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The info behind the info

For me, this year has been a journey into the fantastic world of video games, a tower I had to climb in order to reach its window and see the big picture. Each step accompanied by awe, curiosity and passion as the traditional artist entered the digital galaxy. Guess what?! Art is universal and it CAN be developed and brought to light traditionally as well as digitally, without altering one another as most of the painters say. Human beings are in continuum transformation. Why would we be so scared of the possibilities that technology gives us? Remember, traditional artists all around the world, if the technology of oil paint wouldn`t have been discovered in time for Van Gogh`s genius, we would have one less brilliant man in our art history books.

Another kind of definition

Wikipedia says that “a video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device”. I would say that this definition is only 0,1% of what a video game really represents or… perhaps less. I would say that a video game is the marriage of science and art. A virtual lucid dream. The two sides of the coin, seen both at the same time.

Jason Silva interview

Being fascinated by everything the scientific world has to offer these days, I just had to bring to your attention a fascinating mind, a charismatic smile and the most optimistic technology lover: Jason Silva. As many of you know, Jason Silva is the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic Channel`s #1 rated and Emmy-nominated series, Brain Games, seen in over 100 countries. Modern performance philosopher, curator of ideas, inspiration and awe, Jason takes the breath away with his cinematic espresso “Shots of awe”. He reminds us what a wonder we are and how we should “wake up” and open our eyes to see what`s out there inside/out of/for us by exploring creativity, innovation, the co-evolution of human and technology, metaphysics, existentialism and the human condition. “The Timothy Leary of the Viral Age” – as being described by The Atlantic, Jason Silva and I talked in a short interview about our favorite subjects: human beings, science, art and the what`s mixing them altogether - videogames.

As an artist, I loved your question about biotechnology: “What`s gonna happen when biology becomes the new canvas for our genius, when it becomes the new canvas for our creativity and self expression?” I am a curious human being, in permanent need of the awe factor and I absolutely loved how Freeman Doyle said: “Life – what a concept!”

Q.: How do you see human life nowadays when technology is the secret ingredient to experiencing our capacities and dissolve our time and space limitations?

Jason Silva: “I believe humans are a biological-technological hybrid, we are a dance between two extropic forces: life, which moves towards greater complexity and organization, and technology, which also moves in this direction. Together, biological evolution in tandem with what Kevin Kelly calls 'The Technium' are raging against the darkness we call entropy. The goal of humanity was made clear by Terence McKenna: to turn ourselves inside out. To ACTUALIZE the imagination. “

You love art, the poetical and sensitive part of us and yet adore IT and AI. People usually choose one as predominant.

Q.: How do you see them merge when the majority thinks these two cannot exist together? Did Hollywood distort our vision, making us look only one way with all the cyborgs movies where cyborgs are more iron than men? Men as in human, soft, sensitive, emotional, creative beings.

Jason Silva: “Leonard Shlein's great book 'Art and Science' married these two worlds: the best thinking comes from being able to converge art and science. No doubt about it!”

Jason Silva on video games

Video games. As a 2D and 3D concept artist, a videogame is a fascinating world where I can breed awe inside my mind and where my inspiration goes wild, placing new puzzle pieces on the table. While in my flow state, hundreds of ideas come in front of my eyes as images and everything else disappears. Hundreds of pre-non-existent flashes as I call them, just like a really fast download. I actually see how that video game character is going to look like and feel it already alive and I could use an apparatus to connect my brain to just download them.

Q.: How do you see the gaming world and where do you think it`s going? Think from the science + art = awe perspective.

Jason Silva: “Games are portals to another world. They are "real virtualities", like films, mediated dreamscapes, with grids and rules, with certain constraints that add to the gameplay. They are immersive technologies, the mediate attention and awareness with the goal of achieving PRESENCE, full immersion. ”

According to recent NPD Group figures there are approximately 100 million current-generation gaming devices in the U.S. market. Playing video games in 3D makes the player feel like part of the action. “As the technology in video games improves, it has the ability to have stronger effects on players.” – Brad Bushman There are two sides here: the ones that approve that video games help evolution by increasing brain size and connectivity and the others that completely disagree.

In a new study, neuroscientists have found that video gaming can have therapeutic cognitive benefits. Neurogenesis and neuroplasticity improvements were observed in the right hippocampus, cerebellum and the right prefrontal cortex. These brain regions are involved in functions such as memory formation, spatial navigation, fine motor skills of the hands and strategic planning. Increasingly, the level of connectivity between brain areas is being linked to higher intelligence and consciousness.

In 2010 Richard Davidson - William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at University of Wisconsin-Madison - challenged video game manufacturers to develop games that emphasize kindness and compassion instead of violence and aggression. "Mindfulness, because it cultivates the capacity to regulate attention, which is the building block for all kinds of learning; and kindness, because the ability to cooperate is important for everything that has to do with success in life, team-building, leadership, and so forth" Davidson explains. This reveals the “human” side of video games.

Q.: What`s your say in these matters? Could video games speed up our development or are they just another type of entertainment? Could they be a portal for the creative people to create even more brilliant things and help everyone become a better version? Will the son (technology) teach it`s father (us) new and better ways, motivating us to be how we were created...perfection?

Jason Silva: “I think games could be leveraged in all sorts of positive ways. We know for a fact that brain regions are stimulated by games, problem solving and strategy are catalyzed during gameplay... Engagement erupts!. All good features that can be leveraged for good. ;). That's why GAMIFICATION became a buzz word. ;)"

More brilliant ideas shared by Jason in his philosophical espresso Shots of Awe:

Virtual Reality: Turning Our Minds Inside Out

Published on Sep 23, 2014
“Our destiny is to become what we think, to have our thoughts become our bodies and our bodies become our thoughts.” - Terence McKenna

Actualizing The Human Imagination

Published on Nov 18, 2014
“Life is purposeful, death is optional, God is technological and love is essential” - Terasem philosophy

The Ecstasy of Art

"The artist takes in the world, but instead of being oppressed by it, he reworks it in his own personality and recreates it in the work of art." -Ernest Becker

Jason Silva on BRAIN GAMES

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