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What is Moistmedia?

History of moistmedia
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What we’re talking about is something that occurred about 10 or 12 years ago. When artists became more and more interested in living systems. So we have to go back in art practice to the point at which cybernetics became a useful, intellectual, aesthetic tool. Cybernetics arose as an understanding of the way that natural systems, systems of interaction and living systems in nature and computational systems could be understood theoretically in terms of control and communication. All of nature, and all of implicit in computational systems, is interactive networks. Dynamic interactions. Doing this in nature produces that and so forth. So first of all, um, we had the development of ideas of system networking interaction.
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And then about 10 or 12 years ago, as I say, artists began looking at the nature and, you know, wet nature, biological systems, as something that they might actually become directly involved in. That the dynamics of nature might be brought together with the dynamics of computational systems. So I coined this word ‘moist media’ to talk about, on the one hand, silicon-dry computational systems merging in the practice and thinking of artists with wet biological systems. So wet and dry produce moist, a new kind of media, where actually for example, in Australia, which was one of the first places that most media work was developed, artists started actually working with tissue, living tissue, to make new forms, to make new structures.
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And since that time, now there’s many, many artists in many parts of the world working exact- directly with nature. Looking at the DNA. One of the most famous, I suppose early experiments was by Eduardo Kac, who was a pact of my research program, it happens, some years ago, who actually used the DNA of a jellyfish
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with the embryo, the future embryo of a rabbit, and produced a rabbit that would glow in the dark in the way that happens with a jellyfish in the water. That was one of the early experiments of combining DNA, of making new forms, of using natural processes, actually using aspects of nature, whether it’s tissue, whether it’s cellular and so on. And then that has extended to an interest by artists in the neuro system, in the neurological system, the way that information moves around the brain affects the body and so on.
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So it’s - in other words, artists have moved from looking at nature at a distance to actually entering into nature, to embracing nature, to bringing living systems together with computational systems.

Cybernetics arose as an understanding of the way that natural systems, systems of interaction and living systems in nature and computational systems could be understood theoretically in terms of control and communication. All of nature, and all of implicit in computational systems, is interactive networks. Dynamic interactions. artists have moved from looking at nature at a distance to actually entering into nature, to embracing nature, to bringing living systems together with computational systems.

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