Sunday, October 18, 2009

Posting the first (and far from final) draft of a (collaborative) piece

This whole idea started from when I was in the royal garden of Vienna. :) Now I hope posting it here will generate enough interest that people will come back to me with kick-ass comments. I think the whole idea of secrecy over the most basic issues (rather than sensitive information) is more or less a thing of the past. But be reminded that this posting below does not represent what will be the eventual outcome of the project. If anyone know of similar work done (I know already of Logicomix so no need to point that my way) in other fields or areas, please let me know! :) Thank you.
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ABSTRACT FOR A CRITICAL STORYBOARD OF A GRAPHIC NOVEL
The purpose of this project is to attempt a study of the history of consciousness; a project that tries to explore blackbox of causation and origins of consciousness by approaching it from outside-in, through the objects of knowledge and epistemological production. The reason for doing so is because the very ambivalent nature of the field of consciousness, and its undetermined origins, as well as the indeterminacy of its various manifestations, means that there is no one methodology by which one can conduct an experiment to prove the very location of its existence of meaning directly, in the same way that one could not determine the separableness of more than one entangled elements. In order to narrow down the focus from where I could begin my exploration, I have decided to concentrate on the field of abstract knowledge, particularly on mathematical-physics. At the moment, my theoretical tool is phenomenology and a little Latourian, and it is in the use of this tool that I will also be expanding on the possibilities of phenomenology as I perform thought experiments to elucidate some of the ‘mysteries’ of knowledge production. I am convinced that one of the best way to begin this project is to use the narrative style to explore the different strands of thoughts, analysis and possibilities because it could help systematically organize the attempt of charting and analyzing the non-linear, not-always cumulative, and episodic movement of the various interactions between the knowledge producer as well as the human and non-human agents. Moreover, the narrative style allows me to set up a blueprint that allows this project to develop and expand; building from a more static exploration, critique and analysis in the form of a graphic novel and I have expectations of it ending up as an interactive database connected to a RPG kingdom that will allow the users (and creators of the gaming tool) to actively input data, participate in the progress, track the movements and even model the kind of knowledge that is a result of both the gaming engine’s and database’s agency and decision-making modeled perhaps on real-time, real-world and world-information systems. What I am inevitably simulating is a blackbox model. And the blackbox of epistemology/consciousness will be the main protagonist of the graphic novel.

In mapping the topography and storyboard for this graphic novel, I have chosen to work on the Large Hadron Collider as the originating protagonist for this graphic novel project because
• of its position as a non-human agential knowledge producer;
• as a way of taking an object that seems ahistorical and ‘asexual’ in its very existence and then chart its entanglement not only with the various other machines and computers that are wired to its leviathanic body;
• the interaction between its human interactors and the many facets of the LHC’s body that spans geographical regions.

While I am interested in the very proof and epistemology that informs quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics, gauge field, high energy physics, general relativity, topology, number theory, and non-linear algebra, for example, I am also interested to trace the movement of raw data as it undergoes the transformative process from the time it is generated, the various levels of mediation in which it undergoes, the forms of mediation it undergoes as it transforms from incomprehensible numbers to summarized and detailed reports, how it goes from data-tranforming into knowledge-transforming into epistemology is worked out as they traverse the interfasiology of humans and machines/computers.

What I intend to do for this class is to create a storyboard that will be basis from which I will be crafting a graphic novel that is based on the history of ideas as well as the critique of the history of ideas, taking the Large Hadron Collider as its main but not only protagonist, though the mostly invisible and primary protagonist is the consciousness/epistemology blackbox itself. The story will be moving like a network of discourses, moving along parallel to each other and intersecting at different nodes. The main plots which I will be tracing are:

Prologue
The brief, highly summarized version of the history of epistemology (by tracing its consciousness) of mathematics and the physical sciences as we know thus far, may be a slight diversion to ethnomathematics (science) and the meaning of that. It may mean tracing the way knowledge has grown from the earliest known civilization, both well-known and lesser-known. May also try to trace how and why the ‘physical’ is also ‘mathematical’

The Macropicture
The Large Hadron Collider as a knowledge producing machine. There will be a narration of its politics, its mechanics, its physics, engineering and the social scientific milieu in which in inhabits. Throughout my narration of this piece, I will be following the path of the data undergoing its transformative process from the time in which plans were made to build the LHC, to the time when the LHC is constructed, to the time when it was first powered up. I will be looking at the various disciplinary epistemologies already in existence that went into its construction, management, and use. If possible, I will like to trace the microhistories of each of these epistemes.

The Micropicture
1.a. The LHC interfacing with other computers that collects, accumulates and ‘plays’ with the data (the term ‘play’ here will require more explication later but for now, it is meant to explain the ludic process of knowledge-making).
b. The various mediations the computers go through to mediate the data that has been passed on to them by the LHC.

2. a. The humans as they worked with the epistemology that went into the
building of the LHC and how they then try to interpret the raw data produced (based on existing theoretical models and also the fact that LHC has not successfully produced any Higgs Boson; it has only successfully circulated proton beams). Also the interactions between scientists in the knowledge production process.
b. The humans as they interact with the computers and the LHC as they
collect the data and the mediated results for further fine-grained
interpretation.

Epilogue
Thought experiments – how can one conduct thought experiments with machines, and also the epistemological/ontological processes involved in the conducting of the thought experiments. For this project, I plan to draw out a series of thought experiments (whether done by way of videos, models or visualizations) that are involved in the production of the LHC and the vision behind the production of knowledge from within and without the LHC.

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