The Power of Long-Term Thinking
A talk for TEDxKL
20 August 2016
http://www.tedxkl.com/

TEDxKL 2016 was organised around the theme, Resonance. Resonance creates a morphic field that strengthens when more energy is added to it. When we resonate with something or someone, we relate to it in a certain, almost harmonious way. It strikes a chord with us. TEDxKL unfolded in front of an audience of over 3500 people. I spoke about the power of long term thinking, and how it helps us not only imagine the future but bring it into being.

This is a quick vox-pop of me after the talk was done:

I referenced:

– The Rosetta mission: http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/ (pictured above)
– Rosetta’s trajectory into space: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/The_long_trek
– Philae: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philae_%28spacecraft%29
– Philae’s nail-biting landing monitored by Stephan Ulamec, Fred Jansen, Andrea Accomazzo, Elsa Montagnon and Paolo Ferri: http://www.airspacemag.com/space/nail-biting-first-landing-comet-180953935/?no-ist
– The “singing comet” – the science behind the signal: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/11/11/the-singing-comet/
– Soundcloud audio clip of the comet “sound” – sonification by Manuel Senfft: https://soundcloud.com/esaops/a-singing-comet
– Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier quote: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov/news/singing-comet
– Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, recorded by the Plasma Wave Receiver on board the NASA spacecraft, Galileo, and turned into sound by the University of Iowa: https://soundcloud.com/radioqualia/ganymede-callisto-europa
– Radio and Plasma Wave Group at The University of Iowa: http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/
– Cassini-Huygens passing through Saturn’s rings: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Sounds_from_space
– Huygens microphone (ESA Huygens): http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini-Huygens/Sounds_of_an_alien_world
– The Sound of Space, BBC Radio 4, broadcast 30 January 2015: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b050bwpp
– Riding Light by Alphonse Swinehart (2015). Soundtrack: Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich: https://vimeo.com/117815404
– Ancient Darkness TV (2009) by Katie Paterson: http://www.katiepaterson.org/
– Quotation by Katie Paterson from “Interview with Katie Paterson on Rhizome” (2010): http://rhizome.org/editorial/2010/jun/16/interview-with-katie-paterson/
– Images of simulations of the Higgs boson, ATLAS group, CERN: https://twiki.cern.ch/twiki/bin/view/AtlasPublic/HiggsPublicResults
– Images of the Large Hadron Collider, from CERN: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/accelerators/large-hadron-collider
– The LHC Sound Project: http://lhcsound.hep.ucl.ac.uk/
– Quotation by Lily Asquith from “Particle Pings: Sounds Of The Large Hadron Collider” by Andrew Prince, NPR (2011): http://is.gd/asquith
– LHC Sound Project interpretation of how an emerging and decaying Higgs Boson may sound: http://is.gd/lhcsound
– Broken Symmetries and the Masses of Gauge Bosons (1964) by Peter Higgs: https://journals.aps.org/prl/pdf/10.1103/PhysRevLett.13.508
– Photographs of the 4 July 2012 seminar at CERN where the discovery of the Higgs boson was announced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tnd8bxDYOs
– Images of Titan, Jupiter, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and Voyager 1
– Pale Blue Dot: http://is.gd/OsBy2J
– Voyager 1’s vintage technology: http://www.wired.com/2013/09/vintage-voyager-probes/
– NASA’s planned Orion spacecraft: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/
– Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02): http://www.ams02.org/
– MAVEN Mars Orbiter: http://mars.nasa.gov/maven/
– Alan Kay quote (1971): http://www.smalltalk.org/alankay.html

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Science and its Cultures
A talk for Society for the History of Technology 2016 Annual Meeting in Singapore.
22-26 June 2016
http://shot2016.org/

The Society for the History of Technology held their annual conference in Singapore in June 2016 (http://shot2016.org/). SHOT is dedicated to the historical study of technology and its relations with politics, economics, labor, business, the environment, public policy, science, and the arts. Founded in 1958, the society now numbers around 1500 members and meets annually.

My talk for SHOT discussed science and its cultures, by giving examples of artists and scientists I have worked with – mostly women. I began by referencing Bruno Latour keynote, for SHOT, wherein he argued for dialogue between the arts and the sciences. He noted, “the only way to build a sensitivity to [contemporary geopolitics] is to multiply tools from science, with tools from art.” ”I have no disciplinary borders, I can quite calmly say”.

