Some Thoughts Regarding the Construction of a Fourth Generation Institute to Integrate Technology into a Creative and Humanized Culture.

             T.E. Batten
                  Amsterdam, december 1988

                  It was a dark and stormy night,
                  A man went searching for fire
                  With a lantern in his hand.
                  If he had known what fire was
                  He would have found it easier

                                            Zen parable

I.  Strategic Theory

    1. The Need for Strategy

       i.  -The International Situation

         a.  International Agreement

              After attending two international conferences (in Offenbach
              and Berlin) concerning the implications of the new media for
              art and design the most obvious conclusion is that the most
              common point of agreement is that there is no point of

              This is of course largely to be expected, when intellectuals
              are in agreement there is no more discussion and without
              discussion there is no longer a social role for the

              Taking this into account one would expect to find at least a
              common point of disagreement, but even this communal point
              has not yet been clarified. Clearly, there are many pragmatic
              approaches, several vested interests (both economical and
              intellectual) and a growing feeling among an increasing
              number of people that, unless we begin to consciously analyze
              our options regarding the future, technological investment
              may impose an unacceptable restriction on our future

         b.  Economic Myopia

              The present situation regarding the use of the new media
              by artists is actually a prime example of the destruction of
              a conceptual ecology by a shortsighted belief in economic

              For some unknown reason the producers of electronic tools for
              commercial (graphic) designers and the researchers of
              electronic representation of photographic reality are not
              content with presenting their products in terms of what they
              really are but have a passionate need to present their
              artifacts as art. The banality of the results do no justice
              to the technical and scientific achievements hiding behind
              the facade and certainly prevent a serious use and discussion
              of the new media.

              The resulting schism completely obliterates
              the fact that there is a long tradition of artistic
              exploration of the expressive qualities of new media.
              This tradition ranges from before the use of oil based
              paints to the present day and includes many early experiments
              by pioneers who, derived of credit, were the true originators
              of current commercially exploitable techniques.

              By denying this tradition, the commercial system undermines
              itself by destroying the patterns of conceptual
              cross-fertilization which it ultimately exploits.
              Unfortunately, monolithic cultures destroy not only
              themselves but also the elements which might have restored
              the diversity once the error becomes manifest. Cultivating
              a desert is more difficult than initiating the erosion.

              Paradoxically, an absence of criteria for evaluating concepts
              and events may create a chaos just as homogeneous as the result
              of applying a monolithic dogma. We need a variety of visions,
              a variety of ways of analyzing them and a variety of ways of
              synthesizing new visions, but we must also be able to
              evaluate these visions and to find a way of resolving

              possible conflicts between the results of the evaluation.

      ii.  -The International Future

             Art and culture can never be truly divorced from politics
             and economics. Art tries to manipulate the social aesthetic
             expressed in politics and politics tries to manipulate the
             the social status of art.

               In a political-economic system based on short-term profit
               there is no use for culture except as a commercial product.

               In an economy where the production and distribution of
               material goods is becoming less important in relation to
               the economic exploitation of immaterial information and
               knowledge, cultural fads and fashions are big business.

             In a world where chemical and nuclear pollution and the
             wastage of natural resources is threatening natural ecology
             a cultural and aesthetic decision may soon be required,
             either we support global ecology or we abandon natural
             physical systems entirely and develop a culture completely
             based on immaterial simulation of a supposed or created

               In a culture based on economic exploitation, what role has
               an individual when their economic function is superseded
               by a machine?

             How is an integrated Europe with an immaterial economy based
             on electronic communication to interface into other economies
             and cultures? Is inter-cultural competition to be based on
             sport or on war? Is inter-cultural interfacing not an
             aesthetic question?

               Is it possible to divorce ethics from aesthetics?

             Who is to decide the aesthetics of modern culture -Confucius,
             Lao Tse, Buddha, Plato, Machiavelli, Locke, Bentham, Marx,
             Trotsky, Stalin, Goebbels, Gandhi, Mao, the plebeians,
             the merchants, the elites or the dictators? Shall we have a
             pluriform democratic culture or a monolithic dictated culture?

             If we are to develop an artificial intelligence, we must also
             develop a natural wisdom.

