Category Archives: Art

SUSNET website launch

SusNet. Sustaining networked knowledge: expertise, feminist media production, art and activism

The SusNet network brings together feminist cultural production, art and activist practices and enables exchanges between different researchers, activists, artists and aims to contribute to knowledge exchanges across these areas and beyond.


Its primary nodes are the CCN+ Expertise Workshop in 2012, the 2013 Lesbian Lives Conference in Brighton, the May 2013 Queer, Feminist Social Media Praxis workshop (Sussex Centre for Cultural studies), the special edition of ADA Issue 5: Queer, Feminist Media Praxis, and the FemTechNet panel and SusNet launch after the event Postdigital: Critical Responses.

Bioengineering and Meat Cultures event on Friday

On Friday I will be presenting collaborative research on the in-vitro meat case of the EPINET project. The paper is an analysis of the live television launch of the first in-vitro meat burger in August 2013, which frames the launch as a “media event” (Couldry & Hepp); and an examination of the main discourses circulating in digital culture round this time, which together work towards a critical discussion about the publics of synthetic meat.

The panel is with bioartist Oron Catts (synthetica) and philosopher Jake Metcalf. The event is part of Justice in a More than Human World – Collaboration or exploitation? Working with living systems across the arts and sciences, by Science and Justice workgroup  Human / Non-Human Collaboration Across the Arts & Sciences.

Friday February 28, 2014, 4:00-6:00PM, Engineering 2 Room 599, UCSC

“Bioengineering and Meat Cultures”

Meat grown in a laboratory is being promoted as a response to the harmful effects of “conventional” factory-farmed meat production. Artists and scholars have identified how meat cultures are a new class of being, with their own unique characteristics. Some of these characteristics are precisely what makes lab-grown meat appealing as a food source, and some provoke what is frequently deemed “the yuck factor.” Viewing this new class of beings, along with other bioengineered critters, as custom-built collaborators, we explore the ways humans relate to and intervene in the more-than-human world to feed, clothe, house, and entertain themselves–and the way we respond when these interventions, collaborations, and cultures turn sour.

Hosts: Andy Murray and Sophia Magnone
Visiting Scholar and Artist: Oron Catts (

Oron Catts is an artist, researcher and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project which he established in 1996 in collaboration with Ionat Zurr, is considered a leading biological art project.  He is the founding director of SymbioticA, (which he co-founded in 2000) an artistic research centre housed within the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia.

Under Catts’ leadership SymbioticA has gone on to win the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) the WA Premier Science Award (2008) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009 Catts was recognized by Thames & Hudson’s “60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future” book in the category “Beyond Design”, and by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of the top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work”. His work has been widely exhibited internationally in venues such as NY MoMA, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and National Art Museum of China.

Catts was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University, a Visiting Professor of Design Interaction, Royal College of Arts, London, and a Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki where he was commissioned to set up Biofilia – Base for Biological Art and Design. Catts’ ideas and projects reach beyond the confines of art; his work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food.

Digital ways of knowing: an art science interface? Workshop 19 June 2012

On Tuesday I will be doing a short paper at the workshop ‘Digital ways of knowing: an art science interface?’. This will take place between 1pm-6pm, at the ACCA Creativity Zone (Pevensey III, Room C7), University of Sussex. The main question which this workshop will address is:

How do digital systems, technologies or languages shape your discipline or research area? What are the advantages and opportunities offered by this and what are the difficulties, in relation to your research or disciplinary area? These shapings, opportunities and problems might be conceptual and/or practical.

I am really excited about the event, not only because it will give me an opportunity to discuss my research by addressing these key questions, but also because it will bring together so many great scholars from different disciplinary fields. I’ll update this post soon with an abstract and reflections on the day.

Art – Science – Engineering workshop, guest speaker Johannes Goebel

Today I attended the Art – Science – Engineering workshop, with guest speaker Johannes Goebel (Director of EMPAC – Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Professor, Arts Department and School of Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Member of Attenborough Centre International Advisory Group). The workshop was convened and moderated by Sally Jane Norman (Director of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Professor of Performance Technologies, University of Sussex). Here is the blurb for the event:

“Vital differences across this spectrum of activities are often glossed and lost by discourse in praise of “innovation”. This session will look at the goals and values underpinning these respective domains, and at how their convergence might be organized more thoughtfully and productively”.

It was an interesting talk and it raised many questions for me about the boundaries between the fields of art, science and engineering. Johannes Goebel gave an overview of how new technologies have historically been appropriated by artists. He proposed that Art, Science and Engineering should be considered as distinct paradigmatic terrotories, which pose very different questions and have different motivations. The three schematic categories according to Goebel could be thought as:

  • Science – asking questions of why/how – producing models and interpretations
  • Engineering – asking questions of what/how – producing ‘things’, or matter
  • Art – asking questions where/when – producing experience

The examples used for the workshop were great – particularly the video where Neil de Grasse Tyson (an American science communicator) states that science is part of the human DNA (!).

I am a bit sceptical when it comes to categorisations, especially because I am a proponent of drawing productive links between disciplines. However, this workshop was really valuable for me as it raised the issue of precariousness in relation to artistic education and practice in the current economic climate.

Alex Galloway ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’

On the 16th of May I attended the workshop ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’, organised by the Digital and Social Media Research Theme at the University of Sussex. Guest speaker Alexander R. Galloway (New York University) proposed a way of thinking about the history of information and the emergence of computational systems which is interesting. Here is the abstract disseminated before the workshop:

“In an essay from 2001, the French collective Tiqqun speaks of what they call the cybernetic hypothesis: “[A]t the end of the twentieth century the image of steering, that is to say management, has become the primary metaphor to describe not only politics but all of human activity as well.” The cybernetic hypothesis is a vast experiment beginning in the overdeveloped nations after World War II and eventually spreading to swallow the planet in an impervious logic of administration and interconnectivity. What are the origins of the cybernetic hypothesis, and what are its futures? This talk offers a media archeology of cybernetics through an exploration of nineteenth-century chronophotography, the history of the pixel, developments in computer modeling, bit arrays and grid systems, and that most enigmatic cybernetic device, the black box. Instead of contributing to the many heroic histories of cybernetics that already populate the cultural imagination, this talk aims to uncover
an alternative history of digital systems via an examination of the aesthetics and politics of control”. Continue reading