1. Diverse methods, diverse communities of practice
2. Externally-facing ’University of Dissensus’ [Readings: 1997]
3. Immediation, 1:1, live
4. Fluid, adaptive co-learning
5. Cooperative and collegiate
Speculations is a two day Shift/Workshop. Speculations will be collectively composed and play-tested at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop on the 3rd and 4th of March 2017, a participatory action-research workshop ordained to fabricate speculative artistic research methods.
We will compose a workshop in which participants develop, learn and apply speculative artistic research methods. It is crucial that the genesis of this workshop is, in its own right, speculative. Our speculative process encourages artistic practices that cannot be held, observed or enacted without taking risks or experiencing their consequences. To this end, Shift/Work: Speculations will be collectively composed.
Speculative methods may include, but are not limited to: abduction, syncretism, forecasting, futurism, divination, becoming-rites, probing (making and employing actants), paradisciplinarity, ‘pataphysics, hyperstition, theory-fiction, mythopoesis, fabulation, fictioning, (mis)management, gaming / playing, versioning, licensing, servicizing, technés / technoetics, extended cognition (ExC), imaginative propositions, paper architecture, thought experiments, proposing, lateral thinking/feeling/knowing, weird-ing, speculative realism, mangle-practice….
Who are the Shift/Workers?
A compagon of ‘composers’ – comprising artists, curators, designers, musicians, producers, educationalists, social anthropologists, philosophers and futurists – will join us at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in March 2017 to scribe and audition Speculations. Working in three groups, participants will compose three iterative workshops. The three groups will then rotate, each participating in the workshops composed by their peers. Our post-workshop re-calibration of the three workshops will translate them into one workshop. Shift/Work will direct this ‘calibrated’ workshop at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale at the end of March 2017.
At the time of writing, we may only speculate on the form Speculations will take. We speculate that the workshop will enable participants to compose, experience and evaluate an iterative, action-based, peer-to-peer learning experience that is both theoretical and practical. We expect they will learn how their speculations (and their attendant risks and uncertainties) are co-affective upon the experiences of their peers. Like previous Shift/Workshops, Speculations will enact relevant discourses, practices and models of artistic paragogy to enable and inspire participants to adopt speculative methods and implement their own workshops.
We hope that you can come to ESW to take part in the composition phase of this workshop.
The Groundcourse is a two year foundation led by Roy Ascott at Ealing (1961-64), Ipswich School of Art (1964-67) and currently at Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai.
Groundcourse is a seminal educational experiment that is a key influence on Shift/Work. Prof Ascott will discuss Groundcourse before running a short exercise from it. This is a unique opportunity to experience the legandary Groundcourse at first hand.
1. Discussion of full Groundcourse programme, the theory behind it, and plenty examples of student outputs, both way back in Ealing/Ipswich and currently at De Tao.
Then comes the practice:
2. Each individual student will design and construct a machine that can calibrate changes in one’s individual environment and in one’s behaviour, producing for each user a severely limited repertoire of actions.
3. Organisms are identified, each consisting of five “calibrated” students , recognising their mutual dependancy in enabling the organism’s ability to produce thought and action.
4. Each organism then to design and build an environmentally-situated performative game.
5. Presentation: enactment of each organism’s game.
6. Organisms discuss their critical reflection of the process.
Professor Roy Ascott, Ars Electronica Golden Nica award winner, works with cybernetics and telematics on cybernetic art, focusing on the impact of digital and telecommunications networks on consciousness. He is President of the Planetary Collegium, and DeTao Master of Technoetic Arts at the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai. He is the founding editor of the research journal Technoetic Arts, an honorary editor of Leonardo Journal, and author of such the books as Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness.
Prof Ascott’s full biography can be reviewed here:
https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/roy-ascott and here
Since the early ’60s, increasingly integrated paratechnical curricula have been (begrudgingly) hosted by monotechnical art and design schools. I outline the key characteristics and limitations of the (modernist) monotechnical art and design curriculum and give some examples of different integrated paratechnical tactics and strategies. From this, I suggest that the paratechnic attempts to pursue the following qualities:
Diversification of methods and communities of practice
Externally-networked dissensus (Bill Reading’s ‘University of Dissensus’)
1:1 scale immediation (non-representational)
Ludic, adaptive flow
Paragogical cooperation and collegiality
An opportunity lies in admitting that the monoculture of art and design education – its internal ethics – still nurtures modernist assimilation and bias, and that, in preventing art and design from realising its educational potential, fachidiots place their own field at risk of redundancy. From this we may begin a productive transformation of the art school’s communities of practice (its variety of staff and students) and their relations with international communities of purpose.
This workshop will help you to comprehend how your decisions impact upon your peers (and vice versa). Working in a small group, you will collectively engage in a series of simple creative tasks. These tasks have been designed by a group of artists specifically to heighten your awareness of play and reciprocity in the learning process. You will not be assisted by an ‘instructor’. To complete each task, you will have to be imaginative and resourceful, working closely together and learn from each other. The workshop will engage performative forms of ritual interaction and ecstatic mutuality normally found in gaming, for the purposes of learning how we learn.This workshop is predicated on a ludic theory of ‘decisions’ as reciprocal and enmeshed game-rules governing how actants interact. Playing the game leads to the rules being revised and updated, offering fresh game-theoretic insights. This autotelism relates to our perception of Shift/Work as an iterative process, a set of workshops that can be continually re-performed like a musical score.
This Shift/Workshop is restricted to 12 participants to ensure that each group is small enough to form a playful bond (preventing ‘committee’ decision-making) but large enough to require negotiation and consensus building.