Ouroboric perception and the effects of enactive affective systems to the naturalization of technologies

Dr. Diana Domingues

LART – Laboratory of Research in Art and TechnoScience
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program – FGA Gama / Graduate Program in Health Sciences and Technology, University of Brasília FCE/UnB, University of Brasília – CNPq/CAPES, Brasília, Brazil

When we feared that new technologies could take us apart from our origins and separate us from our past – and this remains possible – Diana Domingues shows us the opposite, that they are not forcefully incompatible with the deepest forms of our imagination. A new paradoxical hybridization is still there, in the work, between body and calculation, between trance and algorithm. [1]

Daily rituals and mixed reality: the biocybrid body and the naturalization of technologies

I have always taken into account the human factor when investigating interactive technologies in their potential to transform ways of living. How can we understand types, levels and intensities of changes in post-biological, post-human, neo-biological, trans-human life installed by technologies? At the end of the 20th century, when interactive technologies – and mainly the inclusion of the WWW – started to invade and feed the creative minds of artists in the Media Art scenario, I had already anticipated:

Without intending to be taken for a visionary I dare to forecast that in the next couple of years, people will normally use wireless interfaces, and matter-of-factly will be connected in all microtimes of their lives. Existence will become a cybrid existence during the twenty four hours of life time. People will increasingly have interfaces and will be rather TV-like, to use an analogy to the contemporary technological and the society of the spectacle. Symbiotic technologies will be facilitated as permanent prostheses and they will be attached on us and into our bodies and thus we will be reinventing our lives and the ultimate nature of our species. [2]

Nowadays by the effects of mobile technologies as calm and transparent interfaces installed “in the periphery,” as proposed by Mark Weiser’s ubiquitous computing, [3] in the post-desktop era, the computer is almost invisible and has disappeared in the hybrid world. Notwithstanding, technologies have gained biological tasks and are increasingly installed in our habitat. I believe in the naturalization of technologies and how they are enhancing the humanization technologies scenario. HCI technologies, with their devices and systems, take part in our organisms and work as part of our nature by expanding our sensorium as living systems in our landscapes and in the social engine. [4]

During Afro-Brazilian rituals, entities such as Ogum, Oxum and Iemanjá, who are called ‘guides’ or spirits are incorporated by the participants, who are in mediunic states. These guides provide their own identities and expand our potentials to act as human beings. In a similar way, we can experience human altered identities during social, cognitive and emotional behaviors shared with the responsive environments of social platforms, mixed reality, or other technologies. We are in enaction, reaffirming the ecological perception with the environment, and the mutual influences exchanged with the invisible data modify our perception and cognition. In the case of the recent mobile technology, the interfaced body feels and acts by sharing qualities that come from the connectivity of the synthetic vision of cameras, satellites, physiological sensors, Bluetooth, tags, codes, wireless devices, GPS, or other technological components that transmit and exchange data, and co-locate us in virtual and physical worlds, thus transforming us into biocybrid humans. All those technologies provide us with altered limits of the human condition.

The enactive condition is referred in the theories of embodied cognition. It is about the interdependence between the organism and its environment, and their mutual, reciprocal exchanges, bringing the idea of autopoietic and emergent phenomena. In the relation with mestizaje, it gave me the inspirational figure of ouroborus to make visible the seamless condition lived by the interface of body and technologies. When compared to a ritual, it implies the logic of participation, tribal logic, collaborative actions, spirit of communion, of object-taboos, similar to that logic implicit in the offerings of religions: offering and receiving, sharing and attempting to get to invisible forces. Technological apparatus and artificial systems empower artists’ exploration of how technologies are changing our world perception.

From Media Art to Art and Technoscience

Since the beginning of my career I have proposed environments for a strong experiential dimension in interactive installations and immersion in VR Caves, requiring software development and specific hardware. I have always been an artist-engineer of communication interested in developing a hermeneutic and metaphorical proposal for those systems.

Fig. 1. Timeline From Multimedia. Video Art 1970s to Art and TechnoScience, 2015. Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 1. Timeline From Multimedia. Video Art 1970s to Art and TechnoScience, 2015. Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