    2. The need for Responsibility

         The greater our power to understand and to control global cultural,
         political, economic and ecological systems the greater is our
         responsibility to make our decisions with respect to these systems as
         wisely as possible.

           How can there be a democratic discussion if our artists reduce
           themselves to entertainers and are unable to fulfil their role as
           developers and transmitters of cultural traditions and concepts?

           How can the public decide about solutions when it has no experience
           of the problems and no way of visualizing them?

           How can the politicians build cultural models if they have no
           cultural background and no understanding of the cultural process?

           How can the technicians build machines if nobody knows what the
           machines are supposed to do?

         We are all citizens, and we all have responsibility.

    3. The need for an Aristocratic Culture

         In a professional society it is difficult to remember that the
         fundaments of most professions were laid by amateurs and dilettantes
         with a genuine interest in the material which they investigated
         (sometimes even contrary to their own financial interests).

         Probably no society has been able to develop a highly developed
         culture without the use of slaves to free the citizens from time
         wasting work. On the other hand, the divorce of social leaders from
         the realities of daily life is probably a prime cause of social decay.

         In an automated society the economic exploitation of human beings
         may be redundant. A re-evaluation of the function of mankind in
         terms other than as a unit of economically exploitable labour may be
         essential. An intensive use of computers and the resulting complex
         problems of ontology and organization, implies a shift in human
         function away from the operative and towards the contemplative.

         Automatization generates metamorphosis and meta-structures.

    4. The need to Educate the Educators

         Given the high level of uncertainty regarding the present situation
         it would seem that we are not yet in a position to develop training
         schemes for students or even training schemes for teachers.

         What can we tell the public about the new media when the pioneers
         of the new media are hardly capable of discussing the implications
         because the universe of discourse has not yet been defined.
         Probably there is not even a common language within which this
         universe can be defined and explored.

         First we must develop a strategy which will enable us to develop a
         language to formulate the questions -in order to begin the search
         for solutions.

    5. The Need for Multi-dimensional Models (Continuity and Discontinuity)

       i. -The Need for a Bootstrapping System

             Even the apparently simple question "Do the modern
             media imply a cultural break in Western Culture?" implies
             that we are capable of defining "Western Culture", that we
             have theoretical tools with which to analyze the implications
             of the modern media and that we can specify the cultural
             parameters in order to decide whether continuity or
             discontinuity is the most prevalent.

             Clearly, the boundaries of cultural continuity would play a
             role in defining the culture, so that a cultural break must
             either imply the end of the culture or a re-definition of
             the culture in order to reduce the break to a shift within
             a continuum.

             The tools which we use to analyze our culture are of course
             part of our culture (and can be used to define that culture).
             The result of our analysis may cause us to redefine both our
             culture and (by implication) our tools. If we allow our
             definition to modify our actions then our actions are limited
             by our definitions of our tools; if we do not let our culture
             modify our actions then we have no culture. The question
             therefore defines the answer and the answer therefore implies
             the question.

             The problem is that our cultural tradition does not include
             conceptual tools capable of accepting the existence of such a
             tautological interaction between subject and object or
             cause and effect. Therefore it is impossible for our culture
             to be analyzed and understood without a radical change
             in our cultural tradition.

      ii. -The Dialectics of Theory and Praxis

             Rapid technological change (which appears to be becoming
             an autonomous process seemingly opposed to the dialectics
             of theory and praxis) demands the rapid training of
             technicians in order to maximalize the economic exploitation
             of the technology.

             Rapid technological change demands a profound educational
             and cultural support system capable of sustaining the
             continual cultural re-evaluation required in a dynamic

             If we are in danger of forgetting the importance of the
             dialectics of theory and praxis, we should study the effects
             of Western technology on indigenous peoples throughout the
             world. What we have done to so-called primitive cultures is
             what we are in danger of doing to ourselves now. If we are
             not careful we may all find ourselves in the position of an
             Eskimo with a refrigerator, an electric fire and a vacuum
             cleaner capable of clearing snow.

     iii. -Technological Over-commitment

             In a rapidly changing technological environment one needs
             to be aware of the paradox of the delaying advance: in order
             to be in the forefront of technological advance one must
             make a large investment in equipment which may commit one
             to a certain strategy which may be obsolete even before
             the equipment is fully operational.

