Art That Learns Installation
This installation would explore the sense of self based on the workings of the biological immune system. A usual way of thinking of the edge of the self is the skin – what lies beneath the skin is the self. But we know that there are many nonself particles and a whole passageway of outside world beneath the skin. The immune system (which encompasses the skin) offers an interesting viewpoint. The immune system is a constellation of particles, cells and tissues that work together to constantly assess what is in the body, and whether what it finds belongs to the body – is self- or not – nonself. Cells of the immune system are taught this classification during their maturation. This makes the immune system a kind of barrier that defines the wholeness or integrity of the body/self in a more subtle and dynamic way.
This installation would explore these thoughts by taking in information from its environment, including visitors to the space, creating “self” and “nonself” categories and classifying each input as “self” or “nonself”. Elements that are “self” would be illuminated with a continuous light projection.
o Input: visitors to a space
o Black Box: Decision of whether the input is self or non-self. Can the blackbox decide for itself what will be one and the other?
o Output: A “self” emerges as a light projection characterized by the inputs classified as “self”
I am inspired by biology, and find that the underlying principles are fundamental to our understanding of our selves and the universe. I’m particulary interested in topics like self-organization, consciousness and agency, and how these can be found at multiple levels in Life.