Monday, January 28, 2008

Ongoing Call

This is an ongoing open call for net based art regarding the topic of complexity. This blog will showcase the ongoing submissions continually. Some entries already posted are given as examples. Please submit writing through email and visuals as either jpeg, gif, wmv, or mov files to

"Complexity" has been selected to become part of the JavaMuseum "a+b=ba? [art + blog = blog art?]" exhibition where you can find more information and netbased art.

Richard Jochum

"Simplicity and Complexity" - A Call to Our Children by Or-Om

Dear children!

The virtual Group Or-Om tries since more than 20 years to explain some child's play basics about the relationship between simplicity and complexity to scientists, mathematicians and logicians. Without any success!

Please respond to our open call - here - and examine our thoughts. You are our last hope! It is up to you to take over the torch of these basics into a new century!

Group Or-Om

More information
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Complexity in Cell Biology

Fighting Complexity

Cell biologists aim to understand the cell as the smallest unit of life. Each cell in our body contains about 30,000 different genes that code for many more different proteins. Most of these proteins exist in numerous copies within the same cell. We assume that each type of protein has at least one, but most likely several, specific cellular functions. Cell biologists aim to discover these functions by asking: "Which protein does what and how do all these proteins work in concert to regulate the cell as part of the organism?"

One important tool to find the function of a protein is to visualize its location in the context of the overwhelming complexity of a single cell. This can be done by using 'antibodies', sensor proteins that bind only to a very distinct target within the total protein population. Specific antibodies are the 'prime weapon' of the cell biologists to 'fight the cellular complexity' by visually isolating only a tiny subset of proteins. This helps to study their function inside the crowded environment of a cell.

'Cell Portraits' displays images that have been created by using specific antibodies against cellular structures, including the cytoskeletal network (filamentous structures), the cell-to-cell contacts (peripheral dotty lines) and the DNA in the nucleus (egg shaped center of the cell).

Jan Schmoranzer is a cell biologist and physicist at Gunderson Lab, Columbia University

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Complexity in Art

The subject is complexity. In November 2006 I gave a keynote lecture "Managing Complexity" at an annual meeting of financial controllers in Vienna. While I was asked to speak about the topic from a historical, philosophical, and scientific background, I promised to showcase some of my art work in so far as it relates to the theme. The following three examples serve as the first posts here and they portray some of my thoughts on it. You are invited to offer your comments to continue and enrich the dialog.

Richard Jochum

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Watch the Video

The Video "Halt" shows what might happen if we are not able to understand or manage complexity successfully. If we mistake the part of a tree upon which we are sitting with the activity that we are involved with, we might very well end up cutting off that branch.

The Threshold as a Swing

Installation, New York 2005

The installation piece "Threshold as a Swing" reproduces a wooden threshold that is hung into a space 2 inches above ground while swinging back and forth, swaying to and fro, marking the space in between spaces and traversing from one to another. Complexity deals with multitudes and duplication, with a situation that has gotten too difficult to be defined by only one scheme, one algorithm, or one set of rules.

Appreciation of Problems

Book-object, Vienna 1992, edition of 23 books

To see the animated gif, click either the image or the Link.

The booklet "Problembewusstsein" [Appreciation of Problems] tells the story of complexity as it applies to our being in the world. It originally serves as a handout for a course in political science dealing with international policy making and development theories. I found it unbelievable that each of us knows of the world's worst problems (starving, HIV, growth of population, global warming, man made epidemics, natural disasters, etc.) while not doing much against it. Knowing and doing seem to correspond little to each other. That might not be a big problem as long as everybody takes care of his or her private business and as long as these local businesses are not connected among each other, but sustainable and self-sufficient. It may be fatal yet, in case they would be related, connected, interrelated with each other, and have a global extension.