Colloque Melilla / Melilla Symposium, 18-20 July 2004

A Colloquium on Art/Science/Spirituality Reconnections

Within Emerging Planetary Cultures

Host:  1st International Festival of Cultures, Melilla, Spain

Colloquium date: 18 – 20 July 2004


Leonardo is pleased to announce a collaboration with the City of Melilla and the Al Andalus Foundation,  for a colloquium and workshop on the reconnection of art, science, and spirituality. This intercultural dialogue is offered as  one contribution  towards cultural developments within the multiple planetary contexts of globalization.

Modern cosmology and physics emphazise the interdependence of complex systems on scales from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Contemporary genetics reveal the underlying shared genetic identity not only of all human beings, but the genetic relatedness of all life on earth. Current scientific discoveries reconnect science to a number of philosophical and spiritual traditions. These reconnections offer the promise of the development of new philosophical and value systems appropriate to new emerging linked planetary cultures .

This promise must face a number of dangers of globalization including : accentuation of the inequalities within global development, negative aspects of the digital divide, cultural homogenization, over and unsustainable consumption, hyper-specialization, local isolation. The technologies of the Information Society offer tools to counterbalance some of these dangers through the potential of global dissemination of information and knowledge, new models for distance learning, the emergence of a planetary consciousness based on the shared genetic heritage of all human life. But beside these particular dangers how "to be and become" in this world undergoing profound changes ? Can we adapt to these changes ? How ? Artists and Scientists have been at the forefront of the use of these new systems to build life enhancing cultural developments in  linked planetary contexts.

This colloquium, with 20 participating artists, scientists and philosophers, is intended to be a listening post, an opportunity for inter cultural dialogue and a specific step towards magnifying and amplifying emerging new emerging planetary cultural developments.

The choice of the City of Melilla as the host for this colloquium is not an accident. Melilla has a millennial history of multi-cultural, multi-lingual synergy and dialogue within the Mediterranean context. The city offers itself as a podium to communicate outcomes of this first colloquium : to make real the opportunities for the reconnection of art, science and spirituality for the building of  new 21st century planetary cultures.

Call for Posters

Leonardo is issuing a call for posters for the colloquium from artists, scientists, engineers and philosophers.

A poster presentation lasts at maximum 5 minutes. Posters will be displayed during 3 days in the colloquium public spaces. If you can’t attend the Colloquium in person, you may send a VHS cassette which could be displayed during 5 minutes.

There is no funding available for participation in the symposium but there is no registration fee and there are reduced hotel rates and travel on Iberia. If you are interested in presenting a poster, please contact the following email address : and submit an abstract (500 words maximum). You are encouraged to submit also written documentation or website addresses where any texts on your work could be look at

We are seeking presentations that present specific scientific and artistic work, and make visible the cultural/philosophical/religions contexts that set a priori conditions and constraints on the speakers approaches and specific work.

The official languages of the colloquium will be English and Spanish, with simultaneous translation also into French. Travel costs of speakers will be covered by the Colloquium.

Examples of topics :
- Globalization as a new creation of world(s)
- Planetary consciousnesses : towards spiritual developments ?
- Experiences of networks (collaboration, artistic and scientific work, community building) in different cultural contexts
- Scientific discoveries which cast new light on humans as inhabitants of a single planet

For Further information on the Leonardo Global Crossings Project see Leonardo / OLATS (" Fondements Culturel de Mondialisation "

Host & Sponsoring

Host Organization: The City of Melilla

Co- Sponsoring Organizations:
Al Andalus Foundation
Leonardo Global Crossings Project
Ford Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation

Organizing Committee

Hisham Bizri, Professor of Art and Head of Time-Based Arts, The Department of Art and Art History at the University of California at Davis

Mohammed Aziz Chafchaouni, Al Andalus Foundation, Morocco and Spain

Claudia Giannetti, MECAD, Spain

Roger Malina and Julien Knebusch,  Leonardo/OLATS, Paris, France

Douglas Vakoch, SETI Institute, Menlo Park, Calif, USA

David Peat,  Pari Center, Italy

Sangeetha Menon, Institute for Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India

Video Exhibition

Sélection de films d'animation en images de synthèse, en collaboration avec Jean-Luc Soret, Festival @rt Outsiders

Computer animations programme, in collaboration with Jean-Luc Soret, @rt Outsiders Festival


Samirah Al-Khassim, Assistant Professor of Film Studies & Head of the Film Unit Department of Performing & Visual Arts American University in Cairo, Egypt


Contribution: Burdens (and Gifts) of Cinema on Experimental Video - the Idea of Experimentation and Resistance in Cairo

Abstract: There are a series of questions surrounding the possibilities and problems of doing experimental video work in Egypt, most of the latter of which are socio-economically and culturally determined. In this paper I will contextualize the current situation of experimental video-makers in Egypt, for whom there is very little funding and state-sponsorship, and where there is a serious economic recession that impacts the production of art. I will refer to texts on the post-colonial subject in cinema by Robert Stam and Ellah Shohat; different notions of “the global” and culture by Arjun Appadurai; and the “dehumanization of art” by Ortega Y Gasset, among other sources, in describing the context of this techno-cultural scene within the larger context of the aims of this colloquium.

I speculate that the reason why there is experimentation happening at all in video, in Egypt, which for simplicity’s sake we can consider to be Cairo, while there is very little discussion about aesthetics and practices within the medium, is on the simplest level due to Cairo’s timeless cultural diversity. But there is another reason born of the positive and negative effects of globalization: the proliferation of counter-images from the new Arab satellite channels thrown into the generally complex mix of poorly managed development programs and government corruption, with their impact on every strata of social life. Out of all this springs the artist, who, without my wishing to attribute too great a supernatural power to him/her, is able to more easily to confront and possibly transcend borders and lines of law (than the average citizen) and who often belongs to the middle classes and above. Of further impact is the general milieu of the cinema “crisis” with its effects on independent cinema and video-makers; and the seemingly imminent rupture of the “law of order” if the economic situation worsens and if the political “balance” shifts from the hegemony of the corrupt national Democratic Party to an Islamic Brotherhood rulership.

But transparent rigidity eventually breeds its own demise – like other moments and experiences where rigid social/cultural/religious and political systems have bred generations of dissident voices (and eyes). Where does the role of spirit come into this? Artists are using electronic means to engage in their relationships to the city and notions of identity and authority, both of which in this particular situation are fragmented and reconsolidated. I speculate that there is spirit enough in these connections, practices and works, to affirm the role of the spirit in artistic production, especially in these times of impending, though perhaps slow-moving, change.

Roy Ascott, Artist, Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth, UK

Biography: Pioneering the place of cybernetics and telematics in art, Roy Ascott has been working with issues of art, technology and consciousness since the 1960s. Seminal projects include: Terminal Art, USA/UK, 1980; La Plissure du Texte, Electra, Paris 1983; Planetary Network, Venice Biennale, 1986; Aspects of Gaia, Ars Electronica Linz 1989; Art-ID/Cyb-ID, Biennal do Mercosul, Brazil,1999; Moist Manifesto, gr2000az, Graz. 2000. He is founding director of the Planetary Collegium and Professor of Technoetic Arts at the University of Plymouth. He is also Adjunct Professor in Design|Media Arts, University of California Los Angeles, and was formerly Dean of San Francisco Art Institute, California, Professor for Communications Theory, Applied Arts University, Vienna, and President, Ontario College of Art, Toronto. Roy Ascott convenes the annual Consciousness Reframed conferences, and is an Arts and Media advisor of the UK’s Art and Humanities Research Board. He is founding editor of Technoetic Arts, and serves on the editorial boards of Leonardo Convergence, and Digital Creativity. He advises new media centres in the UK, Japan, Korea, Brazil, North America and Europe, including the EEC and UNESCO. His theoretical work is published many languages, including the books: Art & Telematics: Toward the Construction of New Aesthetics. (Japanese trans. E. Fujihara). Tokyo: NTT, 1998; Technoetic Arts (trans. YI, Won-Kon), Yonsei University Press. 2002 ; Reframing Consciousness: art, mind and technology (1999) Intellect, UK. Telematic Embrace: visionary theories of art technology and consciousness, edited by Edward A Shanken. University of California Press, was published in February 2003.

Contribution: Technoetic Pathways to the Spiritual in Art

Abstract: As the new media art paradigm of interactivity unfolds, with telematics and mixed reality systems becoming ubiquitous and commonplace, artists working at the forward edge of speculative research will become increasingly involved in pursuing the nature of consciousness, the complexity of living systems, and the potential of biophysics, nanotechnology, and quantum science for the development of artistic theory and practice. The substrate for this work is to be found at the convergence of digitally dry and biologically wet systems, constituting what can be called moistmedia. At the same time there is increasing interest in the psychic, spiritual and mystical aspects of traditional cultures, and holistic models of being which challenge the West’s materialist paradigm. For example, ethnobotany identifies societies across the world that have developed a technology of consciousness from psychoactive plants, while biophysics researches the significance of biophotonic emission from DNA molecules and the information network of light which gives living organisms coherence. There is a compelling analogy to telematic information networks that permeate the planet as a whole. The emergent field of technoetics attempts to address issues of this kind, and to provide perspectives on post-biological culture. This in turn presents ontological and epistemological challenges that call for subtle understandings of mind and spirit.

