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ROY ASCOTT - Biophotonic Flux: bridging virtual and vegetal realities.
As the digital paradigm unfolds, and its systems and processes become increasingly ubiquitous and invisible, many artists seek new horizons - in the biological sciences, nanotechnology, and the study of consciousness, leading to the emergence of a “moistmedia” (incorporating digitally dry and biologically wet systems). This may support the ascendancy of human issues and more spiritual values in our technological culture. Telematics and Mixed Reality technology, now central to artistic practice, can become the instruments of ontological and epistemological inquiry. In this respect, the new frontier field of biophotonic research may prove to be crucial in our understanding of the human organism’s systems of communication, and provide a conceptual link to the telematic networks we are, weaving over the face of the earth. This dynamic web of light, constantly released and absorbed by DNA, possibly connecting cells, tissues and organs within the body, may comprise precisely the information system claimed by shamans as the source of their visions, and the conduit of vast databanks of knowledge and wisdom.
Technological hybridisation at the deeper human level should not be constrained within the Western technological paradigm but should seek insights into reality building from other cultures however archaic or exotic they may initially seem to be.

I would like to start by asking you to imagine a technology of the mind that allows you to become immersed in a vast database of universal knowledge, one that reaches deep into the neuronal zones, cuts through the layers of inhibition laid down by centuries of cultural conditioning, religious prejudice, and political repression. Imagine the enormous advantage this technology would confer on the individual, otherwise functioning as no more than a cog in a vast and indifferent social machine, as well as its potential to humanise, unify and transform that mechanised society into an integrated but highly diversified network of minds acting from a base of wisdom and insight. Imagine the instrumentation of this technology working as simply and smoothly as say a memory stick being inserted in the side of the neck in the way of Gibson’s Neuromancer, or to be less romantic and more up to date, Imagine our current researches in molecular biology producing an ingestible pill, a condensation, at the nano or pico level, of intelligent robots programmed, or self assembling, to go to work on the body and its brain, opening up pathways of perception and cognition that hitherto were only known to us as simply myth or magic. I think you can well see that that is where technology might be taking us, with implants in the brain or body, or realignments of our neural networks, that effectively transform consciousness, our sense of self, and our place in the universe. Imagine too how politicians, or those vested interests they front for, would hate it;
how every force of surveillance and prohibition, secular and religious would be brought to bear on outlawing it. Neural technology, if we can call it that, is going to have a hard time over the next decade just a stem cell research, cloning, and genetic programming is experiencing currently.

I fact you don't need to imagine the advent of this advanced technology – it is already here. We’ve known about it for centuries although it has been treated rather secretively if not hermetically. Most universities get rather uncomfortable if it is openly discussed in front of students. It’s an academic prejudice that extends across the world; in fact the technology itself has been developed across the world, apparently independently, in many regions, north and south, east and west. The technology is not digital, as you might expect, but biological, involving, according to some biophysicists, the instrumentation of DNA. It’s what can be called “plant technology” since it involves the ingestion or absorption of plants under carefully structured conditions with strict protocols of application. It is known on this continent as yage or ayahuasca, and its technology, or something like it has formed the basis of knowledge acquisition in countries as disparate as central Australia, Africa, Siberia and the far north. It’s one of our earliest technologies, preceding the discovery of fire possibly, and it is currently outlawed in practically every part of the world, subject to all those forces of surveillance and prohibition, secular and religious, to which that I have just referred. This technology allows us to be immersed, to navigate and explore what I would call the third VR, vegetal reality, to be understood alongside the other two VRs – Virtual reality, with which every one in this conference will be fully familiar – and Validated Reality, those orthodoxies of seeing and being, known ironically as Common Sense, which no authority will allow us to forget. This brings me to my subject today, how fields of consciousness, non-ordinary states of awareness, spiritual domains, or whatever terms we might employ to name these unnameable transcendent spaces, may better be encountered and traversed by bringing together the three technologies, the three VRs, that in a sense are located in our deep past, our troubled present and our optimistic future. So what do I define as the three VRs?

