Alien Agency

Ethnography and Computational Art by Christian Slater – session 2 MFA readings

What is “material agency -what the world does rather than is” is illustrated through three experimental and ethographic stories he shared with other artist researchers. Matter of the world around us which lead to experiential and affect, for the artist entangled with his material.

Slater shares with us the creative process of three artist/ researchers projects : acoustic life of the city, make move muscle cells out of the body, create a sensorium. 

Cellular Vitality.  Chapter II

What are the key themes the chapter discusses? :

Bioart versus computer art as a material , wet versus dry , vitality of the living versus unvitality of computation. The problematic of time and environment as input, the chaos leading to the creative process.

How does the artist document his process?

Slater documents the process in a diary, like the biologist are documenting their researches. He takes us into his journey of discovering the material/ the cells, the affect of the time, the timing of affect, the environment/the lab, the team of researchers/TEMA, their methodologies and their quest he not only witnessed but also  shared.

He is describing us how the the experience affected the researchers, but also by sharing his own experience of the quest and how it affected him too.

He introduces us to the material : the research, its transversality, the technics, its mechanical properties. what is the challenge? where are the tensions? how did it lead to the creativity of the chaos? how did it lead to create / realise the experience?

How does he use ethnography in his work as a methodology?

Wikipedia : ” It involves engaging in extensive field work where data collection is mainly by interviews, symbols, artifacts, observations, and many other sources of data. The researcher in ethnography type of research looks for patterns of the group’s mental activities, that is their ideas and beliefs expressed through language or other activities, and how they behave in their groups as expressed through their actions that the researcher observed. In ethnography, the researcher gathers what is available, what is normal, what it is that people do, what they say, and how they work.”

record your reaction to the writing with your own practice