Paolo Atzori, Communication architect and video-stage designer and Nicole Leghissa, filmmaker and director, Italy


Contribution: Mediterranean Maps

Abstract: In this particular historical moment it is fundamental to overcome stereotypes and misunderstandings that characterize the mutual relationship between Islamic and Western world, mainly breaking the reciprocal cultural isolation.

A consistent way to approach the problem is to create communication and shared knowledge channels between these cultural realities taking a clear position against the ideological conflict between West and Islam, North and South of the world, and reaffirming the values of mutual respect and diversities’ confrontation.

‘Mediterranean Maps’ consists of a multicultural and interdisciplinary grouping of scientific and cultural institutions of the South and North of the Mediterranean, aimed to research and give expression to a mutual knowledge space: a multicultural, hyper-textual and dynamic Atlas of the contemporary Mediterranean rim that could be continuosly updated and freely consultable on line.

The group will include artists, scientists and cultural operators, whose mission is to bridge the knowledge gap between North and South of the Mediterranean area.

Each partner will propose a specific research/action plan creating a sub-network in different locations and promote the formation of multimedia teams of young professional, located in every major area covered by the action.

During the development of the researches/actions all individuals and institutions belonging to the different sub-networks will communicate on line in a transversal way through the "collaborative platform" specifically designed for this project. to archive different kind of documents: texts, notes, graphics, pictures, interviews, short video reports, graphics, maps, archive images, sounds, etc.


Until few years ago cartography representation has been exclusively static. The project Mediterranean maps envisions a cartographic model that could integrate dynamic processes and automatic sampling by the application of information technology to the data patterns relative to geographical and cultural representation.

The maps represent a contemporary view of the Mediterranean area visualized by a digital interface that will enable access and supply indications on possible « knowledge courses » on a digital sea, navigable in linear and transversal ways.


A geographical route on the Mediterranean basin will be drawn to represent the physical link among the different researchers and participating countries. Significant ports will represent the local attractors, where specific actions and special public events will take palce at the landing of the boat.

The boat equipped with advanced communication technologies will host a crew of multimedia and communication experts, scientists and artists, writer and poets – will originate the map-making process of the mediterranean sea. The journey is an exploration, a re-descovery of this region.

The travel itself will be a source of data coming from the observation of the natural environment, concerning, for example, biology, fluid dynamics, ecology, but also social relationship on a mobile micro-environment. The boat will perform a transversal data collection, traveling along a course unifying all participating Mediterranean ports.

This lab-boat, beside being a creative and research forge, is a logistic support to install the public telematic stations (or light-houses) in the ports.These stations will become the material places from where to launch the data on lines and where to join freely the net global information.


It is a public wireless interzone for global networking communication implemented on a transportable architecture, planned with environmentally conscious design that minimizes sustenance or resource consumption. Its main purpose is to give shape to the process of communication characteristic of the information age, where communication equals transportation of the mind, establishing dedicated channels of the "MED MAP" network.

Its equipment and architecture will be used also for displaying the public event.

Philippe Boissonnet, Media Artist, Professor for Media Art, Université Québec Trois Rivières, Canada


Contribution: OURANOS ou la limite de la conscience: de l'holographie comme pratique artistique au paradigme ondulatoire comme compréhension contemporaine du lien de notre conscience avec l'Univers.

Abstract: OURANOS ou la limite de la conscience: de l'holographie comme pratique artistique au paradigme ondulatoire comme compréhension contemporaine du lien de notre conscience avec l'Univers.

L'objectif général du projet est de développer une recherche théorique et pratique à la croisée des arts visuels et médiatiques, des sciences astrophysiques, et de la philosophie. Cette recherche se fera principalement avec le co-chercheur John F. W. Perry, professeur d'astronomie et d'holographie à l'Université du Vermont ainsi que président-fondateur du laboratoire Holographics North à Burlington. Un partenariat aura lieu, dans le cadre des étapes de la réalisation artistique, holographique et numérique, avec les laboratoires XYZimaging (Montréal) et Holographics North (Burlington).

L'objectif final de cette recherche triennale se concrétisera dans la création d'une importante installation lumineuse (holographie générée par ordinateur) et interactive (système électronique de détecteurs de présence).

Le système interactif, et le dispositif holographique situé au sol, devront inspirer la sobriété d'un espace vide capable de se remplir de lumière et de perceptions fugitives de l'Univers en fonction des points de vue adoptés par les spectateurs ( positions proche/lointain ou périphérie/centre ou statique/mobile). Par ces multiples visions issues des images des étoiles et galaxies les plus anciennes d'un univers où « tout est centre et rien est centre » (théorie de la dilatation du Big Bang), nous souhaitons rapprocher la perception mentale du spectateur d'un point de vue hypothétique, difficile à inscrire dans notre conscience humaine : celui où le temps et l'espace n'ont aucune valeur absolue et où la question de l'Origine ( ce qui est « auparavant ou au-delà ») se réduit à notre propre conscience. Parallèlement à la réalisation pratique de l'oeuvre visuelle, on cherchera à développer une hypothèse à propos de la nature de cette conscience, siège final de la perception sensorielle, qui serait peut-être constituée d'une autre réalité - plutôt de type ondulatoire et interférentielle - dans laquelle le temps et l'espace n'existeraient pas.

Au travers de notre recherche-création, nous nous intéresserons donc à la possibilité d'émergence «d'un paradigme de l'ondulatoire» qui entourerait actuellement les recherches en sciences physiques des particules (théorie des cordes) et en sciences astrophysiques (théorie du lien holographique), autant que celles en neurosciences ou en « Études sur la conscience ». Chacune de ces approches conduit à des modèles d'interprétation du lien de notre conscience avec l'Univers. D'ailleurs la pensée scientifique se rapproche parfois de la pensée mystique en acceptant aujourd'hui l'idée que notre conscience - autant que nos outils d'observation - interagit sur les phénomènes du réel (comme lorsque l'on observe la vitesse d'une particule et que celle-ci semble être partout à la fois, mais dès que l'on réussit à déterminer sa position, sa vitesse semble nulle).

Hashim Cabrera, painter and writer, Spain

Biography: Nace en Sevilla en 1954. Al poco tiempo se traslada a Córdoba de donde es natural su familia paterna, y en ésta ciudad y en uno de los pueblos de la provincia, Almodóvar del Río, transcurrieron su infancia y adolescencia.
Cursa estudios de Análisis de Formas en la Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Sevilla. Cursa estudios de Filosofía en la Facultad de Letras de Córdoba y de Literatura Española en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Funda, junto a Mansur Abdussalam, Abdennur Coca y Sabora Uribe la revista de información y análisis Verde Islam.

Contribution: Marks and images of reality in Media reasoning

Art in the media is not a separate art from life nor unaware of science or spirituality. It is more a reasoning that allows the interplay and the meeting and at the same time tends to break the myth, by exhaustion, of the sacred nature of texts and images. The procedures and artistic disciplines find an apt field for their spreading and global reproduction. But the mediation becomes in many cases so powerful that the contents turn into a subsidiary and reference material, inside inexhaustible lots of possibilities. The nature laws and the rules of art join and share the same support.

The recurrence of images underlie between the dream of video and the presence of digital pictures, the building of an endless allegory of history and cultures...and that digital environment is lived as an experience of shapeless melancholy, according to what Professor Arnheim said in the seventies of the last century.

From the live experience of real we walk to a relative and consensual reality, that is to say virtual. We face the dissolution of the subject, the fiction of the I, in a world of images but poor of signs, in a crossroad, like carrier pigeons that stopped in the air for a while to remember their destiny.

Contrary to what happens when we contemplate the landscape of nature, when we lean out to the digital one we can get away from the effort of retaining it in our memory, because we know that it can be instantaneous and unlimitedly played. The digital image is kept, protected from oblivion and spoiling, in that same cavern where Plato placed the ideas, in the image world (‘alam al mithal) where Ibn Arabi discovered his independent and autonomous kind, like a pure spiritual being.

The mass media change vertiginously and they bind us to a constant learning of new languages. The field where communication happens now is the net, an open structure which connect individual nodes as well as others where group tasks gather.

The key of this new way of knowledge and expression is not so much instrumental as something related to identity. The homogeneity of the net and the autonomy of nodes is placating the appearance of a new form of spontaneous organization that collide strongly with the traditional, hierarchic and centralized power structures.

We go along from close identities to an open and global identity, from the fragmentary exclusion to the unifying inclusion, from analysis to the integrative experience of the tawhid.

Francesca Del Carmen, Anthropologist, Spain



Abstract: The origins go back to the doctrines of DulNun the Egyptian, taken to the peninsula by Ibn Masarra, influenced by al Gazel the Persian, renewed by Ibn al Arif from Almeria and brought back again to East by Ibn Arabi from Murcia.

