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Diffracting New Materialisms
Emerging Methods in Artistic Research and Higher Education

Edited by Annouchka Bayley

and JJ Chan

This edited book considers the vital position of artistic research in the landscapes and ecosystems of new materialism(s) and post-humanism(s), in and for higher education. The book aims to satisfy an urgent desire for change in the ways we link artistic and critical research practices, asking what new ways of thinking and creating for twenty-first century artistic and educational contexts we need in order to address the kinds of global complexities we face.


Organised around five key themes including fictioning, reading, embodying, inhabiting and folding, the book acts as an entry point for academics, artists and scholar-practitioners to participate in the shaping of new forms of artistic research and practice that are relevant, participatory, and that urgently address the kinds of complex issues emergent in our twenty-first century context.


In doing so, the book makes a key contribution to the development of emerging inter- and transdisciplinary artistic research practices across arange of fields, responding to the question - what kinds of research and practice worlds do we wish to create in times of urgency, crisis and complexity? 

Contributing chapter:


The Iridescent Creature: Notes for Performing a Webcam-Based Investigation

By Alice Gale-Feeny, Andrea Stokes and JJ Chan 

pp 327–348


This conversation has emerged from a series of workshops titled ‘Performing for the Camera’. These workshops, held annually with students at Kingston School of Art in London, investigate performing to, with, for, alongside, and in spite of the camera, drawing on historical and contemporary practices that manifest as video art, moving image, and performance. 


Finding ourselves teaching and learning behind a screen (in the context of the C-19 Pandemic), we invited our students to extend this interrogation towards the specific experience of the interface of Microsoft Teams. In this text we draw on our work as artists, studies in semiotics, new materialism, posthumanism, and feminist science studies, as well as our own emerging conversations both in and beyond the workshop, to diffract (Barad in Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, 2007) our relations to the camera and interrogate the agency of the camera in the twenty-first-century art school. 


These performance notes attempt, not to describe the conditions of a performance, but to seek out new questions. What might we need to ask of our performance to the camera? What does it mean to place our attention here? How does our sense of individualism and collectivity get shaped by the interface [of video conferencing software]? To what extent do we feel part of the same or different space? In the same or different moment? How do we problematise our supposed adaptation of the art school into an office-based labour-centric platform? With these questions amongst others, we shall revisit some of the activities of the workshop, pulling us from one thought into another via a series of investigative exercises. In doing so, we position workshopping as a participatory methodology of research, using intense and intimate conversation, improvisation, gameplay, and instruction as a means of seeking and (re)searching our relations, surfaces, distances, and the interfaces which mediate, co-create, and seep into artistic practice and our performances to camera.

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