Ryan/draft project proposal

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Project Proposal

What do you want to make?

Following the schematic set out in my thesis proposal, I will create a cycle of works that follow a non-human entity, "Cloud", as they unknowingly embark on a journey of apotheosis. Cloud acts as a mediator between nanobeings and this realm, and in doing so reveals a startling truth about the nature of all things. Developing the themes of my work of last year, the project investigates dislocation from the body, how symbolic systems interlace with biological systems, and how the human nervous system is co-extensive with information systems. These will take the form of video, installation, and VR. The narrative form will follow an abstraction of the hero quest, where the protagonist will go through the processes of a journey that fundamentally changes them. I am interested in exploring a non-linear narrative, where what the viewer sees each time can change.

The story will be structured following the methodology of the Oedipus story. Cloud encounters an oracle that gives them a strange message regarding the nature of their being. This encounter will always be the initiation of the cycle. From here, Cloud will encounter a series of nanospectres, each time revealing information related to the prophecy. Locale-wise, the narrative will take place as Cloud is descending through a labyrinth, again unknowingly, but related to the words of the oracle. Cloud is formed by the very nanospectres he takes to be agents of his destruction but which are actually agents of his formation. They imagine themself to be apart from them but he is co-extensive to them. They discovers that they exist only in relation to them. Cloud is the head and the tail of this feedback loop.

Abstracting characters, spaces, and interactions allow for speculation into how artificial intelligences could interact within the framework of body, ecology and network, investigating the tensions and paradoxes that exist between non-linear existence and the self.

My method focuses a level of abstraction removed from direct subjectivity. There are permeabilities that leak through from this stage that inform the emotional response of the characters of my work. I find this area rich for exploration and experimentation, as it allows for my work to address commonalities of human experience without resorting to personal subjectivity, while referencing notions that have emotional resonance.

The following texts and images represent the first forays into this project.

Archelog of Descent.png

Image Research

Text 1a - General Form of the Narrative
Text 1b - Spiritual Cyborg/Alchemical Fire
Text 2 - Metabolic Rift
Text 3 - Nodocentric Self

How do you plan to make it?

There will be a cycle of 4 parts. Each of the 4 parts will be presented in a media most appropriate for the content. This is an area still under development, however I envision a multi-channel video installation and a VR installation.

What is your timetable?

November - Finalise narrative

December - Build characters and world

January/February - Production (for eye, present a prototype?)

March - Engine Build

April - Finalise

Why do you want to make it?

I feel that the time in which we live is offering up thousands of answers, without any questions being asked that could aid in understanding the technological developments that are taking place. While there are legion possibilities of how technology can be beneficial to the development of society, currently it serves as yet another platform for competition and financial hegemony. I hope my project will be a counterforce to this, and confuse, delight, and confound the people who see it.

Who can help you and how?

I imagine I will do technical development mainly through internet research, as well as ask my peers for advice and opinions. I think it could be beneficial to solicit feedback from a few of the xpub tutors, as their work seems to overlap with my interests. Furthermore I will ask for assistance from Bridgit in the Interaction station, as well as the other instructors within the WDKA.

Relation to previous practice

Throughout my work I have been analysing the relationships between the body, ecology and the network. In the form of my previous method, I will appropriate texts, concepts and works of others and build new ideas and connections within them. Within this framework, I am interested in dissecting the aspects of human experience that define the significance of existence. As a narrative method, I take these aspects and abstract them onto speculative artificial beings as they attempt to navigate this terrain.

Relation to a larger context

In this next work I would like to create, I am interested in exploring the paradox of the nonhuman experience by imbuing it with deeply human traits that are ultimately unattainable due to its form. My work is situated deeply within the paradox of representation, in the zeitgeist of performative representation (embodiment/disembodiment) as an allegory of technology. Abstracting subjective experience to "give life" to the speculative creations in my work, and then combining the scenarios with aspects of network systems reveals how these extensional augmentations of experience can change significance. For example, by representing one individual as a multiplicity both highlights the dislocative aspect of network technology and an example of a paradigm shift of the meaning of experience.


Ian Cheng - Simulations
Matthew Barney - Cremaster Cycle
Cecil B Evans - What does the Heart Want
Camile Henrot - Dogs are Days
Sascha Pohflepp - Various works
Monira al Qadiri - Various Works
Chris Salter - Haptic Field
Hilma af Klimt - Various
James Turell - Various
Ghost in the Shell - Masamune Shirow
Invisible Cities/Cosmicomics - Italo Calvino