[ISEA2020] Workshop:Diana Ayton-Shenker & Xin Wei Sha — Empires, Villages, Ecologies of Experimental Practices

Workshop Statement

Synthesis@ASU and Leonardo convene a conversation about experimental practices in arts and sciences and ecosophic sense-making. Experiment and experience combine both creating novelty and inhabiting / living sense-making. Speculative design, engineering, philosophy, and experimental arts and humanities are transforming the very objects, subjects, materials and methods of their constitutive disciplines and practices. This endeavour implies an understanding of the arts (including literature, the performing arts and other practices) as a mode of alchemical knowledge production and practice predating the modern split into arts and science. But in the 21c, the re-flourishing of experimental practices hybridizing philosophical hypotheses, “heuristic fictions”, speculative engineering, and literary/ artistic/ musical/ movement-based thought experiments has overgrown the models of start-ups and grants we inherited from 20c techno science and public management culture. What are some of these new modes of sense-making practices that simultaneously constitute new kinds of inquiry and new kinds of inquirers, and new senses of matter? And what are the ways in which we can sustain such practices non-anthropocentrically in the changing ecosystems and economies of the century? We invite worldwide communities to join a curated conversation seeded by radical examples of experimental practices. For all creatives seeking to regenerate people, society, planet. 90-minute workshop; life changing transformation. Maximum of participants: 30 Duration: 90 min

  • Diana Ayton-Shenker is the CEO of Leonardo, the International Society for Arts, Sciences, and Technology; Executive Director of ASU-Leonardo Initiative, and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. She is author and editor of four books, most recently “A New Global Agenda: Priorities, Practices, & Pathways of the International Community;” founder of multiple social enterprises including Global Momenta and the Fast Forward Fund; and has held senior positions with Human Rights Watch, P.E.N, and Mercy Corps. She was the inaugural Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Wharton, Global Catalyst at the New School (NYC), and Sr. Fellow in Venture Philanthropy (Bard College). Diana speaks four languages and holds an LLM, International Human Rights Law (University of Essex) and BA, International Relations (University of Pennsylvania).
  • Sha Xin Wei PhD is Professor of the School of Arts, Media + Engineering and Director of the Synthesis Center Arizona State University, Fellow of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems, Senior Fellow of Building21 at McGill, and Professor at the European Graduate School. With Sponge, FoAM and artists from TML and Synthesis, Sha has directed event-installations in Ars Electronica, DEAF / V2, MediaTerra, Future Physical UK, Elektra, and eArts Shanghai, Postmasters NYC, and Musée des arts et métiers Paris, recognized by the Langlois Foundation; LEF; Creative Work Fund; and Rockefeller. Sha’s research concerns how gestures, rhythm, physical or social objects, people, relations or sense emerge under complex dynamical processes, attending to ethico-aesthetic and ecosystemic value. Dr. Sha’s computational media research includes responsive environments, gestural time-based media. After a first career in scientific simulations and modeling, and Mathematics PhD at Stanford (2001), he founded and directed the Topological Media Lab, studying gesture, distributed agency and materiality with application to the phenomenology of performance and the built environment.