Conceived and developed across continents, Degenerative Cultures began with this question: how can we push the relationship between human beings and nature and cross the different systems of communication inherent in technology and nature? Degenerative Cultures creates a biological-technological network in which living microorganisms, digital networks and artificial intelligence work together. Replicating the logic of so-called “intelligent” microorganisms, the artists blur the limits between biological and artificial intelligence. Mapping and corrupting the predatory knowledge frameworks that have consistently driven how humanity deals with nature, the goal is to learn from the bhiobrid (bio-digital hybrid) interactions across biological, social and technical networks.
In the interactive installation, physical books are used as the substrates for fungi. The text is destroyed in a physical sense, and this destruction is visible through the disappearance of legible text on the surface of the pages. The A.I. component analyzes the living microorganisms’ growth and feeds an algorithm linked to cellular automata and natural language analysis. This bio-digital agent searches the Internet and builds a database of texts on humanity’s efforts to control nature. Just as the physical book is consumed by the microbiological culture, the digital database is corrupted by the degenerative algorithm. Readouts from the consumption of the physical book and the digital database are visible in the Twitter feed of @HelloFungus and printed out onsite on a thermal printer.
The resulting Internet communications and database corruption are directed by microorganisms. In the process, different types of knowledge systems become crossed – the human knowledge embedded in books that discuss humanity’s relationship to nature, human technological systems for communication of similar concepts, and nature’s knowledge inherent in the organic growth patterns of the living things around us.