             A possible solution may be to invest heavily in conceptual
             analysis before starting, keep material investments to a
             functional minimum and share physical resources as much as
             possible between partners using different strategies in
             order to spread investment risks. A phased development is
             essential, as is a period of re-evaluation between phases.

      iv. -The need for a Conceptual Ecology

             In an unified Europe with centers of education and
             research interconnected by means of an instant electronic
             communication network there is a danger of conceptual
             uniformity. This is especially dangerous in new areas of
             development where there are a limited number of experts
             working in areas with many economic and political implications.

             A dynamic mixture of conflicting (formalized) interests and
             paradigms can provide a stimulating polemic. Conflict and
             chaos should never be completely removed from a system if it
             is to be creative. The amount of chaos acceptable (or desirable)
             is probably a question of individual and cultural aesthetic.

II.  Towards a Universe of Discourse

     1. The need for a Meta-Linguistic Interface

          In order to establish a common universe of discourse a
          language is required in order to analyze and define this
          universe and to make statements regarding it.

          Unfortunately, language is not neutral. The elements and
          the grammar of a language are derived from ontological
          assumptions regarding the universe which is to be
          primarily represented by that language. The language defines
          the universe and the universe justifies the language.

          Perhaps the only way to escape from this inescapable
          tautology is to accept it on the basic level of existing
          languages and try to develope a new language and
          universe of discourse which in principle is not concerned
          with defining a new universe but with the relationships
          between existing universes of discourse. Quite likely,
          this meta-linguistic interface will then naturally generate
          new universes of discourse, in which case the process will
          probably need to repeat itself on a higher level of
          abstraction. One may then expect a continuing process to
          develop, based on periods of increasing complexity
          due to practical expansion of theoretical concepts followed
          by periods in which the existing pragmatic situation becomes
          conceptually simplified. In a complex nexus of universes one
          cannot expect that all parts of the system will be in the
          same phase of expansion or contraction.

          When designing a new institute for art and media technology it may
          be sensible to consider this organization as being a linguistic
          structure not only capable of making statements about the use of
          practical and conceptual tools and their relationships to cultural
          environments, but also capable of making statements regarding its
          own use of tools to generate these statements. This may be a way
          to ensure a dynamic response to the institutions own development
          within a changing environment within which it is (itself) a
          principal instrument of change.

     2. Some Initial Tools

        i. -The Computer as a common matrix

              Some people suggest that the computer is a common medium
              used by many disciplines and that it should therefore
              function as a common language. To be honest, my own
              reasons for investigating the computer as an artistic
              medium are based on this assumption. Nevertheless, one
              should be aware of the dangers of confusing cause and

              The computer, based on the concept of the Universal
              Turing Machine, is a multi-purpose machine capable
              of simulating any process which may be described in
              terms of one of the languages simulatable by the machine.

              Certainly, the same machine may (even apparently at the
              same time) appear to understand Cobol, C en Lisp and may
              be of practical assistance to both users who have a
              natural affinity with one (or more) of these (and other)
              programming languages or to users who are even unaware
              that a language has been used.

              Strangely enough, the universal simulation machine
              has given birth to a number of specialized languages
              which are more or less specific to the applications
              which generated them. An attempt by the Pentagon to
              develop ADA, a universal computer language, appears to
              be about as successful as the development of Esperanto
              was. True, there is a permanent evolution and cross-
              fertilization, both between the languages and between
              the languages and their applications but this occurs
              because (except on the primitive binary level which
              everyone is trying to avoid) there are fundamental
              differences between the applications.

              It would seem that the computer is not a common matrix
              for communication. On the contrary, it is the failed
              attempts to make it a common matrix which are generating
              interesting insights into linguistic processes. Possibly
              these insights may eventually lead to a common system
              of communication but, if achieved, this unification might
              reduce the dynamic creative interaction of different
              disciplines to an uncreative tautology expressed in a
              single language. This may be the basis of a paradox
              by which every dynamic and successful culture eventually
              makes itself extinct by reducing environmental complexity
              to such an extent that the decadent pursuit of pleasure
              is apparently the only possible remaining activity.

