The first of December 2006 has been a hard day for me. At some point during the morning of that day, I had an idea- ideas often come to me with a tittle,
this idea had a tittle too, "Existential Computing". Whenever a good name occurs to me I am registering it “dot com”, “existentialcomputing.Com” - another website…
A website necessitates content so I spend a good part of the rest of Dec-01-2006 producing content for existentialcomputing.com.
The content was supposed to be an illustration of my “good idea” and what's a better way to illustrate something than to record yourself talking about it?
So I start making a video and publishing it on YouTube. The thing with publishing something on YouTube, is that you can immediately watch it and watching something you published has an effect on you. In addition, its very rare accepting our self from the very first video we publish-especially if one is not a professional actor. I am not a professional actor and I didn't like how I looked on that very first Existential Computing Video that I recorded and published at some point after lunch on Dec 01 2006 at my little apartment on Old Street, 350m away from Hoxton Square in London.
So I deleted it and I recorded a second video and a third and then another...
In London, on December it gets dark very soon, that day it got dark around 4:30pm. Time passes fast when one records and publishes and at some point, I found myself in the middle of the night exhausted but with a final video I really liked.
Satisfied I went to sleep, only to woke up the morning after and to realise that this video wasn't describing my initial idea about Existential Computing.
It was something on its own, something that during that endless December 01 had grown to the beginning of a conversation.
The original concept of Existential Computing had disappeared from my memory somehow, the only thing I knew about it at that point, was that it was different than anything else and therefore revolutionary, something very important to try and discover.
“Hi. This is Miltos Manetas”
“This is a conversation. Its between me and you. At any point, when you have something to say, please pause this video and record your message. Then post it on YouTube and send me the link so I can reply to you”.
“I want to give a theme to our conversation. That theme is our new life. Its a complex theme, it has to do with our intelligent machines. That’s what I call Existential Computing, it has to do with our perception of reality”.
“There’s new information today about reality. According to many scientists, we live in a Multiverse. There are many versions of ourself, each of them inhabiting a parallel word. Also, according to a few but quite respected scientists, time doesn’t flow. Everything that is possible, has already happened somewhere and what we perceive as change, its some kind of illusion”.
“Until yesterday, such ideas were esoteric but today, it is the observation of the World that tell us so. Therefore, we should start thinking differently, start living our life differently. Maybe we need to modify our language, maybe we need new words to say to ourself that what’s now happening, is also not happening. That there is an instant person of me who is recording this message and there is another who doesn’t. And that I am both of them and many other too”.
“Maybe your questions- or my answers- will be inspiring. Remember, that in another universe, its YOU the one who initiated this conversation”.
In 2007- still suffering from a sense of loss for my great Existential Computing idea (which now seamed gone forever with only the video on YouTube left, the beginning of a conversation that nobody really seamed interested undertaking), I accepted giving a seminar at the Hayward Gallery in London, commissioned to me by a young curator.
"What's the subject of your workshop?" She asked. "Existential Computing"- I said- "A subject that I know nothing about..."
Existential Computing started when Caroline Hancock and Paul Green asked me to do a project at the Hayward and they booked for me the Waterloo Sunset Pavilion. This location is unique, a capsule in the city designed by artist Dan Graham.
But unfortunately, there’s something wrong with it, something went wrong with its construction, or maybe it was the artist’s intention.
So I asked the curators to bring a cat there, because a cat may have been able to fix the Pavilion’s problems. But Museums, every-time I ask for animals they refuse, they give me computers instead and videos and digital cameras which is not the same at all, because cats know how to record events in a way that is not digital but its not analogue either. Cats collect quantum facts from multiple realities. I think cats are Universal Reporters.
Existential computing however, started on Feb 3. Some people came and begun working like crazy, doing I don’t know what. Working on their machines, working, working.. Others came to visit.. As one of them said later, “ I learned about things I knew already but I wasn’t sure they actually exist”.
And finally there was a party and speaking about data that meet each other beautifully, while I was showing Rafael Rozendaal’s futurephysics.com where planets attract each other, a total lunar eclipse started and went on for an hour and fourteen minutes.
----- Message d'origine ----
-“Hi Miltos, hope you are OK and looking forward to the workshop tomorrow”
- Yep! Can’t wait to start!
----- Message d'origine ---- -“I am also going to be the bearer of bad news and say that we can't have a cat during the workshops. I am worried that people may misinterpret us having animals in the gallery and see it as cruel (especially if it has to be brought in each day). We certainly wouldn't be able to leave it in the gallery overnight as it could possibly set off the alarms.”
----- Reply—— No cat...OK… You see, no cat is a “cat-that-is-not-there” and because a cat should be there (to record the facts), a "cat-recording-the-facts" will be missing.
Therefore the facts will not be recorded or at least, they will not be recorded in a realistic way. But because we humans always insist on recording the facts anyway, the facts will be recorded in a simulation.. Therefore, the data collected in this workshop will be a simulation of the data produced.
The fact that people misinterpret animals in a gallery, obliges reality to become a fiction. The fact that people need to be protected from cruelty, makes them also insensitive to reality. No cat means the end of all hopes for a really important theory
But because we are all smart people (smart and sensitive enough to not hurt other people's feelings), we know all that already..
So when we ask for a cat we know already that there may be No Cat and that becomes part of the theory we are left with, the very basis of that left-over theory actually.
Tomorrow will start with the following:
-Alas! There isn't a cat here today to record the facts!
Still, everything seems normal."
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