Saturday, 31 May 2008

The Oracle of Culturegion

if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, is it a duck?

That is the question posed at a new art installation, which opened yesterday on the German art sim: Culturegion. The installation, called 'Oracle', is the work of nonnatus korhonen / andrew burrell, an Australian "hybrid media artist". The accompanying notecard informs me: "He is no techno-utopian but nevertheless is excited to see a hastening collapse in the divide between techno speculation and reality. He understands the privilege of the artist to be the use of a subjective voice and here he is using this voice to investigate a certain interplay of art, philosophy, technology and the life-sciences." So there you have it. You can find out more about this and other art work on his website.

The Oracle of old would offer up inscrutably worded solutions to problems posed. And so it is with this Oracle. Create a notecard containing your question - no more than 20 words - and place it in the urn provided. Then let the Oracle work its magic. At the far end it will spit out the answer.

I suspect that I only got part of my answer, as I was too busy watching the process. But my question is taken from Firesign Theatre's "I think We're All Bozos On This Bus". In the World of the Future our anti-hero, Clem, gets to put a question to The President, now no longer flesh & blood, but an artificial intelligence. His aim appears to be to crash the AI and talk directly to Doctor Memory, effectively the operating system running The President. If you don't know it, track it down... if you do, then this will all be familiar to you! Anyway, the question he posed was:

Why does the Porridge Bird lay its egg in the air?

This was enough to break The President... and it looks like it did a fairly weird job on The Oracle too. This is the reply fragment I did recover:

Aleister Kronos: I say to you : have statistically future why lay its egg in dimensions future statistically included. statistically and body . . . . . . a
Aleister Kronos: I say to you : (which into the number Universe the cognitively

Hmmmm... I have no idea what is going behind the scenes on this, but it is a diverting build and nicely crafted. Why not give it a go? And take time out to explore the sim too. There's always something worth perusing here.

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