By Virtual Reality I am referring too much more than a singular technology. Apart from Mixed Reality which combines real and virtual events into a seamless whole, and Augmented Reality which allows the viewer to see simultaneously both the internal dynamics and the external features of an object of study, VR encompasses a whole ontology of telepresence, of sensory immersion, and immaterial connectivity, which affords changes in the way we view ourselves, the manner of our comportation, and environments we wish to inhabit. For the purposes of this paper, to maintain the unity of its theme, I shall use the term VR interdependently with Mixed Reality, Augmented Reality and Hybrid Reality.

Validated Reality, our every day experience, is familiar to us all. It is the orthodox universe of causal “common sense”, the way we are taught at school to view the world, a consensual reality established early in our lives by the constant repetition of its axioms. Validated Reality finds it hard to accept the worldviews of quantum physics, eastern mysticism, or the many conflicting models of consciousness generated by contemporary scientists, across a wide range of disciplines, in their attempts to bridge the explanatory gap that prevents our understanding of this ultimate mysterium. Those whose minds have been conditioned to accept Validated Reality as the only reality balk at the implications of nanotechnology, and have great difficulty in coming to terms with genetic modelling and the scope of biotechnics in redefining Nature. In short, Validated Reality is authorised reality, whose narrow confines delimit the sense of what we are or what we could be. Nevertheless it controls the co-ordinates of our daily life, dictates the protocols of our behaviour, and provides an illusion of coherence in a contingent universe. It has been Validated Reality, which has created Nature as an array of objects set in Euclidean space, rather than a dynamic network of processes and relationships.

Vegetal Reality, the third axis of reality following the Big Bang, is unrecognised in Western praxis, despite the extensive researches of Richard Evans Schultes, Professor of Ethnobotany at Harvard, for example, or the proselytising of the late Terence McKenna. Vegetal Reality can be understood in the context of technoetics, as the transformation of consciousness by plant technology. In this case, the plant technology involved supports a canon of practice and insight, which is archaic in its human application, known to us principally through the work of shamans, largely visionary and often operating in a context of healing which is distant in the extreme from the Validated Reality of western medicine. However, frequently during the past century we have seen how the shaman’s knowledge of plants has been appropriated, and synthesised by the pharmacutical industry. `This ancient knowledge provides us with some of the more spectacular products of modern medicine.

My question is: How they might inter related, how they might converge into a common domain, an existential continuum within which human identity and potentiality might be enriched, and how might our sense of self, the instrumentality of worldwide institutions and networks, even the nature of nature itself, be reconsidered, redefined and perhaps reconstructed? In elaborating on these three VRs I am led inevitably to a global view of human potential, a kind of planetary awareness, perhaps to the idea of an emergent-networked consciousness. However I would be failing in my responsibilities if I did not subject this view to the harsh realities of the present moment, not only in the Middle East but many other troubled parts of the world. In my view any discussion of the three VRs or indeed any other topic in this conference or any other conference focussed on technology and its relationship to the description or construction of reality, cannot be indifferent to the violence that it can be used to serve.

What we see in the present violence is the conflict of worldviews, fundamentally opposed to interaction between each other, separate realities, unable to fuse, resistant to dialogue. How conceivably could the work of artists as artists - i.e. not pamphleteers, aestheticised social workers or political pundits, remotely be expected to contribute to the kind of process of reconciliation, mutual respect and understanding that these realities must attain? How might we artists, through our technology and the specificity of its application, contribute to the emergence of a mixed reality in which values and aspirations of the many contesting parts are interwoven?

Before virtual reality is enacted - that is to say nested within the activities of our quotidian reality - it exerts its influence on our mind and values as metaphor. In the same way, terrorism creates metaphors, and lives by metaphor, however violent and horrific its acts in the destruction of lives and cultures. It is not just buildings that are destroyed but institutions; it is not only individuals who are destroyed but also ideologies; it is not only women who are raped but patriarchy that is asserted. Our response as artists must be to fight metaphor with metaphor. We as artists are metaphor makers before we are anything else. I’m talking here about metaphor in its most potent sense: metaphors embodied in images, structures, and behaviours; the whole spectrum of possibilities that hybrid reality technologies can offer. We create metaphor, we critique metaphor, and we are always on our guard against those metaphors that have outlived their shelf life and are in danger of ossifying as truths. It was Nietzsche who first suggested we drop the whole idea of ‘knowing the truth’, saying that the whole idea of “representing reality” by means of language, and thus the idea of finding a single context for all human lives, should be abandoned. But it is precisely a single context, a totalizing context that is attacked and defended on both sides of the ideological divide.

