Information Theory  

"The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood" by James Gleick

In this video James Gleick introduces his latest book, 'The information: a history, a theory, a flood' to an audience of people who work at Google. After this brief introduction, follows an interesting discussion between James Gleick and the Google workers about how the worlds  information can be effectively archived, recalled and distributed to everyone. 

Below are some quotes of James Gleick from the video: 

"Information is the modern era's defining quality"

"The alphabet is the founding technology of information"

"The telephone, fax machine, calculator, computer are only the latest innovations in saving, manipulating and communicating information" 

The Rosetta stone

The Rosetta stone is the first example of a translation between different languages. It was a religious text written on a tablet of stone, on it are two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek). 

The Rosetta Stone is written in three scripts because when it was written, there were three scripts being used in Egypt.

The first was hieroglyphic which was the script used for important or religious documents.

The second was demotic which was the common script of Egypt.

The third was Greek which was the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time.

The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said.

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The Rosetta stone is another form of information transfer, which not only transfers information from one language to another  but it was an object which allowed archaeologist to finally understand hieroglyphs and unlock information about life in Ancient Egypt, this is a transfer of information through time. This idea of unlocking information from objects is something that I would want to explore further.

Eduardo Kac

Genesis is a transgenic artwork that explores the intricate relationship between biology, belief systems, information technology, dialogical interaction, ethics, and the Internet. The key element of the work is an "artist's gene", a synthetic gene that was created by Kac by translating a sentence from the biblical book of Genesis into Morse Code, and converting the Morse Code into DNA base pairs according to a conversion principle specially developed by the artist for this work. The sentence reads: "Let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." It was chosen for what it implies about the dubious notion--divinely sanctioned--of humanity's supremacy over nature. Morse code was chosen because, as the first example of the use of radiotelegraphy, it represents the dawn of the information age--the genesis of global communication. The Genesis gene was incorporated into bacteria, which were shown in the gallery. Participants on the Web could turn on an ultraviolet light in the gallery, causing real, biological mutations in the bacteria. This changed the biblical sentence in the bacteria. After the show, the DNA of the bacteria was translated back into Morse code, and then back into English. The mutation that took place in the DNA had changed the original sentence from the Bible. The mutated sentence was posted on the Genesis web site. In the context of the work, the ability to change the sentence is a symbolic gesture: it means that we do not accept its meaning in the form we inherited it, and that new meanings emerge as we seek to change it.

What I like most about this piece is Kac's methodology of putting Information through a certain process which gets manipulated into a different form at each stage. 

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"GFP Bunny" is a transgenic artwork that comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit ("Alba"), the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit. While every past civilization has conceived and celebrated numerous imaginary creatures, never before Alba has an artist imagined a living mammal and then proceeded to make it a reality. Employing molecular biology, Kac combined jellyfish and rabbit DNA to produce a bunny that glows green under blue light. Kac’s art is based on the literal creation of new biological life. Kac explains that transgenic art must be created "with great care and with a commitment to respect, nurture, and love the life thus created." The global resonance of "GFP Bunny" has led Kac to develop a series of works in a variety of media, including drawing, photography, print, painting, sculpture, animation, and digital media.

This piece explores an interesting aspect of information transfer as it is transferring genetic information from one animal to an other to create a new hybrid 'Frankenstein' creature.    

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Eduardo Kac: What if art could truly create biological life?

Information Transfer within the Body

Diagram of the nervous system

Diagram of the endocrine system

Here I have researched various biological systems that exist within the human body. I find it interesting how the body uses different forms of chemical and electrical information transfer, I would like to explore the idea of hacking these networks within the body to control the way the mind and body work. This could be an idea I would possibly like to further explore through performance based body of work. 


Capsula Mundi is a cultural and broad-based project, which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death. It's an egg-shaped pod, an ancient and perfect form, made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones are placed for burial. Ashes will be held in small Capsulas while bodies will be laid down in a fetal position in larger pods. The pod will then be buried as a seed in the earth. A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands, sacred forests.


The Capsula Mundi project roses from a deep examination of the role of designers in our society. 
In a culture far removed from nature, overloaded with objects for the needs of daily life and focused on youth, death is often dealt with as a taboo. 
We believe that this unavoidable passage, so meaningful, is not the end, but the beginning of a way back to nature. 
Inspired by these reflections, we decided to redesign the coffin - an object entirely left out of the design world - using ecological materials, and laic and universal life symbols, such as the egg and the tree.


The biological cycle of transformation is the same for all living beings. It is time for humans to realize our integrated part in nature. Capsula Mundi wants to emphasize that we are a part of Nature’s cycle of transformation. This universal concept goes beyond cultural and religious traditions. Only a tree, a symbol of the connection between the sky and the earth, will mark the resting place of the deceased. As tree after tree is planted, the cemetery will become a forest, free of the architectural motifs that mark today’s memorial grounds. The cemetery will be transformed into a place of nature, one where families can stroll and learn about the natural world, where communities will come together to tend and care for trees. In short, it will become a sacred forest.

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Capsula mundi concept development

TED talks: Capsula mundi

This video shows the two designers of the Capsula mundi explaining their concept. What I find most interesting about their concept was the process of transfer, the idea revolves around the fact that a tree soaks up all of the decomposing nutrients from the deceased person. It is this recycling and transfer of atoms that got me thinking about whether these atoms are carrying information from the deceased person into the tree, does this recycling of atoms scientifically explain reincarnation?

Information Encoding 

Digital binary information

This video explains how information can be transferred into a digital form of bits, a series of 1's and 0's. What intrigues me about this transfer process is how something as complex as an body of text, image or video can all be condensed into such a simple form of only two variants. 

Digital information transferred into DNA

This video explains how digital information can now be stored on DNA protein strands. With this process I am most interested in the transfer that the information goes through, for example visual information is transferred into digital binary information in the form of a video file, then this digital file is transferred into a protein in the form of a DNA strand.    

Ancient Quipus information storage

Quipus, were recording devices used in the region of Andean South America. A quipu usually consisted of colored, spun, and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair. The Inca used the system to keep records. The cords contained numeric and other information encoded by knots in a base ten positional system. The image below explains how the knots worked...