The following are abstracts of the papers presented at the conference "Off the Lip 2015". Please have a look at the most up to date time table at the OTLip15 Conference website. You may also download the print version of the book of abstracts.
Mathew Emmett, Associate Professor in Three Dimensional Design; Adam Benjamin, Lecturer in Theatre & Performance; and Frank Broz, Research Fellow in the Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems, Plymouth University
“It is the vital impulse that drives us to generate new forms and new experiences, to grasp reality in a broader, more real way”. (Montxo Algora, 2008. Director ArtFutura)
For the past year, choreographer Adam Benjamin and architect Mathew Emmett have been exploring performative space within contemporary dance. The impetus for this research has been focused on the formation of compositional potentials achieved through the hybridisation of integrative dance with experimental architecture. Whilst this paper will focus on new choreographic devices for transdisciplinary practice, Benjamin and Emmett will also explore the capacity of ‘event-spaces’ (Tschumi, 1981) to advance a heightened understanding of environment-agent relationality. This paperproposes a hypothetical theory called “enactive niche construction” (Emmett, 2015) that tries to unify these choreographic theories with an ecological understanding of architectural space, perception and kinesphere agency. Further, this paper will examine novel improvisation methodologies together with architecturally designed soundscapes that recognise and anticipate the ganzfeld experience.Together with experimental practice and interpretation, these relational dialogues are amplified by the mediation of transdisciplinary methodologies, where each domain is concerned with the primacy of reflexivity in the overlapping terrains of dance, architecture and sound.
Benjamin and Emmett will present a series of case studies to demonstrate these theories including a trans-Asiatic dance project “Open State” (Benjamin, Emmett & ljichi, 2015), where a deeper, more investigative analysis will illustrate the iterative design processes that underpin the practice-led research project. Documentary films, sound, photographs and diagrams will compliment the presentation of the paper to help validate the experiential domain. Documentation of dance and critique will be analysed using computational tools that capture patterns of sound and movement within this dialogue.
Catalin Brylla, Senior Lecturer in Film, University of West London
In terms of film practice cognitive theory has mostly been concerned with audience reception, not with the creative conceptualisation of moving images. Whilst documentary filmmaking decisions are often made with an audience in mind (Eitzen 1995), filmmakers and film scholars have not yet explored how a socio-cultural framing shapes affective and cognitive spectatorship experiences, and how this framing can inform the creative process of film production.
Adopting Wayne’s idea of documentary as creative and critical practice, this paper argues that, especially when it comes to the representation of under/mis- represented social groups, the filmmaker’s encounter with the “other” indebts him/her into a responsible media portrayal (Levinas, 1989) – a portrayal that takes into account cognitive schemata. As Macrae and Bodenhausen explain, our perceptions of the social world are guided by categorical (i.e. stereotypical) thinking based on pre-existing schematic knowledge, not the novelty ofindividual case studies (2001, p. 240). Media are complicit in the construction of this schematic knowledge, which has been detrimental to social groups, such as disability. Disabled people have been dominated by being squeezed into socially constructed dichotomies (e.g. abled-disabled, normal-abnormal), which have been perpetually reinforced through narrative and stylistic tropes in media portrayals (Riley 2005).
The methodology of my documentary practice aims to demonstrate the value of cognitive theory in relation to two stages of filming blind people: (1) gauging the current media framing of blindness and conceptualising alternative portrayals that go beyond common stereotypes, thus aiming to initiate a shift to a cognitive “plurality” when it comes to perceiving disability on screen, and (2) using cognitive theory to enable the filmic mediation of first-person embodied experience through particular artefacts (e.g. biographical objects) and spaces. From this perspective, my methodology considers “experience” to have cognitive and phenomenological aspects (Bayne and Montague 2011) that can be mapped and captured through the affective interaction with materiality.
