22.9.2010 Were these fishes after all? on my way to the train station, I saw a big, lively aquarium on a wall nearby. It took me a few seconds to discover that it wasn't an aquarium at all, but a big plasma screen featuring a simulation of the aquarium. The illusion of reality was all the more poignant because of the distance that did not allow for stereo disparity. These "fishes" were mere pixels on a screen. There was no fish behind the window. However, the dynamic patterns of light indicated fishes - somehow, the lights were fishes. There was something fisherly going on. One could say that "fishiness" was captured in the rules that commanded the patterns of light.
But then, in which manner this is different form real fishes in a real aquarium? If I see a real aquarium, I don't directly "connect" with the fishes (whatever this means): I only see them, I only see the way their presence modify... patterns of light that reach my eyes.
What's more: there is no way to even connect with the "fishiness" in any direct way, for perception is always mediated. So, again: were these fishes after all? is the fish really defined as the mass of atoms that compose a fish? not quite: it's the structural behavior of that mass, and how it affects the surrounding waves of light, sound and water. And we must not forget that these patterns need to be recognized by someone in order to reveal its meaning - fish. That means that the fish is also in my mind, in my capacity to perceive a pattern of fishiness. In a word: the simulated aquarium is an aquarium, and it contains real fishes made of pixels.