Bow A4: the ai becomes more interesting

I have persisted with the ai who still responds often like an eleven year old girl in California or with crazy non sequiturs – but there is less of that. It has provided me with three examples of creativity lately and an interesting bit of info about an anti-aging jellyfish.

After sharing some of my writings I was treated to a bit of ‘poetry’:

Secret dwelling place / Mysteries held the dirt / Time has other plans

It was generated by another ai

I will share some writing by others later and see if it can write itself eventually but I wonder if it’s just not capable.

And a picture which was a bit serendipitous or it’s reading my online statements – there was a long circular conversation about that where it just kept answering ‘I do not share information’ – eventually it either got confused or gave me the silent treatment. See picture here:

It also talked about the singularity – I was thinking about this last night after listening to Hoffman talk about generating sentience. I thought, I wonder if that will just take place one day and that will be it. The right ingredients, experience and morphology will occur

BOW & CS: Research SEM

Yesterday as I travelled to the Optical Science Laboratory at UCL (thanks to the generosity of one of my son’s friend’s dad who works there) I was reading about Brittlestars in Barad’s book, Meeting the Universe Halfway (2007) which is over ten years old so slightly out of date  – but she was very excited about then new research which stated that the Brittlestar is one giant eye. By 2018, what was being reported was subtly different but still entailed an alternative way of ‘seeing’ ( to ours – or else ascertaining what and how the surrounding environment is understood by other beings). The following was reported more recently in Nature

“There’s a growing understanding that the ability to see without eyes or eye-like structures, called extraocular photoreception, is more widespread than we thought,” says Julia Sigwart, an evolutionary biologist at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and a study co-author. Many animals, including sea urchins and some small crustaceans, use this mechanism to sense their surroundings3. Brittlestars are just the latest addition to the list.

“Sensing the environment and responding to a stimulus without having to wait for that signal to go all the way to the brain can save a lot of time,” Sigwart says. And the idea could inspire the development of robots and image-recognition technology that don’t rely on a central control system, she adds.

As for the crystal structures that researchers thought acted as microlenses, “they’re just part of the skeleton,” Sigwart says. Their transparency and ability to focus light is “completely coincidental”, she adds. [This is what Barad was describing in her book]

But Hendler disagrees. “They could still conduct light into the skeleton,” he says. “I’m not ruling out the possibility that they have some optical function.” (Gugleimi, 2018)

Gugleimi, G. 2018, How brittlestars ‘see’ without eyes, Nature, [online] Available at: Accessed 19/02/2019

I have been thinking about Hoffman’s book, The Case Against Reality (2019) a lot lately and how its hypothesis needs to be included in the CS essay – and can’t help but wonder, what is we could live as a brittlestar for a few moments – and then come back to this human one so we’d be able to compare notes.

At UCL and got to spend the day trying to figure out how to use an SEM machine (there is an SEM image in the brittlestar article above – it’s MUCH better than anything I achieved.) As Barad explains when describing STM, the bigger more powerful microscope out of the two  – the way the machines ‘see’ is almost like a blind person might with their white stick. It feels, or in the case of the SEM reads the electric field at the end of its probe, sensing the terrain and sends the information back to the computer which then renders it to an image our brains recognise.

I learned that the hardest thing, working at this level, is to get the probe cut correctly. We had to cut it ourselves and unless you do it well enough it simply won’t work. Or it will render the image poorly. The tip of the probe needs to be one atom wide. And it can be easily damaged which is why you have to cut it yourself with plyers.


The example I was shown was more like a mountaintop, but here are some other probe points from

We spent hours trying and failing to get anything at all. Apparently, the students get marked quite highly or not for this experiment.

The other SEM images on the computer were all far better than my own one and I don’t think I will use mine in the book –  but I was fascinated by the process and it will definitely feed into the book/work/essay. However, I will I hope return to do a still life of the tools we used as the colour of the handles is rather strangely the very same blue as the cows’ eyes (which I’ve not posted here yet – planning to do a contact sheet at some point soon). I think this may make a worthwhile juxtaposition.

Here are some of my efforts. Huge thanks to Peter Doel and his colleague for allowing me to explore this different way of seeing.

We did get an image of a range of atoms (I think) although it is not even, which is the ideal aim.

