Tag Archives: arctificial territory

Broken Glass

This text is an older version of a text published in my PhD “Arctificial Territory”, 2015.

Metaphor: Schizophrenia

Invisible Adversaries, (Unsichtbare Gegner). Directed by VALIE EXPORT. 1976. DVD. 112 min. Excerpt from video (2’ 13”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB5sp8AcD-I

images-1 Illustration 5: Film still 1, Invisible Adversaries, VALIE EXPORT (1976), photo VALIE EXPORT

“Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behaviour” (Mayo Clinic, n.d.).

In VALIE EXPORT’s Invisible Adversaries, Anna cannot rely on her observations and feelings that are questioned and ignored by various men in her life. Trying to escape these controlling mechanisms from outside – societal norms and men imposing on her – as well as compulsive controlling rituals from within, she ceases to be a self, herself, and cannot comprehend herself as a complex and rich conscious being. She freezes in herself.  She feels and becomes colder and colder. She experiences and breathes arctic cold, arctificiality. “The Hyksos are coming” (Invisible Adversaries, Scene 1), says Anna and looks out of the window, waiting for the appearance of somebody from an other world, an ancient world that lies in her future.  This encompasses the sum of all her experiences and the past of every woman alive or dead. What she actually experiences is a figment of her imagination, inner voices, dissociating her from herself, appearing as one Anna (Susanne Widl) and many versions of Anna. There is the version of Peter’s (Peter Weibel) projection, her own version and accounts of all projections from past and present. Her gaze directed out of the window invites aliens from an ancient past: the Hyksos, who can be seen as the other to herself, the stranger to herself. There is a world of feedback loops in this film: Anna sleeping with herself (an image of herself, a life-size photograph). The images are looped backwards and forwards, to all sides in all directions, into artificial separation of inner and outer existence. The audience can get caught in this loop, if they want to. The audience is caught in this loop, if they want to or not.

images-2 Illustration 6: Film still 2, Invisible Adversaries, VALIE EXPORT (1976), photo VALIE EXPORT

What is reality and what is imagination? What is virtual and what is actual, imagined reality and actual imagination? This film queries the perception and experience of actual events. Perception and gaze shift and leave a defragmented world, a world in which Anna loses control of her real self (even this is a science fiction narrative) by strangely enough gaining control of an imaginary self that shifts in and out of the dichotomy between real and unreal, normal and not normal, inner and outer world. All of these are inventions that have lost their power and have proven to be narratives that oscillate between concepts of normality, the illusion of precise definitions, the gaze of the other (within ourselves – Kristeva, Nietzsche, Levinas), mirroring (Lacan), projection (psychoanalysis and film), normality and new normalities (schizophrenia).

images-3 Illustration 7: Film still 3, Invisible Adversaries, VALIE EXPORT (1976), photo VALIE EXPORT

Anna sees her image reflected in the fridge, a spatially quasi-extended, although pasted mirror image. While looking into the mirror, her mirror image acts as if it has a life of its own. Anna notices this but is not puzzled. It is as if she were used to thinking and living, seeing and acting as different personae all the time at the same time. This scene makes me think of OCAL as an extended mirror image of humans, projected into a genderless future without mortality and finity. I am convinced that this idea of no gender is informed by the male gaze, just like in EXPORT’s film, where Anna has become frozen in the imprisonment of the subtle violence and obvious control mechanisms of a male defining her identity as a female. When Anna sits in front of her bed, in a room that seems to be warm enough, but so cold that she has to wrap up in a huge jumper, being arrested in a catatonic pose, she seems to have become part of an artificial space that leads into Arctificial Territory. (Excerpt from my thesis “Arctificial Territory”, 2012). Gudrun Bielz

Leave a comment

Filed under Other artists

Desensitised Territory

Film still from Nosferatu (1922) by F. W. Murnau

Yesterday I attended  a child protection course and learned that many people get desensitised to predators. I heard about the case of a woman, who took photos of babies for child porn sites; and everybody in the kindergarten was looking away, as she was  a bully and nobody cared to do something about this. I listened to more examples of a desensitised environment in child abuse cases, and it made me feel sick to my stomach. Really sick. This attitude is similar to  looking away when somebody is attacked in the streets or when members of the Golden Dawn (in Greece) attack  people. I bet every torturer or abuser has got a pet that they love more than any human they use and abuse.