              Focus on the computer as universal machine may also
              prevent us from seeing other things (such as holography,
              transputers, networks and even natural systems) as useful
              models of systems that generate and communicate (new) ideas.

       ii. -The Computer as an Organisational Problem

              Because the computer is a machine there is a tendency
              to consider it as being principally the concern of the
              technical scientists. Certainly there is a tendency for
              scientists and technicians to try and persuade others
              that the computer should be left to them and one should
              not trouble ones pretty little head with problems about
              what goes on "under the motor-cap".

              In practice, because the computer is a universal
              simulation machine, the technical problem is almost
              reduceable to the question "How many bits can we get
              on the head of a pin?". Questions regarding which
              processes can be simulated, how they are to be simulated
              and what are the implications of the simulation are often
              infinitely more complex, interesting and, in general,
              more relevant to the social and commercial structure of

              Gradually it is becoming (almost painfully) obvious that
              the principle problems involving the computer (even on a
              technical level) are concerned with the definition and
              description of universes of use and the organization of
              the resulting complexity. Perhaps in the future the
              question "How can the computer scientist use the artist?"
              may be even more important than "How can the artist use
              the computer?".

      iii. -A Linguistic definition of Technology

              Just as some musicologists and some art historians need
              to be reminded that history does not end around 1900,
              so do most people who talk about technology need to be
              reminded that the concept of technology was not
              discovered in mid-twentieth century Europe or America.

              By considering technology as a linguistic process (which
              generates sets of objects, procedures and grammars in
              the physical domain) the technological process becomes
              easier to study in a broader context. Our understanding of
              the effects of the introduction of iron smelting on stone
              age societies, or the effect of the steam engine on
              Victorian rural England may be relevant to our understanding
              of the post-industrial electronic revolution (and visa versa).

              The problem is (once again) how can one develop a "linguistic
              interface" which is as ontologicaly neutral as possible but
              still enabling a study of the relationships between grammatical
              structures existing in different domains.

       iv. -A Linguistic definition of Art

              Art can also be seen as a linguistic process producing
              (material or immaterial) objects which are not only generated
              by complex interactions of personal, social and technique
              oriented grammars but are also a way of defining these
              grammars (or traditions as they may be called).

              The culturally most important function of art is not its
              financial aspect or even its expressive aspect but (to the
              contrary) is concerned with its role in the formalization

              Formalization is important not only because a work of art
              (in any medium) is a perceivable structure defining a position
              within a nexus of traditions (or grammars) and therefore able
              to function as a focus for personal and social identification
              but also because it is the struggle with the formal structure
              that often forces the artist to break the tautology of his
              own thinking.

              Every artist has experienced the autonomy of their own work.
              It is the excitement of wanting to know what the work is going
              to become that causes the addiction to the working process. Art
              is not the mirror of the artist's soul, it is the alchemical
              laboratory which transforms that soul. The observer can only
              attempt to reconstruct that process but without direct
              experience there is a great danger of confusing the moon with
              the finger that points to the moon. This ambiguity may be
              useful in breaking the tautology of the thought processes in
              the viewer.

        v. -A Linguistic definition for Science

              Because the paradigms and methodologies of science are more
              explicit and universal than those in art, it should be
              relatively simple to define science as a grammatical process
              designed to uncover the grammatical processes active in the
              world around us.

              In practice, the formal demands of the scientific process do
              (often) make the scientist aware of inconsistencies in the
              current working hypothesis -just as the formal demands of
              a (non-explicit) aesthetic may force changes to be made in
              the current working hypothesis of the artist. Nevertheless,
              with the possible exception of mathematics and/or logics
              there are no formal processes within science to generate the
              models which form the basis of the scientific process.

              Art and science then appear to be truly complimentary. Artists
              develop strategies for generating works of art which are
              models of unspecified universes. The truth of these models
              is then pragmatically tested by the public by means of the
              simple formula "If the cap (model) fits then wear (use) it".
              The modern scientist uses the same formula although the
              methodology of the test is somewhat more demanding and a
              magic hat is required to generate the model. Science is a
              model testing process and art is a model generating process.

      vi. -Concept-driven Technology or Technology-driven Concepts

              A linguistic approach to artistic, scientific and technological
              processes would probably make it easier to unravel the
              interaction between the way technologies may be developed out
              of existing needs and the way in which new desires may be
              created by new technical possibilities (the artistic problem
              of form and content).

