Salter discusses his book Alien Agency for The MIT Press' "Five Minutes with the Author" series.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Olin 014 Auditorium
Related Fields: Digital Media, Media Studies, Performance Practice and Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Research-Creation, Art practice, Sound, Performance, Ethnography, Media, Affect, Technology
What is it that artists working with science and technology do? My recently published book Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (MIT Press, 2015) explores how “researcher-creators” produce new performative assemblages that challenge how we experience the world and create and simultaneously, destabilize new phenomena and our perception of such phenomena. Across three stories that mix biography, theory, ethnography and history, Alien Agency examines how the materials of art ? the “stuff of the world” ? behave and perform in ways beyond the creator’s intent, becoming unknown and alien. Specifically, how is it that researcher-creators organize the conditions for new kinds of experimental, performative assemblies that sidestep entrenched dichotomies between subjects and objects, human and non-human, mind and body, knowing and experiencing. Without pretending that artistic processes and scientific research are the same or have similar goals, Alien Agency ultimately focuses on how the experiential and affective elements of artistic practice with techno-science actually ask a similar question that science does as well: how do new things come into the world and what do they do?
Chris Salter is an artist, University Research Chair in New Media, Technology and the Senses at Concordia University and Co-Director of the Hexagram network for Research-Creation in Media Arts, Design, Technology and Digital Culture, in Montreal. He studied philosophy and economics at Emory University and completed a PhD in directing and dramatic criticism at Stanford University where he also researched and studied at CCMRA. He collaborated with Peter Sellars and William Forsythe and the Frankfurt Ballet. His work has been seen all over the world at such venues as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Vitra Design Museum, HAU-Berlin, BIAN 2014 (Montreal), LABoral, Lille 3000, CTM Berlin, National Art Museum of China, Ars Electronica, Villette Numerique, Today's Art, Mois Multi, Transmediale, EXIT Festival (Maison des Arts, Creteil-Paris) among many others. He is the author of Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance (MIT Press, 2010) and Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (MIT Press, 2015). He is currently working on a new collaborative book project for MIT Press focused on the contemporary interconnections between art, politics and research.