Transpositions [TP]: Event III
Data Rush: Is a meaningful dialogue possible between research practices in the arts and in science and technology?
A one day symposium organised by philosopher Cecile Malaspina in the context of the exhibition DA TA rush with Paulo de Assis, Lucia D'Errico, Luc Derycke, Gerhard Eckel, Artemi-Maria Gioti, Wolfgang Hofkirchner, David Pirrò, Michael Schwab, Volker Straebel, Phoebe Stubbs, Mauricio Suarez and Neal White.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 10:00 – 17:00.
The symposium consisted of a series of dialogues and panel discussions, interspersed by performances: visual artists, composers and performers were in conversation with musicologists, philosophers of science and systems theorists. The topics included artistic and scientific engagements with empirical data, representation and technical apparatuses. At the heart of the symposium were the following questions: can there be a meaningful dialogue between scientific reasoning and artistic experimentation? Is a genuine relation possible between artistic reasoning and scientific experimentation?
It can be safely assumed that scientists and philosophers of science don’t know what’s coming: while the epistemological status of technical apparatuses and of visual representation has long been in question in scientific discourse, no feed-back from the critique of representation and critical engagement with technical apparatuses in the contemporary arts has been able to pierce the boundary between scientific and arts practices, between the theory of science and art theory.
No longer satisfied with merely representing or applying technical exploits coming from the sciences and technology, as in Holbein’s Renaissance painting The Ambassadors, artists have been tugging at the very fabric of scientific of knowledge production. In this endeavour, experimental performance based practices, but also conceptual and post-conceptual art practices, have often sought to develop a complicity with the critical and historical epistemology coming from continental philosophy. Still critical reflections in the arts, and even the domain of continental philosophy, are often seen as idle recreation in comparison with the hard working mind of the scientist.
Among the topics discussed in a series of dialogues and panel discussions was the potential for an intersection between the critique of representation in scientific discourse and in the arts. It was asked, in turn, what purchase scientific data and representation have on artistic experimentation. At stake was ultimately the question of whether thinking about our world in terms of complex systems is the appanage of mathematical modelization and scientific rationalization, or whether the arts contribute something essential to our understanding of complex open systems, notably via their engagement with noise.
Artists, speakers and performers of Data Rush
Paulo de Assis is a pianist, musicologist, and artist-researcher with transdisciplinary interests on Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Epistemology. He is research fellow at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent, and PI of the 2013-2018 European Research Council funded project “Experimentation versus Interpretation: exploring new paths in music performance in the twenty-first century” (MusicExperiment21). He has authored two books (on the music of Luigi Nono and Camillo Togni) and edited eight others on music notation, music experimentation, and on contemporary composers. He is the Convenor of the yearly International Orpheus Academy for Music and Theory, and the Chair of the conference series Deleuze and Artistic Research (DARE).
Luc Derycke has been designing, curating and publishing art and artists' books since 1988. From 1989 to 1992 he was publisher with Imschoot, uitgevers, Gent, Belgium; and from 1999 to 2007 was the designer of the Drawing Center Publications, New York. In 2005 he founded MER, Paper Kunsthalle, examining the book medium in relation to art and art exhibiting. With MER, he initiated MER Station, a series of nomadic curatorial experiments re-thinking artists' books for exhibiting in non-book spaces.
Florian Dombois is a contemporary artist and professor at the Zurich University of the Arts. Dombois focuses on time, landforms, labilities, seismic and tectonic activity. He studied geophysics and philosophy in Berlin, Kiel and Hawaii, and wrote his PhD in Amsterdam and Berlin. His work includes spatial and sound installations, but also happenings and performances. From 2003 to 2011 he was head of the Institute for Transdisciplinarity (Y) at Berne University of the Arts. Since 2011 he has been professor at Zurich University of the Arts. In 2010 he received the German Sound Art Prize. Kunsthalle Bern edited a catalogue raisonné 2010 titled Florian Dombois: What Are the Places of Danger. Works 1999-2009, Berlin: argobooks. Recent catalogs are a.o. Museum Haus Konstruktiv Zurich: Florian Dombois: Struck Modernism, Berlin: The Greenbox, 2014.
Gerhard Eckel is a sound artist and artistic researcher, and joint project leader of “Transpositions”. His work aims at articulating the aesthetic and epistemic dimensions of art, understanding artistic experience as a compound of action, perception and reflection. His works are the result of research processes drawing on practices of music composition, sound art, choreography and dance, installation art, interaction design and digital instrument making. Gerhard is professor of Computer Music and Multimedia at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG) in Austria. He also serves as an affiliate professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and as a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music (KMH) in Stockholm. Besides his artistic work and teaching, he leads publicly funded transdisciplinary research projects and supervises scholarly and artistic doctoral research.
Lucia D’Errico is an artist specialising in contemporary and experimental music, performing on acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, oud, and other plucked string instruments. As a performer and improviser, she has collaborated with contemporary music groups, and with theatre, dance, and visual art companies. She studied classical guitar at Conservatorio B. Marcello of Venice, and Modern Languages at Università Ca’ Foscari of Venice. Currently she is working on a doctoral research (ME21 at Orpheus Institute Gent, docARTES programme at Leuven University). She is also active as a freelance graphic designer.
Artemi-Maria Gioti is a composer and researcher working across the disciplinary boundaries between art, technology and philosophy. Her interests include among others human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, sonification and the development of mechanically controlled and sensor-augmented instruments. As a composer and researcher she has participated in international festivals and conferences, among others the 2016 INTER/actions Symposium (Bangor University, UK), the 1st International Congress for Electroacoustic Music - Electroacoustic Winds 2015 (Aveiro, Portugal), the International Conference on Auditory Display 2015 (Graz, Austria), Next_generation 6.0 Festival (ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany), the 6th International Symposium on Music/Sonic Art (Musikhochschule Karlsruhe, Germany), the 3rd International Forum for Young Composers (Lisbon, Portugal).
