Hybrid Practices Call for Papers and Projects

In partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Spencer Museum of Art (SMA) at the University of Kansas (KU) is organizing a conference on hybrid research practices in the arts, sciences, and technology from the 1960s to today. Distinguished scholars involved in the conference include D. Graham Burnett (Cabinet magazine) and Anne Collins Goodyear (Bowdoin College Museum of Art). Together with papers, roundtables, and keynote presentations, the conference will incorporate performative and event-based creative projects grounded in hybrid art-science-technology research. Selected conference presenters will be invited to a follow-up colloquium, led by David Cateforis (KU) and Shepherd Steiner (Emily Carr University) in May 2015. We anticipate publishing selected papers and projects in an edited volume that serves as both conference proceedings and guide for researchers undertaking work in this field.

To date only a small group of scholars has focused attention on collaborative projects between artists and practitioners in technological and scientific fields during the 1960s and 1970s. Hybrid Practices seeks to broaden our understanding of this pivotal period in U.S. history and in American art by investigating the cultural, political, and social factors that enabled and encouraged such projects to emerge. Although the conference will focus on the United States, we intend to include international perspectives and welcome applications from scholars and practitioners based in other countries. By thoroughly examining early research collaborations among artists, scientists, and technologists, we will establish a context through which to explore the resurgence in hybrid research practices today.

We are seeking proposals for papers and practice-based projects that explore one or more of the following aspects of hybrid artistic research:

1. Key hybrid projects from the past 50 years, including but not limited to Experiments in Art & Technology (Bell Laboratories), Art & Technology (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), and the Artist Placement Group (U.K.)
2. Shared vocabularies among the arts, sciences, and technology, and the role of language in cross-disciplinary collaboration
3. The impact of interdisciplinary work on the identity of the hybrid practitioner

Papers may be organized as case studies or theoretical approaches to the topic. Case studies should focus on one or two projects; they may interrogate the historical moment of the project’s existence, the hybrid methodology involved, and/or the impact of the work as it was assessed both at the time the project took place and in the present. Participants are encouraged to use archival material in these case studies. Theoretical papers may address multiple projects across a broad geographical or historical range. While the conference’s theoretical framework will draw on the work of French philosopher and science historian Michel Serres, participants are not limited to examining his ideas in their papers.

Practice-based projects should explore the same themes as papers while keeping in mind the physical and temporal conference setting. Hybrid Practices will be held at The Commons (www.thecommons.ku.edu), a space dedicated to fostering closer relationships among the sciences, humanities, and arts. It is a fully mediated event space rather than an exhibition space, so practice-based projects should not require sustained display. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for projects that could reasonably be produced in this setting. Logistical arrangements for selected projects will be developed in consultation with SMA staff.

SUBMISSION PROCESS

Please submit abstracts of 150–200 words in English, along with a bio of approximately 100 words, to smahybrid@ku.edu by November 1. Up to five images may be included to support your proposal.

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