The dialogical strength of interactive art is that the artist, in leaving the creation of content to the user of his work, concentrates on the creation of context, multiple contexts, seeking those which lead best to the emergence of new meaning, new images, new structures, from the interaction of the viewer. In so doing he is generating diversity and what I would call a fecund complexity rather than a totalising semantic unity. There are many takes on reality, and many ways of finding their expression. Western thought however has been dominated by the totalizing context of materialism, and mainstream art has been the purveyor of its values. All too frequently, art has been the servant of representation and expression, and complicit in the creation of authorised, or authoritarian, illusion. But Art now is more engaged in the process of creating realities, of constructing worlds. We are in the process of considerable cultural shift, as the following chart demonstrates:

from: to:
reception; negotiation;
representation; construction;
hermeneutics; heuristics;
tunnel vision; bird's eye view;
content; context;
object; process;
perspective; immersion;
figure/ground; pattern;
iconicity; bionicity;
nature; artificial life;
certainty; contingency;
resolution; emergence;
top-down; bottom-up;
observed reality; constructed reality;
paranoia; telenoia;
autonomous brain; distributed mind;
behaviour of forms; forms of behaviour.

And although it is so often commercially put to the use of reinforcing stereotypes of materialist reality, Mixed Reality technology can be highly efficacious in this process of change. In this way art can be seen as an agency of Becoming... a constructive, more than expressive or decorative, process. The artist is ready to call upon any system, organic or technological, which enables that process to develop. For the same reason he must be prepared to look anywhere, into any discipline, scientific or spiritual, any view of the world, however banal or arcane, any culture, immediate or distant, in order to find those processes which engender this becoming. In my own research biophysics, shamanism, and telematic art can happily co-exist in this multidimensional domain of knowledge and its associative structures. The binding element between this disparate fields, and I would say between all the areas of knowledge currently investigated by artists of all complexions, is that of consciousness. Now, consciousness is a field phenomenon, whether pre-existing before the emergence of individual minds or emanating from those minds, whichever way you want to see it. It is fluid, ubiquitous, transformational. This is also of course precisely the description of online, immersive, VR.

Questions of consciousness have an important place in the agenda of art and technology and in the formation of the post-biological culture to which we are contributing. Consciousness is the great mysterium that entices both artists and scientists to enter its domain. It is the ultimate frontier of research in many fields, and probably only a truly trans-disciplinary approach will allow us to close the explanatory gap, or, in our terms as artists, to navigate its many levels, to reframe our perceptions and experiencei. It is within consciousness that our imagination is at work, and it is in imagination that we first mix the realities of the actual and the virtual.

Where consciousness evolves at the planetary level, a new sensibility arises, a new way of valuing ourselves, our environment. Computer assisted technologies have allowed us to look deeper into matter and out into space, to recognise meaningful patterns, rhythms, cycles, correspondences, interrelationships and dependencies at all levels. Computational systems have led us to a better understanding of how, like living organisms, our design and construction of our world could be an emergent process, replacing the old top-down approach with a bottom-up methodology. Telematic systems have enabled us to distribute ourselves over multiple locations, to multiply our identity, to extend our reach over formidable distances with formidable speed. We have learned that everything is connected, and we are busy in the technological process of connecting everything. But we forget, all too frequently, that connectivity must be truly ubiquitous and comprehensive if it is to be consistent and humane, and to maintain its ubiquity it must be cared for and protected, a rule that applies of course not simply to telematic networks and communication systems but must be extended generously to all fellow human beings. Our decision collectively to forget, marginalize or ignore so many people and cultures in the world, in many cases actively to impede their communication, to silence their voices, often through sheer indifference as much as greed or malice, plays a large part in the situation we find ourselves in today.

