Transtechnology Research Seminar Series 2017/18

This year we invite researchers and contributing researchers submit abstracts or posters for this year’s seminar series which will take the form of a slow conference. Deadlines for abstracts will be the 18th Oct and 15th Nov 2017, to be presented during the seminar sessions with short Q & A. Full papers will be presented as part of panels in January, February, April and May 2018.

Transtechnology Slow Conference 2017/18
Revisiting ideoplasticity: contingency, action, and imagination.

The 2016/17 Transtechnology Research seminar series explored established tropes of affect in the creative disciplines. This allowed us 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. The series explored 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.

 This year’s seminar series is titled Revisiting ideoplasticity: contingency, action, and imagination. In it we continue the now long-running theme of affect and its manifestations by contending further with its recognizable tropes. The goal now is to connect outward to creative communities of practice across a range of disciplines. To do this we will take as a key theme the concept of ideoplasticity, a 19thcentury term referring to the somatic effects of mental ideas which has appeared, and continues to appear, in art history, medicine, fringe science and spiritualism.

 While the notion of a relationship between imagination and the material world is, to the arts and humanities, an open door, ideoplasticity offers us a starting point to frame pragmatic discussions about how we might mobilise contemporary theoretical approaches in posthumanities, affect studies, and neomaterialism. It offers a critical lens through which to consider the insights they might have opened for practices that engage with the human subject. By drawing reference to contemporary developments in neuroplasticity and epigenetics, the term ideoplasticity offers a historical grounding from which to approach emerging creative and scientific models that foreground the contingent nature of reality and the human subjects within it. Yet it retains defiant, and perhaps difficult, fringe associations, and so potentially offers a space to explore how speculation and fiction can remain mobilized between arts, psychology and medical science.

One prospect offered by this approach is that we may be able to shed light on the instrumentalisation of affective relations by practices both within and around the arts, where notions of creativity and change have been, and continue to be revealed through mechanistic models of influence and action. We will consider the license granted by stories, and other evidence that stresses mind-body relations, in a paradigm that does not recognize the distinction. This may also help us to contend with the apparent problem that affect is often invoked as automatic or preconscious, by stressing its contingency and role as embodied imagination.

We are interested in papers around (but not exclusively connected to) the following themes; 

Art and wellbeing
Imitation and affordance
Productive fictions and felicitous falsehoods
The contingency of matter
Cultural manifestations of ideoplasticity and its contagion
Gaps and affect, distinctions and the inbetween
Postcolonialism and ideoplasticity
New materialism, meshworks, and the dispositif
Embodied cognition and physical media
Conceptual art and the material imagination
Critical neuroscience and models of plasticity
The virtual, physical and the simulated

Timetable;
All sessions take place in the Transtechnology Seminar Room, Portland Square Building room B312. 13:00-15:00. Preceded by lunch from 12:00.

Transtechnology Seminar
20th Sep 2017
Introduction and call for papers. 

 Transtechnology Seminar
18th Oct 2017
Proposal abstracts and discussion 

Transtechnology Seminar
15th Nov 2017
Proposal abstracts and discussion 

Transtechnology Seminar
13th Dec 2017
Keynote, poster session (open invitation) and conference lunch.

Transtechnology Seminar
17th Jan 2018
Panel 1 – papers 1, 2, 3

Transtechnology Seminar
21st Feb 2018
Panel 2 – papers 4, 5, 6

Transtechnology Seminar
21st Mar 2018
Keynote, workshop and breakout session 

Transtechnology Seminar
18th Apr 2018
Panel 3 – papers 7, 8, 9

Transtechnology Seminar
16th May 2018,
Panel 4 – papers 10, 11, 12 

Transtechnology Seminar
13th June 2018,
Conclusions and publication workshop. 

Transtechnology Business Meeting
20th Jun 2018,
Transtechnology business meeting for 2018-19 academic year