Reducible Complexity (2013)
Duration: 5:00 seamless loop
The phrase “Irreducible Complexity” refers to a “single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning” (Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, 1996). Pseudo-scientific jargon invented by proponents of intelligent design, used to try and dispute Darwinian evolution by natural selection. They often use the ‘eye’ as an example of a so-called ‘irreducibly complex system’, one that apparently could not have evolved through small incremental changes, as they claim ‘you cannot have half of an eye, as what good would that be’. The natural world however, is already full of examples of all stages of eye evolution, ranging from simple light reactive photocells, to multiple different implementations of complex eye mechanisms – also an indication of convergent evolution.
“Reducible Complexity” is part of a series of works that challenge ‘irreducible complexity’, exploring the emergence of complex systems and behaviour through the interaction of multiple simpler processes, incremental updates and “numerous, successive, slight modifications” (Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859). It is also inspired by people’s uncompromising obsession to abandon reason and evidence, conjure up stories and adopt pseudo-scientific, ‘rational sounding’ alternative theories just to be able to reconcile observations with their faith, and maintain room in the world for their god.
A realtime online version (webgl) was part of
The Wrong – New Digital Art Biennale, Wilderness of Mirrors Pavillion, 2013. It can be found at http://memo.tv/storage/thewrong2013/ (requires webgl enabled browser and a powerful graphics card).