What is my role as an artist-engineer? The crucial point is to think the relation between art, life, and technologies. What esthetical qualities will I explore with the kind of systems being proposed? What behaviors will I create for an expanded sensorium? What kind of social relationships can people share in a certain environment? What kind of post-biological nature am I generating? Can I visualize physical phenomena such as water pollution, climate change, dengue proliferation, narratives of a diabetic body? Consequently, my task is to decide on the system design following the interface conception and the embedded systems’ dynamics in levels of unpredictability originated by concrete experiences to the coupled body and its enactions with the environment. Every technology embeds different esthetical qualities, and supplies specific responses. [5] Ted Kruger highlights that perception is a laboratory phenomenon because we create the kind of perception following the qualities of the device output. This kind of artwork is managed by an enactive system, related to complex theories about perception and cognition, that goes back to Gibson’s ecological perception on human/environment relationships. [6] Similarly, I propose the ouroboric perception to emphasize the Latin American mythological figure of the serpent that eats its own tail in a constant autopoietic feedback to the ecocosmos. In Art and TechnoScience, I amplify the “mestizaje” theme not only as hybrid realities, but also connecting biocybrid systems (bio+cyber+hybrid) with epistemology and methodologies related to the coupled body and the autopoiesis of complex systems by enactive affective systems. This is to say that I have embraced the context and concept of enactive affective systems as biological enactions during embodiments that include the physiological data+cyber data+ hybrid environment intertwined with mutual exchanges. The continuum and symbiotic zone between body and flesh -cyberspace and data- and the hybrid properties of the physical world are the themes that generate a biocybrid zone.

Considering my discussions from the 1990s, now seen through the lens of “mestizaje” and decolonization, it seems clear that for over 20 years I have been discussing artworks’ interactions and the use of interfaces in rituals. In art we have the concepts of support and surface. Interactive art enhances the sensorial experience by the principle of feedback provided by the interfaces and the dialogue between body and environment. It is the art of experience, which is no longer the restricted visual, retinal art, but now the entire body is involved. Interfaces and body actions go back to the tradition of body paintings, tattoos, masks, feathers, maracas, whistles, just as in rituals, which imply communication and collaboration. The body is invited to act, dance, breathe, drink in order to participate in the ceremony that is performed to exchange unexpected sensations and meaning in dialogues with the ecosystem.

Fig. 2. Diana Domingues with the Kuikuro chief in the Xingu Indigenous Park in the North of Mato Grosso, Brazil, 1997. © Diana Domingues/CNPq, Brazil.

Fig. 2. Diana Domingues with the Kuikuro chief in the Xingu Indigenous Park in the
North of Mato Grosso, Brazil, 1997. © Diana Domingues/CNPq, Brazil.

Fig. 3. Kuikuro tribe during ritual in Alto Xingu, Brazil. ˝ Diana Domingues/CNPq, Brazil.

Fig. 3. Kuikuro tribe during ritual in Alto Xingu, Brazil.  © Diana Domingues/CNPq, Brazil.

[7] When interacting with technologies, we are closer to primitive societies. An example of this (see images 4 and 5) is what happens during rituals, when natives dialogue with the powers of the cosmos. They paint their bodies and dance to invoke animals, assume animal identities, call for rain, for plants to grow etc., for the health and well-being of the tribe. I propose that the connected body accomplishes rituals in biocybrid zones by manipulating data, and that its unfolding during flows of feedback, causes the body to be affected and, in turn, affects the environment. Similar to the serpent in a permanent feedback, the enactive corporeal condition expands human actions in zones that blend biological signals, cyberdata and also the hybrid proprieties of the physical space.

Since 2009, my work has evolved from interactive Media Art to enactive affective systems in terms of Art and Technoscience, along with developments in biomedical engineering and investigations in aesthetics, physiology and synaesthesia. Enactions are part of philosophical discussions. Aristotle’s poetics and enactment theories are the remote references for creative levels and the understanding of our relationship to human and environment in the “drama of life”. [8] Chilean philosophers Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela [9] are references for discussions on the mutual influence of organisms with the environment and autopoietic feedback. Phenomenology, cognitive sciences, and biomedical engineering laws, provide the foundations for our Bioart practices by building a set of concepts and metaphors resulting from enactions, and here I consider perception and actions in terms of Noë’s theory. [10] The expansion of the sensorium in the post-biological context of Bioart faces the “transformation du vivant” [11] at a physiological level. I highlight Ted Krueger’s contribution on prosthetics and sensoriality. [12] Nowadays, I expand the discussions to the Spinozan body, [13] which is affected and endowed with the affective ability to communicate with the environment when enacted by the rates of EOG, EMG, EEG, GSR sensors. The signals recognize the body/environment affection intensity of heat, cardiac output, respiratory flow, muscles activity, tactile vibrations, and other measured sensations gained by sending and receiving, exchanging signals and the intertwined relation with the environment, i.e. the enactive affective system responses. The ouroboric perception comes true. It appears in complex feedback, similar to when the serpent eats its own tail. So, we expand kinesthesia, [14] body movement schemes or motion sensors’ activity, that recognize the environment through synaesthesia, by adding physiological data from all properties by signal processing, skin temperature, heart rates, cardiac flow, breathing, and muscular rhythm. Human actions in enactive affective processing systems and the processes of knowing, learning and teaching affections generate living maps and affective geographic narratives in an ouroboric perception. In the tradition of mestizaje, ouroborus bites its own tail, in a constant feedback, reaffirming the autopoietic condition. The symbolic connotation of the Ouroboros encircling the earth and eating its own tail is related to the returning cyclical nature, self-fecundation; disintegration and re-integration; truth and cognition; self-regeneration, the idea of beginning and end. The embedded systems, using sensors, and in most recent artworks using physiological sensors, offer the effects of the body biological rates, changing mutually and reciprocally with the environment. Consequently, characterizing an ouroboric autopoietic perception. See examples later.