We find the clearest symptom of the continuity of the spirit of Ibn Masarra in the bosom of the peninsular Sufism, in the huge influence made by the esoteric, mystical cultural focus of the School of Almeria. This city, inheritor of the School of Pechina, turned to be a seedbed of heterodox Sufism of masarri filiation.

At the beginnings of the twelfth century under the rule of Almoravides, Almeria becomes the spiritual metropolis of the peninsula. Here it was where the first and only shout of collective protest was heard against the burning of the books of al Gazel the Persian, which were described as godless by the Alfaquies of Cordoba. During the lifetime of this author his main works Makacid and Tehafort were burnt by an official decree of 1109, enacted by the Almoravid Sultan Yusuf ben Taxufin.

The Alfaquies of Almeria, led by el Berchi from Berja, drafted a fatwa of protest which blamed the behaviour of Aben Hamin, Cadi of Cordoba.

This mystic flowing returned, in the thirteenth century (four centuries after the arrival of Ibn Masarra) with Ibn Arabi from Murcia to East where it came from, but modified in the batini sense. The germs of Sufi Pantheism of Ibn al Arif spread in this way to the furthest countries of Islam (Turkey, Persia and India) contributing to the spreading of “Ixraquuuies” in East Islam. This has been the most plentiful source of inspiration where all philosophers, especially the Persian ones, have gone to slake their thirst of religious ideals, who longed for an explanation of cosmos. Therefore nowadays the voluminous books of Ibn Arabi, inspired by the School of Almeria of Ibn al Arif are reissued constantly in Cairo, Constantinople and Mumbay. The fundamental principles of this school and the symbols of the language are used nowadays in Sufi vocabulary. Even more, the orders and guilds of East are still being inspired in the original rules of the School of Almeria.

The last great known master of this school is Abu Isaac Ibrahim ibn al Havy from Almeria.He was born in Velefique (Almeria) in 1158 and passed away in Marrakesh in 1219. He was a first rate mystic poet. His great great grandson Abu I Barakat says that some masters told him that Abu Isaac managed to join forty thousand disciples and opened a hall with this invocation: “Lord, make us look for shelter in You and be our most beautiful friendship until the day You send us death. Hidden, concealed, satisfied with your blessing, we will run to You the day we go to meet You.

This invocation was the destiny of this school, to perpetuate until today stealthily in these Andalusian lands, overcoming obstacles and changes, covering the language and the apparently easiest customs: food, clothes, words, songs, children´s games.

Mohammed Aziz Chafchaouni, Media Artist, Spain and Morroco and Harold Brokaw, Al Andalus Foundation, Professor for digital music, Ashville University, USA


Contribution: The Virtual Geodesy. Proposal for a Multiplayer role playing game

Abstract: This project aims at creating new relationships between scientific data and cultural content, as a basis for developing a multiplayer role playing game.

Players of this game will explore an interactive, 3D, Virtual Geodesy composed of geometric structures organized as habitats for a multitude of data streams expressing the diversity & uniqueness of tangible and intangible world cultural heritage art forms, events & expressions.

Within the new potentials of Information Technologies, the project will utilize precise data gathered within the scientific domain, as 3D containers for visualization of information. The preciseness, yet vastness, of scientific data for building 3D sites will be well balanced by the symphonic arrangements of world culture content elements into harmonics of spatial locations.

The total Geodesy system will have its own life, as intelligent geometric agents interact within it. They become the game’s Mind enabling multiple players, with their avatars, to interact, communicate, learn & discover and for the game itself to evolve over time.

The sites within the Geodesy are the departure and arrival points of the users who will be navigating through tridimensional animated highways of universal interactive cultural content. The System will enable synergetic multiplayer interactions, promoting cooperation over competition, livingry over weaponry.

The project’s singularity is the potential to model an ever evolving intelligent cyber habitat, where every precise site could be as simple as an atom, or complex as a virtual city.

The strength, coherence, and dynamics of its structural topologies will be the backbone of the Geodesy. By the intelligence embedded in its design and the physics characteristics of its life system, it becomes a playground for infinite crossroads of data streams, taking root in the world culture heritage data bases.

Anna-Maria Christoph-Gaugusch


Contribution: Self-Reflexivity in Science and Arts

Abstract: To "observe" something scientifically usually means to observe something that exists "outside", independently of human conceptions. Scientists tend to ignore the world "inside" - their conceptions, projections and presuppositions. Instead of overlooking already acquired concepts a self-reflexive mirror will be developed in order to observe how concepts are build up in the first place. This mirror will not merely reflect visible light, however. It does not even require our eyes but rather forces us to close them. A self-reflexive mirror requires to look "inside" and to observe how our mind-reflections i.e., our rule-guided thoughts, our sound- as well as taste-, smell- and touch-sensations arise and vanish. Digital technologies in combination with arts serve as a tool in order to virtually (re)construct a self-reflexive mirror of non-dualistic mindfulness/awareness. Once we are able to observe in a self-reflexive fashion how our concepts evolve, we may realize that the distinction between our concepts and our meaningfully formed reality is a concept in itself. A self-reflexive mirror may provide arguments for the view that subjects as well as objects arise hand in hand with linguistic concepts and rule-guided reciprocal actions, just as virtual realities require code as well as interaction with a user for their existence.

Chu-Yin Chen, Professor at the Departement Arts et Technologies de l'Image - Université Paris 8, France


Contribution: Convergence Between Art and Science. A Digital Artistic Creation, Convergence Between Art and Science. A Digital Artistic Creation

Abstract: The relations between art and science take roots in the remote origin of civilizations and in their philosophy which models along centuries the attitude of the people about the physical and social phenomena in which they live.

The Chinese thought conceives the universe as a great organization in which the state of each part depends on the others’ one. To foresee and act, it is necessary to observe the phenomena of Nature while adapting oneself with flexibility and by respecting their properties so as to preserve a total balance. Impregnated with this belief, my first step towards knowledge and artistic creation is the observation of Nature.

Following the scientists’ wake, I probe the world deeply to understand the truth hidden into the messages of Nature. The mechanisms and the operation of the Life penetrated my digital artistic creation through the use of Artificial Life. This enabled me to seize certain processes of the living systems, and at the same time, to create Virtual Creatures endowed with intuitive and evolving moves. Thanks to new technologies, I do not paint anymore the still life; I program some living nature.

The creatures that are animated on the computer’s screen are virtual, potential and released by my innumerable software writing endeavors. Within this new dimension of the virtual space and time, the actions and the evolutions of this Artificial Life intermingle themselves. Driving all the elementary parts belonging to my creatures constitutes the origin of the intrinsic relations that we can watch into their animations. Consequently, these animations cannot be satisfied anymore with an interpolation between two positions fixed in advance, but permanently requires an extrapolation upon the future, unceasingly questioned by its own contents. Using behavioral animation, each virtual creature has its own genes and its own form of intelligence enabling it to adapt itself, to anticipate the variations of its environment, and to evolve consequently. Thus, the pictorial shapes are embodied into this Artificial Life. For me, to animate pictures mean to project their life in the future!

On the "Convergence Arts and Sciences" program’s basis, the organization “Centre Sciences” of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) offered me the opportunity to be an artist in residence in a biology research laboratory at the INRA of Tours (France). This enabled me to confront two forms of research, and to associate scientific creation, artistic creation and communication for a large audience.

My film “Ephemere” based on 3D computer graphics animation is not an account or a scientific statement. This artwork exposes a lived track, the results of a contact between the vision of scientists and the vision of an artist.

Science is always very present in our life and remains faithful to reality, while art always plays with its phantasms, each one according to its direction: Science advances, Art invents.

As in the Saint Exupéry’s book “Le Petit Prince”, the scientists try to draw a true sheep; the artists are satisfied with its box. The sheep enhances our knowledge; the box contains dreams!

Caterina Davinio, Media Artist, Italy


Contribution: GATES - Beyond Net-Art: Real Things Across the Cyberspace

Abstract: I have been working with new media in Italy since the early Nineties, focusing on relationship among word, writing, and new media.

Since 1998 my work appeared in the Internet with collaborative projects:, still in course, Parallel Action - Bunker, on line poetry event done for the 49th Biennale di Venezia, Paint from Nature, Global Poetry, both created in 2002, and the last project: GATES Beyond Net-Art, in 2003, dedicated to Pierre Restany.

In all these projects there is an increasing relationship between one or more real events, and a virtual event on line made of e-communication. The reality coefficient has grown progressively in these collaborative works, in polemic against net art as use of software for creating spectacular web pages and net-objects.

In my works net-art is network, performance in network of connected artists, poets, critics, theoreticians. Gates, as Global Poetry in 2002, is a planetary performance that happened contemporaneously in numerous places of the world, in collaboration with experimental artists, who were in the spirit of this totally new experimental adventure, something that was never realized before. These artists created a node of the project in their countries, using also exchange and circulation of materials among the nodes; the circulated materials were poems, digital art, photos and video of real events, but also discourses, theories, critical interventions. Every node was a node of the performance, but also a performance and a meeting in itself: this means that to everybody in this collaborative action, we asked to involve other persons.

