Crlglnally publlshed ln: uobrlla, ÞeLer 1. and kosLlc, Aleksandra (eds.), !"#$%"& ($)* +,-,.%,/,0),1
23&4,-,5$43)/1 $0" +%$0/6,03) 7%4 (Marlbor, Slovenla: klbla, 2000), pp. 47-32.

8%&5 $ 2$49/ :&304 &; <3,=
>#?$0$ @3-,A/B$ CDEEEF

ln hls book 1he Consclous Mlnd, uavld !. Chalmers sLaLes LhaL "from Lhe physlcal facLs abouL a
baL we can ascerLaln all facLs abouL a baL excepL Lhe facLs abouL Lhe consclous experlence.
knowlng all Lhe physlcal facLs we sLlll do noL know whaL lL ls llke Lo be a baL" [1]. We may
agree wlLh Lhe asserLlon LhaL lf we know everyLhlng physlcal abouL cerLaln creaLures we can
sLlll noL be cerLaln lf Lhey are consclous (ln Lhe sense LhaL we conslder ourselves a consclous
specles). We may also agree LhaL knowledge of physlcal facLs abouL anlmals does noL allow us
Lo know whaL Lhelr experlences are llke. Agreelng wlLh boLh premlses does noL lmply LhaL we
should glve up on Lrylng Lo geL closer Lo Lhose unfamlllar "oLhers" and qulL Lhe aLLempL Lo
explore Lhe quesLlon "whaL lL ls llke Lo be" [2] oLher Lhan ourselves. lor arLlsL Lduardo kac Lhe
quesLlon offers a unlque opporLunlLy Lo sLlmulaLe our lmaglnaLlon.

"uarker 1han nlghL" was a Lelepresence arLwork reallzed by kac from !une 17Lh Lo !uly 7Lh
1999 wlLh a roboLlc baL ("baLboL") and approxlmaLely Lhree hundred LgypLlan frulL baLs llvlng
ln Lhe cave aL Lhe 8ll[dorp Zoologlcal Cardens ln 8oLLerdam [3]. 1hls work ls a profound
aLLempL Lo lnvesLlgaLe Lhe posslblllLy of empaLhy Lowards creaLures (noL necessarlly only
baLs) LhaL are dlfferenL from us due Lo Lhelr speclflc sensory and moLor sysLem-Lhe physlcal
facLs LhaL deLermlne Lhelr acLlons and experlences. ln "uarker 1han nlghL" kac addresses Lhe
human machlneanlmal relaLlonshlp wlLh a complex lnLerface, enabllng humans and baLs Lo
become muLually aware of Lhelr presence ln Lhe cave Lhrough Lhe exchange of sonar
emmlsslons. Pumans can experlence Lhe cave Lhrough Lhe baLboL and can vlsuallze Lhe
behavlor of Lhe baLs Lhrough a speclal lnLerface. 1he baLs, on Lhe oLher hand, can hear Lhe
sonar emmlsslons of Lhe baLboL.

kac's provocaLlve work ls sLlmulaLed by Lhe awareness LhaL we cannoL accompllsh a Lhorough
undersLandlng even of our own consclousness and self and Lhe facL LhaL "no one has seen or
ever wlll see a cenLer of gravlLy, or a self elLher" [4]. 1hls undersLandlng echoes uavld Pume,
who ln 1740 wroLe ln hls "1reaLlse of Puman naLure": "l never can caLch myself aL any Llme
wlLhouL a percepLlon and never can observe anyLhlng buL Lhe percepLlon" [3]. ln "uarker 1han
nlghL" kac employs Lelepresence as a vehlcle Lo lnvesLlgaLe Lhe llnk beLween percepLlon and
consclousness. "uarker 1han nlghL" ls noL only abouL our ablllLy Lo see or Lo adapL Lo
condlLlons LhaL are noL ordlnary for us and are naLural Lo Lhe baLs buL lL ls also abouL self-
percepLlon and Lhe experlence of percepLlon and undersLandlng of oLhers.