Planetary consciousness needs more than the expansive drive of telematic networks however. A sensibility to cultures which lie outside the Western paradigm is essential, and here, despite the obvious reference to Islamic cultures (and I use the plural with grave emphasis), which clearly we need to approach and understand more intimately, I refer to the “exotic” and largely ignored indigenous cultures of South America, Africa and Australia. . Here is knowledge of a kind we too often ignore or despise with a kind of techno-aristocratic sneer (containing perhaps as much fear as hubris). And here too a mixed reality obtains, where “ordinary” perceptions, ordinary reality, ordinary state of being are crossed by, converge with, are entangled in, non-ordinary states of awareness and non local states of consciousness. As in the West, a technology is
instrumental here in producing the condition of Mixed Reality: but it is Plant Technology rather than digital technology at work. And make no mistake, the technological skills, methodologies and instrumentality of the shaman - healer, mystic and man of knowledge (or woman of knowledge as is the case in Korea today and as it always has been throughout the Northern Hemisphere) - constituting what we what we would classify as pharmacology, botany, biology, and psychology - amount to a knowledge base certainly as extensive and complex as that prized by western science. As is the case with the computational tools of the West, the shaman’s two realities mix on the plane of imagination, their convergence offering the potential of new ways of being, perceiving and behaving. My feeling is that we can learn from these cultures in ways that will bring Mixed Reality technology into our lives as an extension of our field consciousness, rather than merely a tool, however efficacious or profitable that tool, in surgery, engineering, architecture or entertainment, might be. Indeed we have much to learn from these cultures in the widest and deepest sense, not least in how we shall manage the condition of double consciousness, multiple identity, in cyberspace. The tools are different - on the one hand, taken from the forest, on the other brought to our telematic, post-biological world, and a condition in which technology has assimilated and, in some cases, replaced natural process.

What is meant by the term post-biological? Just as the development of interactive media in the last century transformed the world of print and broadcasting, and replaced the cult of the objet d’art with a process-based culture, so at the start of this century we see a further artistic shift, as silicon and pixels merge with molecules and matter. Between the dry world of virtuality and the wet world of biology lies a moist domain, a new
interspace of potentiality and promise. Moistmedia (comprising bits, atoms, neurons, and genes in every kind of combination) will constitute the substrate of the art of our new century, a transformative art concerned with the construction of a fluid reality. It will be the media of a postbiological culture. This will mean the spread of intelligence to every part of the built environment coupled with recognition of the intelligence that lies within every part of the living planet. This burgeoning awareness is technoetic: techne and gnosis combined into a new knowledge of the world, a connective mind that is spawning new realities and new definitions of life and human identity; mind that will seek new forms of embodiment. At the same time as we seek to enable intelligence to flow into every part of our manmade environment, we recognise that Nature is no longer to be thought of as over there, to be viewed in the middle distance, benign or threatening as contingency dictates. It is no longer to be seen as victim ecology, fragile or fractious, according to our mode of mistreatment. It is a field-phenomenon, in which we are totally immersed. Technology is providing us with the tools and insights to see more deeply into its richness and fecundity, and above all to recognise its sentience, and to understand how intelligence, indeed, consciousness, pervades its every living part.

So, as multimedia gives way to moistmedia, and interactive art takes on a more psychoactive complexion, consciousness remains the great mysterium. For some years now artists working at the edge of the Net have been exploring the nature of consciousness. Compared to the art of previous eras, the work is inevitably more constructive than the expressive and more connective than discrete; and considerably more complex both semantically and technologically.

