Random thoughts- bioart

I’ve found that one of the greatest barriers to writing something down regularly these days is a concern that I’d piss someone off.

What a way to grow up.

 

While wrapping up last of the sequencing reactions accumulated these past few days I found myself wondering about bioart again- there was a time when I was completely nuts over the concept of artscience, and pushed as hard as I could to get some bioart representation within the Genspace hierarchy. We didn’t even have PCR machines back then, it was before Ellen got the equipment from Vector donated after it downsized and closed down the lab she was managing, and way before we found MEx through bunch of random people. It was a life time ago.

Anyway, my earlier perception of ‘artscience’ at the time, as vague as it was, brought to mind something curious, something like Leonardo Da Vinci but for the modern age. Scientific discovery and application dictated by aesthetic sense to create something beautiful and perhaps even meaningful. Being freshly out from school it was a view uninformed by realities of both scientific research and how many artists operate.

From a general point artscience as it stands right now seem to refer to anything and everything created and curated using tools normally reserved for usually inaccessible scientific research for purposes of artistic expression- and nothing else. It’s art as usual except the tubes of paints and canvas got switched out to some other things associated with science (or should I say popular perception of science? No real scientist I know plays around with that much colored liquid, or uses racks of test tubes). 

It brings up an interesting question on what artscience actually is. When you really dig into the history of arts from across the globe, the techniques of art was never really far away from experimentation and keeping track of data- the practice of simply walking into a store to buy tubes of paint without knowing how it’s made and where it came from is a ridiculously modern one. Same goes for architecture. The amount of experimentation and fundamental knowledge that has to be learned to be even remotely adapt at the craft is extensive- otherwise you have a lot of dead people on your hands. Experimentation, data gathering, perfection over life time and generations- are all rather common practices in the arts.

In that light, what IS artscience? It’s highly probable Da Vinci was on the cutting edge of chemistry at the time just from making his paint and gunpowder for fireworks. Same goes for almost all the older masters. If it’s simply using scientific means and tools for purposes of art how is that so radically different from what people had been doing for most of history, when you consider that ‘traditional’ tools of art themselves were products of experimentation?

Here’s another kicker- the relatively recent interest in bioart, itself a practical artscience of sorts, is based on broader accessibility of the tools and better abstraction of ideas that allows any sufficiently funded and motivated artist to use the tools usually associated with pure research. Easier accessibility to better and more professional tools of the scientific trade by the layman will be a continuing trend for the foreseeable future… So what does artscience do that’s really different when the science part of it is as normal as walking into an arts supply store and buying tubes of paint?

Is it even real? If it is, where is it going?

 

And all this is without even getting into the difference between science and technology.

Advertisements

Life during summer and consilience notes

I should definitely to a decent post some time soon, but it seems that I’m in middle of severe drought of ideas and writing abilities. Hopefully this is just a passing phase… Someone should definitely develop a drug against writer’s block I think.

A few things I’ve been working on so far between all the jobs I have to run to pay my rent. I’ve been studying the Exploring Complexity by Gregoire Nicolis and Ilya Prigogine since the beginning of the summer. Studying as in tearing through every bit of reference mentioned at ends of each chapters and working out all the equations, making up some of my own for practice. The progress has been slower than I would have liked but it’s still coming along nicely. I’m upto  the randomness and complexity chapter where they begin describing Markovian processes and different types of entropy. I’ve been trying to come up with some cool graphics describing some of the stuff in the book using Mathematica but couldn’t really find the time to get around to it, with all the other coding projects on my hand at the moment, but I’ll definitely have something to show for by the end of the summer.

