111 - Android Jones on Analog + Digital, Painting the Sutras, & Being an Artist Dad

Ep. 111

Android Jones is one of the world’s hottest digital artists – even if it’s kind of a mistake to label him this way and limit his creative action to the digital. A master portraitist, designer, and explorer of new tools, Android made concept art for video games in his early years before becoming the creative consultant for the best-in-class Corel Painter software, touring the world while doing live visuals for huge musical acts, collaborating on epic dome projection shows, and ultimately pioneering the possibilities of VR with his latest project, Microdose. But arguably his most vital and illuminating evolutionary edge as an artist has been with his two children, learning to raise the next generation of curious and creative minds. This week on Future Fossils, I sit down for a three-year-overdue discussion with one of the most objectively inspiring people I can call a friend – to talk about our hopes and our concerns for Those Who Come Next, and what being a creative parent means in our Age of Transition.



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We Discuss:

  • Electromineralism & medium as material agent lending its qualities to your identity
  • Tools as extensions of the body, and the most modern tools we have are still so ancient
  • Reimagining truths that have real legs on them, not praising absolute truths
  • Finite & Infinite Games by James P. Carse
  • Being a part of the six thousand year plus art history conversation that we have
  • Drilling down to making deeper and more universally relevant art to “provide a greater reflective surface” for viewers
  • Visionary Art, (a different take on)
  • What psychology teaches about making (real) art *for* people
  • How fatherhood changed his art and life and everything
  • Making art with kids – both digital and analog media – and how the forms differ as learning experiences
  • What VR has that other media do not, and Android’s first breakthrough moment in Microdose VR
  • When Android met Robert Venosa at Art Hardware in Boulder at age 16
  • There are too many things to learn
  • The future of visual performance is WHAT? (!!!)
  • Going Icarus to Daedalus
  • Apprenticeship
  • The transformative potentials of VR as biofeedback
  • What scares Android Jones?
  • What comes next?

More Episodes


134 - Anthony Thogmartin on Mind, Music, and Technology

Ep. 134
Multi-instrumentalist musician Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio [band], EarthCry [solo project], and Seed to Stage [music production tutorials] joins us for the first time since Episode 10 to talk about navigating the exponentially expanding body of human knowledge, how interfacing with different media technologies yields new minds and selves at the intersection, and the profound creative evolution he and his band have undergone by embracing tools like Ableton Live. For the ten-plus years I’ve known him, Anthony’s optimism and enthusiasm have inspired me to seize the day and strive for new horizons, and whether or not you make music I have no doubt this conversation will inspire you as well.Future Fossils Podcast is entirely listener-supported. Support the show on Patreon for more inspiring extras than you probably have time for.Buy any of the books we mention in this episode through my Amazon Shop and I’ll receive a tiny kickback at no extra cost to you.Mentioned:Ishi Crew, Complexity Explorers Facebook Group, Scott E. Page, Mirta Galesic, SpaceWeather.com, Neal.Fun/deep-sea, Caitlin McShea, InterPlanetaryFest.org, Sam Brouse, Korg Minilogue, Ableton Push, Meow Wolf, Jessica Flack, The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, Darwin’s Pharmacy by Richard Doyle, Gary Weber, Erik Davis, A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway, The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, Plato, Thoth, Technopoly by Neil Postman, America Before by Graham Hancock, Wile E. Coyote, Star Trek, Google Translate, Ableton Live, Bitwig, Microdose VR, Android Jones, Anson Phong, Sennheiser, Magic Leap, David Block, Phaedroid, Glitch Mob, Mi.Mu gloves, Oculus Quest, Google Duo, Burning Man, Sweet Melis, The Glass Cage by Nicholas CarrDiscussed:The value of long-form media and the conversation as ways of deepening our engagement with an accelerating world.Neurodiversity and the “social molecule,” and how being different together is good for all of us.“The only reason we [human beings] made it is because we’re good at talking to each other.”Our understanding of the planet is not just expanding outward, but also inward…not just into the vastness of space but deeper into the oceans and crust and into inner space.The more attention you pour into things, the more finely differentiated they become, and things get bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. Earthcry’s concept album Identity Mitosis and its multimedia storytelling about a conversation between AI and Gaia long after the extinction of humankind.What does the future look like without us?Living at the bottleneck between the complexity of the micro and the macro.The self as a plural ecosystem and the conscience as the voice of various unconscious neural motifs erupting into consciousness.Awakening as the abandoning of episodic autobiographic memory and the vice grip of the default mode network.The egoic self as a kind of electrical phenomenon, and possibly a kind of auxiliary or emergency preservation mode (not our natural state of balanced health).Metabolic ontology and the possibility of reality itself changing with the states of the extended body-mind in psychogenic networks.The cybernetic self and how performing music is also being a part of the music technology ecosystem.The dependency of thought on the mediation of technology…handwriting vs. typing, etc., and how different selves emerge in different contexts.Polarization and our refusal to understand one another.Generation gaps in technological fluency.Is the Universal Translator not RUNNING Starfleet?Letting Ableton Live take over Papadosio.YouTube vs. Instagram.Moore's Law and miniaturization in music performance, and moving with the current of technological evolution rather than against it.Michael’s open call to developers to help us create software for controlling music and visuals simultaneously with a gestural interface in virtual reality……and Anthony’s disclaimers about why this hasn’t happened yet.Augmented reality versus virtual reality and how evolution is co-evolving with the human body and mind (not just people adapting to technology).What matters depends on the scale at which you’re paying attention.Future Fossils Theme Music:“God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield

133 - Brian Swimme on Telling A New Story of Our Universe

Ep. 133
This week’s guest is mathematician and cosmologist Brian Swimme, faculty at CIIS’ Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program and author of several books, including The Universe is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story (which we discuss in this episode).Brian is a major voice in the conversation about the new myths required for us in an age of planetary culture, an articulate and approachable thinker whose warmth and generosity — virtues equal to his intellectual achievement —really shine through in this conversation.Brian at CIIS Brian at the Center for Humans and NatureBrian’s documentary, Journey of the UniverseBrian’s Coursera class“A lot of scientists will say, ‘I don’t have a metaphysics. I just deal with facts.’ But it’s not the case…”“Locating ourselves in time I think is the fundamental scientific or spiritual challenge.”“The Earth is closer to a living organism than it is a collection of objects.”“One of the fundamental errors of the modern period is RUINING this idea of Singularity…it’s thinking of ourselves as the intelligent species in a world that is basically a collection of objects. And then we imagine that we with our clever minds are creating technology…rather than joining a process.”“It could be that the future of science depends on the question of the within, the inner world…”We Discuss:Locating ourselves in time…The Universe is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation StoryZak Stein (Episode 97)What We Learn From Mass ExtinctionsWe Are Something The Planet Is Doing Thomas BerryPierre Teilhard de Chardin (although V.I. Vernadsky coined the term “noosphere”)James P. CarseErnst HaeckelSean Esbjörn-Hargens (Episodes 60 + 113)Dr. Blue (Episode 124)Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)https://skytree.bandcamp.com/track/god-detector-ft-michael-garfieldAdditional Music: “Valles Marineris” by Michael Garfieldhttps://michaelgarfield.bandcamp.com/album/martian-arts-epSupport this show on Patreon to join the book club and for secret episodes:https://patreon.com/michaelgarfield

