Insects and cybernetic artwork

by todoconoin Uncategorized 1 Comment(s)

Today I tried to record the voices and footsteps of the ants I am breeding in my office. The experiment itself was not successful, but it came along together with an interesting learning experience. Somehow the sound of the ants became irrelevant in the context of understanding when do we consider an organism alive.

Tascam on ant farm

From the recording, the one I could not listen to the ants, I heard many things. I heard my fingers smoothly sliding over the cable connected to the recorder. I listened to the crispy sound of my hands opening the acrylic lid that kept the ants from crawling out. I could hear my breath while waiting. And my fingers, like bombs that detonated one after the other, touching the surface of the cold, clean, wall of the ant farm.

LIstening to the recordings I could think about what I just did. Think how it could bring me a step closer to the answers I seek. The ants have been with me over a month and I can tell when they are excited, worried or frightened. They are alive and in a way that no wire or motor will ever be. But I wonder what that is. My feelings, at least, are not so different than the ones to the ones I have when contemplating artwork.


I include a picture of a work that affected me internally. Because I didn’t like it and because I think it’s good. My transition from being a maker to taking pictures of light, to now interbreeding robots and ants in some cyborg form, makes me question how valid is my question as a research hypothesis: shot are the differences between cybernetic artwork and biological living beings. But at the same time I acknowledge that any question in the artworld could be inquired about it’s validity.


In this journey I worked with Artificial Intelligence, kinematic sculptures, handcrafted robots and long exposure pictures of cyber mechanisms. Different approaches to a cybernetic art space I am creating. Through different media, jumping from one to the other to tell a story about us and them. Because they are alive, they can think and they are made of stardust, just as us.


My next step is to create a bio installation that allows my ant colony to expand itself but it works as well as an artwork. May be I can magnify these ants, amplify their sounds, show how robotic they are. I feel that it would help me to put into place one more puzzle piece.





Peter Lopez on / Reply

Hi Rudy, I think it is interesting this line you are trying to draw between real organisms and mechanical organisms. As I was reading this and taking in the observations of YOUrSELF and the sounds you were making, I began to think about the idea of The Maker. Our mythology tells us that WE (living organisms) have a maker: God (do we hear His fingers like bombs?). In the mechanical world YOU are the maker: so…are you akin—in some ways—to a god? To God? In your experiments, can you become an artist-theologian and start to ponder the thoughts, emotions, questioning so, failed experiments, successful experiments, thesis creations, of A God as he (or she) (or they) created life on Earth? Or the ants: you are their keeper. You are trying to in ways control their destiny, their movements: that is also god like. Your blogs read as poetry: as psalms almost. It seems to me you are very interested in life and that’s why you are interested in AI: because you may want, in some ways, to direct life: like a god. How is a maker manifested in his creation the way that god is supposed to be manifested in us all. And btw I don’t think it matters if you believe or not. I actually think these questions of art-maker-as-god may be more powerful from a non-believer.


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