MOIST MANIFESTO i [From my installation MOIST, shown at comm.gr2000az, Graz, Austria May – October 2000] i
MOIST SPACE is where dry pixels and wet molecules converge;
MOIST ART is digitally dry, biologically wet, and spiritually numinous;
MOIST REALITY combines Virtual Reality with Vegetal Reality;
MOIST MEDIA comprises bits, atoms, neurons, and genes.;
MOIST MEDIA is interactive and psychoactive;
MOIST LIFE embraces digital identity and biological being;
MOIST MIND is technoetic multiconsciousness;
MOISTWARE erodes the boundary between hardware and wetware;
MOIST MANUFACTURE is tele-biotic, neuro-constructive, and nano-robotic;
MOIST ENGINEERING embraces ontology.;
MOIST DESIGN is bottom-up, seeded and emergent;
MOIST COMMS are bio-telematic and psi-bernetic
MOIST ART is at the edge of the Net.

It is then, within this complexity, that I foresee the insertion of a new but very ancient technology, that of the psychoactive plant. A sort of cyberbotany may arise, for example, around the instrumentality of such plants as the shamanic liana, ayahuasca (banisteriopsis caapi), the vine of the soul, used in countless communities throughout Columbia and Brazil, in both deeply rural and densely urban areas. It is my contention that the pharmacological processes of Vegetal Reality and the computational systems of Virtual Reality will combine to create a new ontology, just as our notions of outer space and inner space will coalesce into another order of cosmography. Ontological engineering! Cyberbotany covers a wide spectrum of activity and investigation into the properties and potential of artificial life forms within the cyber and nano ecologies, as well as the technoetic dimensions and psychoactivity induced by the psychoactive vegetal products of nature.

One of the bridges that can usefully link archaic models of consciousness, such as we find in the forests of the Amazon, and contemporary scientific practice, employing ideas of quantum coherence, can be found in biophotonics research. It is in this area that my current research takes me. First suggested to me by the writings of Jeremy Narbyiii, who speculates that the origin of shamanic visions may be found in the light emitted by DNA, I see great significance in the idea that biophoton light, stored in the cells of the organism, actually in the DNA molecules of their nuclei, gives rise to a dynamic web of light constantly released and absorbed by the DNA that may connect cell organelles, cells, tissues, and organs within the body, serving as the organism's main communication network.

Fritz Poppiv [ Director of the International Institute of Biophysics in Neuss, Germany] first used the term “biophotons” in 1976 to describe a permanent light emission from all biological systems in terms of single photons, indicating a biological quantum phenomenon. Building on the ideas of the Russian biologist Alexander Gurwitschv (1874-1954), who introduced the concept of the”morphogenetic field”vi [For a contemporary update see: Sheldrake, R. 1988. The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature. London: Collins.] and “mitogenetic radiation”, he argued that every change in the biological or physiological state of the living system is reflected by a corresponding change of biophoton emission. This may be indicative, it is argued, of a hithertooverlooked information channel within the living system. Biophotons may trigger chemical reactivity in cells, growth control, differentiation and intercellular communication, that is, biological rhythmsvii. The discovery of biophoton emission also lends scientific support to some
unconventional methods of healing based on ideas about the body’s self-regulation, such as various somatic therapies, homeopathy and acupuncture. In this context, it can be suggested that the "ch'i" energy flowing in our bodies' energy channels (meridians) may be related to node lines of the organism's biophoton field. The "prana" of Indian Yoga physiology may be a similar regulating energy force that has a basis in weak, coherent electromagnetic biofields. Biophysics is a field-based science.

Masaki Kobayashi, physicist at the Tohoku Institute of Technology in Sendai, has provided the following definition: a biophoton is a spontaneous photon emission, without any external photo-excitation, through chemical excitation of the internal biochemical processes underlying cellular metabolism. Biophoton emission, originates in the chemical excitation of molecules undergoing oxidative metabolism. It is distinct from thermal radiation arising from body temperature. Biophoton phenomena have been surveyed from cellular or subcellular levels up to individual organism level, following the development of the highly sensitive photon detection techniques viii. (see) []

The importance of biophotonic research for the artist is yet to be established but I am disposed to believe that the parallelism between the body’s internal communication network of light and the external environment of telematic communication offers considerable room for conceptual creativity. The orchestration of light in a pervasive harmony is equally the potential for wholeness of mixed reality technologies, whereby the artist and scientist might join in the extension of the human biofields into new domains of experience. It is here, in the illumination of biologically effective fields, that art will become more visibly proximate to healing. It is clear to me that research in biophysics, not least in the area of biophotonics, and that of electro magnetic fields, will play a significant part in the evolution of moist media, the substrate of 21st century art, embracing crossovers between telematics, neuroscience, mo biology, quantum physics, and nanoengineering in the work of artists, designers, performers and architects. At the same time, our increasingly post-materialist disposition seeks models of mind and ways of being which will increasingly find new meaning in the spiritual traditions and knowledge of cultures previously dismissed as alien or exotic.

