Ars Electronica Festival 99: Lifescience, Linz, Austria, September 4-9, 1999, http://www.aec.at/lifescience
Last week I got a parcel from Beograd, with some war-edited books. Surprised to receive something like that from a bombed country, in one of them I read the following statements, “Signalism is an intermedia, interdisciplinary movement, it makes possible a collaboration of all media, arts and science”... “researches on biochemical, psycho-pharmacological means are equal to the researches of Signalism in all media of arts..” “..Signalism accepts researches of physics, biochemistry, cybernetics...” ... ”Signalism goes to a future planetary artist”.
All that was written by the former-Yugoslavian (now Serbian) artist, named Miroljub Todorovic, in the late Sixties, namely in 1968.
The second surprise was to see how these points fit the terms of our actual discussion, I’ve been following, silently up to now, more o less skeptical, more or less involved. Re-thinking of the last quoted sentence, “future planetary artist”, an immediate question arises: all the scientific innovations, we are talking about, go towards the creation of a ‘new human being’ or a ‘new, say planetary, artist’ ?
Again, is the human body worth being experienced like an object apart from any ethical rules or consideration? (That really reminds me of the past experiences done by the now dead beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, with drugs taken by his own body in South and Central America).
Set in other words, my questions aim to clarify, if possible, the philosophical direction of our discussion. Do we try to build up a new ‘artist’ or a new ‘art’? If it is the first case, no doubt that it’s a dangerous risk to play with genes like the colors of a palette. If it’s the second one, well we do need to go far beyond the achievements belonging to body art (do you remember when the Italian artist De Dominicis in a past Venice Biennale, mid Seventies, exhibited a real, handicapped man?) or to Orlan, just to mention two extreme researches. Along this second line, I am unable to distinguish the purpose. Where does the creative work lie?
I’ve always been thinking that science ought to be nourished through a symbiotic mixture represented by the ways of rationalism (Gadamer) and the instinct forces (Vico). Unfortunately one has to admit that the first, nowadays is prevailing which sounds totally negative at my ears.
Losing the balance between rational-instinctive forces means losing the centre of man, rolling inevitably towards an ‘x point’ as Nietzsche rightly said. Now, I’m going to tell you two short stories, whose title could be ‘all that is rational is real, and all that is real is rational’ (the famous statement of Hegel’s panlogism).
I live in the north of Italy, between Bologna and Modena. In this second city, the famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti yearly organizes a huge music concert for humanitarian reasons. During the concert, he spoke to the great audience in Modena and to the millions of TV spectators about his trouble for ‘the small prince’... who ran the risk of dying. Everybody asked who was the ‘small prince’. The ‘small prince’ was the son of Michael Jackson!
Of course nobody said that the rock star had had this son by the nurse who had looked after him during his last illness, as a reward he had decided to have a son with.. but... through artificial insemination. A son yes.... but no sexual contact between the deity and the common people.
Thanks to the fishing boats of the Adriatic Sea fishers we are told that hundreds and hundreds of uranium bombs have been released by NATO fighter-planes. Official news are missing. Nobody speak clearly.
Political ambiguity. We only know that uranium continues influencing the surrounding environment for decades and decades...
So, which is the role played by science in these sad-funny stories? But, above all, where is life? Where is life?
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