I used this as a starting point, and gave case studies of work we have featured in ArtScience Museum by Semiconductor, Donna Ong (pictured above), Lynette Wallworth and Nguyen Trinh Thi (pictured below).

I also referenced the work of:
Jane Lee & Kumari Nahappan (pictured below)
Anna Dumitriu
Kira O’Reilly
Isabelle Desjeux
Chey Chankethya
Lin Xiaofang
Eisa Jocson
Angie Seah
Angela Chong
Genevieve Chua
Melissa Kwee
Adeline Keuh

ArtScience Museum, 21 May 2016
Marking the launch of Big Bang Data
https://www.facebook.com/events/955895641190344/ 

To launch the exhibition, Big Bang Data (http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/exhibition-archive/big-bang-data.html), at ArtScience Museum in May 2016, we held a conference called, The Data Route.

I began our journey along The Data Route by retracing some of the steps that we took, as a group of curators and organisations, to arrive at the exhibition. I briefly introduced some of the ideas, people and projects which inspired us to bring this exhibition to ArtScience Museum.

The teams at CCCB and ArtScience Museum, and the curators involved in Big Bang Data have been thinking about the way that technology and data is changing the environment for some time. And we have collectively come to understand that the contemporary landscape that we’re situated within, is now information-rich, data-driven and technologised, sometimes to the point that we find it hard to locate ourselves within it.

Big Bang Data introduced us to some of the most important guides we have, for a landscape which is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate using the maps and compasses we’ve grown up with. These guides give us ways of both perceiving this changing landscape, and acting within it. I introduced a few of those guide, who feature in Big Bang Data, before handing over to the other speakers.

There’s an overview of the exhibition here: Big Bang Data

Science is Culture
A talk for TEDxSingapore
6 November 2015
https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/16973

In 2015, I spoke at TEDxSIngapore. It was their 33rd and most significant TEDxSingapore since they were founded six years ago. ‘The Undiscovered Country’ celebrated the rich diversity of ideas, talents and stories from Singapore’s past and present, and explored and asked: What latent potential lie within us and in Singapore? What runs deep within you about our past and future? What undiscovered aspects of yourself and of Singapore shall we express? What possibilities shall we imagine?

I spoke about my belief that science is a form of culture. I showed examples of where science isn’t just influencing culture; art isn’t just illustrating science, but science is actually becoming art.
The talk began with Nobel Prize laureate, Sir Harold Kroto (pictured), who had visited Singapore just a few days before the event, and had given a fantastic talk at ArtScience Museum, where I work. He eloquently said:

“There’s only one difference between art and science.
In science, the Universe is in control.
In art, you are.”

I used that as the starting point of the talk.

The talk is online here:

Something Invisible in the Landscape is Just Landscape
A talk for NUS
24 March 2015

Credits and References

Sincere thanks to: Timo Arnall, Julian Oliver, Adam Rutherford, Trevor Paglen, José Luis de Vicente, Luke Jerram and all the other artists, scientists and technologists cited.

Title Image: Tohoku Japanese Earthquake Sculpture by Luke Jerram: http://www.lukejerram.com/projects/t%C5%8Dhoku_earthquake

Artworks/projects referenced in Introduction:

– ArtScience Museum, Singapore: http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html
From One to Many by Yvette Mattern (2010), shown at transmediale.10, Berlin
data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda (2010) exhibited at transmediale.10, Berlin
Swell by Anthony McCall (2006), exhibited at the Reg Vardy Gallery in Sunderland, as part of AV Festival 2006
Projections of a Perfect Third by Conrad Shawcross, ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 2015: http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/davinci/shaping-the-future.html Mesopotamian Dramatugies (Su & Mayhem) by Kutlug Ataman (2011), exhibited at Brighton Festival 2011: http://is.gd/kutlugataman
– Nat Buckley photographed during her Happenstance residency for creative technologists (2012): http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/happenstance-residencies-for-technologists
Frequency & Volume by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, as seen at Invisible Fields (2011): http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/invisible-fields
levelHead by Julian Oliver (2008) shown at Suspending Disbelief, Lighthouse, 2010: http://www.lighthouse.co.uk/programme/suspending-disbelief
Laboratory Life produced at Lighthouse, 2011: http://is.gd/laboratory_life
– r a d i o q u a l i a: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioqualia
– Particle Decelerator: http://decelerator.blogspot.co.uk/
data.tron [8K enhanced version] by Ryoji Ikeda (2008-09): http://www.ryojiikeda.com/project/datamatics/#datatron_8k_enhanced_version
Genesis by Eduardo Kac (1999): http://www.ekac.org/transgenicindex.html
– Media art prequels website by Golan Levin: http://www.flong.com/blog/2009/new-media-artworks-prequels-to-everyday-life/

