Exploding. Plastic. Inevitable?
Eating itself, artistic research goes POP!
Pop: so plastic.
Which moulds, bends, and itself explodes.
The work of philosopher Catherine Malabou takes as its central organizing concept a particular notion of plasticity, defined by three tendencies: to give form, to receive form, and to explode. Unpacking Malabou’s concept, this talk will examine in particular its role in sustaining a notion of immanent discontinuity: namely, drastic, interruptive change that takes place within a system, process, or individual. The talk will go on to consider the interest and uses of this notion, with reference to conceptions of political agency and artistic practice.
Martin Crowley is a Reader in Modern French Thought and Culture, at the University of Cambridge. He is an author of books on Marguerite Duras, Robert Antelme, contemporary French fiction and film, and the politics of finitude and is currently writing a book on political agency in Bruno Latour, Bernard Stiegler, and Catherine Malabou.
Art as Method For Working the Ontological Limits of Plants, People, and Fungi (While Never Fully Digesting What Is Going On In The Anthropocene)
The Anthropocene seems to throw everything we know about the world into a tailspin. Faced with multiple crises that are unfolding unevenly across bodies, places, and times, we have an urge to increase what we know in order to survive. More data, more stories, more pixels, more maps. And yet to acknowledge the Anthropocene as a geological epoch marked by human domination and planetary ruin is to radically question the keystones of artistic life: individual freedom, production, and creative innovation. This paper calls for changing how we know, not adding to what we know. I consider art as a collaborative method of attunement with more-than-human assemblages whose endurances depend on interplays of time and historical contingency. I present ongoing studies of the temporalities of plants, people, and fungi, and the unruly research that might render them concrete as well as poetic. Human and nonhuman, individual and collective, fiction and science are recomposed, cannibalizing what we know in order to experiment with how we might sense and live otherwise.
Elaine Gan is an artist and scholar who studies how human-plant interactions shape geopolitical histories. She is a Mellon Fellow in Digital Humanities, affiliated with the departments of Anthropology and Media Arts + Practice at University of Southern California. She has also been the art director of Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA) in Denmark since 2013, and a fellow of the Whitney Museum - Independent Study Program and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Her most recent collaborative projects include editing an anthology titled Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (Univ of Minnesota Press 2017); convening a seminar on Feral Technologies in the Technosphere for Haus Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin (2016); and curating an artscience exhibition titled DUMP! Multispecies Making and Unmaking (Kunsthal Aarhus 2015). She is now working on a book and digital project titled Time Machines: Coordinating Rice Ecologies and Empires.
Black Atlantis: Retrograde Futurism
This lecture performance is composed of notes on a film to be made and an essay to be written. On April 29, 2006, a twenty-foot boat was spotted off the south-eastern coast of Barbados. On board, eleven bodies were found by the coastguards, preserved and desiccated by the sun and salt water. The ghost ship was adrift for four months on the Atlantic Ocean. It set sail on Christmas day in Praia in the Cape Verde Islands, full of migrants from Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and Gambia, en route to the Canary Islands. Each of these men paid £890 for their place on the boat. Four months later the boat was found on the coast of Barbados.
This is an inadequate telling of this story that draws on the materials and tools at hand to make sense of the complicity of weather, ocean currents and state violence in the journey of this ship. Hovering between the film and the essay form is a questioning of the adequacy of the measuring of histories and affects connected to crossing, languages to make evident the materiality of the sea, and the both measurable and immeasurable horror contained in the figure of the ghost ship.
Ayesha Hameed’s work explores contemporary borders and migration, critical race theory, Walter Benjamin, and visual cultures of the Black Atlantic. Her work has been performed or exhibited at ICA London (2015), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2014), at The Chimurenga Library at the Showroom, London (2015), Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, Oxford (2015), Edinburgh College of Art (2015), Kunstraum Niederoesterreich Vienna (2015), Pavillion, Leeds in 2015, Homeworks Space Program, Beirut (2016), the Bartlett School of Architecture (2016), Mosaic Rooms (2017) RAW Material Company, Dakar (2017).
Her publications include contributions to Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth (Sternberg Press 2014), We Travelled The Spaceways (Duke University Press forthcoming 2018), Unsound/Undead (Univocal, Forthcoming 2018); and books including Futures and Fictions (co-edited with Simon O’Sullivan and Henriette Gunkel Repeater 2017) and Visual Cultures as Time Travel (with Henriette Gunkel Sternberg, forthcoming 2018). She is currently a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and formerly a Research Fellow with Forensic Architecture at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University, London.
Ready to Foot: Decolonising the feet through Demaking High Heeled shoes for audiovisual theatrical performance and a new location of knowledge
The feet play the role of support structures or even infrastructure for the rest of the body, especially for the hands. The hands, the head and the eyes are the glorified organs of vision, manipulation, tactility and calculation and the feet are a kind of infrastructural support that philosophers never bothered to speak about that much – with notable exceptions such as Bataille, who believes in order to undo the division of labour as proposed by Charles Darwin one would have to effectively want to challenge, suspend, reverse, invert or maybe undo that division of labour, which brings up colonised questions, the feet are colonised by the body, the feet are the colonial subject, the feet are being colonised by the body, so in that sense this research aims to decolonise that hierarchy that has formatted the body as this and elevated the hand at the expense of the feet.
