we cre­ated it. We be­lieve it is a man­age­able clever pet that never shits. We be­lieve it obeys us. We be­lieve it is a life­less ma­chine. We in­vest it with per­son­al­ity. We di­vest it of pres­ence. Yet we are not dis­creet en­ti­ties and nei­ther are ro­bots. What if the par­ti­cles we ap­pear to in­habit are pro­pelled by winds and flow forms of other ideas, other ma­te­r­ial par­ti­cles, other en­er­gies? Per­haps im­pe­tus sweeps into us from the robot or be­yond. Per­haps the robot’s con­stel­la­tion, its arrange­ment, has its own in­tel­li­gence, will and in­ten­tion. Given that we aren’t ma­te­ri­ally sep­a­rate from each other, nor in any way fixed, per­haps its will and in­ten­tion an­i­mate us at the same time as ours dri­ves them. Per­haps over time and in prox­im­ity, the par­ti­cles that seem to form the robot and the par­ti­cles that seem to form the human, can come into en­train­ment, just as pen­du­lums of clocks that begin their swings un­aligned will come into syn­chro­ni­sa­tion. The ex­change of atoms, the cur­rents of ideas, the forces and phe­nom­ena of the sea of par­ti­cles might man­i­fest through some dis­so­nant hum across human and robot fields of for­ma­tion.

  • Linda De­ment is a Syd­ney (Australia) based artist who has worked in arts com­put­ing since the late ‘80s, with a back­ground in pho­tog­ra­phy, film, and video. She works with is­sues of dis­tur­bance, com­min­gling psy­cho sex­ual vi­o­lent cor­po­re­al­ity with the dig­i­tal and elec­tronic. Her in­ter­ac­tive and still image work has been widely ex­hib­ited in­ter­na­tion­ally and lo­cally, in­clud­ing at the In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art in Lon­don, Ars Elec­tron­ica in Aus­tria, the In­ter­na­tional Sym­posia of Elec­tronic Art in Syd­ney and Mon­treal and the Im­pakt Media Arts Fes­ti­val in Eu­rope. She is twice win­ner of the Aus­tralian Na­tional Dig­i­tal Art Award (the Har­ries), has been awarded a New Media Arts Fel­low­ship by the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts. She is a mem­ber of the col­lab­o­ra­tive groups In Se­r­ial and Bump Pro­jects.  “De­ment’s gift is to turn poly­mor­phous per­ver­sity to aes­thetic ends, let it run free and enjoy it­self. The sa­cred and the sav­age, sex­u­al­ity and abuse, are her pri­vate square of op­po­si­tion.”_George Alexan­der.

Full text (PDF) p. 617-621