The on-line transmission from the flight2017-10-17 15:52:46
IMAGE AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL EVOLUTION
In order to fully understand the meaning behind the photos which are going to be transmitted to the Earth, we need to look at image information as a factor shaping our biological evolution.
Its fundamental role in that process is rooted in the quality of electromagnetic radiation as a wave which travels with the highest known speed in the natural world (i.e. information contained in the modifications of that wave reaches us faster than any other known carrier), and which is the only thing capable of crossing the void of Cosmos, still being available to our senses. If there was no light, we would not be able to see neither Moon nor stars, and consequently we could not construct any imagined space beyond our most immediate environment. We would not even know that Universe existed.
The second important feature of image information is how neatly it is organized from radiation dispersed in space by focusing it with the lens and projecting it on the retina, responsible for turning analogue information into a raster structure. This spatial arrangement on the retina plane has revolutionized information standards. It is not a simple data matrix, it is rather a process of creating specific relations among pieces of data, something which we perceive as distinguishing objects from one another. The distinguished image-objects create a unique model of reality. The common understanding of the word “picture” is a simplified version of that natural phenomenon of organizing information on our eye lens.
It is possible that during the evolution processes our brain, and hence our intelligence, was largely shaped by the Darwinian pressure of image information – a carrier with the highest informative potential in the natural world that we know. This is exactly why the main focus of the balloon mission are photos and information they contain. The underlying idea of the project is to emphasize the role of image as the most natural, universal and international language of Homo sapiens.
It is possible that image information is even more important. For the first organic compounds light was a source of energy. When they became a part of a cell, they formed two groups: one accumulated solar energy in chemical compounds; the other detected information saved within electromagnetic waves. This division had become more prominent with time, and finally there emerged different groups of cells with specific qualities. Maybe it was this opposition of the two functions of light that directed the evolution of species. In the environment, the influence of light on matter and evolution resulted in the creation of two lines of organisms, whose role was defined primarily by chlorophyll and rhodopsin. On that basis, the world of plants came into existence – plants accumulate electromagnetic radiation (i.e. light) in the form of chemical bonds. The world of animals, in turn, utilizes the energy of the plants, but during evolution processes animals also started to use electromagnetic radiation as a source of information about the environment around them, and, later on, as means of communication. Do those two functions of light lay at the very basis of evolution and division into the kingdom of plants and animals? (Ostrowski, Informacja Obrazowa strategią ewolucji? 1996) Let’s look at image not only as a material structure, but also as a natural phenomenon, which shaped our system of information processing – the brain.
The aerial photo itself is not only a technique but also a way to understand space.