Friday, February 27, 2009


Defines a 'cult' as:

A system of religious beliefs and rituals with a body of adherents deeply devoted to an extrabiblical person, idea, or thing; it cultivates worship in a religion that, with reference to its basis for man's salvation, is considered to be unorthodox, spurious, or false, thereby insulating its members against true salvation in Christ. And inasmuch as the central doctrine of Biblical Christianity is the sacrificial death of Christ for man's sin (Eph. 2:8,9), all cultic deviations tend to downplay the finished work of Christ and emphasize the importance of earning moral acceptance before God through one's own religious works.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GCSB Waihopai

During a conversation with Michael, he told me about GCSB Waihopai. I had no prior knowledge about this place so when I found out I was very interested.
Not that much information can be found on it but I know this much.
It intercepts all of our information that we send each other. It is believed that it intercepts and processes all phone calls, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications.
They are especially interested in stuff that could be a threat to national security.
The information that is intercepted here is shared with intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ.

So........ Just for fun I am going to do an experiment.
I am going to inform people in as many ways that I can, that I am going to bomb the Government.

If this GCSB place actually does it's job properly then they should do something about it.
I want to see how far I can go before my personal information gets investigated. Not that I think it actually will.

I have emailed the information, texted it and also sent it through Facebook.
Let's see what happens...

This is what I sent:

Hi [insert name here],

I would just like to inform you that I am planning to BOMB the New Zealand government next week Wednesday at 3pm.
I will be using all sorts of BOMBS.

If the Prime Minister does not get killed during my BOMBING, I will go his house and BOMB that.

Carmen Norgate.

Hieronymus Bosch

Michael told me to look at this fellow in relation to Religion.

Early Netherlandish painter of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The artist's work is well-known for the use of fantastic imagery to illustrate moral and religious concepts and narratives.

The Garden of Earthly Delights. Dating between 1503 and 1504, when Bosch was about 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work.
The left panel depicts God presenting to Adam the newly created Eve, while the central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized fruit and hybrid stone formations. The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation.

When closed the outer panels are generally thought to depict the creation of the world. Bosch shows God as the father sitting with a Bible on his lap, creating the Earth in a passive manner by divine fiat.

Bosch was a member of
'Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady', a religious group.
In a discussion with Michael, he said that this group was thought of as a bit of a cult, engaging in group sex and blah blah.
However, I can't actually find much on the group but it does lead me on to researching religious cults....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Seek and Religion continued...

So this is me trying to connect Seek to Christianity.
It makes sense to me.....

And again, it makes sense to me...

I think I could combine these two things and make something interesting.

Taking the idea of religion being a system and combining it with biological systems interacting with technological systems.

Seek and Religion (Christianity)...

What is Seek? It is a large perspecs box, some blocks, some gerbils, a robotic hand and a computer.
You could also say that the spectators are also part of Seek.

The gerbils are constantly moving around the blocks. The Hand comes and ruins it for them.
The Gerbils must in some ways change their bevaviour because of the hand. To what extent, I do not know because there is not enough information about Seek to make such an assumption.

What is Religion (I am focusing on Christianity here. I think)?

In my own opinionated words.... A group of people who 'believe in God'. They follow an organized set of interrelated ideas or principles. Some of the things they follow do not make any sense. They follow these things for one reason mainly - to please God so that they can be saved and live an eternal life in heaven.

Maybe this is how I can relate the two...

Computer - GOD
Hand - Somebody who preaches the word of God. Minister, Priest ect.
Gerbils - Us. Me and you. Your friend from work.
Blocks - This is tricky. In Seek, the blocks represent the gerbils' ever changing environment. They build them up, move them around how they like until the hand comes and 'fixes' it all. For me that is like values and beliefs. They change as we grow up and experience different things.
Perspecs box - Could be considered the earth. The thing that encapsulates us. We can not easily leave the planet earth. We could use a spaceship/rocket to leave. The Gerbils could build a tower of blocks up against the side of the wall and also escape. Possibly.

Spectators - Well in Seek, the spectators do not actually physically affect the Gerbils. However, the gerbils would definitely be aware that they are there. So maybe, somehow, the spectators could be seen as other life forms outside of Earth that we don't actually know if they exist or not. Such as U.F.Os and Aliens etc.

Ok so now if I was to look at Seek changed into this religious system, it would go something like something......