Iris Garrelfs, Lecturer, Sound Arts & Design, London College of Communication
This paper is based on a practice led PhD research project conducted between 2010 and 2014 at CRiSAP, University of the Arts London (Garrelfs, 2015). In this research, a theory of cognition, conceptual blending (Fauconnier and Turner, 2002), was applied to the investigation of process in sound art practice. Conceptual blending posits that everyday, subconscious activities such as crossdomain mapping are involved in combining elements from a range of inputs into new concepts. Sound art is ‘explicitly intermedia’ (Barthelmes, 2006) and artists employ avariety of genres, media, formats and technologies. In order to illuminate this inherently multi-modal practice, I have borrowed from and extended the model of conceptual blending to create the model of ‘procedural blending’; it can serve as a framework for artists and researchers to understand and communicate the complexity of sound art practice.
Through the notion of inputs, which are blended through an iterative process of making into outputs, procedural blending illustrates how new work is created. Inputs can be drawn from diverse, even dissimilar categories,including media, genres, technologies, approaches, and even personal aspects such as emotions or personality traits can be considered as an input. As a consequence, this research also extends the notion of process to include all that artists might encounter in their lives; what shapes the artist, also shapes the work. Additionally, the development of procedural blending has resulted in a method which aids the creation of new works of art; this method is suggested as useful in interdisciplinary collaborations outside sound art, where languages and viewpoints may differ.
This paper summarises the original theory of conceptual blending, sets out my adapted model of procedural blending, and illustrates this model by applying it to the discussing of two of my own art projects. Potential additional applications of the model such as the tracking of process are also outlined.
Ben Dyson, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Sussex; Christine McLean, Ontario College of Art and Design; Stephen C. Want, Ryerson University
There are often large historic, cultural and ability distances between an artist and the viewer of the art. One hypothesized way to increase art appreciation is to create congruency between the actions performed by the artist and the actions performed by the viewer (Leder, Bar & Topolinski, 2012). Across 4 experiments using university undergraduates, we explored the conditions under which providing a motoric link between the artist and viewer promotes the aesthetic experience. In Experiment 1 we asked participants to make either stroking or stippling motions while viewing stroke-style and pointillist-style paintings (op cit) but failed to show an effect of image-action congruency. In Experiment 2, the relationship between image and action was made more transparent by re-using some of the materials produced in Experiment 1 as closer examples of the kind of work produced when stroking or stippling, and the desired cross-over interaction was observed. Experiment 3 demonstrated that the effect cannot be reproduced by simply hearing the sounds associated with drawing production, highlighting the need for a motor component. Experiment 4 investigated whether measures of awareness of the image-action match modulated the liking ratings, in addition to artwork familiarity andparticipants’ own hypotheses regarding the direction of the image-action effect. Participants who predicted that congruent relationships between what they saw and what they did would increase liking showed enhanced congruency effects. Establishing links between historical production and contemporary exposure to art may then rely on overt rather than covert processes.
Jacqui Knight, CogNovo Research Fellow, Plymouth University
Possibly the most established post modernism truism is that what you see depends on where you stand, but perhaps less discussed is the notion of selectivity in one’s visual encounter with the world. In this paper I will discuss the photographic contact sheet as an archaeological trace of vision and attention. It will show how a forensic study of the sequencing, intervals and photographer’s inscriptions of this ‘first sight’ of all the pictures taken on one film roll has much in common with the attentive processes of high speed and time-lapse photography. The contact sheet in this paper will be discussed as an artefact of close and slow looking in two registers, the first as a record of the photographer’s selective attention and the second as the reflective engagement after the event. Using examples from Magnum photographers Cartier Bresson and Jonas Bendiksen and through the writing of Vilem Flusser, this paper will try to show how the photographic contact sheet, perhaps once the most natural and ubiquitous outcome of the analogue photographic process, can be seen as a world view that is exclusively available through the photographic artefact as ‘apparatus’ (dispositif), and its subsequent interpretation through a post hoc narrative. The exceptions to this perhaps are those photographic practices in which the ‘photographic process is intentionally made apparent in the image in order to highlight the conscious awareness of visual comprehension within the viewer.
