Week 4: Haines and Hinterding Excursion

Found this in my Inbox today (link)- felt relevant to you all (and to me).

This week we travel to Sydney in order to visit the Museum of Contemporary Arts major survey of the work of David Haines and Joyce Hinterding.

Find out more about them here:


David Haines and Joyce Hinterding practice both together and independently and all three vectors of their practice have marked a significant contribution and intervention to Media Arts generally and within Australia specifically. This is a great opportunity to explore -once again- what Media Arts is good for and to explore a very distinct approach to the relation between art, science and technology…

We will either meet on the foyer steps (inside the door) at 1.30 or 2.30 depending on you availability – I expect you to be there for 2 hours max.

Large Square VLF Loop Antenna, Hinterding, 2015

Rather than a worksheet (which seems a little high school to me) I’ve requested your read Andrew Murphie’s paper ‘Hacking the Aesthetic‘ – I’ve pasted my notes on this paper as a series of questions for you to think about in the context of the exhibit and Haines and Hinterdings work.

This should provide you with enough food for thought to write an ‘analysis’ of a particular work or of the work collectively using the Murphie paper (and the questions I direct you to) as a guide and frame.

I’m particularly interested in your thoughts as to how the ‘signaletic’ and ‘ecological’ approach to media arts that is demonstrated in Haines and Hinterding’s work and discussed by Murphie might inform your own approach to media arts generally and to your medium specifically.

Look for those questions that speak directly to those questions of a relation to your own practice/medium.

This is not an exercise in verbose academic formalism – I’m more interested in a active thinking-through of the work in the context of your own… What excites you, what crazy ideas are invoked between the theory and the work? How might you engage with ‘cross-signal processing’ or ‘hacking the aesthetic’ or employing ‘the body as a complex amplifier’ or becoming ‘transmitter rather than communicator’ in order to animate/enliven your own practice?

Aeriology, Hinterding, 2015

My notes/questions based on Murphie’s paper Hacking the Aesthetic:

Thinking though Murphie’s Hacking the Aesthetic:

Murphie describes Haines and Hinterding’s work as ‘contemplative signal work’ – and writes that in their work signal is ‘no longer only (or sometimes even) a carrier for channeled messages. (Page1)

What is signal outside its use as a carrier? How might it be ‘used’ if not to carry messages? What is signal if we think beyond its capacity to represent? How is it useful to think this way? What potential does it open up.

Is there and analog here with the difference between information and meaning? What is the value of thinking information as distinct from meaning? This was a key strategy in the development and conceptualisation of information and communication theory. (See an extract from chapter seven of The Information by James Gleick here http://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Gleick-Information-Excerpt-1-7.pdf -around page 29 of this PDF) – I’m not certain there is an analog… but I think its interesting to think through..

Does the notion of ‘hacking the aesthetic’ makes any sense and how….What does/could it mean to tamper with or repurpose and aesthetic from within… (Page 2 – see latter sections of this as well)

For this we need to ask what is an aesthetic? Murphie seems to imply a definition as ‘the often given or assumed organisation of sensation’ -does this help – what value is there in hacking it? how do specific works in this collection do this?

Given the questions above how does this challenge alter the easy division of technics, the human and the natural world? Does it really provide for strange remix/mixing of the forces involved? How? To what End?

How are these works and the ‘hacking of the aesthetic’ and ‘remixing/mixing of forces’ that they are argued to perform different from other modes of media art and communication media forms? How is technology used differently to other cases of media art/interactive art and media? (Page 3 and 4)

Murphie argues that in these works ‘the technical world- both old (analog) and new (digital) – is returned to the world at large? What does this mean for media arts…. In an article I recommended last term we saw media replaced with material to interesting ends …. here we are seeing world as media… whats going on in these redefinitions of media – why is there an imperative to ‘redefine’ media? (Page 4)

Are there implications (of the above imperative/project) for ‘media arts’ and ‘digital media arts’ – if so what might they be?

What is the cost of a media (and media art) theory derived from the mainstream (sender-recieved, signal:noise) model of communication?  What is left out and why? Think back to you encoding/decoding exercises in MEDA102….what is assumed/required in the transmission of information? (Mid Page 4 Column 1)

What does it mean to call the body ‘ a complex amplifier’  – can you find examples in the collection? – what does it amplify and how – how can we use the body within the world as medium…does this make it any different from other types of bodies…how? How does this effect its place in the world as media ‘ecology’…or perhaps its place in our ‘ecology of practices’ (or just practice)? (Second column Page 4).

