Performative Apparatus and Diffractive Practices: An Account of Artificial Life Art

Prophet, Jane and Pritchard, Helen. 2015. Performative Apparatus and Diffractive Practices: An Account of Artificial Life Art. Artificial Life, 21(3), pp. 332-343. ISSN 1064-5462 [Article]


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Abstract or Description

Drawing on our own art/science practices and a
series of interviews with artificial life practitioners, we explore the
entanglement of developments at the artistic edges of artificial life.
We start by defining key terms from Karen Baradʼs agential realism.
We then diffractively read artificial life together with agential realism
to discuss the potential for interventions in the field. Through a
discussion of artificial life computer simulations, ideas of agency
are problematized, and artificial lifeʼs single purposeful actor, the
agent, is replaced by agential, an adjective denoting a relationship rather
than a subject-object duality. We then seek to reinterpret the
difficult-to-define term “emergence.” Agency in artificial life emerges
through what Barad calls entanglement, in this case between observers
and their apparatus, a perpetual engagement between observations
of a system and their interpretations. The article explores the
differences that this diffractive perspective makes to artificial life
and accounts of its materialization.

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July 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

23 Mar 2016 08:48

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:16

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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