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author's presentation and practical workshop

DECIPHERING RANDOMNESS>
Concept of Randomness>
Pseudo-random number generators>
Quantum Randomnes and randomness from a physical processes>
Randomness for socio-political processes>
Randomness and philosophy>
For Participants>
About instructor>


geiger counter

DECIPHERING RANDOMNESS

Workshop poses fundamental questions concerning the working of human brain and randomness. It is intended for experienced users interested in practical use of randomness for creative purposes in visual arts, music and film.
Generating random numbers is not easy. People are extremely bad at generating random sequences. People behave in a mechanic and repetitive manner. Human brain aims to conceive reality within periodic sequences and patterns.

The workshop consists of:
• practical application of pseudo-random generators for constructing visual works, music compositions and films with the use of languages such as LISP, Supercollider, Pure Data, Fluxus, Ianix etc. (automata, monte carlo method, random walk, pseudo-random generators, probability distributions and others)
• extraction of randomness from a physical processes through hacking analogue devices for detection, amplification, sonic and visual analysis (electromagnetic fields, gas particles, photons and decay of radioactive materials)

Randomness also plays an essential role in artistic practice (concept of the ready made, metalanguage in conceptual art, new formal ways of composing through the use of probability distributions and stochastic techniques, Xenakis's GENDY and UPIC systems, noise etc.)
The project researches the concept of randomes and nondeterminism that appear in many subject domains (mathematics, physics, biology, computer science, art, economy etc). Unpredictability, incompressibility and other key features of randomness turned out to be strongly connected. Nowadays, many procedures based on simulation of random processes lie at the basis of practical applications in banking, stock market, games, in enciphering passwords etc.
The workshop also deals with significance of randomness for socio-political processes. Internet is understood more in terms of control exercised by government agencies (e.g. NSA) and advertising agencies. Random numbers are crucial for: encryption keys, random authentication, key-agreement schemes, generating prime numbers and so on.

geiger counter

1. The concept of Randomness

Randomness appears in many subject domains (mathematics, physics, biology, computer science, art, economy etc). However they encapsulate different, sometimes antinomic meanings.
The project examines different types of Randomness in:
• Communication Theory and Coding Theory(Shannon),
• Algorithmic Information Theory (Kolmogorov, Solomonoff, Chaitin),
• Quantum Information Theory
In communication theory, randomness in a signal is referred to as noise and is identified with the concept of meaninglessness. Mathematically, precisely defined randomness remains connected with the concept of uncomputability. There exist strong interactions between computability and randomness. Making use of computability allows for a better understanding of Randomness and vice versa. Algorithmic information theory works with the concept of randomness through examining sequences of bits. Unpredictability may be connected with the idea of compressibility: for finite sequences randomness means incompressibility. The fact that incompressibility is a condition necessary for randomness is seemingly clear, but it is not a sufficient condition. Unpredictability, incompressibility and other key features of randomness turned out to be strongly connected: a finite object may be considered random, when it can be proved that it is a part of a bigger object. Randomness has been connected with a fundamental notion, that is uncomputability. A notion stemming from mathematical logic and theory of recursion, where the greatest breakthrough has been made by Kurt Goedel and Alan Turing, who have shown the limits of computation.
In economy, random walk is often used concerning shifts in prices and it plays an important role in conceptualization of financial markets.
In biology, randomness in disguise of mutation is a driving force of natural selection and a principal characteristic of the theory of evolution.
In the domain of art, randomness has always played an important role, yet it became a subject of research not until the XX century: eg.: concept of the READY MADE formulated by Marcel Duchamp, its elaboration in Conceptual Art through the employment of metalanguage tools, and the use of self-reference has opened art for abstract problems. Simultaneously, similar phenomena have been occurring in music, eg.: new formal ways of composing music, from Arnold Schonberg, through the use of different probability distributions by Iannis Xenakis (GENDY, UPIC etc), to noise music.

software

2. Pseudo-random number generators

The use of pseudo-random number generators: discussion and practical application of pseudo-random generators for constructing visual works, music compositions and films with the use of languages such as LISP, Supercollider, Pure Data, Fluxus, Ianix etc.
• automata
• monte carlo method
• random walk
• pseudo-random generators
• probability distributions
• Kolmogorov complexity
• algorithmic probability and application to strong AI
Algorithmic randomness may be an excellent approximation of "true" randomness e.g.: quantum randomness or randomness achieved in other physical way.