We can use our feet for more than just walking around and some people actually develop extraordinary dexterity with their feet, not only using them to do everyday tasks, but even activities like painting or playing an instrument. Through training, it is possible for the feet to carry out complex creative tasks, beyond their normal everyday job as 'stepping machines’ (Ingold 2003). I agree that a more grounded approach to the way we move as humans can open up new terrain in the area of embodied foot-based skills.
Martin Heidegger proposed that objects may be experienced in two different ways as ‘ready to hand’ and ‘present at hand’ (Heidegger 1962). When an object is ‘ready to hand’ it performs like a seamless extension of our bodily motions. When an object is ‘present at hand’ we perceive it as independent of our bodies, as an agent to be acted upon and with, rather than through. The computer enhanced foot prototypes discussed in this research cannot be physically separated from the foot in performance, the two are tightly, and consistently coupled to carry out theatrical tasks. i therefore suggest the possibility of a knowledge connected to the very experiences that are ‘present at foot'. The theme of 'knowledge at foot’ and objects being ‘ready to foot' relates to situations where the feet are the location of the generation of new knowledge via practice based research and the creation of artefacts (i term Anthropotechnological foot-prototypes and computer enhanced footwear).
Shoes in many cases deform feet. It is this unfree state of the feet that this research challenges through finding unexpected ways to use our feet in newly designed computer enhanced footwear. These foot devices use new technologies coupled with sensors and FM sound synthesis, and therefore afford new types of bodily extensions for creative expression. Through the praxis, I explore and demonstrate the expressive role of the feet in lens-based performance art and their potential impact on the way we perform when enhanced with technology to produce a multi-sensory experience. This approach places the computer enhanced foot-wear in critical dialogue with contemporary technologies for shaping corporeal experience and reimagining foot-centric technologies, to inform unexpected outcomes and communicative ideas through internal bodily awareness. In relation to this research, therefore it is an essential element of the computer enhanced footwear and use of technology that it is from a social perspective taking into account the theory of ‘humanistic intelligence’ (Mann 2001) rather than an ‘artificial intelligence’. I explore the development of foot based skills in the area of audio-visual performance and the related creation of audio-visual instruments created to costume and decolonise the feet.
Dr. Alexandra Murray-Leslie is co-founder of the trans-disciplinary art band Chicks on Speed, a collective of culture workers who apply subversive DIY ethics to interrogate the boundaries of academia, pop music, craft, performance art, new musical instrument design, textiles and theatrical fashion. She is currently guest academic artist at Animal Logic Academy, Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, The University of Technology Sydney and Research Associate at (CRCDM) Centre for Research Creation in Digital Media, Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur. Her practice-based research focuses on the design and development of computer enhanced foot devices for theatrical audiovisual expression.
THE ARTISTIC SELF AND ACADEMIC DIVISIONS OF LABOR
How is it possible to critically examine the concept of the self in the context of artistic research that will supposedly “eat itself”?
In many ways, the cultural and artistic movements of the 20th century were characterised by the idea of a “self” that performs as mirror image. This notion of the self was the currency in circular economies based on finite sets of rules. But that model of identity production is being currently transformed by changing conditions. Now, the self is supposed to operate in a continually generative, "creative" mode, in and by itself.
Much as the natural sciences have been challenged by the deniers of scientific facts, artistic research has stumbled in the face of this transition. There are two broad ways we can respond:
One is triggering a recursive process of self-reflection and refraction that produces idiosyncratic and ever-narrower niches with ever-decreasing degrees of freedom.
Or this transition can also pave the way for a radically new understanding of the role of artistic research and production — one that advances by subverting the dominant divisions of academic labor and, by undoing them, enters into hitherto-unknown collaborations across disciplines though radically different forms of working together. It is in this sense that artistic research can question not just the relationships of production of new knowledge but, ultimately, the practice of the artistic self.
Drawing from the conclusions of the artistic research project “Divisions” Florian Schneider will suggest a series of working points for artistic researchers in new divisions of academic labor.
Florian Schneider is the Head of the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where he currently runs the pilot project “Art and Ocean”. It brings together artists and scientists to explore the potential of new forms of collaborations.
Together with Irit Rogoff, he has recently initiated the European Forum for Advanced Practices (EFAP), an independent gathering of artistic and practice-based researchers from across Europe.
From 2014 to 2017 he has developed and led the artistic research project “Divisions” funded by the Norwegian Program for Artistic Research (PKU). He submitted his PHD on "Imaginary Property" at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Educated as a Documentary filmmaker he has written, lectured, produced, exhibited, curated and collaborated across a wide range of media, fields, disciplines and in independent as well as institutional contexts, such as: “kein mensch ist illegal” (1997-now), Make World Festival (2001 and 2004), Dictionary of War (2005-2010), Summit of non-aligned initiatives in education culture (2007), Imaginary Property (2005-2014), The Henningsvær Charter (2017).