The Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno

The Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno (2006-2014) offered performances, electronic sensor based interactive confessionals, videos, digital images, a Second Life installation, religious tracts, and texts that returned the hubris of technophilic discourse to the public for examination. I formed this Church while attending conferences on the 'nano bio info cogno convergence,' often sponsored by the Foresight Nanotechnology Institute, where I listened and spoke to a wide range of participants. From military contractors working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to Aubrey De Grey from the Methuselah Foundation, they expounded positivistic rhetorics of world-wide beneficence that erased the violence of this sector. As the Pope, and later the Reverend, and finally the Messiah of this Church, I embodied the a-historical and universalized character that techno discourse repeatedly invokes – a creature without race, class or gender.

 
 

Best curatorial involvement: Milena Lye and Eben Kirksey. Funnest video shoot: Adam Zaretsky. Most surreal moment: Accosting sinner Donna Haraway while in performance at the Nature/Culture Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 
 

PERFORMANCES WITH ELECTRONIC CONFESSIONAL, INSTALLATION, OR FULL CHAPEL

 

PERFORMANCE, A TOTAL SPECTACLE, ATOMIC CENTRE, WINNIPEG, CANADA. 2013.

Messiah Praba Pilar with guest ministers Anuj Vaidya and Erika Hannes. Nano Bio Info Cogno Hymn commissioned by Praba Pilar: Composition and recording by Tara Rodgers & Mac System Voices, 2006.

 

Interactive electronic CONFESSIONAL, A TOTAL SPECTACLE, ATOMIC CENTRE, WINNIPEG, CANADA. 2013.

The interactive electronic Confessional was a translucent chamber, with a sensor based sonic element triggered upon entering, and a switch based confessional board that triggered different videos and audio based on different sins.

The electronic hardware was built using Arduino and programmed initially in PureData, but finalized in Max/MSP/Jitter. Praba Pilar received help and advice from renown Winnipeg based artist Ken Gregory. The board was built in the Media Room of Video Pool in Winnipeg. Programming was done by Ken Gregory; soldering and construction of the board was done by Praba Pilar, with help and advice from Ken Gregory. The translucent Confessional structure was built by Praba Pilar at Atomic with help from Chris Poulsen and Janet Sarson. For more information about Ken Gregory, please visit his website.

From curatorial statement by Milena Lye: The Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno's confessional kiosk allows the lowest level of meat humans, luddites, to commune with the great ghost in the machine, the giver of technological gifts. Working to ensure that luddites use the gifts of technology in appropriate ways, the spirit asks kiosk users pointed questions about, for example, their internet browsing habits. If the luddites know what is best and fear damnation in the form of eternally corrupted files, they will reply and seek penance in earnest. There is, of course, no point lying to technology because it is omniscient and leaves traces of truth by design.

 


NEW YORK VISIT, multi-species salon, april 2011

  • April 4th, 2011: Herald Square Subway Station
  • April 4th, 2011: CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave.
  • April 7th, 2011: CUNY Graduate Center,365 Fifth Ave.

In April 2011, The Reverend of Nano Bio Info Cogno blessed the opening of the Multispecies Salon in New York City. Her church proclaimed the liturgy driving emergent technologies – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive neuroscience – forward into an imagined new millenium. Bringing fantastical prophecy and an outrageous sermon to Manhattan, she ministered to the masses of Fifth Avenue and led scholars in sing-along hymns at the CUNY Graduate Center.

She celebrated human biological enhancement and brain-computer interfaces by heralding the coming Singularity. Proselytizing on Fifth Avenue, she invited wary bystanders to imagine the ultimate techno communion: “Upload your consciousness into the computing cloud and leave your meat body behind! Come join the only true religion left on the face of the Earth. People of New York, be saved!”

Press release (contact info removed)


PERFORMANCEs, Bay Area Now 5, CENTER FOR THE ARTS AT YERBA BUENA, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.JULY 19 TO NOVEMBER 16, 2008.

Two Live Performances by Reverend Praba Pilar. Initial performance with altar girls Erika Hannes and Joy Hutchinson. Second performance for 'Big Ideas' day with altar girls Erika Hannes and Krystle Ahmadyar.

"We Shall Live Forever" song commissioned by Praba Pilar: Composition, arrangement and recording by Martin Franco, lyrics by Martin Franco and Praba Pilar, 2008.

chapel, interactive confessional, Bay Area Now 5, CENTER FOR THE ARTS AT YERBA BUENA, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.JULY 19 TO NOVEMBER 16, 2008.

Praba Pilar installed a full chapel of the Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno at Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena.The interactive electronic Confessional was a switch based confessional board that triggered different videos and audio based on different sins.

The electronic hardware was built using Arduino. Soldering and construction was done by Praba Pilar, with help and advice from Ben Johnson. The programming was done by Ben Johnson, with help from Praba Pilar, in Max/MSP/Jitter.


PERFORMANCE PREMIERING PROJECT

 

MILLS COLLEGE, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA. 2006.

Pope Praba Pilar, with altar girls Erika Hannes and Katie Stanford. Featuring singer Elizabeth August.

Nano Bio Info Cogno Hymn commissioned by Praba Pilar. Composition and recording by Tara Rodgers & Mac System Voices. 2006.

 

DIGITAL IMAGES