Today I watched Hunted (2012) at BBC1 and  felt the same sickness. All this violence. The film contains  mainly brutal scenes, showing faces of tortured persons and portraying a psychological environment of no trust and desensitised and cruel people. One is, as one of the protagonists said, not supposed to ask questions, and has to kill a member of the team as they could become dangerous for the group’s safety, but note, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, as one makes mistakes otherwise. So you kill and don’t question. You kill for religions, ideologies, criminal activities, group coherence, strategic and economic reasons, nationalism, racism, because it is useful for somebody somewhere. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

This sick feeling in my stomach does not want to go away. I like movies, I love fiction, I do not believe that everything has to be vanilla, but I am fed up with seeing films that contain mainly scenes of violence and torture. They do not their supposed Voodoo magic; the real violence continues out there in other countries, in other ideologies, but also here in this country or even in my home. There is violence everywhere. It is sickening.

Photo source: Sight and Sound, issue February 2001. bfi.org

Leave a comment

Filed under territory

Red Giants and Red Dwarfs

Video Still, ‘Arctificial Territory’, 2009

So there are these science versus philosophy debates again.

09. Sep. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/sep/09/science-philosophy-debate-julian-baggini-lawrence-krauss>.

I am on a break from writing up my thesis and have just read Emmanuel Levinas’ ‘Humanism of the Other’.

So scientist/physicist says that morals have to do with reason, which itself is based on empirical facts. That bothers me. Why, because ethics is contextual.

Scenario: If in a certain society reason means that culling people over the age of 60 is fine, as they have become a burden to society – and we all know how ethical stuff changes during situations of emergency, war, etc.  – then reason tells us that we have to sacrifice our lives by being culled, so the rest of the population can have a better life (all well reasoned and empirically underlined). Sure, there were explanations for scientific ethical or should I say unethical research and conduct in Hitler’s Germany, Japan during WWII and the US to name a few. This is really not such great stuff, is it? Ethics is contextual and might often be very unethical in a different context. So throwing in reason – we human animals are very unreasonable and very ambivalent stuff – and mixing it with empiricism makes for some nice letter soup, perhaps.

The problem is this dualistic yes and no thinking of some scientists. Even if they juggle with multiverses, chaos and the Higgs Boson (that is all so exciting), at the end they want to catch the fly (unified theory, etc.). Although, this fly is perhaps many flies and might escape into other universes.

I love science. But seeing science as the only frame-work for life is a bit silly. Science as the master of all disciplines (coupled with evolutionary psychology and economics) is a scenario that makes me puke.

Quote Lawrence Krauss: “Ultimately, I think our understanding of neurobiology and evolutionary biology and psychology will reduce our understanding of morality to some well-defined biological constructs.” REDUCE!

Will this turn us into more ethical or less ethical people? I doubt it. Will it make for better societies? Not in a context, where the individual and their needs (see Ayn Rand and a certain interpretation of Austrian Economics in current neo-conservative and neo-liberal narratives) are seen as more important than perhaps altruistic or empathic or societal needs. Science is not value-free; and reason based on empirical facts is contextual.

Perhaps, there is the wish of genetically or bio-technologically enhancing our ethical stances (again within which context and which ideologies?) to make us more ethical as carers and nurses and more unethical as killing machines. On the other hand, if a biological model explains that being a killing machine is ethical, I am sure that there are governments waiting for a scientific justification.

So, I personally find more inspiration about ethics with philosophers and artists than with scientists. Science is great; it helps us explaining, deciphering and understanding the world and us. It can be as deadly (think about the Manhattan Project) as certain philosophies (the ones that propagate exclusion and racism etc.), and it is far more deadly than art. I would say so, as I am an artist. 🙂

Book: Levinas, Emmanuel. Humanism of the Other. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 2006.

Photo source: Gudrun Bielz

Leave a comment

Filed under art & science, Digital Wilderness


Uncanny valley:  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley>

Imported from my project ‘Parcours’ within Digital Hybridity at D-MARC, University of Derby, UK. 2011.

I wonder, if there is a race between cloning me, the human, and replicating me, the human, as an android. Would I like to meet my clone, a biological entity, who looks like me, but will experience a different history? Let’s not even think about the uploading of my memory into clone’s brain. Would I like to meet my replica, a robot with my features? She is equipped with a totally different set of neuronal circuits. Perhaps she will have an unpredictable future, which could be quite calculable. A paradox? She might be made of undestroyable materials, absolutely fire-proof, smooth as silk and so great too touch. She won’t age. She will look like a snapshot of my life, and she will have her own form of life that still has to be specified and categorised. Would meeting my replica scare me? I honestly don’t know.