Artworks/projects referenced in Part 1:

– The Boston Shuffler- stock-trading algorithm, courtesy of Kevin Slavin: http://videos.liftconference.com/video/1177435/
– Cloud computing survey commissioned by Citrix, August 2012: http://www.citrix.com/lang/English/lp/lp_2328330.asp
– The proposed Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation, New Mexico: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/worlds-first-city-robots
– China Miéville quoted from “Alien Evasion” by China Miéville, published in Arc 1.1, February 2012: The Future Always Wins: http://is.gd/chinam

Artworks/projects referenced in Part 2:

Invisible Fields (2011), co-curated by José Luis de Vicente and Honor Harger and at Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona: http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/invisible-fields
20Hz by Semiconductor (2011): http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/semiconductor-20-hz
Immaterials by Timo Arnall, Einar Sneve Martinussen, Jørn Knutsen, Jack Schulze and Matt Jones, Lighthouse, 2013: http://is.gd/immaterials
Immaterials: Light Painting WiFi by Timo Arnall, Einar Sneve Martinussen, and Jørn Knutsen (2011): http://vimeo.com/20412632
– Timo Arnall quoted in No to NoUI by Timo Arnall, March 2013: http://www.elasticspace.com/2013/03/no-to-no-ui
Geographies of Seeing (2012) by Trevor Paglen, co-curated by Honor Harger and Celia Davies, at Lighthouse: http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/trevor-paglen-geographies-of-seeing
Paglen works shown:
They Watch the Moon (2010)
– Artifacts (Spacecraft in Perpetual Geosynchronous Orbit, 35,786 km Above Equator) (2010)
KEYHOLE 12-3 (IMPROVED CRYSTAL) Optical Reconnaissance Satellite Near
Scorpio (USA 129) (2007)
PAN (Unknown; USA-207) (2010)
KEYHOLE IMPROVED CRYSTAL from Glacier Point (Optical Reconnaissance
Satellite; USA 1860) (2008)
After Galileo (Jupiter and Moons)
– Trevor Paglen quoted in “Secret Moons and Black Worlds”, An Interview with Trevor Paglen by Timothy Moore, Volume #25: http://roryhyde.com/blog/?p=697
– Trevor Paglen quoted in, “Limit Telephotography”, Under Fire research forum, 2006: http://underfire.eyebeam.org/?q=node/469

Artworks/projects referenced in Part 3:

– “Multi-Input RNAi-Based Logic Circuit for Identification of Specific Cancer Cells” by Xie, Wroblewska, Prochazka, Weiss & Benenson, Science, 2 September 2011, Vol. 333: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6047/1307.abstract
– Adam Rutherford, speaking at Lighthouse 7 February 2013: http://is.gd/adamrutherford & http://is.gd/adamrutherfordtalk (discusses RNAi-Based Logic Circuit 50:00 minutes in)
SolarSinter by Markus Kayser (2012): http://www.markuskayser.com/work/solarsinter/
Hostage pt.1 by Frederik de Wilde (2010): http://frederik-de-wilde.com/projects/nano-painting
Bacterial Radio by Joe Davis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Davis_(artist)
Protei by Cesar Harada (2012): http://protei.org/
Environmental Health Clinic by Natalie Jeremijenko:
http://www.environmentalhealthclinic.net/
City CPU by Gordan Savicic (2011): http://www.yugo.at/processing/index.php?what=citycpu
New Mumbai by Tobias Revell (2012): http://www.tobiasrevell.com/New-Mumbai

 

Landing on a Comet
(Or the power of long term thinking)

A talk for Webstock

Wellington, New Zealand

19.02.15

http://www.webstock.org.nz/15/

I spoke at Webstock 2015 and it was an incredible experience.

The talk is here:

Credits and References

Sincere thanks to Florian Cornu and Ariel Muller, plus all the scientists & artists cited.
They inspired this talk.

Shout-outs to Saad Chinoy, Andreas Schiffler and Shayne Carter for the gravity assists.

