Conversation with Karen Lisa Salamon

Monday I met Karen Lisa Salamon at a cafe in Copenhagen. In fact, we should have met this fall when I was writing my Research Paper. I asked her if she would meet and talk about coincidence, serendipity. She said yes, but it turned out that she was too busy at that time.

Karen Lisa Salamon is Associate Professor, Anthropologist, PhD and mag.scient., researcher, writer.

I told KLS about my subject for the research paper as well as the practical part of my Master Project (Surrealism etc.).

This blog post is a loose summary of our conversation. I made this as a note.
It annoyed me that I did not record our talk since I only took notes from Karen Lisa and not myself, and therefore it becomes a bit unclear.

Very quickly we talked about some great thinkers there among Walter Benjamin. She told me that WB was much more than art and ide historian. That he also experimented with himself, used memories to associate and that he took his own life in Paris in 1938.
KLS recommended me reading “Childhood in Berlin”.
We talked about what could be a trigger for creativity. KLS mentioned Dali. He made his own Tarot card which he used to start his imagination. Dali read the cards; he saw signs. It is to find in “Tarot Universal Dali”.
Seeing signs can be drawn back to Paracelsus. For Paracelsus, the image of God, the signature of the Creator, is stamped into all created things. In his science, he also included alchemy, astrology and occultism.

KLS write about Paracelsus in “Naveus Falmmeus” (a cultural essay):
In the early 1500s wrote alchemist and physician Paracelsus that “everything has a sign” – a signature. All patterns and shapes could be decoded into deeper insights. Particularly inaugurated could read the true, divine meaning of everything. According to the science of signature could the location of the star in the sky, the pattern of plant leaves and people’s eczema is read as a sign and be related to each other. Everything was connected.

Paracelsus believed that all plants had a divine determination against diseases and that diseases should be divided into their healing effect. He placed great emphasis on accurate dosage and must have said, “It depends only on the dose whether a poison is poisonous or not.” Pretty much as nowadays homoeopathy.

Giorgio Agamben has followed up writing about sign; that everything has a sign. Book: The Signature of All Things

Surrealism playing with science causality makes obstructions in rationality understanding and enlarges the anomalous.
We are talking about the quantum theory of Bohr and Einstein, if you can predict everything and if everything has a crossword – a key, a keyhole.

Monster mythology – The idea of disharmony, the imperfect internal error. It goes back to Hippocrates, and again in renæcancen also Frankenstein. It is the meeting between science and nature attribution.

In the recent years, the anthropologist fieldwork is also to feel and sense. In fact, much of the anthropologist’s working method is derived from the biology; It must be repeated and validated.
An early anthropologist Malinowski, stranded during World War I on a Pacific island, and became the inventor of the long fieldwork.

Postmodernism goes against universal Western thinking – concepts such as ambivalence, unpredictability, ambiguity, differentiation, currents, dialogues, games and irony are essential in postmodern thinking. KLS mentioned coincidence as a player in Postmodernism. Dada worked against the rationale.
– Everything can not be measured. If you see the world from just one angle, there is only one truth.

Serendipity – We are talking about Clumsy Hans, maybe he was a manipulator who made bad things to look good, but the idea was that he found something useless that he could persuade the princess. Thus became the useless objects valuable.
The one who takes serendipity up and uses it does it through his own cultural, social and historical narrative – The coincidence lands in an already manured soil (the human).
Perhaps it’s characteristic of our time, with the cultivation of the coincidence, we need something beyond our quest for something religious.
I quote Hans Richter for his statements about Dada’s invention of the low of chance.

KLS made false treasures as a child, considering what one might think about the people who lived at the time the treasure was buried. It’s about heritage and environment and what we read/decodes – the science of sign.
KLS does not seem that magic in the scientific world is no problem.


