Ken Rinaldo’s ‘Autopoiesis’ work is an interactive piece that reacts to user participation and evolving as a result. The work is comprised of a group of large robotic arms suspended from the ceiling. The move and make sound in unison so as to suggest the performance of a symphony by members of an orchestra. Each robotic arm is equipped with a camera and has a wide viewing angle that detects human proximity to the machine–this leads to a change in the affected arms’ performance and this also changes the audio soundtrack of the piece. User participation is learned by the piece and it augments itself accordingly. Because the piece reacts and evolves on its own it is considered ‘autopoietic’, which is a buzz word for my thesis project.
I had been interested in the term and its presence in new technology because I believe it brings to light certain questions about our concept of what posthuman life entails. I feel that Hayles’ idea of the cyborg was one that involved autopoietic technologies that were associated with the human but not under his or her control, and should this extend to our identity, via our online presence, we appear to submit to the automatic nature of the system altogether. One thing I want to show in my thesis project is the idea that ‘automatic life’ or allowing the system to do as it does is not the same as patterns that arise from making informed choices that resonate with oneself–of course this seems very ambiguous and generally applicable to just about everything but I want to give power and purpose to one’s inner voice…one’s soul.