Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination

Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination, was a forum head  Tuesday, 28 March 2017 Tembusu College.

This symposium was convened by Dr Margaret Tan, Associate Professor Lonce Wyse (in absentia) and Assistant Professor Nancy Mauro-Flude, jointly organised by the Science, Technology, and Society Cluster of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), and Tembusu College, National University of Singapore.

Science, Technology and Society (STS) is a field that studies the relationship between social, political, and cultural values and practices on the one hand, and scientific practices and technological development on the other. Many flavours of STS programmes have developed within academia over the last few decades with varying emphases on the historical, regional, medical, philosophical, digital, or on issues such as innovation, gender, power, or economics, but few have engaged in an intimate dialogue with new media, digital or post-digital artists. As science and technology increasingly create disruptions to our social, economic, political, and cultural life, the Arts is one of the important ways through which we can reflect on, confront or come to terms with our changing world.

 

This symposium is devoted to practitioners straddling the fields of art, science, and technology. It aims to bring their theoretical knowledge, imagination and creative approaches to the foreground, and in conversation with STS scholars. Some of the questions the symposium seeks to address include: What are the relationships between new media artistic practices and research? What common terminologies have, or need to emerge between, STS and new media art practitioners? What can we learn from new media artists as they negotiate today’s networked global capitalism, environmental concerns, and the science-military-entertainment-university complex?

ZERO DAY

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY AND THE IMAGINATION

28 MARCH 2017, TUES

1PM – 5PM Reading Room,

Tembusu College Learn Lobe #B1-04

University Town, NUS
28 College Avenue East, Basement Level, Singapore 138598

Photo credit: Dr Nancy Mauro-Flude

Jointly organised by

FASS Science, Technology, and Society Research Cluster Tembusu College

Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Reading Room, Tembusu College Learn Lobe #B1-04
University Town, NUS
28 College Avenue East, Basement Level, Singapore 138598

Science, Technology and Society (STS) is a field that studies the relationship between social, political, and cultural values and practices on the one hand, and scientific practices and technological development on the other. Many flavours of STS programmes have developed within academia over the last few decades with varying emphases on the historical, regional, medical, philosophical, digital, or on issues such as innovation, gender, power, or economics, but few have engaged in an intimate dialogue with new media, digital or post- digital artists. As science and technology increasingly create disruptions to our social, economic, political, and cultural life, the Arts is one of the important ways through which we can reflect on, confront or come to terms with our changing world.

This symposium is devoted to practitioners straddling the fields of art, science, and technology. It aims to bring their theoretical knowledge, imagination and creative approaches to the foreground, and in conversation with STS scholars. Some of the questions the symposium seeks to address include: What are the relationships between new media artistic practices and research? What common terminologies have, or need to emerge between, STS and new media art practitioners? What can we learn from new media artists as they negotiate today’s networked global capitalism, environmental concerns, and the science-military-entertainment-university complex?

This symposium is convened by Dr Margaret Tan, Associate Professor Lonce Wyse (in absentia) and Assistant Professor Nancy Mauro-Flude, and is jointly organised by the Science, Technology, and Society Cluster of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), and Tembusu College, National University of Singapore.

Light refreshments will be served after the symposium.

Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Reading Room, Tembusu College Learn Lobe #B1-04
University Town, NUS
28 College Avenue East, Basement Level, Singapore 138598

13:00

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Dr Margaret Tan
Fellow and Director of Programmes, Tembusu College, National University of Singapore

13:30

A View on Knowledge Structures in Art and Technology

Dr Alexander König Media Theoretician and Artist

The intersection between culture, technology and politics is within the scope of my research-projects and educational- concepts. The focus of this talk will lie on terminology and knowledge structures of the different fields. The implementation of a knowledge-centred structural analysis could bridge the current gap between art, science, and technology. Furthermore, it provides a method to pave the way for unhindered communication between the fields. Instead of focusing on public communication, I would like to suggest we rely more on “sustainable forms of knowledge”, which can help to implement trans- disciplinary projects in education and research facilities across the fields.