Wolfgang Hofkirchner is professor at TU Wien and President of the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (BCSSS), an Austrian independent research institute for systems science and Systems Design. His main interest is reconciling the natural and the social sciences with a particular view to transdisciplinarity. This is based on the idea of a transcendence of science beyond its own domain towards society (also called “mode 2 knowledge production”); the transcendence of research beyond its disciplinary domains (leading to a transcdisciplinary field comprising social science, natural science, engineering science and philosophy); and the transcendence of methods beyond their original domain of application. He developed a Unified Theory of Information (UTI) on the basis of a unified theory of self-organization, leaning on an “Evolutionary Systems Theory” (EST) that comprises open, dynamical, nonlinear, complex, evolving and hierarchical systems. Philosophical collaborations led him to develop the notion of a “Praxio-Onto-Epistemology” (POE) with an emphasis on norms and values.
Cecile Malaspina is a philosopher (PhD Universite Paris 7 Denis Diderot) qualified as maître de conférences in Philosophy, Epistemology, History of the Sciences and Technics. Her main interest lies in the history and circulation of concepts between disciplines and between domains of knowledge, such as the natural and the human sciences, with a view to their paradigmatic effect. The topic of her doctoral thesis was the notion of ‘noise’, its epistemological and normative aspects. She is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Londoon, and a Member of the editorial board at COPY PRESS. She is co-translator, with Prof R. Zimmermann, of Edgar Morin, La méthode: La vie de la vie, T&K (forthcoming), and translator of Gilbert Simondon, On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects, Univocal press.
David Pirro is an assistant professor at the IEM (Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics) in Graz, a sound artist and researcher who originally trained as a theoretical physicist. His works include interactive compositions and sound installations, as well as audiovisual and electroacoustic pieces in which aspects of performance and spatialisation of sound are central. Departing from a radically inclusive point of view, he seeks ways of composing by which the work of art is constructed through mutual interaction of the agents involved in its performance. He has developed performances with real-time dynamical systems modelling and simulation software rattle. Pirro is the curator of the "Open CUBE" concert series at the Institute and collaborates in scientific and artistic research projects on sonification ("QCD-audio", "An Acoustic Interface for tremor analysis"), sound spatialisation ("The Choreography of Sound"), and interaction design in Computer Music ("Embodied Generative Music", "Klangräume").
Michael Schwab is a London-based artist and artistic researcher who investigates postconceptual uses of technology in a variety of media including photography, drawing, print-making, and installation art. He is research fellow at the Zurich University of the Arts, the Orpheus Institute, Ghent, and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. He is co-initiator and inaugural Editor-in-Chief of JAR, Journal for Artistic Research, senior researcher in the ERC funded research project “MusicExperiment21”, and joint project leader of “Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration” funded by the Austrian Science Fund.
Volker Straebel is a musicologist focusing on electro-acoustic music, the American and European avant-garde, intermedia, performance and sound art. He is heading the master program Sound Studies of the Berlin Career College at the University of Arts, Berlin (UdK). From 2009 to 2014 he directed the Electronic Music Studio at Technische Universität, Berlin. He has realised and performed indeterminate works by John Cage and himself.
Phoebe Stubbs is an artist, glass-maker, writer and editor, based in London. She holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, USA in Glass, and an MA in Philosophy and Contemporary Critical Theory from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, UK. Her art practice crosses between writing and making, often focusing on the impossibility of neatly transposing colour experience into linguistic or material representations. Currently she is the editorial assistant for the Journal for Artistic Research. Previously she was an editor at Black Dog Publishing, where she co-edited three books on art and design: Material Matters—New Materials in Design, Colour in the Making, and Art and the Internet.
Mauricio Suarez is Professor at Madrid's Complutense University, and a Marie Curie Senior Research Fellow at London University, where he runs a project entitled "Probabilities, Propensities and Conditionals" (see link: http://probpropcond.blogs.sas.ac.uk) He is a philosopher who specializes in the history and philosophy of science, foundations of physics, and the philosophy of probability. Suarez originally trained as an astrophysicist, and went on to pursue postgraduate work in the philosophy of science and scientific methodology. His research interests include models and scientific representation (where he is known for his defense of an inferential conception), the philosophy of quantum physics (where he has defended a role for causation and dispositions), and the philosophy of causality (where he has defended evidential but not semantic contextualism). He also has a long-standing interest in aesthetics and its role in scientific methodology. In recent years he has been articulating a novel pragmatist account of propensities or probabilistic dispositions as explanatory posits of theory.
Neal White is an artist and researcher, and professor at Bournemouth University. White’s work draws on a recent history of art which has roots in experimental practice, conceptual and socially engaged forms. In his collaborative practice with the Office of Experiments (founded 2004) he has led a series of projects that reflect on the growth of the techno-scientific and military industrial complex and that are grounded in fieldwork that includes observational and documentary forms of media, temporary interventions and social or conceptual apparatus for experimentation, including bus tours and site visits. He has worked closely with institutions ranging from the Centre for Land Use Interpretation, USA and the Arts Catalyst UK to the Henry Moore Institute and Max Planck Institute, Berlin. He was a co-founder of the acclaimed art and technology group Soda in 1997 (1997 to 2002), and was a Director of O+I, from 2007 to 2009 (formerly Artist Placement Group). His work has been funded through numerous awards from Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation, Washington DC Arts and Humanities Commission, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Gulbenkian Foundation. He lives in London and is currently Professor of Media Art and Director of the Experimental Media Research Group at Bournemouth University.