Pamela Cajilig, Curiosity Design Research, and Diego S. Maranan, CogNovo Research Fellow, Plymouth University
If there is any phenomenon that demands a creative and efficient response, it is the onslaught of disaster. Conventional approaches to mitigating the effectsof disaster hinge on policy and planning, where pre-determined courses of action are expected to give form to an idealised configuration of social and technological formations that provides a best “fit”. The search for “fit” tends to be messy and improvisatory rather than straightforward and predictable. It requires more than alignment of institutional agenda or finding the right technology for the right relational patterns, especially as post-disaster settings are imbued with uncertainty, anxiety, and distrust. This paper reflects on our experiences doing design research for shelter assistance intended for coastal communities in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Our broad aim is to suggest alternatives to planning-oriented approaches in addressing the challenges of humanitarian engagement, and in doing so support assertions Caroline Gatt and Tim Ingold’s formulations of design as “correspondence”. We maintain that humanitarian engagement is an example of improvisatory, group creativity in which variedly positioned actors subjectively evaluate their consonance (or lack thereof) with the givens of the moment, devising aims and actions as they carry on. This paper is located within intersections between creativity, design, and the social sciences by illuminating the everyday workings of power and agency as actors improvise their way through the politically inflected field of humanitarian engagement.
Guy Edmonds, CogNovo Research Fellow, Plymouth University
As a loose movement, Media Archaeology has employed a multiplicity of approaches and, unlike more formal media studies, its exponents have often productively engaged with the artifacts and practices that it investigates. This is admirable but can be extended even further in combination with techniques in use in the cognitive sciences to create an archaeology of historical audiovisual perception.
This paper will outline a novel method for analyzing human perception and cognition as it relates to the viewing of motion pictures. It will apply knowledge gained from electrophysiological studies to scholarship on the reception and technology of Early Cinema and propose experiments in which I aim to compare brain response to projections of analogue and digital versions of the same film stimulus. The intention is to combine experimental media archaeology – media archaeology in which use of historic technology is central to the investigation - with electrophysiological techniques. It takes dormant,obsolete technology, which is nevertheless loaded with the potential for action and bristling with suggestive affordances, and reanimates it for the purpose of shedding light on the question of historical perception.
Diane Humphrey, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario; Bryanna Lucyk, Christie Purchase, Rachel Sansone and Emily Baxter, Department of Psychology, King’s University College at Western University
A corpus of 442 coloured drawings made by 28 young adults, 22 older adults and 22 children depicting six different emotions were rated for emotional content by eight judges untrained in art. The colours used in the drawings were also analysed. As in a previous study, emotional descriptors of happiness and sadness were more frequently given by judges than were other descriptors for all emotional scenes. Happiness was more frequently seen in depictions of happiness and sadness more frequently seen in depictions of sadness than were other emotions. Other emotional scenarios, however, were more frequently described with emotional words unrelated to the intended emotion in the drawing. The use of colour was not clearly related to specific emotional scenarios. In previous studies it has been shown that there is a spectrum of colours typically related to a range of emotions in drawing, painting, pointing and naming tasks. The direction of association, however, appears to be expressive. While emotion names can evoke specific colours, colours per se do not evoke emotional categories as reliably. This relationship resembles the inducer-concurrent roles in synaesthesia and may be related to synesthetic phenomena.
Joanna Griffin, Associate Researcher, Transtechnology Research, Plymouth University
The paper presents concerns that relate to the cognitive shaping of spacetechnology. It addresses tendencies and framings that reveal limitations in the imaginative scope formational to the actual production of space technology and which pervade the operational frame of reference of space agencies.
From the evidence of anecdotal reports and visual documentation there are a number of formational imaginaries that space technologists refer to when describing their visions. Among these are ‘towers to the sky’ that inspired the geostationary orbit and the (in process) space elevator. These cartoon-‐like imaginaries spill into diagrams of disproportionately large satellites in space sending signal over vast ‘footprint’ areas of Earth with a seemingly invincible capability to connect and survey. In addition the imagery of spaceflight is dominated by the graphic allure of starkly lit objects set against the black background of space and often depicted from a ‘God’s-‐eye view’ (Haraway, 1982) or Archimedean point (Arendt, 1963).