In this direction of art as communic-action and relationship I have been going since my first net project: - Poetry in Phatic Function - the first Italian web site dedicated to experimental poetry - , described with a definition by Jakobson, that calls phatic the use of the language that has the finality to maintain open and operative the communication channel between the interlocutors. The idea was to open every limit between word and visual art, critic, theories of art, and art, by creating a space of meeting among artists. This space was at the beginning virtual, as it was at that time still new to consider a web page a "space" to explore, where to be present and act. By becoming, during the 90s, this conception normal, acquired, net-art was progressively in the consideration of many artists a run to the up to date software, for creating spectacular web sites and pages. For this reason it was important to clarify the original sense of net art as art in network, with its central aspects of communic-action. uses ready made found in the world wide web and some techniques of visual poetry, and Futurism, but also focuses on the matter of an art piece in the web, that is deeply linguistic, because digital or digitalized, and because made of data transfer. To these aspects of digital art as linguistic art, net-art adds the one of communication and network, typical of the Internet. This is the idea on which are based also projects as Global Poetry and GATES.

The Italian node of GATES was at D'Ars Gallery on 18 December 2003. Other nodes were in Chile, Spain, Brazil, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, Greece, Venezuela, and in other countries. Exploring the concept of remote presence and action, and continuous passage form real to virtual and vice versa, using the surface between real and virtual as sensible semiotic area, in the context of relational art, e-Fluxus, Situationism. The call was directed to experimental artists and poets, critics, e-post-Fluxus-casseurs, post-post duchampists... :-)

Lama Denys, Congrégation Dachang Rimay


Contribution: Foundations for a culture of peace and justice based on intertradition cooperation

Abstract: The Teaching of the Buddha (Dharma) is an art of living based on a spiritual science. In its inspiration I would suggest first to make evident the ethical and spiritual common ground of all peace and justice, wholesome, traditions.

Concerning spirituality, the common ground could be summarized as the absolute (God or Nature) experienced before mental representations, names and forms, or in the "know yourself" injunction.

Concerning ethics, all wholesome traditions share the altruistic, selfless, love and compassion summarized by the Golden Rule.

Awareness of this common and universal ground generates a vision of intertradition unity in diversity. Unity in the fundamental experience, whether ethical or spiritual, and diversity in its expressions and ways of realization.

This paradigm of ethical and spiritual unity in diversity, as developed in the "Manifesto for ethical and spiritual unity in diversity", is the heart of an education to religious pluralism and cooperation needed for a global harmonization in a culture of peace and justice.

Jane Cole Forrester Winne, Independent MLS Program, University of Maine, Orono, USA, Owen Smith Chair


Contribution: "Mapping a Thesis in Systems Theory in New Media Art"

Abstract: My thesis is in Systems Theory, and this particular presentation displayed through power point, one project in my studies that utilized intuitive and cognitive thought to "map" areas of study in my thesis as mixed media art. The visuals represent interdisciplinary areas of research covering time and space of self directed inquiry as maps. Artworks of my own creation, giving 'voice' to the "mapping out" of my thesis, alone or incorporated with images that depict "maps" represented systems of interest in varying degrees. Accompanying this presentation was a book created for the project to hold text and scans of the full compliment of art works. The presentation was also a collaborative, incorporating work from two undergraduate students, one concerned with musical sound and one performing spoken word of her own writing. I am concerned with exploring the form of systems to discover structure, in part, that may reveal patterns that seem to support the life force. I am looking for what are called in some disciplines 'emergent properties', in others, 'evolutionary' traits, and still others protective or conserving strategies in cultures. I have a wide topical range, including the Ayurvedic and Iching systems, post modern artists/philosophers (fluxus, and Henri Bergson) Ancient cultures spanning from the British Isles to northern China, India to the Mediterranean. Ecological systems theory, the Internet, its history, directions, and alternative economies.

Eshel Ben Jacob, Professor of Physics, President of the Israel Physical Society, Israel and Neora, Cyberculture explorer and virtual reality worlds creator, Israel


Contribution: The science behind bacterial artistry

Abstract: This picture is one of a series of remarkable patterns that bacteria form when grown in a petri dish. While the colors and shading are artistic additions, the image templates are actual colonies of tens of billions of these microorganisms. The colony structures form as adaptive responses to laboratory-imposed stresses that mimic hostile environments faced in nature. They illustrate the coping strategies that bacteria have learned to employ, strategies that involve cooperation through communication. These selfsame strategies are used by the bacteria in their struggle to defeat our best antibiotics. Thus, if we understand the mechanisms behind the patterns, we can learn how to outsmart the bacteria - for example, by tampering with their communication - in our ongoing battle for our health.

Kiss Jocelyne, SISAR-Université de Marne La Vallée, France


Contribution: An another reading of the Greek myth of Orpheo with through new technologies: poetic proposition about artificial life

Abstract: This multimedia play rests on poetic and musical variations with settings, singers, real and virtual instrumentalists. This scenic device proposes an interpretation of the myth of Orpheo, around a reflection on the problems of the border between the life and virtuality, namely that we explore the oddness of this impression of reality produced by data-processing simulations, this sensory perception comparable with that which would create the entities, the processes or the environments real or imaginary which are simulated. This proposition of representation of one part of the story of Greek cosmology with through a virtual environment is held within interactive dramaturgy. The story begins with the moment where Orpheo goes down to the hells to try to save Eurydice and meets Cerbere, the dog with multiple heads which keeps the door of the kingdom of the God Hades. This character is represented by a network inter-connected computers whose each screen posts an animated head with a personality, and a speech decorated with declamation of onomatopoeical sentences which have him clean and with almost human appearance. The plurality of these various natures constituting the character of Cerbere authorizes a kind of "interior" dialogue. This scenic principle is used here like a poetic metaphor of the principles of emergence and artificial life. Orphism and virtuality: Iannis Xenakis, was the first on who propose bringings together between the virtual one and the music. The exercice of formalization which constitutes the musical transcription thought of a thought formalized for data-processing application brought closer from its point of view of work of the Old Greeks. « When only states that spirit is deposed God, ektasis, (left oneself), can reveal its true nature. It is necessary to escape the wheel from the Birth by purifications (Karthamoi) and sacraments (orghia), instruments of the ektasis. The katharmoi are done by the music and medicine "1. One can foresee, here, a direct reference to orphism. This exit of self orphic symbolizes for him the control of human on nature, this universal gift of creation. It represents the field of possible which works with the raising of age of computer. It is the reason of the musical revival. We propose here a second reading of this myth in comparison with new technologies in order to give in debate an old question about the notion of the alive one. The myth of Orpheo poses the problems of existence of border between living and the nonalive one, enters animated and inanimated. In another words, it raises the following question can one know qualities prone alive compared to an object which is not, between what is natural and artificial. Or in other words to take again the problems of Jacques Monod: "would it Be in fact possible to define by objective criteria and Generals the characteristics of the artificial objects, produced conscious projective activity, in opposition to natural objects, resulting from the free play of the physical forces? »2 Without however answering these questions we present a metaphorical interpretation on this set of themes. The character of Cerbère is the central character of the part which will support in a brief way of these theses. It incarne to some extent, problems. It represents at the same time the world of the gods which in imaginary of orphic is symbolized by the paramount seed, being defined as an entity integrating a plurality of qualities. By opposition, human is just an individualization of these qualities, it is a degradation of this initial entity. Cerbère constitutes here a whole of different personalities gathered in networks of computers each unit with a clean behavior, however it is released from the device of the emergent properties of the system making it possible to put in his work a unit within the network. This property constitutes here, a metaphor and represents that of the feeling and more precisely that of the feeling in love. It is thus, because Cerbère is in love of Eurydice that this one will remain into the shadow. It thus achieves to solidify Eurydice in this space out of the life time, achieving a certain way him also phonographs (act which deprives of the life a being). Do the problems presented by the personification of the networks of computers by the character of cerbère raise the question to know if an entity has gifted of action and of feeling which evolves in time, perhaps qualified the alive one?

1 1 Xenakis I. Kéleutha .Paris. l’Arche. 1994. p. 67..

2 Monod J. Le hasard et la nécessité. Seuil. 1970. p.20.

This part carried out in collaboration with the team of INREV directed by Monique Nahas and of CICEP directed by Philippe Tancelin of the University Paris 8 was presented at the European House Photography in Paris, at the time of the festival @rt outsiders organized by Jean Luc Soret.

Julien Knebusch, OLATS, France

Biography: Julien Knebusch was born the 10/09/1975 in Munich (Germany) and lives now in Paris. He obtained a Master's degree in history and politics (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and also in cultural management (University Paris-IX-Dauphine). He is currently project leader at Leonardo/OLATS ( for the editorial program "Fondements Culturels de la Mondialisation" (Cultural Roots of Globalization).