1he quesLlon posed here ls noL wheLher we can undersLand Lhe physlcal facLs abouL how baLs
move and communlcaLe wlLh each oLher. 1hese facLs are Lhe sub[ecL of a body of sclenLlflc
research whlch ls wldely avallable, and whlch kac has sLudled. 1hrough hls wrlLlng [see noLe
3] Lhe arLlsL made sure LhaL all deLalls abouL echolocaLlon as Lechnlque for orlenLaLlon ln dark
space are LransparenLly explalned. ln so dolng, he makes us aware of Lhe relevance of Lhe
sclenLlflc basls of Lhe pro[ecL and lLs esLabllshlng of a clrculL of lnformaLlon, exchange and
ad[usLmenL beLween Lhe frulLbaLs, baLboL and Lhe vlslLors. Powever, Lhe physlcal facLs
become only sLarLlng polnLs for kac's LreaLlse on Lhelr own llmlLaLlons. ln "uarker 1han nlghL"
Lhe blosonar echolocaLlon sysLem of Lhe baLs ls converLed Lo audlble waves accesslble Lo Lhe
human sensory sysLem. As Lduardo kac creaLes a world ln whlch humans can have slmllar
empaLhlc experlences wlLh anoLher specles, he expands Lhe fleld of lmpacL of hls pro[ecL from
Lechnology Lo culLure.

1homas nagel warns us ln hls semlnal arLlcle [see noLe 2] LhaL lL wlll noL help us Lo Lry Lo
lmaglne whaL lL feels llke Lo percelve Lhe surroundlng world by a sysLem of reflecLed hlgh
frequency sound slgnals (frulLbaLs echolocaLe usually wlLh 30,000 Lo 80,000 herLz LhaL human
ears can noL hear). 1hls warnlng ls Laken by kac as an exclLlng challenge Lo our arLlsLlc (noL
sclenLlflc) lmaglnaLlon. kac LranslaLed Lhe sonar slgnals lnLo Lhe human audlble range by a
frequency converLer placed lnslde of Lhe head of Lhe baLboL. "uarker 1han nlghL" ls a neLwork
of relaLlonshlps, a complex clrculL of slgnals LhaL clrculaLe beLween human (vlslLor wlLh a
headseL), anlmal (baLs emlLLlng and hearlng ulLrasounds as Lhelr "sense of vlslon"), and
machlne (baLboL LhaL slmulaLes Lhe real baLs whlle echolocaLlng ln Lhe same manner as
Lhem). 1hls neL of muLual experlences quesLlons Lhe problem of undersLandlng Lhe "oLher"--a
member of anoLher specles, race, or culLure.

"uarker 1han nlghL" remlnds us LhaL all relevanL physlcal facLs are noL enough Lo provlde us
wlLh proflclenL answers Lo Lhe quesLlon "whaL ls lL llke Lo be". Clven all accesslble
lnformaLlon, Lhe problem of our unlque experlence (whlch forms Lhe basls of our lmaglnaLlon)
remalns unsolved. lL can obvlously help us Lo Lry Lo undersLand whaL lL would be llke for us Lo
behave as a baL behaves buL lL wlll noL help us Lo know whaL lL ls llke for a baL Lo be a baL [6].
AlLhough Lhe work exLends our ablllLles beyond human percepLlon, lL seems LhaL Lhe maln
obsLacle ls sLlll our resLrlcLlon Lo Lhe naLural resources of our body and mlnd, whlch are,
obvlously, lnadequaLe Lo Lhe Lask. Accordlng Lo Maurlce Merleau-ÞonLy, Lhere ls no meLhod
LhaL permlLs us Lo exLrapolaLe compleLely from our own condlLlon Lo Lhe lnner llfe of anoLher
creaLure. We are deLermlned by our own bodlly sLrucLure and lnnaLe capaclLy, whlch seLs
llmlLs Lo Lhe human experlence [7]. ln oLher words, ulLlmaLely human experlence can noL be
anyLhlng llke Lhe experlence of oLher anlmals, no maLLer how close Lhey are Lo humans on Lhe
phylogeneLlc Lree.