I’ve also been reading up on some bioinformatics literature, beginning with the eponymous ‘For Dummies’ book on the subject which is surprisingly well written, or at least comprehensible (well, considering the title it would be hard to write a book on the subject that is incomprehensible). It’s part of my attempt at coming up with a decent diybio coursework aimed at 14 and above, centering around the kind of projects the laymen would normally find out of reach, like designing a biological circuit and putting it together in a wetlab. With so many computerized tools and advent of abstraction in biological sciences brought on by synthetic biology, I think it is possible to empower the citizenry with end-user scientist toolset. The average computer user don’t code in assembly or the machine language yet many of them are perfectly capable of coming up with useful high-level softwares and beautiful works of art (it still takes effort and mastery but what doesn’t?). In order for the biological sciences to become user-friendly I believe we need a tool to familiarize them with the higher level abstraction in molecular biology and computerized tools associated with it. In my experience the best way to break down an intellectual barrier is to make people do the impossible easily and cheaply. The first step of breaking down the biology barrier would be teaching people how to design genetic circuits using extremely high level abstraction symbols. Theoretically it should be possible to put together a very simple circuit on a napkin using symbols and diagrams using unified ‘visual language‘ of synthetic biology. Once the individual becomes scientifically fluent enough to visualize these molecular circuits within his or her head, and feel a real want for building something in real life, we can easily transfer the design into computerized tools for specification and optimization. After that it would be a simple process of transformation using mail-order kits (or using diy tools if you’re so inclined), which DIYBio NYC have already demonstrated to be easy and straightforward.

By then, maybe I’ll try to pitch my not-so-secret ambition of coming up with diy-minimal/synthetic cell ::evil laugh::

As you might have guessed I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading through E.O. Wilson’s Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge again. It’s amazing just how much of the book resonates with me, not necessarily in solutions but in problems he outlines as something fundamental that needs to be resolved if we are to further our understanding of the universe.

-From pg.93
…the U.S. federal high-performance program has upped the goal to a trillion calculations per second by the end of the century. By the year 2020, petacrunchers, capable of reaching a thousand trillion calculations per second, may be possible, although new technologies and programming methods will be needed to reach that level. At this point the brute-force simulation of cell mechanics, tracking every active molecule and its web of interactions, should be attainable- even without the simplifying principles envisioned in complexity theory.

The continuing battle (if there is one) between raw computing power against elegant universal systems like the kind proposed by some of the complexity scientists is interesting. For one thing, would we need raw computing power the world has never seen so far to replicate human-like intelligence? Or can it be done in smaller scale using some aspect of the logical system that gives rise to emergent trait we refer to as intelligence? Classification of life/intelligence as a type of physical system that very closely resembles phase transition due to complexity is an intriguing possibility that will need to be examined in detail… I’m especially interested in intelligence as not something that computes but as something that creates. Why am I sitting here writing down this stuff when the weather outside is so great? Why do people strive to create this stuff and ideas when it’s much easier to sit on their collective asses and eat chips? To some the activity of creating get to the point of destructive obsession. Am I alone in sensing that the society at large tend to be envious of those kind of people?

Curiosity is not a rational trait. It’s crazy and sometimes suicidal, and doesn’t serve any kind of immediate need for survival or propagation. It is the very picture of irrationality. So where does it come from? What aspect of the molecular system that we refer to as living beings gives rise to such weird behavior? And what’s with this crazy unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences? Isn’t it weird how questioning the nature of mind, life, and human behavior so often leads us to the questions on the fundamental nature of the universe itself?

-From pg.93~94
In 1994 editors of Science, celebrating the inauguration of developmental biology by Wilhelm Roux a century earlier, asked one hundred contemporary researchers in the field to identify what they considered the crucial unanswered questions in the discipline. Their responses, in rank order of attributed importance, were:
1.The molecular mechanism of tissue and organ development.
2.The connection between development and genetic information.
3.The steps by which cell become committed to a particular fate.
4.The role of cell-to-cell signaling in tissue development.
5.The self-assembly of tissue patterns in the early embryo.
6.The manner in which nerve cells establish their specific connections to create the nerve cord and brains.
7.The means by which cells choose to divide and to die in the sculpting  of tissues and organs.
8.The steps by which the processes controlling transcription (the transmission of DNA information within the cell) affect the differentiation of tissues and organs.
Remarkably, the biologists considered research on all of these topics to be in a state of rapid advance, with partial successes in at least some of them close at hand.

