This week I presented a new generation of lifecharm data shells at a symposium on ethics in data science for the Alan Turing Institute. The shells were created by Stefan Kueppers using the Lifestreams process for data manifestation, and used data from a research project led by Professor George Roussos at Birkbeck University of London which records symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease as experienced by sufferers.
These shells are an initial experiment flowing just 3 data sources into the shell growth parameters, which we hope to expand with further data sources and increase the complexity of the model in future generations. The aim is to capture the high variation in symptoms experienced by those with Parkinson’s as an alternative to the way in which patients’ complex symptoms are collapsed into the single summary statistic of the Universal Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.
Read my provocation piece for the ATI symposium for more information.
Next week I’m travelling to Sydney to participate, as a ‘provocateur’ in the Hot Science, Global Citizens Symposium, held at the Powerhouse Museum. I’m taking part in a session called Creative Agency and Programming in Museums and Science Centres with Seb Chan, Wayne LaBar, Tara Morelos & Declan Kuch. I’m also hoping to do one or more City As Material/Anarchaeology events whilst I’m there – more on that soon.
My talk is called Oblique Devices :
In Proboscis’ work we rarely address problems like ‘Climate Change’ head-on. As artists we feel empowered to raise questions but cannot claim to have definitive answers or solutions. Our practice is to entice, provoke, humour and challenge, not to preach or claim authority. However, change is a constant feature of history and how humans respond to it reflects our social and cultural adaptability, the dynamism and resilience of our cultures and civilisations. By creating projects that provoke dialogue within and across communities we hope to challenge some of the powerful, and often misleading, nostrums of our age; to pause and reflect before we commit ourselves to unequivocal outcomes. What we offer is critical dissent; what we hope is that people are inspired and empowered to shape their own responses, to weave their own patterns within the changes that surround them.
About the session :
Panelists will address key aspects of creative thinking and creative practices about climate change, discussing their own projects and visions on climate change in response to some of the key themes being addresses by the HSGC ARC Research Linkage Project in order to stimulate debate around climate change. Possible themes may include: climate change and citizen engagement; artist-led projects on creative mitigation and environmental education; creative strategies for audience engagement and civic participation; developing awareness campaigns and critical consciousness on climate change action; the role of interactive and pervasive technologies for collaborative initiatives and local community engagement on climate change, such as sensor technologies, alternate reality games, social media, smart phone apps, GIS mapping, etc. Speakers are invited to present ideas for museums/science centres creative programming design and to offer their views on opportunities of transdisciplinary and collaborative research.
More information about the symposium :
HOT SCIENCE, GLOBAL CITIZENS: the agency of the museum and science centre sector in climate change interventions Symposium,
Sydney, Australia, 5-6 May 2011
Climate change is an environmental, cultural and political phenomenon that is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity’s place on Earth. This symposium presents the research findings of the Australian Research Council international Linkage project, Hot Science, Global Citizens: the agency of the museum sector in climate change interventions along with other leading research to develop new knowledge about what constitutes effective action around climate change, the critical roles that institutions can play and visions for the future of museums and science centres. The second day will feature an ‘unconference’ session to tease out innovative programming ideas and engage participants in discussions.
Professor Mike Hulme School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK
Elaine Heumann Gurian International Museum Consultant
Dr Emlyn Koster CEO Liberty Science Center, USA
Professor David Karoly Climate scientist and public commentator
Dr Saffron O’Neill Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Melbourne
Giles Lane Director, Proboscis, London, UK
Dr Dawn Casey Director, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Frank Howarth Director, Australian Museum, Sydney
Professor Graham Durant Director, Questacon, Canberra
Tara Morelos d/Lux/MediaArts
Wayne LaBar Vice President, Exhibitions and Programs, Liberty Science Center, USA
Seb Chan Head of Digital, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Declan Kuch Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition
Project researchers Academic team: Dr Fiona Cameron (Lead Chief Investigator); Professor Robert Hodge; Associate Professor Brett Neilson and Dr Juan Salazar from the Centre for Cultural Research, with Professor Jann Conroy from the Centre for Plant and Food Science and Professor David Karoly from the University of Melbourne, Dr Ben Dibley, Dr Anne Newstead, Dr Ann Deslandes, Dr Carol Farbotko
Partner organisations and researchers: Museum Victoria, Melbourne; Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; Australian Museum, Sydney; Questacon, Canberra; Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, US with the University of Melbourne, Earth Sciences and the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK.
