Process Design 2017

LOoW Experimental Streams – January to September 2017

In the project’s Phase 2 Process Design artists are curated into one of four parallel streams with each stream focusing on a different aspect of process, production and exchange with scientists. The Process Design has been developed in collaboration between the SSHRCC team Ingrid Koenig, Randy Lee Cutler, Elvira Hufschmid and Margit Schild, as well as scientists and staff at TRIUMF.

The second phase of the experiment begins on January 20 with a Science Seminar at TRIUMF. Designated artists attend a four hour event learning about the science topic from TRIUMF physicists, ask questions of the scientists and engage in conversation with other artists. There will also be a short presentation on artistic engagements with scientific ideas by Ingrid Koenig and Randy Lee Cutler. A concluding Q&A will allow participants to ask questions of everyone in the room from scientists to artists and SSHRCC researchers.

Once the participants have completed their commitments to the production process, they will be asked to provide their Field Response in the form of a short questionnaire. These Field Responses will allow the researchers to collect data and assess the project along with other elements. There are four questions.

  • What new analogies are you thinking about in relation to the science topic?
  • What matters to you about the science topic?
  • What matters to you about the artist/physicist interaction?
  • What question is most meaningful to you in this process?

At the end of the production phase, the artworks are passed on to TRIUMF scientists via documentation on the LOoW website. All interested scientists at TRIUMF are welcome to offer their comments, interactions, drawings, etc. in response to the total web of artworks. Scientists throughout the process might include experimentalists (equipment), theorists (equations, process), phenomenologists (interpret and get meaning), engineers, chemists, and other science researchers.

The artworks produced in the process will be installed in an exhibition at Emily Carr University’s new campus in January 2018. A translation event will be organized with all the artists, scientists and other scholars to discuss the outcomes and what emerged from the original science topic.

Four Streams: Blind, Dialogical, Tandem and Fieldwork

All streams begin with the January 20th Science Seminar. At the end of each stream physicists receive a link to the website with documentation of all the artworks. Scientists can choose to respond to the fabric of artworks in the form of comments, drawings, equations, etc.

Blind Stream

8 week production period

In this stream artists are not bound to language or even understanding the topic rather they enter into an aesthetic game of not knowing. The first artist in the process attends the Science Seminar on January 20 and has 8 weeks to make an artwork. This artwork gets transferred via a digital file to the second artist who doesn’t know the science topic and has 8 weeks to respond with his or her own artwork. These two artworks are transferred to a third artist who generates their response. Again they have an 8 week production period. Following this, the first three artists’ works are transferred via digital files to a fourth artist for their artistic response.

Dialogical Stream

11 week production period

The Dialogical Stream brings artists and scientists together in an ongoing conversation over the course of the production period. These are metaphorical fishing trips whereby artists and scientists receive whatever they might reel in as they swirl around blocks and obstacles that potentially reveals new routes and side channels. There are five separate relays each comprised of three artists with one variation that differs in numbers.

Each artist has ongoing conversations with a designated scientist at least once a month over the course of their production period. Communication between artist and scientist could take the form of phone conversations, email, video chats, postcards, photos, etc. Participants in this stream will be asked to focus each exchange on a designated activity or keyword e.g. methodology, associative thinking, metaphor, etc. The artist might also share their work in progress, ask the scientist questions elaborating on the science topic or what ever seems appropriate for their creative process. Scientists offer their specific interaction (a diagram, a drawing, an equation, a story, a metaphor, a short paper, a circuit board, etc.) three weeks into the exchange (i.e. Feb 10/May 5/July 28) that is also shared with the SSHRCC team. At the end of their production period the artist transfers their artwork via a studio visit or a digital file to the next artist in the relay.

Tandem Stream

Two 6 week production periods

The Tandem Stream takes up group work and iteration. There are four separate relays each comprised of two artists all of whom attend the Science Seminar. The first artist in the pairing has 6 weeks to work on their response. They then transfer their work to the second artist. This second artist has 6 weeks to produce their response to the first artist’s work. Each artist pairing can communicate with each other and discuss the science topic, their general thoughts and creative process. Between April 21 – May 12 the two artists and two scientists in this stream come together for a face to face conversation where they collectively discuss the science topic, the artistic process and works in progress. The two physicists then have the opportunity to re-phrase the original science topic whether in the form of a conversation, a story, a drawing, etc. The artists then have another 6 weeks for a second iteration of their artistic response and continue to communicate with each other.

Fieldwork Stream

The production period unfolds over the course of one semester

Ingrid Koenig’s VAST 310 Visual Arts: Special Topics (Leaning Into Quantum Fields) class comprise this stream and attend the Science Seminar. Students gain practical experience and knowledge through first-hand observations of a physics topic presented at the physics lab, and they will investigate material or information outside of their familiar disciplinary space. These students also interact with collaborator Margit Schild’s Berlin students at UdK. Thought experiments are threaded throughout this stream. They will excavate an idea, they may probe the forces of an unfamiliar language, conduct self-directed research, and produce responsive artworks within a network. There may be quicker relays built into their production. These students have access to a website with links for further self-learning. A scientist will come to the class to discuss the science topic.

Some Final Thoughts

We anticipate that art generated in this experiment will be neither illustrative nor concerned with readability. The artwork is understood here as a continuation of the science topic and its challenges and not a solution to it. Artists are encouraged to consider their contribution as an experimental trajectory within the process design.

Working with the metaphor “leaning out of windows” we are interested in how a participant resides within their field of expertise while simultaneously inhabiting an expanded space of experimentation, risk and not knowing. In this way, scientists and artists might consider engaging in the process by responding through analogy or in ways that are only loosely connected to their own research practice. We anticipate that some information will be lost and new information gained in the process. In this way the project is not about getting the science topic right but rather it focuses on the translation of work from one participant to the next. We look forward to the creativity and inspiration that will unfold in this field of aesthetic transformations.