[ISEA2011] Panel: Ker­stin Mey & Yvonne Spiel­mann (moderators) – Hybrid Cultures

Panel Statement

Chair Per­sons: Ker­stin Mey & Yvonne Spiel­mann
Pre­sen­ters: Ryszard Kluszczyn­ski & Sabine Fabo

Hy­brid cul­tures are phe­nom­ena of es­sen­tial con­nec­tions in the pre­sent. They emerge from di­verse and com­plex in­flu­ences. Hy­brid cul­tures are merg­ers that com­bine past and pre­sent, local and translo­cal, space and place and technoscape. Hy­brid­ity is ex­pressed in var­i­ous cul­tural con­texts and in the in-be­tween spaces of arts, media, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. Under the sign of the dig­i­tal and the global, hy­brid­ity con­notes a cul­tural man­i­fes­ta­tion of mul­ti­ple ap­pear­ances, as in cy­ber­space and mul­ti­ple selves. We apply the term hy­brid cul­tures to the con­tem­po­rary in­ter-con­nect­ed­ness that de­rives from the tech­no­log­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties of merg­ing vir­tual worlds and real life ex­pe­ri­ence and to art prac­tices that in­sti­gate cre­ative in(ter)ven­tion into our global media pre­sent, as well as to sci­en­tific re­search that aims to blur the bound­aries be­tween human and ma­chine,  sci­ence and sci­ence fic­tion. In ap­ply­ing the term hy­brid cul­tures, we pro­pose to dis­cuss a crit­i­cal con­cept of hy­brid­ity that in­ter-re­lates the de­bates and prac­tices of the in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary do­mains of media, cul­tural and aes­thetic the­o­ries.  The scrutiny of dig­i­tal cul­tures as fields of hy­brid in­ter­ac­tion al­lows us to more closely ex­am­ine the cul­tur­ally mixed ex­per­tises that com­bine dif­fer­ent as­pects of the­ory and prac­tice at work, in lo­cally pro­duced and glob­ally dis­trib­uted media forms, and in the con­ver­gence of net­work-based sci­ence and knowl­edge tech­nolo­gies, with cre­ative art prac­tices.  As a start­ing point, we wish to scru­ti­nise the crit­i­cal stance of hy­brid cul­tures: what are the cul­tural ef­fects of hy­brid prac­tices in arts and media, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy? What kind of fu­sion can pro­mote in­ter-me­dial and in­ter-cul­tural un­der­stand­ing? How can hy­brid cul­tures re­sist cor­po­rate com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion? How can they ben­e­fit from transna­tional, tran­scul­tural, and translo­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties of dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion? With re­gard to the plu­ral­ity of media and cul­tures that are promi­nently dis­cussed as hy­brid, the panel en­cour­ages crit­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion of:

  1. the place of the artist, the cul­tural critic, the com­mu­ni­ca­tor and me­di­a­tor of tech­no­log­i­cal change
  2. new forms of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween dis­ci­plines and cul­tures
  3. the ex­ten­sion of the con­cept of hy­brid­ity across bor­ders with­out los­ing its iden­tity of cre­ative in­ter­ven­tion into the here and now

Ques­tions the panel will raise: How much mul­ti­plic­ity and plu­ral­ity do we want and need in glob­ally net­worked com­mu­ni­ca­tion? And what kind of speci­ficity and dif­fer­ence in the midst of blur­ring is nec­es­sary for the iden­tity for­ma­tion of our cul­tures, arts, and sci­ences? How are com­plex re­la­tion­ships be­tween arts and sci­ences and tech­nolo­gies cre­at­ing a new vi­sion of hy­brid cul­tures?

