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Updated by Jodie Taylor on Jul 24, 2018
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Creative Inquiry. Critical Makers. Critical Media

Inquiry is any process that has the aim of answering a question, augmenting knowledge, resolving doubt, or solving a problem. it can also be something that we 'do through' creative media practice. This curated collection of resources features links to a range of media texts, organisations, research institutes, creative ensembles and practitioners who exemplify critically innovative practice in the spirit of creative inquiry.

The Pervasive Media Cookbook

The Pervasive Media Cookbook is mix of practice, ideas and inspiration, that can be read ‘cover to cover’ or opened at any page. It introduces the emerging field of pervasive media in which context aware devices deliver ‘the right media in the right place at the right time.’ Written in non-specialist language, the cookbook is based around twelve case studies, our ‘recipes’, from tasty projects cooked up in the research kitchens of the Pervasive Media Studio Bristol U.K. The case studies are complemented by ‘essentials’; short essays covering themes in pervasive media to get students and young designers thinking, as well as a list of basic ingredients that can be used as a base for your own recipes. There are lots of different ways to create Pervasive Media experiences, and our cookbook aims to get that across. We want to inspire users to find their own way to make projects that make the wireless world a tastier place to live! The recipes we’ve chosen represent the range of possible flavours that we’ve been cooking up at the cutting edge of existing pervasive media practice.

Critical Media Practice

Check out some of the PhD projects in critical media practice at Harvard...

The CMP reflects changing patterns of knowledge production, and in particular that knowledge is increasingly incorporated into novel multi-media configurations in which written language plays only a part. Audiovisual media have a different relationship to, and reveal different dimensions of, the world from exclusively verbal sign systems. They are also inherently interdisciplinary, and frequently engage a broader public than the academy alone.

Critical Making

Critical Making is a handmade book project by Garnet Hertz that explores how hands-on productive work ‐ making ‐ can supplement and extend critical reflection on technology and society. It works to blend and extend the fields of design, contemporary art, DIY/craft and technological development. It also can be thought of as an appeal to the electronic DIY maker movement to be critically engaged with culture, history and society: after learning to use a 3D printer, making an LED blink or using an Arduino, then what?

The publication has 70 contributors ‐ primarily from contemporary art and academia.

Technoculture, Art and Games | TAG

Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art based at Concordia University in Montréal. TAG brings together scholars, artists, designers, engineers and students from all departments at Concordia and we welcome participants from other universities, the game and media arts industries and community based groups.

Sensate Journal

Welcome to Sensate, a peer-reviewed, open-access, media-based journal for the creation, presentation, and critique of innovative projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Our mission is to provide a scholarly and artistic forum for experiments in critical media practices that expand academic discourse by taking us beyond the margins of the printed page. Fundamental to this expansion is a re-imagining of what constitutes a work of scholarship or art. To that end, Sensate accepts and encourages non-traditional submissions such as audiovisual ethnographic research, multimedia mash-ups, experiments in media archaeology, time-based media, participatory media projects, or digitized collections of archival media, artifacts, or maps. Sensate accepts submissions of finished projects, proposals, and reviews of works (monographs, films, exhibitions, etc).

Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures

The Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) is a research group and facility that carries out fundamental, practice-oriented research. Our interests are at the intersections of design, media arts, anthropology, sociology, historical studies and technology. An integral part of the institute is the Critical Media Lab (CML), which provides an excellent space for practice-based research, scholarly exchange and teaching.

Synthesis Center

Synthesis Center researchers draw from diverse disciplines in the humanities, engineering and the arts to blend knowledge and know-how to find meaningful ways of using the arts and technology to animate the worlds in which we live and play. Rather than throwing disciplines together, we give our collaborators time to respect and meld distinct, even incommensurate values and ways of thinking and making into an ecology of practices.

The Topological Media Lab

The Topological Media Lab (TML) was established in 2001 as a trans-disciplinary atelier-laboratory for collaborative research creation. In 2005, TML moved to Concordia University and the Hexagram research network in Montréal, Canada.Its projects serve as case studies in the construction of fresh modes of cultural knowledge and the critical studies of media arts and techno-science, bringing together practices of speculative inquiry, scientific investigation and artistic research-creation practices. The TML’s technical research areas include: realtime video, sound synthesis, embedded sensors, gesture tracking, physical computing, media choreography, and active textiles. Its application areas lie in movement arts, speculative architecture, and experimental philosophy.

Monoskop

Wiki for Collaborative Studies of Art, Media and the Humanities.