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I was talking to my little cousin about Seek. Well actually I was teaching her about Seek. The best way I learn is by trying to teach somebody else. If I can make them understand then I must understand.
I was explaining how the cameras used in Seek are very similar to the ones that we have now in everyday life. We are constantly being monitored, surveyed and watched.
"By who?", she asked. That left me stumped and also faced me with a very interesting topic to research....

Exactly who is watching us?
I guess the way to find that our is to first ask why are we being watched.
Wikipedia states the following four reasons why surveillance would be used.

- Crime prevention / evidence

- Industrial processes

- Traffic monitoring
- Transport safety

All of these above reasons lead to me believe that we are watched for our own safety.
That's peachy, but what happens to our privacy?
Don't know. Can't remember what I was trying to say. Oh well.

Back to talking to my cousin...
I was saying some uninformed bullshit. As I do.Not knowing whether or not it was true. But one thing I said got me thinking.
I said that sometimes the footage of us can get into the wrong hands. What if a monitor person/ person who gathers the evidence (whatever they are called), discovers that they may have some useful statistics to give [sell] to a company. Like what if they notice that a lot more women than men seem to walk down a certain street? If a company knew this sort of information they could then go to their marketing/advertising people and ask for a piece of advertising specifically targeting women and then place it on that street.
This would mean that the information that was once used for our protection, would now be used to make money off us. This is obviously not surprising. I just don't often think about it. Now that I do, I think that it it is gross.

This whole post is useless actually. Oops.
I will publish it anyway.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blah Blah Blah

I am finding it very difficult to find a starting point for my project so I am trying to keep things simple. However, although trying to keep things simple, I realise that things are not as simple as they seem...

After researching more and more into Systems, I find that anything and everything is a system.
In order to get from A to B, there must be some sort of 'system' to enable us to do so. Whether is it getting from home to work or cooking your dinner, there is a system involved. Within systems are are other systems. Blah blah blah. Holy shit. It seems to me that everything is a system.

I enjoy the idea of having a "biological system" interacting with a "technological system" as we see in Seek.

I find it really interesting that the computer will somehow over time, learn the behaviour of the Gerbils. Somehow, the computer will gather all the Gerbil's movements and behaviour in it's memory and somewhat anticipate what the Gerbil's will do with the blocks. This seems really crazy to me. I can not grasp the idea of a computer learning. For me this is really blurring the line between biology and technology. Living organisms are supposed to learn. They are supposed to adapt and grow. Non- living technological things have been programmed in a certain way to do certain things. How can something that does not have the free will to decide what is wrong and right, what they like or dislike, learn and adapt and grow? I feel that is can be done but it will always be with the aid of a living thing.

Discussing the above with a friend, he said this "
They [technological systems] are programmed to recognise patterns, in the same way we are. we are programmable too. Our brains are just like organic computers we don't understand."

The following is some crazy shit. Robots are becoming more and more human like.
This one in particular seems to link to 'Seek' in some way. The system is learning and adapting to it's surroundings. Obviously it is much more complex than 'Seek' but the fundamental values are still there.... technology interacting with living things.


'Software' and Jack Burnham.

Software emphasized the process of audience interaction with "control and communication techniques," encouraging the "public" to "personally respond" and ascribe meaning to experience. In so doing, Software questioned the intrinsic significance of objects and implied that meaning emerges from perception.

"Meaning emerges from perception".
I like this. For me this is like saying that everything is without meaning until something interacts with it. Therefore, if something exists just for itself then it will have no meaning. Without meaning, what is the point of existing in the first place? Beautiful.

The more ways that something is perceived, the more meaning that 'thing' will have. By forming your own opinions of something, you are giving that 'thing' more depth and therefore giving it more reason to exist.
Translated Version

n many respects ground-breaking exhibition "Software"

An essential role played in this context, the exhibition "SOFTWARE. Information technology: its new meaning for art", the 1970 Jewish Museum in New York and in 1971 took place in the Smithsonian Institute. Was curator of the artist and writer Jack Burnham, participating artists have included Vito Acconi, David Antin, John Baldessari, the Giorno Poetry System, Hans Haacke, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth, Nam June Paik - but also scientists such as John Negroponte from MIT, Ted Nelson or the mathematician Jack Nolan.

SOFTWARE The exhibition can be viewed as an intersection at which the effort to explore the creative potential of information technology and forms of conceptual art went together. She was so important event in the still young history of art, which in the imagination of their protagonists and their sponsors in future of "software" and the "code" would be determined.