  • Ker­stin Mey grad­u­ated with an MA in Art and Ger­man Lan­guage and Lit­er­a­ture from Hum­boldt Uni­ver­sity, Berlin, Ger­many and sub­se­quently ob­tained a Dr.phil. in art the­ory/aes­thet­ics and a PGDip in Eu­ro­pean Cul­tural Pol­icy and Ad­min­is­tra­tion. After work­ing in po­si­tions in uni­ver­si­ties in Ger­many and the UK, she now heads up the De­part­ment for Re­search and En­ter­prise at the Uni­ver­sity for the Cre­ative Arts, UK, where she also holds a Pro­fes­sor­ship in Fine Art. Mey’s own re­search has been con­cerned with the sit­u­at­ed­ness of con­tem­po­rary art and cul­tural prac­tices. Of spe­cific in­ter­est are: the role of art in civil so­ci­ety and the pub­lic do­main, the con­struc­tion of iden­ti­ties under the in­flu­ence of digi­ti­sa­tion, mi­gra­tion and glob­al­i­sa­tion, and the in­ter­con­nec­tions be­tween art, doc­u­men­ta­tion, mem­ory,  his­tory writ­ing and the archiv­ing process.  She is a peer re­viewer for the AHRC (Arts and Hu­man­i­ties Re­search Coun­cil) and other UK Re­search Coun­cils, in­ter­na­tional fund­ing bod­ies and pub­lish­ers. Mey was Artis­tic Di­rec­tor of ISEA2009 which took place under the um­brella theme En­gaged Cre­ativ­ity in Mo­bile En­vi­ron­ments on the is­land of Ire­land. She has cu­rated ex­hi­bi­tions in­clud­ing Bod­ies of Sub­stance (2003/4) and or­gan­ised in­ter­na­tional and in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary con­fer­ences with cre­ative prac­tices at their cen­ter. Amongst her nu­mer­ous pub­li­ca­tions on con­tem­po­rary art and art re­search are the au­thored book Art and Ob­scen­ity (2006) and the fol­low­ing edited vol­umes: with Mor­row and Rohr, Cre­ative Trans­for­ma­tions (2008); with Kroenke and Spiel­mann, Kul­turelle Um­bruche: Iden­ti­taten, Raume, Reprasen­ta­tio­nen (2007), On-Site/In-Sight, a spe­cial issue Jour­nal of Vi­sual Art Prac­tice, Vols. 4.1-2 (2005), and Art in the Mak­ing. Aes­thet­ics His­toric­ity and Prac­tice (2004); with Yuill, Cross-wired: Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, In­ter­face, Lo­cal­ity, (2004),  Sculp­sit: Con­tem­po­rary Artists on Sculp­ture and Be­yond (2001). She cur­rently col­lab­o­rates with Susan Benn on the pro­ject A Ped­a­gogy of Cu­rios­ity which re­con­sid­ers the roles of the human sen­so­rium, sense per­cep­tion and the arts in the shap­ing of val­ues that sup­port re­silient liv­ing and an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment, as well as their roles in in/form­ing self-gov­er­nance and en­gaged cit­i­zen­ship.
  • Yvonne Spiel­mann (Ph.D. habil.) is cur­rently Chair of New Media at The Uni­ver­sity of the West of Scot­land; she was pre­vi­ously Pro­fes­sor of Vi­sual Media at Braun­schweig School of Art. Prior to this lat­ter ap­point­ment, she was As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Media Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­sity of Siegen, also in Ger­many. She is au­thor of the Ger­man lan­guage mono­graphs Eine Pfutze in bezug aufs Mehr. Avant­garde (1991), In­ter­me­di­al­i­tat. Das Sys­tem Peter Green­away (1998), and Video. Das re­flex­ive Medium (2005). The En­gish edi­tion Video. The Re­flex­ive Medium is pub­lished by MIT Press, 2008, the Japan­ese edi­tion is forth­com­ing with San­gen-Sha Press, Tokyo, 2010. The Pol­ish edi­tion is under dis­cus­sion. The book re­ceived the Lewis Mum­ford Award for Out­stand­ing Schol­ar­ship in the Ecol­ogy of Tech­n­cis in the US. Her new book Hy­brid Cul­tures will be re­leased with Suhrkamp Press in fall 2010. Yvonne Spiel­mann has pub­lished ex­ten­sively on film, video, new media, in­ter­me­di­al­ity, vi­sual arts and hy­brid­ity in ap­prox­i­mately ninety ar­ti­cles, in both Ger­man and Eng­lish. Her work has been trans­lated into French, Pol­ish, Swedish, Croa­t­ian, and Japan­ese. She has edited Kunst und Poli­tik der Avant­garde (1989), Image – Media – Art  (Ger­man and Eng­lish, 1999, to­gether with Gun­dolf Win­ter), What is In­ter­me­dia?, a spe­cial issue of Con­ver­gence, Win­ter 2002 (to­gether with Ju­r­gen Hein­richs), and is ed­i­tor of Hy­brid Iden­ti­ties in Dig­i­tal Media, a spe­cial issue of Con­ver­gence, win­ter 2005 (to­gether with Ker­stin Mey) and the sec­tion Forty Years of Video Art of Art Jour­nal (2006). Re­cent keynote lec­tures were given by her at the In­ter­na­tional Sym­po­sium on Elec­tronic Arts, Belfast, UK, 2009 and the New Waves in New Media Con­fer­ence, Cluj-Napoca, Ro­ma­nia, 2009.  Speil­mann’s re­search grants and fel­low­ships in­clude the Getty Cen­ter (1989/90), The So­ci­ety for the Hu­man­i­ties at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity (2000/2001), The Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion’s Bel­la­gio Study & Con­fer­ence Cen­ter (2002), The Daniel Lan­glois Foun­da­tion (2003 and 2004), the Japan Foun­da­tion (2005), the Na­tional Uni­ver­sity of Sin­ga­pore (2007), The Royal So­ci­ety of Ed­in­burgh (2008), the Great Britain Sasakawa Foun­da­tion (2009), and the Carnegie Trust (2008, 2009 and 2010).  yvonne-spielmann.com