The Istanbul Manifesto

Marcel Duchamp’s idea was to make art with the already made.
My idea is to make art that makes art.
Manufacturing is obsolete. Manual skill leads only to a senseless waste of time. The human artist is not a maker, but a creator. Art is a mind extension, a prosthetic, a machine that just waits to be triggered.
The role of the artist is to push the ON button, giving rise to an autonomous product.
Art is fundamentally biological and evolutionary. Art is everywhere.
Each life form generates a particular kind of art that spreads from simple patterns to complex symbolic communication. Organisms use chemicals, odors, touch, sounds and vision to produce art. Termites build mud structures; birds make colorful installations; whales sing.
Humans assemble machines. These machines produce new designs, elaborate forms and compose images. They play music, dance and perform. Soon they will engender astonishing ideas and have futuristic visions. How can a human artist keep on making drawings, paintings or sculptures with his own hands? How can anyone still believe that art is an exclusive human feature?
A new kind of art is emerging out of proto-artificial life forms.
These new artificial organisms are biological in essence. Some have tissues, some mechanical parts and others a combination of both. They think and create. Soon they will reproduce and evolve without human intervention. They will be entirely autonomous. The role of the human artist is to give birth, to activate, to let it go, to lose control. We can make the artists that make the art.
Isn’t it a marvelous sensation to see a machine creating a painting on its own? To show, before our eyes, a competence that our ancestors thought to be exclusively human? Isn’t such a painting the most amazing art work since the first cave etchings? Isn’t it the superb output of a freshly arrived intelligence on earth?
Art is everywhere. Natural life do it. Artificial life do it too. Art is beyond humankind. How can we be insensitive to this extraordinary proliferation of creativity? Why be fearful of what adds, doesn’t subtract?
How not embrace enthusiastically this non zero sum game?
Human artists are part, not the whole. Human artists can make a difference by exploring the full extension of creativity.
The great artist of tomorrow will not be human.

(The Manifesto was launched on April 7th, 2011, at Galata Perform, Istanbul)