In addition to Quantum Art and Quasi-objects by Bruno Latour, it is now time to look into information and not only its technology. With the rapid technical development of information technology arises the question of what information is it about? Quickly you come across information theory. But this theory is a transmission technology. The meaning or nature of information is unclear. What is clear is that information deals with decision-making. We need information to make decisions.
The Austrian-American scientist Heinz von Foerster examined similar questions: He worked in the field of cybernetics and shaped the term second order cybernetics. It is about the interplay between reality and information about the observation of observation. (Quotes: “Truth is the invention of a liar”, “Which reality?” or “We can only decide those questions, which are in principle undecidable”). Furthermore we need the possibility of abstraction, which can be received through arts (artificiality). Here we meet the necessity of arts for the first time. Especially in times of information society we should look deeper into concepts of decision-making and conclusion. Art and information go together. It seems that information dominates our reality and develops through our unreflected technology to a central component of the world. The world of natural sciences evolved from information through logical conclusions. Meaningless information without conclusive arguments is currently more and more excluded. But we need art as a mirror to pose the question for “the nature of information”.
At this point we should take a few steps back. Traces of information usually appear through symmetries. The recognition of a mirror image is a major step in our evolution. Those symmetries can also be found in inorganic chemistry, also referred to as chirality. With cave paintings, which portray food and danger, the first art works appeared. Those drawings encouraged imagination and recognition. The position of the spectator became more evident and the intellectual knowledge got strengthened. Art therefore has its origin in reflecting „The Truth“ to analyse information, we have to start to separate it in order to analyse the single components. Apparently there exists a world of reality, which is situated within the logics of natural science and humanities. To verify this reality, we created a reference system through the world of dreams. Yet information is treated differently within this artificial reference world. In the world of dreams exist no distinction or abstraction of situations, no symmetries, no mirroring and no context of art, no togetherness or loneliness. It is a world without compromise, with its help and through natural sciences we created our “real world“. It is a fact that we need both worlds for our reality. That is why we should treat our technology with great caution, as it develops in only one logically right direction.
The role of randomness is a form of non-information: contingency randomness already plays an important role in information technology and science. It is an integral part in the process of encoding information to make it unique. The necessity of randomness contingency is also referred to in the humanities – for example in the question of free will. For Stadtwerkstatt an information laboratory is a challenge of the presence. Stadtwerkstatt always presented a reference to the established system. servus.at emerged from this position of Stadtwerkstatt. An organisation located in the same building, which works in the fields of free systems software, free technologies and free/open sources of information. Servus.at operates within an international context of free media and netart, of hackers and individualists, who are involved in a debate about information technology. The info-lab of Stadtwerkstatt will not primarily deal with information technology, but a critical position like the one imparted by servus.at is the precondition to pose the question about nature of information.
Three projects will represent the activities of the future info-lab by Stadtwerkstatt:
The Eel Hotel – by Donautik
An underwater research buoy with webcam streams for homebound eels.
Myco-logick – by Taro
Fungal spores bound for stratosphere travel in weather balloons.
Ghostradio – by Markus Decker, Pamela Neuwirth and Franz Xaver
A second order cybernetic mechanism generating random numbers by chance.