One for the Mind, Two for the Eye and Seven (plus or minus two) for the World (2009-2010).


Poetics of the Interface by Miguel Santos

Leonardo Abstract Services (LABS) 2010-2012
Poetics of the Interface: Creating Works of Art That Engage in Self-Reflection

This thesis addresses the value of employing noise in the formulation of interfaces that engage in self-reflection. The articulation of the interfaces’ formalist devices (message and noise) can generate paradoxical patterns that when enacted by the observer promote experiences of alterity in the formation of the work of art. This project is transdisciplinary and parasitic (following Michel Serres) in the sense that it is located in the relation of the artistic practice and the other sources; it resembles a foreigner (following Julia Kristeva) whose presence disrupts and invites its host to greet its own foreigner, and moves like a snake (following Aby Warburg) with maximum mobility and minimum target to disclose contradictions and formulate hypotheses.

The first chapter, ‘Focusing Attention’, covers a wide range of disciplines in order to find points of convergence with the artistic practice and proposes a theorisation of the interface – an object or situation where a subject or system meet and interact, which is defined by its elements (message, noise and interference). Attention is proposed as a selective and active process that allows for an embodied subject to engage with ontological contradictions, without representing them, and to evolve in reciprocity with the world.

Chapter two, ‘Scripting Journeys’, addresses the work of Bruce Nauman in light of the previous considerations (interface and attention) while proposing a methodological practice that focuses on a notion of travelling to a place in-between. Nauman’s practice is proposed as topographic explorations primarily concerned with the ‘mechanics of attention’, which are formulated in the production of interfaces (as scripts for new journeys to places in-between) to be engaged by an observer.

Chapter three, ‘On the Go’, addresses the production of new works of art as formulation of the methodology identified in Nauman’s practice. The chapter covers the production process and its underlying concerns when travelling to places proposed as in-between. The proposed notion of the interface is addressed in a direct relation with the new works of art to further understand the value of employing noise in the formation of experiences of alterity. This chapter should be considered in relation to the works of art previously exhibited, which are documented in the thesis and proposed as formulations of knowledge and not as representations of knowledge.

This project will conclude by proposing three contributions to knowledge, which should be understood as hypotheses: first, the proposition of the notion of interface and its formalist devices (message, noise and interference), secondly, the re-interpretation of Bruce Nauman’s practice, and thirdly, a new body of work articulating the interface’s formalist devices across different mediums, which can be attended to by other artists when considering any concept of the interface.

Degree: PhD
Year: 2011
Pages: 241
University: Sheffield Hallam University
Supervisor: Dr Sharon Kivland
Supervisor 2: Dr Jaspar Joseph-Lester
Language: English
Dept: Art and Design Research Centre
Copyright: Miguel Santos
Lang_author: Portuguese, English, Spanish
Keywords: interface, mobility, consciousness, attention, traveling, places in-between, contradictions

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