Consequently, biocybrid systems for enactive affective perception created at LART − the Laboratory of Art and TechnoScience at the University of Brasília at Gama (UnB/FGA) in 2009, envision creative technologies towards innovation and the reengineering of life in three axes: reengineering of sensorium, reengineering of nature and reengineering of culture. At LART, a transdisciplinary group of researchers work in collaborative practices integrating artists, professors and students of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program, and five engineering undergraduate programs. Our Lab attempts to work with creative technologies and innovation in levels of disruption, using existing technologies but proposing innovation and reinvention of ways of living. Proprioceptive devices for movement map participant’s displacements or gestures and provide feedback for navigation and positioning. This principle constitutes the basic idea of kinesthesia in the domain of aesthetics, which was largely explored in many applications in VR paradigms. These paradigms were traditionally related to the Cinetic Art of the 80s and now assume qualities of disruptive technologies for perception and sensorial measurement, offering a compelling experience. This issue will be dealt with later here in relation to the project “Reengineering Life: Creative Technologies for the Expanded Sensorium,” developed at the Camera Culture Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ouroboric perception and poetics

Mestizaje and ouroborus are inspirational seeds to discuss my artworks through a poetic lens. These metaphors have guided my interactive art of Media Art since the beginning, and are expanded in the recent domain of Art and TechnoScience in BioArt and innovation.

I have discussed the ouroboric perception and poetics in my interactive artworks since my first cyberinstallation in the 90s, Trans-e my body, my blood, [15] which became an emblematic artwork and inserted the theme of interactivity and ritual into the artistic-scientific community. It is related to Afro-Brazilian popular religions as in a shamanic trance. Northeast Brazil’s Inga Stone’s projections show metamorphoses sprouting from prehistoric inscriptions. People interacting become metaphorically shamans who consider the stone as a ‘veil’ between their world and the ‘spirits’ world. The software “shaman 32,” based on artificial intelligence researches, has autonomy to self-regenerate the life of the cavern and the ‘mutant visions’ by surprising people with unexpected emergent ‘realities’. In 2007, the piece reincarnated in a new, more complex version called The Cavern of Trance, a more complex version of the embedded system – it was expanded to immersive and crossmodal technologies, multi-sensorial interfaces and immersive multi-display synchronized large screens in VR – and it was also adapted for mobile connections.

Fig. 4. The Cavern of Trance, 2005, 2007, 2009. Large screen, Ingá Stone projections. Memories of the Future, 10 Years Art and Technology, Instituto Itaú Cultural São Paulo, Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 4. The Cavern of Trance, 2005, 2007, 2009. Large screen, Ingá Stone projections.Memories of the Future, 10 Years Art and Technology, Instituto Itaú Cultural São Paulo, Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

In a dark room, a large panoramic screen offers images and sounds as if on the walls of a cave: scenes, textures, lights, gleams, animals in stereoscopic vision allow a spatial navigation responding to bodies’ motions and gestures by providing a ritual: sets of video images changed through three levels of a shamanic trance; infrared sensors captured the body heat and a blood-like liquid kept moving in a bowl, like an offering to life. A special quality of this artwork was to provide physically-impaired people with equal capability to act using infrared sensors zones and/or by multi-sensorial interfaces of sound interfaces using Afro-Brazilian musical instruments: flute, maracas, whistles, afuches, rainsticks, shakers and other ritualistic instruments. People were tracked to synthetic objects that moved according to sounds and noises. Non-mobile people could only interact with their mouth making sounds with whistles, flutes, or singing, making noises, and so interacting with the system in a kind of ritual. On the other hand, people’s displacements and gestures generate several proprioceptive interactions. A wireless tracker and an accelerometer with a gyroscope provide responses and motions in proprioceptive interaction, and by focusing with a flashlight the walls of the cave, magically people manipulate the objects: thunders, butterflies, spiders, vases, crosses, worms, animals appear in the room in stereoscopic visions creating a sensation of enhanced trance.

