Fraser Nangle is an Interaction Designer with a particular interest in exploring the complex systems and fundamental rules that define our reality. Drawing from various theological, scientific, and philosophical influences, he has created a body of work that seeks to raise questions about the nature of humanity, and the physical world in general, as an interconnected, integrated system. By developing an array of dynamic, procedural ecosystemic simulations, he explores the consciousness of integrated systems, the nature of human systemic growth, and the fundamental rules that define creation.
Growth In Motion
All living organisms, from bacteria, to trees, to mammals and more, are kinds of variably complex integrated systems, because each of the living cells in their bodies and brains are interconnected. These integrated systems grow and develop through a constant competition, with often invisible rules. One might even say that dynamic entities like cities, oceans, and perhaps the globe, are massively complex integrated systems, with consciousnesses comparable to that of the living.
This work aimed to explore the questions:
Are integrated systems conscious?
Is human civilization built like an integrated system and therefore, to some extent, collectively conscious?
And if yes, is a human integrated system conscious enough to tackle the potentially catastrophic consequences of its own growth?
Growth in motion is an ecosystemic simulation, driven by miniscule predators that compete to eat prey. With this I wanted to create a single, integrated organism, that would grow and evolve under invisible rules. This self-perpetuating ecosystem aims to explore the mathematical, fundamental truths that drive natural growth, while also evoking thought regarding consciousness and the ‘life’ of integrated systems in a resource limited environment.
Superorganism (Life After Logos)
Can an integrated system of sufficient complexity be considered conscious?
Can it exhibit free will?
In mathematics, we fundamentally understand that two and two equals four – the rational world would cease to exist without this as incontrovertible fact – but why does two and two equal four? We know that two and two must always equal four, or that one and one must equal two and so on, because we can see and experience empirical evidence of this at every moment of our lives, but what makes it so? Logos is a word used to describe this incomprehensible rational phenomenon that decides these laws of creation. Logos means, in short, the origin of all things in the physical world.
Michelangelo’s piece The Creation of Adam famously explored Logos. A depiction of God and man can be seen reaching out to one another – but not quite touching – perhaps symbolising the human inability to truly reach the divine, and to truly ‘touch’ Logos and original creation. I played on this idea by outputting my work to a touchscreen display. In Michelangelo’s fresco, God creates Adam with a touch. In my work, the user creates an integrated system with a touch, and watches as it develops, almost with a will of its own, across the screen.
With this work I invite the user to enact a very primitive version of universal Logos, in that they touch to plant the seed of creation that will develop into a complex integrated system.