14:00

Art, Science, and Technology in the Wild

Dr Andrew Quitmeyer
Assistant Professor, Department of Communications and New Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore

This talk will discuss the challenges of designing interdisciplinary digital technology in the wilderness. It discusses “Digital Naturalism” that investigates the role digital media can play in Biological fieldwork. It looks to uphold the naturalistic values of wilderness exploration, while investigating the new abilities offered by digital technology. In particular, Digital Naturalism looks at how digital media can be used to explore animal behaviours situated in their natural context. Most recently, this research has been carried out directly in the field, in the form of Hiking Hackathons.

14:30

Digital Objects, Digital Subjects: Data Centre Imaginaries

Dr Nancy Mauro-Flude

Assistant Professor, Department of Communications and New Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore

“Data Centre Imaginaries: Digital Objects, Digital Subjects” is an on-going research that posits that the distinguishing character of computer networks and systems lies in their materiality. A position is developed that unmasks the creative possibilities of experiencing the computer as a theatre machine, a mechanism of infinite purposes and diverse desires, rather than solely as an unmediated presentation of a “ready-made” functional tool. The research is mobilised through a series of texts and artworks, and is applied by radical thinking about the dynamic role computational media plays in the world today. Examining the creative ways artists and theorists work with computational networks as a medium, reveal the techno-politics, the collisions between nature, science, technology, culture, ethics and ritual. As large parts of contemporary life move into a realm of “datafication”, against a backdrop of systematic espionage, the scale and contiguity endowed by networks of planetary computation are indeed exceptional; the personal is now not only political, but also instantly geo-poetical.

Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Reading Room, Tembusu College Learn Lobe #B1-04
University Town, NUS
28 College Avenue East, Basement Level, Singapore 138598

15:00

Cracking the Blackbox

Sarah Grant, Media Artist and Teacher & Danja Vasiliev, Critical Engineer

Our research explores the relationship between technology and DIY practice. “Cracking the Blackbox” takes a look inside the usually opaque technology of wireless networking, opening up the possibility for people to have techno-political conversations about the technology itself for the purpose of self-education, without needing to become qualified engineers. Having knowledge about these technologies that we surround ourselves with is shifting the relationship with technology from being a read-only experience to a writable one, a matter the user can change. This read-write ability balances the technological power game that we’re so often positioned within, solely as consumers.

15:30

Art and STS Studies for the nth Time*

Professor Ryan Bishop
Professor of Global Art and Politics, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton UK

The question about whether or not art (new media, digital, post-digital, analogue) should be part of STS research is somewhat outstripped by the fact that such cultural production already occupies a spot within the field, as the work by scholars such as Peter Galison, Caroline A. Jones, Matthew Wisnioski, Anna Vallye, and others make clear. Additionally, Galison has branched out into artistic production himself, recently working with William Kentridge and thus brining art practice into STS. The resuscitation of art and technology/science labs that flourished during the Cold War with explicit reboots of them in the present (CAVS at MIT, Art + Technology at LACMA, EAT with Bell Labs, to mention US sites alone) reveals an intense interest in the intersections of these areas that will raise pertinent questions for STS scholars through historical/archaeological considerations of practices, institutions, and theories that pertain to present inquiry and speculative futures. This talk will explore some of these.

*The title of this piece is modified (stolen) from a piece by Florian Cramer discussing the ancient interaction between art and technology.

16:00

Question and Answer Session

17:00

End of Symposium

Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Reading Room, Tembusu College Learn Lobe #B1-04
University Town, NUS
28 College Avenue East, Basement Level, Singapore 138598

Biographies

Ryan Bishop is Professor of Global Art and Politics at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton UK, where he is

co-director with Jussi Parikka of the research group “Archaeologies of Media and Technology.” He co-edits the journal Cultural Politics (Duke UP) and edits the book series “Technicities” (Edinburgh UP), “A Cultural Politics Book” (Duke UP) and “Theory Now” (Polity). Recent books include Cold War Legacies: Systems, Theory, Aesthetics (with John Beck, Edinburgh UP, 2016), Across and Beyond: A Transmediale Reader on Post-digital Practices, Concepts and Institutions (with Kristoffer Gansing, Jussi Parikka and Elvia Wilk, Sternberg Press, 2016) and Barthes/Burgin (with Sunil Manghani, Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

Sarah Grant, a NYC and Berlin-based media artist and teacher, is interested in demystifying wireless and radio technology for the ordinary citizen. Her research is focused on exploring our relationship with wireless technologies, developing educational tools, and opening up these technologies for their creative potential and critical examination. She is also the author of Subnodes, a popular open source DIY networking project since 2012. She earned her Masters from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Programme, and has been a Research Fellow at the Tow Centre for Journalism at Columbia, an Adjunct Professor at NYU Polytechnic in Digital Media, and an Impact Resident at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Centre, where she organises the Radical Networks conference in Brooklyn. She is currently artist-in-residence at Tembusu College, NUS. See http://chootka.com and http://radicalnetworks.org.