Artworks/projects referenced in Introduction:

– ArtScience Museum, Singapore: http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html
From One to Many by Yvette Mattern (2010), shown at transmediale.10, Berlin
data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda (2010) exhibited at transmediale.10, Berlin
Swell by Anthony McCall (2006), exhibited at the Reg Vardy Gallery in Sunderland, as part of AV Festival 2006
Projections of a Perfect Third by Conrad Shawcross, ArtScience Museum, Singapore, 2015: http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/davinci/shaping-the-future.html Mesopotamian Dramatugies (Su & Mayhem) by Kutlug Ataman (2011), exhibited at Brighton Festival 2011: http://is.gd/kutlugataman
– Nat Buckley photographed during her Happenstance residency for creative technologists (2012): http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/happenstance-residencies-for-technologists
Frequency & Volume by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, as seen at Invisible Fields (2011): http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/invisible-fields
levelHead by Julian Oliver (2008) shown at Suspending Disbelief, Lighthouse, 2010: http://www.lighthouse.co.uk/programme/suspending-disbelief
Laboratory Life produced at Lighthouse, 2011: http://is.gd/laboratory_life
– r a d i o q u a l i a: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioqualia
– Particle Decelerator: http://decelerator.blogspot.co.uk/

Projects referenced in Part 1:

– The Rosetta mission: http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/
– Rosetta’s trajectory into space: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/The_long_trek
– Philae: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philae_%28spacecraft%29
– Philae’s nail-biting landing monitored by Stephan Ulamec, Fred Jansen, Andrea Accomazzo, Elsa Montagnon and Paolo Ferri: http://www.airspacemag.com/space/nail-biting-first-landing-comet-180953935/?no-ist
– The “singing comet” – the science behind the signal: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/11/11/the-singing-comet/
– Soundcloud audio clip of the comet “sound” – sonification by Manuel Senfft: https://soundcloud.com/esaops/a-singing-comet
– Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier quote: http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov/news/singing-comet
– Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, recorded by the Plasma Wave Receiver on board the NASA spacecraft, Galileo, and turned into sound by the University of Iowa: https://soundcloud.com/radioqualia/ganymede-callisto-europa
– Radio and Plasma Wave Group at The University of Iowa: http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/
– Cassini-Huygens passing through Saturn’s rings: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Sounds_from_space
– Huygens microphone (ESA Huygens): http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini-Huygens/Sounds_of_an_alien_world
– The Sound of Space, BBC Radio 4, broadcast 30 January 2015: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b050bwpp

Projects referenced in Part 2:

Riding Light by Alphonse Swinehart (2015). Soundtrack: Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich: https://vimeo.com/117815404
Ancient Darkness TV (2009) by Katie Paterson: http://www.katiepaterson.org/
– Quotation by Katie Paterson from “Interview with Katie Paterson on Rhizome” (2010): http://rhizome.org/editorial/2010/jun/16/interview-with-katie-paterson/
– Images of simulations of the Higgs boson, ATLAS group, CERN: https://twiki.cern.ch/twiki/bin/view/AtlasPublic/HiggsPublicResults – Images of the Large Hadron Collider, from CERN: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/accelerators/large-hadron-collider
– The LHC Sound Project: http://lhcsound.hep.ucl.ac.uk/
– Quotation by Lily Asquith from “Particle Pings: Sounds Of The Large Hadron Collider” by Andrew Prince, NPR (2011): http://is.gd/asquith
– LHC Sound Project interpretation of how an emerging and decaying Higgs Boson may sound: http://is.gd/lhcsound
Broken Symmetries and the Masses of Gauge Bosons (1964) by Peter Higgs: https://journals.aps.org/prl/pdf/10.1103/PhysRevLett.13.508
– Photographs of the 4 July 2012 seminar at CERN where the discovery of the Higgs boson was announced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tnd8bxDYOs

Projects referenced in Outro

– Images of Titan, Jupiter, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and Voyager 1
Pale Blue Dot: http://is.gd/OsBy2J
– Voyager 1’s vintage technology: http://www.wired.com/2013/09/vintage-voyager-probes/
– NASA’s planned Orion spacecraft: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/
– Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02): http://www.ams02.org/
– MAVEN Mars Orbiter: http://mars.nasa.gov/maven/
– Alan Kay quote (1971): http://www.smalltalk.org/alankay.html

 

Peter Gutteridge, outside his house, Opoho early 1989 – Detail of a portrait by Gerald O'Brien

Peter Gutteridge, outside his house, Opoho, Dunedin early 1989 – Detail of a portrait by Gerald O’Brien

Today, Peter Gutteridge died.

