~ [ d(t)oxic_landscapes ]
[ Hyper_organisms ] ::
[ cyber_metabolites ] :: [ virtual_communities ]
Adrien Sina, 1997
[ E1 ]. Preliminary Zones:
Infra_Ordinary and Infra_Sensitive Fringes of the Landscape
Concepts of Space and Landscape
are deeply rooted in the cultural pulsations of each epoch and
civilization. Shifting, they push forward the perceptive limits
of the representation of the World and trace evolutionary premises
for imagination, discovery and fiction.
Thus, geometrical perspective,
initiated during the Quattrocento, and the whole conceptual construction
of space, world and landscape were dissolved into more erratic
and unsettled approaches from atmospheric perspective to Turner's
incendiary perspective, from non-Euclidean distorsions of topology
to curve-lined and inflationary SpaceTimes of quantum fluctuations.
The Landscape was urban, suburban,
periurban, pastoral, floral, maritime. But these borders were
hardly able to prevent the most visionary facets of Human Dwelling
from their expansion through psychologically or physically threatening,
extreme, hostile or even deadly environments.
Abrupt appearances of Monsters,
the smiting wrath of Gods, the tremors of Titans and Giants,
Goddesses of Love, Oracles, Cosmologies, Volcanoes, immense Landscapes
of Violence haunted the antique epics of Myths and Foundations.
They were gradually erased from our current landscapes, leaving
place for an increasingly narrow, literal and administrative
concept of an environment which is slowly losing its plentiful
substance and its fertile reactivity.
Remote dreams, such as the Hypnerotomachia
Polyphili, which pervaded the Landscape Imagination of the
Renaissance, brought in their wake the infra_visual algorithms,
the infinitesimal and exponential derivations of current knowledge.
Almost the complete decryption of planetary or interstellar,
molecular or subatomic, abyssal or telluric, unicellular or hyper_organic
Landscapes, takes place in the infra_sensory fringes of our perceptions.
Our understanding of a wide range of phenomena structuring our
environment passes through the invisible and the imperceptible:
high energy photons, gamma and x-rays, radio waves, infra-red
and ultra-violet light, infrasonic vibrations, neutrinos, Higgs
bosons, scalar fields, chemical or genetic messengers, gravitational
To the survival zones of each
Infra_Landscape correspond a particular form of perception of
Time and Space, an infra_ordinary form of Living Communities
aggregated around symbiotic or adaptive parameters. The outcrop
of such extreme landscapes in our everyday life takes place permanently.
It is, however, only under the framework or even the threat of
recent technological interfaces that we become aware of them.
To surpass the topological breaks
induced by the Landscapes of RealTime, the contamined metabolites,
the poisoned artifacts, the ethical failures of Cyberspace, Virtual
or Biotechnological Environments, requires a reappropriation
of the paradigmatic bases of what can be named Perception, Space,
Urbanity, Landscape, Society, Humanity or even Civilization.
[ E2 ]. Planetary Visions:
Multisensorial Landscapes, Civilization in Emergency
A night flight over the Planet,
eyes shut, perceptions awakening, multi-sensory landscapes invade
the dense space of the present, feelings growing from peaceful
stirrings to more devastating agitation.
Here, the naked silence of a
spangled desert, there, the tear-soaked cry of a child who awakes,
there, from a fringe of pebble, the foamy lapping of a sleeping
ocean, further away, the fresh and powdery whiteness of the snow-covered
lands or the hot and fragrant moisture of the rice plantations.
Still further away or still closer, the dull torpor of the dormitory-town,
the blood-covered moans of wars and exactions, the heavy breath
of famine, the deafening siren of an incident which rends the
gleams of night.
From these fluctuating and chaotic
coexistences derive the complex parameters of an unstable milieu
which pervades the human dwelling with an under-explored landscape,
in the breadth of its diversity, a landscape of Planetary Metabolisms,
and issues of Civilization.
There was a time when the ostentatious
domestication of geographical landscapes and the conquest of
new territories emphasized the cultural power of Empires. Some
reminiscences of these archaic figures still haunt the arrogance
of the vertical building concentrations which punctuate the monotonous
tissues of Endlesscities, and continue the mass destruction of
what still remains of inviolate and left over space, of unexplored
The landscapes of future conquests,
those of biological, genetic, cybernetic or urban mutations,
ask the same co-evolutionary questions of an increasingly virulent
and reciprocal contamination between human civilizations, other
communities of living organisms and their respective environments.
If human societies venture to
tame their technological or geographical environments, in order
to obtain a more stable and reassuring milieu in other
words a Landscape it means that in their turn they were
threatened, aggressed or defied by these environments. The term
Landscape represents only one phase of respite within an unequal
and multimillenary struggle.
