the wandering ant II

Relations and positions in a connected world.



Leadership Zone: Bioteams treat every team member as a leader

RULE1: Stop Controlling
Communicate information not orders
: Team Intelligence
Mobilise everyone to look for and manage team threats and opportunities
RULE3: Permission Granted
Achieve accountability through transparency not permission

Connectivity Zone: Bioteams connect the team members, partners and networks

RULE4: Always On
Provide 24*7 instant “in-situ” message hotlines for all team members
RULE5: Symbiosis
Treat external partners as fully trusted team members
RULE6: Cluster
Nurture the team’s internal and external networks and connections

Execution Zone: Bioteams experiment, co-operate and learn

RULE7: Swarm
Develop consistent autonomous team member behaviors
RULE8: Tit-for-Tat
Teach team members effective biological personal co-operation strategies
RULE9: Genetic Algorithms
Learn through experimentation, mutation and team review

Organisation Zone: Bioteams establish sustainable self-organisation

RULE10: Autopoiesis (aka "Self-Organising Networks")
Define the team in terms of ‘network transformations’ – not outputs
RULE11: Porous Membranes
Develop team boundaries which are open to energy but closed to waste
RULE12: Emerge
Scale naturally through nature’s universal growth and decay cycles


Thursday 11th June 2009, 6pm - 8pm
Seminar Rooms, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths, London UK
Free, all welcome.

With: Annie Abrahams and Ajaykumar
Chair: Ruth Catlow, Furtherfield

We walk on a path, which has innumerable junctions. Wherever one goes, everywhere there are abysses on the sides. It is at the same time alarming and promising to know that nothing will ever repeat, that all will be always different. We are all alone, really alone. There is nobody who follows the same road. Whatever your choices at junctions, never you can approach the other. A few moments ago this foreigner was near and already he is out of sight. Or he is beside you for a very long time and suddenly changes direction at an always-unforeseen moment.
You are on an unpredictable journey in an infinite network. Invisibly your route depends on that of the others and the other way around. Each one of your choices influences the whole network. Each thing you do or say changes the circumstances and thus the possible choices of the others.
But what you think remains yours. In your brain the processes develop according to a system with the similar peaks and abysses. Your thoughts seek a road between order and chaos. You travel in pursuit of new sights for which your co-travellers in reality deliver the conditions. And if you want to pass something from your intimate space to the others, it is necessary to repeat it a thousand times and still you will risk not to be understood. By repetition you can increase the chance that your choice will sound as far as the borders of the network, but you also risk toppling over the landscape (previously filled with surprises) into a monotonous desert. Annie Abrahams 93/94

"The future of the internet is in the hands of the users. It is through them that the internet can grow, it is only by their "clicks" and "clacs" that one can earn money on the internet. The users are also those who are building alternatives to proprietary softwares. They write blogs, create wikis and transform information sources. The internet parasites these users, it feeds on them, it tries to phagocyte them by proposing behavioral molds such as Myspace or Facebook that make them harmless by encapsulating them. The internet uses their loneliness, their need for recognition and fame.
I see all these users as living in their own bubble, in a sort of foam where everything is moving, where the exchange surfaces, in contact with other bubbles, are porous and let in some information but not other. Conglomerates form and disintegrate according to the requirements of the moment. It is not the image of an internet where everything is connected by lines, but, I believe, the image of a fragile foam that reflects best our current situation. We should come out of our bubble to deal with the medium in which this foam will have to continue to exist. We should always leave our bubble." Annie Abrahams 2009, Unpublished interview.




The wandering ant II. Relations and positions in a connected world.

Why this title?

In May 2008 I was invited by InternetMonAmour to be on a panel called "Survival kit in a p2p world" together with Alain Prochiantz, a French neurobiologist and Michel Bauwens the president of the international p2p foundation.
We were supposed to talk about p2p, non hiearichal structures for the internet, What does that mean? Being allergic to utopias - past 68, university, no dostojevski- I asked myself: Is it even something I want? Being also a biologist, doctorate in 1980, I wondered what kind of society this horizontal society would be, and I thought about ants and bees.

Do I want an internet that feels like an ant's colony or a beehive?

Are the relations in an ant colony peer to peer?

Can one be free in an ant colony?

If the video on ted doesn't load please try the youtube version or watch the video on its origional location.

Armed with a backhoe and a handful of markers, Deborah Gordon studies ant colonies in the Arizona desert. She asks: How do these chitinous creatures get down to business -- and even multitask when they need to -- with no language, memory or visible leadership? Her answers could lead to a better understanding of all complex systems, from the brain to the Web.

No center that controls, roles defined by age and environment, chance included, the structure; the anthill is a real actor in the life of an ant, auto-organisation, communication through environmental changes using chemicals, sounds, the tactile, the visual.
What I like in the metaphor of the anthill is that the colony needs wandering ants to be able to survive and that 50% of the ants do not do anything at all.

