In these cinematic worlds, matter, fluids, storms and physical transmutations no longer merely provide a dramatic backdrop for the narration of social events; they have moved to the fore to play a leading role. In this major figure-ground shift, one particularly urgent question has emerged: how to reframe the relationship between the artist-author and the nonhuman world? To address the full biocultural spectrum, I introduced a mediator: the pivotal figure of a scientist, who goes to the field and whose purpose it is to transport and amplify these reflections. In addition to the camera as my instrument for intentional observation, I began to use other scientific tools and forms of mediation to interact with the particularities of the site. Performances of scientists in the field turned out to be an effective aesthetic strategy for imbuing landscapes with the meaning-making of nonhuman actants.
The objective of image and meaning making, as I practice them, is not to influence or critique the opinion of others; rather, it is in and of itself an act of generating reality. The making of these visual worlds and their subsequent encounters with other minds already unfold their full potential in the material world. Critical intention cannot effectively engage in this mattering process. By focusing its attention on what is unwanted, critique sends conflicting signals to the materialization process and results in neutralizing it. Worse still, it supports those undesirable tendencies in their mattering by measuring, qualifying, recording, documenting, publishing, and hence drawing all this instrumental attention to them. Meanwhile, the technical instruments that are employed in these procedures, whether they are an artistic or scientific kind, empower and magnify materialization processes further. Only clear and affirmative intention has the ability to manifest effectively.
On virus modeling: We have enough problems simply keeping up with the current flu outbreaks — and now with Ebola — without scientists creating incredibly deadly new viruses that might accidentally escape their labs.” David Relman of Stanford Medical School said, “It is unethical to place so many members of the public at risk and then consult only scientists — or, even worse, just a small subset of scientists — and exclude others from the decision-making and oversight process.” Richard Ebright wrote that creating and evaluating new threats very seldom increases security: “Doing so in biology — where the number of potential threats is nearly infinite, and where the asymmetry between the ease of creating threats and the difficulty of addressing threats is nearly absolute — is especially counterproductive.”
On virus modeling: Marc Lipsitch argued that gain-of-function experiments can mislead, “resulting in worse not better decisions,” and that the entire gain-of-function debate as overseen by the NIH was heavily weighted in favor of scientific insiders and “distinctly unwelcoming of public participation.”