November 28 2023, Johannes Bongers / Boolean Works (since 1991)
On the eve of his departure from OpenAI's board, Sam Altman spoke about AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) and Project Q*: 'I’ve gotten to be in the room when we push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward.' The next day, the board fired Altman for pushing the frontier of discovery too hard, endangering humanity's future, but had hired him back a few days later after investors (Microsoft and employees) demanded Altman's return to realise their vision. The public had lost their most essential feature – human agency – to privately owned technology.The exploitative nature of technology is part of a centuries-long campaign of rationalisation and abstraction through science and technology, both supporting the status quo. Technology, in particular, has been privatising life’s energy that rightfully belongs to the collective. Yesterday, it was oil, human labor, and data; today, it is the exploitation of the very essence of human being. And after appropriation it has consistently been used against the diversity and potential agency of individuals and collectives. AGI represents the latest turn in this long-standing saga. While fossil fuels heated Earth's atmosphere and social media was allowed to destroy the social fabric and truth, AI has been permitted to scrape and capture all ideas humans ever had: infiltrating the human mind. AGI will complete this enterprise; first, it simulates, emulates, outperforms, and finally, diminishes the richness of human potential. In response to Altman's frontier of discovery and in the zeitgeist of homogenization, of the decoherence of mind, social fabric, and milieu, in a period of political cruelty, and while Palestinians endure the cybernetics of occupation, we introduce Technotlogy.Imagine Technotlogy as an Operating System that supports collaborative Apps, unlocking the transformative power of art, theory and technology. The apps are aesthetic-political projects that support the expansion of individual and collective agency. Technotlogy is an open system, meaning others may contribute with both the fundamental ideas and apps.
On life, art, technology, diversity, and time
Intro, 10 Concepts, Praxis and Links to the AppsThe essence of technology is not technical (Heidegger, 1954). ‘Gestell’, or enframing, is Heidegger’s term for the way modern technology and science organize and reveal the world, transforming everything into a resource for exploitation and distribution. This framework dictates how entities are perceived and valued, primarily in terms of their utility, leading to the systematic exploitation of resources for human purposes. The ultimate danger of which Heidegger speaks is that Gestell projects itself onto 'human being' itself, onto the essence of humans themselves, a warning that has not stopped the development of AGI. But Heidegger says: "Where danger is, grows also the saving power". Here he refers to art, which withdraws from the rational, scientific and exploitative mentality of Gestell. Art is the saving power, but he again warns, in 1954, that the signs that art is also bent to Gestell have already been observed.To reinstall the transformative power of art against Gestell – art changed over the decades in market, massmedia, spectacle and citymarketing – we reintroduce Joseph Beuys' 'Erweiterte Kunstbegriff' (Extended Concept of Art). By extending the concept of art to include all forms of creative, social, and political engagement, Beuys positioned art as a driving force for societal transformation. This practice is critical, and political, and its mentality opens the potential of art and being an artist in new and unforeseen directions. Technotlogy's extended concept of art is a 'mental, social and environmental sculpture', which resonates with our background as sculptors. Today's predicament, though, need artists rather than artworks, and with artists we mean everybody.In addition, we introduce an 'Extended Technology', an expanded understanding of technology that is pan-ecological and political in fighting the logic behind Gestell as expressed in today's techno dystopia. Technology has become the equivalent and synonym for hyper-capitalism and has lost contact with its roots of techné, of the art of making and craftsmanship, and of the phenomenological depth of matter, body and mind. Extended Art and Extended Technology span Technotlogy.Technotlogy is an OS, an operating system, on which Apps run that focus on the metamorphosis of art and technology, particularly on strengthening individual and collective agency and pan-ecological experiences that are pre-conditional to carry out the metamorphic transformation.First, 10 quotes and concepts with which Technotlogy is spanned, which indicate its urgency and outline the interconnections of the architecture of Technotlogy. After that, the Apps and short descriptions and links. For the concepts, we already started with: The essence of technology is not technical (Heidegger, 1954).1.