The visual characteristics of such imaginaries raise questions as to what is framed and what is left out of the frame by such ways of thinking. Furthermore, if there is an inherent bias in what is seen and not seen in the mind’s eye of the space technologist, are there detrimental consequences to this? And, if so, then should the development of technology concern itself with techniques of cognitive innovation to counter the potential normalisation of cultural myths and other hidden assumptions into the fabric of space technology via under-‐critiqued visual imaginaries?
The intervention of the artistic, aesthetic and creative into the operational frames of reference of space agencies indicate a claim for inclusion in the frame and foregrounds the authorial construction of space technology and mechanisms for cognitive innovation. In addition, the painterly struggles by artists through history, offer techniques for addressing visual bias – and visual naivety – in the formational imaginaries of space faring. The paper presents speculative proposals for an underdeveloped correspondence between aesthetic interventions and determinants of technological development.
Agi Haines, Kathryn Francis and Raluca Briazu CogNovo Research Fellows, Plymouth University
This paper intends to question the potential implications of production quality in simulations of the flesh within psychological experimentation. In experimental design, behaviours are often tested through a simulacrum of the human body, one whose subtlety within the tool’s fictitious nature is rarely considered as potentially impactful on data collection and research outcomes.
Simulations of the human body will be questioned through an interrogative study of one specific experimental scenario titled the ‘footbridge dilemma.’ This dilemma is an influential inquiry in the field of moral cognition; a field endeavouring to observe and interpret moral choices as driven by primitive or instinctive characteristics. Within this dilemma, participants are faced with the prospect of pushing a ‘fat man’ off a footbridge in order to obstruct a train’s imminent progress towards several construction workers on the tracks ahead. This scenario is designed to elicit a speculative action questioning the morality of dynamic participation, an action that is primarily based on material judgement of a person’s structure and substance. Despite the emotional and ambiguous richness of ‘morality’, experimental science has largely employed hypothetical or pen-and-paper methods to formulate the scenario and inspect responses. The embodied nature of moral action has been neglected and the physicality of speculation unfathomed within experimental science.
The consideration of aspects such as aesthetic appeal, haptic response and tactile quality may produce simulations in the form of sculptural entities that can question verism within material treatment of experimental tools. And in turn the potential to highlight the importance of subtlety in production of simulations within experimental designs could offer new insights concerning the generalizability of outcomes when compared to real-life circumstances. Perhaps experimentation with the concept of hyper-reality may trigger an embodied response, potentially evincing a corporeal experience rather than a dissembled ethical choice.
Yutaka Nakamura, Associate Professor, Tama Art University
This paper, at most manifest level, examines the selective cultural responses toward the recent major earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Since March 11, 2011, Japan has suffered from the earthquake and its aftermath. Most physical damage was caused by the tsunami and although so many houses, schools, businesses and other constructions were shattered by its brutal wave, the severest impact was brought by the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This unprecedented and ongoing accident invoked a set of urgent yet lasting problems that otherwise would not have been fully addressed. There has been a lot of strong emotion among people; frustration, anger, a sense of hopelessness, of betrayal and of mistrust toward the politics, the involved corporations, and the information disclosure. But most of all, there has been a strong sense of lasting crisis, some manifest while others more subtle.
It is, then, this paper’s second task, somewhat theoretical one, to explore the relationship between this sense of crisis and some of the cultural responses that are produced under it. Crisis, of course, if we follow Walter Benjamin, is the moment at which one’s epistemic framework ceases to sustain his “ordinary” everyday life. His understanding is challenged, belief system questioned and cognitive limit shaken and pushed. It could be an opportunity to sense the ruptures within the current totalizing and normalizing system, recapture a different history and reimagine an alternative future. Yet, crisis is also a moment at which one stubbornly seek to recover his once familiar system, restore his shattered belief and hold on to the precedent remedies. The paper focuses on selective cultural responses toward what could be called a serious catastrophe. In that, it is a speculative approach toward the relationship between crisis and expression, and catastrophe and creativity.