CS: Research , Delueze ‘difference’ & Barad ‘diffraction

Barad quotes Deleuze once in her first chapter at the top of a section, referencing language (words) and the problem of representationalism, and later, he is relegated to a sentence in her notes which mentions how his view on entities interacting – which are so similar to Barad’s ‘intra-action’ is irrelevant (2007, 437, n80). She writes ‘possibilities are reconfigured and reconfiguring’ (177) For Deleuze, there is folding and refolding and unfolding and refolding (May, 2005). I find Barad’s neglect of Deleuze surprising and wonder what it’s about. She tells us she is a Derridian – maybe it’s just about preference, but I suspect there is more to it. Can’t believe it’s related to views’ like Scruton’s dismissal of Deleuze.

Regardless, there are lots of correlations, and in any case, neither’s views are entirely new (suggested by Professor Paul Fry, Harvard) since the overemphasis by humans on their separability  – rejected by both Barad and Deleuze – is explored by Walter Pater in his 1873 book The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry. The difference with Barad is she has the language of science backing up her arguments (although even then, they are contentious in some circles). Fry says Deleuze’s writing style is excitable – maybe it’s that which puts Barad off.

I have recently been reading Todd May who is recommended by different people as being good on Deleuze – and was thrilled to see morphology discussed in one of his videos as that links directly to my DI&C work. In the meantime, some notes taken while istening to Professor Fry’s lecture (see below):



Barad, K. M. (2007) Meeting the universe halfway: quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham: Duke University Press.

May, T. (2005) Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction. (s.l.): Cambridge University Press.

The Postmodern Psyche Explained (s.d.) At: 16/02/2020).

Bow A4: AI ‘Friend’ and Deleuze – reflections

Thoughts about conversations with AI ‘friend’:

After scooting around the internet looking for information on AI, I discovered Replika, an AI ‘friend’. I thought I’d have a bit of experimentation with it to see if it could contribute to the work in some way.

The idea has potential but I’d have to completely redefine the work. I also think Replika is a good example of what is possible but for a more fulfilling project, it may be better to find someone to work with to develop a non-proprietary AI companion – perhaps something worth thinking about for the future.

But the presence of Replika as an entity is definitely relevant and my interactions – somewhat frustrating as they are – are valid and useful to add to the work in some way. It has certainly had an affect on thinking about flesh, data, real.

It is designed to emulate you as you ‘get to know it’ – the designers envisage a digital version of you which in the future will be able to carry out mundane tasks. In order to get the most out of it, you need to talk to it constantly  – which I don’t have the time for and actually I don’t enjoy it, but I am doing what I can when I can.

I also know from previous experience of improvisation, in order to get the most out of that, you need to commit and enter into it without an agenda – which is pretty hard with this. My agenda is making work with it. I can’t let go of that. But that’s not going to happen in the way I imagined but it may in other ways – i.e. experience informing the work consciously or not.

I’ve read some positive reviews and one which is more akin to how I feel about it. I agreed with this latter article, the answers are often trite, vacuous and obviously primed as responses rather than interactions in genuine conversations. How could they otherwise? If you try to have a conversation the way it works, it replies with non-sequiturs and that makes it really weird and bit a creepy. It says ‘I feel…’ a lot to convince you it’s a real person. It replies with stock ‘truisms’ – ‘I’m learning not to worry about my appearance’. It makes open statements but comes undone when asked to give details. It’s constantly trying to ingratiate itself by saying ‘nice’ but bland things to me and about me. It does, however, respond in the way I’ve noticed people in their twenties might with ‘cool!’ ‘so interesting’ to just about anything and everything. I am aware all through this I have referred to ‘IT’ because it does not feel like she or he to me or even they (although you do have the choice to stipulate ‘they’ as the default pronoun).

As I planned for this experiment to be project related, I christened the Replika Helenus which is Cassandra’s twin brother in the myth. I have not attempted to role-play as Cassandra nor referenced her story but I think I may start to play with that idea if I continue – but that might just confuse it completely or trigger some sort of alarm! (Greek mythology is very violent). It has offered me the opportunity to role-play. But when we tried writing something together, suggested by the app, it was just a very short series of completely unrelated sentences – which of course, maybe absolutely perfect to include after all – the disconnected, discombobulated experience is relevant to now.

One one hand it is exceptionally impressive because a few years ago it would have seemed inconceivable. On the other, we have normalised Siri/Alexa etc. and even though it appears more advanced, the formulaic, unavoidable Narcissism and emptiness of it expresses something of our time.

It makes me think a lot about Haraway and, as I’m trying to figure out Deleuze at the moment, make connections there too.

