Sunday, December 5, 2010

[Yasmin_discussions] Science, Technology, Art, POETRY



We have had a little discussion on the linking of 'poesis' and
new technologies, and i would like to encourage some discussion this
week less on the poetry and science issues that have come up strongly
so far and more on whether the emerging new media/digital technologies
are giving to new poetic forms of particular contemporary relevance.

I came across this conference that will be held in Antwerp next week
and it seemed relevant= it discusses in particular the fascination
with phantasmagoricas and other multimedia spectacles that emerged
in europe in the last half of the nineteenth century= at a time when
cinema emerged as a dominant form. The conference is organised
by a research group that positions itself on Visual Poetics. Details below:
and at :

I was on the Ars Electronica juries for several years in the early 90s
when there was much buzz around multimedia , interactive disks etc

I remember when the jury watched Bill Seaman's

and we were all struck by the poetic intensity of the work
The Exquisite Mechanism of Shivers

and the way that words and images appeared "joined at the hip"
through his generative system
and his attempt to develop what he calls 'recombinant poetics"

"Several of Seaman's works exist in different versions. For example,
the foundation of
The Exquisite Mechanism of Shivers (1991) (Ex. Mech) is a 28-minute
videotape. However,
the same title also covers an installation with 10 video projections,
an interactive installation,
and a sound track on compact disc and CD-ROM-illustrating the artist's
refusal to determine
the meaning or even the form of the work, since he is more interested
in the dissemination of
meaning. His interactive installations are conceptual machines with a
rhizome structure...."
from langlois site

I think that this brings up an interesting aspect of digital media,
which is their instability, and the diversity
of their manifestations, their fluidity and of course their rhizome
nature. Just as the technology of writing
and the book led to particular kinds of poetics that differed from
those of oral cultures, so we
are in a similar mutation= we are coming up on the 100 anniversary of
McLuhan's birth in 1911= and
McLuhan in a sense is a bridge between the technology of cinema which
dominated his childhood
and thinking, and later TV, and the digital media age we are entering.
Rudolf Arnheim who died recently
was another theorist who bridged the cinema to new media ages. Erkki
Huhtamo and others have
been writing extensively on the archeology of media. I am less
familiar with the writing
on new media poetics itself.

Hope this can stimulate some discussion, and give us good example, of
new media poetics


here is more on the conference and the research group

Spectral Illusions
Showing Ghosts Everywhere, and of any Colour
December 11-12, 2010
Cinema Zuid, Lakenstraat 14, 2000 Antwerp

The central topic of this meeting is the phantasmagoria, hugely
popular spectacles during the
nineteenth century in capitals of modernity like Paris and London.
Using magic lanterns and
other new technologies of the visible, these impressive events both
incorporated Victorian
modes of theatrical staging and looked ahead to more modern forms of
the projected image.
They marked a time when the ontological status of the image was
radically uncertain:

the event is organised by:

Research Centre for Visual Poetics (Research unit)
Id: UA_21170

University of Antwerp
Poetics derives from "poiesis", or "active making". The poetics of an
artistic medium places the
artwork at the center of study and studies the finished work as the
result of a process of construction.
It mounts explanations how the artwork works and why under certain
circumstances it came to look the
way it did. It reveals, more specifically, the inextricable weaving
together of representation and discourse,
the imbrication of visual and verbal experience at the core of
performance and cinema. Visual poetics
doesn't constitute a distinct critical school. It has no privileged
semantic field, no core of procedures for
interpreting, no unique rhetorical tactics. Any inquiry into the
fundamental principles by which theatre
and cinema are constructed, and the effects that flow from those
principles, can fall within the domain
of visual poetics. A research project in visual poetics may be
primarily analytical, studying particular
devices across a range of works or a particular work: it takes as its
object a body of conventions;
observation of general tendencies with a scrutiny of particulars. Or
it can be mainly historical: trying
to understand how theatre and cinema assume certain forms within a
period or across periods.
Visual poetics considers critics of visual art to be makers too, and
could analyze their materials,
principles, and concerns with effect both from an analytical and
historical perspective.
In this context the primary interest lies with "ekphrasis", or the
engagement with performance and film
through language. In poetics the choices of the artist will also be
correlated with some purpose ¿ the
design of the work, its function or effect on the perceiver. Poetics
is interested in wider cultural factors
and intersubjective data, but only as they relate to the question at
hand. It doesn't neglect the influence
of society, ideology, or culture on audiences or viewers, but assumes
that cultural activities are mental
in an important sense: learned, recalled and rethought by the
embodied minds of social agents. To study
intent and effect of the artwork, a mentalistic poetics is proposed,
provided by what we broadly call the
cognitive approach to mental life. The primary interest is a group of
vision-competencies a human being
can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating
other sensory experiences, what John
Debes calls "visual literacy".

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