Degenerative Cultures

 
Degenerative Cultures
Project runtime: December 13, 9 AM – December 15, 2017, 2 PM
Locations for viewing and interacting:
Fungal feedback loop at Classense Library (via Alfredo Baccarini 3, Ravenna, Italy)
Project ephemera at MAR (Museum of Art in Ravenna, via di Roma 13, Ravenna, Italy)
Fungal twitterfeed at @HelloFungus (twitter feed on Internet)

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Cesar & Lois advance the fungal colonization of human knowledge systems through the merging of fungal networks and Internet-based communications. A growing fungal colony tweets as it grows over/redacts the text of a book. Fungi grow on physical books about the human endeavor to dominate nature, with degenerative readouts tweeted by fungi as it grows. In a reversal of typical planetary dynamics, the fungal network overtakes the human system. Retweets by human viewers impact the fungal readings. Through this “bhiobrid” network, Internet users can communicate with the fungus and help to spread a kind of “digital spores.”
If one considers human societies as a biological culture on Earth, our substrate is the global ecosystem. Incongruously, human societies consistently destroy this substrate, resulting in a massive cumulative loss of data in the form of species extinctions and environmental devastation. This behaviour is conceptualized, planned and justified with ideas of control, domestication and the superiority of humanity proliferated through religion, science, philosophy and other contexts of society. Degenerative Cultures integrates different forms of life in a poetic act of cooperation, crossjng boundaries between biological and digital networks in order to corrupt the cultural patterns of the more devastating aspects of modernity.
Degenerative Cultures accommodates the opposite flow of information degradation and allows nature to disrupt human cultures through the degeneration of text. The algorithmic scaling of the biological culture’s growth and resulting censoring of human culture generate a continuous series of fungal tweets by @HelloFungus. Retweets produce a responsive feedback loop between these natural and technological networks.
Fungi form a natural Internet, sending signals and connecting nodes through mycelia. This project combines this Internet of Natural Things with the Internet in a “bhiobrid” system that permits a feedback loop between human and microbiological cultures. Books, as symbolic objects, are the storage vaults of human knowledge. For most human societies, knowledge, even when digitized, is stored in text, which is ultimately essential for storing/restoring human culture.
The project is a collaboration between Cesar Baio and the League of Imaginary Scientists (LOIS) under the artist pseudonym Cesar & Lois. The project has a basis in Cesar Baio’s art on the playful disruption of systems of technology and power and LOIS’ data play with nature. In their various bodies of work, Cesar Baio shows that disruptions to algorithms are natural to autonomous systems, while LOIS replicates degradative datastreams sourced in nature.
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The project is part of Generative Art International Exhibition at Museum of Art of Ravenna, on view from 13th to 15th of December.
Project runtime: December 13, 9 AM – December 15, 2017, 2 PM

Locations for viewing and interacting:
Fungal feedback loop at Classense Library (via Alfredo Baccarini 3, Ravenna, Italy)
Project ephemera at MAR (Museum of Art in Ravenna, via di Roma 13, Ravenna, Italy)
Fungal twitterfeed at @HelloFungus (twitter feed on Internet)
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Online documentation and images can be found at:
http://imaginaryscience.org/project/bhiobrid/
For publications and exhibition histories, please visit:
cesarbaio.net
imaginaryscience.org
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Research and lab work for Degenerative Cultures was supported by:
Scott Morgan, Biologist at California State University San Marcos.