Writing about cancelling my participation in ISEA2013, I realised I had not posted here about my participation in ISEA2011 a few years ago. The 2011 edition of ISEA took place at Istanbul, a fabulous city at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
In my paper for ISEA2011 I discussed the installation DIORAMATIZED #02 that I at that time was making for an exhibition @ M Museum Leuven. I analyzed the installation in the light of Stephen Bann’s writings about curiosity. Hence, the title of my paper and presentation seems quite logical: Curiosy as an artist’s brief.
In this paper I will discuss some of the techniques that I use as an artist to instill curiosity. The criteria for my ‘discourse’ are set out by Stephen Bann in his book “Ways around Modernism” (Stephen Bann, 2006) wherein he formulates an “ambitious brief for the present-day artist in respect to curiosity”. I will elaborate on this brief with references to my own work, and show how a media-archaeological mindset, facilitated by a strong interest in and linkeage between art and science, can be an important source of inspiration for an artist. Being a media artist, I try to expand the code of the video apparatus by subverting parameters of the medium. One media-archeology based technique that I employ is re-injecting analogue elements into this highly digital apparatus. The technique of anamorphosis is one such analogue form of mediation that I employ in my PhD research: using multiple catoptrical anamorphoses with multiple optical (analogue) ‘lenses’ as mediators between the digital apparatus and the observer. This approach touches the core of my PhD research wherein I explore how interventions on a number of parameters of the video apparatus can generate a sense of wonder and curiosity with the observer, in search of a contemporary iteration of the concept ‘cinema of attractions’ (Tom Gunning, 1990). ‘Cinema of attractions’ being an everpresent undercurrent surging to the surface whenever the fascination for and the explicitation of the medium takes the lead. It is clear that this stress on curiosity as part of an artist’s brief also has an impact on research methodologies being used: research through design could in this context easily be rephrased as research through curiosity. Finally I will take this discourse one step further: if the artist succeeds in passing on (part of) his own deeply personal mode of curiosity to his audience, only then can curiosity start to offer the building blocks for a new epistemology for the present day (Madeleine Grynsztejn, 2007).