Chun-Wei Hsu, Pinar Oztop, Michael Straeubig, Mihaela Taranu, CogNovo Research Fellows, Plymouth University
Play is a common, yet elusive phenomenon in humans and animals. Despite many attempts to define, explain and justify play, sciences, humanities andthe arts have yet to achieve a truly transdisciplinary understanding of the issues involving playful thinking and playful behaviour. In this paper we explore three different phenomena in their relations to play: neurobiological development, deception and creativity. We then reflect on these observations from our individual perspectives and address the resulting questions in form of a multidisciplinary discussion.
Round table discussion: Kathryn Francis, Ilaria Torre, Chun-Wei Hsu, Raluca Briazu, CogNovo Research Fellows, Plymouth University; Chair: Sue Denham, Professor in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, Plymouth University
This session aims to discuss the current ethical and experimental considerations in the field of psychology with a particular focus on investigating personality traits. The main focus lies in those cases in which experimenters manipulate participants’ personalities through moral or morally-related paradigms. These experimental designs have considerable ethical considerations with participants often encouraged to make moral judgements, take part in deceptive tasks or trusting/ untrusting games.
Christopher Germann, CogNovo Research Fellow, Plymouth University
Contemporary materialistic reductionist neuroscience emanates from the working hypothesis that the underpinnings of human perception and cognition are based on electrochemical transduction. That is, electrical action potentials and chemical neurotransmission are postulated to undergird all mental processes. Interestingly, especially from a neurochemistry/biology point of view, several secondary (possibly semiotic) plant compounds have close structural relationships with various human neurotransmitters andconsequently can reliably change a variety of cognitive processes (both quantitatively and qualitatively). N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (often acronymised as DMT) is a paradigmatic exemplar. Its molecular structural geometry (see Appendix) is very closely related to 5-hydroxytryptamin (Serotonin) and it is a phylogenetically ancient molecule which is ubiquitous in the plant and animal kingdom (Smith, 1977). In its pure synthesized form, DMT is a white, pungent-smelling, crystalline solid. Accumulating converging evidence suggests that DMT is an endogenous neurotransmitter in the human brain (e.g., Cozzi, et al., 2009; Fontanilla, et al., 2009).
A defining criterion of DMTs psychological activity is that it affects visual perception in the most spectacular ways possibly imaginable. Its profound experiential/phenomenological effects are described as consciousness expanding, transformative, and essentially ineffable. DMT has been used in shamanistic rituals for millennia by several cultural traditions. For example, it constitutes the active chemical principle in Ayahuasca, a plant based, drinkable concoction, which is utilized by indigenous tribes in the Amazonian rainforest for divinatory and healing purposes (Metzner, 2014). Typically, the main ingredients of the Ayahuasca brew are two plants, Psychotria Viridis (which contains the DMT) and Banisteriopsis Caapi (which contains the harmala alkaloid harmine, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor that prevents the breakdown of DMT in the gastro-intestinal tract). Western science has just recently learned about DMT and its psychoactive effects from ethnobotanists who were able to conserve this ancient knowledge literally in the last minute because old shamanic traditions are being extinguished at a fast pace by the modern industrial world.
Martha Blassnigg, Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Media, Plymouth University
This paper will discuss the way the mathematician and philosopher Henri Bergson referred to the processes of the mind and to the evolution of consciousness as “creative”. It will problematize this term in the sense of Bergson’s reference to a particular tendency of the mind in its durational quality, as something that is “productive of effects in which it expands and transcends its own being” (Bergson, Creative Evolution p. 52). This will be situated in relation to Bergson’s understanding of cognition as embodied andenactive, which anticipated the recent return to a similar understanding of perception particularly in the discourses of the philosophy of mind. This paper will discuss this understanding of the mind’s creative processes, connected with agency, choice and action, within the contemporary historic context in view of its current relevance. It will raise the question how this model of mind has been influencing thinking about media, processes of mediation, perception and affective engagement through the cognitively pro-active role of the beholder (viewer and researcher alike); as ‘observing participant’ of one’s internal cognitive processes.