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MLab

MLab

The Maker Lab in the Humanities (MLab) intersects cultural criticism with experimental prototyping and electronics. As the Lab’s name suggests, our design is anchored in blending a humanities research lab with a collaborative makerspace—a design that affords our team of students and faculty opportunities to build projects through various modes of knowing by doing.

The MLab’s use of “maker” and “making” understands both words on a broad spectrum, to include writing and composition in addition to tinkering, coding, crafting, bending, sketching, prototyping, and fabricating (among many others). The Lab resists impulses to reduce technical work and tacit knowledge to practices in “service” of scholarship. Invested in the entanglements of media with matter, all of our projects engage the material relations between the past and present, the digital and analog, the persistent and ephemeral.

Electronic Writing Research Ensemble      

The Electronic Writing Research Ensemble is dedicated to experimental research practice that works across genres and disciplines. The electronic Writing Research ensemble wishes to contribute to research on writing, and to writing as research, in the (electronic) way of facilitating a continuing inventive practise, a composing and recomposing, of textuality that is interdisciplinary, poetic, critical, and personal. eWRe wishes no reference point, except that of querying 'research' and 'writing'. It encourages forms which link the literary, scholarly, arts, industrial, and social communities. eWRe considers this writing to be at the same time a reading practice.

Collossal Art and Media Blog

Colossal is a blog that explores art and other aspects of visual culture. Colossal won the Utne Media Award for Arts Coverage in 2013 and is ranked by Technorati as one of the top 50 blogs on the web. Each week you’ll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. There are frequently posts about things far out in left field, but generally Colossal is a reminder that in the digital age there are still countless people making incredible work with their bare hands.

Database | Narrative | Archive

Database|Narrative|Archive is a collection of seven 'essays' by nine thinkers and makers in the emergent medium of nonlinear digital storytelling.

Hearing the Music of the Hemispheres: Symphony for 100,000,000,000 Neurons

Hearing the ‘Music of the Hemispheres’ includes film, video, and audio clips that are integrated in, and central to, its argument. The article uses Scalar as a tool to embody as well as analyze the multimodal and multi-linear ways performance unfolds, and allows for a performance-driven mode of scholarship that enacts the performance-driven model of spectatorship under analysis. Though analyses of spectatorship in theatre and performance studies have largely drawn from reception and reader-response theories in literary and cultural studies, performance is a multimedia and multidisciplinary genre requiring multiple cognitive strategies for making meaning.

Art: An analysis of Banksy

Without a doubt, the most popular graffiti artist in the world is Banksy, real identity unknown. His art can be traced back to the early 1990's, but it wasn't until the turn of the decade when he r...

Pathfinders

Pathfinders begins the necessary process of documenting early digital literature, specifically pre-web hypertext fiction and poetry, from 1986-1995. These literary works were produced with programming languages like BASIC or authoring systems like Storyspace and HyperCard and require a degree of interactivity between the reader and the work. They were also among the first computer-based works of literature to be sold commercially in the U.S. and, because of their availability through commercial distribution, were influential in shaping literary theory and criticism that, today, are used to discuss born digital writing. They are also literary works in danger of becoming inaccessible to the public because they were produced on and for computer platforms that today are obsolete.

Performing Archive: Curtis + “the vanishing race”

Created as a pilot project for the Claremont Center for Digital Humanities, “Performing Archive: Edward S. Curtis + ‘the vanishing race’” aggregates media from several different collections based on the early 20th century ethnographic and photographic work of Edward S. Curtis. In its gathering of materials from multiple sources, “Performing Archive” acts both as a meta-archive in its own right, and as an interpretive layer that examines Curtis’ materials through essays written by a variety of contributors. The project is designed to expand over time with additional contributions from students, faculty, and the public.

Electronic Literature Organization

The field of electronic literature is an evolving one. Literature today not only migrates from print to electronic media; increasingly, “born digital” works are created explicitly for the networked computer. The ELO seeks to bring the literary workings of this network and the process-intensive aspects of literature into visibility.

The confrontation with technology at the level of creation is what distinguishes electronic literature from, for example, e-books, digitized versions of print works, and other products of print authors “going digital.”

Electronic literature often intersects with conceptual and sound arts, but reading and writing remain central to the literary arts. These activities, unbound by pages and the printed book, now move freely through galleries, performance spaces, and museums. Electronic literature does not reside in any single medium or institution.

Institute of Network Cultures

The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) analyzes and shapes the terrain of network cultures through events, publications, and online dialogue. Our projects evolve around digital publishing, alternative revenue models, online video and design, digital counter culture and much more.

