Shapeless beings the sea vomits
driven to mounds on putrid beaches
the turbid flocks the land hosts
crawling climb on their fellows
and time will change flaccid bodies
in forms useful to survive.
[Banco del Mutuo Soccorso,L’Evoluzione, Darwin!, 1972]
In the deepest caves of the Earth, in the abyss of the sea or in equally lost and singularplaces, barely imaginable beings are born (C. Henderson), whole species that run theirlives in the dark of most of the other inhabitants of the surface.
In the most unpleasant and unknown conditions, daring evolutionary processes come to life placing us before images which amaze us because of their distance from us: creatures without eyes, lit with their own light, disproportionate figures, transparent skin, poisons for neural control, amphibians that leave their offspring born and grow in their digestive system and others who feed it with the fat of their own skin. Until today this plethora of monsters (from monstrum/i, miracle) was made possible by natural factors: extreme material conditions that required practical solutions. But what happens when the abyss is no longer a physical place, but a conceptual one?
Born with the intention of replacing man in the most difficult situations, artificial intelligences — if they ever reach this goal — will perhaps be the first creatures with their own independence to develop in an extreme environment also from an immaterial point of view: the abyss of its creator, man, in his ignorance of what they really mean and from what they originate life, individuality, intellect and conscience.
But man/android relationship does not end only in its usefulness, it is rather areal fascination that has deep roots in tradition; from the myth of Fetonte to the Frankenstein of Mary Shelley, from the automatons of Leonardo to those of Jacques de Vaucanson, from the presumed speaking head made by Pope Sylvester II to the recent robot clone of Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro. An euphoria that brings with it a certain restlessness: with the development of new synthetic materials and new applications in medical field, it is always more possible to face with new beings, so similar to us in some aspects to feel empathy towards them. But like any evolutionary course, necessity defines the form: in the hypothesis of a process that actually leads to the birth of the Race Machine, what forms will these new creatures have? How much will they look like us and how much will they be distant from us?
Abisso Elastico (elastic abyss) is the primordial cave in which hypotheses of new forms of life prod along, faint and wheezing like our Devonian forefathers.