The presentation will revisit some key examples of self–reflective uses of audio- visual media within scientific contexts including documentary film, visual anthropology and scientific visualisation and discuss them as participatory platforms that provoke and afford cognitive engagement as creative, constructive process. It will discuss this form of active engagement with reference to Michel Foucault’s ‘technologies of the self ’ and in doing so uncover an undercurrent strand in the history of cinema and its wider, especially philosophical, dispositif that addresses the intrinsic area of mental health and well-being and processes of mediation as vehicles to train perception. As such it will situate the discussion of media, philosophy and cognitive science in a larger spectrum concerned with the anthropology of the creative human evolution.
Elizabeth Tingle, Head of School & Associate Dean, Humanities and Performing Arts, Plymouth University
The ways in which Europeans understood the nature of God and how he worked in the physical world – immanence - are amongst the most important questions asked by historians about the Reformation period. With the growth of Protestantism in Europe after c.1520, the relationship between divinity, people and material objects was hotly contested, as Christians disputed the best way to achieve eternal salvation. Protestants largely rejected sacred materiality and in its Reformed version tended towards iconoclasm. Catholics, however, retained the belief that God could work in special locations and through physical objects: he could be encountered and understood through material things. In the Counter Reformation, therefore, relics and shrines were restored,images defended and objects revived.
In this paper, I will draw upon the methodologies of history, archaeology and anthropology to investigate some of the changing ways in which Europeans encountered and comprehended divinity in this period, through a case study of the creation and use of a particular category of ‘thing’, indulgenced artefacts. Sites and objects could be inextricably linked to heavenly power, for they can refer to, provide signs of, or gesture toward the divine. Of interest here is how religion was implemented in concrete, material domains, such as the body and senses, objects and exchange relations, things and spaces. Across the Counter Reformation period, ‘things’, medals, beads, rosaries and crosses, could act as physical, portable vectors of salvation for their owners through their bestowal with indulgences. Indulgence-bearing objects were particularly potent for their owners for they permitted direct access to personalized grace through touch, sight and speech. Material ‘things’ therefore allowed for the expression of faith and the acquisition of salvation in different ways in the Counter Reformation. Their paper therefore presents an historical understanding of cognition of divinity.
Freya Bailes, Academic Fellow in Music Psychology at the University of Leeds
“Be ready to play what you know and play above what you know.” (Miles Davis)
How do musicians reach beyond their existing re-presentations of sound to imagine the unknown? Music is the perfect example of a conscious imagined experience so common that it is known to regularly encroach on daily life in the form of ‘earworms’, while at the same time serving the creative needs of musicians who are able to mentally recall music and imagine new musical patterns in their mind’s ear. Such conscious representations of music, known as musical imagery, have not been critically studied with respect to musical creation. Understanding their relationship can inform the effective teaching of creative practice, which in music includes composition and improvisation. Mental imagery is also used in mental rehearsal: by studying its imaginative potential, performers ranging from artists to athletes might benefit by acquiring the strategies they need to enrich and attain their performance goals.This paper will draw on existing and planned experimental research to consider musical imagery: 1) as a phenomenon limited by our experience and cognitive mechanisms, 2) as an involuntary occurrence in everyday life triggered as much by our physiological state as our mental processes, and 3) as a creative tool, in which re-presentations are manipulated to new ends.
Mary Ann Kernan, Senior Lecturer, Department of Culture and Creative Industries, City University London
This paper outlines the learning outcomes of ‘Creativity and the Creative Industries’, the final module of an interdisciplinary Masters programme for post-experience management students. Its experiential workshops, led by expert practitioners, introduce artistic practices (drama, classical music, improvisation and art) and explore the nature of embodied experience (Watkins, 2014). The assessed elements include a group performance, ashowcase of individual artefacts, a reflective journal and a summative reflective report (Bolton, 2014; Entwistle, 2009; McDrury & Alterio, 2003). These theoretical propositions underpin the PhD study outlined here (Yin, 2008, p.18):
The paper concludes by inviting discussion on the potential for collaborative research on experiential, creative pedagogy and distributed cognition in higher education (Hollan et al., 2010; Hutchins, 2000).
