1. Experimental Practice
What is experimental art | science | design | technology | humanities ?
What is an experimental life?
Reading: Guy Debord, The Situationists and the New Forms of Action in Art and Politics
Sha X. W., on the experimental variation of thick experience.
2. Limits of Representation
Meaning vs. information. Experience vs Rules. What's (not) a representation?
David Donoho, 50 Years of Data Science.
Joseph Henrich, Steven Heine, Ara Norenzayan, "The Weirdest People in the World," 2009.
Miguel Sicart, Against Procedurality, Game Studies.
Pattern Recognition (and Neural Networks):
Xiaolin Wu, and Xi Zhang, "Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images," 2016. With responses to critiques. (2017)
Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, Case Study: Criminal machine learning, 2017.
How does language have meaning?
Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations (G.E.M. Anscombe Third edition) selected aphorisms:
§ 0 - 110 Language
Explanations based on rules, naming, pointing, paradigm, predicates, correspondence…
§ 143 - 151 Number series games
§ 272-279 Private experience, colour
§ 283-293 Feeling, pain, beetle in a box
xi (pages 193-209) Seeing as, figures, duck rabbit
3. Experience. Phenomenology contra psychology.
Problems with psychologism, biological reductionism, and category.
William James, "Chapter I : Does Consciousness Exist?", "Chapter II : A World of Pure Experience", "Chapter III : The Thing and Its Relations", "Chapter IV : How Two Minds Can Know One Thing", from Essays on Radical Empiricism. (samizdat badly typset and paginated)
Write 4 pages on 1 or 2, with precise references to specific passages in the Wittgenstein or James
(1.1) What experience cannot be represented in any written or spoken language, diagram or other notation? If you think there are no such experiences, argue why.
(1.2) How can we represent movement or action by non-static signs?
(2.1) Does consciousness exist? Argue for or against the James' argument.
(2.2) How can we account for human social experience without resorting to cognition or consciousness?
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, tr. D. Landes, Routledge 2012. Part One: The Body. I. Introduction: Experience and objective thought, the problem of the body (69-74); III. The spatiality of one's own body and motricity (a-c: 100-109); The intentionality of the body, The body is not in space -- it inhabits space, Habit as the motor acquisition of a new signification (k-m, 139-148); IV. The Synthesis of One's Own Body (149-155).
5. Tools, Craft
Pye, D. The Nature and Art of Workmanship. Cambridge UP, 1968, pp. 17-29.
Sennett, R. The Craftsman. Yale University Press, 2008, Chapter 1.
Thor Magnusson, “Of Epistemic Tools: musical instruments as cognitive extensions,” Organised Sound, 14 (2009), pp 168-176.
Write 2 pages on: What is a tool vs. instrument? How does a tool shape material? How does a tool shape experience and art? And conversely?
6. Non-Anthropocentric, Ecological Thought
Serra Vegetal Movement responsive environment, Synthesis/iStage Matthews Center.
Michael Marder. "Resist like a plant! On the Vegetal Life of Political Movements." Peace Studies 5.1 (2012).
7. Systems Theories
Figures and philosophies of living systems and ecologies.
Reading: Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Autopoiesis, The Organization of the Living, pp. 59 to 143. Chapters 1-3 ( notes), Chapters 4 -5, Appendix.
Dynamical Systems and Topology
Klaus Jänich, Topology, chap 1
Sha X. W., "Topology and Morphogenesis," Theory, Culture & Society 29 (4-5), 2013.
Supplementary readings: Henri Lefebvre Rhythmanalysis;
Prigogine, Stengers, Order Out of Chaos.
Whitehead Process and Reality;
Heraclitus, Laozi, and Zhuangzi.
Experimental performance vs. spectacle. Art as vehicle. Everyday, unmarked vs marked gesture.
Peter Brook, The Empty Space, Chapter 2- The Holy Theatre
Peter Brook, The Open Door, Chapter 1, The Slyness of Boredom
Artaud: ch. 7: The Theater and Cruelty; ch 8: The Theater of Cruelty, First Manifesto;
Grotowski: Physical Action
9. Art, Politics
Deleuze and Guattari, Rhizomes, Becoming-Animal, Chapter 14: "1440: The Smooth and The Striated,” in Thousand Plateaus:A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York: Continuum, 2004.
Isabelle Stengers, "Beyond Conversation, The Risks of Peace," in Process and Difference, Between Cosmological and Poststructuralist Postmodernisms, ed. Catherine Keller and Anne Daniell, SUNY 2002.
Discuss preliminary final projects proposals in class
10. Experimental Practices
Sha X. W.: Poiesis, Enchantment and Topological Matter. MIT Press, 2014. Refrain.
Optional: Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg, “The Final Foucault: Government of Others and Government of Oneself” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008).
Read Sha, Poesis and Enchantment in Topological Matter (chapter 1)
Work on final projects / papers
Sha, From Technologies of Representation to Technologies of Performance (Critical Digital, Harvard GSD 2009)
Experimental Experiential research
Sha, Poesis and Enchantment in Topological Matter (chapter 1)
8 pages (excluding images, including references), on some topic drawing on readings.
Final Revisions of Term Paper, Due end of exam week