GRAZIELE LAUTENSCHLAEGER On what, how and why I have been spending time and energy in this life

GRAZIELE LAUTENSCHLAEGER

Sensing and making sense

SENSING AND MAKING SENSE:
Photosensitivity and light-to-sound translations in Media Art

PhD research conducted at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schäffner and Prof. Dr. Giselle Beiguelman

Abstract
Critical analysis requires the ability to think beyond simplistic dichotomies. This project investigates dichotomies that usually impoverish debates and proposals in media art –including material-immaterial, organic and machinic, theory and practice. Through the analysis of the appropriation of photosensitive elements in media devices and artworks, a critical discussion about media art aesthetics through its very materiality is developed. The methodology combines a historical and analytical approach, through new materialism, media archaeology, cultural techniques and second-order cybernetics. The examination also generates a brief genealogy of photosensitivity in relation to media art.

Each of the aforementioned dichotomies is respectively addressed in three chapters. In the first chapter, Photosensitivity: materialities and operations, photosensitivity is unfolded through the investigation of light-matter interaction from the atomic level to selected technical ensembles and operations. The project explores the notion of active matter, a relational perspective of materiality, which is also the fundament of the very notion of ‘media’ and, by extension, media art and its informational aesthetics. Chapter two, Photosensitivity shaping hybrid systems, focuses on the dichotomy organic-machinic. Since organic and machinic photosensitive elements have been used indistinctively in media artworks as creative sources, the analysis elucidates a circular, continuous and mutual influence between organic and machinic elements. The third chapter, Light-to-sound translations, focuses on the analysis of media devices and artworks based on light-to-sound translations, including a performance, Self-portrait of an absence, developed by the author. Articulating Flusser’s perspective on the zero-dimensionality of electronic and digital media, the chapter unfolds the notion of translation of materialities, indicating the multiple roles of absence as a potent element in the creation of media artworks.

Several known media stories are reframed from an alternative perspective – that of photosensitivity. The reframing elucidates specific elements and implications of photosensitive qualities of media artworks as a metonymy to provide general and crucial guiding criteria for the media art production, criticism, education and diffusion. Addressed to art students, artists, curators and theoreticians, this investigation contributes to a critical perspective of scientific and technological knowledge in aesthetic experimentations.

> thesis submitted on November 27th 2018
> defense scheduled for January 31st 2019

Comments are closed.