Fig. 5. Multiple situations of the cyberinstallation. The Cavern of Trance, 2004, 2007. NTAV CAVE immersion. Memories of the Future, 10 Years Art and Technology, Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 5. Multiple situations of the cyberinstallation. The Cavern of Trance, 2004, 2007.
NTAV CAVE immersion. Memories of the Future, 10 Years Art and Technology, Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 6. People interacting with musical instruments, 2005, 2009. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 6. People interacting with musical instruments, 2005, 2009. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 7. People interacting with musical instruments, 2005, 2009. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 7. People interacting with musical instruments, 2005, 2009. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Another ritualistic proposal is the web art installation “INSN(H)AK(R)ES” (1998), which offers a telematic ritual to incorporate a robot snake, in a seamless connection, allowing participants to inhabit and act in a remote serpentarium through the embodiment of a robot snake. When connected, the remote actions confirm the seamless condition with the robot’s body using the web, and let come true the desire to incorporate an animal body during an interactive telematic ritual. The connection with the robot consists of a physical incorporation of the snake body represented by the robot that lives among real snakes, as shown in the images. Connecting the robot enhances the body to a planetary scale, involving decisions that are made in cyberspace without any physical or geographic boundary. When connected, remote actions materialize the desire to incorporate an animal body and gain the shamanic powers necessary to become an animal – and acquire its powers during the ritual. Connections allow immersions and teleactions in a remote serpentarium in a Museum of Natural Sciences in Brazil. The remotely controlled robot called Angela, makes several trajectories led by the orders of participants, who steer the movements with the arrow keys of a keyboard of their own computers wherever they are. Presence sensors capture the action of the robot and release amounts of water and little mice that supply the serpents’ basic needs. Life in this environment is a result of the mixture of biological and technological signals. The body was enacted by enabling an effective remote action. Among other exhibitions, I highlight those at MUCA (Mexico) and Lima National Gallery. (Figure 2) In the catalog of the exhibition, Roy Ascott emphasizes that the artwork offers a cyberception at the level of the reptile.

Fig. 8. INSN(H)AK(R)ES, 1998, web art installation. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 8. INSN(H)AK(R)ES, 1998, web art installation. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

In the same magic and ritualistic mestizo poetics, I highlight another installation, FIRMAMENTO [16]. It allows a conversation with the stars in a synthetic ecocosmos, inside a biocybrid landscape in A-Life. People receive shamanic powers for affecting natural phenomena when absorbed in an aesthetic experience in front of a huge lake, the ‘eye of the earth’. People have a dialogue with the lake as if it were a mirror of the firmament of the synthetic cosmos peopled by idols. The behaviors of the stars represented by dots of light in A-Life, create a living organism in a stereoscopic vision. By interacting with a tablet, visitors move the stars in the lake visualized on the floor. The stars represent different idols of cultures given by a flocking algorithm, and are activated by the stars’ proximity and their desire for light. Internet searches of a list of words come from the database stored on the system, which return through data mining as surprising sentences written on the walls of the dark room. The same process could be performed by sending SMS messages from the mobile phones to the stars. By using a list of idols, i.e. famous people in human culture, such as Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Mother Theresa, Cleopatra, Carmen Miranda, and a list of terms related to their life and actions that characterize their life, we send SMS messages and the cell phones return sentences by associating in data mine process, surprising narratives about their lives. It is the collective voice of the planet in emergent states. Unknown authors write sentences related to the idols’ personality, and the dots in A-Life projected in the lake of the landscape change in a surprising, mutant firmament.

Fig. 9. FIRMAMENTO 2005-2009, cyberinstallation. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 9. FIRMAMENTO 2005-2009, cyberinstallation. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

In the field of VR and immersive poetics inside a Cave, I highlight the magic of HEARTSCAPES. [17] It allows responses from synthetic objects and navigation in the 3D ground, and offers the atmosphere of a ritual, metaphorically giving shamanic powers inside data landscapes of a heart, and the immersion in a synthetic landscape, mixing visual effects with noises of indigenous rituals, natural environments and phenomena of the ecocosmos. The result of this investigation is published in the chapter “Human biology” in Stephen Wilson’s recent book Art + Science Now. [18] Physiological devices and biofeedback of electrical waves in EOG electrical signals offer mutations of forms in real time and are also commanded by another biological interface that captures heartbeats, sending signals from the participant’s heart to the system. The interactivity of physiological signals results from the heartbeat frequency (ranges 60/80, 80/100, 100/200, 120/140, 140/160). The action of the biofeedback sensors activates a VR particle system of HEARTSCAPES, move the position of the objects, and changes colors on the screens, confirming the dynamics and kinematics of the virtual, by communication by the electric waves of the eyes with the VR world.