"To ask for the origin of life is to ask for the origin of the environment. Living organisms are inscribed in their environments much like patterns woven into a carpet. The two cannot get apart, and yet there seems to be a distinct asymmetry in their relation" (Jesper Hoffmeyer, 1998).2.
Philosophy's engagement with technology, as influential as it essence is unknown and enigmatic, evolved in the 20th century. Despite a wide range of theories, philosophers consistently focus on the one term 'technology.' In fact Aristotle used two terms, poeisis for creating the new, and techné, for the art of making and craftsmanship; we think they were lovers. Although in today's philosophy only 'technology' remained, the interpretations differ significantly. Some, like Marx, the late Heidegger, Ellul, and the Frankfurt School, adopt an ontological perspective, arguing for a metaphysical foundation underlying technology. Others, including the young Heidegger, Derrida, and Stiegler, focusing on 'technical objects,' view technology as an interplay of these objects with human activity and with becoming human. This school views technology as an extension of human capabilities, such as machines extending the body, writing expanding memory, or AI/AGI supporting the mind and replacing creative and productive processes. Underlying the ontologist view and clearly driving the objectivists is the notion capitalism either supplies the transformative energy for Gestell or accelerates each technical invention.It would be an intriguing puzzle if it weren't of the highest urgency to understand what technology 'is,' especially since we find ourselves increasingly enslaved by it. In the context of technology being ontological or functional, one must reflect: who are we, or what have we done, to deserve this?Technotlogy differs from traditional views. It is not just an ontological concept, nor solely functional or limited to the realm of technical objects. Different from all philosophers, and instead of one term, Technotlogy identifies three overlapping strata of technological evolution. The first, BioMilieu Technology, began with the simultaneous birth of life and milieu. The idea of organism that is separated from milieu is not supported by empirical observation, and is a result of supreme ignorance of the human organism, finally led to the rise of capitalism and today's climate crisis. "Darwin proposed a theory of natural selection and evolution in which the unit of survival was either the family line or the species or subspecies or something of the sort. But today it is quite obvious that this is not the unit of survival in the real biological world. The unit of survival is the organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself" (Bateson 1972). The separation between organism and environment also gave rise to the idea that technology is expressed through technical objects. In this view technical objects are needed to complement the organism, leaving the environment out of the equation. Instead, organisms and their environments, born simultaneously, are one, a oneness that is mediated by what we call BioMilieu Technology. A key aspect of BioMilieu Technology is to continuously reconsider what 'relation' means.Technology predates Homo sapiens, emerging when life itself began. 'Being' is like a Möbius Strip, a form with a twist that establishes the asymmetry between inside and outside, a precondition for life and agency to evolve.Humans, as part of life and as living organisms, primarily operate as biomilieu technologists. For example, human language can be considered as highly advanced biomilieu technology given birth to the ecology of the social and the ecology of mind. Even though humans have entered new stages of technology, BioMilieu technology remains foundational.With the advent of agriculture around 12.000 years ago, Homo sapiens began to territorialise, emulating the stationary nature of plant life. This led to a new understanding of being in time and space, differentiating time from space. Henri Bergson's insight that human thought represents itself spatially, while in fact, thought is durational – temporal – indicates a deep schism, with little understanding of how, or even if, the two are related. Based on intuition, we suggest that this new situation of a stationary being in one location instrumentalises space while ritualising temporality.** This period is marked by the optimisation of the human environment – the exploitation of all Umwelten began – and gave rise to 'Gestell', as Heidegger termed it. Gestell, following BioMilieu, is the second layer of technology; a bifurcation, not a replacement. Unfortunately, what began as unity in the first stage evolved into the separation of organism from milieu in the Gestell stage.The birth of Boolean Technology, based on the divisive Boolean Logic resulting in 1 or 0, marks the third layer of technology, further alienating human interactions from the tangible world. These three technological types – BioMilieu, Gestell, and Boolean – are now entangled, leading to today's predicament (Bongers 2022).* The climate crisis is first and foremost an epistemological crisis.