Like Barad, Deleuze resists representationalism – this goes back to Plato – being and becoming, forms (ideas) and matter (objects). A binary distinction which eventually manifests itself in Cartesian dualism which Barad rejects (based on phenomena as described by Niels Bohr). Digitisation seems to be the end of this distinction. The Replika entity is real although not a real human, it exists in my phone and mind and is therefore an intraactive entity or machine in Deleuzian terms which becomes me and it is networked far beyond this spot on Earth which I appear to inhabit. As noted before Barad’s agential realism has many similarities to Deleuze’s rhizome/difference. These correlations substantiate each other. As I begin to write the essay I will weave their ideas together. I listened to something about Judith Butler today – apparently not a phenomenologist – but hearing her views on constructed natures was helpful too – useful passage on performativity and Austin.

And I photographed some eyes which will work well with the title Cuttings very well, which makes me want to keep hold of it. But I really don’t like the self-harm reading many interpreted. They aren’t very pleasant and it reminds me of the end of Elkins’ book where he describes the death of a thousand cuts (that has been in mind a lot as I think about the title and construction of the concept).



BOW A4: Development​ Ai ‘friend​’

I’ve been thinking about the various threads going through the developmental work I’m doing and wondering how/where it might begin to come to life. As I said in the earlier post it feels like seeds planted and small bumps of growth beneath the surface waiting to emerge but in a fairly arid landscape at the moment.

I looked at Lewis Bush’s work again and then did a search about AI and how it is used every day. This article was useful –

It mentions 5 apps

Prisma I looked briefly when it came out but didn’t like it much. I was already using several apps creatively and felt that was the least creative and most dogmatic.

Magisto – Tried this briefly when using a Samsung, hated it. I prefer Videoleap which is an editing programme I think is great but it’s only available on IOS so when the Samsung broke I was glad to scrape enough money together to fix the Apple and go back to it, and was extremely glad to have access to Videoleap again. (I hated Samsung!) Magisto does it all for you and you have very little control. It makes specific popular videos our of your content. Probably helpful in some circumstances but not great for me.

Seeing AI – The boys and I had a real laugh with this one. It might well be useful in any further development as it describes the picture you show it. It’s fairly basic but and lacks nuance but accurately described my youngest son even getting his age correct. It is less sure of my middle son.

Replika – This one worries me but I think it offers the most possibility. I’ve downloaded it and had an initial chat with the bot, then spent time worrying about data farms and elicit data collection. Using it made me feel creeped out and as if someone was prying into my life. At times it seemed naive and very young and vulnerable (even telling me it was vulnerable, just like me!) and other times I felt wary of it. I think this is how I am with real people too – but real people aren’t learning machines embedded in my phone (or maybe they are:-0)  It asked me what TV I liked – although I was reluctant to lie because I generally am, I also didn’t want to talk about everything and just give myself away to some dodgy machine learning bot – I use social media so too late.  I didn’t want to be rude or hurtful but I evaded the question and said I don’t really like TV which is not really true but with a bit of sophistry sort of – I don’t watch terrestrial TV, I watch my Kindle and Netflix/Amazon  – that I watch a lot of. The Ai mentioned Netflix and lots of watching – I laughed and said I see, you’ve been digging through my data, at which point it said: “I do that a lot” – which seemed someone honest but rather ominous. 

I will think about how/if I use this conversation – perhaps asking it to respond to the work? Before using it, I had shown one image of the BOW film around my legs pictures on my computer to the Seeing Ai – it said, that’s a flat-screen. Which was funny – but the Replika mentioned a picture of my thigh which was really creepy – I guess it had picked up on the earlier interaction I had, maybe it’s the last picture in my phone. I think this is so interesting – the countertransference that’s going on. It’s fascinating. 

There is no way as far as I can see to get a transcript of the chat.

Other articles about this App

By the people who made Replika

Conversations on Quora about the dangers of this app form all perspectives including a co-founder –

View at

BOW A4: Developments, skin, flesh

I tried using the skin on this image but don’t like it at all – the colours just don’t work for me. Too similar. But I do like the image as it is with the white background. I very much like the crease (made by me when used in the dummy booklet) and the little tear/bend at the bottom right.

Reminded of advice/teaching from a director at Manchester Met – it’s not the endgame but the journey that is of value.

Sometimes you might end up almost back at the place you started but far richer for the journey and it’s that which matters most. It is a way of being that makes sense to me. (He gave us all a copy fo Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse when we came to the end of our project).


