ISEA2015 has ended
ISEA2015: The 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art
Tuesday, August 18 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
[Panel 20] Complexism: Art + Architecture + Biology + Computation, A New Axis in Critical Theory?

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Depending on how you look at it, critical theory has been with us for some time. Its contents range from antiquity to the present, from the writings of Parmenides to Zizek, while it is largely a product of postmodernism and the critical turn in the humanities over the last thirty-five years. The new millennium brings with it exhaustion and renewal, global economic collapse coupled with the rapid-fire invention of disruptive technologies, all of which calls for the reevaluation of critical theory in terms of modernity reconceived. Altermodern, paramodern, modernity in the longue durée, or complexism: it is the contemporary time of not simply postmodernity’s past, but more importantly a union of art, architecture, and biology. Of these terms, we choose Philip Galanter’s “complexism” for two reasons. First, as a synthesis of modernism and postmodernism, it takes the best of all worlds. Second, it prioritizes the ecological paradigm of the complex biological system as means to rethink art, architecture, and the humanities broadly conceived.

We propose two panels – both titled COMPLEXISM: Art + Architecture + Biology, A New Axis in Critical Theory? – interrogating the concomitant disruption within critical theory that is the field of art, architecture, and biology. Building on past paradigms, from the Frankfurt School, Post-structuralism, and Deconstruction to embodiment, affectivity, and emergence, these two consecutive workshops unite artists, architects, and theorists to discuss the critical underpinnings of art, architecture, and biology now. Superseding any cultural divisions, each panel will be a mix of artists, architects and theorists. These two panels promise to open a discussion catalyzed by the following questions and more.

  • Ø  How do bio-architecture and bio-art together transform contemporary critical theory?

  • Ø  How does bio-architecture inform bio-art, and vice versa?

  • Ø  What is the role of synthetic biology in helping us to understand “life” as

    it crosses the divide between living and non-living?

  • Ø  How might the naturphilosophie of Goethe carry forth a politics of labor

    justice into the present?

  • Ø  How does Max Bense’s information aesthetics provide a renewed means

    of understanding semiotics in terms of biological complexity?

  • Ø  How does morphogenesis and computation transform the contents and

    definition of “form” within bio-art and bio-architectural practices?

  • Ø  How does Moholy-Nagy’s Bauhaus bio-functionalism inform

    contemporary bio-art, bio-architecture, and critical theory?

  • Ø  Might the biological concept of “autopoesis” approximate “performance”

    and performativity” in the arts?

  • Ø  How does the generative aesthetics of computation resonate with

    generative biology and evolutionary development?

  • Ø  Do bio-art and bio-architecture in the present carry forth the political

    purview of German Romanticism?

  • Ø  What is the role of an aesthetics of complex systems thinking in

    contemporary critical theory?

    Invited panel participants:

  • Philip Beesley, Founder of Philip Beesley Architect Inc. (PBAI) in Toronto,

    Canada and professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo

  • David Benjamin, Principal Architect, The Living and Assistant Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, New York

  • Juan Manuel Castro, Hideo Iwasaki Lab, Laboratory of Molecular Cell Network & Biomedia Art, Waseda University, Tokyo

  • Dennis Dollens, Visiting Professor, BioDigital Architectures Master, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona. His most recent book is: Autopoietic Architecture: Can Buildings Think?

  • Anna Dumitriu, BioArtist, Author of Trust Me, I’m an Artist: Towards an Ethics of Art

  • Philip Galanter, Artist working in the fields of generative art, physical computing, sound art and music, complexity science, and art theory and Assistant Professor, Department of Visualization, Texas A&M

  • Mitchell Joachim, Co-Founder of Terreform ONE and Associate Professor at NYU and EGS in Switzerland

  • Morgan Meyer, Center for the Sociology of Innovation at Mines ParisTech, Paris, France

  • Patricia Olynyk, Director, Graduate School of Art, Washington University in St. Louis, MO

  • Charissa Terranova, Associate Professor of Aesthetic Studies, University of Texas at Dallas

  • Yvan Tina, PhD Candidate, Arts & Technology, University of Texas at Dallas/Aix Marseille University, France

  • Zenovia Toloudi, Architect, Artist, Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth and Elected Member for Boston Society of Architects (BSA) 

avatar for Anna Dumitriu

Anna Dumitriu

Anna Dumitriu’s work is at the forefront of art and science collaborative practice, with a strong interest in the ethical issues raised by emerging technologies and a focus on microbiology and healthcare. Her installations, interventions and performances use a range of biological... Read More →
avatar for Philip Galanter

Philip Galanter

Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
As Artist - generative art, physical computing, complexity art, evolutionary art, electronic installations, light sculptures, AI-based performing systems, video art, fine art prints. Come see my early ambient video piece at the Disturbance art party at the Vancouver Art Gallery... Read More →
avatar for Patricia Olynyk

Patricia Olynyk

Leonardo/ISAST, NY LASER Co-Host with Ellen K. Levy
Patricia Olynyk is an artist who splits her time between St. Louis and New York. She is Co-director of the NY LASER program in New York with Ellen K. Levy and former Chair of the Leonardo Education and Art Forum. Olynyk directs the Graduate School of Art at Washington University in... Read More →

Yvan Tina

Research Assistant, Aix-Marseille University / UT Dallas
Yvan Tina is a PhD candidate at The University of Aix-Marseille and at The University of Texas at Dallas where he is investigating the possible convergences of artificial life and biotechnologies with the performance arts. He is co-responsible for the multimedia project Virtual Africa... Read More →

Tuesday August 18, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Room 4390 Simon Fraser University (Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4, Canada)

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