With Nexus 3 we really take the whole project to a new level with the introduction of collective intelligence decision making using Dr. Louis Rosenberg's UNU platform. The UNU system worked beautifully.
I've also introduced the idea of anonymity at all stages of the making process, to reduce social influence bias. I was able to share with the participants some of my thinking in terms of 'relational aesthetics' and the science that underpins the work:
" 'Brains are like representative democracies. They are built of multiple, over-lapping experts who weigh in and compete over different choices...we are large and we harbor multitudes within us. And those multitudes are locked in chronic battle. There is an ongoing conversation among different factions in your brain, each competing with yourself, cursing at yourself, and cajoling yourself to do something' (Eagleman, 2012)
These ‘Nexus’ experiments are the first stage in the exploration of the application of collective intelligence and the global brain to the process of art. As you work on the Nexus experiment, consider how you cooperate and work together ‘as one’. If it helps, imagine you are a bee working with thousands of other bees to create the networked cells in a hive (although your artwork is a rectilinear grid, not a hexagonal tessellation as in the hive). You will create a network of lines at right angle to each other, which in turn can be thought of as the walls of cells of various sizes. You might like to think of this as a metaphor for a global brain. As you create this artwork, imagine yourself as one of these competing 'experts' within the collective brain, just as within the single human brain. You will struggle with the other members of the collective, but please do not give up. It won't all be conflict, where one lacks a technical skill, the others will help. Lines will be drawn by one, and taken away by another, until unanimity or equilibrium prevails. Earlier experiments have shown that the most challenging stage of the process is the introduction of colour to the painting. This is unsurprising given the close links between colour and emotion. You may find yourself getting quite passionate about the use of colour. That is good. Remember, the collective needs commitment and conflict, but ultimately harmony will prevail. If it helps, you might like to control your reactions using mindfulness or meditation. And think about this: "The reigning ideology would have the artist be a loner, imagining him solitary and irredentist..ideology exalts the solitude of the creative person and mocks all forms of community. Its effectiveness consists in promoting the isolation of authors by cloaking them in a smart-product extolling their 'originality'" (Bourriaud, 2002).
I suggest that you do not try and design the artwork in your head before you start. Allow the process to inform the outcome. In some ways, the digital painting (and any physical print or painting made from it) that results from this experiment is of less importance than the process. You might like to think of the 'completed' painting as an historical artifact of the event, or of the record of a moment in time. It is most significant as a device or medium through which the collective intelligence has formed and new relationships have been created. In this way, the collective intelligence art is better described in terms of 'relational aesthetics' (Bourriaud, 2002) than an aesthetics of beauty, for example. That is not to say that any product of the event may not be thought to have some 'significant form' or seen as an 'emotional expression' of the collective'. Also, ultimately the painting will have a special place in the collective production process, because it will transcend its mere presence in space through the dialogue it creates when shown. And naturally, the painting itself is an intrinsic part of the creative language, and it is perhaps quite arbitrary to create a division between the process and product: "Objects and the use of time are at once the outcome of human relations-for they render social work concrete - and producers of relations - for, conversely, they organise types of sociability and regulate inter-human encounters" (Bourriaud, 2002, p.47). I simply propose that the focus is on the collective intelligence as applied to the creative act - a
materialism of encounter, not art as commodity".
Bourriaud, N (2002) Relational Aesthetics Les Presses du Reel Paris
Eagleman, D (2012) Incognito - The Secret Lives of the Brain Penguin Books, New York , p.107
Rosenberg, L (2015) Human Swarms, a real-time method for collective intelligence
Nexus 3.1 28.01.16 7pm EST
with the participation of
Nexus 3.1 by Mathew Aldred is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.