**Peter Sloterdijk's trilogy 'Spheres' does not mention Bergson.3.
The ecology of mind, the ecology of the social, and the ecology of the environment each suffer under capitalism’s excess. The coherence between the three ecologies is broken. The crisis of the social and climate are on today’s agenda, for what its worth; the one most crucial, though, is excluded: the homogenisation of the human mind and the ecology of ideas and thought, the mind without which nothing makes any sense (Gregory Bateson 1972 | Félix Guattari, 1989 | Bongers, 2019).4.
Boolean logic has been diverted from its course. Boolean Logic flipped to the dark side. From Aristotle's early logic to Leibniz’ Universal Language through Claude Shannon's 1937 thesis leading to the transistor, Boolean Logic evolved from a philosophical and mathematical experiment into the foundation of the information age and the DNA of its dystopia. Boolean's fundamental operations–AND, OR, NOT, through intersection, union and complement leading to inclusion, exclusion and negation –cut deeper than the resulting binary division of Boolean True/False, 1 or 0, driving wedges in our relational understanding of the world, our bodies, minds and the fabric of society. This twisted Boolean Logic turned into a divisive logic applied to the various life processes and potential.The operators AND OR NOT serve to simplify all complexity and relationality into unambiguous sameness. The three operators AND OR NOT reinforce a divisive straightjacket that pressures individuals into fixed identities, primed for consumption, stifling the process of 'becoming.' This 'Booleanated' existence—where identities are not fluid but are pressured into being reflects a perversion of Boolean's potential. Such logic, now an instrument of division and reduction, diverges from its hidden potential.At Boolean Works (since 1991) we confront this trajectory. We seek to unravel what it is in the Boolean logic that it, in such a short time, led to a digital dystopia that has infected the mind, the social and the material world. We learned to interpret the Boolean operators AND OR NOT differently: AND as the synthesis within diversity, OR as the expansion within unity, and NOT as the critical edge that fosters, rather than forecloses, transformation. In other words, AND unites amidst diversity, OR diversifies within unity and NOT brings clarity from opposition. TechNOTlogy is a call to recalibrate identity and being, as are the apps ANDsterdam and S.O.O.O.S, to move from a technosphere of divisiveness and stasis, to one of pluralism, variety, vitality, diversity and becoming.5.
It is a paradox that diversity, being a creation of communication, can also be destroyed due to excessive communication. Indeed, communication makes Umwelten more similar to each other. Or, in other words, too much communication can be described as a general reason for many ecological problems that lead to homogenization of the world and loss of diversity. This is the case both in biological communities and in cultures (Kull, 2005, Kull/Maran, 2014).6.
Privare means ‘to rob or deprive’ in Latin. During Roman times, the public space in rural villas dominated the house over the family space. Later, the family ‘robbed’ the public space for private use. A similar robbery of common goods took place in the Industrial Revolution, accelerated by a technical mentality. Just as with Earth's exploitation and the 'privatisation' of human labor, much of Boolean technology has appropriated public resources for private profit. AI/AGI, owned by tech moguls, is harvesting and scraping the ecology of mind, capturing all ideas and thoughts ever published and shared. Data is dead labour. It reflects the same strategy that Silicon Valley capitalists, like Peter Thiel and others, used to harvest the richness and potential of global collective communication—social media—to bend public opinion and politics, homogenising human creativity and vitality into conflict and hate. Privately owned Boolean Technology parasitises on commonly owned energy (Bongers, 1993 - 2023).7.
Entropy (nearly) always increases, complexity comes and goes, and homogeneity and sameness grow under capitalism (Bongers, 2020).8.
The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualization (Foucault, 1977). This anti-fascist call has been undone by Boolean Technology, with its divisive logic. Boolean Technology has provided the group with tools to individualise individuals and has succeeded in erasing the essential rule Foucault offers, thus opening the gates for the herd mentality. Foucault's anti-fascist call is ecosemiotical and corresponds with the biosemioticians Maran, Kull and Hoffmeyer. They all represent the missing link between biology and the humanities.9.