Duncan Williams, Alexis Kirke and Eduardo Miranda, Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, Plymouth University
Affectively-driven algorithmic composition (AAC) is an emerging field combining computer music research and psychological approaches to music cognition , . AAC systems attempt to communicate or induce specific emotions in the listener by creating novel music. In this poster we report on a listener evaluation of a pilot system under development at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, Plymouth University, as part of the 4.5 year BCMI-MIdAS (Brain Computer Musical Interface for Monitoring and Inducing Affective States) project, funded by the EPSRC.
A musical feature / affective response matrix was drawn from literature and implemented in an artificial intelligence driven composition system. This response matrix corresponds to a time series of musical features with varying ratios, intended to evoke discrete affective states that can be broadly represented on the 2-Dimensional circumplex model of affect (wherein valence describes the horizontal axis, corresponding to positivity of emotional response, and arousal describes the vertical axis, corresponding to intensity of emotional response) . The system uses this feature matrix to inform the generation of new music with specific affective targets, as a polyphonic piano score.
A tri-stage listener evaluation was then used to inform two levels of subsequent calibration of the affective response matrix. The size and spread of affective responses was gradually increased by deliberate manipulation of the ratio of musical features in the affective mappings, until a complete spectrum of emotional responses in each quadrant of the 2-Dimensional space was achieved in the listener responses.
Alexis Kirke, Eduardo Miranda, Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, Plymouth University; Luke Rendell, School of Biology, University of St. Andrews; Simon Ingram, Marine Institute, Plymouth University
The vocal behavior of cetaceans is a fast expanding current research area worldwide. This interest is largely explained by the highly complex vocal behaivior of cetaceans, including vocal learning, vocal signatures and vocal dialects. This paper focuses on the singing behavior of Humpback whales. Humpacks exhibit one of the most complex forms of mamal communicationoutside human beings. Thus learning about humpback song may help us learn about hpw our own language evolved. The work in this paper came about as a result of a musical commission which involved a very simple Humpback Whale model. Unusually this performance led to a multi-centre science project with marine mammal experts, of which this paper is a part. This mutli-agent model incorporates mobile whale agents that communicate using a simple song-grammar made up of a small vocabulary. Agents are attracted to swim towards other agents who are singing a similar grammar. Agents also adapt their grammars based on the singing of other nearby agents. The closer the nearby agents are, the greater the influence. These features are consistent with a number of the proposed hypothoses for the singing behaviors of the Humpback whales and other marine mammals. As a result of these features we show how over time the agents song grammars become more correlated, and agents which are closer geographically have more closely correlated grammars. Furthermore the agents group into clusters, or “schools,” which exhibit highly correlated grammars, and hence similar songs, and will continue moving in these “schools.”
Jack McKay Fletcher, CogNovo Research Fellow, Plymouth University
David Chalmers in his essay “Facing up to the problem of Consciousness” makes the distinction between the “easy problems” of consciousness and “the hard problem” of consciousness. The easy problems are a broad category of cognitive phenomena which can be systematically studied by the cognitive sciences. The hard problem of consciousness is the phenomenon of subjective experience. Chalmers argues that easy problems are tractable using the current methods of cognitive science, whereas the hard problem is intractable. In the present work I introduce a third category of “pretty hard problems”, problems which I believe to be too hard to fit in the category of easy problems but not quite as difficult as the hard problem. To motivate the existence of this category I use the problem of human creativity as a case study. I argue that creativity does not naturally belong to the set of easy problems, nor the set of hard problems, thus a third intermediate category of pretty problems is a useful concept. Afterwards, I describe two characteristics which make a problem pretty hard, namely non-modulariseability and subjectivity. In addition, Iidentify additional cognitive phenomena which belong to this category. To conclude, I argue that the pretty hard problems cannot be systematically studied in the same way as the easy problems, and as such, care needs to be taken by cognitive scientists when studying a pretty hard problem.
