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We will be holding our first research-creation workshop in Zurich from April 26-29 2014. A public part on April 28 from 18:00-20:00h will include presentations of our preliminary thoughts and insights together with a public discussion and apéro at Corner College.

Come and play with us!



Jamie Allen, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

Amélie Brisson-Darveau, IFCAR, ZHdK

Christoph Brunner, IFCAR, ZHdK

Nicole deBrabandere, IFCAR, ZHdK

Sher Doruff, Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam School of the Arts

Gerko Egert, Freie Universität Berlin

Jonas Fritsch, CAVI, PIT, Aarhus University

Victoria Gray, Chelsea College of Art

Thomas Markussen, Danish Centre for Design Research, Kolding School of Design

Stamatia Portanova, independent scholar

Bodil-Marie Stavning-Thomsen, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University

Annette Svaneklink Jakobsen, Aarhus School of Architecture

Evelyn Wan, Utrecht University

Verena Ziegler, IAD, ZHdK

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I came across this fascinating project Hearing Modernity at Harvard. Speakers include Brian Massumi and Jonathan Sterne both of whom have been very influential for my own work. Link to the site, including a blog and many audio-visul features.

Here the announcement text:

Sound, fleeting and immaterial, has long proved resistant to academic inquiry. Faced with the impenetrable difficulty of pinning down sounds themselves, scholars have largely focused on written texts (instead of spoken words), while musicians have largely focused on notes (instead of sounds). In recent years, however, a number of very promising approaches from a variety of fields, which often bridge the arts and the sciences, have sprung up and have begun to capture this phenomenon in its wider context.

The 2013/14 John E. Sawyer seminar “Hearing Modernity” explores the world of sound studies. As the humanities turn away from the predominance of the visual domain and start exploring other sensory modalities, as the arts turn away from their traditional preoccupation with the work concept and toward a heightened appreciation of ecologies and soundscapes, and as the self-imposed limitations of C. P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” become ever more apparent, sound studies emerges as a new field that responds to multiple challenges at once.

Massumi’s talk MOTIVE COMMOTION AFFECT, INCIPIENT ACTION, AND THE INFRA- OF EXPERIENCE to be delivered on April 13, 2014 is for sure going to be a highlight.

It is a common feature of process-oriented philosophies to underline the formative role of nonconscious perceptions in emergent experience. This talk will propose a set of concepts for understanding this subthreshold incipience of experience, drawing from the work of such authors as A.N. Whitehead, Henri Bergson, C.S. Peirce, Raymond Ruyer and Suzanne Langer, as well as recent empirical research on perceptual “priming.” Special attention will be given to the interrelatedness of the senses at this level, with the emphasis on the often neglected sense of proprioception. Notions of “schema” and “body image,” which tend to overlay onto the emergent level of experience cognitive and perceptual models derived from conscious perception, will be avoided in favor of a vocabulary privileging the categories directly concerned with incipient activity (activation, animation, potentiation), orientation (tendency), and affect (directly lived quality of activity). The concepts proposed will revolve in particular around models for emergent experience modeled loosely on musical notions, as in the case of Bergson, Ruyer, Langer.

interdisciplinary dialogues - what is research?

The Interdisciplinary Dialogues 2009/10 series I am organizing in the PhD in Humanities at Concordia Universty, took place for the first time this term with the opening session entitled “Art as Research.” The overall theme for this year focuses on the question of “What is Research?” As part of the annually curriculum the PhD in Humanities is having the Interdisciplinary Dialogues as a platform for PhD students in the program to share ideas with their peers and faculty and to get their work discussed in light of particular topics.

The emphasis of the conceptual framework lies in the notion of “dialogues.” From last year’s experience and due to a general discomfort with terms like panel or paper presentations, this year’s series aims at creating an environment of mutual exchange of ideas in relation to a specific theme. Thus, the PhD students were asked to give 10 minute insights into their work in conjunction with the session’s theme. Once the presentations are over, a discussion with the audience is generated by a faculty member. In our case Owen Chapman from Concordia’s Communication Department took on the role of the discussant.

What follows are some remarks that are based on the experience of this first panel and the experiment it comprised. The presentations were all exercised in perfect idiosyncratic and thoughtful ways. I think the audience received insights into five very different projects that have very different angles around the problematic field of art as research. From preceding discussions the presenters knew each other which turned out to be very beneficial for the session as such. Hence, the challenge of proposing a problematic field instead of a bold statement or a mere provocation played not really in favour of the creative collaboration I envisioned for the session. Once the floor was opened for the audience, people (in reference to one individual in the audience that unfolded the problematic in a more than determinstic mode of thought [à la art vs. science vs. philosophy]) often fell back in defending academic disciplines, their value for dialogues, and their strengths in adressing the issue of art as research.

During the course of the discussion it turned out that the setting of an interesting theme, great presentations, and a discussant, are not necessarily enough, if it is not possible to divert deterministic lines of thought in favour of more productive forces. The techniques at stake need to be more refined without cutting the proces of actual collaborative thought. Hence, and this is the curicial question here, what is needed for a collective thought to emerge? I actually think, that the potential for such a collective process was immanently present but did not actualize due to particular circumstances. This is in its core a very political problem. On the one hand, we have to warrant a certain openness for a process to freely develop in its unpredictability. On the other hand we need a political commitment that is able to cut creatively and therefore to generate new openings. The political act resides not in the selective mode of amplification of a preferred line over others (always the problem of a positioning such as “right” or “left”). On the contrary, the political act here lies in the very attentiveness towards a process that need to be maintained open for new modes of collective expression. In other words, not a strategy or tactic that provides a direction but a continuous critical re-posing of the problematic at stake and its creative productivity.

Once the session was in a certain mode oriented (or territorialized), the refrain, with which the territory appears, became so strong that it disabled any re-emergence of a creative collective process. Participants fell back into straight-forward and short-handed exercises of rehearsing the jargon of their accustomed and inscribed disciplinary modes of thought. What would have been necessary was a little cut to open up another line and therefore a new field of potentials. In that sense a discussant can take on such a job, an audience member as well or one of the presenters (ideally we might want to get to a point where these differentiations are somewhat obsolete). The question refers for me to a lack of intensity and resonance. Certainly a molar resonance developed according to a strong refrain - the deterministic statement according to molar blocks of thought. But there was another resonance immanent yet not activated. The discussion that the presenting students generated in the meetings before bore plenty of potential for a collective mode of thought. A group-intensity, a comfort and ground to work from were the immanent forces that could have been activated to generate a new shift towards a processual opening.

We have two more chances to experiment in the coming sessions. Let’s hope things get more often cut productively than they did this time.