Digital Aesthetics Research Centre calls for proposals

Thursday 21st October, 2021 - Bruce Sterling

20.10.2021 CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Research workshop Rendering Research
Workshop at ERG, School of Graphic Research, Brussels: 17-19 Jan 2022

Presentations at transmediale: 27 Jan 2022
Online application here

Deadline for submissions: 14 November
Rendering Research draws attention to how research is made public, and in this sense also to the infrastructures of research and its various systems of publishing.

Continuing the theme of “research refusal”, explored in collaboration with nine different research groups in 2020/21 , we explore how struggles and compromises over autonomy in research are related to those over infrastructures: What, for some, are just boring technical specifications may reveal ideological constraints or new imaginaries for others (“Study an information system and neglect its standards, wires, and settings, and you miss equally essential aspects of aesthetics, justice and change.” as Susan Leigh Star puts it, in “The Ethnography of Infrastructure”.) In this sense, we investigate how the rendering of research typically reinforces certain limitations of thought and action, and more specifically to what extent it is possible to exert control over these ways of making things public. Processes of rendering research include not only the platforms used for distribution (e.g. that are in the public domain), but also the production processes and tools behind (e.g. that are attentive to ethics and sustainability), the review and accreditation practices (e.g. based on P2P and commons-based principles), and also the selection of suitable topics (e.g. that are not simply dictated by fashion). 
With this background, and in continuation of the 2021-22 transmediale festival with its further connection to systems of knowledge and belief, we are seeking proposals that address contemporary art and digital culture, and that shift the register from refusal of existing research paradigms (and opting out) to alternatives that embrace the potential of rendering research otherwise. Contributions that, for instance, stress socio-technological alternatives (e.g. addressing sustainability and climate damage or platform economies) and how these are tied to the possible escape from the constraints imposed by dominant systems  (e.g. a decoloniality of research or feminist methodologies).

In what ways can these infrastructures and systems subvert these existing constraints and how might they be reassembled in alternative forms? To quote the writer and theorist Irit Rogoff: “Rather than the accumulation of theoretical tools and materials, models of analysis, perspectives and positions, the work of theory is to unravel the very ground on which it stands. To introduce questions and uncertainties in those places where formerly there was some seeming consensus about what one did and how one went about it.” To Rogoff this involves “an emphasis on the present, of living out a situation, of understanding culture as a series of effects rather than of causes, of the possibilities of actualising some of its potential rather than revealing its faults.” (“From Criticism to Critique to Criticality”) 
In the workshop we want to draw attention and criticality to the ways in which we make our research public, and the forms it takes through speedy hands-on making. Participants will be expected to produce essays (of 1,000 words) and exchange ideas online, and to present their research in person at ERG – école de recherche graphique, école supérieure des arts (School of Graphic Research, Higher School of Arts) in Brussels where we will collectively produce a print newspaper to be presented at transmediale festival . Following the workshop, participants are also invited to extend their arguments for submission to the online peer-reviewed academic journal APRJA . Through these activities, we ask how rendering research relates to emergent DIY/DIWO practices, and explore ways of collapsing the traditional workflows of academic publishing (typically taking many months to reach its public by which time its currency is questionable), drawing more closely together work in progress and feedback, writing and print production. 
The workshop is specifically targeted towards PhD/early career researchers, and we welcome submissions from researchers from inside/outside the academy, including artists, designers and curators.The workshop is organised by Digital Aesthetics Research Center, Aarhus University, in collaboration with Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University, Saint Luc École de recherche graphique in Brussels, and transmediale festival for digital art & culture.