The wandering ant is the one who refuses to follow the rules of the ant colony and at the same time makes survival of the ant colony possible. The wandering ant could also be a metaphore for the artist.
"a much-used metaphor for metaphors is that they are searchlights that generate highlights as well as blind spots" Cor van der Weele "Moral agendas for genomics: how to find the blind spots?"


Bodily presence absence manifestation of network emotion needs body processes

Identity perception

No meta-language for online experiences

Relational dynamics in a dispersed group. How do we do this? What limits us? How to articulate individual goals with common ones? What about our desires, hate and anger? How to handle our hormones?

Huis Clos / No Exit, a research project trying to answer some questions about our possibilities of being together and collaborating in a networked environment.
Shifts, interruptions, cuts, flux variations, temporary vacuums and coding errors in and between the images, are the aesthetic materials of a performance that will translate the possibilities and the limits of our capacities to be together in a cyberized environment.

"one the puppet of the other" (8.30) "we tend more and more to live in our own bubble, our own sphere, without need for the other, by forming a couple with our virtual doubles."
The internet = a public space of solitude, where we are meeting the imagined other not the real one.

A fragmented relation. (9.44)Two images, two voices answer oneanother, they get lost, they search, they look for the other.
During machine mediated communication, is the other most present when nothing happens, when at least I think of him, her, the other? A webcam mediated conversation treated to reveal the significance of void in regular human intercourse.

I only have my name IRC project 1999 . Normal aspects of subjectivity, such as personality and opinions, become neutralized in many online venues?

Are we going for a society where identity isn't important, where shifting roles are what determines us?
Am I already living in an ant colony?

? from auto meditation to auto mediation ?
? constructing together instead of communicating ?

The Big Kiss, a performance that points to changes in behaviour due to machine mediation.

Machine mediation : collective writing experiments : results??? , not literature, not poetry, nothing conventional, new language of the multitude, still to be developed, certainly not judged. Madness / Folie

Breaking Solitude and Double Bind performances.

School children don't have the same brain as I have and as have their educators. A big educational gap.


all you say makes me move further away from you
each word, each phrase, each expression in code, whatever sort of, determines you and makes you more an object, more easy to handle, and thus out of reach
- anyway you never say what I want you to say -
- you never understand me -
is it necessary to turn into a state anterior to speech to find this other person that touches us

I do not want anyone to touch my physical integrity.
My skin is my limit.
All that I can say belongs to the social domain, so also belongs to you. All that is text, image or sign doesn't belong to me and I do not feel the need to protect it. All Internet is an extension of my brain. My brain is over there.
I am wrong to think thus.
How to protect my body from the abuse I inflict on it.

Every survival kit needs a relaxing tool:
Separation :

Loss of ones self. The common divider of a stay in a psychiatric hospital and the family is playing cards.
"There, where there are only rules and where standards don't exist, I was happy playing carts." The urgent hospitalisation in a psychiatric department was the result of RSI problems, not recognized by the medical corpus, due to excessive working with a computer. Green oaks. video DVD. 5 min.


To develop strategies of diversion, of protection, of sheltering, of underground revolt and living, acquire eel or wandering ant properties.

Annie Abrahams articles, biographie etc. et
Overview in French:


- In order to continue to exist a structure must be nourished - so, it's members become its slaves? No, it's all a question of numbers.
- Niklas Luhmann Maturana Varela
- "a person is not simply the expression of an eternal immutable state, but rather is the point where discursive threads converge" Davin Heckman Ctheory
- Donna Haraway Technology is not neutral. We're inside of what we make, and it's inside of us. We're living in a world of connections — and it matters which ones get made and unmade. […] this metaphoric realism — or cyborg surrealism — is the excessive space of technoscience — a world whose grammar we may be inside of but where we may, and can, both embody and exceed its representations and blast its syntax.
- " I come into the world when my unfinished being meets this complex of external scriptures which can function as a possible complement to a genetic program that I did not follow till the end, to a Law from which I escaped " Quotation of "La génisse et le pythagoricien" , Jean-François Peyret and Alain Prochiantz. pg 158. Notes volées chez Dany-Robert Dufour. (Translation Annie Abrahams)
- interviews Annie Abrahams for P2P[iece] for Postartum gallery ,
pavu: The misunderstanding issue flies over all your projects. Does this mean we should all be cautious with vegetarian diets and density variables ?
Annie: No, not at all, misunderstanding is fundamental of human beings. We cannot read another's brain. We are like submarines progressing by the information of our own internal monitors but unable to see what is really going on. In every tentative to understand another human being, we have to let in unknown information, that has the potential to destabilize us. That's dangerous, and so most human beings prefer a misunderstanding attitude over an understanding one.
- Constantly more information, always more? How to find my way? I get lost as always:. news series.2