Edge-Life: technoetic structures and moist media
Life @ the edge of the Net
Just as the development of interactive media in the last century transformed the world of print andbroadcasting, and replaced the cult of the objet d’art with a process-based culture, so at the start of thiscentury we see a further artistic shift, as silicon and pixels merge with molecules and matter. And just asbroadcast radio, TV and the interactivity of the Net changed entirely the way we lived at the end of the 20
th century, so now in daily life, our habits, attitudes and ambitions are undergoing a further transformation.We can call this Edge-Life since we are re-defining completely our identity, our social structures, and ourpicture of the world, here at the edge of the Net where the virtual flows seamlessly into the actual, thetransient into the fixed, and the metaphysical into the material.
Between the dry world of virtuality and the wet world of biology lies a moist domain, a new interspace of potentiality and promise. I want to suggest that Moistmedia (comprising bits, atoms, neurons, and genes)will constitute the substrate of the art of our new century, a transformative art concerned with theconstruction of a fluid reality. This will mean the spread of intelligence to every part of the builtenvironment coupled with recognition of the intelligence that lies within every part of the living planet.This burgeoning awareness is technoetic: techne and gnosis combined into a new knowledge of the world, aconnective mind that is spawning new realities and new definitions of life and human identity. This mindwill in turn seek new forms of embodiment and of articulation.
At the same time, as we seek to enable intelligence to flow into every part of our manmade environment,we recognise that Nature is no longer to be thought of as ‘over there’, to be viewed in the middle distance,benign or threatening as contingency dictates. It is no longer to be seen as victim ecology, fragile orfractious, according to our mode of mistreatment. Technology is providing us with the tools and insights tosee more deeply into its richness and fecundity, and above all to recognise its sentience, and to understandhow intelligence, indeed, consciousness, pervades its every living part. The mind of Gaia, set in deChardin’s noosphere, is becoming amplified and perhaps transformed by the technoetic effects of humanconnectivity, ubiquitous computing and other far reaching consequences of the Net.