Paolo Atzori on Tue, 19 Dec 95 03:58 MET

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P.: Is the shape of the agents strictly related with some kind of processes? 
Are there different categories of agents, each with a specific architecture on both level, algorithmic and visual?

Y.: The shape is only a metaphor for a model. We define borders for our model. The borders we are investigating and developing imply a kind of representation, not specialized but interactive.

P.: So there is no symbolism, no allegory?

C.: Maybe there come up some new things. In the work represented here all the agents are autogenerative. They are connected to processes in the Internet which change continuosly. These agents always modify themselves. 
They offer also points of interest which can be activated by the observer of the installation. Thus the knowbot will also mutate and react according to the interest of the visitor.

P.: Which is the logic you follow to develop the agents, where do you find the first input to design them?

C.: The first outlines of the knowbot relate to visual material that is used in the research fields mixed with our creativity... For example one agent refers to the computer simulation of the tide of the Antarctic sea; we develop a model and write an interface for data coming from the satellite observation.
The interesting thing is that we deal with processes you can't see in reality. Hidden processes, sometimes extremely small or extremely big, and very complex. Furthermore you can't live in the Antarctic, it means you can't experience directly, empirically this kind of reality without the help of technology.
Actually for the scientists it does not make anymore sense to work directly in contact with the nature. They need data,  intelligent data for their terminals in the institutes. And intelligent data means that you have installed robots and automata which live there all the year long sending periodically raw data. Only few scientists need to go there to maintein the functionality of these robots. Sometimes they put sensors on the animals living in the Antarctic continent directly connected to computers. They exterritorialize their nature in the networks. maybe our artistic work is a kind of re-territorialization.

Y.: The important is not to discuss the meaning of measures, rather how can we visualize and handle this complexity of information. That's a problem for the scientists too. There are so many data: how can we turn it into information and knowledge, how can we handle this with the knowledge we have?

P:You said about this new work that maintains the state of process, not only for the interactivity but also because keeps itself constantly updated. 
Since we cannot follow the whole information processing you make a selection of the information displayed inside the simulation space otherwise it would be a completely chaotic system since the information are coming almost in real time. How do you make this kind of classification?

C: It is necessary to define a strategy about order and the generation of new things. With computers we analyze fragments of the reality and at the same time we build and initiate complex processes. This is what the work is dealing about. You can't deal directly with data fields and with databases to make a model only by analysis; you get millions of data the human brain is unable to perceive. 
To outline a model that simulate one year of a certain natural process you need 'giga-tons' of data to keep the simulation running. You really have to find new criteria, new formulations or maybe new bodies (we call them "incorporations") to construct, visualize and perceive such models.

P.: Your pervious installation "Simulations Mosaic Raum" was a selforganized system consisting of elements of communication, data sounds, collected through Internet. This work induces a new insight dimension where one miss the usual feeling for orientation: the visitor/actor can navigate a 'datascape', the composition of the information in the darkness reveals new clues of perception, new sense of space, the space/process of information .
At the same time another level of perception is involved using the data coming from the visitor's interaction converted by a motion tracking system in a algorithm and transferred in real time to the 'reality' of the computer. 
In another room another program visualize the floating entity of the agents with 3D computer graphic displayed by a video-beamer on a large surface. 
I am very interested on your concept of space where you can implement these information organized by the knowbots...

Y.: To think over the main topic of the new project too. It's not the question to find one aesthetic or a language everybody can understand but to define the nature and its information output, between reality and virtual space. To the define the differences between discussion and discourse.To define the differences among the various concepts of nature is itself a process.

C.:It is not efficient to use sculptural terminology but we are deeply investigating new concepts of "bodies". Is not the body idea in our common, psychological meaning.  Our concept of bodies comes from these kind of entities which generate the different layers of our reality and we look for these generators mostly in data spaces.
For us Knowbots are means for incorporations of ideas, and also of reality concepts. This is a little similar to our former project where we had a "sound space", a space consisting of ideas formulated with sounds, connected by the interactive visitor. In the simulation room one only could connect two ideas at once.
We were interested in the tensions originated between two ideas, the gap between two sounds and not in the idea itself. 
In this new project we have 'bodies', complex connectors, which link complex fields of ideas. We touch one of the biggest problem of science: to gain a more complex simulation it is necessary to simulate several organisms/processes together in one program, to compare at the same time different kind of data 
This leads to our next question: "What can you encode and what you cannot encode?" 

P: Your idea of 'bodies' could be interpreted as a model of artificial life, because the knowbots are able to change themselves according to the changes of the ideas it's an endless process, that once started can go further independently.

C: Yes, but as a vision, a wish...

Y.:In fact it does not work like artificial life, the artificial life is one to one translation. We, on the other hand, take the reality and the simulation together, a kind of new function with its own borders to reality or to cyberspace.