Above questions were written around 1994 according to the Consilience. It’s been over a decade, so I wonder how many of above questions had been answered definitely and conclusively….

Also, it’s rather interesting that most if not all of above questions are in some way related to study of complexity sciences. It’s almost as if the whole field of complexity science is biology fused with mathematical abstractions.

Le Corbusier, The City of To-Morrow And Its Planning

It’s 12:15 AM and I’m dead tired from writing proposals all day. So here’s a quote from Le Corbusier’s ‘The City of To-Morrow And Its Planning’ that I found especially profound.

We prefer Bach to Wagner, and the spirit which inspired the Parthenon to that which created the cathedral… This modern sentiment is a spirit of geometry, a spirit of construction and synthesis. Exactitude and order are its essential condition… Our trend is towards higher and more impartial gratifications, by reason of the mathematical spirit which inspires us; we can create in a detached and pure manner. Such are the epochs which we call classical.

Safe to say, after Hans Bellmer and Jasper Johns I’m beginning to find the wild world of urban planning and architecture to be strangely attractive. A lot of that stuff is like mathematical physics of the most abstract kind. I guess it can’t be helped. They all strive toward some manipulation of space. One with vectors, the other with human life.

Lately, no matter where my eyes turn toward to I see artscience in birthpain.

The question of feeling

That fresh new-year smell is beginning to wear off the 2009 already, thanks to the crazy schedule I’ve been leading my life on. I decided to do a bit of mind-digging before the novelty wore of entirely, which sent me down some really trippy tour down the memory lane. Here’s a concise version of what I came up with.

There is a film that makes me feel this absurd mix of feelings that I cannot possibly describe in words, most likely due to my lack of command of any language. In that film, as well as in the creator’s other works, aspects of light, motion, and wide open spaces are featured prominently, almost as if the entirety of the creator’s work was designed to take place in an infinitely large, translucent prism that deconstructs light strewn into a million shades of spectrum as it passes through the main characters and vicissitudes of their affairs. Individual effects aren’t really that novel, but when combined together into a coherent whole his works take on certain peculiarly beautiful and memorable allure. The memorability and (illusion of?) profoundness of his works are especially amazing when I consider that his works, when dissected into little atoms of dispositions and styles, aren’t even that unique, possibly even pedestrian. Similar styles can be observed all over the place, East and West, usually when the medium centers around the theme or the existence of sky and atmosphere, though presence of requisite elements does not necessarily guarantee the style.

Whenever I see one of his works, or any work of art that shares the certain ‘style’, the impact on my senses, I feel strange nostalgia… In fact, I should say that I feel quite a number of emotions simultaneously, with distinct after taste of nostalgia running between them. The experience is never really overwhelming unless I let it be. The nostalgia is different from the usual bar-room affairs I have, tacked with dark, foggish candlelight and thick tingle of wine to be washed down later with doses of sleep. This nostalgia is more like clear air, the kind you are allowed to feel for a brief moment at specific moment of twilight, when all things past and future has to be in their right place at the right time. It leaves you with strange sensibility of awake-ness and understanding of the things around you. It’s the nostalgia that draws your eyes to the stars and patterns of clouds, beautiful yet true, telling of the things to come. It’s the nostalgia of the indescribable.

