Monthly Archives: May 2011

Eno on creativity

Kubrick and The Director

The DIrector of The Imaginary Foundation on the set of Dr. Strangelove at Shepperton Studios.

Question: Your past is a bit of mystery. I heard a rumor that you played chess with Stanley Kubrick. Is that true? –Linus Leibkörper

Answer: When I was an extra on Dr. Strangelove, Stanley and I played a little chess. I recall him noting that the game was a cosmic metaphor—the board, which is a finite realm of two dimensions, is similar to a finite view of the universe. The chess pieces, meanwhile, are of two types: finite or infinite. The finites are the king, pawn, and knight: They move in single bounds of established length. The infinites are the queen, bishop, and rook: They move at any length and are theoretically able to transcend the limits imposed by the board. When Stanley asked me, "Are you a finite or an infinite player?," I looked down as his words ricocheted from neuron to neuron. After a long pause, my head still bowed, I mumbled a response: "Each of us, Mr. Kubrick, each one of us has the potential to be an infinite player." I looked up, but Stanley was gone—already engulfed by the next scene.

Tomorrow we will release the complete Juxtapoz magazine interview with The Director as a downloadable PDF.

Quantum Parallelograph: Conceptual art project that reveals your life as it might have been in a parallel universe

Based on the "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics, this piece of conceptual art purports to tell you about your parallel lives.

Quantum mechanics has replaced Newtonian physics as the most accurate scientific representation of the world that we’ve ever had. One of the more controversial interpretations of the theory suggests that the entire universe is constantly splitting into parallel but different versions of itself, every time a particle interacts with another particle. Designer Patrick Stevenson-Keating has created an art installation, called the Quantum Parallelograph, that surreally illustrates this idea by printing out receipt-like descriptions of what your other selves are have been up to.

Growing Brains in Petri Dishes

This doughnut shape decorated with bright green spots, some connected by red pathways, amidst sky blue neighbors could be an artist’s creation, but is the result of a creative scientific attempt to grow an active brain in a dish, complete with memories. According to a study done at the University of Pittsburg, these brain cells grow and form neural networks just like animal brains.

"The team fashioned ring-shaped networks of brain cells that were not only capable of transmitting an electrical impulse, but also remained in a state of persistent activity associated with memory formation, said lead researcher Henry Zeringue [zuh-rang], a bioengineering professor in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Magnetic resonance images have suggested that working memories are formed when the cortex, or outer layer of the brain, launches into extended electrical activity after the initial stimulus, Zeringue explained."

Humane Technology -Empower People

Next Nature have recently been running an interesting guide to the concept of Humane Technology

"While conventional tech creates new problems even as it solves old ones, ‘humane technology’ has the opposite effect. It is a partner, not a passive tool. It works with our bodies and instincts, not against them."

Principle Five: Empower People -Humane technology doesn’t outsource people, but instead empowers them.

How healthy or humane is it to have an escalator to the gym?  Humane technology should not aim to replace the human mind and body.  Rather, it should be used as a tool to augment existing capabilities.  The Cheetah Flex-Foot, a prosthetic foot and lower leg, integrates with a user’s existing knee and upper leg to enable comfortable walking and running.  Users are at least as fast as those with flesh-and-blood feet, and may even be faster thanks to the mechanical efficiencies of springy metal.  The initial design was closely modeled on the human foot, but evolved into a sleeker blade-like shape that’s more cheetah than person.  The Flex-Foot is therefore not an exact replacement for the human form, but a way to radically re-imagine it.