The defining aesthetic of this media-shift will be technoetic, that is to say a fusion of what we know and may yet discover about consciousness (noetikos) with what we can do and will eventually achieve with technology. It will make consciousness both the subject and object of art. In older and wiser societies Techne and Noetikos have always been related, and at every level. Art has always been a spiritual exercise no matter what gloss prevailing political attitudes or cultural ideologies have tried to force upon it. The construction and navigation of a world constituted by hybrid realities has much to offer to this metaphysical aspiration.

Just as globalisation means that not only are we are all connected, but that our ideas, institutions, even our own identities are constantly in flux, so too will moistmedia bridge the artificial and natural domains, transforming the relationship between consciousness and the material world. We move fast not only across the face of the earth but also across the reach of our minds. Our cyberception zooms in on the smallest atomic particle of matter and pans out to scan the whole universe. Through advanced technologies we are evolving a double consciousness, which allows us to perceive simultaneously the inward dynamic of things and their outward show. Just as in the past, evolution of mind has always involved the evolution of the body, so distributed mind will seek a distributed body. To assist in the embodiment of this connectivity of mind is part of the artist’s task, to navigate the fields of consciousness that new material systems will generate, is part of art’s prospectus. We are seeing the formation of a new world, and we are here at the beginning of the Big Bang (Bits, Atoms, Neurons, and Genes): here the actual and virtual interact, with both matter and mind permeable and transformational. This Big Bang implies a transition to a much more complex level of human
identity, forcing us to look deeply at what is it to live at the edge of the Net, half in cyberspace and half in a world increasingly nano-engineered from the bottom up. What Mixed Reality technology provides us with is another skin, another layer of energy to the body, adding to the complexity of its field. It suggests that instead of populating the MR space with (virtual) objects we would be more integrative if we considered it as a medium for the creation of fields, or as we could say as an extension of the biofield itself. Just as the relationships between biophotonics and psychic states is under examination, so too might virtual space be seen as the generator of altered consciousness. Just as DNA is the main source of biophoton activity, so might MR be the field in which new possibilities for living systems might be rehearsed, and in which a cybermorphology might emerge. At a gross level, an MR environment can be seen as an accelerator or radiator of the biophotonic transmission of knowledge. Since a photon is a signal of a quantum nature, it therefore emanates from a quantum system. The whole body must be considered in a state of quantum coherence, with each molecule interacting with each other within a field. Just as the field has a regulatory effect on molecules, so molecules give boundary limits to the field. What happens then when a VR environment extends this boundary and redefines the field? Hybrid Reality, I would suggest, becomes entangled in the states of quantum coherence, and telematic VR, networked reality, suggests the emergence of universal connectivity and non-linear relationships existing beyond the classical constraints of space and time. Biophotons orchestrate the quantum coherence of the living being, and may lead us to establishing the quantum coherence of virtual states.

Let me return to the research of Jeremy Narby (see) [ Narby, J. 1998. The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge. London: Gollanz,] , and his book Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge. Narby suggests is in Vegetal Reality, we are, in some way, communicating with our own DNA, and this is where our visions originate. We do not know why most of our DNA is there - a mere 3% accounts for the whole diversity of life. Narby thinks information comes from the mysterious junk DNA, the 97% we don’t account for. He speculates that, once someone taps into their own DNA, it can then communicate across organisms, across species - even across the boundary between animal and plant - and that the totality of the entire DNA in the world forms a kind of matrix.

