Joseph Hocking

I first encountered the term “memetics” in writings by Christiane Paul.1 Intrigued by the idea, tying together as it does my background in biology and interests in epistemology, I later found a more complete description at Principia Cybernetica Web. Here is their definition:2

Meme: An information pattern, held in an individual’s memory, which is capable of being copied to another individual’s memory.

Memetics: The theoretical and empirical science that studies the replication, spread, and evolution of memes.

Put another way, memetics is an evolutionary epistemology that treats information in an analogous way to genes. As with genes, units of information (called “memes”) replicate by being passed from one individual to another. Also as with genes, certain memes become reduced in frequency and eventually disappear altogether, while other memes are favored and propagate quickly, resulting in a net evolution of the information community. The theory was first proposed by Richard Dawkins in 1976, and has since become an important area of research. Instead of seeing knowledge as constructed by the social system, it sees social systems as constructed by knowledge processes. Indeed, a social group can be defined by the fact that all its members share common memes.

I must reiterate the important point that I am not saying, nor do I believe, that memetics is the correct and true theory of human culture. I am simply pointing out that this is one useful model through which to filter one’s experience of reality.

1 Paul, Christiane Digital Art (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003)
2 http://pespme1.vub.ac.be/MEMES.html

I Think You Know That I Know That You Think: Epistemology and Interactive Digital Art

Liat Berdugo

My iPhone is Everything

iPhones and iPads are recast as objects that they could never truly be. As these devices increasingly become do-anything Swiss army knives in an increasingly digitized world, My iPhone is Everything asks, what would a world look like in which we push these limits to their absolute extremes? What is it that we are ultimately willing to believe technology can do?

Claudia O’Steen

Little Compton, RI
1:50 pm
50 degrees (very windy!)
I’m facing 150 degrees SW
The sun is 229 degrees SW
The sky is pale blue with cirrus clouds, and the sun is starting to come out. The waves are large, and it is too overcast to see the lighthouse.38 steps walked to the edge of the water.

2015_OSteen_EPIST_LAND_Studio1b

The Visible Limit of the Sea

Jane Long

To Fix

 

To do justice to the messiness of nature, one tries to make ample use of ambiguity, incompleteness, wordplay, and in discretionary indirection.

The fixing of life for analysis to find a story of life is to kill the life to study life. Something we know all too well. To never know anything but a shell or a residue. The fruitful endeavor of plotting while finding the plot. Plot, plot, plot. Nature curling and turning as beings of nature we try to tell that story our own, the ultimate means to an end.

Jane Long: Subjective ObjectAs a nature. A human nature when we lay our heads down at night, when we eat an unfulfilling meal, when we experience the unsatisfactory return to consciousness post climax, and the dull feeling of coming back to life—reveal the constant suspicion deep within the planted plot that there is no overarching story, just as many plots with no end. In fact, there are so many plots that trying to find the everything-story seems inconceivable even beside the point (Rushkoff 2013)

 

On Everything and Nothing

Paulina Sierra

Clay and Corn Tortillas (Phase 1)

A tortilla machine is a beautiful thing to watch, and it seems I had never seen it before with such astonishment. Every Mexican has memories of the sound, the smell and the movement of these mechanical devices.

To me it was a delight to go to the tortillería after school. This meant I had to wait in line for the fresh baked tortillas piling up in front of my eyes. A small salt cellar lingered by the weight scale. After they were placed on paper, I could take one tortilla, put salt and roll it with both of my hands. A salt taco, the most basic identifiable particle of Mexicanity: nationalism at its best.

Paulina Sierra: Clay and Corn Tortillas (Phase 1) 2009_Sierra_EPIST_LAND_Studio3 2009_Sierra_EPIST_LAND_Studio4

 

 

Hanyu Liao

I admired girls with white on, especially white socks and shoes. For me, wearing white was like the symbol of “now you can have the rights to be a girl”. Wearing white means you take the responsibility to keep it clean, and you must, and you surely can, and I cannot. It was an honor, an authority, an approval, which I’ve never got when I was in elementary. Girls with white were so classy and princess-like in my eyes, even though they treated me bad.

SUPERFLUOUS MURMERS

Eva Sutton

I’ve observed some of the work and I’ve gone to some critiques and what I think is very interesting is that instead of becoming more virtual, a lot of the students are producing work that’s deeply physical.

So that’s kind of a reaction to virtuality. Which is not to say that virtuality isn’t addressed, it’s just that the presence of the physical object has not waned. In fact it’s become kind of doggedly more solid and more present, which I think is very interesting and curious.

Dan Chen

As a producer (part improvisational engineer, part philosopher-designer), I develop a series of functional robots capable of reenacting basic common human social behaviors.

I do this to place in full view questions about how social intimacy is delivered. By making the fictional real, bringing our fantasies into play, I confront the ontological conundrum of the validity of a programmed intimacy. As sculptural studies and experience designs, these devices reveal how RITs might work for us; as transitional objects providing an emotional placebo effect, instead of emotional life support.

File > Save As > Intimacy

Gideon Webster

I often think about what it means to be in or have a place. In the last year-and-a-half, I have been more aware of my physical placement than ever before. For the first time in my life, I have been displaced.

This displacement has made me very aware of my own physical body as I move along my daily path. I felt very disconnected from my previous home when I moved to Rhode Island. It was strange to me that I had willingly pulled myself from a place with which I had grown so comfortable.

Until this shift in my life, I never truly considered all that my previous home had been to me. This disconnect filled me with a longing for my past. It also made me very aware of the place I now live. My first reaction was to find any connection between my new and very uncomfortable place and my old and familiar place. I built parallels between the two in my mind. I found many things that I thought to be almost as good as home. I moved through the city, looking for the familiar among the foreign.

Gideon Webster: Wayfarers Path

Making the Path You Seek

Laura Swanson

Laura: …Some people like to say—when we have to read texts from a specific historical context— “we’re over that,” “the civil rights movement is over,” these kinds of things are over. What would you say to people that say, “this is old news”?

Greg: Well, whoever’s saying, “this is old news” are probably people who haven’t experienced what he’s experienced. I mean, it resonated with you. You’re a young person. So it doesn’t matter if the words are two hundred years old, or fifty years old, or whatever. You know what I mean? If they resonate with you, and they help you crystallize your feelings or get a perspective on your experiences…

Laura: No. I want you to not talk about this as if this is only personal to me. Because that is the criticism that I get about my work all the time—is that it’s totally personal. It is partially about my life, but I don’t think that you can really say that. I mean, of course I like Fanon. A lot of people like Fanon. A lot of my teachers in undergrad like Fanon. Huey Newton of the Black Panthers likes Fanon. A lot of people like Fanon. So, when we talk about the current state of racism, a stupid thing that people say is “Slavery is over. Colonization is over.”

Greg: But it’s not. It’s not.

Laura: Can you talk about that? What is an awareness that you have? People who say, “Fanon is irrelevant because it’s old.” What do you say to that?

Greg: I just think that people are not aware of the slaveries that exist today. The oppression of people…it’s all over the world. We even have it in our own country. But it’s more subtle. It’s not carved in stone anymore, but we still have colonized people in this country…but there’s very blatant slavery and subjugation going on of peoples in other parts of the world.

A Call to Arms