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Ecologies of Relation: Collectivity in Art and Media


Ecologies of Relation: Collectivity in Art and Media

Brunner, Christoph (2014) Ecologies of Relation: Collectivity in Art and Media. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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How can relation be considered a creative force in the composition of experience? Investigating the status of relation in art, media, and philosophy, this thesis outlines an account of research-creation as a creative practice and tool for analysis. Research-creation, a term used to describe creative practices comprising artistic and theoretical components, provides the backdrop for a more general discussion of the production of knowledge beyond human cognition. By taking a radical empiricist approach, the thesis proposes to include preindividual, affective, and more-than-human elements in the conception of experience. From this point of view, experience is always relationally composed and manifests itself dynamically as an “ecology.” One way of developing a theory and practice attentive to such ecologies of relation resides in the notion of the collective, which refers here to a dimension of experience that exceeds the mere grouping of individual elements under a common interest, ideology, or social bond. The first chapter analyzes collectivity and relation as activities of emergence and becoming. Considered as ecological activity, collectivity emphasizes how experience comprises spatio-temporal dynamics constituting embodied, actual events and their singular forms of knowledge. Using the work of the SenseLab as exemplary, this chapter clarifies how research-creation might be better understood as an investigation into aesthetic and conceptual practices that mutually shape how forms of knowledge and experience co-emerge. From here, the focus on the ecological relation moves toward immersive media environments, which emphasize perception as a relational act of immediation. Immediation as relational act challenges the paradigm of mediation between humans and machines, and instead inserts their activity into an ecological dynamic. In this chapter, research-creation interlaces with concerns in the field of digital aesthetics. Consequently, the entanglements between different temporalities in digital media processes require a rethinking of affect as a temporal operation, which is the focus of chapter three. In chapters four and the conclusion, research-creation as a relational-ecological practice opens up toward political concerns in urban planning and activism, respectively, allowing for the development of an extended conception of the aesthetic politics of the collective beyond art and academia. From a final speculative outlook the thesis asks how an ecological and collective account of research-creation might turn philosophy into an aesthetic and political practice of activation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Brunner, Christoph
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:15 October 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Manning, Erin and Sha, Xin Wei and Massumi, Brian
Keywords:relation, media ecology, activist philosophy, research-creation, remediation, affect, urbanism, aesthetics, ethics, experience, radical empiricism, aesthetic politics
ID Code:979665
Deposited On:16 Jul 2015 14:54
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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