MACHINE RESEARCH – Research/PhD Workshop 2016
24-26 October 2016, Brussels

The research/Phd workshop MACHINE RESEARCH contributes to the transmediale festival programme for 2017. Participants participate in closed seminars and talks in Brussels, the generation of online and offline publications, and public presentations at the festival in Berlin. The 2017 transmediale festival focuses on the elusive character of media and technological change and how it is articulated in the contemporary moment of messy ecologies of the human and non human. It explores perspectives of the nonhuman that suggests a situation where the primacy of human civilization is put into a critical perspective by machine driven ecologies, ontologies and epistemologies of thinking and acting.

The workshop aims to engage research and artistic practice that takes into account the new materialist conditions implied by nonhuman techno-ecologies including new ontologies of learning and intelligence (such as algorithmic learning), socio-economic organisation (such as blockchain), population management and tracking (such as datafied borders), autonomous or semi-autonomous systems (such as bots or drones) and other post-anthropocentric reconsiderations of agency, materiality and autonomy.

MACHINE RESEARCH is also inspired by the ongoing work of Constant association for arts and media (http://www.constantvzw.org). In the workshop we will explore how research and writing is machine-like and will build on Constant’s work with networked (design) tools, Free, Libre and Open Source graphics, and experimental open/hybrid publishing. Michael Murtaugh, An Mertens and Femke Snelting (researchers at Constant) will propose a collaborative writing infrastructure and publishing platform as well as several machine writing experiments. Sarah Garcin, a designer who develops platforms for live-editing and collaborative comments, will take care of transforming the outcomes of the workshop into a printed newspaper using html2print. Additional inputs will come from Kristoffer Gansing (Artistic Director, transmediale), Daphne Dragona (Conference curator, transmediale), Christian Ulrik Andersen, Geoff Cox (Associate Professors, Aarhus University) as well as other invited guests (TBC).

Aarhus University / Participatory IT research centre  (Geoff Cox & Christian Ulrik Andersen)
transmediale / art & digital culture (Kristoffer Gansing & Daphne Dragona)
Constant (An Mertens, Michael Murtaugh & Femke Snelting)

The workshop itself will unfold over 3 days in Brussels, in 3 parts.
1. In the first part, participants will present their papers and receive verbal feedback, building on the preliminary work online.
2. After presentations and as a consequence of feedback, participants will be asked to reduce their texts from 2000 to approx. 1000 words for publication. We will write with Free, Libre and Open Source software for collaborative real-time editing, installed on a local server.
3. We then enter into a practical investigation of online/offline publishing, using tools such as html2print to investigate the dynamic crossovers between writing, design and print.

At the end of the workshop, we will produce a pdf publication that will be printed for distribution at the festival, alongside a further public presentation in 2017 at transmediale in Berlin. In addition, participants will be invited to contribute longer academic papers (of 4000 words) to the associated open access online journal APRJA (http://www.aprja.net).

The workshop aims to provide a forum for emerging researchers to enter into speculation, critique, exchange and dialogue about their research topic. The primary focus is on the participants’ individual research projects, as well fostering networking, knowledge exchange and widening dissemination. Although the workshop is primarily aimed at international PhD researchers, it is also open to researchers such as artists and programmers who are pursuing research outside an academic context. The workshop is free but we cannot cover travel or other costs and these are expected to be met by participants or their institutions.

Expected workloads include the production of a short text prior to the workshop, presentation of research, response and dialogue with other participants, the production of contents for a “Peer-Reviewed Newspaper”, and the production of a lengthier research article invited for submission to A Peer Reviewed Journal About_. PhD students can be awarded 5 ECTS for their full participation.

The workshop includes online publication and commenting, presentations and group discussion, practical workshops in writing, design and publishing, public presentations and print. No particular technical skills (beyond general media literacy) are required.

The Graduate School & Participatory IT research centre, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, transmediale and Constant.