I am a Nova Scotia based artist, exploring consciousness and networks through a symbiosis of art and science, with work realized in digital imaging, drawing, painting, and sculpture. My current projects investigate the potential for the emergence of collective intelligences mediated by the creation of art objects, and the relational aesthetics of the collective intelligence art event (CI-Art).
Inspired by the idea of closing the two cultures gap between science and art, my work has progressed from experiments in consciousness and perception with the ‘Qualia’ series, and sculptural responses to recent neuroscience discoveries with ‘Connectome’, through to collaboration with the collective intelligence scientist Dr. Louis Rosenberg in the ‘Nexus’ series of experiments in CI-Art.
The Nexus works are participatory CI-Art events where groups of people connect remotely via the Internet, working together in real-time, focused on the creation of art objects in the form of digital drawings and paintings. The art object enables the emergence of a collective intelligence focused on the creative act; the collective intelligence defined by Pierre Levy in his seminal ‘Collective Intelligence - Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace’ as “a form of universally distributed intelligence, constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effective mobilization of skills... for the mutual recognition and enrichment of individuals”.
The Nexus series of works is situated at the intersection between contemporary collaborative new media and telematics, as pioneered by Roy Ascott (Aspects of Gaia), Aaron Koblin (The Sheep Market) and Scott Draves (Electric Sheep), and the dialogical work of Angela Rogers (Drawing Encounters). The Nexus experiments break new ground as they attempt to become the site for the emergence of collective intelligences concerned with the creative act - interactions in cyberspace that create aesthetic moments and micro-eutopias (not Utopia); that is ‘good places’ as opposed to impossible dreams.
CI-Art is more concerned with interactions and relationships than form. Its aesthetics are best judged by participant reflection. Its art objects are not purely products or commodities. Their importance is tied to the way they mediate the group dynamic of the event. And yet, compositionally and operationally, the art objects of these CI-Art events are well described by Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the Rhizomatic: an ‘interplay’ on the ‘grid’; the ‘multiplicities’ created by the collective; manifested on the ‘plane’ and defined by the ‘abstract line’.
With the Nexus experiments I have developed an approach based upon a quasi-relational dialectic - not one based on verbal dialogue, but a visual dialogue. Actual conversation between the participants is replaced instead with digital mark making - the use of line and colour, repetition and rhythm, tension and equilibrium, asymmetry and balance, addition and negation and so on; these form the words and grammar of the visual dialogue. The overall indeterminate forms are metaphors from science - cells and networks, the connectome and consciousness - expressed, for example, as simple, fundamental planar geometries evolving from the grid.