Information Instances

Hofstadter,Douglas. "Godel, Escher & Bach". New York: Basic Books, 1979. Page P-6.

"Something very strange thus emerges from the Godelian loop: the revelation of the causal power of meaning in a rule-bound but meaning-free universe. And this is where my analogy to brains and selves comes back in, suggesting the twisted loop of selfhood trapped inside of an inanimate bulb called the 'brain" also has a causal power-- or to put another way, that a mere pattern called "I" comes about --in my view, at least-- via a kind of vortex whereby patterns in a brain mirror the brain's mirroring of the world, and eventually mirror themselves, whereupon the vortex of "I" becomes a real, causal entity. For an imperfect but vivid concrete analogue to this curious abstract phenomenon, think of what happens when a TV camera is pointed at a TV screen so as to display the screen on itself (and that screen on itself, etc.)--what in GEB I called a "self-engulfing television", and in my later writings I sometimes call a "level-crossing feedback loop."

This is an experiment attempting to capture multiple levels of meaning within one photographic image. In its current state, it should be considered only as a test of concept, much as a sketch is to a model is to a prototype. In each of the pictures, there exist at least two takes on an instance in time. The system becomes more complex as more devices are added, each providing a feedback and at times a loop.
Input comes not only from each device but the output of the other devices within the scene, as well as a reflection of itself (via the mirror). The final images are taken with a digital camera to capture one instance in time, and within that instance multiple takes are recorded through different media. For example, in one photograph we might find an instance displayed on the computer monitor, the subject taking the picture, the vhs camera and its output on the television, the computer itself and the quickcam, the digital camera and the instance reflected (and providing visual imagery for input) from the mirror.
The inspiration in part comes from a project exhibited in july at siggraph from the acg group called the introspection machine. Other inspirations for this experiment includes recent readings from Douglas Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher & Bach", Mitchell Resnick's "Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams" and Amy C. Ddmonson's book on Buckminster Fuller, "A Fuller Explanation: The synergetic geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller". The common theme among these three books is the belief that there exist common patterns, or systems in nature in the arts, in life and in the universe.

Sanyo LCD Digital Camera VPC-G200. Uploads images to computer via serial port connection, Panasonic VHS Movie Recorder AG-180, 20" Magnavox Television, Compaq LTE5280 Laptop, Quickcam to upload images via parallel port, tripod, mirror, Compaq Presario 5716 Pentium III computer.



Information Instances: An Experiment in Multiplicity
Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM)
Massachusetts College of Art, Boston
October 2000

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