2015 01 28, Gerhard
I just had a very interesting and inspiring meeting with Pawel again over lunch. He is very excited about what I am telling him about the way we work, the things we try and why. He sees a lot of potential in working with us, as so many aspects of the field he is working in are yet completely "uncharted". "Our" way of looking and listening also gives him ideas.
When looking at the way this work unfolds (and especially my conversations with Pawel), I clearly see that it is the discussion between the scientist and the artist (to keep our role model) which is central. The exchange of visions, intuitions, approaches, methods, convictions, beliefs. It is a very personal process, where the participants have to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
It is difficult to allow for the necessary space in the type of project we are running. We would need many more workshops or meetings like the one I just had. It feel it would be extremely important that not only I have these conversations with Pawel. I know this is the situation we have, but I want to document this now as a basis for a new project construction. People have to meet and talk! They need the time and money for that. Of course, it also has to be the right people. And one has to be able to generate a mutual interest, trust, and fascination.
2015 02 20, Gerhard
I am taking a step back and look at what we are doing in this project and how we are doing it. Today, under the shower, it occured to me that we can say (no surprise here) that we are building our experimental system and laboratory to enable us to do what we want to do (although we do not know excately what we want to do, we actually need the experiemental system to find out). Part of this experimental system are the works and ideas which led to the formulation of this project, the ideas and experimental systems used by the scientists (or artists) who have generated the data we are looking at and are listening to (i.e. engage with through our artistic practice), and the software tools we have built so far (ways to structure and administer data, analyse, transform, visualise and sonify it). I assume that these tools embody our ideas, approaches, and ways of looking at things as well as listening to them – how we, as artists, think the data and deal with it (in order to gain something from it). The crucial point seems to me that the work mainly advances – and this is the experience I made during the last week, when I spent much time in trying to understand the spikes data set, and which triggered these thoughts – if in-depth, continious and uninterrupted work is done in the experimental system, i.e. by performing many experiments, most of them necessarily unsuccessful in the sense that they will not confirm our intuitions, but point us into new directions. In order to fail, one has to do – only thinking is not always enough – and do again, and think again, and do again – changing a thing or idea at a time, trying to find out if what one thinks one is doing is actually what one is doing, because most of the time this is not the case (and it is very hard to find out at all). The experimental system is tricky, as we never master it, although we are building it. This is our crux and our blessing. Having built (parts of) it allows us to operate it in a highly informed way. Understanding the workings of the experimental system itself is a central concern, it is the ground on which (we thinnk) we stand. I see our ideas forming and being formed in the software tools we build and use on the way. Software is quite material in this sense, like our data is. We are building software (materialised ideas - technological objects) around the data in an attempt to persue epistemic things.