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
More specifically, in attunement with neo-animist configurations of the ‘non-human turn’, this paper evokes a cosmology in which aesthetics is not limited to the sensual relations between human self and world but instead describes a synesthetic hyper-economy through which all selves inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, represent, translate and interact across the otherwise separate realities they inhabit. As anthropologist Eduardo Kohn argues, a subject, self or mind does not produce signs but is in fact an emergent product of semiosis, of the way it represents the world and is represented by others in the world. In other words a self is a “loci of enchantment”—the non-anthropological outcome of aesthetic processes. Thinking aesthetics in this way intervenes provocatively with the notion of ‘visual literacy’ since it requires a non-symbolic conception of representation as a “open whole” that cannot be confined within human linguistic frameworks.
The Confraternity pursues their speculative cosmology through their ongoing fascination with the enchanted iconicity of medieval sacramental practices such as body part relic-ing. The ritual elevation, translation and sometimes humiliation of ‘person-objects’ epitomizes the dynamic interrelations between corpus and textus, likeness and presence and confounds the hierarchical segregation of ‘representing subject’ from ‘represented thing’.
The A/V presentation takes the form of an alt-future parable, following the synesthetic adventures of an independent broker of sensual exchange. Part corporeal, part corporate and part commodity, Muller Ltd. is a journeying apprentice, or ‘Junior Solution Aligner’, who is pursuing the ultimate ambassadorial title of ‘Universal Travel Adaptor’ by immersing itself in increasingly ‘alien’ centers of experience. As the parable unfolds Muller Ltd’s ‘powers of feeling’ increase dramatically, but only at the terrifying cost of dissolving its own corporeal branding (its iconic ‘equity’) into the synesthetic matrix. The parable thus takes a speculative look at the precarious integrity of visual literacy as it expands its territory into the non-cognitive or ‘illiterate’ realm of the non-human sensorium.
Day 3 – 23. September, 2016
18.15-18.45 Confraternity of Neoflagellants: Envisioning Future Premodern Materialisms
Performing Situated Knowledges: Space, Time, Vulnerability: 7th Annual Conference on the New Materialisms, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.
Organized by: New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Action IS 1307
This conference is one of a series of new materialism conferences that together aim to explore, through both theoretical and practical multiple transversal methodologies and approaches, the notion that vibrant, agential “matter” matters and further, to investigate the ontological, political, ethical, esthetical, and sociological implications this may carry. This year, whilst acknowledging the fast approaching thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Donna Haraway’s groundbreaking essay on “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” (1988), we invite participants to explore, perform anew, and enliven the concept of “situated knowledges”.
Rhubaba presents Still life with flying objects, a group exhibition that brings together new and existing work by artists including Tim Dodds, Susie Green, Emma Hart and Susan Mowatt. Thinking about objects and why we are drawn to make them, the show will present work by artists who paint, weave, make films and build. In Still life with flying objects liquid paint settles, takes form as a twig, shape-shifts into a piece of rope and later slips off as a snake; a tapestry keeps out the cold, hanging as a soft wall and holding collaged lumps in its weave; at home a camera pans scraping along the radiator, coming across an out of reach cobweb which reveals lost treasure. By reaching under the bed, knotting the yarn and looking through the porthole, the artworks in the show consider what the stuff we surround ourselves with is, how it is made and where it ends up.
A charrette is an intensive participatory group that engages a common enquiry. Atelier, Skye is a three-day charrette wherein a group of artists, curators, academic researchers and members of Atlas Arts will work with a series of common research ‘objects’ located in the north of the Isle of Skye (Trotternish, Waternish and Duirinish).
Working with the charrette curators, ATLAS Arts have identified a series of sites and objects that will facilitate and contrast different methods of visual and material enquiry. These objects range from artefacts in local museums, to areas of outstanding natural beauty. By engaging with ‘things’ in the custodianship of Atlas Arts, our charrette will enable us to map and improve conditions for cross-disciplinary collaboration, shifting the emphasis away from doing research towards the creation of research objects.
We aim to assist Atlas Arts in meeting their aims and obligations as the primary arts organisation for Skye and Lochalsh and thus to the local populace. We will enable this by enlisting Atlas Arts to collaborate directly with artists, arts professionals and academics in the creation of common research objects. The charrette will transform participants’ understanding of what material research is, what it can be and of who/what might participate in it. We also hope to use our visit to establish an open access online archive of the project, proxy distributed by Atlas Arts, that will ensure Atelier’s methods are available to artists, researchers and educators working with comparable community-based and site-sensitive organisations.
What is ‘Skye’?
For the purposes of this project, Skye functions as host environment for engaging a broader community of academics and non-academics in contemporary art and materialist research. It is both a slowly changing land mass and a more rapidly transforming series of agents, things and discourses. ‘Skye’ is a contingent object, one in an ongoing process of flow and growth. Following the material-turn, it is appropriate that we do not presuppose a singular thematic or disciplinary approach towards ‘Skye’. This is why participants will work only from things hosted by the island, discovering a varied flow of entanglements over the duration of the charrette. Our initial meetings with Atlas Arts Director Emma Nicholson established our objects of enquiry, the journeys our research group will make around the island, the iterative structure of the charrette research process and the ways in which we will document this.
What is ‘Atlas Arts’?
Based in Portree, ATLAS Arts seeks to be a pioneering producer and commissioner of contemporary art that will create connections between artists and audiences, and respond to the unique qualities of this region, its landscapes, its culture and its people. http://atlasarts.org.uk
Atelier warmly welcome Professor Richard Sennett, who will be discussing his seminal work The Craftsman at The University of Edinburgh. In this book, he shows how history has drawn fault-lines between craftsman and artist, maker and user, technique and expression, practice and theory, and that individuals’ pride in their work, as well as modern society in general, suffers from these historical divisions.
Sennett’s research has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts – about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Professor Sennett continues the pragmatist tradition begun by William James and John Dewey.
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.
"Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you and drags you back in to help track yourself down."