The Research Networking Day provides a platform to exchange ideas and experiences for students and researchers from different European graduate and postgraduate programmes traversing the fields of audio, arts, media, design and related theoretical disciplines. A yearly initiative co-organised with Humboldt University’s Department of Musicology, the RND sought submissions from students, junior researchers and persons pursuing higher levels of research and studies to present projects and findings connected to the CTM 2019 Turmoil Theme.
The second module within the 2019 Research Networking Day is hosted by Christoph Jacke, who is Professor of Theory, Aesthetics, and History of Popular Music (University of Paderborn), and Chair of the German speaking branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM D-A-CH) among other. His research focus is on media, culture, and communications theory, cultural studies, celebrity studies, and popular music studies.
Ilana Harris (Humboldt University, DE)
Synaesthesia looks at the senses as breaking apart predisposed boundaries and delineations. We can use the model of synaesthesia to think about what it would mean to break apart pre-imposed categorisations, such as those within science, art, and politics. I propose to study synaesthesia as a pluralistic template for innovation and social action.Synaesthesia is often described by synaesthetes as being an experience which they had thought to be intrinsic to all people's experience. As such, synesthesia in even its brutest understanding can be thought of an alternative means of viewing the world, and one that is highly intuitive.
While its phenotype has been documented for centuries and has been historically present amongst artists and musicians, synaesthesia's cognitive basis remains unclear. One theoretical approach to synaesthesia is ideasthesia. This argument views synaesthesia not as an irregularity resulting from a habituated misfiring or developmental dysregulation, but as a linkage of different sensory precepts under an overarching semantic umbrella for any one single concept. In my presentation, I will use ideasthesia to explore the concepts of innovation and social action in their etymological foundations and societal connotations, and furthermore postulate their existence under one overarching semantic network of change. Drawing from multidisciplinary content as well as methodology, I hope that my presentation will spark realisation, conversation, and action across multi-backgrounded researchers and change-makers hailing from arts, culture, and technology.
Ilana Harris is a researcher, artist, and organizer. She examines behaviour through a psychological lens, but also employs scientific methods through qualitative and artistic analysis for untraditional investigation including but not limited to sociopolitical interrogation and the destabilizing of pre-established structures. Having recently graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Music Cognition and Perception, she is currently pursuing research at Humboldt University related to human-computer interaction with EEG-derived musical instruments as a mechanism for cross-disciplinary discourse.
Creative Coding Through Jacques Ranciere's Politics of Aesthetics
Pierre Depaz (Film-Universität Konrad Wolf Babelsberg, FR)
While the general cultural logic of digital programming seems to be gaining ever more attention throughout the humanities and social sciences, philosophy of arts and aesthetics remain mainly focused on how those artistic practices affect and re-define the personal, individual subject. This research aims at examining how programming in the arts can be understood as a highly relevant locus of conflict between what Jacques Ranciere has defined as the opppostion of consensus and dissensus. His conception of the politics of aesthetics, and how it relates interpersonal subjectivity to a common imaginary, is particularly relevant when examined in the light of the artistic practice of programming. Through this contemporary reading of Ranciere’s work, I highlight the way computational artists expose the consensus established by a technological police state, and help redefine what can be done, what can be seen, and who can be in an alternative regime of living together.
The presentation will be articulated in two parts. First, an explanation of the dissensus/consensus duality, as a it relates to the splitting of the visible through programming and codification; second, a discussion of how a Ranciere’s suggestion to maintain our political regime of democracy through a persistent commitment to radical equality is particularly relevant to the educational systems at play in constituting a computational arts practice.
Pierre Depaz is a political scientist, software developer, educator, and artist from France. He has taught at NYU, CUNY, and Sciences Po, and is currently Research Fellow at the Film-Universität Konrad Wolf Babelsberg. He is interested in the multiple ways computers are attempting to represent and interface with human concepts and emotions. His academic research revolves around semantics, computational aesthetics, and cultural organization through technological means, while his artistic practice includes digital games, computer simulations, interactive installations, networked performances, and experimental web projects. He has exhibited in NYC, Paris, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Brussels, and Berlin.
Data-Soundscapes: Action-Based Sound and Cognitive Capitalism
Alejandra Cardenas (Technische Universität Berlin, PE/DE)
Murray Schafer, one of the earliest researchers to bring awareness to environmental sounds, claims that the most salient sound in the medieval European city was the church bell. The parish is an acoustic space, circumscribed by the range of the church bell (Outside the parish, we find wilderness). Using his method of soundscapes, I examined the devotional object of our era, the smartphone, as an effective self-monitoring and surveillance artifact. The smartphone notification sound fulfills a similar social function as a church bell. Its sound does not try to affect us in the same way the bell did, with its majestic metallic loudness emerging out of the gigantic presence of the church that rose as an urban nucleus and social center of the city. Instead—in a time where cities are disconnected from their production reality—it is a short, discreet, user-friendly smartphone-alarm that resonates in our highly-networked existence. I want to question how action-based sound (following embodied cognition theories) and digital interfaces are changing the way we hear by operating on the peripheries of our perception, and highlight the importance of awareness in our daily life hearing practices.
Alejandra Cardenas is a Peruvian-born, Berlin-based researcher and self-taught musician. She studied Art History at the University of San Marcos in Peru and earned a Master in Sound Studies from the UdK University of Arts of Berlin, where she wrote a thesis about Data Sonification and Cognition. She is currently pursuing a second Masters degree in History and Culture of Science and Technology at the Technical University of Berlin. She composes experimental and electronic music for films, dance, and theatre under the alias Ale Hop, with which she also held the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy New York residency.
De-composing Infinity: Uncontrollability as Creative Practice in Flat Cultural Time
Gary Charles (University Of Birmingham, UK)
Theorist Mark Fisher refers to a stalling, or flattening, of cultural time. Taking examples from popular culture (as well as emergent undergrounds), Fisher (2014) expands on what Franco Berardi calls a ‘slow cancellation of the future’ – a diminishing sense of newness or potentiality, accompanied by nostalgic impulse on the part of cultural producers and consumers. Hito Steyerl (2016) too discusses the cancellation or disappearance of art through ownership: Cultural production absented into tax-efficient storage, then re-animated as shiny simulations and immersive virtual realities, creating the mirage of Persistence. In music production and curation, machine learning approaches have created the possibility of instant recall in music and musicality from all past periods, now. Assuming a trained software brain, this further flattening of cultural time reveals a landscape thinning towards a wafer piped with generated, inoffensive omnipresent music. In challenging this paradigm, my research looks at approaches possibly resilient or offensive to machinic learning; drawing examples from punk, grime, contemporary classical, and sound art. Alongside a creative practice centered on uncontrollable systems, attitude-based improvisation, material dirt, and multiplied randomness, my research seeks to develop both critique and possible methodologies in sound creation.
Gary Charles is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, researcher working with sound, simulation and spatial politics. He is currently a PhD candidate at University Of Birmingham. His work includes music composition and production (with releases on High Strung Young and Flash Recordings), and the title of Associate Practitioner at the Oxford Brookes Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) where he completed an MA in Composition and Sonic Art. He also works in the realms of installation, film, and conceptual practice. A recent curatorial project, Scenes From A Chasm was shown at Artist Alliance Space in New York as part of the British Council International Development Fund.
Christoph Jacke is Professor of Theory, Aesthetics and History of Popular Music (University Paderborn), and among other positions Chair of the German speaking branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM D-A-CH). His research focus is on media, culture and communications theory, cultural studies, celebrity studies and popular music studies.