collective experimentation

Workshop 4: Daria Loi, ‘Of Playful Triggers and suitcases – field tales on the joys and dangers of experimental practise’

Daria Loi (Intel Corporation, USA) opened her presentation  by thanking the organizers for the invitation and emphasising the fact the she finds the workshop very exciting and intriguing. She continued in stating that her presentation will focus on experiences related to her PhD project, instead of talking about her current work for Intel. Loi proceeded to explain that her PhD thesis was exploring the role of design and designers in organizations and the notion of Playful Triggers was developed as a way to foster collaborative practises before undertaking co-design activities.

Workshop 4: Lucy Suchman, 'Immeasurable Results'

Lucy Suchman (Centre for Science Studies/Sociology, Lancaster University) opened her presentation arguing that the experiment is one of those figures through which the natural sciences have stamped a large footprint upon our collective imaginary. Therefore, she proposed that she wants to approach the trope of ‘experimentality’ cautiously.  At the same time, having spent the first twenty years of  her working life in an organisation that identified itself as a technology research and development laboratory, its members (including Suchman) as scientists, and its objects as experimental, she is fascinated by the resonances through which such identifications are made.  Hence, Suchman argued that the challenge in thinking about the research and development laboratory through the trope of experimentality is one that attends any form of analogical thinking; that is, to be attentive to generative points of metaphorical and figurative connection, while avoiding too easy elision of differences that matter. 

Workshop 3: Neal White, ‘Experimentality. The Experimental Site’

Neal White (Office of Experiments and Media School, Bournemouth University)  works across media, and in no particular medium at all – creating projects with the Office of Experiments that develop collaborative, social and critical spaces using art methods and art materials. His work operates along the fine line between how art thinks and the effect that art has as a social practice. Neal White has been associated with 0+1, formerly APG, Artists' Placement Group, for several years. Maintaining that art has always pushed the boundaries of the possible in terms of models of social collaboration and networking, Neal White's work looks at how these models can engage with other kinds of knowledge producing structure. The Office of Experiments is a structure for experimental cultural practices. Their work is based on the need for new forms of cultural practice, forms of contemporary artistic production that draw on critical lessons of former experimental movements, artists, thinkers and structures - and that seeks to disentangle these modes and systems of approach from the value systems that underline mass media, financial systems and contemporary art markets.

Workshop 3: Rod Dickinson, ‘Experiments with an Audience’

Rod Dickinson (School of Creative Arts, University of the West of England) opened his presentation arguing that from the artistic perspective the idea of an experiment is interesting precisely because it requires participants rather than viewers. Dickinson explained how engagement was a key to the idea of Milgram experiment as well. He proceeded in explaining that he wants to introduce workshop participants to two examples (looking at some short video clips) of an attempt at reformulation of the idea of an audience.

Workshop 2: Nicholas Gebhardt, After the event: listening to Miles Davis’s “My Funny Valentine”

Nicholas Gebhardt (Lancaster University) opened his presentation by explaining that in it, he intends to provide a few thoughts on jazz improvisation and what it offers us in terms of thinking about the nature of artistic events. Gebhardt argued that perhaps more than any other aspect of music today, improvisation has particular significance for how we explain or account for changes in musical experience, across all the forms of contemporary music: not just jazz, but also within classical, electronic, experimental, modernist, pop, rock, and non-western music as well. He claimed that the reason for this is that as a way of thinking about musical forms, improvisation poses fundamental questions about the process of deciding what to play — that is, what counts for us as music in any given social situation — and how to organise or shape musical events.

Workshop 2: Jonathan Bird, Open-ended Research in the Wild

Jonathan Bird (Pervasive Interaction Lab, Open University) gave an overview of three projects which involved rapid prototyping novel technologies and testing them ‘in the wild’, rather than in a laboratory: a wearable tactile vision sensory substitution (TVSS) system; a participatory curation system for a film festival; and an interactive art installation for a music festival. Bird explained that the motivation for developing the TVSS was scientific whereas the two other projects had artistic goals. However, he argued, the development process in all three projects was very similar, suggesting that there is some common ground between art and science when they adopt an open-ended experimental approach. Bird consequently referred to the project ‘E-Sense’ ( which promotes speculative, interdisciplinary research, combining HCI, philosophy, computer science and psychology. He explained goals of the ‘E-Sense’ project in terms of building useful sensory augmentation devices and generating novel insights into sensory, bodily and cognitive extension.

Workshop 2: Charlie Gere, Ruskinian experimentalism, or the historical roots of experimental art

Charlie Gere (Department of Media, Film & Cultural Studies, Lancaster University) opened his presentation by describing how the window next to where he writes faces directly towards Ingleborough, one of the famous ‘three peaks’ of the Yorkshire Dales, along with Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside. Concomitantly, he explained how, John Ruskin gave the name ‘Looking Down from Ingleborough’ to the first issue of Fors Clavigera, the series of letters addressed to ‘the workmen and labourers of Great Britain’, which also was intended to support the work of the Guild of St. George, the utopian society Ruskin, then 50 years old, founded at the same time.  

Workshop 2: Antti Saario, Free Improvised Music: Recording Perspective

Antti Saario (LICA, Lancaster University) opened his presentation by emphasising the importance of looking at particular challenges set forth by recording free improvised music. He described this in terms of a quest for a more tactile sonic experience: “the turning point from mechanical explosion to electrical implosion” (Marshall McLuhan, 1964). Saario followed by posing critical questions: Why do we want to record this magical event of improvisation? Why do we want a fixed perspective and what would it be?

Monika Buscher

Monika Buscher


Monika Buscher


Centre for Mobilities Research, Mobilities Lab, Lancaster University
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