Fatima Lasay, Media Artist, Philippines


Contribution: Lessons from the Philippine Triad

Abstract: In my practice as artist and educator of art motivated by technologies, I have found a place in a mythical way of thinking in and about technology. Eventually, this led me to a vivisection of binary oppositions that seemed always to make difficult the intersections between science and art. I found a powerful tool of vivisection in the tripartite structure of ancient Philippine society: the Datu, Blacksmith and Babaylan. The role of the Babaylan in this triad, which contemporary society has nearly completely bombed and "educated" into oblivion, is most crucial. In the binarism of the Datu and Blacksmith, it is the Babaylan who strikes the balance. Being a completely integrated individual, the Babaylan is traditionally endowed with the power to thread the physical, social, spiritual and psychological ties of a community in thinking, and eventually extricating, its people out of the oppressive relationship with a dangerously bi-polar world. In a culture where art has ritual value, recovering the Philippine triad is to recover art as a living ritual. It is a process of defining in cultural terms a deeply rooted meaning of both art and technology. This presentation is a visual/audal journey, through art, science and technology, to the recovery of the Philippine triad, and the difficult but crucial remembrance and practice of the ritual and philosophy of the Babaylan.

Roger Malina, Astrophysician, Editor, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, France

Biography: Roger F. Malina is an astronomer and editor. He is the former director of the NASA EUVE Observatory at the University of California, Berkeley and Director of the Laboratoire d"Astrophysics de Marseille. He is a member of the SNAP consortium, a proposal to build a new satellite dedicated to Understanding the nature of dark energy and matter in the universe. He is the executive editor of The Leonardo publications and Chairman of the Board of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences And Technology. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Contribution:Useful tension between CP Snow's Two Cultures debate and the emergence of a context of Five Cultures in the Planetary Context

Abstract: C.P.Snow and his colleagues framed a discussion forty years ago on the need to reconnect the arts and sciences and to help provide the intellectual coherence to drive planet wide development within the context of global inequities and unequal development. However as the planet has become interconnected, both by the means of transportation and communication, an interesting tension between "holistic" approaches to reconnecting art and science versus "useful differentiation" is appearing as new planetary cultures emerge. I define the "five cultures" as the "art, design and entertainment culture", " the science and government culture", the engineering and coporate R and D culture", " distributed planet wide world views and value systems", and " new regionalisms and the importance of locality and personal situation". Individuals working within planetary context become used to working in multiple personal situations

where projects connect in differerent ways with the five cultures. Rather than insisting on reunification of dualities, as has been prevalent in western art-science discourse, I wish to emphasise a network model of entry points into problem solving. I will discuss how as an astrophysicist working also within a number of distributed planetary art communities this tension between "holism" and "useful differentiation" can be articulated.

Arthur Matuck, Professor PhD, MFA School of Communications and Arts University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Biography: Roger F. Malina is an astronomer and editor. He is the former director of the NASA EUVE Observatory at the University of California, Berkeley and Director of the Laboratoire d"Astrophysics de Marseille. He is a member of the SNAP consortium, a proposal to build a new satellite dedicated to Understanding the nature of dark energy and matter in the universe. He is the executive editor of The Leonardo publications and Chairman of the Board of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences And Technology. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Contribution:The Interpresence Project

Abstract: 1. Research Project for teleactive human language

Interpresence exercises the language of mediatecture to propose planetary coalescence through cyberspace. It favours worldwide integration allowing for interactive television and the experience of telebrations between distant cities.

Interpresence is defined as mutually sensed human telepresence. As a project Interpresence merges telecommunication, architecture, design, media arts, performance, television, and programming, with implications for cultural studies, anthropology, contemporary theory, epistemology and psychoanalysis.

Its curatorial concept purports the telepresential encounter providing for the valorization of the Other through mutual knowledge and co-authored aesthetic propositions.

The envisioned systems would enable local participants to interact with remote audiences, they would see and be seen, listen and be listened, experiencing interpresence.

2. The Interpresence Vision

Interpresence represents an alternative global television. It introduces a political proposition, claiming a right to communicate through technologies that only have to be reconfigured to provide for interpresential experiences.

The long-term social design involves the gradual creation of a worldwide network of community or university-operated telesystems. Design and implementation will be carried out through web-based property-free interchange triggering continous co-evolution.

3. Mediatecture for Teleactivity

Mediatectural projects for terminals should permit diverse modes of long distance interaction. They were conceived for bilateral and multilateral intercommunication. Teleperformance terminals consists of interpresential units integrating distributed screens with video cameras.

A vertical system allows for conversational interactions, while an horizontal one enables table mode interactions. Multiple-connection terminals provide interaction with many remote locations. Specially conceived audience spaces enable remote audioviewing of interactions occuring at teleperformance spaces.

4. Media design for co-evolutionary teleactivity

An intercreative process will be gradually extended through net-collaboration. Concepts, designs, projects, propositions will be available as released information, as common property, providing for a worldwide collective planning, a linux-like co-evolutionary

development of the project design.

A permanent webpresence would enable long-term quality interaction between participating artists and institutions. Propositions for projects, programs, events and performances will trigger long-distance interconnections.

Intervisions, teleactions and videologues would result from community and artistic initiatives supported by institutional agreements. Subsequent coordinated planning and networking would entail a diversity of increasingly creative long-distance human encounters.

Those connections will form an invisible web of creative collaboration, and mutual responsibility providing the human structure needed for the unfolding of quality projects and events. The network should entail the co-creation of scripts, technology evaluation, co-planning and finally the actualization of teleactivities.

5. Research for intercommunication

Research for interpresence will be centered upon alternative intercommunication. Proposals for computer-supported systems enabling understanding between speakers of different languages will be encouraged.

Software and media design can also be articulated to program intertranslations between different sign systems allowing, for instance, tactile stimuli to be remotely sensed as heat formations varying in form and intensity.

Research can also take a different direction. Specially designed software could morph human traces indicating the possibility of artificiality, not only of realism, in the experience of telepresence.

Sangeetha Menon, National Institute for Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India

Biography: Sangeetha Menon is a philosopher with a doctorate awarded for the thesis entitled "the concept of consciousness in the Bhagavad Gita". After graduating in zoology she took her postgraduate degree in philosophy from University of Kerala. A gold-medallist for postgraduate studies, she received University Grants Commission fellowship for her doctoral studies for five years. She joined National Institute of Advanced Studies in 1996 and is currently a Fellow in the Unit of Culture, Cognition and Consciousness.

Dr Menon has been working in the area of consciousness studies for over ten years and has given numerous talks, lectures and presentations at various national and international fora. Recently, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology published an article on her research work (2002). She has a book co-authored with H H Swami Bodhananda entitled "Dialogues: Philosopher meets the Seer" (2003, Srshti Publishers) which is a set of nine dialogues on socio-cultural issues of contemporary importance. Her research interests include Indian ways of thinking in classical philosophical schools, Indian psychology and Indian dramaturgy in the context of current discussions on ‘consciousness’. Dr Menon has edited three books on "Consciousness and Genetics" ( NIAS, 2002), "Scientific and Philosophical Studies on Consciousness" (NIAS, 1999), and "Science and Beyond" (NIAS 2004). She has also authored few monographs on consciousness in the context of Indian thought and also has published in refereed journals. Recently she was awarded the national award of "Young Philosopher Award" for the year 2002 for her research work from Indian Council of Philosophical Research. She is also an avid photographer, artist and web designer. She occasionally writes poetry and has interest in classical Indian dance. Her contact E-mail address is <> or <> and Website address is

Contribution: Experience of Expression: Instances from Indian dramaturgy and a discussion on ‘consciousness’

Abstract: Natya, the Indian concept of dance-drama means visual representation (abhinaya) in fourfold forms such as using parts of the physical body (angika), verbal utterances (vacika), costumes and ornaments (aharya) and physical signs of mental states (satvika). The rigorous and specified rules together with an integral approach to emotions, first-person experience of the actor and the spectator make natya belong to a higher order of cognition and experience. There is a wholesome representation of human emotions through a complex act of the external body (physical body gestures, costumes, music and plot) and the spiritual body (emotions, states of mind and unique relationship between the one who is presenting the re-representation and the one who is enjoying it).

The fulfillment of natya is achieved through the effective and joint performance of different kinds of abhinaya and mudra (representation of objects, emotions and ideas through single hand and combined hand gestures), the theme of the play, music and involvement of the spectators. The role of spectators is considered to be an active event that mutually influences the performance of the actor in terms of the representation of feelings. Intersubjectivity is a key concept in the discussion on natya.

One of the unique features of natya is that the epistemological and the experiential, the theory and technique are coordinated to form a mutually benefiting factor of the whole. Equal importance is given to detailed and specific physical and mental factors involved, and each of their transcendences is specified, at the same time, broadening the scope of experience both for the actor and the spectator.

This presentation will discuss some of these ideas and also some implications of these in understanding ‘consciousness’

Ahmad Mostafa

Biography: Ahmed Moustafa is an artist and scholar of international repute and a leading authority on Arabic art and design. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1943, he was initially trained as an artist in the neoclassical European tradition. Drawing his inspiration primarily from Renaissance masters, he subsequently rediscovered his lslamic roots, and his work is now almost exclusively devoted to abstract compositions inspired by texts from the Holy Qur'an.