Boolean technology has reshaped our experience of time, giving rise to 'The Three Anxieties of Time', a concept we coined in 2023. Each of these anxieties echoes a fading temporal dimension: of the past, present, and future. Loosing the inner-experience and control over each temporal segment, and over their interrelation, affects – we're not educated psychologists – our Being in Time, bends our conscious and unconscious being and accelerates various cultural processes into alienation and depression. The three modes of time – past, present and future – is essentially a folk concept. Other temporal concepts such as Bergson's 'duration' or 'intuition' and Deleuze's 'quasi-causality' or the future as 'empty time' highlight essential penetrations between the traditionally strict divisions of past, present, and future. Although understanding this temporal complexity is essential to grasp why 'being' dominates over 'becoming' or to appreciate the nuances of Causes after the fact, the clear and distinct segmentation of time into past, present, and future remains predominant.However, it is precisely this deeply ingrained separation between past, present, and future, upon which the narrative nature of art in film and literature is built, and which is connected with 'Being-towards-Death', that these three time-ecstasies (Ger Groot, 2009) have been appropriated by Boolean technology. They have been transformed in such a way that, while initially constituting the temporal essence of human experience, humans have now become dependent on and addicted to them, in fear of losing control and of being itself.Boolean technology demonstrates, through its profound manipulations of the three syntheses, that tech's Business Development often grasps the nature of reality at a more fundamental level, and is therefore able to manipulate its construction, than the reality that is served by biology, social science, economics or psychology. Within three decades news captured the ecology of mind and updates and notifications are as ticks of the clock. The 2011 invention of Facebook's timeline reshaped our mental temporality and the structure and content of social relations, in many aspects. We learned to live along this line, attached to it and never free. The Facebook timeline is a technological concept, an invention that acts like a discovery. As most technical innovations are temporal reversions; they execute their future power in the here and now.The Anxiety of the Past manifests as our personal history being obscured under a barrage of digital data, resonating with Bernard Stiegler's analysis and warnings. Our memories, once vivid and personal, are now submerged in a sea of commodified digital footprints, losing their narrative richness. And as the past, through memory, actualises the present, the Anxiety of the Past affects the here and now.
The Anxiety of the Present is more than digital distraction; it's an existential fear of non-existence, as the relentless digital flow stirs unsettling uncertainty about our ephemeral 'now' and it is leading to an existential version of the Fear Of Missing Out. This unease arises not from the digital content itself but from its ongoing reminder of our transient presence. It's about the existential realisation that comes with the recognition of our own temporality, of Heidegger's 'Being-towards-death', heightened by the digital age's metrum and its ongoing demand for our attention.
The Anxiety of the Future is pivotal. The future is much more than a dwelling for hope and the unknown, in the future time is lost, and 'Time is out of joint'. In the 'third synthesis of time' the future evolves from memory in a 'living present'; living because the present is actualised by the past memory. The future is 'empty time' but it should grow with potential, yet it risks becoming an abyss if not nourished with disparities and unknown relations. But the more homogenised and conflicted our past and present becomes, the more this empty domain, meant to be rich with potentiality, remains barren and cold. Boolean Technology, by imposing a reductive and divisive logic on our experiences, leaves this future void of the diversity necessary for its vibrant actualisation in the present. Needles to say the Anxiety of the Future, created by Boolean Technology, is amplified by the anxieties of climate crisis, an object of Gestell. The two together stay in their marriage from hell as long as individual and collective agency remain surpressed.
As mentioned before, 12.000 years ago the initial split of space and time marked the birth of 'Gestell'. Now, with Boolean Technology on steroids, finally time itself becomes elusive, reshaping our material understanding and our inner-, intra-, inter-, trans- and outeractions as biomilieu technologists. We find ourselves not just cut off and outside any milieu but in a triple-techno-nexus that redefines our existential reality. The ‘Three Anxieties of Time’ reflect a profound shift in our temporal reality as humans. We're not just living in time; we're increasingly losing our temporal agency to the overwhelming influence of Boolean Technology, which commodifies our moments and modes of time, alienating us from the narrativity of our own stories. Technotlogy is our response as an affirmative and pan-temporal practice, while we suffer and contemplate the predicament (Bongers 2023).10.
