Monday, June 07, 2004

Thanks to the department and to Geoff Cooper, I got some money to attend a conference at Lancaster University called The Interface: questions of agency in ICT and new media art, co-organised by Adrian Mackenzie (Institute for Cultural Research) and Lucy Suchman (Centre for Science Studies/Sociology).

It was a two-day conference with talks by Karen Barad, Maggie Mort, Adrian Mackenzie, Lucy Suchman, Anne Balsamo, Andrew Quick, and new media artists Thomson and Craighead (who recently spoke at an INCITE event) and Heidi Tikka.

It was a good and usefully diverse event. I was especially interested in the relationship between ICT and new media art, which was left largely un-articulated and un-theorised. The social scientists tended to use new media art instrumentally to derive certain points about their chosen topic. The artists (along with Andrew Quick, from Performance Studies at Lancaster) tended to work outward from descriptions of the work (materially and conceptually) to (more) sociological speculations. There is an interesting question here about the relationship between sociology’s art criticism and art’s sociology. How does each employ the other and what do these uses say about the play of sociology outside of sociology and the play of art outside of art?