[-empyre-] incompatible research practices - week 03 - feedback & control // language & curating

magnus lawrie magnus at ditch.org.uk
Wed Feb 22 09:05:57 EST 2012

Hello Lasse and all,

On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 04:12:03PM +0100, Lasse Scherffig wrote:
> Thank you Gabriel and empyre for inviting me.
> I will briefly motivate my research to provide some possible
> starting points for discussions. It in itself already seems "a wide
> range of topics" to me, but I hope there is enough compatibility to
> break it down to a few lines.
> Pursuing a master's degree in digital media (read: computer science)
> in Bremen, I once went into the library to fetch some old (1980s?)
> book. I was astonished to see that it wasn't marked as INF
> (informatics) but KYB. Studying cognitive science and computer
> science, I hadn't heard much about Cybernetics apart from it being
> some hype before there was artificial intelligence. I became
> interested but I had to work at ZKM for some time and be confronted
> with closed circuit art and the like before Cybernetics became the
> center of my research. Of course, this science in the meantime had
> its own hype in media art and theory (in which it never was as
> forgotten as it is(?) in the sciences).
It sounds like you had an interesting and circuitous route into
cybernetics. I am curious about how that plays into your work on the
PhD. What, if any, is the relation? Do you find things in the expected
categories these days?

> Being part of the KHM PhD program, I currently write a theory thesis
> (which is -- speaking of in/compatibilities -- what the KHM demands:
> there is no practice in its PhDs) that tries to read Human-Computer
> Interaction against Cybernetics. After tracing the (mostly
> non-Wienerian) pre-history of the latter and the departure of the
> former from it (which both are connected to the emergence of
> interactive computing with Feedback Machines), I use Cybernetics to
> argue that interfaces are "enacted" through use as much as they are
> the designed a priori of interaction. The question holding it
> together might be: How can moving a "mouse" on a table and pressing
> a finger onto that mouse while watching apparent motion on a
> computer screen be experienced as one integrated action: clicking on
> something? And since this something has intriguingly been described
> as algorithmic sign by Frieder Nake, semiotics play a (albeit small)
> role in it as well (and at least here the question of language comes
> into play).
> With Paidia Laboratory: feedback (that has been part of
> transmediale) and my friends of Paidia Institute, we recently have
> taken this research into art practice; using a type of "archeology"
> that is interested in contemporary dispositves (by setting up
> regular computer games as self-playing control circuits in this
> case).

I really enjoyed the Paida Laboratory piece at Transmediale. Reading
about some of the complexities that exist in interfaces I can see what
a triumph of clarity and succinctness that work is. Could you perhaps
describe the work and explain a little about its development.
Secondly, perhaps you could describe how you balance practice, such as
work with Paida Laboratory, with the theory-led PhD at KHM. Do these
things exist apart or is there some kind of feedback between the two?

Best wishes,

> Best!
> Lasse.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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