Session 3.2.6: PANEL: Manifesting the Invisible

PANEL: Engaging the senses through design / Sensory challenges of climate change
11:30, Saturday 8 May 2021 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Break    01:00 PM to 01:30 PM (30 minutes)
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Organizer: Clea T. Waite, Independent Artist, USA

A century ago, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley defended the necessity of poetry as a fundamental means to comprehend the unfathomable. This panel will address artistic and design practices exploring the liminal poetics of space, time, science, and nature in which scientific data serves as a vocabulary for a visual language of material poetics. Three artists and designers express the influence of scientific and technological discoveries on our contemporary view of natural and anthropogenic environments – manifesting the invisible.

Tomoko Mukai’s “KIWA Project” examines the global relationships between urban images and “constructed nature” through the Japanese perspective of “Fudo,” climate. “KIWA Project” deeply examines the “way of perceiving the world” from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds. Clea T. Waite’s works, centered on the moving image, consider scientific data and observational technologies as a visual language of poetics. She approaches immersive cinema as a multimodal field of possibilities, creating a participatory composition of sight, sound, movement, and memory, immersing viewers in a material poetics of cinema in space. Biayna Bogosian examines the role of locative and immersive media in facilitating participatory environmental data sensing and visualization, rethinking modes of communication and engaging the general public with the environmental data.

Tomoko Mukai, KIWA: Constructed Nature, Independent Artist, Japan

“KIWA Project” examines the global relationships between urban images and “constructed nature” seen through the Japanese perspective of Fudo, climate. “KIWA Project’s” theme, “urban life and the natural environment,” has become one of the world’s most universal and significant interests. Through the interaction of individuals from different cultural and professional backgrounds, the “KIWA Project” deeply examines the “way of perceiving the world,” addressing Fudo from the perspectives of both art and science. “KIWA Project” fosters a deep mutual understanding of the universal theme of “human beings as a part of an ecosystem” by developing a platform for co-creation and dialogue that emphasizes a dynamic discourse between diverse peoples from different fields, positions, and perceptions.

Clea T. Waite, Material Poetics, Independent Artist, USA

Are humans capable of discerning scales of matter and time that are far beyond our physical perception? Can we fathom the recession of a glacier that progresses over three generations or the slowing of an oceanic current due to anthropogenic climate change? We have given ourselves technologically enhanced vision supplemented by extended wavelength cameras, microscopes, telescopes, radar, sonar, and satellites. We have universal access to data shared over global machine networks. We live in the meta-dimensions of a redefined, disembodied world, full of strange data vistas surrounding us in manifold perspectives.

Scientific data and observational technologies can serve as a vocabulary for a visual language of poetics, diving deep into scientific research to unravel the cultural implications embedded within data artifacts. Cinema in space creates an embodied experience through architectonic shape and scale, simultaneity, proprioception, and the manipulation of time to augment the multivalent data of the films. The juxtaposition of art and science reciprocally enriches the perspective of the other, a synthesis that coalesces our capacity to both emotionally respond to and objectively rationalize a subject, manifesting a material poetics beyond ordinary perception.

Biayna Bogosian, Florida International University, USA

Despite the growing advancements in sensing and visualization technologies, environmental data, such as air and water quality, is still not openly, continuously, and cohesively available to the public. Even when the information is presented using standard methods, the complexity and correlation of environmental parameters often overwhelm and disengage the untrained citizens. This communication disconnect diminishes the sensitivity and urgency associated with environmental issues and takes away the citizens' agency for participating in making policies and solutions. In this context, this research examines the role of locative and immersive media in facilitating participatory environmental data sensing and visualization. Through a number of air and water quality sensing projects, this presentation highlights the importance of combining traditional cinematic techniques and narrative construction structures along with information visualization conventions to rethink communicating with the general public. The goal is to enable the citizens to become more engaged with the environmental data while encouraging them to contribute to the reduction of anthropogenic pollutants.

Independent Artist
Art Director, Creator for Spatial Projection, Artist, Design and Art Educator, Researcher
University of Southern California

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