1he quesLlon of Lransferrlng daLa perLalnlng Lo one's lnner experlences ls closely relaLed Lo
Lhe quesLlon of evldence for Lhe exlsLence of oLher mlnds polnLed aL Lhe beglnnlng of Lhls
LexL. 1he quesLlons "whaL klnds of mlnds are Lhere" and "how do we know" emerge from Lhe
facL LhaL each of us know only one mlnd from Lhe lnslde and no Lwo of us know Lhe same
mlnd from Lhe lnslde [8]. 1he subsLanLlal dlsagreemenLs among sclenLlsLs abouL Lhe exlsLence
of oLher mlnds comes from Lhe lmposslblllLy Lo conflrm Lhe colncldence of one's lnner wlLh
one's ouLwardly observable capablllLles for percepLual dlscrlmlnaLlon, lnLrospecLlve avowal or
lnLelllgenL acLlons [9].

Cbvlously, Lhls problem ls noL llmlLed only Lo radlcally dlfferenL creaLures for lL exlsLs beLween
one person and anoLher. 1he sub[ecLlve and nonLransferable characLer of experlence ls
evldenL among people and ls an lnescapable obsLacle Lo any compleLe undersLandlng of and
communlcaLlon wlLh each oLher. Moreover, "once LhaL Lhe ablllLy Lo represenL your own
sLrucLure has reached a cerLaln crlLlcal polnL, LhaL ls Lhe klss of deaLh: lL guaranLees LhaL you
can never represenL yourself LoLally" [10]. CognlLlon of self and ln general "ls noL only
represenLaLlon buL also embodled acLlon: Lhe world we cognlze ls noL preglven buL enacLed
Lhrough our hlsLory of sLrucLural coupllng" [11]. 1herefore, Lhe dlfferenL sub[ecLlve
experlences prevenL us from havlng Lhe same "self" sLory Lo Lell. Lvery human mlnd ls
culLurally redeslgned so LhaL only our ablllLy and deslre Lo be engaged ln "presenLlng
ourselves Lo oLhers, and ourselves" [12] and represenLlng ourselves "ln language and gesLure,
exLernal and lnLernal" [13] make us dlfferenL from oLher creaLures.

1hls ldea LhaL cognlLlve sLrucLures emerge from Lhe klnds of recurrenL sensor-moLor paLLerns
LhaL enable acLlons and experlences Lo be percepLually gulded mlghL glve Lhe wrong
lmpresslon LhaL percepLlon ls dlrecL and LhaL Lhere ls no need for any klnd of represenLaLlon.
ln Lhls sense, "uarker Lhe nlghL" ls more Lhan a meLaphor for Lhe good human wlll Lo
undersLand how lL feels ln one's skln. 1he baLboL, Lhe vlrLual reallLy headseL, Lhe converLer of
Lhe hlgh Lo low frequency sounds, Lhe lnLerface generaLed on a compuLer, all Lhose elemenLs
may glve Lhe false lmpresslon LhaL hlgh Lechnology ls Lhe "mlsslng llnk" ln Lhe naLural hlsLory
drlfL LhaL can help us Lo overcome Lhe gap ln Lhe evoluLlonary hlsLory. Powever, Lduardo kac
has only used Lhe Lechnologlcal devlces Lo make and Lo provoke us Lo make Lhe sLep forward
Lo "a mlddle way" of undersLandlng Lhe relaLlons beLween Lhe mlnd and Lhe world: noL ln
opposlLlon Lo each oLher buL raLher muLually consLlLuLlonal. "uarker 1han nlghL" shows how
"knowledge depends on belng ln a world LhaL ls lnseparable from our bodles, or language,
and our soclal hlsLory from our embodlmenL" [14].

1he "mlddle way" would mean LhaL we should accepL as facLs Lhe capaclLles LhaL are rooLed ln
our blologlcal embodlmenL buL we should also accepL LhaL Lhey are experlenced wlLhln Lhe
domaln of "consensual and culLural hlsLory", LhaL Lhe ldea of Lhe world exlsLlng somewhere
"ouL Lhere" lndependenL of Lhe knower wlll never challenge our lnherlLed concluslons of whaL
Lhe mlnd ls. lor Lhe mlnd ls noL "a speclal lnner arena populaLed by lnLernal models and
represenLaLlons buL ls raLher Lhe operaLlon of a profoundly lnLerwoven sysLem, lncorporaLlng
aspecLs of braln, body and world" [13].