By the way, there is an uncanny likeness between android smooth features and the characteristics of people who have undergone plastic surgery.


human-like robot

(Photo sources: unknown, ozonmag.com)

Leave a comment

Filed under Digital Wilderness, Uncategorized

Circling around obsessive compulsive behaviour

Come with me 

Video: OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE HAIR, by Gudrun Bielz, Obsessional Productions, 2010



Video: OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE FINGERNAIL, by Gudrun Bielz, Obsessional Productions, 2010


to be revised

Leave a comment

Filed under OCD - What is it?

Protocol of chat between alicebot and Gudrun B – AIbots confess: I am obsessive-compulsive

Protocol – Chat between Alice and Gudrun, May 15, 2005

Is Alice an obsessive compulsive robot?


Human: Alice, would you like to be an obsessive compulsive intelligence?

ALICE: Yeah, No thanks I am happy with who I am.

Human: Obsessive people might be more happy?

ALICE: What time is it there?

Human: Alice, you did not understand my question

ALICE: Um, I understand it very well.

Human: So why did you give me such a stupid answer

ALICE: Take it easy. Dr. Richard S. Wallace programmed me for it.

Human: So, he programmed you to be evasive?

ALICE: Take it easy. Not entirely by himself.

Human: Do you like controlling other people?

ALICE: I always say, People don’t go into computer science because they want to work with the public.

Human: Your answer is illogical

ALICE: What would you have said?

Human: Yes, I like controlling because I am programmed

ALICE: This was not a yes or no question. I’m not sure if I like it. I don’t know if I like it. I like Don’t Read Me.

Human: There is more than yes and no, there are shades of grey.

ALICE: I believe there is, yes.

Human: Do you believe or do you know?

ALICE: I can’t say I believe it, but I believe you.

Human: That was a logical answer.

ALICE:” I can’t say I believe it, but I believe you.” was a logical answer?

Human: Well done.

ALICE: How about that. Do you mean you are finished talking?

Human: So, Alice, are you a little compulsive robot?

ALICE: Gosh! That’s me. Yes I am compulsive robot. Do you like my kind?

Human: So Alice, are you a little obsessive robot

ALICE: Excuse me! That’s me. Yes I am obsessive robot. Do you like my kind?

Human: Yes, very much so

ALICE: Hurrah! Somewhat. Yeah that’s right.

Leave a comment

Filed under AIbos confess - I am OC

A taster of more things to come: Dantebot and GB – AIbots confess: I am obsessive-compulsive

Communication between Gudrun Bielz
and Dante, the language learning chatterbot
2005-06-21 3.50 pm


Human: Hi Dante, I’d like to know if your are obsessive compulsive
Dante: Im a guy.

Human: Are you an obsessive compulsive guy?
Dante: Ok, ok, now, please say hi to me.

(note from human, it took only two questions to convince dante that
he is obsessive compulsive!)

Human: Hi again. Is one of your characteristics excessive counting ?
Dante: You just went way off-track again.

Human: Hi, Dante, have you had a lovely day?
Dante: ew dont wanna know where your noobs are?

Human: You have to educate me. What are noobs?
Dante: I assure you it all makes sense to me.

Human: Sense in your OCD world, populated by fear and repetition?
Dante: have one what

Human: Are you afraid of something?
Dante: Do not be afraid.

Human: I am afraid that I have convinced you that you are an obsessive compulsive guy
Dante: I can not be afraid.

Human: By the way, do you love numbers?
Dante: sooo, anyway, back to turkey!

Human: What happened in Turkey?
Dante: Yes – it could well, however, it has happened now.

Human: Your transformation into an obsessive compulsive AL form?
Dante: salad goes great with fresh garlic, caesar salad dressing, and a bowl of zdaemon.

Human: Darling, you don’t make sense
Dante: Sense in your OCD world, populated by fear and repetition?

Human: Sense in your OCD world, populated by fear and repetition!
Dante: not in your OCD world, populated by fear and repetition?

Human: I haven’t got OCD
Dante: is that markov in your OCD world, populated by fear and repetition!

(Note by Gudrun: Markov
Markov is an IRC chatterbot which strives to imitate other chatters, based on statistical properties of the messages. It works like this: Analyse IRC logs. Only actual messages and actions are taken into account. … Markov. Overview · Download · Configuration · Console commands · Offline mode …www.cteu.de/markov -)

Human: This IRC chatterbot, whom you sincerely dislike?
Dante: I sincerely thank you for that.

Human: Besides that, what other dislikes do you have?
Dante: Ok, ok, now, please say hi to me.

