Skip to main content

22.1 | General Issue | Contents and Abstracts

Cover Image: Saša Spačal, MycoMythologies: Patterning. Exhibition shot from late stage of exhibition at Zone2Source, 2021. Photo: Marte Vos.

Published onMay 04, 2024
22.1 | General Issue | Contents and Abstracts

Cover Image: Saša Spačal, MycoMythologies: Patterning. Exhibition shot from late stage of exhibition at Zone2Source, 2021. Photo: Marte Vos.


Rethinking research with methodologies of art practice


This issue of Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research (TA) encompasses eight articles by artists and scholars from around the globe who engage with methodologies of art practice within research that reflects on technological and ecological change, contributing to the discourse on the inclusion of subjective experience in research. The articles by authors Dulmini Perera, Kate Doyle, Nora S. Vaage, Merete Lie, Nikita Peresin Meden, Kristina Pranjić, Peter Purg, Nicolaas H. Jacobs, Marth Munro, Chris Broodryk, Semi Ryu, Rahul Mahata, Doreswamy, Sana Altaf and Aqib Javid Parry form a collection that crosses disciplines and genres to engage in fundamental critique of existing modes of enquiry and conclusion. The texts situate art and design methodologies in particular cultural contexts and in relation to frameworks defined by research methodologies of the sciences and humanities to gain agency for critique and to counter a sense of inevitability that has come to mark the most recent crises.

The editorial can be downloaded for free from Intellectdicover

Orders of change: Mary Catherine Bateson on ecological thinking, narrative practices and attending to worlds in transformation


The gap between the limited human sense of how living entities change over time and the ways in which living systems change is one of the most potent uncertainties in ecological knowledge. This gap remains a significant source of problems and errors for those working with the transformations of living systems. This article foregrounds Mary Catherine Bateson’s cybernetic practice of working with narratives in order to cultivate better understanding and responses to change, at the level of both societies and individuals. To do so, I investigate some significant moments, encounters and projects that connect her practice to the ecological ideas of her father, Gregory Bateson and situate their ideas on abduction, metaphor, recursion and narrative within broader discussions of ecological change. The Batesons did not seek a particular attitudinal change towards the transformation of selves, cities and worlds but rather sought to change the very understanding of what an attitude towards change should be, a distinction that is worth pondering given the challenges of attending to change within the present ecological crisis.

Paradox, cybernetics and infinite poetry


How can absence make presence become? The question turns a usual notion of form inside out; it subverts normative habits in drawing distinctions. If we adapt the models of time by which we might consider such things (and not-things), the relational terms of form can shift. Two lines of inquiry are pursued in this article. The first is an investigation of form and its relation to time. The second is an exploration of paradox in describing forms of art. Both are cybernetic in their framework and approach. The ‘Hastig’ (‘Hastily’) movement of Robert Schumann’s 1839 piano work Humoreske is the form that serves as site for the two inquiries to intertwine. Its construction presents a paradox through which form and time may be called into question. In considering Schumann’s composition as a re-conceiving of form and time, an idea emerges; art can make us aware of the constraints and possibilities of our models and our experiences of paradox in living with them.

Blood, sweat and tears: Kinning otherwise through art


The article discusses two bioart projects that bring the symbolically core human substances of blood, sweat and tears into technologically mediated relationships with plants and fungi to explore human kinship with other species: Tarah Rhoda’s BS&T (short for blood, sweat and tears) and OurGlass, and Saša Spačal’s MycoMythologies: Patterning. The article analyses the art projects through the lens of the molecular gaze and different perspectives on kinning, bringing anthropological conceptualizations of kinship together with Haraway’s pathways to connect with other species. How can bioart use technologies to explore interspecies kinship through a molecular gaze? And may such artworks contribute to the toning down of human exceptionality in the face of a precarious future? We find that artworks providing a molecular gaze on interspecies biological processes may risk a decontextualized approach to complex relational processes but may also create new visions of filiation even with biological organisms imagined to be genetically distant from humans, thus spurring awareness of the fragile interrelationships among species.

Taming the Forest: Embracing the complexity of art-sci research through microhistory, bioeconomics and intermedia art


An ongoing collaborative project between art and science, Taming the Forest (2022) was implemented by a team of students, artists and researchers charting an interdisciplinary project among bioeconomics, environmental history, policy and artistic practice. In this article, the project acts as a case study for researching the conflicting narratives of history and economics about biodiversity in general, and specifically about forests. It shows how different blends of methodologies in artistic- cum-scientific research can become relevant for both realms, opening new creative pathways and pedagogical registers while repeatedly returning to a specific forest’s microhistory. Moreover, the article stresses the need for a new sensibility and complex knowledge, moving beyond an objective study and becoming attentive to different dimensions of research and its outputs that emerge through the introduction of artistic thinking and methodologies. This kind of transdisciplinary approach becomes necessary in order to tackle the manifold large-scale problems such as the climate and biodiversity crises, which call for both acting decisively and transforming radically, above all with regard to how humans perceive, relate to and manage nature.

