Exhibition Behavioural Machines: Second Brain

Behavioural Machines

SPEKTRUM | art science community Berlin

The exhibition ‘Behavioural Machines’ explores the way in which mathematical models that describe complex natural phenomena have been used to create new audiovisual works appllied to domains such as light sculpture, robotics and abstract film. Chaos theory, swarm behavior and processes of emerging life in the biological world (morphogenesis) are the three dimensions in which the selected projects unfold the beauty of modern algorithms.
Using their fundamental rules to set a visual language, these works challenge the audience to look inside the intelligence of the ‘Mother of Design’: Nature, while anticipating the contemporary debate underlying the science and technology that makes it possible to bring those representations to the next level by means of an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.): the ultimate state in which the algorithm generates its own creative behaviour.

Second Brain is an emotional machine that expresses the meaning of emotional experience rather than physical reality, through the modulation of different colors, revealing its moods, temperament and personality. The deep relationship between emotions and thoughts, is expressed through complex and chaotic behavioural patterns.
Is free will an illusion and human action dependent on consequences of previous actions? This radical behaviourism position has been overtaken later by the cognitive revolution and the postcognitivist thinking. Now, with the fast growth of big behavioral data and applications, applied behavior analysis becomes increasingly critical for in-depth understanding of what, why and how behaviors are formed, change and affect decision. This process of the capture of life into data, the quantification of life, produces overload distortion and quantization errors that accumulate, and may not at all reflect what is really going on at the level of micro-processes.
In humans, the decisions occur in the brain but also in the belly, that is composed in small part of human cells and for the most from the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space. Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the “second brain” consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of our gut and contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system: a big part of our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. It maintains close links with, and is influenced by, the microbiome, an extensive universe of symbiotic bacteria in the gut that play a vital role in immune health, brain function, and signaling systems within the central nervous system. The same Big data techniques that makes applied behavior analysis possible allows the analysis of massive metagenomics databases making this information accessible to researchers across multiple discipline. Because of its ability to reveal the previously hidden diversity of microscopic life, metagenomics offers a powerful lens for viewing the microbial world that has the potential to revolutionize understanding of the entire living world.