Fig. 10. HEARTSCAPES, 2005-2009, NTAV CAVE, immersion in a data landscape of the heart controlled by trackers, stereoscopic glasses, biofeedback of heartbeats and electrooculogram (EOG). Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 10. HEARTSCAPES, 2005-2009, NTAV CAVE, immersion in a data landscape of the heart controlled by trackers, stereoscopic glasses, biofeedback of heartbeats and electrooculogram (EOG). Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 11. HEARTSCAPES, 2005-2009. Dynamic of particle systems. Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 11. HEARTSCAPES, 2005-2009. Dynamic of particle systems. Brazil. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Another immersive environment that mixes virtual and augmented reality installed in a cave is VR AQUARIUM. [19] Telepresence images of fish living in an aquarium of the Natural Science Museum next to the cave on the same floor are transmitted and combined with synthetic 3D scenes. The body enters the cave populated by real and synthetic animated fish in relief seen through stereoscopic glasses that let the synthetic fish pass through the immersed body of the visitor. The interaction with the virtual fish uses a body movement tracker, enabling the participant to touch the creatures by simple gestures and activating an artificial life boids algorithm that gives them a collective behavior. The virtual fish move together, showing a behavior similar to that of the biological world. The interfaces blur the real and the virtual, confirming the magic of interactive technologies.

Fig. 12. VR AQUARIUM, telepresence, immersion, and A-life in the CAVE. © Diana Domingues/CNPq, 2005-2009.

Fig. 12. VR AQUARIUM, telepresence, immersion, and A-life in the CAVE. © Diana Domingues/CNPq, 2005-2009.

In terms of mobile condition and tribal logic, I select LIVING TATTOOS as a social platform that enables people to produce contents by adding information on their lives. Each person sends us his/her own tattoo by mobile phone or by email. The shapes are turned into 3D models and placed on the synthetic ground of the tattooarium, where they can live together. They become living creatures in A-Life. Their evolution is determined by their dialogue coming from a search engine – data-mining system – which provides us with specific traits of their personalities. The other proposal is the urban interventions in flash mobs titled “tattoos mob,” another part of the project that installs tattooed communities in different locations of the city and also develops data visualization of the urban tattoo flows in the mobile mobilization in the physical space of the city. Their communication generated through ubiquitous computing, locative, pervasive and sentient mobile technologies (cell phones MMS and SMS) communicate with locative interfaces as GPS and Google Maps. It is a storytelling mobile narrative of tattooed people in urban spaces.

Fig. 13. Living Tattoos, 2007. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 13. Living Tattoos, 2007. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Rituals and cure: health and well-being

“Electricity is life,” says the futuristic premise. Sensors and embedded systems allow electrical signals’ embodiments and enactive affective aesthetics, adding further data of all senses in the principle of synaesthesia, thus enhancing the kinesthetic laws of movement and proprioception. Synaesthesia, meaning all the senses together, enhances aspects of motion, electricity, graphic design to the translation of signals of data from the other senses. In an analogy to smallest units such as phonemes, graphemes, morphemes etc., I have chosen to use ‘kinemes’ and ‘synaesthemes’ to express parts of a ritual motion and body language. Experts in human motion explain the nature and effects of movements and gestures in rituals (e.g. candomblé, samba, tai chi). Thus by studying rituals we can see how everyday gestures such as grabbing a glass or extending a hand can help health research, rehabilitation and well-being investigations. Body movements, gestures, postures, fragmentation, reinstatements, dynamics, internal-external connections and motor schemes deal with gestures, rhythms, not only at each stage of the movement, but also considering what affects the participant and the environment in a mutual exchange. Synaesthemes unleash a complex chain of senses’ impressions, previously experienced, stored in the memory of sensations, affections, emotions and thoughts. Attempts are made for the system to read the rhythmic patterns of movement to bring about ecstasy and ouroborus life. That was the proposal of the artwork Biocybrid Ouroborus: Ecstasy’s Geographisms [20] at the Oncena Bienal de La Habana (2012). During Afro-American rituals, simultaneously, information generated visualizations and sound patterns. The concept of trance that I proposed in the 1990s was modified by the discussions with the expert in Brazilian Maria Aparecida Donato. [21] Rising from ecstasy in Brazilian rituals such as carnival and candomblé, research results affirm that shamanic trances differ from ecstasy states. In an ecstasy state, sensations, emotions and thoughts come from bodies that are conscious of their sense of presence, albeit the condition of transcendence ecstasy here is significantly different. Trance is an unconscious and mediunic state, while during ecstasy we are aware and live rhythms and structures of the body autopoiesis with the environment. Using data visualization and signal processing we create ‘biograms’ (data visualization) of corporeal living maps in kinesthesia and synaesthesia as a result of perceiving and processing data of human physiology for the understanding of body actions and their cosmic relationships in daily rituals. The workshop and exhibition related to the Habana Biennial developed specific software for the analysis of measured data of physiological rates and motion traces for the generation of graphics visualization that changed dynamically during the rituals offering data visualization landscapes of a new abstractionism. In the exhibition, two large screens presented impressive body rituals and data visualization landscapes.

