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This text about the Infolab originated on the occasion of STWST48x3 and was published in the Versorgerin # 115
Information and knowledge have always occupied a central position in the history of mankind. Franz Xaver writes for the STWST INFOLAB 2017.
The Stadtwerkstatt has always been reacting to cultural developments with a certain immediacy. Contemporarily deteriorating conditions for creative work due to machinable information processing can be noted. Hence it is appropriate to investigate about the role of information in our society in order to come up with adequate solutions. Note that this text about multiple perspectives upon information technology (IT) is to be understood within the context of art and displays the personal opinions of the author.
What is information? – How is it defined?
*The analysis of information emerged out of thermodynamics more than 150 years ago. The chaotic dispersion of gas particles defined the opposite of information – entropy.
*It needs several parameters for information to emerge – a broken symmetry in which something is similar but not the same, and a system of reference about this finding.
*Information is the opposite of chaos (negative entropy).
*Information loses its significance when it has reached the receiver.
*Information needs a temporal component.
*Information can be copied endlessly – there is no original.
*Through the storage of information knowledge may be produced.
Evolution and Information
Evolution brought the storage of information in the genotype. Out of nature the homo sapiens developed as a being that can develop technology on his own terms and to process information, as defined above, mechanically. In such a way the perils of contemporary IT are not seen in a comprehensive, holistic context. Life on our planet uses information for its own advancement. It may be rewarding to leave that common perspective behind and to grasp evolution as a result of information that is processed. Therein, information itself becomes the engine of the universe.
The processing of information in nature luckily also brings about some anomalies that help us to gain multiple perspectives. Such anomalies are, for instance, mushrooms. The mycelium as a network of communication interrelating between thousands of sexes. With artistic projects we have done research in 2017 via our Artist-in-Residence program on the boat Eleonore.
At our annual festival Stwst48x3 we show a 24 hour-video program that shows lectures and documentaries about the topic „information“, „digital physics“, and „mycelium networking“ from September 7 – 9, 2017. Among other things you will be explained why a Leberkäsesemmel contains more information than a book with 1000 pages (Harald Lesch; Vom Stein zum Leben).
Videoprogramm „Digital Physics“ 48×3 Mindless:
Idalism, Digital Physics, and Christian Neoplatonism Loma Linda University 12 27 2014
Rebooting the Cosmos Is the Universe the Ultimate Computer
2017 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate De-Extinction
Theoretical Physicist Finds Computer Code in String Theory
Digital Physics Meets Idealism: The Mental Universe
Idealism, Philosophy of Mind, and Digital Physics -Reasonable Faith, -UN-Kearney
Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle - Single Slit, Hydrogen Atom & Bose-Einstein Condensates
What is Information? (1) Reality as Information - Is there Intrinsic Meaning? Sentient Life & Bits
Tom Campbell: Our Reality Is Information
The Quantum World of Digital Physics: Can a Virtual Reality be Real?
What is Consciousness? - Three Stages of Consciousness | Michio Kaku
Digital Physics Argument for God's Existence
John Archibald Wheeler's crazy ideas for a crazy world [video]
Re-thinking a Wheeler delayed choice gedanken experiment, by Jeffrey H. Boyd MD
Vlatko Vedral: Everything is information
Vlatko Vedral - Decoding Reality
Easy Explanation of Quantum Theory - Documentary 
Quantum Theory Made Easy 
The Universe Inside The Brain - Ahmed Hulusi
[HD] These 38 Minutes Will Blow Your Mind! (Quantum + Fractal Science)
The ALL is MIND; the Universe is Mental
What Is Time? (better audio) Determinism, Quantum Physics, Consciousness, Free Will, Causality…
The Illusion of Time, Quantum Theory – Documentary
Free Will, Randomness & Non-Locality - What is Individual Freedom in an Interconnected Universe?
Leonard Susskind on The World As Hologram
Prof. Harald Lesch: Was ist Entropie?
Vom Rand der Erkenntnis | Harald Lesch
Kosmologisch (3/3) • Vom Stein zum Leben • Live im Hörsaal | Harald Lesch
32C3 - Quantenphysik und Kosmologie
Out-of body experiences, consciousness, and cognitive neuroprosthetics: Olaf Blanke at TEDxCHUV
What if the universe was created just for you? | Assiye Süer | TEDxGöteborg
NOTHING: The Science of Emptiness
THE PHYSICS OF INFORMATION: FROM ENTANGLEMENT TO BLACK HOLES
Lawrence M. Krauss 2017 - “Universe from NOTHING!” [FULL]
Quantum Fields: The Real Building Blocks of the Universe - with David Tong
Is Anything Real?
What Is Reality?
Videoprogramm „Mycelium Network“ 48×3 Mindless:
Paul Stamets on How Mushrooms Can Save Us from Ourselves
Paul Stamets: Psilocybin Mushrooms & The Mycology of Consciousness
Radical Mycology Webinar 1: Seeing Fungi
Radical Mycology Webinar 2: Working With Fungi
Spore Rain (mushrooms reproduction)
AMAZING NATURE - Fungi - Hongos HD 4K
Stunning timelapse of bioluminescant mushrooms!
