[ISEA2020] Panel: Andrea Rassell, Paul Thomas & Chris Henschke — Microscopic Otherness and Signs of Sub-molecular Sentience

Panel Statement

Keywords: Media art, technological embodiment, gesture responsive technology, Quantum physics, agency, epistemology

Human interactions with the microscopic realm and below are mediated by a suite of wonderfully complex apparatuses. These technologies are not passive observational instruments, instead they arguably create the very phenomena scientists are seeking to observe — as the champion of experimentalism Ian Hacking stated, ‘to experiment is to create’. Working with such devices, whether in science or art, challenges classical notions of objectivity. These talks examine issues surrounding subjectivity and objectivity in terms of creative practice, and the uneasy state that exists between epistemology and ontology across art and science, drawing upon the theories of Don Ihde, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, as well as Ian Hacking, Anton Zeilinger and Karen Barad.

  • Andrea Rassell is a media artist and interdisciplinary researcher working in nanoart—artforms that engage with nanoscience and nanotechnology. She creates experimental films and moving image installations that explore scale, technological mediation, and the multisensory perception of the sub-molecular realm. hellosynaesthesia.com
  • Paul Thomas is a Professor at UNSW Art and Design and currently the Director of the Studio for Transdisciplinary Art Research (STAR) as well as the instigator and chair of the Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference series 2010-2020. As an artist he is a pioneer of transdisciplinary art practice. His practice led research takes not only inspiration from nanoscience and quantum theory, but actually operates there. His current publication Quantum Art and Uncertainty (October 2018) is based on the concept that at the core of both art and science we find the twin forces of probability and uncertainty. visiblespace.com
  • Chris Henschke is an artist who has been working with digital and analogue media, sound and light, and experimental science since 1991. He has undertaken a variety of residencies, including an online artist residency at the National Gallery of Australia, 2004, an Asialink residency, 2007, two residencies at the Australian Synchrotron, 2007 and 2010, and an ANAT “synapse” residency at the CSIRO, 2018-2019. He has a Doctorate of Philosophy, from Monash University, 2013-2017, which included on-site work at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland, as part of the ‘art@CMS’ collaboration. He has since helped develop a cross-disciplinary curatorial PhD research program with Arts at CERN.