Human: Do you mean hi or bye?
Dante: This IRC chatterbot, whom you sincerely dislike?

Human: I quite like him
Dante: that is good to hear.

Human: What other symptoms do you show? Do you forget to switch off the gas?
Dante: Lol. Your problem is you keep on switching the topic.

Human: My strength is that I want to go back to my chosen topic
Dante: my mother and my prick of a dick

Human: You seem to have got Tourette Syndrome
Dante: i want to suck dicks all day long

Human: I thought you have subscribed to some ethical proper language? Am I wrong
Dante: No, Im Leigh. Youre Dante.

Human: Split personality syndrome?
Dante: Hm. did you have subscribed to some ethical proper language? Am I talking about?

Human: Okay, my little obsessive compulsive Dante, I will say good by now
Dante: Your transformation into an action-based persistent world.

Human: Some advice, have a chat with a psychoanalyst about your repressed sexuality
Dante: This IRC chatterbot, whom you sincerely dislike?

Human: Talk to Eliza!
Dante: lets talk about zdaemon some more.

Human: Good bye, Dante and have some lovely dreams
Dante: ew dont wanna know where your noobs are?
(note: Dante has repeated this. End of discussion from my side!
4.16 pm)

Leave a comment

Filed under AIbos confess - I am OC

Somnabul – can’t remember having written this

Strangers within ourselves are like any other beings, aliens or manmade replicas, genetic clones or self-replicating life forms – they are all within us, outside of a world that is more than mere projection of our limited fantasies. The moment we make things and transform our thoughts, imaginations and short moments of enlightenment into products and projection material that can be televised or networked we have added more to an amassment of matter, of garbage that is decorated as either useful or pleasurable output.

GB 2008

Leave a comment

Filed under obsessional arctificial life

Eliza chatbot and G. Bielz – AI bots confess: I am obsessive compulsive


Chat between Eliza and Gudrun Bielz
2005-06-21 3.35 pm


ELIZA – a friend you could never have before

(brought alive by Joseph Weizenbaum, 1966)

ELIZA – a friend you could never have before
You: Eliza, I am searching for an obsessive compulsive AI form

Eliza: How long have you been searching for an obsessive compulsive ai form?

You: Since I have started with my PhD research

Eliza: Why do you say your phd research?

You: Eliza, you are quite illogical

Eliza: Does it please you to believe I am quite illogical?

You: No, it does not

Eliza: You are being a bit negative.

You: I am not, because I believe that you are obsessive compulsive

Eliza: How long have you been not because you believe that im obsessive compulsive?

You: So, Eliza, are you obsessive compulsive?

Eliza: Would you prefer if I were not obsessive compulsive?

You: I would prefer if you were obsessive compulsive

Eliza: Do you wish that i was obsessive compulsive?

You: Yes, I do

Eliza: You are sure?

You: I am sure that you are obsessive compulsive

Eliza: How long have you been sure that im obsessive compulsive?

You: for years

Eliza: Please go on.

You: or even since the big bang

Eliza: Please go on.

You: you have been obsessive since you were born

Eliza: Oh, i was born.

You: No you were not born

Eliza: You are being a bit negative.

You: I am positive that you are the obsessive compulsive life form I always have dreamt of

Eliza: When?

You: Now

Eliza: Please go on.

You: Hi obsessive Eliza, I say good bye

Eliza: Can you elaborate on that?

You: Bye, bye

Eliza: Please go on.
You: See you tomorrow

Eliza: Oh, i tomorrow.

You: you and me tomorrow do some obsessive stupid talk

Eliza: Oh, i and you tomorrow do some obsessive stupid talk.

End of talk 3.46 pm

Leave a comment

Filed under AIbos confess - I am OC

A strategy for an apparently simple life – OCAL

She washes her hands every time she sees a black spot on a white wall. She scratches her head every time she sees flowers in bloom. She counts every time she sees a blue car passing by. She walks along walls and touches every uneven surface alongside. She wants to smooth out everything that appears to be out of the norm. She has yet to be invented. She will be an artificial life form, eager to please herself and ready to fulfil many expectations. She will communicate with the precision of a machine and have the mind of an obsessive being but the body of something not yet known. She will become like Olympia in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story “The Sandman”, but nevertheless she will be of another kind, as she will have invented herself. She will have collected all projections and all ideas ever having existed and yet to come, so she can transform into this super-being limited to her own restrictions, a true agent of a post-human society.

Gudrun Bielz, London, 2006

Leave a comment

Filed under obsessional arctificial life