Recursive Simulations

The emergence of simulation as an epistemological technology, from scientific simulation to VR/AR.

We live in an era of highly politicized simulations, for good and ill. The Antikythera program considers computational simulations as experiential, epistemological, scientific and political forms and develops a framework to understand these in relation to one another.

The politics of simulation, more specifically, is based in recursion. Recursive Simulations are those that not only represent the world but which act back upon what they simulate, completing a cycle of sensing and governing.

This research explores machine sensing technologies (vision, sound, touch, etc.), synthetic experiences (including VR/AR), strategic scenario modeling (gaming, agent based systems), active simulations of complex architectures (digital twins), and computational simulations of natural systems enabling scientific inquiry & foresight (climate models and cellular/genomic simulations).

All of these pose fundamental questions about sensing and sensibility, world-knowing and worldmaking. They also have different relations to the real. While scientific simulations pose meaningful correspondence with the natural world and provide access to ground truths that would be otherwise inconceivable, virtual and augmented reality produce embodied experiences of simulated environments that purposefully take leave of ground truth. These two forms of simulation have inverse epistemological implications: one makes an otherwise inaccessible reality perceivable, while the other bends reality to suit what one wants to see. In between is where we live.