Ahmed Moustafa gained a BA. degree in Fine Arts with Highest National Distinction in 1966 from the University of Alexandria, where he remained as a lecturer in painting and stage design in the Faculty of Fine Arts until 1973.

In 1974, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue advanced studies in printmaking at the Central School of Art and Design in London, where he obtained his M.A. degree with Distinction in 1978, and where he lectured in Arabic calligraphy from 1980 to 1982.

In 1989, he was awarded a Ph.D. degree by the Council for National Academic Awards for his work on the Scientific Foundation of Arabic Lettershapes, undertaken at the Central School of Art and Design in collaboration with the British Museum.

This painstaking research over 11 years has illuminated the geometric principles underpinning the visual harmony of all Islamic art and architecture.

Ahmed Moustafa has lived and worked in London since 1974 and directs the "Fe-Noon Ahmed Moustafa - Research Centre for Arab Art and Design", which he established in 1983. He has taught and lectured in many parts of the world, and is currently a visiting professor at the Prince of Wales' lnstitute of Architecture, London, the University of Westminster, London, and the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Alexandria, Egypt.

Ahmed Moustafa is a consultant in Islamic art and design on many private projects throughout the Middle East. These have included tapestries for the Royal Pavilion, King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah, and the Royal Reception at King Khald Airport in Riyadh. He has also designed several new Arabic typefaces as well as corporate identity programmes and logotypes for numerous organisations.

Contribution: The Ubiquitous Dot in Cosmic Justice

Abstract: The motto adopted in 500 BC or thereabouts by the Pythagorean brotherhood, which translates roughly as ‘a diagram and a step higher, not a diagram and a penny’, tells us that the Pythagoreans viewed geometrical diagrams as embodying truthful knowledge capable of sustaining man’s spiritual nourishment and showing him the way to rectitude.

By the same token the early Muslim scholars believed that geometry is a divine language articulating the coercive laws which govern all aspects of existence, hence they were motivated to translate most if not all the Pythagorean legacy into Arabic. It is this legacy which inspired the Abbasid Wazir Ibn Muqla (866-940 AD/ 272-328 AH) to devise the theory of proportional script, an epoch-making system which made it possible for the Arabic script to assume its rightful role as the prime means of expression in the visual arts of Islam. Yet there is no detailed study of this topic existing in print so far, and scholarly attempts at developing a full grasp of the principles involved have for a long time remained inconclusive. I have been extremely fortunate in uncovering the true nature of Ibn Muqla’s theory after 14 years of research which resulted in a doctoral thesis entitled ‘The Scientific Foundation of Arabic Lettershapes’.

Since time is too short for an exhaustive and comprehensive analysis of Ibn Muqla’s theory my presentation will focus on the square-shaped dot, the basic unit of measurement in Ibn Muqla’s system. It firstly requires the nib of the pen to be cut at an exact angle and conditions the correct manner of holding the pen. Secondly, it determines the surface area and proportions of the individual letter-shapes with respect to each other. Yet the significance of this dot exceeds its role as a measuring device in both 2- and 3-dimensional space. At a conceptual level, the relationship between dot and letter-shapes in Ibn Muqla’s system appears intended to mirror that between unity and multiplicity in divine creation, an image taken up and fully explored in later Islamic mystical thought.

Indeed, the nature of the dot can be seen as instrumental in explaining further the inner meaning of concepts such as Justice’, ‘Infinity’, ‘Harmony’, and ‘Oneness’ which reside at the confluence of the rational and the spiritual.

It will thereby be shown that Ibn Muqla’s achievement of constructing the Arabic script in accordance with certain geometrical rules makes an implicit statement about the metaphysical nature and function of writing which came to be of abiding significance for the entire artistic tradition of Islam. It will thus become evident that Ibn Muqla’s theory, once fully understood, has the potential of clarifying the manner in which the Arabic alphabet came to represent what may be identified as The Structural Morphology in the Artistry of Islam.

Neora, Neora, Explorer and virtual reality worlds creator, Israel


Contribution: ME DEA EX_ Intertwining virtual and real world. To form Immersive/Interactive Theatre

Abstract: The intertwining of science, technology and art, results in the experience of the spirit (webster: the intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of man). Thus, inspiration and spirituality, in my approach, define the state of mind, the spirit, achieved by interlacing the virtual and real worlds, to form some new experience of knowledge and understanding. Such experience may be complex/confusing; hence the way to reach clarity depends on our willingness to abandon or redesign our traditional solid grounds.

MEDEAEX is an adaptation of the classic Myth of Medea, projected cross-culture wise on:

* The Middle-East Reality (Medea = Paletinian, Jason = Israeli officer, Chorus = audience).

* The CyberSpace Virtual Reality (Medea is a hacker trying to debug and redesign the script).

The MEDEAEX universe is a 3D environment that resides on the internet and projected during the performance in 360 degrees around the audience. It is a pro-active environment, whereas Medea is a live actress (Khaula ElHadj-Dibsi) all the other characters are pre-programmed bot avatars, and the audience (e.g. the global village) can interact and influence the flow and ambience of the show, using SMS from their cellular phones.

The script is fully hyper-textual, based on the original texts by Euripides, Heiner Muller and Seneca. It is written and performed in English, Hebrew and Arabic, and so is the background music, cross cultural and cross lingual. The exposition to each scene is the actual Middle East News (Medea - betrayed, evicted, exiled, and after all sacrifices her children by sending them as suicide bombers to Jerusalem). The chorus lines are performed with text-to-speech mechanism, allowing online and realtime audience to add to their digital singing data bank.

The MEDEAEX project has been performed in Schiller Festival Germay, and Acco Festival in Israel, 2003. The technology and mechanisms are now tested as environment for VR studies program and interactive storytelling projects, in Shenkar College and other installtions. It is fully documented (including technical notes, images, critics, full script, video) in .

Bradley M. Pitts,


Contribution: Spacesuit: Space Craft

Abstract: Often described as a “spacecraft for one,” spacesuits exist as highly complex, technical systems. For the wearer of a spacesuit, it represents protection, a life-line extending into the depths of outer space, but for the public, who never see the spacesuit in person, it exists as a symbol embodying dreams and beliefs about who and what we are, and what we may become. It suggests our connections to our larger environment of earth, solar system, and universe. These concepts are not just projected onto the material spacesuit,

but are contained in its physical construction. Designers are themselves individuals with their own notions of what the spacesuit is and what its function should be. These beliefs and philosophies are made material through the spacesuit’s design and construction. Once in operation, the physical object projects these philosophies onto the world, literally shaping the reality of the individual inside the spacesuit. The spacesuit is a highly charged, metaphysical object.

This presentation explores the concept of a spacesuit from many points along the spectrum of its existence from art, to engineering, to mathematics. Cultural explorations of the spacesuit, the body, and space have been performed, installed, written about, and documented as part of a masters thesis (MIT, 2003). These explorations have recontextualized the role of the spacesuit and the entire endeavour of human spaceflight, leading to alternative spacesuit concepts. Refining these concepts required engineering methods including mathematical modelling, model validation, and tests on the human body. In the end, a vision of a culturally invested Mechanical Counterpressure spacesuit is developed along with some of the design tools necessary for its realization. In this way, the spacesuit serves as an object of inquiry fostering thought about the connections between the internal and external universe. It is from this holistic exploration that new (or recontextualized) spiritualities emerge, moulding the foundation for future work. By approaching even the most technically demanding, life-threatening situations in this way, we enter into “space craft,” an artistic mode of investigation and realization capable of producing artefacts for the cultural advancement of humanity. Due to the embodied beliefs and philosophies, these artefacts facilitate new possibilities for the people around (and in) them.

Biographical note:

Raquel Paricio, Media Artist, Spain


Contribution: Poetic-Cubs

Abstract: Goals of the installation: The use of bio-inspired techniques in the development of POETIC-CUBS1 responds to offer environments that help the exploration of the mind. Such environments help to feel new perceptions or a higher consciousness.

The development of perception and awareness is the first step in the exploration of other mental spaces, and in expanding consciousness.

Starting from a bio-inspired electronic tissue, based on the POETIC devices, the main goal will consist in the development of an application where technical/scientific and artistic features are to be demonstrated. POETIC-CUBS will be the outcome of this process.

Ongoing work: POETIC-CUBS will be a physical installation, a sculptural setup, able to self-organise and to adapt its shape driven by the stimuli coming from its direct environment.

The installation consists of 9 autonomous robots constructed in the form of cubes with displays in 5 out of their 6 sides. The cubes are in a room, so that when the room is empty they are grouped together as a 3 x 3 array, constituting a cell. When a person or a group of people enter the room the cubes start to move and place themselves around the people (holding the same distance between them). Therefore, the cell divides itself and differentiates to create an organism. If the person or the group of people move in the room (or even if one person moves the arms) the cubes move and the colours that are depicted in the displays change. Therefore, in this installation the people can observe how their actions determine the physical aspect of the organism (constituted by the set of 9 cubes), i.e., the phenotype, being thus a clear illustration of the genotype to phenotype mapping process. Learning (epigenetic) mechanisms can also be demonstrated since the reaction of the cubes (i.e., their movement) can be modulated depending on the actions done by people. The cubes also determine autonomously the state of the battery, and upon detecting a low battery threshold they go to a specific place in the room where the battery may be charged.