Even when I was young, I was always captivated by the kind of ‘feeling’ I’m able to feel in certain specific situations in life. Pain and happiness are easily understood. I am reacting to bunch of stimuli that can be categorized and organized into myriad of different psychological description of the human self, and even then I didn’t place much significance on those calculus of human psyche. What really haunted me was, the subtlety of feeling (I use ‘haunting’ and ‘feeling’ for lack of better terms in my vocabulary) within very vague and nondescript situations, with no clear coherence of elements yet unmistakable impact. When I was young I would go out during the time of twilight, sit in a park, and watch the world silently turning from violet to blue to black (or vice versa), watching the rhythmical swaying of the trees in the wind, lazy spread of clouds shining in some strange hue of the light, trying to figure out just what exactly I was feeling at that moment. The experience was addictive and frustrating at the same time. I knew I was feeling something, something I usually can’t feel in company of the normal things of life, but what was it? What are the words for the state of mind? Finding the answer was difficult in the least by the fact that the ‘strange feeling’ seem to contain within itself bits and pieces of all the shades of other urges and sensations, ranging from the urge to create to fulfillment, greed, happiness, and reverie. It was a complex amalgam of the primal and the logical, each biting the others tail like ouroboros…

Those experiences were the closest things I’ve ever come to a sort of religious revelation, or intense attraction of any kind. Even now, I still cannot forget about that ‘feeling.’ In fact, the feeling might have been getting stronger, more intense, as I live and understand and feel even more things like sexuality and self-identity. It had significant impact on what I’ve done so far with my life, and my interest in sciences began as an attempt at finding an answer to the question, since I felt that reliance on ‘verbal psychology’ not grounded in hard physical facts will inevitably end up leading to a tangle of other ideas, in an infinite loop of self-reference.

I’m still trying to figure out just what exactly I am feeling.

Science commons

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1326014&dest=-1]

Just a quick post before going to sleep (it’s 2:45 in the morning and I have class at 10:00 ugh).

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the net today. 120 second introduction to what science commons is.

I can think of lot of things that can explain why the idea of ‘opensourced’ science or science commons must be one of the coolest and most revolutionary ideas of the generation, but my brain is turning into a jello right now, so detailed post will have to wait.

Just one thing though. Library of Alexandria. 

Just think about it. Why was library of Alexandria so important? Was it because it housed a lot of books? No, it isn’t. If anyone believes that the significance of the library of Alexandria was about stacks of books he/she lacks the understanding of the origin of modern civilization. Books or any individual units of information pop into existence all the time. Libraries are meaningful because they centralize and organize those individual information clusters. Centralize and organize, meaning giving accessibility to. 

Greatest threat to any knowledge is not in its misuse or incomprehension. It is in obscurity (as Cory Doctorow pointed out as he released his works under CC license). Libraries made human civilization by providing accessibility to knowledge that would have been forgotten otherwise by centralizing them in one geographic location and organizing them according to a system. From that location new ideas were born since people no longer had to spend their lifetime re-learning what someone else figured out half a century ago.

Science in general, lacks accessibility. Which is very weird when you think about it. Science is about accurate description of this universe, this universe every single member of the Homo sapiens sapiens share. Yet science lacks accessibility, both to the nonspecialists and specialists alike. It’s like having limited access to one of your eyes or limbs or organs.

Accessibility is catalyzing and empowering. When economic systems become accessible we get flourishing finances and trades system, with all the subsequent benefits of arts and culture. When human opinions become accessible we get one of the biggest human community ever, with subsequent benefits of policies and philanthropy. The first time academies and libraries became accessible we began a march toward a new civilization. What will we be able to accomplish once the sciences are truly open and known to every willing member of the humanity? 

artscience rant

Just a little something I jotted down a moment ago on notepad, about art, science, and artscience (and possibly what artificial life has to do with it all)

 

