[ISEA2020] Workshop: David Howes, Christopher Salter & Alexandre Saunier — Dynamics of Perceptions: Engaging with the felt experience of temporally dynamic algorithms

Workshop Statement

Dynamics of Perception looks at the relation between machine subjectivity and human subjectivity expressed temporally with artistic media. We will introduce you to cutting edge algorithmic technics, such as Spiking Neuron Networks and Reservoir Computing, which have the potential to generate complex temporal dynamics and patterns difficult, if near impossible, to be scripted by humans. You will get to manipulate those algorithms with the newly developed software “autonomX” by lab Xmodal. This software uses an intuitive graphic interface to create with life-like processes and express them in real-time through light, sound, video or robots. In parallel, you will be introduced to key anthropological notions to address human-machine relationships through their sensorial and perceptual qualities. The workshop will be structured around a series of short presentations, experiments and discussions. It will gradually unfold the temporal dimension of autonomous, emergent and self-organizing computational technics and discuss how they can participate in generating strong perceptual and aesthetic experiences. The workshop is open to artists, students and researchers with no programming background required. Maximum of participants: 24 Duration: 3 hours

  • David Howes is a Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University, and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Montreal. He has conducted field research on the cultural life of the senses in the Middle Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea, Northwestern Argentina, and the Southwestern United States. He is currently directing a project on “Law and the Regulation of the Senses” and collaborating with new media artist Christopher Salter to produce a series of art installations that re-arrange the senses. His latest publications include Ways of Sensing: Understanding the Senses in Society (2014) co-authored with Constance Classen from Routledge, and the four-volume Senses and Sensation: Critical and Primary Sources compendium (2018), also now from Routledge. He is the Managing editor of the journal The Senses and Society. See further concordia.ca/faculty/david-howes.html
  • Chris Salter is an artist, Full Professor for Design + Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal and Director of the Hexagram Concordia Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology. He studied philosophy, economics, theatre and computer music at Emory and Stanford Universities. After collaborating with Peter Sellars and William Forsythe/Ballett Frankfurt, he co-founded and directed the art and research organization Sponge (1997-2003). His solo and collaborative work has been seen all over the world at such venues as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Ars Electronica, Barbican Centre, Berliner Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, Musée d’art Contemporain, LLUM BCN 2020, PACT Zollverein, Villette Numerique, EMPAC, Transmediale, EXIT Festival and Place des Arts, among many others. He is the author of Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance (MIT Press, 2010) and Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (MIT Press 2015). His new book on human and machine sensing will be published by MIT Press in 2021.
  • Alex Saunier is a Montreal-based artist and doctoral researcher that creates multi-sensory light experiences and performances. Working at the frontier between perceptible and imperceptible, tangible and intangible, material and immaterial, Saunier explores the relations between human perception and digital processes. He hybridizes sound synthesis, artificial life algorithms and lighting hardware in a pursuit of ever more embodied and sensual experiences. Saunier earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics followed by a masters in sound design and engineering from the renowned ENS Louis Lumière (Paris, France) before engaging in research in design, robotics and interactive systems at the ENS Arts Décoratifs (Paris, France). He is currently a doctoral researcher at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) where he conducts research on practices of lighting with autonomous computational systems. His artistic work has been presented in various international venues such as Ars Electronica, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, Exit Festival, MuffatWerk, Impakt Festival and BCN_LLUM. alexandresaunier.com