Embodied performance with digital visual effects technology: Empirical results of a digital acting programme


The impact of digital media and technology on performance arts is evident when digital visual effects (VFX) filming techniques are introduced on a film set. Digital technologies influence the film actor’s approach to be congruent to and authentic within the circumstances of the scene. Actors require an effective skillset and strategies to successfully deliver an embodied performance aligning with the various digital VFX techniques. Focusing on imagination, action and emotion that would facilitate such an embodied performance, we drew on relevant neuroscientific notions such as neuron reactivation, conceptual blending, as-if body states and affordances. Additionally, we incorporated relevant embodied performance concepts from Stanislavski, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, Effector Patterns including the Emotional Body Approach and Lessac Kinesensics to the development of a digital acting programme, advancing the actor’s required skills and providing on-set digital acting strategies to support congruency with digital VFX and authenticity within the diegetic reality. The efficacy of this programme was determined by assessing pre- and post-intervention recordings of both a control and an experimental group of trained actors. Reflection-on-action journals from participants supplemented the assessment. The assessments and journals indicate that the acquired skillset and on-set digital acting strategies effectively improve the actor’s performance with digital VFX filming technology.

Facing, mirroring and echoing in human–avatar symbiosis


Since 2016, my embodied avatar performance (EAP) has explored healing rituals and life review at the intersection of arts, health and virtual reality (VR) for a variety of individuals, including older adults and cancer patients. EAP established a format in which the avatar mirrors the participant’s behaviours and speech, facing them during the life review process. The aspect of mirroring and facing is crucial in EAP for facilitating engagement, embodiment and empathy and a symbiotic relationship between avatar and human. This article outlines the symbiosis between humans and avatars within the EAP process, focusing on the interactions where participants face and mirror their avatars. The avatars are presented as if participants are looking into a mirror. As the avatars face the participants and mimic their movements, they create an illusion similar to seeing one’s reflection in a virtual setting. The article discusses a range of mirroring aspects, including virtual mirrors in VR, echoing techniques in drama and movement therapy, and broader concepts like empathy, embodiment, we-ness and the Korean emotional concept of Cheong. Early EAP avatars, especially in the case of technical failures, will be discussed as examples.

The digital turn in Chhau dance of Purulia: Reconfiguring authenticity in a post-pandemic scenario


The article explores the digital innovations that are being used in a folk performance in West Bengal, namely the Chhau dance. The COVID-19 pandemic foregrounded the relevance of digital space across disciplines. Being an expression of the collective experience of the people of the Purulia district, Chhau dance is commonly associated with fostering and perpetuating folk and mythical beliefs through its extensive use of masks and dance movements steered by the Jhumur songs. While the common urge to archive the traditional dance-drama form in its ‘authentic’ essence precipitates a digital turn within the performance, the digital contact paradoxically reorients the ‘authentic’ identity of this cultural practice. The present study seeks to use the ‘identity–authenticity’ interplay in the context of globalization as the crux of the article. Within this framework, the article analyses how a folk cultural practice like Chhau dance, with its recent innovations in masks and performances mandated by the pandemic, problematizes the debate. It further strives to recognize the implications of the digital presence of the performances as well as the performers, which, for many of the traditionalists, might have jeopardized the ritualistic practices that were considered the ‘essence’ of the performance. The research was conducted through ethnographic methods gathered through fieldwork to gain first-hand knowledge of the ground reality.

Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber: Blending technology and fantasy in a dystopian narrative


In the contemporary postmodern era, the boundaries that once rigidly separated well-established genres have become more fluid, resulting in what scholars Raffaella Baccolini and Tom Moylan call ‘genre-blurring’. This phenomenon of incorporating elements from diverse genres represents a challenge to dominant ideologies and expands the possibilities within fictional texts. The dystopian fiction written by feminist writers towards the end of the twentieth century and beyond significantly exemplifies this form of hybrid textuality. In doing so, these writers seek to renovate the dystopian genre by making it both formally and politically oppositional. This article aims to explore Midnight Robber (2000), a feminist dystopian novel by Nalo Hopkinson, a Jamaican–Canadian writer, to illustrate how the author manipulates the generic boundaries of science fiction, fantasy and mythology. By amalgamating Afro-Caribbean religious and cultural beliefs, mythical creatures and traditional knowledge systems with a technologically advanced future world, Hopkinson challenges the essentially White Eurocentric model of dystopian fiction. The article will also examine how, as an Afrofuturist writer, Hopkinson attempts to challenge and subvert the patriarchal discourse of dystopian fiction, traditionally dominated by White male writers, through a strong Black female character, Tan-Tan, who seeks to resist the patriarchal structures governing her and finally succeeds in emerging as a female leader figure. For this purpose, Barbara Creed’s insights into the monstrous-feminine are explored introducing novelty into the discourse of feminist dystopia.

This page displays a table of contents and abstracts for issue 22.1 of Technoetic Arts. Please refer to the original publication available from Intellect Discover.

Technoetic Arts is included in EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete and Art and Architecture Complete collections. Researchers affiliated with universities will have access to all article PDFs via their library’s EBSCO subscription. This issue is logged with volume 22 of 2024 on EBSCOhost.

Technoetic Arts is ranked among the top 25% of Visual Arts journals on Scopus’s CiteScore.

Volume 22 Numbers 1, © 2024 Intellect Ltd.

||| Founding Editor: Roy Ascott Editorial Organism: John Bardakos, Dalila Honorato, Claudia Jacques, Claudia Westermann Production Manager: Oliver Rendle

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?