132 - Erik Davis on Perturbations in the Reality Field

Ep. 132
This week’s guest is author, culture critic, and philosopher of the weird Erik Davis, whose work has been one of my main inspirations for almost ten years. His latest work of epic scholarship, High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies, is an exploration of topics I presumed inaccessible to academic inquiry so masterful I’ve been evangelizing it for months and basically forced a copy on my boss (David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute, who was a guest in Episode 75). In this episode we peer into the intersection of psychedelics, madness, systems science, postmodernism, and religious studies to ask about the truly other that refuses to allow us a clean answer to the questions, “What is the Real?” and “Did that just really happen?” Strap in for one of the headiest and most important conversations that we’ve ever had on Future Fossils…Join the Future Fossils Podcast Patreon for exclusive perks like an extra 10 minutes of this conversation, in which Erik & Michael discuss “black goo.”Visit Erik’s website to sign up for his email updates (always wonderful) and stay abreast of upcoming events, such as his talk at the SF Psychedelic Society on Thursday Dec 19.Get a copy of High Weirdness at MIT Press.Erik’s appearance on Future Fossils Episode 99 (a kind of prequel to this conversation).My 2011 and 2012 appearances on Erik’s podcast, Expanding Mind.Erik and I discuss over video chat (part 1, part 2) the revised and expanded third edition of his book Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information.Shop through my Amazon storefront and support the show indirectly with your purchases:https://amazon.com/storefront/michaelgarfieldJoin the Future Fossils Facebook Discussion Grouphttps://facebook.com/groups/futurefossilsShow music by Evan “Skytree” Snyder feat. Michael Garfield, “God Detector”https://skytree.bandcamp.com/track/god-detector-ft-michael-garfieldMentioned:Jacques Lacan. Mark Fisher. Carol Cusack. Eric Wargo. Timothy Morton. Graham Harman. Jeff Kripal. Emelie Gomar. Bruno Latour. Albert Hofmann. Sasha Shulgin. Richard Doyle. Williiam James. Phil Dick. Cesar Hidalgo. Rachel Armstrong. Edward Snowden. Daniel Paul Schraber.We Discuss:The abyss is close to home.“The real, by definition, is not amenable to symbolization. Whatever kind of yen we have to sustain the symbolic in the face of the real is going to fail. And in that sense, the real is fundamentally traumatic.”Perturbations of the reality field.Extimacy.“That’s not me…or if it is, I’m not me anymore.”Refusing to remain within the purely human.To lean out.To open a portal.The Weird vs. The Uncanny.Fiction vs. Religion.“In some sense Burning Man and the spirituality of Burning Man, if you want to call it that – the invention of new subjectivities, the development of an ecstatic culture at this end stage of capitalism and modern mythology –in a way is a kind of later iteration of the things I saw in the 70s.”Material agency in the practice of science.“Science is not practiced by humans alone.”“Drugs as active participants in the enactment of their effects.”“The thing about thinking is that sometimes it’s really clear the way you are actively putting things together, or actively exploring.But then sometimes it seems as if you are almost kind of taken over by an idea, and then the idea has stuff it wants to do, and you are just the connector or vehicle for it. What it means to think is to be in relationship to enigmas that have things to say.”“With reductionism in general, it’s very difficult to explain novelty.”“A psychedelic compound sitting on the shelf is not psychedelic.It’s in the interaction that you explore and discover its phenomenological features.”“There’s no way out of environmental effects in the psychedelic experience - both in the set and setting, and in terms of whatever mysterious multiplicities lie in the material itself. So there’s no way to do capital S Science with psychedelics, despite the fact that they are material molecules that reliably have a certain kind of metabolic arc and can be explained in terms of how they are broken down in the body and even light up certain regions or the brain, etc., etc. I think it’s kind of wonderful. But I think that’s where the weird is: the weird is in that.The weird is in the way you can’t get out of the loop.”Psychogenic Networks and Maximal Entropy Production.“If attention is the fuel, then everywhere we turn, we’re producing self-fulfilling prophecies.”Living Fictions.Weird Studies Episode 36.Lachmann et al. 1999 re: Optimal Encoding & Fermi’s Paradox & “The symbols of the divine first emerge in the trash stratum.”“The revelation is always relativized. Once we’re in this cybernetic situation, then not only do we not know, ‘Is that noise or is that signal?,’ but even when you do get a message, you don’t get to know. Because you’ve knocked out that realm of certainty that in the past said, ‘What you’re thinking is true.’”“Now we get to see what it looks like when the symbolic order, consensus reality, breaks down, melts, mutiplies, becomes weaponized, and we try to make our way through that.And it’s not so fun.It’s not so pretty.It’s not so groovy.”Psychonautics as preparation for the insane world we now live in, where the weird has mainstreamed.