[ E3 ]. Cyber_Urbanization
Clone and Avatars of Infosphere Landscape
Our blood is salty, because we
are mere drops of sea water enveloped in a membrane. At the dawn
of our first cellular stirrings a few billion years ago, we were
made of the same substance as the liquid landscape surrounding
us. If the aqueous and oceanic sphere is now replaced by the
Infosphere, if the hereditary determination of blood is now replaced
by the chaotic indetermination of microbiological particles and
genetic pieces of information, the evolutionary sterility of
this new milieu which does not incorporate others, offers matter
The articulation of Worlds and
Landscapes still remains an underexplored Ethical issue. Cyber_urbanization,
first justified by military or strategic imperatives, hardly
escapes from the archaic figures of self-proclaimed powers, characteristic
of martial and self-reproducing societies. PLATO, philosopher
of the Mixture (even a forced one! in Timaeus) denounced
the eugenic and endogenous ideal society of Atlantis in Critias.
This ironic, political text on Dystopia is wrongly considered
as a legend of Utopia. Hegemonic will as a unique target is derisory
where the multiplication of points of view fractalize up to the
dissolution of any event through the exponential expansion of
the RealTime Landscape.
The Mass Media Landscape and
the residue of Language Landscape which still remains in it,
belong as well to the last spaces under threat of extinction,
which are structured by a factitious perspective. The Virtual
Landscape in its turn, orphan of an identified topology, in its
ethical failure, is still incapable of facing the "perspective
distortions of the RealTime" described by Paul VIRILIO.
Following the intensity of unintentional
structures, the Heterogeneous and the Dissonant conceptions of
landscape, now triumph over any others, and, maintained as such,
take part in the survival of adaptive microclimates that the
great city and territorial planning gave up for dead.
The factors of disaggregation
of Realcities are balanced by factors of aggregation pulsing
in new virtual territories. Financecities, Criminalcities, Nazicities
and Sordidcities powerfully metastase their clones and avatars
of the landscape in the most disparate areas of the Infosphere;
but what about fragile Slumcities and Homelesscities ?
Tangled up within the unfinished
phases of a cyber_urbanization where rule and urbanity are still
missing, the future coherence of the Human Dwelling through these
Amorphous Transitions remains uncertain.
[ E4 ]. The Logic of Vagueness
Doxic Landscapes of a Contamination
The ancient Greek word doxa
refers to a commonplace level of knowledge as opposed to the
episteme, or even the logos, the knowledge of wisdom,
science and philosophy. The doxa extends
from murmurs to devastating rumors, from phatic exchanges to
murderous words, from unrooted beliefs to popular fantasies,
from individual agitations to social turbulence able to set whole
societies ablaze. It comprises its own toxic poison in
its doxic distortions.
unfocussed and unintentional propagations, as rumors infiltrating
the successive envelopes of a vague logic of landscape, define
a dynamic which may nourish new issues of technology and uninvestigated
paradigm shifts. An organic physics of the doxa, initiated
by Anne CAUQUELIN is expanding in the generic wake of ARISTOTLE'S
Phusis, almost against him.
This doxic logic, this
informal form of the self-organization of information, scorned
and maltreated by philosophers, is insidiously gridding the texture
of our disordered and chaotic Infosphere which hosts more and
more unspecified, scattered, atomized individualities.
The undifferentiated proximity
in our cultural environments between the scientific and the banal,
the major event and the unspecified one, reasoned opinion and
commonplace belief, Aletheia (the Unveiling of Reality)
and Doxa (the Opinion of Mortals) in the unifying element
of Sameness, signals a return to the asymptotic limit of language
envisaged by PARMENIDES.
The Landscape of Words thus
defined is at the same time Fire and Storm, Thunder and Lightning,
a Dwelling place of extreme dissonances, just as the founding
thought of HERACLITUS approached the Logos. It is also
the Japanese "Koto Ba": "petals of flowers
issuing from a bringing to the self" as HEIDEGGER stated
in On the Way to Language (Unterwegs zur Sprache).
The imprecision of the subject
as a function, the symbiotic fusion of the ontological question
of Being with the question of Language as a Landscape
reactivates ancient links extended through the history of human
thought, opening up many pathways of research, going far beyond
primitive levels of technolatry. A Topology of Mixity
is then initiated as a means of thinking about interdependencies,
reciprocal interactions between the still-unlinked layers of
our Planetary Dwelling: Cybercities, Megacities, Slumcities and
The fusional landscape of the
imminent d(t)oxicity of the Infosphere which surrounds us stems
from this same intrinsic impossibility of a logical differentiation
between information (language), actor (subject) and milieu (network).