Fungi Timelapse Compilation 01
Mold Time Lapse
Beautiful Rare Mushrooms - Fungi plant growth
What is at stake is the preservation of our creative work enviroment – a historical excursion.
We called it media art. It was a coinage to describe comprehensive work with material of all sorts. And it was in the 1980s when this concept was circulating heavily. The wild 1960s and 1970s did not want to „take“ in the fine arts. Warhol, Beuys and others were breaking up the structures of the classical art context, but the artists (actually predominantly male ones) where, as super heroes, still in the center of the art market. The impetus for media art was the fear about stagnation or relapse into the classical art context. Dynamics, change and movement were the springboard for describing new utopias with artistic work. Everything became material for work and machines brought about those dynamical qualities. Machine art therefore became a central element in media art. It also were those electronic devices with which you could integrate dynamic images in static structures with ease. Subsequently it was the digital machines with their possibilities to relocate events into different time contexts. Transformations of space and time brought about many new perspectives. A lot of these electronic machines were used in film and referred to as video art.
The artist as a lab technician in the field of experimentation of life became an actor himself and an integral part of his work. Art did not derive from competence but from incompetence/being dilettante and amateurish, from learning and from failure. The workspaces were labs, not ateliers. It had been digital systems that interlinked via information exchange and enabled the decentralisation acting. It had also been these systems that began to protect themselves from unauthorised manipulations via their digital layers. The artist became excluded, lost access to the lower layers, hence also the control over his material for work. Because of these technologies the systems however were working seamlessly and multi-disciplinarily. The system began to organise itself decentrally, it collected information and categorised it via algorithms. Hence order invaded art again, art became segmented into genres again, and media art became obsolete.
The Infolab of the STWST
The artists eager to continue to include all sorts of materials and events into their projects cannot help but taking a look at the mechanical processing of information from the outside and to work isolated in labs. In the growing network of information there are new groups of people however who actively work with IT. They organise in hacklabs (labs for hackers) and fablabs (labs for crafting). The distinctive feature of such technological habitats was freedom of action, freedom from purpose and freedom of meaning (mindlessness) that could be encountered there. These freedoms enabled many new ideas, accompanied with incredible utopias. The persons who worked in those labs did not want to be situated in the art context anymore and financed themselves via member fees. The media artists failed to integrate the subjects related to IT and the technicians working in IT into their work. A few years before that every media artist worked together with technicians who then emancipated themselves with their new labs. In the art context such labs continued to be instead of ateliers, yet they quickly lost their freedom from purpose because of the usage of proprietary software owned by multinational corporations.
Another approach was nature as a new material for work. Biolabs formed. In some of those biolabs some laymen however tried to transform nature, under the flag of freedom of artistic expression. Such an approach is to be refuted.
Nature, in relation to culture/art is the most important field of work. It is about observing nature and to try to juxtapose these observations to the cultural and artificial. If you take information into an evolutionary context, then IT actually massively intrudes into the information processing that happens in nature. IT promotes a one-sided development of information. It promotes information with which man generates an advantage concerning knowledge which is short-termed nevertheless. Knowledge and information become ingredients of an accumulation of capital.
Other forms of natural information processing are completely neglected or ignored by IT. Forms of information without rational usage. The dreamscapes of men that enable a balanced consciousness, or art through which we can create new perspectives and utopias.
Born out of the desire for a comprehensive discourse about the development of information and IT the group „Technopolitics“ was created in Vienna, and, in 2013, the Infolab of the STWST in Linz.
The Infolab of the STWST sees another peril for the human species in these developments. With the advancement of IT our world is becoming increasingly „smaller“. Through algorithms events get situated in a global context. A second, rationally verified digital world emerges in which every event relates to others only via a superficially rational reference. The world is becoming more causal and entropy decreases. Everything is apparently becoming more logical, accountable and comprehensible. If we want to act as individuals in such a world, we should try to protect our „free will“. This free will is dependent on chance, and chance stands in a direct relation to entropy. In a deterministic world, calculated by algorithms, there is no place for free will.
Yet from another sector of the natural sciences there´s a new glimmer of utopia. At the same time like information theory, 100 years ago, quantum theory was developed. And the more often it is put under test, the more often it is confirmed – our reality is only the surface of another state of reality. We do not know what is behind all those things, but we do know that the perception of our reality is a sort of arrangement between observers. Hence there is no ultimate truth or reality. The desire for knowledge also was something Einstein had when he asked his colleagues whether the moon was not there when no one looks at it. It is time that our natural laws are seen through a new frame of reference.
As you see, there are turbulent times ahead, accelerating exponentially. And so – the Videoclub: Take a drink, take a seat, fasten seat belts and watch the movies. All this can be seen at the Filmclub des Infolabs in the servus Clubraum at the first floor of the STWST, Kirchengasse 4, 4040 Linz.