              Linguistic research may thus make it easier to understand
              the current period of technological change and possibly
              help to develop methods to evaluate and mediate the change.

              At this level of abstraction it is impossible to avoid
              the implications of political structures. Not only is
              there the practical question of the survival of a
              political-economic structure which will permit (even for
              its own self-survival) a high level of undirected (and
              unpredictable) social (and politicological) research. There
              is also the question of visualization, analysis and
              evaluation of the cultural implications of competing
              political/social/economic models in order to facilitate
              democratic discussion in a period of increased
              complexity and social evolution.

              A more dynamic concept of aesthetics is also needed,
              possibly based on a series of personal and social equilibria.
              Why (throughout history) have some political structures tried
              to repress some aesthetic systems and to encourage others?
              Is it possible for artists to do "aesthetic research" and to
              produce new aesthetic topologies which can be translated into
              viable and acceptable social models? Is this desirable, and
              for whom?

     vii. -An Artistic Meta-language

              Although discussion between different scientific disciplines
              may not be completely free of problems the situation is
              certainly much easier than in the arts where the absence of
              a common language makes it difficult to compare basic concepts.

              Traditionally, mathematics and logic have formed the binding
              element within science and also the basis of the division
              (when present) between science and art. The ambiguity of art,
              and the complexities of the artistic space made the artistic
              languages mutually unacceptable to the Euclidian and Platonic
              scientific languages essentially derived from the geometry
              of a flat Earth. It was probably the unacceptability of the
              common scientific language that was responsible for the
              artists autistic efforts to develop an individual means of
              expression which, paradoxically, made communication impossible.

              The importance of a meta-language in formalizing the artistic
              formalization process can be seen by the relatively easy
              integration of the computer into musical practice where a
              programming language could be seen as a variation of traditional
              notation compared to the situation in the visual arts where any
              explicit meta-language not only does not exist but is positively
              rejected as an intrusion into the freedom of the artist.

    viii. -Modern traditions

             Recent scientific theories in astronomy, sub-atomic physics,
             mathematics, logic, philosophy, linguistics and computer science
             have (at least in theory) completely destroyed the scientific
             belief in Euclid and Plato. By traditional standards, scientific
             models in physics are becoming more bizarre than the nightmares
             of even the most neurotic artist. It is probably the artist
             more than the scientist who preserves an unnecessary barrier
             between science and art.

             The successful application of scientific multi-dimensional
             parametric space to the description of musical events (by
             Xenakis) and the resulting effect on compositional practice
             demonstrates the possibility of integrating scientific
             meta-languages into artistic practice.

             The incredible advances in computer simulation of photographic
             realism also prove that mathematical representations can (as
             Linehan claims) relate algorithmic representation to the iconic,
             although the renaissance experimenters with perspective and
             protective geometry knew that. Probably it is the fact that
             the computer freaks seem to be addicted to photographic realism
             in Euclidian geometrical space while neither realism nor Euclid
             are particularly relevant to modern art history, and not the
             principle of algorithmic representation, which creates the
             artistic resistance. Certainly, despite a general rejection of
             formalism in the visual arts the pioneers of twenty years ago
             were mostly (due to a tradition of constructivism) attracted to
             the computer because of their interest in an algorithmic
             approach to visual art. Unfortunately, the scientific knowledge
             regarding representation of objects and processes and the ability
             to implement this knowledge in the computer was very primitive
             twenty years ago, while at present the commercialization of the
             society plus the individualization of computing via the personal
             computer seems to make it difficult to continue the earlier
             tradition because information is now valuable and dispersed.

             The fact that Xenakis was also an architect is significant,
             probably architecture and (especially) town planning have the
             strongest meta-linguistic tradition within the visual arts.
             Possibly, the way many aspects of communal requirements can
             be integrated within the single multi-dimensional system formed
             by a city could be a useful model for a more general artistic

             Research may prove the fundamental difference between art and
             science to be based on the ambiguity of interpretation of the
             artistic model (which is also permissable in pure mathematics),
             and the freedom of the artist to change the domain of
             interpretation of the model as part of the creative strategy.
             This is of course what Gáöádel did and what was forbidden by
             traditional logicians, because they all knew that any theoretical
             (or ideological) model destroys itself when interpreted. That is
             the generative paradox of art and the destructive paradox of
             science. The differences between art and science based on the
             topologies of the ontological spaces has (in theory) disappeared
             by the scientific acceptance of non-Euclidian space.