The indecidability of this symbiotic equation is properly the
d(t)oxic parameter of this landscape.
[ E5 ]. D(t)oxic Hyper_Landscapes:
Factors of Aggregation, A non-neuronal Hyper_Perception of Urbanity
The Landscapes derived from the
cyber_urbanization of the Infosphere engage a reflection upon
the topological polarizations around virtual nodal points catalyzing
the accretion of isolated individualities into virtual communities.
The agglomeration issued from sublunary urbanity yields place
to fluid aggregations and disaggregations in RealTime.
The individual body, and similarly
the social body, is weakened, atomized, dissolved in a Virtual
Landscape which catalyzes the constitution of hyper_bodies with
disseminated genetics. Meta_organisms and hyper_organisms, mixtures
of social pulsations on planetary scales and density fluctuations
of d(t)oxic propagations, remain the only metabolisms able to
resist to the instability and the unreliability of a world whose
Laws remain incomplete.
The survival of cyber_organisms
evolving in the Virtual Landscapes of the Infosphere depends
thus on the development of more advanced factors of aggregation
than simple communicative exchange. The narrow programmatic limits
of binary algorithms evolve to give way to the premises of propagation
and the constitution of information in the Landscapes of the
RealTime extended to the parameters of an artificial, social
or collective intelligence which can face the massive, non-centralized
and non-neuronal phenomena characterizing the planetary mutations
On the frontiers of biological
taxonomies, between the states of animal and vegetable, unicellular
and multicellular, intelligence and program, hyper_organisms
already exist in some communities of bacteria which develop advanced
fields of information-interference inside their societies and
also in direction of the surrounding landscape and other individual
or social organisms. Human civilization has only surrounded itself
with an Infosphere since the 1950s, while other societies of
living organisms, based on an information environment have, in
some cases, million years of evolutionary experience of mastering
this milieu which is still new to us.
These non-neuronal communities
achieve complex hyper_social or meta_urban tasks in the micro-landscapes
of information (micro-infospheres) handling a d(t)oxic language,
based on chemical compounds. At a very low dose these are messengers,
and at higher concentrations biological weapons, antibiotics,
which are used against other competing micro-organisms. No intentional
directing of information, but, as in cyberspace, there remain
only deposits, propagation and d(t)oxic contamination.
[ E6 ]. D(t)oxiques Micro_Landscapes:
Hyper_Bodies, Social Hyper_Metabolisms
In the family of such hyper_bodies,
the myxomycetes are unicellular micro-organisms which, in normal
time, evolve separately in a free and independent way among the
fractal micro-landscapes of stagnant soils. However, when some
of the individuals of the community encounter more adverse living
conditions or a situation of crisis, lack of water or food, a
distress signal is emitted using d(t)oxic chemical messengers
which are propagated in their environment and form a liquid cognitive
landscape of information.
The distress signal emitted is
transformed into a factor of aggregation if its concentration
is significant. In a very short time, thousands of unicellular
organisms come together, converging with a quasi-spiral movement,
forming a social hyper_metabolism in the shape of gelatinous
drops. Cellular fusions give rise to a multicellular pseudoplasmodium
or "slug" capable of movement by oscillation. City-organisms
in migration search for better sites to colonize.
On the threshold of new landscapes,
the animal-like hyper_organisms are stabilized and metamorphosed
in a multitude of plant-like formations, growing like mushrooms.
Stalks are formed by a massive suicide of a great number of cells
rigidifying into small vertical structures which gradually move
away from the ground. These micro-skyscrapers are topped with
spherical domes filled with spores. These quasi-eternal cells
living in lethargy will be disseminated through the vastness
of space and time. Once optimal conditions are restored, they
will germinate, giving rise to other cellular communities.
The hyper_organisms require a
non-neuronal form of organization and social intelligence. A
non-neuronal hyper_perception of a forgotten sense of urbanity
is at stake here: togetherness, which, even in human societies
demands a political aim worth fighting for, as a factor of aggregation.
The doxic forms of social landscapes thus have non-neuronal properties,
where the origin of the catalyzing signals remain unspecified,
where only detectable waste, residues, metabolites of the processes
of propagation and contamination are left. Faced with such innovative
d(t)oxic landscapes of information, the neuronal illusion of
a "planetary brain" developed in cyber-theories appears
[ E7 ]. D(t)oxic metabolites:
Virtual Communities and Cyber_Organisms Embryogenesis
The factors of aggregation, disaggregation
and migration structuring the architecture of d(t)oxic metabolites,
unlock evolutive processes close to embryogenesis. The inductors
disseminated in a Landscape of Information, in an amniotic or
symbiotic environment, inform the isolated individuals about
the state of the whole community. They allow the perception of
relative positions between the self and others, an awareness
of alterity and the recognition of interdependencies or invasive
belligerencies, while, in human environments, all positional
references are more and more blurred in favor of a sightless
timeless and somehow rootless flux of information.
