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Nevena Ivanova is a guest researcher at LPI Feb-May 2023. In her talk she will present two book projects that she has been working on recently, one on synthetic biology and one on computational creativity.
The first project I will discuss is a critical study of synthetic biology as a pharmakon (in the sense proposed by Bernard Stiegler).
If we think of synthetic biology as the next step in the evolution of human technology, we should interrogate its potential for both trans-individuation (collective evolution) and proletarization (loss of knowledge). I will begin by defining what Stiegler means by these terms and how the algorithmization of life in synthetic biology allows simultaneously a democratization of the tools for studying living systems and, in contrast, further instrumentalization of life (including human beings). Various scientific institutions and approaches to synthetic biology will be discussed as case studies: commercial, artistic, biohacker, open science . Apart from transforming how we know life, synthetic biology challenges our metaphysical assumptions of what life is. All these questions will be touched upon in my presentation.
The second project is related to computational creativity. Since the last decade, computational creativity has captured the attention of researchers not only from the field of technologies but also from the humanities, as a growing number of artificial intelligence tools became associated with creative practices. Computer scientists consider automating creativity as the ‘ﬁnal frontier’ of artiﬁcial intelligence, which would not only ‘rationally explain’ the products of the ‘creative genius’, but, in a more practical vein, systematise, formalise, and thus, make executable by machines what has once been deemed an inexplicable and divine stroke of inspiration. “A truly creative act sometimes requires us to step outside the system and create a new reality. Can a complex algorithm do that?” […] “Could a computer initiate the kind of phase change that can move us into a new state?” (Marcus du Sautoy, 2019: 10, 11). This book project is an attempt to respond to these two questions with the aim of fostering a deeper understanding of the ontological and epistemological nature of computation and its creative potential.
Nevena Ivanova is a philosopher who studies the cross-breedings between art, science and technology. She earned her PhD in interdisciplinary information studies from the University of Tokyo (JP) and has taught courses on post cybernetic culture in Hong Kong, China and Bulgaria. She is writing in the domains of philosophy of technology, media aesthetics and critical software studies. Currently she is assistant professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences as well as visiting professor at Sofia University and the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts (BG). A few years ago she co-founded symbiomatter: experimental arts lab in Sofia (BG) with the aim of creating a space where Bulgarian artists, technologists and scientists (especially biologists) can exchange ideas and find common ground to collaborate on art-science projects.