Visitors to the exhibition should be combined with various technical objects interact, without this necessarily to be regarded as works of art. The exhibition should be to enforce the cybernetic and systemic thinking contribute to the world as a transmission system consisting of many interconnected small interacting sub-systems presented.

Even now appeared as art information system, and players in the development of the modeling methods and approaches for the statistical description of cultural and social behavior on the visual level. Terms such as virtual networking, simulation, acceleration and compression of space and time promised a state where the language is circular, from truth probability, and the reality of construction.

Attracted attention and interest to be issued on this, because at the same time, the networking of humans and computers through user-friendly interface is one of the fundamental objectives of both the military and scientific research, such as the digital culture in general was. That was Jack Burnham's exhibition concept as part of the idea of a man-machine symbiosis, its first implementations in the form of computers and the first computer networks so far, however, mainly in the military field had taken place.

Also for the redefinition of the aesthetic consciousness, the future of cybernetic and system-theoretical models of Cognitive Science and self-organizing intelligent systems would be determined, the computer now seemed indispensable.

The exhibition was also avant-garde and a pioneer for something very common today: the close connection between art, corporate sponsorship, advertising and public relations.

Jack Burnham was the Curator of SOFTWARE.

"[The] cultural obsession with the art object is slowly disappearing and being replaced by what might be called 'systems consciousness.' Actually, this shifts from the direct shaping of matter to a concern for organizing quantities of energy and information...

"[It] is generally acknowledged by scientists working in the field of bio-electronics that there are no qualitative physical differences between living and nonliving matter; both groupings represent, simply, an ascending scale of complexity in the organization of matter. Therefore organisms artificially created may possess consciousness. Their level of subjectivity and intelligence depends upon their creator's ability to simulate or improvise upon biological principles...

I have never actually considered the lack of difference between living and nonliving matter before. Now that it has been brought to my attention, I am amazed and really interested by the concept.

If I compare myself to the cup that I am drinking out of, I find that we are actually rather similar.
We are both made out of 'matter' We may actually even contain some of the same matter.
Both the cup and I have reasons for being here. My reasons may be more complex but not necessarily more important. The cups reason for being here is to provide a vessel for me to drink out of. It is good as what it does and that is all that matters... I forgot my train of thought.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Although only 6 letters long, the word 'System' is bloody complicating.

The definition of 'System', as taken from
I only like the definitions in red. I will ignore the rest.

1. A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.
2. A functionally related group of elements, especially:
a. The human body regarded as a functional physiological unit.
b. An organism as a whole, especially with regard to its vital processes or functions.
c. A group of physiologically or anatomically complementary organs or parts: the nervous system; the skeletal system.
d. A group of interacting mechanical or electrical components.
e. A network of structures and channels, as for communication, travel, or distribution.
f. A network of related computer software, hardware, and data transmission devices.
3. An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles.
4. A social, economic, or political organizational form.
5. A naturally occurring group of objects or phenomena: the solar system.
6. A set of objects or phenomena grouped together for classification or analysis.
7. A condition of harmonious, orderly interaction.
8. An organized and coordinated method; a procedure.
9. The prevailing social order; the establishment.

The concept of an "integrated whole" can also be stated in terms of a system embodying a set of relationships which are differentiated from relationships of the set to other elements, and from relationships between an element of the set and elements not a part of the relational regime.

Natural and man-made systems
There are natural and man-made (designed) systems. Natural systems may not have an apparent objective but their outputs can be interpreted as purposes. Man-made systems are made with purposes that are achieved by the delivery of outputs. Their parts must be related; they must be “designed to work as a coherent entity” - else they would be two or more distinct systems
I think natural systems do have an apparent objective. Of course they do. Their objectives are far more apparent then man-made system's objectives. Man-man things always have hidden objectives. With nature, what you see is what you get.

Open system
-An open system usually interacts with some entities in their environment.
-A state of a system, in which a system continuously interacts with its environment.

It seems like every system would be open. Even if it was supposed to be a closed system, there would still be some instances where something could interfere. I can't really see a situation where a system could be completely closed. Everything and anything will always be affected by it's environment.... Nothing ever stays the same. The world is not a still place.

Chaos Theory
Systems whose states evolve with time – that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect).
As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random.

Butterfly Effect
The butterfly effect is a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. Small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. This is sometimes presented as esoteric behavior, but can be exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position.

I like things that evolve over time. It's like a living thing. Like a Tamagotchi, they are cool.

I am having a system overload. Too much information for my poor brain.