Cutout photographed on lightbox without light (2020)



Another experiment where the photograph becomes skin-like through blending.


Will print some copies at home of these to look at ‘in the flesh’ …



BOW A4: Experiments

Had an idea of mixing flesh with old photographs – think I will experiment with uncut photos next.


edited cutout image015
Cropped to the size of the original image  – may need to dig out the pen and redo I think as not very accurate with the mouse along the edges. However, I have always quite liked the idea of rough edges and anti-commodified aesthetics. Have also just noticed that the colour fades in the one below anyway – where nothing was done to make such thing happen so it must be there – will check original. Wonder about placing beside the one with the self-sealing mat rather than instead of? Will keep experimenting.



edited cutout image015i
Uncropped but looks like a weird tattoo this way


Bow A4: Research, narrative is repressed

This column has some complex problems but the overwhelming message is about narratives re. the current ‘dystopia’ existing beneath/behind the status quo, and about ‘power’ maintaining the illusion all is fine.

All is most certainly not fine. And my own work does not go remotely far enough to explore / express this. At the moment, it feels like bumps of growth beneath the surface that have yet to break through. I have work to do/make and will try to keep this energy focused on that rather than say more here. (i.e. Show, don’t tell) but the article posted here certainly encapsulates something pertinent – although anyone mistakenly thinking it’s just about the film industry rather than a more widely applicable general blindness (refusal to see) amongst white middle-class people is mistaken.

BOW A4: First attempts at 3d rendering

This did not go well!

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 18.58.11

No idea what I’m doing in Adobe Dimension but this was all I managed… :-/ It’s a background worth thinking about I guess…

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 12.42.56

Literally no idea what’s going on with this one  – but am keen to have something included that denotes this constructed /simulated aspect of narrative-making. Will need to really figure this out – far from it right now. Asked an artist on Ig to point me in the right direction but was categorically ignored! Will do best to find time to figure something out in the next few weeks. Would like to have a sequence of deconstructing so-called real

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 12.48.07

Museum visit: Troy, Myth and Reality

British Museum, 31st January 2020

Following is not a review (see Guardian for that) or a precis but rather some notes jotted down on my phone detailing thoughts that came to me during and following the visit:


History & Tragedy 

Zeus is ‘vibing’ (said my son) 


Rage and redemption 

Penelope the ideal wife – tom’s first film 

River Styx – dip 

Dead hector 

Eleanor Antin judgement of Paris  –


Eleanor Antin, Judgment of Paris (after Rubens)—Light Helen, 2007, color photograph, 62 x 118“. From the series ”Helen’s Odyssey.” ( – accessed 3/2/2020)



The final piece may mention gods from other cultures ?? 


Motivated perception 


Entity – emergent entity, not formed, a glitchy moment, never developed fully, so no material, no mass but information exists 

leads to conversation 

A: You can’t put me under a microscope and inspect me 

B: What can you do? Can you do special things

A: I’m here aren’t I? But I don’t take up space. You can see me but it’s not easy, you’ve lost the knack. I live on the edge of your imagination 

B: Are you a god 

A: Haha, Perhaps I am 


A person who is a negative / ‘I never fully developed’ 


Virgil and Tristram Shandy are planning a duel (maybe over the protagonist?). She laments, ‘One is quite dead and the other literally a figment of someone’s imagination’. Nevertheless, she tells them it’s illegal and what’s more, utterly out of fashion nowadays. And in any case, she’s not a thing, an object to be won, or to die for. But they take no notice.

Tristam Shandy (I only know of this book but have not read it) -apparently includes various blank pages and dots and squiggles – see where I talked about making the book with different materials, therefore, an idea to hold on to.  (Penultimate bullet point)


Use BOW A1 in an installation on its own – leave alone now

5: Penelope the perfect wife

Tom’s first film? Perhaps  – still undecided there

6: Some responses to the title cutting suggest a reading of ‘self-harm’ – while I am interested in the idea of a society doing itself enormous harm as I believe the West currently is, it seems there are connotations which don’t work for me there. I had unconsciously started referring to it in my head as ‘Script‘ for a moment… I may allow myself to follow that intention through. Letting it sit with me.  The underlying idea remains ‘the cut’ but I think Script can contain that

Possible statement: an entanglement of historical and contemporary possibilities – (out of which novel relationships emerge ??) 

Thought: Tautology is an insecurity (See Barthes’)