Fig. 14. Biocybrid Ouroborus: Ecstasy’s Geographisms, 2012. Workshop and exhibition. The Oncena Bienal de La Habana. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 14. Biocybrid Ouroborus: Ecstasy’s Geographisms, 2012. Workshop and exhibition. The Oncena Bienal de La Habana. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

The workshops demonstrated the importance for artists and scientists to engage in the processes, and methods for creating common viable systems from which artists as well as scientists can benefit and express a systems’ capacity for processing data, and human cognitive capacities for dealing with logic and hermeneutic dialogues. The results confirm the possibilities for human/ systems sharing introspections and poetry, and revealing complex behaviors and human identities taking the remote history of the rituals, which present actions and gestures of our daily life. The rehabilitation field in health and well-being is confirmed as a rich domain for this kind of artwork. Or for art to reinvent the ultimate nature of our species, close to ancient beliefs.

What is vision now? What is real now? What is landscape now? What is urban life now? What is mystery? What is magic?

Regarding vision, urban life, our habits, landscapes, survival and biodiversity, and societal challenges in terms of anthropological issues, the mobile condition amplifies the phenomenology of ‘being here.’ Computers have disappeared and technologies are transparent, cyberspace is everywhere, as Gibson states. Life is altered by cyberspace, and the use of cell phone, mob cameras and locative and geographic interfaces radically change our landscapes. Data visualization and computer vision allow the postbiological extrusion of human vision, and in terms of Bioart and biomedical investigations, peripheral perception provoke the postbiological extrusion of human vision into an altered process of perception/cognition. The postbiological extrusion of human vision in the act of seeing shared with the eye in the sky, and with the eye in the hand, i.e. the act of seeing shared with the eye of the satellite in the sky and the eye of the mobile device in the person’s hand, configure an enactive act extending the sense of seeing or expanding human perception by the extrusion of our visual apparatus. AR tags placed on GPS, and the possibility of seeing in computer vision using geodesic coordinates create a co-located event for the human body.

In 2010, the artwork BIOCYBRID FABLES: BORGES’ FANTASTIC CREATURES, in two modalities –urban intervention in MAR Mobile Augmented Reality and Installation in AR –translates imaginary creatures into synthetic objects. Modeled in 3D and distributed in tags, the synthetic creatures are scattered by geodesic coordinates, and through tags, are stored in a satellite. The intention is to create a mysterious vision near the Cultural Center San Martín (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The Augmented Reality Mobile Technologies (RAM) distributed transbiomorphic shapes as snakes, minotaurs, pigs, tigers, among others translated from the reading of Jorge Luis Borges’ fables in “The Book of Imaginary Beings.” The urban intervention used using mobile technologies and computer vision, GPS, network connections, to insert Borges’ synthetic creatures in real scale, providing a geotagged vision in the streets of Buenos Aires. Another biocybrid artwork was the response to the invitation for special guest artist at the Art exhibition “La cultura argentina en la edad digital” at the San Martin Cultural Center. The use of tags allowed the act of reading a book in computer vision and augmented reality. Reading the book, every page showed animals of the ‘bestiarium’ growing from the paper and thus reinventing daily life things in domotics and the act of reading a book.

Fig. 15. BIOCYBRID FABLES: BORGES’ FANTASTIC CREATURES, 2011. Urban intervention in MAR (Mobile Augmented Reality) and Installation in AR, Buenos Aires. ©Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Fig. 15. BIOCYBRID FABLES: BORGES’ FANTASTIC CREATURES, 2011. Urban intervention in MAR (Mobile Augmented Reality) and Installation in AR, Buenos Aires. ©Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Bioart and health are also included in the study of Brazilian rituals in a transdisciplinary approach in the fields of arts, humanities and sciences. This approach was dealt with in the project Reengineering Life: Creative Technologies for the Expanded Sensorium, developed at the Camera Culture Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The act of walking and the use of embedded systems to analyze relations between people and space as well as the proxemics involving inhabitants, patients, doctors, places and things etc. are the object of innovation of a system to diagnose diseases – mainly diabetes – and also for other applications in well-being similar to a personal assistant who gives information in mHealth and mobile applications. [22] The particular innovation is the application of that system for diagnosing and treating diabetes, as well as other applications in mHealth. [23] The prototype called Cidadepathia consists of a sensorized insole built with Brazilian latex (Havea brasiliensis) as a mobile (wearable) device. Lucena defends that the insole is a sensorial device to capture the energy and the pathos of the city. The insole made with a biomaterial acquires physiological data combined with locative tools. [24] I make a similar reference to the ouroboric perception when creating living maps of the city. Processing signals and data visualization reveal enactions and affective narratives of passers-by. The tool tells stories about people and urban activity in a kind of bio(geo)graphies recording journeys. Although Lucena alludes to the mythological figure of Hermes and his winged sandals, I prefer to insist in sandals similar to the ouroboric serpent and the reinvigoration when giving and receiving energy in the autopoietic feedback with the ground.

