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This is the public start page of my personal librarinth: an online scrapbook that I am using in the course of the research project 'Dialogues with Machines'. I am undertaking this project as a researcher in the Media Arts Studio of the KASK Conservatorium / University College Ghent, and I am pursuing a doctorate in the arts with it as part of the S:PAM, Studies in Performing Arts and Media research group at the University of Ghent. My promotors are Christel Stalpaert and Edwin Carels.

research description

A recently (020210624) updated short description of my research goes as follows:

This research project started as an attempt to deal with a question that Socrates gets asked in his dialogue with Meno: how can we learn something we don't already know ? I will be exploring what I think is one answer, that new things can be learned in interaction with devices outside of us. It is an answer that interests me because what I have been calling a 'dialogue with machines' has been at the heart of my media-art practice for many years. But despite these roots, the aim of this project is not primarily to think about art; the aim is to clarify the concept of a 'dialogue with machines' and expand it to a view of technology that is also relevant outside of the arts. By focusing on the agency of technological artefacts in speculation and creation, I hope to contribute to a reflection on technology as something else than a tool to subjugate our planet and ourselves.

Practical work has focused on the room full of historic and recent analog computers that has been my studio for the past few years. I have been making artistic works nourished by a form of media-archeology that serves two purposes that are almost opposed: it seeks to illuminate aspects of current practices by going back to their origins, and it looks at the past as a rich and relatively accessible source of difference.
In my reading and writing I am trying to articulate the sources of what can be perceived as an agency of machines and look at how a dialogue with machines can be a form of collaboration in which new representations appear. For this I am primarily leaning on the work of Alfred North Whitehead, Gilbert Simondon and Isabelle Stengers, with frequent appearances by Katherine Hayles, Bernard Stiegler and Andrew Pickering. An important element in these reflections is the notion of abstraction as articulated by Whitehead: abstractions are not objects but decisions to focus on certain aspects of a situation and relegate other aspects to the background. This is a view on abstractions as performative, inherently ecological and non-anthropocentric, and the fundament of my thesis will be to look at machines in these terms.

presentations and publications

  • presentation at Alchemy Filmmaker symposium in Hawick, Scottish Borders (March 2017).
  • article about analog computing in Arts.Codes online magazine (May 2017).
  • presentation at the symposium “Arts Filmiques et Expérimentations Optiques Contemporaines” at the ENS Louis-Lumière in Paris (October 2017).
  • premiere of #57 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (January 2018), and a blogpost about #57.
  • artist's talk at the Moscow International Experimental Film Festival (September 2018).
  • keynote and artist's presentation at the VectorHack Festival in Zagreb and Ljubljana (October 2018).
  • Film programme curated for the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam (November 2018).
  • artist's talk at the 'Golf' festival, Haarlem (December 2018).
  • artist's talk as part of the 'Memoires Vives' exhibition at the Zebrastraat, Ghent (January 2019).
  • artist's talk at the Digital Media Program of the Hochschule für Künste Bremen (January 2019).
  • exhibition of installation #71.1 during the Sonic Acts festival at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (February 2019).
  • artist's talk at Creative Coding Utrecht (May 2019).
  • exhibition of (partially reworked) installation #71.1 at iMal in Brussels. (November 2019)

this librarinth

The idea and form of this librarinth are inspired by the libarynth that has grown as part of the activities of FoAm, who describe it as: “a hybrid between a library and a labyrinth, a maze of pages in various stages of completion. It is a deeply intertwingled collection of documents, notes and randomness”.

For now, there is not much to see here, as I have just started on this research project, and also because I am still navigating the question of how to reconcile my desire for openness and sharing with the need for a walled garden where ideas can safely unfold. Parts of this garden will open up soon and will be listed below, other things will find their way to my blog. Eventually, all that is here will become public. If you are really interested, you can try asking for guest access, which will open this door for you.
You can always contact me here.

start.txt · Last modified: 020210624 170753 by joost