A machine to create as we know it can only a machine that follows certain mathematical patterns giving output that can be interpreted by both the machine and observers as being coherent. Would it imply that there is something missing in such interpretation of the acts of creation or that act of creation and all subsequent endeavors are in effect replicating mathematical algorithms/formulae? Moreover, what exactly is the drive behind the origin of the will to create? In case of artificial machines we can say that we coded its mind/body to act in certain expected way, but the same cannot be applied to the creators of the creating machines, since (as far as we know) we haven’t been programmed by some entity in such specific manner as to will to create objects and ideas (and even that would create the question of who created the entities, so the whole line of questioning is more or less a dead-end). The obvious answer to the explanation of the behavior of creativity as things stand right now, would have to be drawn from the thermodynamic characteristics of the life-like intelligent systems themselves. Arts, and any type of object/idea creation by life-like intelligent systems must be a direct result of the thermodynamic system that forms the basis of the life-like intelligent systems themselves. In short, art is science.

all-nighty

Part of being an adult is pulling an all-nighter, and then getting paid for it. You see, kids pull all-nighters all the time on ridiculously stringent schedule, but they (usually) don’t get paid. Ah the sweet innocence of the lost days.

I just took a relaxing stretch in the living room, with all the lights off and only the monitor of my trusty laptop blinking at intermittent intervals in the study while crunching numbers with the Mathematica and running some minimal cellular automata written in python.

Of course, I had the obligatory glass of alcohol in my hand. A cheap, mild merlot. What is a night without a decent drink?

As I lay myself on the sofa in the dark, my eyes adjusted to the darkness, with remarkable haste I should add, since I’ve been staring at a full-brightness LED screen for past five hours straight.

For a moment I thought I was standing on the edge of a skyscraper in Tokyo. A trick of the tired vision.
You see, my living room, for all its tidy appearance (I like to keep things organized), is filled and stacked to the brims with electronic gadgets ranging from draft-N wireless router to media center laptop I have cabled to external HD and a HDTV. I didn’t notice it before with the light on, but the whole room is apparently dotted with constantly blinking LED diodes embedded into the electronics.

Distantly blinking lights of green, red, orange and blue, all around the dark rectangular and squarish masses.

It seems that I’ve been unwittingly creating a skyline within my own living room.

P.S. I found another web-augmentation to play around with. The good thing about this particular service? I don’t have to do anything to it. I’m just syndicating all the existing input-services to a central location, so that bits and pieces of myself can permeate the web further. Have you ever searched for Bookhling on the Google?

http://bookhling.swurl.com/

Musing

People love fantasies. They fantasize about things all the time. Act of shaping the most compelling traits of that fantasy in real world is called art. And the process that allows the conversion of idea to shape is called technology. Look at this.

Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but I think this will definitely appear beautiful in the eyes of the majority. Now, this is merely a model. But sciences and technology might as well make this come true sooner that most people expect it.

What I find truly interesting, however, isn’t the shared trait between arts and sciences. That much had been obvious since the days of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the hints of the inseparable relationship between the two had been acknowledged even before then… Or rather, would it be correct to say that modern separation between arts and sciences is a freak accident of history that was given birth a few centuries ago at most? I guess we are all collectively reeling in from the aftershock of the events that happened centuries ago (and people ask why we should bother to learn history).

What I really find interesting, to an almost obsessive degree, is where the beginnings of arts and sciences came from. That is, what would drive bunch of complex systems of collections of molecular compounds to form ideas, worldview, beliefs, and etc… Whether you are a religious fundamentalist or a Dawkins-ian atheist, the fact is that most if not all of humanity have some capacity at aesthetic sensitivity that borders on mystical. Like any prudent scientist (to-be), I believe in things happening in front of my eyes rather than some abstract ideas floating in the clouds. It is a fact that people keep on creating and reacting to stuff, tries to keep themselves alive (though survival seem to take on varying degrees of priority in individuals), and are a system of molecules. So it should be reasonable to suspect that there is a method in nature to create systems of creativity out of components we already know about, using systematic pathways/algorithms that can be replicated.