We can say that for millennia the Vegetal Reality technology of shamanic cultures has enabled them to know that the vital principle is the same for all living beings and is shaped like two entwined serpents (or a vine, a rope, a ladder...). DNA is the source of their botanical and medicinal knowledge, which can be attained only in defocalized and "nonrational" states of consciousness, though its results are empirically verifiable. The
myths of these cultures are filled with biological imagery. And the shamans’ metaphoric explanations correspond quite precisely to the descriptions that biophysicists are starting to provide. Before we dismiss critically these ideas as “merely metaphorical”, that is not real science, we should remember perhaps that the war of interpretation in the field of quantum physics was won by the use of metaphor by Neils Bohr and his Copenhagen School, as Mara Beller of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shown in her book Quantum Dialogue; the making of a revolution. Just as she argues for dialogical discourse rather than paradigmatic dogma within science, so I think we should attempt to build a dialogic discourse between western science and native bodies of knowledge. The ethno botanical studies of the late Edward Schultes of Harvard has opened the way to this.

There is much to be gained in both biological sciences and the arts from research, which seeks correspondences and collaborations between the technologies of machines and plants, within the natrificial space of the Three VRs. Indeed it can be argued that the whole ecological movement could gain if a constructive dialogue with technology would be instituted which tried to see the deep correspondences between western science
and archaic knowledge. The problem is not with science but with the rejection of science at its leading edge in favour of the old scientific paradigm, that very paradigm which refuses the spiritual implications of quantum physics, for example, or the very intelligence of plants, so to speak, that biophysics might reveal.

The role of hybrid reality technologies and telematic interactive media more generally can be seen to have much potency in creating dynamic equilibrium between the three VRs. In this talk I have tried to indicate some of the many issues that call for research and reflection, innovative practice, and theoretical elucidation, in the field of hybrid reality, if new media art is to mature and take its place in the world. If potent images,
environments, systems and structures are to be constructed which can challenge the constraining orthodoxies of thought and behaviour, now increasingly supported by violence, whether overtly fundamentalist or covertly repressive of our liberties, and not only from without but increasingly within civil society, new conditions for creative practice, transdisciplinary research, critical interaction, and collaborative effort must
be established and maintained. The orthodoxy of universities and art academies more or less inhibits, if it does not expressly outlaw, this very transdisciplinarity. New instruments, and organisms of learning and production are quite urgently needed. As new science emerges, as with biophysics, and our knowledge of the function of light as information, and the forming potential of fields, so too must art develop, especially in
the digital, virtual and telematic domains, towards the realisation of new possibilities for living and learning in the new constructed realities. In our new understanding of the world and ourselves, what once classically was seen as coherent is now seen as an illusion, rather as if we had acquired behind-the-scenes access to Duchamp’s old wooden door in the Philadelphian Museum ix [Duchamp, M. 1946-66. Etants donnés: 1.La chute d’eau, 2. Le gaz d’éclairage. Philadelphia Museum of Art.]. Hybrid reality moves beyond technology, entertainment and art, to take on a defining role in the ontology of our existence, providing a new field in which we can attempt to answer Schrödinger’s eternal question: “what is life?” In so doing it may provide a bridge between the biophotonic information networks of our bodies with the telematic networks of a our world. Let there be light!

ROY ASCOTT - Biophotonic Flux: bridging virtual and vegetal realities. 2003
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Queremos llevar la accion audiovisual más allá de la pantalla y el tiempo, explorar distintas formas de interactividad y cine expandido, inventar nuevas dimensiones y metaniveles narrativos. Para ello nos basaremos en una secuencia de una película mítica de terror y entre todos crearemos varias metanarraciones o pequeñas historias dentro de la secuencia. Hackearemos de foma narrativa la secuencia y lo haremos con herramientas open source.
El taller se dividirá en tres mesas de trabajo:
• Interactividad en tiempo real
• Narrativa aumentada
• Arquitectura / inmersividad

Presentación y casos de referencia.

Guionización de las metanarraciones.

Experimentación y prototipado de metanarraciones.

Real Time y cine aumentado
Heinz Von Foerster 1:08:00
THE BOOK by Gene Youngblood