[ISEA2020] Roundtable: Patrick Lichty (moderator), Paul Thomas, Ernest Edmonds, Jane Grant, Laura Beloff & Mike Phillips — The practice of New Media Art: sentience, perception, cognition, and consciousness?

Roundtable Statement

The practice of New Media Art: The roundtable will examine how new media art practice reframes our contemporary understandings of perception, cognition, and consciousness through a myriad of approaches. Innovation, accident, and crisis defined the perceptible qualities of new media artworks; invention, serendipity, and speculation catalyzed and altered the past, present, and futures of new media art practice. These practices – both individual and collective – frequently overlap with other aspects of art theory, curation, and exhibition. Perpetual increases in transistor density of integrated circuits drove artists working with digital technologies to revise their practices at an unprecedented rate. The roundtable speakers are participants in the development of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of New Media Art, volume 2 focusing on artists and practice. The provocations posed by the artists is to make sense from personal perspectives of what has driven their practice and its context within the evolution of Media Art. What were and are the achievements, failures, expectations, demands and dreams for art under the title of New Media Art. Each speaker will give a short presentation to identify key areas of focus that will stimulate the roundtable discussions. Discussion with Session Chair Patrick Lichty.

  • Ernest Edmonds is an artist-researcher who in 2017 he received the ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art. Edmonds’ skills are trans-disciplinary and in 2017 he also won the SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award for the Practice of Computer Human Interaction. His recent exhibitions include retrospectives at Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing, and De Montfort University, Leicester. He also recently exhibited with four other computer art pioneers in Algorithmic Signs at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, San Marco, Venice. His most recent book was with Margaret Boden, From Fingers to Digits: An Artificial Aesthetic (MIT Press, 2019). He is currently Professor of Computational Art at De Montfort University, UK, and Chair of the Board of ISEA International. His work was recently described in the book by Francesca Franco, Generative Systems Art: The Work of Ernest Edmonds, Routledge, 2017.
  • Laura Beloff (PhD) is an internationally acclaimed artist and a researcher in the cross section of art, technology and science. Additionally to research papers, articles and book-chapters, the outcome of the research is in a form of process-based installations, wearable artifacts, and experiments with scientific methods that deal with the merger of the technological and biological matter at large. The research engages with the areas such as human enhancement, bio-semiotics, biological matter, artificial life, artificial intelligence, robotics, and information technology in connection to art, humans and society. Currently, she is Associate Professor and the Head of ViCCA program at Aalto University, Finland.
  • Mike Phillips is Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at University of Plymouth, UK, the Director of Research at i-DAT.org and a Principal Supervisor for the Planetary Collegium. His R&D orbits a portfolio of projects that explore the ubiquity of data ‘harvested’ from an instrumentalised world and its potential as a material for revealing things that lie outside our normal frames of reference – things so far away, so close, so massive, so small and so ad infinitum. For more information see the i-DAT web site at: i-dat.org.
  • Jane Grant is an artist and writer. Her work explores ideas in art and science, specifically astrophysics, neuroscience and the history of scientific ideas. Jane writes about noise, the mutability of matter, desire and astrophysics. She is Associate Professor (Reader) in Digital Arts at Plymouth University (UK) where she is co-director of the research group Art and Sound and Principle Supervisor in the Planetary Collegium, CAiiA-Node. janegrant.org
  • Patrick Lichty (US/UAE) is a media artist, writer, curator and designer of over 30 years. Born in Akron Ohio in 1962, he was raised on art, technology, and science fiction. After getting his BS in Electronic Engineering and working in the discipline, he began an art and design studio in 1990, and created work for Accenture, Allstate Insurance and the X-Prize. He graduated with Honors from Bowling Green University with an MFA in Computer Art. As an activist and artist, he was part of or worked with the collectives RTMark, Pocha Nostra, The Yes Men, Terminal Time, Second Front, Shared Universe, and Critical Art Ensemble, showing in the Venice and Whitney Bienniales, and received the Herb Alpert/Calarts Fellowship. His writing on VR, AR, and media culture are widely published, and for 10 years he was Editor in Chief of Media Arts Journal Intelligent Agent, published by Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art. patricklichty.com