Alexander König is a media theoretician and artist living in Berlin. He obtained his PhD from the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Fine Arts Vienna. Professor Diedrich Diederichsen supervised his thesis, “Digital Movement-Image”. Alexander taught semiotics and media-theory in at Merz Academy Stuttgart and was a postdoctoral researcher at the art academy of Trondheim (NTNU). He also works as a freelancer in the fields of real-time animation, live- stream system engineering and digital-video, often in collaboration with FMX/Filmakademie Ludwigsburg. At the moment, he is artist-in-residence at Tembusu College, NUS. See http://www.media-art-theory.com.

Nancy Mauro-Flude is an artist and theorist whose research is driven by the demystification of technology, and the “mystifications” that lie in and through the performance of the machinic assemblage. She has undertaken applied clinical training at the Somatic Movement Institute, Amsterdam (1998-2001), and was an artist-in-residence at both DasArts, Amsterdam School of Arts (2001-4), and Waag Society, institute for art, science and technology (2004-6). Awarded a BA (Hons 1:1) Sydney University (2000), an MA (Media Design) Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2007), a PhD (Fine Art) University of Tasmania (2014) and has been a research Fellow Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (2007-8). Nancy has collaborated with experimental institutions and performed at festivals worldwide (Transmedale, Berlin; Verbo and File Festival, SaoPaulo; Frascati Amsterdam; EastBloc, Montreal; Museum of New and Old Art, Tasmania). Formerly course leader, Master of Fine Arts Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2015/6). Currently Art Chair, ACM Creativity and Cognition 2017, ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2017) and Assistant Professor at National University Singapore. See http://sister0.tv.

Andrew Quitmeyer is a digital adventurer studying the intersections between wild animals and computational devices. His PhD research in “Digital Naturalism” from Georgia Tech blends biological fieldwork and DIY digital crafting. This work has taken him through the wilds of Panama and Madagascar where he has run workshops with diverse groups of scientists, artists, designers, and engineers. Much of his current work involves running series of “Hiking Hacks” around the world, where participants build technology entirely in the wild for interacting with nature. Andy is the winner of several design awards and his trans-disciplinary, multimedia projects have been featured in The Discovery Channel, Wired, PBS, NPR, Cartoon Network, Make Magazine, Fast Company, Gizmodo, along with other print and digital internet news and educational sources.

Margaret Tan is currently a Fellow and Director of Programmes at Tembusu College, and Research Fellow at the Science, Technology, and Society Cluster at Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She holds a PhD from the Department of Communications and New Media, NUS, a Masters in Interactive Media and Critical Theory from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a degree in Fines Arts from RMIT/Lasalle College of the Arts. Working from a feminist perspective, her works have been showcased both locally and internationally. Margaret engages art now as a teacher and administrator but she hopes to return to her art practice in the future. She co-directs, with Associate Professor Lonce Wyse, the NUS Art/Science Residency Programme. See http://margaret-tan.com.

Zero Day: Science, Technology, Society and the Imagination Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Reading Room, Tembusu College Learn Lobe #B1-04
University Town, NUS
28 College Avenue East, Basement Level, Singapore 138598

Biographies

Danja Vasiliev is a Critical Engineer currently living and working in Berlin. He studies systems and networks through anti- disciplinary experimentation, using hardware, firmware, and software to create works of critical engineering. Since 1999, Danja has been involved in computer technology events, media art exhibitions and seminars worldwide. He has received a number of awards and mentions, including at Ars Electronica, Japan Media Art Festival, and Transmediale, among others. In October 2011, he co-authored The Critical Engineering Manifesto with his colleagues Julian Oliver and Gordan Savičić. In his day-to-day life, Danja works with Linux software and promotes open source practices in all aspects of life. He is currently artist-in-residence at Tembusu College, NUS. See http://k0a1a.net and http://criticalengineering.org.

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