Technotlogy OS is open, distinct in its openness from the typically closed nature of operating systems. Technotlogy invites contributions to both new Apps and its foundational ideas for a new paradigm of art and technology.
TECHNOTLOGY OS: An operating system connecting aesthetic-political Apps
Technotlogy's architecture resembles the 'iPhone diagram', where the Operating System (OS) and Applications (Apps) are distinct, yet the OS governs and facilitates the Apps. However, unlike digital systems, Technotlogy's OS is grounded in Gilbert Simondon's theory of individuation – the process of becoming – where it's basis is a meta-stable milieu, rich of disparatives and difference, to serve the process of technotlogical metamorphosis. The Apps, aesthetic-political projects, interconnect and inspire, all while being energised by the Technotlogy OS.Technotlogy OS is required in the synthesising of Extended Art and Extended Technology, diverging from traditional forms of technology and art that have forsaken their roles in serving life, thereby impoverishing both the present and future.
Technotlogy Apps (By Boolean Works, open to contributions)
|Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel||Open Municipality for exercising in the Anthropocene, nieuweijssel.nl||2019 -|
|Per~son||Sound, voice, vibration or birds singing. Per~son is a multi-species, political-aesthetic and ‘relative being’. per-soon.nl||2020/2022 -|
|DENKMAL||Public pan-ecological artwork, denkmal.nl||2020-2023 -|
|ANDSTERDAM||Pan-ecological city of Amsterdam, introducing Boolean AND as transformative and uniting. andsterdam.nl||2021 -|
|S.O.O.O.S||Political concept and party restoring the coherence between the three ecologies, sooos.org||2022 -|
|Bosje van Bannink||Pan-ecological act before the event, 1100 piece photo-work, bosjevanbannink.nl||2019 -|
|Trilemma+ Game||How to analyse and redesign the relations and dynamics, the concepts and forces leading to populism and nationalism? Link to diagram of 2021||2013 -|
|Boolean Light||Collection of wall lights. The lights are a new application of the Boolean AND OR NOT operators. ligetti.com||1993 -|
|geeL Leeg||Aesthetic-political cosmology that overcodes capitalism's sameness. On permanent public display and on link. February 2024 the final show.||2011 -|
|Boolean Works||Pan-ecological application of Boolean Logic turned into an aesthetic-political practice. The art, technics and theory of Johannes Bongers. booleanworks.nl||1991 -|
|Fazzination||Horizontal knowledge and ideation platform. A counter-narrative to social media, homogeneity and sameness, Fazzination||2012 - 2020|
|Boolean Park & Proto||Studio for concepting through STIP | PITS | TIPS (Space, Time, Information and People)||2001 - 2009|
Technotlogy offers a relational, aesthetic, and pan-ecological concept of art and technology who were once lovers in poiesis and techné. Technotlogy reintroduces Joseph Beuys' concept of 'Erweiterte Kunst' (Extended Art) fused with an expanded understanding of technology that is ecological, artistic, and political. This fusion of 'Erweiterte Kunst' and Extended Technology counteracts the monotony seeping into the psyche, the ecology of mind, the social and environment and infecting the realm of ideas and knowledge.As someone who is deeply concerned about these issues, I ask you to join the conversation.
Gendringen, The Netherlands,
founder of Technotlogy.com,
artist at Boolean Works (since 1991).
Contact / Keep informed
2023 Technotlogy, DENKMAL, PER-SOON, GROND, SOOOS, ANDSTERDAM, De drie zusters and Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel are initiated by Boolean Works / Stichting Nieuwe IJssel. All rights reserved.
Thanks, have a nice day and keep safe!
We keep you informed on Technotlogy.
2023 Technotlogy, DENKMAL, PER-SOON, GROND, SOOOS, ANDSTERDAM and Gemeente Nieuwe IJssel are initiated by Stichting Nieuwe IJssel / Boolean Works. All rights reserved.