Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Unseen Oil on linen 90 x 80 cm

Unseen is the fourth 'code' painting I mentioned in my last post Universal Code

Like my recent painting and post Where There's Life There's... Unseen was inspired by  an article Terminator Robots and AI Risk by Meia Chita-Tegmark. She is a PhD candidate at Boston University and a co-founder of the Future Of Life Institute, a research think-tank focused on mitigating existential risks, including those posed by human level artificial intelligence [AGI]. In her article Chita-Tegmark warns that the real danger in artificial intelligence may lie in humanity's tendency to 'embody' its fears in images and depictions of objects such as terminator robots, thus diverting our attention from the unseen, and potentially really dangerous, aspect of AI: unseen code...strings of zeros and ones. She writes, Evolution has not equipped us to deal with such ghostly entities that don't come in the form of steel skeletons with red shiny eyes, but in the form of menacing arrangements of zeros and ones.

So...in Unseen I've tried to make the unseen...seen. But, not in a technical way. Instead I have juxtaposed an age-old symbol for LIFE, the transcultural/religious tree-of-life, with binary code, another kind of symbol, which repeatedly expresses the word LIFE.

Tree branches interspersed along the ribbon of binary code, are placed deliberately. Three branches seem to grow from the tree and two others appear to 'grow' from the coil of code. Where does life begin and end? Does code appropriate LIFE, thus simulating it? Or, maybe there is a Universal Code, without time and space, that seeds all LIFE, simulated or not? Lots of questions!

The colours of the tree's roots are the same vibrant colours used to paint the binary code. Yes, it's deliberate...

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