The highlighted theme of Media Archaeology and Cognition will establish an interface between theory and practice in a newly established Temporal Image Research Laboratory (TTIRoL)
The-dqpb-lab is located within the TTIRoL Lab
The TTIRoL Lab
Temporal Image Research Open Lab is led by Transtechnology Research and provides an interface for the intersection of practice and theory. It generates and responds to new topics and concerns as they emerge from the highlighted research theme of media archaeology and cognition.
This laboratory has as its focus the cognitive processes of ‘image’ perception and their impact on the cultural construction of meaning. Through theory, creative practice and the restaging of psychological experiments it connects current preoccupations in cognitive science and media archaeology with ideas of temporality in relation to change in processes of technological mediations and human cognition.
It finds its creative and intellectual leitmotif in an understanding of the ‘image’ in the fullest sense of multi-sensory perception (Bergson) and the pioneering work of Rudolf Arnheim, Bela Bálázs and in particular Hugo Munsterberg’s ‘psychotechnological’ experimental work at Harvard. Munsterberg in particular is important for this laboratory in as much as his late work The Photoplay: A Psychological Study (1916) is considered to be one of the formative theories in understanding the cognitive aspects of cinema (Andrew, 1976).
TTIRoL brings together experts in the creative arts, experimental psychology, cognitive science, cognitive robotics, neuroscience and the humanities to collectively address some important questions and opportunities posed by research into technology and perception in the audio-visual arts.
The expectation is that by forging a fully integrated humanities and scientific core of expertise we will be able to develop innovative theoretical insights that will inform future research into the effective exploitation of new delivery platforms for creative works, entertainment, education, research, therapy and well-being.
The research context to this proposal is (i) the large scale three year project ‘Technology, Exchange and Flow’ (2010-2013) by Blassnigg and Punt into the correlation between some kinds of advertising and industrial film and particular genres of short films, (ii) projects currently underway as part of the Marie Curie funded Cognovo ITN, in particular projects 6, 10, 22, 23, 24, (iii) the established practice research in photography, publishing (including curation), and audio visual productions in the School of Art and Media, (iv) the work in experimental Music in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) and (v) the published and practice research on instrumental reality, the history and philosophy of technology and science, film theory and history, since 2006 at Transtechnology Research into audio-visual media and cognition.
Developmental Plan 2014/15
The foundational project of the TTIRoL will be the reconstruction of some of the scientific apparatus that Munsterberg developed at Harvard (some of which remain in their archive). We will restage some of Munsterberg?s experiments as well as revisiting his findings and evaluate these in the context of relevant research in cognitive science today. We will also modify experimental design and devise new scientific experiments to examine particular aspects of the effects of digital images based on the theoretical frameworks above. On the basis of this we will invite, supervise and commission new productions that respond to, and are informed by, the research in the laboratory and exploit the affective potential of the temporal image.
Developmental Plan 2015/2016/17
The laboratory will form an interdisciplinary locus to support funding applications to Marie Curie for an ITN, a large grant application to AHRC, and a contributory component in EPSRC and Horizon 2020 and European Research Council Network Grants. This will drive toward the objective of a self-sustaining referential research resource identified with the University of Plymouth.
Media Archaeology and Cognition Research Theme
The foundational project of TTIRoL was the reconstruction of some of the scientific apparatus that Munsterberg developed at Harvard (some of which remains in their archive). Two projects restaged experiments from the turn-of-the-century psychology lab and revisited findings in the context of contemporary cognitive science. Martha Blassnigg and Jane Hutchinson explored a device from Münsterbergs’s writings called the Motormen Apparatus. A second project by Hannah Drayson reconstructed Joseph Jastrow’s ‘automatograph’ device, an instrument used to record involuntary movements related to a the Ouija board. e debate around involuntary movements between Jastrow, Munsterberg and their contemporaries extended the author’s existing research into placebo e ects, suggestion and the body, in particular the use of instrumental apparatus in the construction of perceptions of will and self-hood. The lab also now has an extensive archive of primary and secondary literature which is available to members of the research group and visiting scholars.
Emerging themes from the lab’s activities informed the nine part Transtechnology Seminar series in 2014/2015 entitled, Cognition and the Image of Affection: Instrumentation, Realism and Technology. The team mapped key debates in turn-of-the-century psychology that are key to contemporary discussions of instrumentation, affect, perception and the body. This work resulted in a conference panel by Punt, Drayson and Hutchinson titled “Münsterberg in Context; Imaginary Machines” and a paper presentation by Eugenia Stamboliev at IAMHIST’s A hundred years of Film theory Münsterberg and beyond: Concepts, Applications, Perspectives in July 2016 and four papers to be published by Leipzig University press as part of a collected volume.
With the results from the initial reconstructions, some of the problems of which are explored
in Jane Hutchinson’s (2016) paper, activities for 2016-17 refocus the project on methodological strategies behind reconstruction and historical testimony. They will consider how we will modify experimental design and devise new scientific experiments to examine particular aspects of the effect of digital images based on the theoretical frameworks above. On the basis of this we will invite, supervise and commission new productions that respond to and are informed by the research in the laboratory and exploit the affective potential of the temporal image.
Recreating “Testing the Mind” (Marcy da Silva Saude) is a practice-led research project centering on Hugo Münsterberg’s film series for Paramount Pictographs, resulting in a short film incorporating re-creation of elements of Münsterberg’s films from surviving descriptions and stills; objects from TTIRoL related to Munsterberg’s lab and his experiments; and contemporary examples of management theory, worker surveillance, and applied psychological employment tests. Rather than treat Münsterberg’s study of cinema and his influence on management theory as unrelated strains, this research uses experimental filmmaking as a critical tool to explore their historical and contemporary relatedness via the framework of affective labor.
Call for funded project proposals
As part of the research development strategy of the Media Archaeology and Cognition highlighted research theme we have established a small laboratory in order to:
(i) restage some early psychological experiments that were influential in understanding the effects of cinema on perception (and subsequently shaping film form and film theory)
(ii) to develop new creative interventions that draw on the behaviours, findings and implications of the Munsterberg laboratory established in Harvard at the turn of the 20th century.
These themes were presented at a poster workshop and an annotated bibliography and literature network were created to kick-start the project.
This can be found at:
TTIRoL Annotated Bibliography (internal access only)
At the moment this is password protected and we are happy to share it internally but ask that this page is not made public yet to protect intellectual property. It can also be consulted in hard copy in the lab PSQ B322.
TTIRol has been established a small laboratory in Portland Square in room B322. We invite, supervise and commission new productions that respond to and are informed by the research in the laboratory and exploit the affective potential of the temporal image building on the work by Hugo Munsterberg.
Initially we hope to be able to fund 6-10 projects up to a maximum of £500 per project.
Funding can pay for materials and RA support but not buy-out. There is no restriction on the disciplinary locus of the proposal but there must be a plan for dissemination that may not necessarily be part of the project but is ultimately consistent with the REF criteria.
There is no proforma for responding to the call but it should include the normal information for all funding (research question, research context, research methods).
This can be done by email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I am happy to discuss and develop plans with you.
There are no deadlines and all proposals will be considered by members of the steering group:
Dr. Martha Blassnigg, Prof. Sue Denham, Dr. Hannah Drayson, Prof. Roger Malina, Prof. Eduardo Miranda, Prof. dr. Michael Punt, Dr. W. Simpson.