John Brockman's Edge "World Question Center" and the Seprentine Gallery in London debuted a new collaborative project where they asked dozens of smart people--scientists, authors, big thinkers--this question: "What is your formula? Your Equation? Your Algorithm?" People like Craig Venter, Keith Devlin, Freeman Dyson, Drew Endy, Brian Eno, and Douglas Rushkoff answered. The collected responses, like Edge itself, blur the line between science, art, and culture. (Above, Rudy Rucker and Marvin Minsky's responses.) From John's introduction:
I recently paid a visit to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London to see Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, a long-time friend with whom I have a mutual connection: we both worked closely with the late James Lee Byars, the conceptual artist who, in 1971, implemented "The World Question Center" as a work of conceptual art.
The walls of Obrist's office were covered with single pages of size A4 paper on which artists, writers, scientists had responded to his question: "What Is Your Formula?" Among the pieces were formulas by quantum physicist David Deutsch, artist and musician Brian Eno, architect Rem Koolhaas, and fractal mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot.
Within minutes we had hatched an Edge-Serpentine collaboration for a "World Question Center" project, to debut on Edge during the annual Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon, the weekend of October 13-14. The plan was to further the reach of Obrist's question by asking for responses from the science-minded Edge community, thus complementing the rich array of formulas already assembled by the Serpentine from distinguished artists such as Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, and Rosemarie Trockel.