3. Extraction of randomness from a physical processes

The Workshop investigates hidden physical processes occurring permanently in our everyday environment saturated by electromagnetic waves and radiation as possible sources of randomness by practical examining of:
• electromagnetic fields and brain waves
• chemical structuresand reactions
• particles in gases and liquids (brownian motion)
and
entirely random processes on the quantum level:
• behavior of photons
• decay of radioactive materials

Workshops of sound and visual techniques, which consist in detection of invisible phenomena and testing of the properties of physical objects through detection, amplification, sonic and visual analysis. This practical workshop and series of experimental situations are meant to equip the artist with DIY skills from the range of techniques such as detection, modulation and creation of random sequences and fields for audio and video output.
Practical hacking of analogue equipment, use of different kinds of detectors
• electromagnetic coils and electrodes
• photosensors
• temperature sensors
• detection of quantum processes through the use of radioactive materials and geiger counters

The project consists in extraction of randomness from a physical processes by detection and transformation through the use of hardware tools like electromagnetic coils, detectors, sensors [light, flex etc], EEG electrodas, amplifiers, modulators, analyzers and more specialized devices for detecting radiation(Geiger, scintillation, gas and semiconductor counters).
During the workshop the participants will become acquainted with:
• practical techniques of detecting randomness (ultrasounds, infra sounds, interference, light, electrochemistry, ionic radiation - alpha, beta, gamma waves,
• revealing, investigation and analysis of random data sets
• translation of random data into sound, light, video impulses (DMX protocols) and 3D objects and manifolds (FLUXUS)
• coding, compiling of patches and writing programs for detection, analyzing and modulation of randomness using free software [LISP, PD, Supercollider, Python, Fluxus, IanniX, etc]
• generating of complex random audio and video signals using different math functions and algorithms, in combination with a programmable oscillators and noise generators
• generating totally random sequences by using quantum processes,

Generating random numbers is not easy. People are extremely bad at generating random sequences. People behave in a mechanic and repetitive manner. Human brain aims to conceive reality within periodic sequences and patterns. This is why most sequences and rhythms we encounter in art and music are repetitive. The existing computing machines don't generate totally random sequences; the so called pseudo-generators of random numbers are periodic. This is way I decided to use radioactive materials. Quantum mechanics is believed to be fundamentally non-deterministic and it shows that randomness operates on certain level of our reality.

hardware

4. The significance of randomness for socio-political processes

Internet, after delusions concerning openness and decentralization, is being understood more in terms of control exercised by government agencies (e.g. NSA) and advertising agencies. We live in a new era, in which mathematics has become a powerful weapon. Random numbers are crucial for cryptography: for encryption keys, random authentication, key-agreement schemes, generating prime numbers and so on. Breaking of the random-number generator means breaking the entire security system. Understanding of the use of random numbers plays a very important role in times of mass surveillance, e.g.: NSA manipulates us by installing secret "backdoor" in encryption systems, which should protect our data. It concerns cryptographic standards, which are based on mathematical objects called "elliptic curves". It turns out, that there are certain elliptic curves, which appear to be random, but are in fact easy to decipher. It enables the agency to break into our emails and personal data. The governments and intelligence agencies exploit our ignorance, and manipulate us more when we are less aware of mathematics.
Working on a quantum level by using radioactive materials provide totally random sequence of number that is great cryptographic key.

5. Randomness and philosophy

Randomness and the problem of the possibility of free choice and will in human brain. Mind Uploading Problem

6. For Participants

We encourage participants to bring a device emitting electromagnetic waves or some form of recording (digital sound recorder or tape, camera, headphones, computer with PD installed or Supercollider, etc)

action direct!

7. About Instructor

Robert B. LISEK is an artist and mathematician who focuses on systems and processes (computational, biological, social). He is involved in the number of projects focused on radical art strategies, hacktivism and tactical media. Drawing upon conceptual art, software art and meta-media, his work intentionally defies categorization. Lisek is a pioneer of art based on AI and bioinformatics. Lisek is also a composer of contemporary music, author of many projects and scores on the intersection of spectral, stochastic, concret music, musica futurista and noise. He also explores the relationship between bio-molecular technology, code and issues arising from network technologies by combining his DNA code with codes of viruses and recently by testing influence of radioactive materials on biological entities. Lisek is also a scientist who conducts a research in the area of theory of partially ordered sets in relation with artificial general intelligence and complexity theory. Author of many exhibitions and concerts, among others: NUCLEAR RANDOM GENERATOR - Harvestworks Arts Center New York, Fluc Wanne Vienna, RADICAL MIND - Columbia University New York, TERROR ENGINES - WORM Center Rotterdam, Secure Insecurity - ISEA Istanbul; DEMONS - Venice Biennale (accompanying events); Manifesto vs. Manifesto - Ujazdowski Castel of Contemporary Art, Warsaw; NGRU - FILE, Sao Paulo; NEST - ARCO Art Fair, Madrid; Float - DMAC Harvestworks and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NYC; WWAI - Siggraph, Los Angeles; Falsecodes - Red Gate Gallery, Beijing; Gengine - National Gallery, Warsaw; Flextex - Byzantine Museum, Athens, FXT- ACA Media Festival, Tokyo and ISEA, Nagoya. more: www.fundamental.art.pl/

Author

development: Robert B. Lisek
coding: Robert B. Lisek
http://www.lisek.art.pl
contact: lisek at fundamental dot art dot pl


produced by Robert B. Lisek & Fundamental Research Lab