Figs. 16. Cidadepathia, 2014. Brazil. a) sensorized insole b & c) living maps in enactive affective systems and innovation for art and technoscience and health. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Figs. 16. Cidadepathia, 2014. Brazil. a) sensorized insole b & c) living maps in enactive affective systems and innovation for art and technoscience and health. © Diana Domingues/CNPq.

Finally, I believe that challenges of the world increasingly faced by circuits of sensors and transparent technologies ¬are blurring the limits of the natural and the physical, and are reengineering reality. We are facing the transformation of our life in nature itself, signaling the emergence of the naturalization of technologies and the engineered reality for a healthier future.

References

  1. Edmond Couchot, “Between trance and algorithm,” in Diana Domingues, Trans-e: my body, my blood. Exhibition catalogue (Caxias do Sul: Lorigraf, 1998).
  2. Diana Domingues, “The desert of passions and the technological soul,” in Digital Creativity vol. 9. (Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1998), 11-18.
  3. Marc Weiser, “The computer for the twenty-first century,” Scientific American, September 1991, accessed March 29, 2016, http://www.ubiq.com/hypertext/weiser/SciAmDraft3.html.
  4. Ollivier Dyens, “The Human/Machine Humanities: A Proposal,” Humanities, vol. 5, issue 1, March 1, 2016, accessed March 29, 2016, http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0787/5/1/17.
  5. Diana Domingues, “Art Interactif, corps couplé et sentiment post-biologique,” in Dialogues sur l’art et la technologie, org. F. Soulages (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001), 123-138.
  6. James J. Gibson, The ecological approach to visual perception. (New York-London: Psychology Press, 1986).
  7. All these issues are related to the experience I had, being immersed in a tribal world together with a small group of artists when we lived with the Kuikuru Indians deep in the Xingu Indigenous Park in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
  8. Aristotle, Poetics. Accessed March 29, 2016, http://www.iep.utm.edu/aris-poe/.
  9. H. H. Maturana and F. J. Varela, “Autopoiesis and cognition: the realization of the living,” Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 42, 1st ed., 1980.
  10. Alva Noë, Action in perception (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006).
  11. Ernestine Daubner and Louise Poissant, Bioart: transformations du vivant, (Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2012).
  12. Ted Kruger, “Perception prothétique: vers une conscience élargie,” in Bioart: transformations du vivant, org. E. Daubner and L. Poissant. (Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2012), collection Esthétique, 179-193.
  13. Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, ed. and trans. Edwin Curley (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1994).
  14. Alain Berthoz, The Brain’s Sense of Movement, trans. Giselle Weiss (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University press, 2000).
  15. Cyberinstallation exhibited firstly at ISEA 97, at the School of Art Institute in Chicago Isea Montreal, Modern Art Museum, Buenos Aires, 1999, II Bienal do Mercosul, VII Bienal de la Habana, when receiving the 2000 Unesco Prize, Lima 2000), Kibla Multimedia Center, Maribor, Slovenia, 2003 and Exhibition Valfisken Gallery, Simrishamn, Sweden, 2003.
  16. Diana Domingues, “Firmamento PopStars,” in Revista Eletrônica Itaú Cultural Cibercultura, 2005.
  17. Heartscapes, Diana Domingues and CNPq collection. The artwork was installed in a cave. (2005-2009) See in: Diana Domingues, “Human biology,” in Art + Science Now, Stephen Wilson (London: Thames & Hudson, 2010), 70 and “The immersive poetics of artificial worlds”. In Hybrid reality: art technology and human factor, Hall Twaites et al., Ninth International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, International Society on Virtual Systems and Multimedia – Hexagram Institute, Montreal, Canada. October, 2003b.
  18. Stephen Wilson, Art + Science Now (London: Thames & Hudson, 2010).
  19. VR AQUARIUM. Diana Domingues and CNPq Collection, Heartscapes, 2005-2009. The artwork was installed in a cave.
  20. The artwork Biocybrid ouroborus: ecstasys’ geographisms, exhibited at the 11th Havana Biennial (2012). Diana Domingues (artistic and scientific director); Adson da Rocha (engineer and scientific director); Cristiano J. Miosso (engineer and scientific coordinator); André L. G. de Oliveira (musician and composer); Carine S. Turelly (artist and workshop coordinator); Cida Donato (artist and workshop coordinator); Tiago F. R. Lucena (media director); Henrique G. Debarba (computer scientist); Alexandre A. Barbosa (computer scientist).
  21. CNPq fellowship holder (PDJ). Discussion in her postdoctoral research, focusing on body and Bioart, at LART (UnB), under Diana Domingues’ supervision.
  22. Diana Maria Gallicchio Domingues et al., “Innovation in art and technoscience towards creative technologies and the transdisciplinary research for the reinvention of life,” forthcoming in The culture of digital education: innovation in art, design, science and technology practices, senior eds. Lanfranco Aceti, Nina Czegledy and Oliver Grau (LEA, Leonardo Electronic Almanac).
  23. The project resulted in the PhD dissertation by Tiago F. R. Lucena and the postdoctoral research Suélia Rodrigues, integrating the two laboratories LART/FGA and Camera Culture/MIT/CNPq in a series of activities of the Program MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives -MIT-Brazil Seed Fund/CNPq – Project titled: “Reengineering Life: Creative Technologies for the Expanded Sensorium.” Directors Adson Ferreira da Rocha and Diana Domingues and American Research Leader: Ramesh Raskar/MediaLab-MIT.
  24. Tiago F. R. Lucena, “Sistemas enativos afetivos em arte e tecnociência: experiências vitais dos deslocamentos na cidade,” (Enactive affective systems in art and technoscience: vital experiences of displacement in the city) (PhD diss., UnB, 2013).