Looking at those definitions for 'System' above, I have narrowed my field of research down to a few things that I find interesting within the concept of systems.

The prevailing social order; the establishment.
A social, economic, or political organizational form.
- The human body regarded as a functional physiological unit.
An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles.

These two sites are rather similar in their content. They both talk about how big companies are often somehow connected to each other. They are all after one thing - our money.
They both show how systems large and diverse a system can be. Two completely different companies can be part of the same big money making system. Gross.
This is an interactive website about the human body and how systems in it, work. Good example of how one big system can have many other smaller systems within it.
The human body is such a complex system. It is amazing how we can adapt to different situations and environments. Our bodies can actually handle much more then we think it can. Once it hits survival mode we become super humans. If we could switch our 'survival modes' on and off when ever we please it would be totally sweet!

- An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles.
This is the one I am most interested by. The best example of this is Religion. I would love to base my work on religion because I am fascinated by it. Christianity in particular. There seems to be a definite organised set of interrelated ideas and principles within Christianity.

When I search "An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles", I come up with a few interesting things....

- I find a book about Game design fundamentals [here]
- An E-zine article about
'Reducing Staff Turnover in Small Businesses' [here]
- I find myslef a very interesting blog entry by somebody, 'Our beliefs and their support systems'
........ This is totally what I am talking about above. Reading this makes me excited and make me want to pursure this idea of religion being a system.


I think to fully understand "Seek", I must first have an understanding of what Cybernetics is....
Some notes that may or may not make sense....

- the relationship between a 'thing' and it's environment.
- could essentially explain everything.

Second Order Cybernetics
- as soon as you look at something, you affect it.
I feel a bit 'blah' about this. How can I affect something just by looking at it? If I look at a piece of paper and don't touch it, how am I affecting it? I may have thought about the paper and may have thought about drawing on it, but I haven't. Since I haven't done anything with the paper I have therefore not affected it.
How does this sentence make any sense?

- the observer impacts on the system.

Some more stuff to help my understanding of Cyber-freaken-netics...

Perhaps the most fundamental contribution of cybernetics is its explanation of purposefulness, or goal-directed behavior, an essential characteristic of mind and life, in terms of control and information.

-The essential goal of cybernetics is to understand and define the functions and processes of systems that have goals, and that participate in circular, causal chains that move from action to sensing to comparison with desired goal, and again to action.
-the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.
-Its focus is how anything (digital, mechanical or biological) processes information, reacts to information, and changes or can be changed to better accomplish the first two tasks.

"the art of ensuring the efficacy of action" Louis Couffignal

-"Cybernetics is the study of systems and processes that interact with themselves and produce themselves from themselves" Louis Kauffman
New Cybernetics is a study of self-organizing systems.
Closely resembles organisms and biology.


"Seek" 1970 Nicholas Negroponte with Architecture Group Machine M.I.T. Originally shown at the "Software" exhibition, Curated by Jack Burnham for the Jewish Museum in New York 1970. This piece consisted of a Plexiglass environment full of small blocks and inhabited by gerbils, who continuously changed the position of the blocks. Following instructions programmed buy the authors the robotic arm automatically rearranged the blocks in a specific pattern.

- The exhibit is also referred to sometimes as Blocksworld.

Translated Version

SEEK: cybernetic world behavioral model and experimental laboratory

One of the main attractions of the exhibition but the installation was "SEEK", which at MIT by students of the Architecture Machine Group, headed by Nicholas Negroponte was developed and built. The group belonged to the "Laboratory for Urban Systems" and was extended from the Ford Foundation.

SEEK was a machine that can run either as a "cybernetic world model" as a "behavioral observation and experimental laboratory" was conceived. SEEK was designed by a small general-purpose computer-controlled, and in contrast to a simple Ein-/Ausgabe-Peripherieger├Ąt was Seek a mechanism to meet the physical environment, they affect and beyond should try with unexpected events in their local environment to cope.
SEEK installation by Nicholas Negroponte and the Architecture Machine Group at MIT, 1969-70, in the exhibition
"software", Jewish Museum, New York, 1970

A computer-controlled robotic arm was the master of a small city blocks, in a given floor plan were arranged in the computer of SEEK was saved. The cubes formed at the same time, the action field and the habitat of a small group of Mongolian gerbils. The animals came against the cube, destroyed their building and construction and brought the dice towers to collapse. The result was a substantial difference between the three-dimensional reality and stored in ground Seeks Tax computer. Seeks task was now to analyze these variations, and this model for predicting the behavior of the mice to develop.

