Reality Break
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Reality Break

A dozen artists and scientists (more or less) co-located in a bubble of gently tectonic oddness. For me, it was a necessarily selfish disentanglement from the daily non-routine of MadLab to start work on the Institute of Unknown Purpose (IoUP)—a bricks-and-mortar "center for the narrowly improbable," the plans for which emerged from a chance encounter with IoUP co-pilot (and former Delirean) James Crutchfield at the 2015 NAKFI art-science innovation conference.

For an organization that is intended to serve, in the words of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, as "a means of perfection for arts and sciences" [1], what better starting point than this glorious menagerie of molecules? It was the perfect backdrop for malevolent basilisks and nano-actuators; entomologic super-enhancement and robotic megapocalypse; deep learning and the synthetically pseudo-learned; cantankerous syncretisms; and binary beneficence and irascible viscera.

Compasses have been calibrated. Collaborations are coagulating and new trajectories set. A course is plotted for the farthest reaches of humanity. Let us go forth into the unknown once more!

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Asa Calow, Output from the Bostromorph, a nonsentient AI endlessly theorizing about its future sentient self, screenshot, 2016. (© Asa Calow)

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Asa Calow, view from the living quarters, photo, 2016. (© Asa Calow)

Asa Calow
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