The Postdigital, Participatory Economy and the Digital Art of John Gerrard
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The Postdigital, Participatory Economy and the Digital Art of John Gerrard

The Postdigital, Participatory Economy and the Digital Art of John Gerrard

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Irish Museum of Modern Art

Military Road

Dublin

Ireland

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Conference Theme:

The perception of a postdigital condition suggests that contemporary politics, economics and art are constructed within the framing mechanisms of the digital. A postdigital culture does not encounter the digital anew but rather conceives subjectivity as organised within a system of indistinction that exists between the material and the digital. This one-day symposium will focus on the relationships between new forms of political economy and artistic practice as they appear within contemporary digital arts. The symposium will bring together contemporary Irish digital artist John Gerrard and researchers from: the School of Creative Arts, TCD, Prof. Matthew Causey and Dr. Néill O’Dwyer; GradCAM/DIT, Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick and Dr. Conor McGarrigle; and NUI Maynooth, Dr. Aphra Kerr. The discussions are organised against the provocative backdrop of John Gerrard’s recent transdisciplinary work in digital live simulation exemplified by projects such as Flag (Thames) 2016 and Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada) 2014. It is suggested that the aesthetic potential of emerging computational techniques, from live simulation to neural networks, have only begun to be explored. The possibilities and disciplinary implications of these developments will be interrogated in a wide ranging discussion addressing the relationships between digital technology and the arts, with a sharp focus on contemporary sociopolitical issues brought to bear by the event of the digital.

Western society has been profoundly altered, over the last 20 to 30 years by the emergence of software, digital audio-visualisation techniques, automation, and electronics. These digital techniques are now largely pervasive, and increasingly permeate the tools that assist making and thinking, as well as the environments where they are engaged, to the point where they now constitute a large portion of subjectivity and electronically networked life – the aftermath of the advent of the digital. All fields of knowledge, without exception, and all aspects of social organisation, are reinvented by developments in the technical systems that constitute culture. With the emergence of the digital, this reinvention has been traumatic every bit as much as it has been beneficial; for example, while science has been revolutionised by new computational techniques and massive repertoires of connected data, it has also floundered over intellectual copyright, the privatisation of knowledge as well as unmediated access to various differing opinions. Similarly, the new politics of public access to open data sources is affecting the social, cultural and economic spheres wherein there is a reorganisation of existing social structures around new paradigms of contribution by collaborative participants and creative commoners.

The aim of the discussions in IMMA is to elicit an open, interdisciplinary and transinstitutional conversation – across academia and the artworld – that attempts to elicit the positive and negative aspects of the postdigital condition, not simply interpreted as an aesthetic concern, but rather as a nuanced and complex ethical and political position.


Programme:

The day will begin with registration at 9.00am. Tea and coffee will be served in the lobby directly outside the lecture theatre at IMMA.

(9.30 – 11.00am). Keynote address by Prof. Matthew Causey (TCD), who will shape his presentation to include a consideration of several of John's pieces including 'Sow Farm', 'Grow Finish Unit', and 'Farm' in light of Heidegger's comments on the 'motorisation of agriculture' via the 'Question Concerning Technology', and the theoretical lens of his paper recently published in Theatre Research Journal, entitled ‘Postdigital Performance’, published in Theatre Journal (Vol 68: 3, September 2016, 427 – 441).

(11.00 – 11.30am). There will be an intermission with tea and coffee served in Studio 5, in the mews buildings, at IMMA.

(11.30 – 1.00pm). Following the coffee break there will be a chaired panel discussion and presentations. Panel participants include Dr. Aphra kerr (MU), Dr. Néill O’Dwyer (TCD), Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick (DIT). Each participant will present a short presentation on new forms economy or a new forms of political economy emerging within digital technologies or digital practices. The presentations will be short (about 10 – 12 mins) in order to facilitate an extended Q&A session. Chaired by Dr. Glen Loughran/Martin McCabe (DIT).

(1.00pm – 2.00pm). Lunch: tea, coffee and sandwiches, served in Studio 5.

(2.00pm – 3.30pm). Final keynote address by acclaimed digital media artist John Gerrard. John will disclose an artist’s perspective on the notions of postdigital aesthetics and operating as an arts practitioner in the hyperindustrial, new-world economy.

John will talk for approximately 50mins to 1 hour, thereby leaving about 30mins for Q&A. The lecture will be chaired by Dr. Conor McGarrigle.

(3.30pm – 3.45pm) Final word: Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick.

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Irish Museum of Modern Art

Military Road

Dublin

Ireland

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