Overwhelmingly, my thoughts are with his family and friends, who will be in immense pain. For those of us, who are from Dunedin, and grew up with his music, it’s also a terribly sad day. His loss is almost more than can be properly put into words. It’s like the city itself is mourning.

Dunedin is a funny place. With its statue of Robbie Burns in the centre, and its anachronistic castle on the hill – a city built on romantic poetry and stoic follies, shaped by a coastline of almost baroque drama. Perhaps it was destined to cultivate that peculiar, angry gothic soul that is so derided by our more northerly cousins. A city like ours, feeds off grand narratives, and grand narratives need larger-than-life characters. And Peter was one.

When I was growing up in Dunedin, he was one of the keepers of the Dunedin sound, a giant of the scene, and a merchant of noise in Snapper. But he was more than that. He somehow embodied a story Dunedin told about itself; of grit and grime, of demons and possession, of beauty and bravado, of vulnerability and destruction. It was a tale of the frailty of existence and the subsequent need to live life to its limits. In a city that weaves drama and mythology around itself to keep out the bitter winter cold, he fair haunted the city, daring it to be more … visceral.

I was lucky enough to see Peter play many times, with The Clean, with Snapper, by himself, and in the makeshift ensembles that Dunedin frequently produced in the 1990s. Bands with no names, and nights seared onto the memories of the handful of people who were there. Snapper shows around this time were nothing short of excoriating. For reasons that defy spatial logistics or PA mechanics, they always seemed to play their best at The Crown, rather than the Empire, or any of the better equipped venues in Dunedin. And when they played, what an event it was. Snapper’s well known tunes, Buddy, Death and Weirdness in the Surfing Zone, Eyes that Shine, Hang On (“five minutes of hovering hypnotic menace”), and all the gorgeous songs from the underrated Shotgun Blossom, always struck a chord. (I mean the guy wrote Point That Thing Somewhere Else, for god’s sake. When he was 17).
But it was the less structured pieces that always blew me away. Orchestrations of pink, white and brown noise, that you somehow inhabited, rather than listened to.
As James Woods has said, he made music to disappear to.

A lot is going to be written about Peter’s ability to summon up vast oceans of noise, and rightly so. He made a generation of us a little bit deaf, and we’ll always have a perverse fondness for him for that. But the thing about Peter is that he also had the capacity to craft music of such fierce gentleness, it was almost difficult to listen to. There are two passages of music that always come to mind when I think of him.

The first is Gentle Hour. I’m not sure I can summon the words to explain what I love so much about this piece. So maybe just listen to it.

 

And the other, is this:

 

When I first encountered this, I was certain I had experienced it firsthand. Walking down the main street of Dunedin, mildly distracted by the pre-Christmas sales, and thinking for the umpeenth time in the chill of the afternoon, how Summer seems to come so much later every year. And then being assailed by this – utterly exquisite – moment.

When I watch this, I’m reminded of two things. The first is Cleave 03 (Transmission, Vision of the Sleeping Poet) by Cerith Wyn Evans, a World War II searchlight sending a seven-mile beam of light into the night sky over Venice, flashing intermittently in morse code. It seemed, for all the world, to be a second moon, which blinked. It is one of the most stunning artistic experiences I’ve ever had, made so by its interruption of the sublime into reality.

And the second is this:

 

from one to many by Yvette Mattern, scored by Charlemagne Palestine – something I was lucky enough to have a hand in. It was seven horizontal laser beams reaching across West Berlin to East Berlin, in the snow, signifying the twentieth anniversary of reunification. Again, what made this piece special was its unexpected appearance in the landscape – an eruption of the sublime into the every day.

These might seem like odd comparisons to make with the sight of Peter standing on a street in Dunedin, in scruffy clothes, playing a bashed up old guitar. But that’s what Peter’s impromptu appearance that day was, to me: an elegiac intrusion into the humdrum banality of Dunedin’s early Summer.

It’s hard to fathom Dunedin without Peter Gutteridge. Some people shape a city just by being. And he was one of those souls.

I’ll miss him very much. I think we all will.