Sowon Park, Lecturer in English at Oxford University
The unconscious, in so far as it refers to the processes of the mind that are not conscious, has always been a central concept in the arts. In science, however, the unconscious only found brief legitimacy in models of the unconscious/ subconscious developed by Freud and William James before being relegated to the margins by the ascendency of positivist models of knowledge. Behaviorism dismissed ideas about the unconscious because they could not be empirically verified; logical positivist orthodoxy rendered what is not testable and falsifiable as ‘meaningless’. In this vein, Karl Popper famously claimed that psychoanalysis was a pseudo-science. However, new and ongoing discoveries in cognitive neuroscience during the last twenty years demonstrate that very little of what goes on in the brain is actually conscious, making it possible not only to re-examine earlier models of the unconscious but to witness the role of the unconscious in the human mind as the new frontier of knowledge. This paper will chart the relations between the unconscious and memory as they have been configured in psychoanalytic criticism and cognitive neuroscience to consider the innovations that might emerge from the correlation.
Eugenia Stamboliev, CogNovo Research Fellow, Plymouth University
Like telepathy as a “product of ambivalent modernity” (Luckhurst. 2002:276), the practice of hypnosis was similarly bringing up questions and ambivalent relationships, for example, between the concept of the immediate, intersubjective and inexpressible. A short overview on the connection between memory, mind and moving images (Väliaho: 2010) in the late 19th century will not only question the mentioned ambivalent terms but link a medical discourse intimately to the history of hypnosis, which at that time was led by prominent figures such as Martin Charcot, William James and GeorgesGurdjieff who were also familiar with F. Myer’s work and well aware of the ideas and issues around telepathy. In this context the line between disciplines blurred— the term telepathy was as much at home in Freud’s writings as it was in theosophers such as H. Blavatsky’s or P. Ouspesky’s work, which consequently influenced modern painters like W. Kandinsky who reports in his writings and paintings on these sources of inspiration (Luckhurst. 2002: 278).
The aim of this paper is to trace the visual myth of hypnosis rather than proving the “medical” accuracy of the changing practices. In the field of medical representations, medics like Charcot, Bernheim and Londe played an important part in illustrating hypnosis and also manifesting what was considered to look like part of the practice. Another move in this paper is to lay open why telepathy was being understood as a ‘hybrid object’ (Luckhurst. 2002), floating between not only disciplines but also artefacts and practices and redefining “the boundaries of the singularly bounded and distinctly human subject.” (Blackman. 2010: 172) The challenge presented throughout this paper is to reflect on the problematic aspects of these techniques of “affective transfer” and to situate them in the bigger context of how modern technologies were used to displace the subject. What did these developments mean for the selfunderstanding of the modern subject - and its representation?
Gi Taek Ryoo, Professor of English, Chungbuk National University
How can we represent reality if reality is ‘all that is’, a totality that includes things, thoughts, and words? How can language, thought and reality be made to coincide in mirroring each other’s dynamics? Robert Creeley (1926-2005) addresses these issues by embodying, in his poems, the part-whole dilemma of quantum physics in the paradox of self-referentiality: his poetry attempts to describe the objective reality only by being itself inherent part of it. His poetry tends to place the poet himself within rather than outside the frame of reality, so that when he speaks about it, he is speaking from within the picture that basically contains himself. Much of David Bohm’s ideas of ‘wholeness’ and his notion of ‘rheomode’ as well take place at this level, a level at which mind and matter are indivisible. It is not so much the brain that is thinking, that is stringing along words, but the entire body through subtle muscular movement which then unfolds into thoughts. Just as particles partake of each other, intellect, emotion, and the whole state of the body flow into and out of eachother, and which, in certain sense, enfold each other. Similarly, Robert Creeley firmly locates his poetry in the bodily act of language, identifying breath, heart beats, and the muscular-nervous system as the rhythmic measure of poetry. The act of writing then makes the poet realize the full force of words as they are continuously incorporated into the breathing rhythm of the body. In Creeley’s poetry neither thinking nor feeling are recognized as such until their associative patterns are materialized into words and syntactic structures. I will argue that, creative thinking may be experienced as a quantum-like thought process, in which reality from within is indistinguishable in its dynamics from reality from without.
Panel discussion: Sue Denham, Professor in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, Plymouth University; Martha Blassnigg, Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Media, Plymouth University; Hannah Drayson, Lecturer in Digital Art & Technology/ Immersive Media Design, Plymouth University; Sowon Park, Lecturer in English at Oxford University; Chair: Roger Malina, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Technology, Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Dallas