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University of Applied Arts Vienna

Contingent Agencies: Cross-Disciplinary Symposium

Contingent Agencies is an artistic research project conceived as an inquiry into atmospheres— the subtle, dynamic, complex, and enveloping presences that emerge in given situations for those who inhabit them. More particularly, this project investigates the specific ways in which the agencies of single components of a situation (from light to animals, artifacts to sounds, matter to vegetation, traffic to color …) condition the emergence of these all-over and senseful presences.

In this concluding symposium, a cross-disciplinary group of researchers will address this complex subject matter as well as the specific research methodology developed in this project, based on practices of notation and reflection in diverse media. Participant researchers will be Karen Barad, Arno Boehler, Emma Cocker, Gerhard Dirmoser, Mika Elo, Tim Ingold, Sabina Holzer, Paula Kramer, Lambros Malafouris, Erin Manning, Dieter Mersch, Hans Jörg Rheinberger, and Andreas Spiegl, together with the principal investigators Nikolaus Gansterer and Alex Arteaga and the head of the Zentrum Fokus Forschung Alexander Damianisch.

Agencies and atmospheres will be inquired from a multi-perspective approach with contributions from artistic research (somatics, choreography, drawing, sound, video, photography, language-based practices) philosophy, archeology, anthropology and physics. The symposium is conceived as an intensive research week that includes micro-workshops, practice sessions, public lectures, panel discussions (both accessible onsite and online), and showings of artifacts. Further information and a detailed program can be found on the project’s website:

This website presents numerous notations and reflections of atmospheric agencies, including detailed information about the processes of their realization as well as the conceptual framework of the whole project. 

Contingent Agencies’ website is the first website of an artistic research project realized in connection with BASE, a web-based platform for applications that digitally support art and science, and research and teaching developed at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Through this, Contingent Agencies contributes directly to fostering and disseminating artistic research in the university framework.

A comprehensive publication is planned for release in 2023.


Date and location of the Symposium:
September 19–25, 2022
Zentrum Fokus Forschung
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Rustenschacherallee 2–4
1020 Vienna, Austria


Contingent Agencies is hosted by the University of Applied Arts Vienna and funded by the Program for Arts-based Research (PEEK) of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).




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