For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
uva.nl
Art, Science and Technology

Art, Science and Technology

Coordinator

prof. dr. Julia Kursell

Members of the research group

dr. J.D. Kiverstein, prof.dr. J.J.E. Kursell, dr. M.I.D. van Rijsingen, prof.dr. K.E. Röttger,  dr. V. Tkaczyk, dr. M. Beirens, dr. C.J. Birdsall,

Description of the research programme of the research group

The group suggests providing a platform for projects that relate art, science, and technology. The common term of the projects listed below is their interest in the epistemological potential and material conditions of the arts. More specifically, it assumes that the processuality, which is a common trait of many contemporary art forms, requires integrating a historical and a theoretical approach. This assumption follows on the one hand the theoretical claims of historical epistemology – arts and sciences develop under common material conditions that shape their cultural and epistemic relevance. On the other hand, it creates a link between historically oriented art studies and performance studies, new media and art studies, current musicology, as well as artistic research.

The group encompasses several initiatives, some of which form independent projects.

1.  Between new representational spaces and biofacts (M. Rijsingen)

This project investigates the claims made by (bio)artists, about the scientific, ethical and affective quality of their (wet lab) work. In short, these artists claim to be working with science (many are collaborative projects), but from a different angle (imagination), thus pushing experimental practices into new territories (even producing new epistemic things). They furthermore claim that their work is liminal, as it hoovers between living and non-living, producing specific affects. As a result the public will see itself confronted with ethical (as well as political) questions.
This investigation touches on the following issues: experimental practices and epistemology, biopolitics, ecology, living media, materiality and materialism, artistic strategies and artistic research, aest/ethics and ‘the force of art’.
NB. The societal relevance of this research project is immanent in the works and claims investigated. They concern a critical evaluation and possibilities of developments in (bio)scienceand its impact on society. The research project as such investigates the relevance of art for society. The project investigates the concepts that constitute our present understanding of sound, hearing and music in various historic constellations. During the 19th century, knowledge about acoustics, which had been guided by the symbolic code of music far into the nineteenth century, began to be transformed step by step into an experimental science on hearing, which eventually reappeared in music aesthetics of the second half of the twentieth century as a reflection of music's own medial condition. The methodology for this project is based on "historical epistemology" as it is understood in French philosophy of science. It further involves research in the history of media and the material culture of experimentation.

2. Ars acoustica (Julia Kursell)

Between the 19th and 21st centuries, different art forms and styles such as instrumental and electronic music, theatre and performance art, film and television have each created individual sound cultures. The research group will focus on these artistic modes of sound production and reception.
It focuses on the material conditions, media-technological and instrumental inventions facilitated by different art forms, on specific artistic techniques of speaking, singing and listening. (see separate proposal, members  include V. Tkaczyk, C. Birdsall and M. Beirens)

3. (Post)Humanities on stage (Kati Röttger)

This project poses the question of the state of the human in current arts and sciences. It departs from  the presumption that newest developments of digital media, anthropic technologies and bio-politics  urge to reset the stage to question our understanding of “the human” as crucial concept of the arts and sciences since the 18th century. It will focus on contemporary discourses and artistic experiments that are situating themselves in the field of biotechnology, mutation, genetic manipulation and the tension between ethical, political and epistemological issues within which the body itself is located. On the one hand, it has to be questioned to which extend the progressive emergence of electronic media  (broadcast, television, computer) is changing the formative influence of literary humanism. In the face of the galloping and overwhelming media developments, it can be observed that the tradition of citizenry- forming humanistic literature has almost come to a halt and is progressively sinking into archived oblivion. The Nation-State/Grammar School alternative of humanism is consequently falling short of its entrusted mission to domesticate human beings—and human beings are increasingly on the active or subjective side of selection (also in popular media formats like Idols). On the other hand, the  problematic of “the human” that arises out of organic objects of study that make human artefact and artificial life possible and are placed in an intermingled realm of biotechnology and global capitalism, will be at stake.

Articles

PhD Maria Neicu (Posthumanist discourse: and interrogation of dramatic representations in search for new subjectivities)
The project investigates the concepts that constitute our present understanding of sound, hearing and music in various historic constellations. During the 19th century, knowledge about acoustics, which had been guided by the symbolic code of music far into the nineteenth century, began to be transformed step by step into an experimental science on hearing, which eventually reappeared in music aesthetics of the second half of the twentieth century as a reflection of music's own medial condition. The methodology for this project is based on "historical epistemology" as it is understood in French philosophy of science. It further involves research in the history of media and the material culture of experimentation.

Output:

Music, Sound, and the Laboratory, From 1750-1980 (Julia Kursell,  Alexandra Hui and Myles W. Jackson, eds., 2013 University of Chicago Press)

- Conference The Art of Voice Synthesis May 2016: http://www.artificialvoice.nl

- Collaborative events with Holland Festival:

2014: http://www.hollandfestival.nl/media/1533979/Nono-programma.pdf

2015: http://www.huizingainstituut.nl/workshop-pierre-boulez/

2016: http://www.hollandfestival.nl/nl/programma/2016/de-kunst-van-het-luisteren/

Envisaged results

See above for the respective sub-projects

Work plan and time schedule

See the description of the projects and the envisaged results above.

Societal relevance

The group is meant to cope with a number of acute issues, providing support for researchers and artists who face the intertwining worlds of the arts and the sciences and who creatively reflect on the historical premises of today’s access to materiality. In particular, this group will be interested in building and maintaining international networks among other groups who are interested in these issues. . The group also aims at integrating UvA’s ongoing interest in artistic research,  seeing a great potential for theorizing the relation between artistic and scientific activities and  their respective materialities in historical and process-oriented investigation.

This research group is active in the following constellations:

Mediality

Aesthetics

Cultural and Social Critique