These issues of the Social Corpus
and non-centralized hyper_perception of togetherness are determinant
phenomena in embryogenesis and enigmatic steps in task-accomplishment
by cellular societies. In many cases, concentrations of chemical,
genetic or informational messengers induce the synopses of future
differentiation and organization toward which the Virtual Communities
or the Cellular Clusters will tend.
The quantity of information necessary
for the emergence of a social organism or a virtual hyper_organism
exceeds by far that contained in a programmatic or biological
genome. In a normal state, the cellular units and similarly the
data units are predetermined to reproduce identical other sets
of units, except for the case of error or pathogenic mutation.
What is the source of these pluralities of tissues or histologies?
The break in symmetry which marks
the Transition from an undifferentiated and self-reproducing
Landscape, to a differentiated Landscape with varying tissularity,
requires not only Generic processes, used for modeling
functional elements, but also Genetic processes,
in the shape of a higher-scale Morphogenesis determining articulations,
relative positioning and interactions between the innumerable
components emerging from a multiplicity of differentiations.
Some parameters of Liquid Landscapes
of Information thus exceed the codal limits of their programming
genome. Beginning with the same stem cells, they induce not only
a differentiation as divergent as the nervous cells compared
to the osseous cells, but also command trajectories, lengths
of lives, new migrations for future perceptive or sensory germinations.
We are stepping forth into Amorphous
Transitions characterised by a degree of complexity that no programmable
nor encompassable set of algorithms could structure. Cascades
of micro-information amplify their coding power by d(t)oxic contamination
of a Landscape saturated by messengers which, like the formation
of sentences from words and the formation of hypertexts from
texts, develop limitless sequences of instructions.
The equivalent of such d(t)oxic
phenomena of Landscape in the emergence of cyber_organisms or
meta_organisms of future Urbanities, could rather be found in
the vicinity of unapparent Morphogeneses where contaminations,
symbioses or collisions between different communities of living
organisms, intervene, developing unforeseen, adaptive, co-evolutive
or extreme d(t)oxic languages.
[ E8 ]. Cataclysmic or Buried
Hidden Colonies and Cities in the Depths of the Earth's Crust
Innumerable colonies of extremophile
bacteria dot the buried landscapes located several kilometers
deep in the Earth's crust. They are properly cities with social
dynamics of migration, advanced energy technologies, evolutive
architectures of growth, a crafting of pigments densely colored
to such an extent they are coveted by humans for industrial exploitation.
A few million years ago, these
bacterial colonies lived on the surface of the Planet. The oceans
gradually covered them, there was sedimentation, continental
drift, massive movement of plate tectonics. Since then, these
colonies cut off from the civilization of solar energy, have
lived in a state of total isolation, in a compressed habitat
subjected to constantly increasing heat and pressure. They have
adapted to the critical conditions of cataclysmic landscapes.
Bacteria of the same genetic
branch, living under the sky, with ample light, energy and food
resources, reproduce at the rate of a division every few minutes,
whereas the bacteria living in these Invisible Cities hardly
divide once a century, due to their extremely slow metabolisms.
Competing with such strategies of slowness could
offer scientists a challenge even more exciting than speed,
as far as adapting our cells to the long-distance temporal landscapes
of interstellar voyages
These d(t)oxic premises
induced by extreme worlds may relativize our concepts of Landscape,
Time, Community or Urbanity. A paradigm shift is then necessary
in order to assimilate these unknown boundaries with still unveiled
limits, temporalities, scales and magnitudes.
Beyond binary logics, artificial
intelligence or cybernetic fantasies, both the planetary-scale
and the infra_perceptible phenomena inherent to our future technological
environments require a d(t)toxic reflection leading to genetic
and generic rather than informational architectures, to cognitive
rather than algorithmic processes.
The hyper_organic social landscapes,
issued from adaptive micro-activities of living communities in
all their diversity, open up promising pathways of research as
regards a renewal of perceptive and sensorial paradigms: the
hyper_perception of a forgotten togetherness - the origin of
all senses of Humanity and Urbanity, Real, Actual or Virtual.
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de l'intérieur du globe". Pour La Science,
230, December 1996.
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6- Paul Virilio: Un Paysage d'Événements,
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du Pire, Éditions Textuel, 1996.
7- Adrien Sina: "Transitions Amorphes - Virtuellevilles,
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in Real Time", Discussions with Paul Virilio, Inter Art
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amorphous transitions: cybercities, megacities, homelesscities
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August 1999. "The Genetic Accident", Dialogue with
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