Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta

Systems and Evolution: Propositions for the Future of Biocultural Theory
Event Hours: 28/09/2023 (10:15)
Location: Concert Hall [H]
Erik Zepka
Keywords: systems, biology, complexity, ecology, culture

This paper will propose a biocultural theory with two key elements: the first, a biotechnical one, will focus on culture and creation from a biological perspective. The second, a cognitive systemic one, will look at the same from a complex mathematical view. We can call these elements simply 1. evolution and 2. systems. In both elements we will explore thinkers that vary in their tendency towards experiential or empirical thought, and technological or rational approaches. In the case of evolution, empirical skeptics such as Foucault, Haraway and Kuhn will be surveyed, while rational and creative thinkers such as Heyes, Henrich and Dennett will follow. In the systems perspectives, those who build models for experience and perception such as Ogas, Varela and Sejnowski will be analyzed, while the more technological focus of West, Watts, and Arthur will conclude the section. For both elements (evolution and systems), those who have assembled aesthetic theories from these vantage points will then be discussed - again representing a more biological slant in the first case (ie. Fuentes, Gottschall, Kirksey), and more cognitive and systemic views in the second (ie. Chatterjee, Ramachandran, Kandel). The essay will conclude with an analysis of example data from rarefied and common culture to view how explanatory and fruitful the theoretical framework might be.

Erik Zepka

Erik Zepka is a scientist and theorist with expertise in biology, computer science, creativity and technological culture. He is currently engaged in Covid research at the University of Barcelona. He has presented his work globally whether as scientist (Tongji University, Engineers.SG, MIT, Curiosity Collider, Innovation Labs @ Microsoft, New York University, DeTao Institute), theorist (Furtherfield, Publication Studio, V&A Museum, Transfer Gallery, Pearl Art Museum, VIVO Press), or interdisciplinary researcher (Simon Fraser University, Tate Modern, University of Victoria, Shanghaitech, The Whitney Museum, MLA Conference). He is the founding president of the Open Science Network and the founder of the international research organization XOX Labs.


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