III. Practical Strategies

     1. An Initial Structure

        a. Conceptual Structure

             Parallel to a practical division in terms of work spaces
             equipped and dedicated to specific activities such as
             video and sound recording, digital and analog signal
             processing, listening, viewing and reading rooms is the
             following inter-disciplinary conceptual organization
             suggested. By assuming all machines and human procedures
             to be grammatical structures operative on different
             domains the first step is made towards the construction of
             a conceptual interface permitting a truly multi-disciplinary
             approach to media technology.

           i. Physical meta-domain     ( Technological and Natural Systems )

                    -Computer Hardware
                    -Video    Hardware
                    -Laser    Hardware
                    -Audio    Hardware
                                     etc...      (analog and digital)
                    -Biological Hardware and Ecologies

          ii. Conceptual meta-domain    (Cultural Software)

                    -Theory of linguistics, mathematics, logic and automata
                    -Visual and musical grammars (art history & ethnography)
                    -Cultural and philosophical theories and histories
                    -Individual theoretical development and testing

         iii. Meta-linguistic Interface (A Theoretical Ecology of Ontologies)

                    -Development of theoretical tools to enable
                     an intelligent multi-disciplinary discussion
                     without too much misunderstanding or loss of
                     integrity between the disciplines.

                         -definition of disciplines
                             (domain, axioms and grammar)
                         -relation between disciplines
                             (convergence/divergence of domain)
                             (convergence/divergence of axioms)
                             (convergence/divergence of methodology/grammar)
                             (convergence/divergence of discussion points)
                         -development of conceptual interface

        b. Procedural Structure

             Basic activities such as research, education and dissemination
             of concrete or theoretical results are not incompatible with
             the above conceptual structure because these activities can
             also be considered as grammatical operations in different domains.

        c. Pedagogical Structure

             In order to be able to understand the relationships between
             different techniques it would be useful if there was a common
             framework. In some cases, the fact that this categorization
             does not work may also lead to new insights. In general the
             following points should be considered as important:

                     elements   -what are the basic building blocks?
                                 (how are they defined and in which domain?)
                     operators  -what can be done with the building blocks?
                     grammar    -what are the combinatory possibilities?
                                 (and limitations?)
                     procedures -compound operations forming gestalts
                                 (primitives on a higher level)
                     topology   -of the grammatical space
                     calculus   -which operations give specific transformation?
                     result     -evaluation/interpretation
                                 (in which domain?)
                     interface  -relation with other systems/domains

        d. Project Structure

             Any temporary set of procedures designed to modify a state
             (or set of states) of any system in any domain can be
             considered to be a project.

             The main function of the institution should be the formulation,
             realization and presentation of (multi-disciplinary) projects
             concerning technical, sensory and cultural aspects of media
             technology approached from a scientific and/or artistic viewpoint.

             A project oriented structure could be expected to contain the
             following elements:

                        -Formulation of Project Aims
                               -cultural/scientific/artistic development
                        -Practical Realization of Project
                               -stimulation  of thinking process
                               -development  of technical skills
                               -availability of tools
                        -Supervision of Project
                               -technical problems
                               -realization of intentions
                               -time and money
                        -Presentation and Evaluation of Project
                               -technical skill
                               -coherency of internal logic

        e. Organisational Structure

             The conceptual structure could be used throughout the whole
             institute or just within a single work group if required. It
             might be a potentially interesting organizational structure if
             organized not in terms of rigid departments such as "Visual Art"
             and "Music" but in terms of elements, operations and domains.
             The institute would then itself become an multi-dimensional
             procedural model with potentially different structures being
             experienced by the individual participant dependant on their
             own activity or function within the institute at that moment.

             The salaries administration may, for example, see a hierarchy
             (based on age and educational background) which may not be
             visible during theoretical discussions or the concrete production
             of a video-tape. A person may be a lecturer in one seminar and
             a student in another, today a composer of musical structures and
             tomorrow the subject of scientific research. Each change in
             function may imply a different nexus of inter-disciplinary
             connections, which must not be made impossible by the internal
             organization of the institute.

