Transtechnology Research Seminar Series 2018/19

Image of the Weighing House after William Hogarth

After William Hogarth’s The Weighing House. (British, London 1697–1764 London) Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gravity, Epistemology, and Representation: A Weightless Exploration

As an integral part of the seminar series 2017/2018 Revisiting Ideoplasticity: contingency, action and imagination, we explored the procedural possibilities that a slow conference offers. One of the outcomes of this approach was that we were able to allow concepts and ideas to hang for somewhat longer periods before integrating them into an overall conceptual framework. This brought to the forefront some of the processes of arts research and opened a space in which we could draw parallels between our academic and studio practices. This year we will draw on these insights and continue to explore the overall thematic of the series of seminars that began in 2007 in which creativity, affect and representation are corralled into resituating the correlation between the concept of matter and the concept of reality.

Under the rubric of Gravity, Epistemology, and Representation: A Weightless Exploration we will follow the slow conference model and particularly attend to impact that the conventional laws of causality in the material world have on the way in which we understand causality in the representation of ideas.

Following our experiment with extending time in the last series we will be equally adventurous with gravity in 2018/2019 by asking how the general understanding of gravity influences the causality in building up bodies of knowledge. In this we will pay especial attention to creative practices in which the dominant topics and concerns of an enquiry are decoupled from the rhetorical need for coherent connective material. Ranging from the differential treatment of figure and ground in the visual arts and literature; the displacement of detail with impression, and the techniques of jump cut editing in audio/visual and data driven arts we will try to reduce the impact on history and theory of material logic in developing connections. In short, we will approach the issues of knowledge and representation from the vantage of a weightless engagement with the world. The approach draws its precedent from one of the foundational projects in Transtechnology Research which was to explore how categorical asymmetries of authority between the matter and spirit slewed representations and restricted voices. To consider this we joined with ZGAC in Noordwijk in 2004 ( and proposed a number of projects that explored matter and spirit in a reduced gravity environment culminating in a film that we made in 2006.

Since 2006 this thematic of matter and spirit has (directly or indirectly) underpinned much of the published work and doctoral research, not least in Light, Spirit and Imagination, and emerging research into micro-phenomenology and affect. It seems timely to revisit one of the practical origins of our research and bring it to bear on Gravity, Epistemology and Representation, our collaboration on the Intermission project; its concern with liminal landscapes and the Nouveau Plein Air Lab in which we seek to recover and ask how an artistic engagement in the open air can relieve us from habitual orientation and thought patterns in or research.

The seminar series will be delivered in two phases; from October to December we shall present the abstracts and from December to May will be presentation of papers. The two sessions be separated by a gravitational conference dinner.

Program and Dates:

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

10th Oct: Introduction to the seminar series: Professor Michael Punt. Tarot in Space (The Movie). Dr Hannah Drayson. The poetics of bass: what is a weightless seminar?

7th Nov: Abstract Session 1. Joanna Griffin, Becalelis Brodskis, Jane Hutchinson, James Sweeting, Stephanie Moran.

12th Dec: Gravitational Conference Dinner and Abstract Session 2.
Edith Doove, Lucinda Guy,  Paul Finnegan, Nicholas Peres, Jacqui Knight, Anna Walker and Emma Bush.

16th Jan: Panel 1.
Joanna Griffin, Gravity, weightlessness and connectivity: The Angelic seminar series; Becalelis Brodskis, Masked selfies in a weightless dimension; Jane Hutchinson, Balloon Flights and Phantom Rides: The perception of weightlessness and the spiritual dimension of technology.

13th Feb: Panel 2. Stephanie Moran, Aliens: the experience-worlds of nonhuman entities; Paul Finnegan, The effect of the proliferation and dissemination of images of “impossible” events online on the status of the “laws of nature” within the indexical moving image; James Sweeting, Weight of Nostalgia on the Star Wars Universe.

14th March: Panel 3. [This will be a special Thursday Session to take place in the Simulations Lab at Torbay Hospital] Nick Peres and Jacqui Knight. Rethinking causality:  recovering the complexity of the patient’s reality in A&E assessment.

17th April: Panel 4. Edith Doove, Permaculture and art: ‘The Art of Permaculture; ’Lucinda Guy Invisible, inaudible and non-existent creative works.

15th May: Panel 5. Emma Bush, With you I can imagine a place where to be phosphate of calcium is enough; Anna Walker, ‘My’ Wings of Desire: Locating the self, amidst the complexities of bordered and borderless spaces.

12th June: Reader Publication and Business Meeting.