The POEtic electronic tissue: The use of the POETIC electronic devices in the installation is justified by their capabilities to provide adaptation to the environment and/or the user using evolutionary, learning, growth, self-repair and self-replication techniques. These features permit to produce an optimal response in dynamic environments or in the case this response has to be adapted to the requirements of a user or a group of users.

The POETIC devices are structured around three basic subsystems: the environment subsystem, the organic subsystem and the system interface. The environment subsystem is in charge of managing the interaction of the electronic tissue with its direct environment. It also takes care of the artificial evolutionary processes.

The organic subsystem is constituted by a bi-dimensional array of programmable cells, called molecules. The molecules can locally communicate with their 4 direct neighbours. By grouping molecules it is possible to construct cells with a complex functionality. On top of the molecular level the organic subsystem contains a routing level, permitting the communication between cells. One of the most salient features of the routing level consists in the possibility of establishing dynamic communications in real time between the cells that are implemented in the organic subsystem.

Fathi Saleh, Professor, Computer Engineering, Cairo University, Director of the National Center For Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage CULTNAT - Affiliated to Biblioteca Alexandrina, Egypt


Contribution: Egyptian Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age

Abstract: The Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, CULTNAT, was established in January 2000, as a program operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. By presidential decree, CULTNAT became, in February 2003, a centre affiliated with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, thus asserting its identity and gaining physical status.

This Center has, among its targets, the following objectives:

• Documentation of Egyptian cultural heritage in both its tangible and intangible aspects.

• Documentation of the Egyptian natural heritage, which includes the natural reserves as well as the natural areas not yet inscribed under environmental protection.

• Implementation of a national plan to execute this documentation program using the latest information technology in collaboration with national and international specialized organizations.

• Building awareness of this heritage using all available publishing media, electronic and physical.

• Training of professionals in the field of preservation and documentation of cultural and natural heritage.

Our projects so far have included the documentation and digitization of an archeological heritage map of Egypt; the Arabic music heritage; Egyptian natural heritage; the architectural heritage of nineteenth and twentieth century Cairo; and the folkloric and photographic heritage of the Egyptians.

The products of CULTNAT's efforts are books and electronic publications that record Egypt's memory of its tangible and intangible heritage.

Our way forward is to achieve maximum accessibility and to enhance pride in our global Egyptian Heritage by providing an easily accessible and reliable chronicle of Egypt's tangible and intangible heritage on the web.

Despite the fact that CULTNAT is a relatively new center, it has already a number of ongoing programs, in addition to a vast network of cooperation with organizations that are concerned with heritage, such as UNESCO, UNDP and the European Union. These programs, which cover many different aspects of the Egyptian cultural and natural heritage, seek to document the tangible and the intangible, i.e. archaeology, architecture, manuscripts, music, folklore, natural resources…

CULTNAT has not only developed action plans to electronically document Egyptian heritage but also contributes to safeguarding fragile treasures of Egyptian history through their digitization. Among these are the manuscripts of the National Archives and the stamps of the National Postage Organization.

While applying new technologies to documentation, massive amounts of data are digitally compiled and sorted, facilitating accessibility to data. CD-ROMs, as well as books, guides and other paper publications, are extracted from this huge database. For greater diffusion, CULTNAT has made information accessible through its website at: . CULTNAT has also developed in collaboration with IBM, a unique website in the field of cultural heritage having address

One of the recent achievements of the center is that it has developed a multimedia presentation designed in a 3D-like manner called "Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age: The Egyptian Experience".

Its purpose is to demonstrate how CULTNAT has manipulated ICT to document and promote the many faces and riches of our heritage.

The purpose of this theatre presentation is to illustrate how ICT tools, such as multimedia, GIS, and virtual reality, are innovatively employed in the service of the documentation of the Egyptian cultural and natural heritage.

CULTNAT's multimedia display includes:

- Running activities and programs of CULTNAT.

- 3D Virtual Reality (a visit to the Mastaba of Qar).

- The continuum of civilizations: Scenes from Ancient Egyptian tombs matched with present day images.

- The continuum of knowledge.

- Mathematics of the Ancient Egyptians and recent mathematics (Rhind Mathematics Papyrus [RMP]).

- Astronomy of the Ancient Egyptians and the Arabs and its relationship to today's world knowledge of astronomy.

Karla Schuch-Brunet, Photographer and PhD candidate University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), Brazil


Contribution: Network in Brazil. Gente (online) que faz

Abstract: Faced many times with a lack of knowledge, by foreigners and even Brazilians, about the projects involving technology and social issues in Brazil, I felt the necessity of writing a paper on network projects in the country. It seems that information from the North hemisphere reaches the south but the other way around does not happen often. So, the intention here is to show abroad some projects done in Brazil.

The title, “gente (online) que faz”, comes from short documentary films showed on TV in Brazil called “Gente que faz” (people that do). Every program presented someone that out of its private initiative started any sort of project, had success and helped others generating jobs or community work.

The title “Gente que faz” became an idiomatic expression that got popular with the general public. It was accepted and used by everybody to describe someone doing something better. The expression was many times used as an opposition to people that say. In Brazil a lot of people say too much (specially politics) and do little. “Gente que faz” were people that say little and do much. They were the anonymous heroes of the neighborhood and villages.

Here “Gente (online) que faz” are projects in the net by different background people; they are getting together to generate different work. They are trying to use the net on its more positive side. It is what Jim Walch in In the Net. An Internet Guide to Activists would call as a ‘better use’ of a technology. Or what Michael Heim in The Cyberspace Dialectic would call the virtual realism, a middle path between naïve realism and network idealism.

There is a selection of some social and political network projects. It was taken in consideration works that involve collaboration, cooperation and participation above all. It was searched how people get together to construct something in the net. How they come up with simple ideas to solve the everyday problems.

The projects are simple, they don’t have the intention of ‘changing the world’, they are sometimes rethinking the way we see and use media. Some of these works can be thought as examples of Tactical Media. They are using the media in a critical and oppositional way. “Recicle 1 Político” can be an example of that, as many others.

“Gente (online) que faz” is about network, about people working together and contributing to produce something. It is telepresence; it is getting assistance and collaboration of people from other places. It is critic, it is opposition and it is also about ‘making’. These are the ideas that “Re-combo”, “Rede viva favela”, “LigaNóis”, “VivaSP”, “Autolabsamong others, are working on.

See a compilation of the projects in

Rede viva favela VivaSP Re:combo Rizoma Metáfora LigaNóis Autolabs CHD – Coletivo de Histórias Digitais Ajuda Brasil CMI- Centro de Mídia Independente

Patricia Search, Professor Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, New York, USA


Contribution: Bridging Cultures in Electronic Communication. New Multiliteracy Models for Interaction Design

Abstract: Indigenous cultures have a spiritual foundation that is built on social-community interaction and intimate relationships with the physical environment. These interrelationships are defined by aural and visual communication techniques that represent pluralistic perspectives. Research has revealed similarities in the symbols of these early cultures that suggest similar mental models and logical structures across cultures. Psychology research has also indicated that these symbols transcend time and convey similar underlying meanings in contemporary cultures.

With electronic communication it is possible to use digital media to create interactive spaces that simulate the social values and cognitive models of these early oral cultures. There is a great deal of talk about bridging the digital divide by making electronic hardware and software available to underdeveloped communities. Little focus, however, has been given to the need to develop computer interfaces that are appropriate for the diverse learning and communication styles in different cultures. Such interfaces need to reflect pluralistic, aural-visual, community-based communication styles that differ from Western perspectives of temporal sequencing, logical analysis, and fixed hierarchies. Just giving underdeveloped communities traditional computer hardware and software will not bridge the digital divide. The human-computer interface must reflect the user’s cultural and social methods of interaction and communication.

In my research I am developing new multiliteracy models for computer interface design. The interfaces use HyperGlyphs, design concepts derived from dynamic, time-based communication structures used in oral communication in Indigenous cultures. The research uses visual patterns to represent the changing semantic structures in an interactive information space where there are numerous networks of associations. These multiliteracy models integrate the semiotics of early oral cultures with the semiotics of modern electronic communication. The interface designs reflect the pluralistic, aural-visual, community-based communication styles of Indigenous cultures. This research will be incorporated into a collaborative project with two universities in Australia. For this project I am designing the computer interface for an online course in Indigenous studies. The course analyses the cultural interface between Indigenous and Western societies.

Background information about my research is available in two papers at:

Arnold Smith, Pari Center for New Learning


Contribution: Concepts, Boundaries, and Ways of Knowing

Abstract: Artificial intelligence has, in terms of its original goals, failed. And its failure can point to some deep and interesting lessons about how we humans see the world—how we function, what kinds of knowledge we pay attention to, and what kind of creatures we are. In this talk I look at some of the tacit assumptions that underly not only the research enterprise of artificial intelligence, but science more generally, and even our culture as a whole.