I went to the Birmingham Total Place summit last week with the specially commissioned cubes and illustrations Orlagh and I had made for the Early Intervention Project, in response to conversations with parents, carers and workers. They revealed some of the difficulties faced by children and their families and the often very intense frustrations they have in accessing support or working with local services. Proboscis was commissioned through educator and organisational consultant Lesley Cramman, who was facilitating the strand on Early Intervention and we were all driven, in making these, to bring the everyday voices of families, parents and carers into the event. Total Place is a government initiative to look at how a ‘whole area’ approach to public services can lead to better services at less cost.
The event, hosted by BeBirmingham drew a much more varied crowd than I had expected and most people I spoke to expressed real concern and care about their communities and neighbourhoods. However its hard not to be just a little bit skeptical about the ability of Local Government to open up to new ways of thinking and working, despite the obvious commitment, imagination, skills and passions of many of the people I met who work in it. I had some moving and inspiring conversations with a group discussing how to make meaningful connections between the Local Authority and neighbourhoods and how to improve democratic engagement. I hope that the ideas of these people are present in the decisions that come out of Total Place and that the “better services” can lead before the “reduced costs”. I’d love to see staff being allowed to take risks to effect changes and be supported to have more time to talk with and listen to the people and communities they work with and for.
Paralelo, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Alice, Giles and Orlagh travelled to Sao Paulo in Brasil to take part in the AHRC and British Council sponsored event, Paralelo, hosted by the British Council Brasil, MIS-Museum of Image and Sound and Centro Cultural de Sao Paulo. We helped with the event facilitation, running two social mapping workshops and designing a special Paralelo Diffusion eNotebook, Travelling Through Layers, for participants to capture and share ideas, reflections and information.
Proboscis devised a creative workshop on September 18th at ZAIM, Yokohama as part of the Dislocate08 festival. The workshop is the initial stage of our research for Sensory Threads, engaging artists, urbanists, designers, technologists, musicians and dancers in an active investigation into the sensorial patterns and rhythms to be found in our environment. The area around ZAIM in Yokohama became our research field as we sought out and evidenced the recurring, overlapping and intersecting sounds and movements that take place as we act in, and react to, our environment.
Sensory Threads is a work-in-progress to develop an instrument enabling a group of people to create a soundscape reflecting their collaborative experiences in the environment. For this interactive sensory experience, we are designing sensors for detecting environmental phenomena at the periphery of human perception as well as the movement and proximity of the wearers themselves. Possible targets for the sensors may be electro-magnetic radiation, hi/lo sound frequencies, heart rate etc). The sensors’ datastreams will feed into generative audio software, creating a multi-layered and multi-dimensional soundscape feeding back the players’ journey through their environment. Variations in the soundscape reflect changes in the wearers interactions with each other and the environment around them. We aim to premiere the work in 2009.
We also took part in the Dislocate symposium on September 20-21st, presenting our film Play to Invent and giving an overview of our work in public authoring, sensing, mapping and mobile technologies.
Alice Angus presented at Hydrous’08 STS and the ARTS Read Changes in Water Governance” at V2 Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam and organised by Katie Vann at the Virtual Knowledge Studio of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Hydrous brought together scientists, anthropolgists, filmakers and artists to look at issues and initiatives in water management and governance around the world looking across a range of issues and areas of conflict and crisis from how small desert communities manage their water source to the governance of large watersheds. Alice brought the first of her new series of eBooks At The Waters Edge to Hydrous and
discussed how her practice and the work of Proboscis finds itself emerging into dialogues around water.