Transtechnology Research Seminar Series 2016/17


Tropes of Affect: Devices, Narrative and Illusion

In 2015/16 we examined a number of objects and technological devices as archaeological traces of human cognitive processes, as both an intentional feature and a component of post hoc interpretation. In the following series we will look at an aspect of the mediation of affect through three key filters: illusion, devices and narrative.

The notion of affect in the arts has been the topic of much theoretical, critical and practical response to art, design and architecture, and by extension to other human artefacts involving creativity including technology and media form. However, the understanding of affect often involves a contradiction; the manifestation of affect is regarded by many as both discontinuous with its expression and, consequently, only partially accessible to others. The issue here is one of an apparent failure to connect the subjectivity of expression with that of the receiver.

The imperative to bridge the gap between the experience of affect and its expression is arguably one of the key drivers of invention and creativity. One of the tactics in this on-going endeavour to articulate affect has been to use figures of speech or visual devices (such as metaphor, irony, and allegory, among others) for artistic effect. In these, the gap between the intended concept and the shared understanding is regarded as a rhetorical device that acknowledges, and even amplifies, the inevitable partiality of any representation.

In this seminar series we will identify established tropes of affect in the creative disciplines shared by researchers based in Transtechnology Research. One possible outcome is that we may be able to extend the argument of the previous series and contribute to Latour’s call for a more nuanced and valuable concept of reality for the 21st century – especially in the arts, sciences and humanities. Exploring the extent to which the rhetorical constraints of instrumentation, narrative, and illusion have extended the concept of human affect into a collaborative relationship with a shared hypothesis of the real.

September 21, 2016: Introduction. Hogarth’s Dog, Devices, Narrative and Illusion. Hannah Drayson, Michael Punt

October 19:  Human Devices: Instrumentation of physicality in performance. Abigail Jackson, Eugenia Stamboliev.
November 16: Photographic Devices: The revenge of Veronica, Claudia Pilsl.
December 14: Deviating Devices: The productive misuse of technology. Guy Edmonds, Agatha Haines.

January 18: Narrative: Context and conflict – Narrative medicine: Pathos and the inframince membrane – Edith Doove
February 15: Narrative: When time stood still
March 15: Narrative: What remains unsaid
Becalelis Brodskis, Jacqui Knight, Amani Assad

April 19: Illusion and Reality
May 17: Illusion and Intent
June 14: Illusions of History
James Sweeting, Rupert Allan, Nicholas Peres

Please note: all dates are set but apart from the introduction on 21 September 2016 subjects and speakers may be subject to change.

Seminars take place in the CogNovo seminar room in Link3 (3rd floor) at Plymouth University from 13:00-15:00 preceded by coffee and tea from 12:30 unless stated otherwise.