1. u. !. Chalmers, 1he Consclous Mlnd ln Search of a lundamenLal 1heory, Cxford unlverslLy
Þress, new ?ork, Cxford, 1996, p.103
2. 1hls quesLlon orlglnaLes from Lhe well known LexL by 1homas nagel "WhaL ls lL llke Lo be a
baL?", flrsL publlshed ln 1974 and reproduced ln MorLal CuesLlons, Cambrldge unlverslLy
Þress, new ?ork, 1979, pp.163-180
3. 1he vlslLors vlew Lhe baLs and Lhe baLboL ln Lhe cave Lhrough a small wlndow buL Lhey are
glven vlrLual reallLy headseL so LhaL Lhey can recelve Lhe audlo and vlsual lnformaLlon. 1hus,
Lhe vlewer's slghL ls Lransformed lnLo Lhe polnL of vlew of Lhe baLboL's sonar. 1he vlewer sees
a serles of real-Llme klneLlc whlLe doLs agalnsL a black background. 1he whlLe doLs represenL
obsLacles encounLered by Lhe baLboL's sonar. lor more compleLe descrlpLlon of Lhe pro[ecL
see: hLLp://www.ekac.org/darker.hLml
4. u. C. uenneLL, "Self as a CenLer of narraLlve CravlLy" ln l. kessel, Þ. Cole and u. !ohnson,
eds, Self and Consclousness: MulLlple ÞerspecLlves, Plllsdale, n!: Lrlbaum, 1992
3. u. Pume, 1reaLlse on Puman naLure, l, lv, sec. 6, quoLed acc. u. uenneLL.
6. 1. nagel, p.169
7. P. L. ureyfus, "1he CurrenL 8elevance of Merleau-ÞonLy's Þhenomenology of
LmbodlmenL", 1he LlecLronlc !ournal of AnalyLlc Þhllosophy, 4 (Sprlng 1996)
8. u. C. uenneLL, klnds of Mlnds 1oward an undersLandlng of Consclousness, 8aslc 8ooks,
new ?ork, 1996, pp.1-19
9. u. C. u. "Consclousness" ln 1he Cxford Companlon Lo Lhe Mlnd, Ld. 8y 8lchard L. Cregory,
Cxford unlverslLy Þress, new ?ork, 1998, p. 161
10. u. 8. PofsLadLer, Cödel, Lscher, 8ach an LLernal Colden 8rald, vlnLage 8ooks, new ?ork,
1989, p.697 1here ls lnLeresLlng analogy beLween mlnd and anL colony LhaL PofsLadLer has
developed ln hls book also quesLlonlng Lhe exlsLence of mlnd among anlmals.
11. l. !. varela, L. 1hompson, L. 8osch, 1he Lmbodled Mlnd, Ml1 Þress, Cambrldge,
MassachuseLLs, London, Lngland, 1991, p. 202
12. u. C. uenneLL, "1he Crlglns of Selves", CoglLo, 3, 1989, p.169.
13. u. C. uenneLL, "1he Crlglns of Selves", p.169
14. l. !. varela, L. 1hompson, L. 8osch, 1he Lmbodled Mlnd Lp .149. lurLher on, ln Lhe
chapLer "SLeps Lo a Mlddle Way" (pp.133-217) Lhe auLhors dlscuss Lhe CarLeslan anxleLy: ln
Lhelr oplnlon Lhe exLreme LreaLlng of "Lhe world and mlnd as opposed ob[ecLlve and
sub[ecLlve poles".
13. A. Clark, "LmbodlmenL and Lhe Þhllosophy of Mlnd", 1rends ln neurosclence,19, 2 1996,

Suzana Mllevska ls an arL crlLlc and curaLor. She publlshes crlLlcal LexLs and revlews regularly
ln perlodlcals such as llash ArL, lndex, Slksl, nu, and Sprlngerln. She has curaLed many
lndlvldual and group pro[ecLs ln Lhe 8alkans, aL Lhe lnLernaLlonal lsLanbul 8lennlal, ln 1urkey,
and also ln Sweden and Lhe unlLed SLaLes. She also parLlclpaLes ln many arL Lheory
conferences and symposlums. CurrenLly she works aL Lhe Museum of Skop[e, Macedonla.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful