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The Syncretic Imperative

:
towards the spiritual in discovery

Roy Ascott

www.planetary-collegium.net

The ambition to work without boundaries, beyond categories of learning;
to build new realities, new language, and new practices, defines the work
of the artist and gives those practices relevance in the social context

The Spirit of Discovery FACTO Trancoso Portugal 18-21 May 2006
HEALTH WARNING
REDUCTIONIST ALERT!

The artist is prepared to look anywhere, into any discipline, scientific or
spiritual, any view of the world - however esoteric or arcane - any
culture, immediate or distant in space or time, in order to find ideas or
processes which might engender creativity.

There is no meta-language or meta-system that places one discipline
or world-view automatically above all others.

This liberated trans-disciplinarity can inform artistic research at all
levels. This is why we look in all directions for inspiration and
understanding: to the East as well as the West; the left hand path as
well as the right; working with both reason and intuition, sense and
nonsense, subtlety and sensibility.

© roy ascott 2006
• our media is moist
• our mind is technoetic
• our body is transformable
• our planet is telematic
• our reality is syncretic

© roy ascott 2006
Why “syncretic”?
extended
field consciousness

Vegetal Reality emergent
psychoactive plant technology cybermorphology
entheogenic, spiritual
ego boundaries
diffused

syncretic
reality

Validated Reality Virtual Reality
reactive mechanical technology interactive digital technology
prosaic, Newtonian telematic, immersive

The three VRs

© roy ascott 2006
Syncretic F.A.Q
• bringing together disparate entities- material and non-material -
and their philosophic, religious, and cultural customs and codes.
Syncretic?
• emergent bodies of knowledge plus the wisdom of older cultures,
often embracing what is unfamiliar, alien, or proscribed
• syncretic thinking is associative and non-linear
• the etymology of syncretic is from sun-kretismos derived from
the coming together of the ancient Cretans to face a common
enemy
• in different historical and religious contexts the common enemy
has been military, religious, political
• In present day cultural terms the enemy is habit – the uncritical
repetition of behaviours, opinions, perceptions and values - the
enshrining of metaphors and verities that have passed their sell-
by date.

© roy ascott 2006
• Understanding contemporary reality as SYNCRETIC will lead
to significant changes in the way we regard our identity, our
relationship to others, and the phenomenology of time and
space.

• SYNCRETISM not only destabilises orthodoxies and changes
language, it may also result in the release of the self from the
constraints of overweening rationality and totalising dogma.

• In religious or spiritual contexts, SYNCRETISM means
combining rituals, psychic instruments, the assimilation of
plants and herbs, into new forms of sacred communion.

• A parallel process of the bringing together of disparate
technologies (interactive and digital, reactive and mechanical,
psychoactive and chemical), and new rituals of
communication (mobile, online), and forms of community (the
Net), is seen in our society, and remains open to the
incorporation of the older arcana.

© roy ascott 2006
• I n the past, religious syncretism has suffered at the hands of
orthodoxy. Think of the Gnostics, Neo-Platonists and
Hermeticists of the late renaissance, the eradication of the
Cathars, the wholesale burning of witches, and the assault on
Rosicrucianism.

• All these bodies of knowledge and belief have been syncretic in
their formation, always bringing together the unfamiliar,
proscribed, alien, non-linear structures of thought.

• T he early 20th century saw the emergence of spiritual and psychic
syncretism in Brazil, as exemplified by Umbanda, Candomble,
Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal, Barquinha, Kardecism
(spiritism).

• A study of these practices involves pharmacology, neuroscience,
shamanism, spiritual healing, ethnobotany, art, dance, and
architecture .

• T he study of these practices is meaningless without profound
subjective experience and immersion in them .

© roy ascott 2006
It was perhaps Hans Bonnet who first characterized syncretism as the
realization of the idea of one god "inhabiting" another rather then two
gods being fused, equated or identified.

Using the example of Amun-Re, Bonnet argues that:"The formula
Amun-Re does not signify that Amun is subsumed in Re or Re in Amun.
Nor does it establish that they are identical; Amun does not equal Re. It
observes that Re is in Amun in such a way that he is not lost in Amun,
but remains himself just as much as Amun does, so that both gods can
again be manifest separately or in other combination

The Syncretism of Egyptian Gods. Jefferson Monet
Domestic syncretism: Bangalore, 2000 Photo: Clare Arni
Valle do Amadhecer Photo: Ascott 2001
NAME FIGURE SYMBOL HEAVENLY BODY SPHERE
OXALÁ CHRIST CROSS SUN SPACE
LEMANJÁ HOLY VIRGIN ANCHOR MOON SEA
OGÚM SAINT GEOR SWORD MARS VARIOUS
OXOSSI SAINT SEBASTIAN ARC AND ARROW MERCURY FORESTS
XANGÓ SAINT JEROME MACHETE JUPITER STONES AND STARS
OXUM IMMACULATE
CONCEPTION HEART VENUS RIVERS AND FOUNTAINS
OMULÚ SAINT ROCK AND
SAINT BLASE CRUCIFIX SATURN CEMETERIES
Syncretic ritual

The Brazilian ceremonies of
Candomble and Umbanda
constitute a complex
syncretism in their codes
and protocols

Photo: Ascott 2001
shamanic
possession
Seoul Photo: Ascott 2001
© roy ascott 2006
Every fibre, every node, every server on the Net is a
part of me.

It’s a phase space I’m in, a sort of tele-potentiality.

As I interact with the Net, I reconfigure myself.

My net-extent defines me, just as my body defined me
in the old biological culture.

I am weightless and dimensionless in any exact sense.

I am the reach of my connectivity.

© roy ascott 2006
PLANETARY CONSCIOUSNESS
Remembering the Martin Amis commentary on 9/11, where, in recent
Western thought, did the notion of species consciousness and
planetary consciousness arise? Certainly Marx invoked species
consciousness in Private Property and Communism back in1844, and
more recently its currency has been renewed by New Age writers of
varying complexion, from the so-called info-mystics to more
orthodox scientists such as the Pittsburgh physicist Oliver Reiser
with his Psi-field of 1966. Peter Russell in The Awakening Earth
1982 made the case for its emergence out of our telecommunications
complexity. We have seen other terms appear in this context. Pierre
Levy in 1994 published L'Intelligence Collective, and Derrick de
Kerckhove, a tireless advocate of McLuhan’s global village,
published Connected Intelligence in 1997. Aldous Huxley talked of
Mind-at-large In the Doors of Perception, 1954, as did Gregory
Bateson, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) . De Chardin’s
Noosphere provided a more fully spiritual dimension. And of course no
one can forget the planetary vision of Buckminster Fuller .

© roy ascott 2006
Radical Connectivism

Telematics is about the connectivity of minds. The potentiality
of being distributed beyond the constraints of space and time,
in asynchronic communication. It means a kind of
entanglement at the social level. Central to this is the Web’s
hyperlink: a kind of semiotic black hole that instantly brings
one into other universes of discourse, other worlds, other
constructions of reality. Just as wormholes are described as
tunneling in quantum foam, connecting widely separated
locations in the galaxy, we tunnel through data foam from
hyperlink to hyperlink across our planetary Web.
This is telematic mind, collective intelligence reaching a level
of complexity which suggests the emergence of a kind of
hypercortex, now at the core of our reality engine.
Heinz von Forster’s On constructing a reality concluded with
the simple formula: reality = community. Our community is
telematic community, set in a many-worlds, hybridized
reality.

© roy ascott 2006
Donna Haraway

Before her well known assertion “I would rather be a Cyborg, than a
Goddess”

she celebrated Field Theory in her book

Crystals, fabrics, and fields. Metaphors of organicism in 20th century
developmental biology. (1976)

in which she recognises Alexander Gurwitsch as the first to use the
term ‘field’ in biology (in 1922).

Gurwitsch is at the root of the renaissance of contemporary field theory
in biology. His ideas have been central to the development of the work
of Fritz-Albert Popp.
Fritz-Albert Popp
Biophoton emission is a general phenomenon of living systems. It
concerns low luminescence from a few up to some hundred photons
per second, per square centimeter surface area, at least within the
spectral region from 200 to 800nm. The experimental results indicate
that biophotons originate from a coherent (or/and squeezed) photon
field within the living organism, its function being intra and
intercellular regulation and communication.

roy ascott 2006
• B i o electrical or bioelectromagnetical phenomena have
been known for a long time, but the coherent bio-
electromagnetic fields, including biophoton fields are
a new concept.

• They exist in living biological systems although we
cannot see them.

• They are some kind of structure with specific
patterns, but they are not real matter, only fields
which regulate and bring the living system into a Kobayashi Biophotons Lab
coherent state.

• In such a state within the coherent volume, there is no
difference between particles and waves, therefore
distance has no meaning.

• This state provides ideal conditions for the
communication that is the basis for biological
regulation.
Zhang. J. 2002
.

roy ascott 2006
International Institute of
Biophysics, Neuss, Germany

Photon: a quantum of visible
light or other form of electro-
magnetic radiation demonstrating
both particle and wave properties Below: a living system emitting biophotons

roy ascott 2006
Biophotons and Mixed Reality technology

• Mixed Reality and bio-telematics may become entangled with
the quantum states of coherence, leading to the emergence of
universal connectivity and non-linear relationships that exist
beyond the classical constraints of space and time.

• Biophotons orchestrate the quantum coherence of the living
being, and may lead us to ideas in some pixel/particle
exchange of establishing the quantum coherence of virtual
states.

• At the material level, Mixed Reality technology provides us
with another skin, another layer of energy to the body, adding
to the complexity of its field.

• Instead of populating Mixed Reality space with (virtual)
objects we could consider it as a medium for the creation of
(virtual) fields, or as an extension of the biofield itself.

• Just as DNA is the main source of biophoton activity, so might
Mixed Reality be the field in which new possibilities for living
systems could be rehearsed.

© roy ascott 2006
An organism’s information network of photons emitted

by DNA molecules is paralleled technologically by the

constant flows of electrons and photons across the

body of the planet through telematic networks.

© roy ascott 2006
©roy ascott 2005
Whose epiphenomenon are we anyway?

© roy ascott 2006
technoetics

Technoetic inquiry in the field of art, technology and consciousness
constitutes a new field of practice. Both post-biological research and
the investigation of psychic states are involved, from the leading edge
of scientific thought to the spiritual centre of ancient cultures.
Telematic connectivity is at the heart of this creative process.

© roy ascott 2006
The hypercortex may inform and be informed by the structural
coupling of each individual within the network, and thereby affect the
status of human identity, leading in evolutionary terms to the
emergence of the ‘subtle being’.
The Self becomes more negotiable, transactional, impermanent,
transformative in its definition.
The Self is an ongoing creation, open to differentiation, distribution and
dissemination through telepresence, with a kind of non- linear identity
in which fixed patterns of behaviour, conditioning, and enforced
protocol become the exception rather than the rule.
This subtlety of being will call for a subtle art, which will embody
interstitial practice, art located at the intersections of e.g. cognitive
science, bio engineering, and metaphysics.

© roy ascott 2006
• It is through our eventual understanding of that subatomic
domain that we may discover the source of consciousness.

• We should be prepared to discover that “individual
consciousness” is no more than an oxymoron.

• While individual self-awareness is a prerequisite of living
beings, consciousness is more likely to be the attribute of a
field than of the individual organism.

• A strong advocate for this point of view is Hans-Peter Durr,
of the Max-Plank-Institut für Physic, Munich

© roy ascott 2006
Immaterial Connectedness - the physical basis of life.
Hans-Peter Durr
Max-Plank-Institut fuer Physic, Munich

•quantum physics reveals that matter is not composed of matter, but
reality is merely potentiality.

•the world has a holistic structure, based on fundamental relations and
not material objects, admitting more open, indeterministic
developments.

•in this more flexible causal framework, inanimate and animate nature
is not to be considered as fundamentally different, but as different order
structures of the same immaterial entity.

• in a stable configuration effectively all the uncertainties are
statistically averaged out, thus exhibiting the unique and deterministic
behaviour of ordinary inanimate matter

• in the case of statistically unstable but dynamically stable
configurations, the ‘lively’ features of the underlying quantum structure
have a chance to surface to the macroscopic level and be connected
with what we observe as the phenomenon of life.
DE-MATERIALISATION RE-MATERIALISATION

DRY WET
wet

telematic biological
systems processes

media

emergent mind emergent form

POST-BIOLOGICAL CULTURE
© roy ascott 2006
MOIST MANIFESTO

moist space is where dry pixels and wet molecules converge
moist art is digitally dry, biologically wet, spiritually numinous
moist reality combines virtual reality with vegetal reality
moist media comprises bits, atoms, neurons, and genes.
gr2000az moist architecture thinks, feels and returns our gaze
moist life embraces digital identity and biological being
moist mind is technoetic multiconsciousness
moistware internalises hardware
moist manufacture is neuro-constructive, and nano-robotic
moist engineering embraces ontology
moist design is bottom-up, seeded and emergent
moist communications is bio-telematic and psi-bernetic

Ascott, R. 2000. The Moist Manifesto. In: H. Conrad and R.
Kriesche, eds. Comm.gr2000az: Kunst – Wissenschaft –
Kommunikation. New York: Springer. pp. 44-49
Fluorescent Dictyostelium
The biobot has a colony of
GFP amoeba called
Dyctiostelium discoideum
GFP fish
as its !rain cells

Synthetically luminescent
life forms share their
environment with a biobot,
a robot whose actions are
GFP mice
controlled by a colony of
amoeba acting as its brain.

All of the transgenic creatures in The Eighth Day are created
THE EIGHTH DAY through the cloning of a gene that codes for the production of
EDUARDO KAC green fluorescent protein (GFP). As a result, all creatures express
the gene through bioluminescence visible with the naked eye.
The transgenic creatures in The Eighth Day are GFP plants,
GFP amoeba, GFP fish, and GFP mice.
Georgia Tech Researchers Use Lab Cultures to Control Robotic
Device
— The Hybrot, a small robot that moves about using the brain signals
of a rat, is the first robotic device whose movements are controlled by a
network of cultured neuron cells.

Steve Potter and his research team in the Laboratory for
Neuroengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology are studying
the basics of learning, memory, and information processing using
neural networks in vitro. Their goal is to create computing systems that
perform more like the human brain.

Potter is connecting laboratory cultures containing living neurons to
computers in order to create a simulated animal, which he describes as
a neurally-controlled animat.

"We call it the ‘Hybrot’ because it is a hybrid of living and robotic
components,” he said

roy ascott 2006
MEART - "The semi living artist"

SymbioticA Research Group in collaboration
with The Steve Potter Lab

MEART - The Semi Living Artist is a geographically
detached, bio-cybernetic project. Meart takes the basic
components of the brain (isolated neurons) attaches them
to a mechanical body through the mediation of a digital
processing engine to attempt and create an entity that will
seemingly evolve, learn and become conditioned to express
its growth experiences through "art activity".
MEART's brain - the living neural cultures –was set up in
Steve Potter's lab. A multi channel neural recording from
MEART's brain was performed. The data sets, extracted
from the living neurons, was processed in two locations -
Atlanta & in the Eyebeam Gallery. The outcome was used
to control the drawing arm and to stimulate the neurons as
feedback.

roy ascott 2006
MARTA DE MENEZES

Nature? A butterfly with modified wings
developed at Leiden University (NL).
'My main aim was to create works of art
in which art and life are simultaneously
present by using the possibilities of biology JOE DAVIES
as a new medium for artistic creation.’ "Artistic work constructed from synthetic
molecules of DNA. The first of these artistic molecules,
Microvenus, contains a coded visual icon representing the
external female genitalia and by coincidence, an ancient
Germanic rune representing the female Earth.
[The] work was carried out with molecular geneticist
Dana Boyd at Jon Beckwith's laboratory at Harvard Medical
School and at Hatch Echol's laboratory at University of
California, Berkeley.” Ars Electronica:

roy ascott 2006
By growing Victimless Leather, the Tissue Culture & Art Project i
further problematising the concept of garment by making it Semi-
Living.

• The Victimless Leather is grown out of immortalised cell lines
which cultured and form a living layer of tissue supported by a
biodegradable polymer matrix in a form of miniature stich-less
coat like shape.

• The Victimless Leather project concerns with growing living
tissue into a leather like material.

• This artistic grown garment will confront people with the
moral implications of wearing parts of dead animals for
protective and aesthetic reasons and will further confront
growing Victimless Leather
notions of relationships with living systems manipulated or
otherwise.

• An actualized possibility of wearing ‘leather' without killing an
animal is offered as a starting point for cultural discussion.

• We see our role as artists as one in which we are providing
tangible example of possible futures, and research the
potential affects of these new forms on our cultural
perceptions of life.

roy ascott 2006
Oron Catts & Ionat Zur
Tissue Culture Art

SymbioticA:
Art & Science Collaborative Research Laboratory,
University of Western Australia
YASMIN and bio art

To become a member & Yasmin list archive:
http://www.media.uoa.gr/yasmin/

To post: yasmin@estia.media.uoa.gr
Singing and Screaming in the Nanofield

• James Gimzewski and Andrew Pelling at the UCLA Department of Chemistry made the
discovery (in 2002) that yeast cells oscillate at audible frequencies.

! The tool with which the cell sounds are extracted – the atomic force microscope (AFM) –
can be regarded as a new type of musical instrument.

! The AFM touches a cell with its small tip, comparable to a record needle feeling the
bumps in a groove on a record. With this interface, the AFM feels oscillations taking place
at the membrane of a cell which can then be amplified.

! Manipulating the cell with chemicals will result in a change of oscillation. Isopropanol
(rubbing alcohol) for example, will change a singing cell into a screaming cell.

! Artists Anne Niemetz and Andrew Pelling have put together the first composition to
utilise cell sonics: The Dark Side of the Cell

Gimzewski: all is vibration

roy ascott 2006
A single carbon-60 molecule,
named a "buckyball" for
Buckminster Fuller.

NANO 2003
Victoria Vesna/
Jim Gimzewski
Los Angeles
County Museum of Art
david mcconville
ELUMENATI
OMNIFOCUS
PROJECTION
SYSTEM
Diana Slattery
Nineteen psychedelics have each been screened
against over one hundred receptors, transporters
and ion channels , providing the first
comprehensive view of how these compounds
interact with the human receptome.
Each individual psychedelic causes a unique
spectrum of subjective effects. DIPT causes
auditory distortion. 5MeO-DIPT enhances orgasm
in males but not females. MDMA provokes
empathy. TMA provokes anger. Mescaline
TOM RAY provokes an appreciation of beauty. 2C-B causes
tactile, gustatory and sexual enhancement. 2C-E
provokes rich fantasy and introspection
Tierra
The project aims to understand the mechanisms
A-life underlying the qualitative diversity of actions of
psychedelics, by locating each drug in an abstract
Synthetic organisms have been "receptor space", a coordinate system with one
created based on a computer axis for each receptor.
metaphor of organic life in which The state of the brain is constantly on the move,
CPU time is the “energy” resource regardless of medication. We can think of it as a
and memory is the “material'’ complex dynamical system, in which the
resource. Memory is organized trajectory follows high-dimensional orbits, and
into informational patterns that switches among many "attractors", where the
attractors represent the major emotional states
exploit CPU time for self-
and moods, and whatever mental phenomena the
replication. Mutation generates
chemical systems are mediating.
new forms, and evolution proceeds In this dynamic reference frame, drugs will
by natural selection as different create a perturbation along the binding vector,
genotypes compete for cpu time thereby pushing the system into a new attractor.
and memory space. We want to get to know the pharmacology of the
attractors. . . .to begin to map the chemical
organization of the human mind.
roy ascott 2006
• For the artist at the leading edge of inquiry, the digital moment
seems to be passing, with the computer now totally absorbed
into our culture

• The ‘pharmacological’ moment is upon us, both within
cognitive science and beyond its current borders, and only
legislation, caution, and political expediency, backed by the
credo of extreme materialism, will prevents us from exploring
new worlds, and participating in new realities.

• The separation of “advanced” technologies of the Valley
(Silicon) from the ancient technologies of the Forest (Gabon,
Amazonia) for example, may become increasingly irrelevant,
as we look to a kind of technological co-evolution of
consciousness-changing agencies.
.

© roy ascott 2006
Vegetal Reality Vegetal technology
psychoactive plant technology
entheogenic, spiritual

©©roy
roy ascott
ascott 2006
2005
Banisteriopsis caapi + Psychotria viridis

Brewing the ayahuasca

Santo Daime
Pablo Amaringo
Five questions

• Is our drive to created wider and deeper and faster networks an
evolutionary impulse to engage more fully with universal mind?

• Does the telematic field of cyberception attempt to mirror or
even augment our awareness of the field of consciousness?

• How aware are we of our own teleological promptings, the
purposive impulse of our own DNA?

• Is our interest in the hybridization of forms and materials related
to the hybridization of space?

• Are we developing a syncretic reality that merges mixed reality
technology, vegetal reality, and the realities governed by
metaphors of biology and quantum physics, language and social
habit?

©roy ascott 2006
Five unknowns

• Dark matter and dark energy

• The location of mind

• The nature of qualia

• Evolutionary purpose

• The influence of energy fields

© roy ascott 2006
My fellow citizens of the world,

ask not what science can do for art

but what art can do for science

© roy ascott 2006
• Scientists do not know what makes up 96% of the Universe. We
live in the midst of unknown dark matter and dark energy

• As above so below. We also know next to nothing about
consciousness – where it is located, how it arises, when it is
shared, why it persists.

• The “dark matter” of the mind has been treated as occult, and
banned from polite academic and religious discussion for over
three hundred years.

• Artists have the freedom to absorb both orthodox and forbidden
knowledge and a duty to attempt to bring the unknown to light.

roy ascott 2006
Dark side of the Moon

For John Whiteside Parsons - the early pioneer of rocket
science -"rocketry postulated that we should no longer see
ourselves as creatures chained to the earth but as beings
capable of exploring the universe. Similarly, magic suggested
there were unseen metaphysical worlds that existed and could
be explored with the right knowledge ... [In] striving for one
challenge [Parsons] could not help but strive for the other."
George Pendle. 2005.
Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons. New York:
Harcourt.

While Parsons, (along with Ed Forman and Frank Malina –
founder of Leonardo journal) formed the country's first
governmental rocket group, he also experimented extensively
with the occult, becoming a key figure Aleister Crowley’s
Ordo Templi Orientis, in Los Angeles in the 1930s.

Contrary to those those who saw magic and science as
inherently contradictory Parsons saw them as complementary,
two sides of the same coin.

roy ascott 2006
The space of physics The space of psychics
roy ascott 2006
• The power of metaphor both in art and science is hugely
persuasive.

• The war of interpretation in quantum physics was won with
metaphor by Neils Bohr and his Copenhagen School.

• The data driven visualisations of the cosmos or of our own
microscopic texture are coded conventions at best and
ideological instruments at worst.

© roy ascott 2006
Conclusion
• A syncretic process could hold together the current ferment of
ideas, images and models of reality that communities and
cultures across the planet are generating.

