By J. Sage Elwell

From the net to the iPhone, electronic know-how is not any mere cultural artifact. It impacts how we event and comprehend our global and ourselves on the private levels-it is a basic situation of residing. The digitization of recent lifestyles constitutes a necessary box of spiritual problem since it affects our person and cultural sensibilities so profoundly. regardless of this, it has but to be thematized because the topic of spiritual or theological mirrored image. The problem of Transcendence treatments this by means of asking a unmarried major query: How is electronic expertise impacting the ethical and non secular intensity of tradition?

How can anything as ineffable and nebulous because the intensity of tradition be recognized and articulated, not to mention critiqued? writer J. Sage Elwell means that a solution lies within the arts. the humanities have traditionally acted as a barometer of the intensity of tradition, reflecting the non secular impulses and dispositions on the center of society. He argues that if the humanities topic in any respect, they are going to remove darkness from greater than themselves. via an experimental interpretation of electronic paintings, Elwell bargains a serious mirrored image on how electronic expertise is altering us and the area we are living in at a degree of non secular importance. utilizing a theological aesthetic of electronic paintings, this ebook exhibits how the arrival of electronic know-how as a progressive cultural medium is remodeling the methods we expect approximately God, the soul, and morality

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As a result, digital code holds out the promise of absolute precision, efficiency, and speed. A world where everything can be fit into one of two boxes. We, however, are analog creatures. We do not naturally think, feel, and experience the world according to the binary logic of digital code. Our minds are incredibly tolerant; we easily navigate between mutually exclusive options, and in fact we often simultaneously hold seemingly mutually exclusive opinions. Our feelings are complicated and ambiguous; we frequently both love and hate the same person, a single image can at once arouse feelings of sexual desire and shame.

In light of such a seemingly obvious observation, SymbioticA has pointed out that the Web cam photographs sent to MEART were reduced to 64pixel images. To appreciate the significance of this, consider that a 64-pixel image is little more than the sum of blurred blotches of color. indb 29 11/18/10 1:21 PM 30 CHAPTER 1 to reflect the quality of the images MEART received. And while this may speak to a representational affinity between MEART’s drawings and the images MEART received, it says nothing of the creative potential of code.

These are recorded and routed back to Perth where the robotic arms draw what MEART sees. Originally titled Fish & Chips, MEART began as an artistic exploration of the electrophysiological activity of goldfish neurons cultured over silicon and Pyrex chips. These “fish and chips” were used to generate works of visual and acoustic art through the manipulation of a robotic arm controlled by the electrical activity produced by the fish neurons. When the fish neurons were abandoned in favor of neurons harvested from the cortical tissue of embryonic rats, and the silicon chips were replaced by a Multi Electrode Array (MEA) the name of the project was changed to MEART: The Semi-Living Artist.

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