CELL Project

The Consortium on Electronic Literature (CELL) is an open access, non-commercial resource offering centralized access to literary databases, archives, and institutional programs in the literary arts and scholarship, with a focus on electronic literature. CELL was founded by the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO). It currently includes ten members and is designed to allow for the integration of many more. The first phase of CELL’s project––a search engine that harvests and aggregates records from across eight partner databases––was funded by an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant and developed at the NT2 Lab in Montreal.

Transforming Hollywood

Transforming Hollywood aims to turn the spotlight on media creators, producers and executives and place them in critical dialogue with top researchers from across a wide spectrum of film, media and cultural studies to provide an interdisciplinary summit for the free interchange of insights about how transmedia works and what it means.

You will find an archive of video resources captured at previous industry conferences which are well worth reviewing if you're keen to find out the future directions of media formats, content and creativity.

Agency of Unrealized Projects

Unlike unrealized architectural projects, which are frequently exhibited and circulated, unrealized artworks tend to remain unnoticed or little known. But perhaps there is another form of artistic agency in the partial expression, the incomplete idea, the projection of a mere intention? Agency of Unrealized Projects (AUP) seeks to document and display these works. Whether censored, forgotten, postponed, impossible, or rejected, unrealized projects form a unique testament to the speculative power of non-action.

AUP follows the publication entitled “Unbuilt Roads: 107 Unrealized Projects,” collated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Guy Tortosa after several years of international research conducted in the late 1990s. Twenty years later, the Agency of Unrealized Projects was formed in collaboration with Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle, and an open call for unrealized projects was issued for its first public exhibition at ArtBasel in 2011. The open call will continue until all unrealized art projects are compiled.

A visual exploration on mapping complex networks

VisualComplexity.com is a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project's main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as biology, social networks or the world wide web.

Remaking Media Practices – From Tactical Media to Post-Media | Mute

The assumption that ‘old’ media are not simply replaced but rather dialectically preserved by ‘new’ media is as old as media studies itself. However, it is not only the sublation of the old into the new that characterises the development of media technologies, but the engagement with old media formats also leads towards a succession of practices that finally provide a new approach to these technologies. Thus, since the beginning of the 20th century, electronic media (radio, television, computer-based networks, etc.) have been affected by a constant interrelation between avant-garde experimentation and mass distribution. The following article will trace some of the practices that have made use of new media technologies in order to bring about Felix Guattari’s idea of a ‘post-media age’: a transformation of classical media structures towards new collective assemblages of enunciation. In media theory, this process was accompanied by a dialectical movement: first in the 1980s, postmodern media theory jettisoned Karl Marx’s critique of ideology and abandoned all hope of an emancipatory use of media technologies, and, subsequently, the tactical media movement of the 1990s rejected this quietist standpoint of (academic) media theory in order to re-invent new forms of media activism. This ‘double disengagement’ ultimately opened up new fields of counter-hegemonic agency, thus enabling a variety of media practices that are still valid in a post-media era. This article, therefore, follows the assumption that the transition from tactical media to post-media should not be considered as a rupture, but rather as a ‘Becoming-media’ of those practices that emerged in 1990s.1 In this sense, the practices of tactical media have not disappeared but rather merged into everyday (post-media) life.

Tactical Media Files

Tactical Media emerged when the modest goals of media artists and media activists were transformed into a movement that challenged everyone to produce their own media in support of their own political struggles. This 'new media' activism was based on the insight that the long-held distinction between the 'street' (reality) and the 'media' (representation) could no longer be upheld. On the contrary, the media had come to infuse all of society.To challenge dominant (strategic) structures in society, it was necessary develop new (tactical) means of producing and distributing media. Not a specialised task separate from the social movements, but a key activity around which social movements could coalesce. And of equal importance, the media environment characterised by a broadcast logic of geography was being supplemented with an environment characterised by a many-to-many logic of access.

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    Dr Jodie Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Media & Cultural Studies at SAE Creative Media Institute, Brisbane. Through the lens of critical pedagogy, Jodie’s praxis-orientated approach to education is guided by the desire to help students become aesthetically inspired, media literate, culturally sensitive, critical and creative thinkers.

    She is the author of Playing it Queer: Popular Music, Identity & Queer World-making (Peter Lang 2012), and co-author of Redefining Mainstream Popular Music (Routledge 2013) and The Festivalisation of Culture (Ashgate 2014). She has published more than 30 scholarly articles & chapters on popular music, gender, sexuality and ageing; queer theory, youth culture and subcultural style; and ethical relations in ethnographic fieldwork.

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