As you look around the exhibition find examples of ‘cross signal processing’? What signals are being ‘cross-processed’ and to what end or effect? Make a list of these examples. (Page 4 Second Column)

How is this ‘cross processing’ ‘ecological’ and to what end? What are the ecological implications of this work?….think ecology as the sum of interconnecting forces that define our world(s)…rather than in the limited environmental sense… (Page 4-5)

What is the relation between ecology and signal? (Page 5 Column 1)

How does your own work/medium offer potential for ecological ‘scope’ or potential for ‘cross signal processing’ or for using the body as a ‘complex amplifier’?  (Page 5 Column 1 – Bottom of page 6 re: Complex Amplifier)- look particular at bottom of this column for lots of answers/suggestions..

Does this notion of Hacking the Aesthetic work for you? What (the hell) does it mean to you?
Murphie defines this in three parts:

1) hacking opens up the ecology of sensations within experience
2) this hacking questions given models (way of understanding/reasoning/making sense of the world) – syntaxes or orderings of process – with which experience is often conceived (see detail bottom of page 5)
3) this hacking challenges political ecologies that rely on these orders and syntax. (do these works operate on the level of the political and how exactly?) (See mid page 6 and second column page 7 and into 8)

Can you find one work that does these three things and clearly state how?
(Plenty of examples in the text – page 5 column 2)

What’s the result of ‘hacked everything’ in terms of experience (Purple Rain)….?

What’s this ‘virtual’ that Murphie keeps referring to? Hint – The virtual (according to Deleuze) is real but not actual. Do you experience it in Haines and Hinterding’s work – what is the quality of that experience….why does/how it matter.. (throughout – but bottom column 1 page 8, page 10 -seconf column, and page 4-5)

What does it mean to think these works or our bodies as ‘transmitters rather than communicators’? (Haines on page 10 column 2) – What potential does this perspective/approach offer you own work or medium. (also -what does he mean when he says ‘…thats’s where the sensation field becomes a transmission space’ – think back to the body as complex amplifier).


I’ve sent quite detailed notes to most people who presented their pitches last week. If you didn’t receive feedback let me know. If you didn’t get to present (your were away – or we ran out of time) please make and appointment to discuss you plans with me over the next week.

(You can catch me Thursday 12.30 – 2.30 at the IC or friday by appt depending on the surf and my availability)

I expect all this work to be logged in the process diaries which I’ll begin looking progressively form next week.

Making Workshops:

I have received some requests for Making workshops. As the date(s) fast approach(es) I am assigning the rest (feel free to organise a swap and let me know). In each of the weeks listed below you will be either working with me on the theme/tech listed or installing your own experiments/iterations/processings in the gallery space…. don’t be intimidated by the gallery – I’m using as the lab and workshop space we don’t have.

This is a place and time for half developed ideas and experiments. If you can put up a panel and take a photograph of it that will add to you portfolio  – but don’t think of this as the priority... the priority is to experiment and develop your ideas/process. 

That said – contributing something each week is a key part of your second assessment – you can’t pass assignment 2 without that weekly contribution.

For each of the workshops I will be establishing an ‘Etherpad’ for developing ideas prior to the workshop. Anyone (at all) can edit/delete/spam these collaborative writing docs… they are completely open and anonymous (sign/label you contributions).

Contributing to this ahead of the workshop is also part of the assessment and I need to have some idea of technical demands before we get into the space …..(what coding for example I need to have set up).

These are open to changes and if I missed a request please let me know and I’ll recheck my emails.
I can also move people around if they definitely don’t want the workshop I’ve put them in – bare in mind however these are explorations and I’ve thought about who can best benefit from and contribute to a particular workshops. I’d prefer if swaps were organised if you can find them.

Week 6: Surround Sound/Pure Data/Sensing 


Etherpad: https://pad.okfn.org/p/Sound,_Signal,_Data_Workshop

Makers: Matt, Harry, Tyler, Ben, Gerald

Week 8: CNC Machine/Printing/Materials.

Check out Amy Sands who uses Lazer Cut (a similar process) and has used CNC for print making;

Amy Sands (http://www.amysands.com/#!revolution-series/c1oir)

Etherpad: https://pad.okfn.org/p/CNC_Hacking,Materials,Printing_Workshop

Makers: Melaina, Maddy, Cass, Brooke.

Week 9: Drones with Ted and Chris

Check out Mahwish Chishty’s work for inspirational reimaginings of drone aesthetics http://www.mahachishty.com

Etherpad: https://pad.okfn.org/p/Drones_Workshop

Makers: Kris, Craig, Zema, Tess, Georgia.

Week 10: Projection Mapping

We won’t be achieving this – but check out am-cb.net’s use of projection mapping in dance for inspiration/mind boggling.

Etherpad: https://pad.okfn.org/p/Projection_Mapping


Makers: Aristo, Sophie, Khalif, Brittany, Sarah.








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