What is creativity? It is a constant drive to do stuff. Is that enough? Not really. Simply being active isn’t good enough… Creativity is a drive to do stuff in coherent manner. Thermodynamic work with coherence, which I might even call ‘memory’ though it might be too hasty at this point. Would this mean that a metabolic engine with capacity for coherent action (memory?) on the system-wide level contains innate ability to create? Like bacterium? Localized complex chain reaction with proper coherence eventually leads to self-replication? So would this mean that the human capacity for arts is in some deep level related to the capacity to procreate in minimally life-like systems?… Then what would be the concept of beauty? And why/how would human beings pursue aesthetics/ideas outside of the necessity for survival?

It’s fun to do a bit of musing like this. Yet it always get frustrating at the end, because I know in my heart that there’s no way to test all this physically. Or is there?

All I can do at the moment is to sit here and wait for my muse.

Neal Stephenson notes

I’ve been googling some Neal Stephenson articles on the net in preparation for his new upcoming book, Anathem.

Here is an interesting excerpt from a Wired article I encountered from a blog about Neal Stephenson and his upcoming work (I recommend you read the full article as well if you are interested in current status of Neal Stephenson’s life).

Stephenson spends his mornings cloistered in the basement, writing longhand in fountain pen and reworking the pages on a Mac version of the Emacs text editor. This intensity cannot be sustained all day–”It’s part of my personality that I have to mess with stuff,” he says–so after the writing sessions, he likes to get his hands on something real or hack stuff on the computer. (He’s particularly adept at Mathematica, the equation-crunching software of choice for mathematicians and engineers.) For six years, he was an adviser to Jeff Bezos’ space-flight startup, Blue Origin. He left amicably in 2006. Last year, he went to work for another Northwest tech icon, Nathan Myhrvold, who heads Intellectual Ventures, an invention factory that churns out patents and prototypes of high-risk, high-reward ideas. Stephenson and two partners spend most afternoons across Lake Washington in the IV lab, a low-slung building with an exotic array of tools and machines to make physical manifestations of the fancies that flow from the big thinkers on call there.

“In Neal’s books, he’s been fantastically good at creating scenarios and technologies that are purely imaginary,” Myhrvold says. “But they’re much easier imagined than built. So we spend a certain amount of our time imagining them but the rest of our time building them. It’s also very cool but different to say, ‘Let’s come up with new ways of doing brain surgery.'”

That’s right–brain surgery is one of the things Stephenson is tinkering with. He and his team are helping refine some mechanical aspects of a new tool, a helical needle for operating on brain tumors. It’s the kind of cool job one of his characters might have.

This article seem to further compound my idea about Stephenson’s (or any other writer/artists’) almost instinctive urge to see the products of their written fantasies manifest in their world in a more corporeal form. Many artists throughout history seem to share that trait in particular, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Jasper Johns, methods of manifestation sometimes taking form of involvement in things of the ‘secular world’ or integration of their artistic ideas into lifestyles and memes. Such universally observed trait might as well be the reason that synthetic biology, or rather, any and all forms of artificial life holds so much promise for artists of the world. Synthetic/artificial life might as well be the catalyst needed to bridge the unreasonable cultural and intellectual gap between the arts and the sciences.

Indeed, I might even go as far as to say that the utility of artificial life in the field of arts would be an inevitable development of the future, based on the innate human desire to breathe life into immaterial thoughts.

Once I get past the deadline season, I might do a bit more detailed post on the matter of human creativity and obsession towards its manifestation…

Abstraction- Engines of Art

The update at this blog had been intermittent for a while due to my personal circumstances, with moving to a new apartment, and the need to write up bunch of papers happening all at once. Now that I am a bit more settled I should be able to write here regularly. At least I hope that is the case… I do not think I can handle as much workload for a while.

I have always been interested in writing things. Writing is something that comes natural to me, in that while I am certainly not good at it, I can always pick up a pen or sit in front of a keyboard and scribble/type away as I drift away to a state of reverie. It is the same as with reading a good book. There is no need to force myself to concentrate. The process is quick and natural like playing an old instrument while intoxicated by its melody, a sort of self-reinforcing phenomena.