In its quest to create intelligent computers, and robots that replace human beings in many roles, artificial intelligence (AI) has looked primarily at cognition as the essential human faculty. More importantly, even when considering aspects of humanness that are not strictly cognitive, such as emotion and low-level perception, it has unconsciously adopted the stance of the whole of science—to look at its subject from an abstract, conceptual perspective. But in doing so, so much of what it is to be human is missed that the resulting models and programs and robots fall far short of replicating human nature. It is certainly interesting that computers can now beat human grand masters at chess. But it is also important that there is much in the behaviour of a two-year-old child that we cannot explain well enough to allow us to build machines that exhibit similar behaviour.

Key to the problem is the sophisticated categories that we have developed to explain the world to ourselves. We use language and facts to analyze and represent the world, labeling objects and relationships, drawing boundaries, and grouping things and people into types and nationalities. In doing so, we come to think that this process is completely natural and obvious, and that this story that we tell ourselves is what the world is really like. Although this habit has great advantages, and perhaps coincidentally gives us great power of a certain kind, we fail to notice that there is constant projection of what we have created in our minds back onto the world. While we consciously imagine that this world of clear objects and obvious relationships is what the world “out there” consists of, we actually rely all the time on a deeper, much more intuitive and richly-connected sense of what is there and what is going on. Somehow our conceptual models, including the ones that science provides us with, occupy centre stage in our consciousness, while our non-conceptual intuitive and embodied awareness, which is crucial for much of our survival and participation in the world, stays in the shadows and often escapes conscious notice. Only as we learn to pay attention to these other aspects of ourselves do we have any chance of seeing the larger picture. In the process we are likely to discover much that we did not know we were missing. We can begin to recover our own wholeness, and at the same time see why AI has experienced such difficulties and why science will tell us only some of the stories we need. We can begin to see how incomplete are the dominant stories of our culture.

Mohammed Taleb, Philosopher, Director Interdisciplinary Arab University (Paris), France


Contribution: L'Imaginaire comme espace de vie et de résistance à la logique marchande

Abstract: L'explicitation des enjeux philosophiques posés par la mondialisation néolibérale est une tache nécessaire car celle-ci n'est pas réductible à un processus économique. La néolibéralisation de la sphère économique (dérégulation, financiarisation), n'acquiert sa véritable signification que si nous l'inscrivons dans cette entreprise plus large que certains chercheurs nomment l'objectivation marchande. Celle-ci renvoie à l'essence, au cœur même de l'" économie-monde capitaliste " (Immanuel Wallerstein). L'objectivation désigne la transformation en choses inertes, séparées et quantifiables de tout ce qui existe dans l'univers : les femmes, les hommes, les peuples et la Nature. Ce qui est à l'œuvre dans la mondialisation actuelle (qui plonge ses racines dans l'expansion coloniale en Amérique Latino-indienne, en Afrique, en Asie, dans le monde arabe) c'est l'intensification de ce processus nihiliste et mortifère.

Accompagnant la néolibéralisation économique, le " Viol de l'imaginaire ", pour reprendre le titre du livre de l'ancienne Ministre malienne de la culture, Aminata Traoré, constitue l'autre face de la mondialisation. La biodiversité culturelle, le pluralisme des langues, des imaginaires, des savoirs-faires, la multiplicité des horizons spirituels constituent des obstacles à l'objectivation marchande. Ce viol, en uniformisant les identités culturelles et en standardisant les personnalités historiques, s'apparente à une véritable attaque contre le socle anthropologique à partir duquel l'aventure humaine se lance dans l'histoire. On ne dira jamais assez à quel point la figure de l'humain qui triomphe avec la mondialisation est l'" homme unidimensionnel " (Herbert Marcuse). Cet humain est défiguré, mutilé, restreint car transformé en objet. Dit autrement, c'est le triomphe de l'homo eoconomicus (Louis Dumont)

L'Accord Général sur le Commerce des Services (qui est un traité de l'OMC entré en vigueur en 1995) est l'un des instruments juridico-politiques de cette mondialisation-occidentalisation-objectivation marchande. Sa raison d'être est de contribuer à faire disparaître, à terme, à l'échelle planétaire, la Culture et la Nature de l'espace public. Agnès Bertrand et Laurence Kalafatidès, dans OMC, le pouvoir invisible (2002, Fayard) ont montré que l'OMC et l'AGCS visait à la " privatisation des entrailles de la terre ". Il y a donc péril en la demeure. Mais comme le dit la parole du romantique Holderlin, " Là où croît le péril, croît aussi ce qui sauve ".

C.S. Unnikrishnan, Professor (Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore / Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India / Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris)

Biography: Born Dec. 25, 1961, in Kerala, southern coastal state of India. Schooling and undergraduate studies in Kerala, and M. Sc. in physics from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Ph. D in physics (1992) from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Bombay, on search for a fifth force. Joined as faculty member in TIFR in 1993. Presently, Assoc. Professor (TIFR), Adjunct Professor, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, and Faculty Associate, Centre for Philosophy and Foundations of Science, Delhi. I was part time visiting Professor, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, 2001-2003. Research interests are precision measurements related to foundational Issues in physics using cold atoms and torsion balances, nature of the quantum vacuum, and foundational aspects of gravitation, quantum mechanics, cosmology. I have been also involved in advanced level physics teaching, especially in undergraduate and graduate level summer schools. Lecturer at the Schools of Cosmology and Gravitation, Ettore Majorana Centre, Erice, 2003-2005.

Other interests are films and music. Some expertise on Indian music on bamboo flute, and guitar. Worked with Indian film directors Tapan Sinha as actor (Film: Wheel Chair (1994 - language: Bangla)) and with Shaji Karun as asst. director (film: Vanaprastham (1998 - language: Malayalam)). Also worked (actor) in the malayalam TV serial, 'Legends of Kerala' (1992). I have been a weekly columnist with the Malayalam daily from Bombay, 'Kalakaumudi', during 1999-2001.

Contribution: Contemplations on Our Links to The Universe – Searching and Finding The Hidden Harmony

Abstract: I discuss evidences, and consequences of our inseparable link to the entire Universe. The foundations of present day physics are rooted in the theories of relativity and the theory of quantum physics. Majority of physicists think that there will ultimately be conflict between these two foundations. They see this conflict in the concept of classical causality broken by randomness in quantum physics, and in the concept of classical locality, so essential and basic to relativity, again broken by quantum phenomena. Perhaps this is a problem with our understanding of quantum causality and quantum locality, and not an indication of a genuine discord between two successful theories. Theories are idealisations of our perception of the physical world and not the physical world itself. In trying to comprehend and explain the ‘observables’ we construct theories that depend on ‘unobservables’, hoping that there will be consistency and a full understanding in future. If we ignore the role of these unobservables, we can be misled by our own theoretical constructs.

During the course of my research, and in a determined effort to understand I have come to realise that the apparent conflict in our theories is not a real conflict of the physical world. Looking deeper one can see the harmony, and inseparability coexistent with locality. There is a tension between inseparability on the one hand and locality and causality on the other, in the language of physics, whereas such a tension is perhaps absent in our philosophical discussions on these concepts. Our attempt is to reconcile the two opposing notions by going deeper than the level superficially suggested by the mathematical structures of the present theories. The final result of this attempt will be important for the pure physical theory since even apparent incompatibility between two fundamental theories of physics is not a desirable feature for a consistent description of the physical world. This is also a very important aspect for the individual exploring the physical universe since the worldview that emerges from the exploration always has it roots and interpretation in terms of his cultural, philosophical and linguistic backgrounds where such a strong tension between inseparability of the whole and the local causal flow of events do not seem to exist. The subconscious subjectivity influences and motivates, but does not interfere significantly with the essential objectivity and clarity of the view.

This search for harmony seems to take the explorer to new notions of space and time – material, and causal, and yet inseparable from local. The existence of the whole can be felt in the part, as real, measurable, and undeniable. Despite the apparent randomness, the history and future of motion reveals the whole, and one is able to see glimpses of a design that is vast, and yet comprehensible. Its simplicity and harmony is spiritually enriching, and emotionally moving, and its scale and intimacy makes one feel secure in some strange way.

Douglas Vakoch, SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif, USA


Contribution: Interstellar Altruism: Science, Art, and Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Abstract: If some day astronomers detect signals from intelligent life around distant stars, some of the most critical questions facing humankind will be "Should we reply?" and if so, "What should we say?" and "What /could/ we say that would be meaningful to an independently evolved civilization, separated from Earth by vast interstellar distances?" I will suggest that we may be able to communicate something about our science, our artistic sensibilities, and even what is is like to be human.

This paper will examine some of the proposals for interstellar message composition being developed at the SETI Institute in conjunction with the Leonardo network, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the International Association of Semiotic Studies. I will focus on a way of viewing the relationship between art and science that reflects in part my own professional and cultural background as a psychologist from the United States. A dominant view in American psychology is that human actions can be explained in terms of basic scientific principles. I will review ways that the SETI Institute, in conjuction with an international group of artists, scientists, and other