Brown, Adam
Great Britain
E.547 | Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 12:30 - 13:00, Room E1
Eye, Word and Network: critical photographic practice and the ‘new’ mind
In 2000 I took part in a series of nationwide workshops in the UK which encouraged art and design students to work with the new formations and conceptions of the relationship between mind and body which were emerging from recent developments in medical imaging and cognitive neuroscience. Key to student’s response to these issues was the possibility of translation, from one brain centre to another, one cognitive event to another, visual to verbal, auditory to gestural, hand to eye and other flows. I wish to present an exploration of themes arising from these investigations, which were collaborative in nature as we engaged with new information and ways of configuring our selves and our experiences. This exploration has informed my subsequent teaching in art and design, in particular with regard to the significance of such understandings for pedagogic practices which attempt to integrate the visual and the textual, including reflective writing, critical reading and the use of text as practice. Precedents from concrete poetry, to recent work which crosses boundaries between graphic design and the photographic in response to new technologies, point the way to future integration of disciplinary practices. The location of the medical image and the contribution it makes to human experience is problematised when brought into contact with theoretical positions and artistic practices which question the nature of the index. In the light of theoretical positions which explore the social construction and discursive location of technological systems, particularly the work of Latour and Flusser, the discursive engagement of technological imaging cannot avoid unsettling both scientific authority and technological causality. The meshing of theoretical positions, and the dissolution of disciplinary boundaries offers students and practitioners the chance to work with language and image in configurations which offer new exploratory possibilities.
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