As such, it was only natural that I would try to fulfill my predilection toward the ever vague idea of beauty. I have always been puzzled by the nature of beauty since young age. I can tell for sure when something is beautiful to me or not, yet it is quite impossible to pinpoint the specific quality of the thing/person/situation that makes it appear/smell/feel beautiful in my senses. There is no consistency in the things that are capable of displaying the traits of beauty, as a garbage can and a work by Michelangelo might display the similar sense of sublime, that strange trait that we can only refer to with the vague term called beauty. And this *beauty* appears quite immaterial. I do not believe there is a single thing in this universe capable of appearing beautiful to all observers for all lengths of time. The trait of beauty can be highly subjective, and is bound to fade away after a period of time (when in view of a single observer) regardless of the hardiness of the physical material that radiates the feeling of beauty in its observers.

Would such traits suggest that the beauty literally is in the eyes of the beholder? There is no evidence to think that inorganic objects in this world is capable of reacting to certain objects in a way that an organic, conscious object would react to a thing of beauty. So it would be possible to assume that the ability to perceive beauty and react toward it in this world is limited to complex life-like systems (this is an assumption based only on what we know about complex systems and the physical relationships within the universe at the moment, of course). Yet the problem does not quite end at that point. Prokaryotes are complex life-like systems, yet can we possibly assume that such microbiotic systems are capable of feeling the thing we conscious human beings refer to as beauty? I have never talked to a prokaryote culture before, so I would not know. Let us re-examine the trait of beauty and beautiful things in this world for a moment. From what I can tell, beauty requires significant amount of neuronal resources in terms of sensory organs and processing units, aka the CNS. Would that mean that the ability to perceive beauty must be limited by the capacity of the senses? That external catalysis of sorts is always required in order to perceive/imagine beauty? It might be tempting to say yes to such an assumption, but I think we must remember that there are plenty of things in this world that are considered beautiful despite having no physical counterpart. Beautiful ideas. Beautiful future. Such are more or less information based constructs that might be represented by certain physical objects and situations in this world but not tied to the specific characteristics of the material. If beauty is intimately tied to its nature as a construct of information, then it is possible that the ability to perceive and react to beauty is intimately tied to the information processing capability, like the brain, which is in itself a vast complex adaptive system.

I think we might be onto something here. If the things I have outlined above have even a modicum of truth in it, the illusive nature of beauty might in fact be tied to the informational structure of the brain and its interaction with the external world, within which learning and memory themselves might act as catalyst between the world and the brain in perceiving and reacting to beauty…

Here is a million dollar question. If the immateriality of the concept of beauty and its acting in concert with innate mechanisms of brain and memories are true, would it be possible to write a finite-length work capable of giving persistent impression of beauty by conjuring up any and all images and ideas that can be felt/perceived by the readers mind? Would it be possible to write a piece that can simulate almost infinite gradient of human ideas and feelings within the readers mind by the virtue of ever changing yet persistent nature of human memory and innate information processing capacity of the human brain itself, using only limited number of imageries and terms that can be utilized in a single work of writing? The idea behind such a writing would be similar to the idea behind the evolution of natural language, of how limited number of alphabets are capable of composing rich vocabulary and astronomical variety of written, spoken works and ideas born from those works. Instead of alphabets, however, the work would have to discover and utilize certain archetypes of ideas, patterns and imageries as to make it possible for the reader to create something entirely new every time he/she reads it, the only characteristic shared between the infinite variety of reconstructions being the persistent presence of the indescribable beauty.

The ideas of artscience and artificial life takes on an entirely different perspective when viewed in such light. Artificial life would no longer be static art, but rather an *engine of beauty* in a persistent yet ever changing universe. Just as Kurzweil proposed the universe of meaningful information, artificial life might as well be the first step in a whole universe of sublime beauty.