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Replication as an Art Practice

Replication as an Art Practice

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Published by Michael Kelly

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Michael Kelly on Dec 12, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Replication as a Fine Art Practice
After nearly ten years of reflecting on the nature of human biological and ideologicalrepresentational systems, I was looking to discover how I can practically, technologically, applythese systems to my process of making visual art.During my Philosophy degree, I began to think about what limits there could be in language’sability to represent reality and, conversely, how language could be employed to form versions of reality that meet our needs. This became of practical concern when I went on to work for theadvertising industry, thinking up strategies for creating persuasive versions of reality in theminds of consumers. From this I began to appreciate that, much like a hypnotic induction, part of this process involves the replication of an advertising message across a variety of differentmedia and spaces, from which a consumer begins to associate the repeated presence of amessage with specific instances of their own internal states, which they then associate with aproduct; in short, the advertised reality is replicated in the consumer’s neurones, and so throughthe consumer’s behaviour (and then potentially to others).After leaving the industry I became involved in what is now called the Skeptical Movement: agroup of scientists, artists and bloggers who seek to disrupt the replication of supernatural,pseudo-scientific, and ideological versions of reality in favour of objective reality disclosedthrough formal logic with the scientific method. Part of this involved fostering a deeper appreciation of the evolutionary process, having at its base an imperfect yet sufficiently stablereplicator, as well as appreciation of the various cognitive biases embedded in our representational systems, resulting from how our biological replicators have evolved.Concurrent to this, I was studying for a Psychology degree and working independently on asystems description of human cognition; a coupled together Koch and Sierpinski’s Gasketfractal, which are mathematical ways of describing a dynamic yet stable process of self replication. With this I was able to more deeply describe the human representational system interms of Bowlby’s Internal Working Model, and a mirror neuron network coupled to the visualcortex and attentional resource allocation systems of the human brain. I continue to refine this(Fig 1).
Fig 1. From my notebook 
Research process
My research process involved building on these prior interests, I have therefore included what Ihave retrospectively taken to be seminal research items in the development of myunderstanding (1999 – January 2010), before moving on to research specifically the topic inhand (October 2010 onwards).Each item in the proceeding table was introduced to me either by that which preceded it,through its suggested further reading section, or through a hyperlink – or by reading around thesubject in books.
Date read Reference Comments/outcome
1999 Book. Wittgenstein, L (1981)
TractatusLogico Philosophicus.
RoutledgeAn attempt at alogically andphenomenologicallyself evident model of language, towarddetermining theextent to which it canand cannot representreality. Language asa “picture” of reality;“Whereof one cannotspeak, thereof onemust be silent”.2002 Book. Dennett, D (1996)
Darwin’s DangerousIdea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
.PenguinPictures of realitytend to be accuraterepresentations,insofar as these areuseful for promotingreplication. There arebiological replicators(genes), but perhapsalso cultural (memes)and technological(temes) – with their own interests, notnecessarilycompatible with oneanother.2004
Book. Deuleuze, G & Guattari, F (2004)
 AThousand Plateaus: Capitalism &Schizophrenia.
Continuum InternationalPublishing GroupRepresentationalsystems asinterconnected yetheterogenous;

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