Anne de Haan on Sun, 22 Jun 1997 17:48:23 +0200 (MET DST)

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nettime-nl: Intelligent agents: ghosts in the machine?

Architecture without location

The intelligent digital concepts of Knowbotic Research

The austrian Christian Hübler, on of the three members of Knowbotic Research,
took me to a dark gallery space, where he equipped me with a kind of gear
with wires, gadgets and headphones. I had to stand an twist in a white
circle on the floor
in front of a big screen with twisting figures. As soon as I moved a mark on
the screen 
started to move also. While I was looking around me and at the dynamics on the
screen, the howling tubes on the ceiling and the white weak flashing flat
monitors on the ground, I heard a kind of explaination of the installation
from the
artist that was showing me around.
I could understand him very bad, because of the gargling, bubbling sounds in my

The digital architecture and the spacial installations of the colonian artgroup 
Knowbotic Research certainly doen not look very simple and easy to grasp.
If you enter it for the first time, you are wondering what the h... this is
all about.
This work that is called "Dialogue with the Knowbotic South" (DWTKS) is very
untransparent, but
plays with your imagination. At exhibitions these artists are always
prepaired to tell
you about their incredible enigmatic work, like what happened to me in 1995
in Vienna at the Kunsthaus gallery. 
Christian Hübler apologized that this work did not function very well and
continued about a system that was

I heard a story about intelligent computersystsems that were active on the
internet and how the artist wanted to express these in their art.
Half a year later I could finally grasp more of the meaning of this work
when I visits their impressive work at the "Next Five Minutes" exhibition in
Rotterdam. In the meanwhile I had rad more literature
about their work and about New Media.
The artists of Knowbotic Research are looking for a way to express new
intelligent computer systems. DWTKS was the second project with which they
experimented. It was a continuation of
the imposing work SMDK (Simulation Mosaik Data Klaenge) from 1993. 
After DWTKS would come two more projects considering intelligent selfreliant
systems on the internet. 


If the artchitecture and art want to be able to move or develop onselves, it
is necessary 
that they do not have a location. This is only possible for the concepts of
self reliant systems
which are for example developed by Knowbotic Research. 
Nonlocation is a terminlogy that is used by Knowbotic Research and the
meaning of it is inspired by the philosophy of the frenchmen Gilles Deleuze
and Felix Guattari. The "nonlocation" is called 
"deterritorialization" in their deconstructivistic theories: the
deterritorialization is necessary for a phenomenon, like a building, work of
art or plant to move or develop oneself. in the essay "Rhizome" is explained
within which context the writers see the deterritorialization.
The ideal way to communicate and how the post modern society will look like
is compared to
a rhizome. A rhizome is a kind of stick with roots that has no central stem
from which smaller 
branches grow. It is a ball of small roots that are entwined criss-cross. In
a rhizome is no central point The ideal post modern society and the internet
do have also such rhizome structure in which 
evryone can move like nomads and develop oneself freely. Nobody has to be
the smallest branche 
that is connected to a bigger one. In contrary to the real world, where
infinite expansion is 
not possible, is cyberspace still open for eternal growth and ever changing

Digital City

Architecture is nothing else that a way of experience space and this experience
can be displayed in many different ways. Traditional architects show space
as a three dimensional real object. However space can also be expressed in music
or visual virtual relity, like in the experimental electronic virtual ‘non-
located' installations of Knowbotic Research. In almost all of their projects 
these three artists, Yvonne Wilhelm, Christian Hübler en Alexander Tuchacek, 
make music and abstract visual Virtual Reality instead of concrete materials 
like wood or stone. they investigate in which way a digital non-located 
architectonic form can be showed. 
These artists came to the conclusion that virtual architecture on the internet
is not made by one single architect, but that it arises by the use of mass of
users that are on the internet. Each visitor leves his or her traces in the
architecture. Take a look for example at the Digital City of Amsterdam, where
several users put their "house". The digital city is a city without location, 
because it is in cyberspace. This virtual architecture is not static, but
infinite dynamic, because it can be changed every split second.

Ghost in the machine

Today's electronic artists refer much to technologic science and philosophy.
Electronic art has
been developed from a fascination for the developments of technology and the
actual use of
technology itself. Knowbotic Research is therefore using the newest
technology and also wants
to say something about the possibilities of the new media. The artgroup
experiments with
the expression of the so called  ‘intelligent agents' and the ‘intelligent
virtual spaces'. 
Since 1987 Pattie Maes is investigating the use of  Intelligent Agents at
the M.I.T. Intelligent agents
are computerprogramms that like a  'Ghost in the Machine' simulate
intelligent human tasks, 
like search or teach processes. One can use them for example as a pet,
teacher and as a 
detective to find interesting information on the internet at times you are
not aware of it. 
Some scientist predict that Knowbots, another name for intelligent agents,
can combine different
information sources all by themselves. It can also be possible that they can
connect information
from living and dead people. Thanks to technology it may be possible to live
forever in an
intellectual way. The developments on the domain of intelligent-agent
investigation are not so 
mature that it functions this way yet. 

Knowbots are part of a digital organism that causes itself. Today it is only
possible to simulate
a process like that like in the art of Knowbotic Research. Will it be
possible that the visitor
and the knowbot are able to change the flexible virtual architecture
infinitely in the future?
Maybe in the future there will be an intelligent space that causes itself
completely and that
one can enter it from anywhere he or she likes and combine it with any
information he or she 

Check mijn nieuwe stuk over Ulrike Rosenbach


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