[ISEA94] Paper: Kathy Rogers & Rob la Frenais – Non-explicable Phenomena, Conciousness and Technology


We aim to progress the debate about the possibility of machine consciousness towards the implications of the actuality of elements of consciousness emerging from outside the human situation. We will bring together work done by artists and scientists on dream states, out of body experiences, neardeath experiences, brain machines, and the use of light and psychoacoustic sound to affect the human capacity to visualise and imagine.

Using these examples we will examine specific ‘phenomena’ such as hauntings, geomantic disturbances, UFO sightings, ‘abductions’ and contacts as have been reported as being
apparently genuine and investigate whether the artist can interface with these in some way without being drawn into the opposing camps of belief and scepticism. We will examine the implications of the western desire for a technological ‘other’ whether it be as emergent  machine intelligences, extraterrestrial visitors, or parapsychological phenomena. Using virtual reality and the more complex technology of the body as a starting-point, we will look at attempts to simulate ‘models’ for these phenomena and how they reflect human culture, both conscious and unconscious. As people whose principal concern is art we are not prepared to judge the legitimacy of specific phenomena. The fact that ‘somehing’ is happening ‘out there’ and the processes which humans have to undertake to understand ‘it’ is more interesting than photographic ‘evidence’ and conspiracy theories about government cover-ups. We would prefer to offer the possibility of the concept of clusters of ‘leak ages’, whereby non-explicable  phenomena enters the conscious perception on a random and accidental basis.
Kathy Rogers on her work: “I am researching into into the remote replication and extension of human perception, cognition and human presence. I am also looking at the practical and theoretical aspects of the parasciences and identifying ways in which telepresence technologies might allow us to distribute persistent manifestations of identifiable personal energy. I propose a synthesis of recent developments within the study of dreams and the paranormal phenomena such as ESP, hauntings, lucid dreaming and nightmares to push us towards a pluralistic understanding of the deeply imagistic capacity of human consciousness. I use the metaphor of the void to elaborate on the absoluteness of inner space that each human being possesses”.

  • Kathy Rogers is an electronic artist trained in virtual reality applications. Senior lecturer and researcher at Duncan of Jordanstone School of Television and Electronic Imaging, Dundee, Scotland.
  • Rob La Frenais is a curator and writer, former editor of Perfomance Magazine and former director of the Edge Biennale, now writing about and curating art and technology projects including ‘Earthwire’, a project with artists using high technology in a rural setting and ‘Connected 5’ at the South Bank Centre, London, England.