Bio

Diana Maria Gallicchio Domingues is the founder and director of LART (Art and TechnoScience Research Laboratory). She is a CNPq (National Research Board, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation) researcher, and senior artist/researcher of the National Program of Visiting Professors (PVNS) of the Ministry of Education, Capes (2010-2014), Brazil. She has traced the plan of ‘New Leonardos’ at the University of Brasilia, based on the creative minds of artists and scientists to redefine the boundaries of art and contemporary science, building innovative practices that contribute to contemporary forms of art and technoscience. She is a senior professor at the Post-Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering at UnB Gama and at the Post-Graduate Program in Science and Technologies in Health at UnB in Ceilândia. She is involved in projects with international collaborations such as MIT – Camera Cultura/CNPq, advisory board of the Program MediaAC, Department for Image Science (Danube University Krems), and OCADU in Toronto. Results of her researches have been published in high impact communities such as IEEE, ISEA, Leonardo, SPIE. She holds a post-doctoral degree from ATI – Art & Technologies de l’Image, Université Paris VIII, and a PhD in Communications and Semiotics from PUC São Paulo. She has published and organized around 10 books such as EDUNESP: Arte, ciência e tecnologia: passado, presente e desafios (2009); Arte e vida no século XXI: tecnologia, ciência e criatividade (2003); A arte no século XXI: a humanização das tecnologias (1997); Criação e interatividade na ciberarte, Experimento (2002). She has written approximately 100 chapters in books, articles in journals from Harmattan, Presses UQAM, LAVAL, and other publishers in Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, the UK, China, Japan, and the US, including Leonardo and Digital Creativity. She is an artist with over 50 individual exhibits, and over 130 collective exhibitions in São Paulo Biennials, Bienal de la Habana, Bienal do Mercosul, HKW (Berlin), MN Belas Artes (Rio de Janeiro), MAM and MAC (São Paulo), and in galleries and museums in France, Italy, Sweden, the US, Greece, China, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Colombia. She has curated international events such as Ciberarte Zonas de Interação (II Bienal do Mercosul), engaging with over 300 scientists and artists. Awards include The 2000 UNESCO PRIZE – 7th Biennial la Habana; The First LEONARDO Global Crossing Prize; 2004 Rockefeller Foundation; Personalidade do século XX (Caxias do Sul, Brazil); and Prêmio Sergio Motta 2011. Her work is published in reference books such as Art + Science Now, by Stephen Wilson, Thames and Hudson, 2009; Information Arts, MIT Press 2002; Bruce Wands; Digital Art, 2004; Latin American Art in the 20th Century, by Edward Lucie-Smith, Thames and Hudson, 2003.
http://fga.unb.br/lart