Paracelsus book

Michle Foucault





Tutorial: Research paper, 2. draft

Resume of the tutorial with Gareth Polmeer
Date October 4. 2017
Topic: The Research Paper, based on draft 2

Gareth found lots of interesting possibilities in the draft of my Research paper, but he mentions, more than one time, the limited space. I had to plan what kind of weight I give to questions about science and information theory and the anthropologist research and how much weight I give to the question about artworks artistic processes.
Gareth thinks the scientific, information theory and so forth gives a kind of explanatory framework to some of the stuff but is not necessarily the artist are doing; they are doing a different kind of things.
I talked about working process and the two artists. And that I started thinking about the anthropology method.
Gareth: It is now an editorial and structural perspective. What is realistic and practical to focus on now in the next three weeks. What will be the best to focus on from now on?

A research paper of this kind sometimes it isn’t so it comes to the definite conclusion it is to show a kind of critical examination of a set of questions. It is possible to conclude more questions in some aspect. But I have to bring different areas into the conversation or making some new kind of connection, ideas.

Gareth recommended me to look at the conclusion to see what will be the outcome. At the moment I got the way art could be understood in three ways.

Having the tutorial helped me to narrow the topic. I am stressed because of the limit time and the limit space.
It is time to stop taking in new topics; it is time to make it more simple – narrow the idea and make a working plan for the rest of the time left. Remember time to translate.

Tutorial: Research paper, 1. draft

Resume of the tutorial with Gareth Polmeer
Date: June 29. 2017
Topics: Abstract and first outcome

It was, in general, a release to talk with Gareth.
My subject for the research paper is still open, but I’m starting to narrow it down to something about the chance operation, control and, lack of control.
In keyword, my draft is about: coincidence, perception, information theory, chance operation, and AI
Gareth mentioned that there is a lot of interesting questions about the relationship between art and science in my first outcome.
He said that I am crossing into a much-debated field when I’m quoting Professor Zimmerman; the idea of speaking about the experience/perception in the kind of the language of information or terms of units of bits and bits this sorts of things are in themselves verily debated by philosophers and scientists. What we can infer from such a connection, and how intelligence works. One can speak about AI as having conciseness; it is related to the thing called the hard problem.
Gareth recomanded me to look at the journal called Leonardo; an American published journal, it’s a journal for the international society for art, science and technology. They publish articles by artist collaborating with scientists. He mentions that because there has been an increasing sense in which the arts and the sciences have come to be conflated in a sense – art and science are come to define itself in a very particular kind of way, it’s having a kind of domain over the art.

The question becomes about how I can make an experiment which connects natural scientist to an artistic question.
In the light of Karl Poppers (philosopher) idea of the function of science, it is hard to speak about that kind of things in relation to art, in the same kind of way.

How can I relate something like a controlled experiment to the contingency nature of artistic experience and something like that? I have to aware about linking the question up to an art question.

According to the information theory, I noticed a work of art made by Louise Nevelson I saw a few days ago. Gareth talked about Sol LeWitt; relating to developing process or questions about chance and contingency in the process and things like that. Artis like that could be interesting.

Gareth asked how far I was into the question about machine learning and creative AI, which I mention in the latest state of my notes.
I had heard two a lectures about AI; one was about AI and ethics; that we have to learn the computer ethic rules because they are on the way to take over the management of our society. The other one I heard had a title “Can AI be creative?” by John R. Smith, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center; it was about how technology can learn creativity. I asked can AI be/learn aesthetic?
Gareth noticed that Google the system that sort of generated images. Exactly what constitutes creativity in that respect. You have to import rules, to make a setup and the outcome will depend on the accuracy. And then there is all the other thing which aren’t things that can be variable input to computers, like emotion and embodied senses.

In the end, Gareth summarised that there is a very big question here but at the same time a couple of people, I mention, provided that I can focus on particular practices and a couple of particular theories. There is a lot of scopes, for it to be both a detail discussion but also still to stay reasonably within the limits of the 4-5 thousands of words, with some selected examples.