             A multi-dimensional unstructured data-base may be a useful model
             for the internal organization -and one may need one to understand

        f. Intern and Extern Interfacing

             A consequence of the dissolution of well defined boundaries
             between the activities within the institute is that there would
             be no specific department concerned with the general public. This
             may have advantages. In general, everybody not working in the
             institute may be considered to be "public". In some cases, for
             example during a lecture or a concert, staff members would be
             considered to be "public".

             The function of an external interface may be not only be concerned
             with the presentation of concerts and lectures, the distribution
             of texts and tapes and the organization of workshops but also
             the coordination and possible financing of projects initiated
             by individuals or other institutions, the maintenance of libraries
             and the recruiting of potential participants. The development
             of ways of presenting knowledge that allow teachers to concentrate
             on discussion and interpretation would be a useful task.
             Television programs (from the BBC) such as "The Ascent of Man",
             "Life on Earth" and The Royal Institute Lectures are excellent
             examples of complex material well presented.

             An internal interface would of course be responsible for internal
             coordination and communication including information storage
             and retrieval.

             It is assumed that the prime responsibility of an interface is
             communication (in a broad sense) and that the interface can be
             modified as a result of changes concerning the elements which
             require interfacing.

     2. Towards a Practical Start

           Probably the greatest potential danger of any large scale
           institution is a monolithic inflexibility. Possibly, certain
           elements of the plan may even be obsolete before the system
           is fully operative.

           The basic problem is that each of the following four elements
           may have influence on one or more of the other elements. The
           question is -in which order should they be decided?

           People suggest topics and activities, these imply people and
           facilities and the facilities and the people suggest systems
           of activities and interfacing.

           The best answer is possibly that one should just begin and
           see what happens. In practice this may be chaotic and an
           efficient way of loosing friends.

           Despite the practical disadvantages, it might still be advisable
           to get started as soon as possible. Probably, facilities for work
           are available in cooperating institutions. Potential participants
           should meet each other as soon as possible to discuss concrete
           issues and possible strategies, to discover mutual interests and
           antipathies, to specify working requirements and to experiment
           with systems of communication and collaboration.

           A series of confrontational workshops, seminars, presentations
           and publications could be used to plan and select permanent and
           temporary teams and to organize external contacts.

           Activities could include workshops with students and teachers
           from different backgrounds (and countries), exhibitions and
           concerts of potential participants, written and verbal discussion
           via newsletters and seminars and formal participation in academic
           research projects. If the institution is expected to cater for
           a wide range of interests and educational levels in the public,
           then it should begin as soon as possible to experiment with ways
           of integrating these levels.

           Considering the popularity of virtual memory and virtual
           disk drives, it might be worthwhile experimenting with virtual
           institutions. Taking the risk that things can go wrong in the
           pre-planning phase probably reduces the risk in the post-planning
           period. Prototyping is a useful concept.

  3.   Some Initial Topics for Study and Discussion

                    -Open or Closed Universe
                           -avant-garde or post-modern
                           -natural and artificial ecologies
                           -creative intelligence or tautological knowledge

                    -Context free and context bound
                           -mind and body
                           -male and female
                           -nomads and farmers
                           -theory and praxis
                           -avant-garde cultural patricide
                            or post-modern cultural cooking
                           -abstraction and formalization in art and science
                           -distributed processing and the human experience
                                  -the destruction of reality by simulation

                    -Non Euclidean Geometry
                           AND logic instead of XOR (synthesis AND analysis)
                           Goedelian systems        (paradoxical logic)
                           loops and Meta-loops     (conceptual Máöábius-loops)

                    -An Understanding of Metaphors
                           The Alchemical process  (creative logic)
                           Conceptual Acupuncture  (creative ecology)

                    -A Concept of Aesthetics
                        Information -the difference that makes a difference
                        Aesthetics  -deciding which difference makes difference
                        Politics    -Implementing the differences for survival
                                      (social identity and aesthetic choice)

                    -Social Software
                            economic paradoxes
                            human redundancy
                            1st, 2nd and 3rd World interfacing

                    -Technological Hardware
                             (autonomy and control in distributed systems)
                             (multi-dimensional simultaneity)

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