The machine was funny and scary at the same time, but she was playful and artistic simulation of a future model, whose implementation is already on the horizon had guessed. The curator Jack Burnham, formulated in the interview for the movie "The Net", as follows:

It was somehow like H.G. Wells, it was somehow futuristic ... they know that we stood before that something in the future, perhaps this could happen. And with people, not rats.

One of the participating artists, the German Hans Haacke, expressed the sense of indefinite, and the uneasiness of some of the exhibition of participating artists on the blending of art, powerful staatstragenden institutions and public relations as follows:

... it was possibly on something, what you lost control, and where perhaps even your own name has been used for something with which you either do not agree, or one whose scope could not be overlooked.

That provoked a beautiful and sinister picture: The Artist as critical laboratory mouse in the wheel of the system, in the belief that with [systemtheoretischem Besteck?] not only analyze but even to change them. This blind to the fact that involuntary agent for perfecting the same system.
Exhibition "Re-reeducation", Berlin 2007, Lutz Dammbeck c / Photo: Bertram Kober

The most striking exhibition object in the exhibition “Software” was SEEK by Nicholas
Negroponte and his colleagues from the Architecture Machine Group of the M.I.T. This
machine was conceived as both a “cybernetic world model” and a “behaviourist laboratory
for observation and experimentation”. SEEK was controlled from a small all-purpose
computer. A robot arm operated by this computer ruled over a small city made of cubes,
arranged according to a specific ground plan that was stored in SEEK’s computer.
At the same time, the cubes represented the field of action and living space of a small group of Mongolian desert gerbils; a “biological system”. The animals bumped into cubes,destroyed their arrangement and construction, and caused towers to collapse.
intention was then for the mechanism of SEEK to sense the physical environment, influence it, and attempt to come to terms with unexpected local events within this environment. The computer-operated robot arm was to learn to “read” the unpredictable behaviour of the gerbils from the alterations in the location of the cubes, analysing it and thus developing patterns with which to predict the future behaviour of the living creatures (gerbils).

However, this was only a success on a metaphorical level.

In 2007 Professor Lutz Dammbeck re made "Seek" as part of seems to be a research project. He has also used his findings to make some sort of film.
Both of these things I do not have much information about but here is some of the stuff I found...
This appears to be the site that goes with the film. You can find a trailer on here but they are speaking German so I don't know what they are talking about.
However, after a little searching I think I found what the voice over in the trailer is saying.... I may be wrong though "Pop and Op Art, Mixed Media, Happenings, artists like John Cage, Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol, bands like the Grateful Dead and The Velvet Underground - that was a cocktail of revolt, rock and pop, which fascinated me. The message was: everything is possible, reality is arbitrarily changeable. You are what you want! On closer inspection seemed to me this mix, but only part of a much more complex "meta-system" to be art and which is included with the computer, but much more involved. Initially I was one of at least equal role of art in relation to science and new technologies is assumed. But the more I researched, the more faded, the image of a modern multi-media with the aura of the critical "others". It seemed to me that this art is not noise, but rather amplifier system was, and that long before "from the counter-culture was the culture," as Stewart Brand in "The Net" formulated. So I started more and more for architects and designers of this scientific and technically based "meta-system" to be interested - and for their clients. My research led me to the beginnings of cybernetics, systems theory, bionics, the parallel computing, artificial intelligence, the construction of computers and the constructivism than thought. Soon I came to the legendary Macy conferences, where from 1946 to 195
3 elite scientists, science managers and officials of various U.S. agencies (sometimes even the CIA) participated, and the ground for a symbolic world as an "open system" developed. In retrospect appear Macy Conferences as the place where "a theory Does the enforcement could be observed."
You can also find a short interview with Jack Burnham on here.
This has a few images of the "Seek" replica. But not much information on the actual replica.

An image from "seek" replica.

Nicholas Negroponte

Interesting guy... here is a sexy picture of him.

Founder of M.I.T and also the founder of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).

I feel a bit YUCK about this whole OLPC thing. I am torn between whether I think it is a good or bad thing.
Is it just a sugar coated sheep's dropping made to look like a crispy M&M?
When you go to the website you are greeted with pictures of happy children in developing countries with their lovely green laptops.
The question you ask yourself is, do these children actually need fancy laptops or do they need clean water and sufficient health care? Is Negroponte trying to convince us that a laptop is just as much of a need as clean water.....?
Mmmmm not so sexy after all Negroponte.