[-empyre-] A open call to our subscribers: Week 1: New Year/New Tools and Technologies

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Sun Feb 8 09:49:53 AEDT 2015

Dear all, This is an engaging discussion and I thank all of you.  I would
like you all to address how you deal with the conceptual and historical
aspects of any project.  Realizing that we all have our abilities and
training that may reside outside of the demands of any given project how
to you manage to bring everything together?  How do you actualize these

What I find interesting in all of your work is that you all identify your
strengths and where your individual research resides but what about the
reception of the piece and where the work will eventually reach an
audience. Work that is actualized with technological tools often reside in
cross-disciplinary contexts such as in an academic setting or institution.
 Are there different expectations for the work depending on who will
receive the work and where it will exist? Do the rest of you work in
collaborative environments? You all have such different backgrounds it
would be interesting to hear your perspectives.

Jason I think you might be a great person to speak to as well given the
fact that the residency revolves around tools but you also host research
residencies writers and theorists. Is there ever collaborative
Thanks again to all of you for this deep analysis of each of your
practices. It really has been enjoyable to read your posts.

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office:  306
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rferro at cornell.edu <mailto:rtf9 at cornell.edu>>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net <http://www.renateferro.net/>
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net <http://www.tinkerfactory.net/>

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

On 2/7/15, 2:51 PM, "B. Bogart" <ben at ekran.org> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>Hello all,
>I would like to respond to both Jason and William in this message, since
>I missed Jason's comments before sending my last messages.
>Jason Bernagozzi wrote: "Of course we cannot assume that the process is
>objective, but there is not enough talk about the aesthetic objectives
>of the artist, who undoubtedly did not want the machine to make anything
>that looked ³ugly²."
>This could lead to interesting directions since I have a strange
>relationship to aesthetics. I'm personally more interested in the
>process than the outward appearance. The output of the system is
>demonstration or documentation, whereas the actual work is the executed
>process. Part of the reason for this is that in the production process I
>spend more time getting the code to work, and it making sense in the
>context of theory, than evaluating the aesthetics.
>I think of the aesthetics as being an emergent result of the process,
>and short of selection for documentation, is not the primary site of
>artistic validation. This has gotten me into some trouble in
>art-as-inquiry where the process of creating aesthetics objects is
>(sometimes) where the contribution of art lies.
>As my graduate studies have largely been in a quantitative /
>scientifically oriented program, I've been thinking a lot about the idea
>of objectivity/subjectivity in relation to mediation, and the relation
>between global/local interpretations and meaning. Is objectivity the
>same as a global and unmediated truth? I think that all meaning and
>interpretation is context-dependent and mediated, and thus local. Global
>meaning and interpretation as unmediated is an illusion. As I spend a
>lot of time trying to bridge arts and sciences, it's often difficut to
>get hard objectivists to consider their knowledge as mediated and
>imbued with cultural values and biases.
>My response to William follows inline:
>On 15-02-07 04:08 AM, William Bain wrote:
>> But my first question is: Aren't concepts tools? As infants we spend
>> lots of times sucking our toes and thumbs, figuring out what things
>> like arms and legs can do--forming concepts to put such things to
>> work. Maybe I'm leaving out something you put into your long text.
>I would agree that concepts are tools. I'm quite interested in
>Barsalou's conception that (concrete) concepts are simulations of
>sensory information that are generated on the fly to match particular
>task demands.
>In the context of my question "Is it a question a tools, or a question
>of contexts and conceptions?" I'm trying to get at the idea that perhaps
>we should be less concerned with tools manifest in physical artifacts,
>and more concerned with how those tools augment both behaviour and
>cognition. I write about this in another blog post:
>http://www.ekran.org/ben/wp/2014/indoctrination-machines/ (I think I
>already referred to this in a previous message to empyre). I think the
>physical manifestation of tools is the tip of the iceberg and we should
>be thinking less about them as tools and more of them as systems that
>structure behaviour and cognition. This is an extension of my TEDx talk:
>> Second, you speak of being less interested in using grounds (?) or
>> objects from contexts like Flickr due to "lack of constraint": I'd
>> like to ask, Wouldn't lack of constraint add to the experimental
>> features?
>I'm not sure what you mean by "experimental features".
>I think what I was getting at is the idea that rather than my work being
>about communication or expression centrally, it's about reflecting on
>the nature of communication and expression. I am interested in grounding
>because the grounding of concepts (in sensory reality) is itself an
>interesting and open question. It's really an issue of embodiment. How
>our complex symbolic world relates to the messiness and uniqueness of
>actual sensory information. Part of this grounding for me entails a
>requirement for a point of view, and thus a system placed in space and
>time which constrains the sensory patterns available to it. There is a
>problem here though, because even in discussions with specialists there
>was always this question of what the task of the system was, and that
>the ill-formed "task" of making sense did not provide detail enough to
>select appropriate algorithms. It could certainly be argued that, as an
>agent, the dreaming machine's lack of motivation (goal directed desires)
>precludes any useful sense of cognition.
>If I was to use images from flickr, or images submitted by the public,
>then the unitary point of view of the machine would be lost. The system
>would have a pluralistic point of view and I could think of as
>approaching objectivity and shifting away from locality/subjectivity. I
>suppose I'm interested in exploring the notion of machine subjectivity
>through methods normally contextualized within an objective practice
>(brain and computer science).
>In the context of the discussion happening now, it seems the interplay
>between old and new media could then be considered in the interplay
>between old and new conceptual systems, perhaps modernism in relation to
>I'm personally more interested in the idea of living technological works
>that keep getting reinvented in new technical and cultural contexts than
>works being preserved in the sense of painting or sculpture:
>Great discussion; thanks all for engaging.
>Thanks for all this very welcome material. It seems to me
>> like a great renewal of Empyre's discussions. Best wishes, William
>> _______________________________________________ empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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