• To recite the story of media art in its syncretic mode is not to
advance its development, nor is it sufficient simply to outline
the syncretic reality that is emerging.

• Strategies to strengthen this emergence are needed

• C u l t ural habit to be viewed as the enemy.

• Need to identify new knowledge fields and develop
transdisciplinary discourse.

• Need to create syncretic, many stranded organisms of
exploration, inquiry, learning and creativity.

• d e m ands a syncretic schedule of artistic, computational,
psychic, biophysical and nanotechnological projects in order
to bring about new conditions for life and art.

© roy ascott 2006
• Field theories offer useful models in charting the relationship
of consciousness to the material body.
• T he (human) organism’s internal information system seems to
be closely connected to the biophotonic activity of its DNA
molecules.
• S c r u tiny of the nano-field may lead to an understanding of
ideas about the immaterial connectedness espoused by both
quantum physics and Eastern metaphysics.
• More ancient cultures that retain a place on the margins of
technological society have also something to tell us, both
directly and metaphorically, about the perception of the
numinous and our construction of reality.
• As it outgrows dialectical sociology, narration and
representation, new media art may play its part in the
navigation of mind that will take us to new spaces and states
of consciousness, while enhancing the technology of our
connectedness.

© roy ascott 2006
psychic space ecospace
apparitional physical
presence presence
field consciousness
spiritual coherence

hybrid space materiality
emergence Agency

tech- syncretic moist
noetics reality media

connectivity world building
cultural coherence quantum coherence

ars technoetica
creativity
nanospace
cyberspace vibrational
telepresence presence
© roy ascott 2006
Strategies

To identify new knowledge fields and develop
transdisciplinary discourse and practice.

Prioritise:

• subject before object

• Process before system

• b e h aviour before form

• intuition before reason

• mind before matter

© roy ascott 2006
the transdisciplinary collegium

amplifying thought
concept development

sharing consciousness
collaborative processes

seeding structures
self-organising systems

making metaphors
Knowledge navigation

constructing identities
self-creation

© roy ascott 2006
society

material

self

consciousness

© roy ascott 2006
CAiiA-Hub
Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Integrative Arts
University of Plymo u t h
Director
Professor Roy Ascott

P-Node
Z-Node
School of Software
Hochschule für Gestaltung
Peking University
und Kunst Zürich
PLANETARY Director
Director
Dr. Kenneth Fields
Professor Jill Scott COLLEGIUM
President
Professor Roy Ascott

M-Node
Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milano
Director:
Professor Francesco Monico
Director of Studies:
Professor Antonio Caronia
Planetary Collegium [7 nodes]
Design: Peter Anders
Planetary Collegium Node
Architect: Peter Anders
INTENTION

The Planetary Collegium was created in response to the
following needs:

• to identify and theorise emergent fields of art
practice

• to develop transdisciplinary discourse

• to advance the integration of art, science, technology,
and consciousness research within a post-biological
culture

• to facilitate worldwide collaboration and networking

• to achieve academic recognition of high level
research in new media arts practice

© roy ascott 2006
• How might new technologies and the metaphors of science
be employed in the education of the artist?
key •
questions • How might the insights of the artist contribute to the
advancement of knowledge in science and to technological
development?

• How can the accrued wisdom of exotic or ancient cultures
be allied to the search for meaning and values in a post-
biological society?

• How might new technologies serve to support and sustain
cultures that lie beyond the Western paradigm?

• How might the Net serve the needs of interactive, non-
linear, transdisciplinary learning, and engender creative
thought and constructive action?

• How might new discourses be initiated which will bring
critical, aesthetic and moral perspectives to bear on
emergent fields of practice?

• While stretching to the full the constructive and expressive
potential of electronic, telematic, and interactive digital
media, how might the Collegium pursue developments in
post-biological research, molecular engineering, neuro
science, and nanotechnology, while identifying artistic and
spiritual strategies that optimise human capabilities, and
seed new visions of a planetary society.
© roy ascott 2006
roy@planetary-collegium.net

www.planetary-collegium.net