Art of Listening to Matter: Co-creation with Artificial Intelligence

The third meeting of the Artistic Research Research Group will take place on Friday February 14th, 2020 from 13:00-16:00 at Theorie Trap, Fed Lev, Rietveld (Roeskestraat 96). This meeting is hosted by ARIAS (Amsterdam Research Institute for Arts and Sciences) and will consist of presentations contemplating AI’s existence in a research context, and defining that relationship.

A document with information for the session, including abstracts and biographies of the presenters, can be found in the accompanying PDF file.

This link will lead you to the shared ARRG file, where you can find the texts to be read.


Take that moment. Imagine you could carry, single handedly, all the particles of information that existed within the circumference of the earth within your brain. It feels somewhat impossible. Impossible to grasp such a grandiose amount of data flowing and ebbing, dynamic as the cloud(s). The predictions of Moravec and others on this ‘singularity’ often express concern, if such an entity were to be able to process such volumes, varieties, velocities, and veracities of data, in that such an entity might have a superintelligence beyond human comprehension. Tropes such as this attach little importance, however, to the difference between biology and computation. As Katherine Hayles puts it “responsible theorizing about [artificial intelligence] requires close attention to the materiality of bodies and computational media, a clear understanding of the recursive feedback loops cycling between them, and contextualizations of bodies and machines that reveal how meaning is created through the cascading processes that interpret information.” (p. 155, Cybernetics)
With the purpose to explore such contexts, this edition of In the Art of Listening to Matter: Co-creation with Artificial Intelligence, focuses on the meaning making for how researchers listen to artificial intelligence within their research contexts and practices. +-10 speakers each give 5 min presentations to contemplate: how does ai exist within their research context? and, how do they define their relationship with the ai in these contexts? This session is contribution led, and it is therefore necessary (and nice) that all those attending share thoughts, knowledge, and questions with the group to help form a collective wisdom.
This session will be voice recorded for ARIAS archival purposes. In the case you would like to remain anonymous please get into contact with [katie.clarke [at]] to discuss the possibilities of use.

Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries

Critical Issues in the Cultural Industries

9 EC Course at the VU offered by Ginette Verstraete

Along with the increasing mobility of goods, money, and people and the interconnectedness of cultures through digital media – known as globalization – issues of space and place have been back on the agenda in various disciplines and cultural practices. As if the so-called placelessness that comes with globalization has called forth a renewed attention to what gets lost. This does not mean that place and space in those discussions and practices simply refer back to rootedness, as opposed to movement. Rather, spatiality often gets redefined in relation to the physical and virtual mobilities through which it is reshaped. Interestingly, addressing such new questions about space & place in the arts, design and media also has far-reaching effects for ourselves since it enables us to take the objects of our research beyond their presumed autonomy – beyond the screen or frame so to speak – and into the streets.

Registration before 29 January 12:00 hrs. by sending a message to Please mention your affiliation.


Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene

Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene

ASCA Political Ecologies Workshop announces: Masterclass and Public Lecture with Dr. Cymene Howe (Rice University). Masterclass: Friday, March 6th @ 10:00-12:00 (Location TBA)

For the masterclass, Dr. Howe will discuss political ecologies in conversation with her recent book, Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene (Duke UP). Students can access the book as open access (PDF download) here:

Participants should read 1) the introduction, 2) the chapter on “wind,” and 3) Cristián Simonetti and Tim Ingold’s “Ice and Concrete: Solid Fluids of Environmental Change,” Journal of Contemporary Anthropology 5.1 (2018).

All interested in participating should email ASCA Political Ecologies Workshop organizers in advance:

Jeff Diamanti, Joost de Bloois:

The King’s two Bodies with Darby English

2020 KEYNOTE Lecture by Darby English
January 13, 2020, 19:00
Oude Lutherse Kerk
(Singel 411, 1012 WN Amsterdam)

Adapting a chapter on the less discussed legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. within the built environment from his book To Describe a Life: Notes at the Intersection of Art and Race Terror
(2019), English proposes an expanded role for art and aesthetic experience in our tense times.

Darby English is a professor at the University of Chicago, an Adjunct Curator for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the author of milestone studies on art and culture, including
How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (2007), 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (2018) and most recently To Describe a Life. He has also co-edited three timely volumes: Among Others: Blackness at MoMA (2019) with Charlotte Barat, Art History and Emergency with David Breslin (2016) and Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress (2007) with Ian Berry, Vivian Patterson, and
Mark Reinhardt. A renowned teacher and advisor, in 2010, he was the recipient of the University of Chicago’s Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the nation’s oldest such prize. Refusing reductions and encouraging rare insight, English makes art history into a new tool for urgent public debate.

To Describe a Life

Darby English

From the way this object haunted me, I learned that I’d been thinking about King for a long time: wishing he were still around, wondering how he might’ve evolved his radicality, or adapted his oratory to the sound bitten thrift of contemporary public discourse, or confronted the expansion of the black middle-class, or addressed the ongoing traumas of so-called development in urban centers, or failed differently.

Darby English, “The King’s two Bodies”  in To Describe a Life (2019)

In the final chapter of his new book To Describe a Life: Notes at the Intersection of Art and Race Terror (2019), the maverick art historian Darby English sets out “to describe rather than contain” a very curious object: Lorraine Motel, April 4 1968. This is a model of the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, produced by the design firm Boym Partners in 1998 as part of the Buildings of Disaster series. English considers the model from several angles: the past and present race terror, the struggle for civil rights, the illusive idea of racial integration, the “ unprecedented levels of nonerotic social intimacy” in the 1960 and the formation of (sometimes though not always shared) desires. In his hands, the object is never one thing – it holds multitudes. And by extension we come to understand Martin Luther King Jr. and his time with greater complexity. English tells of how, when he presented an early version of the chapter at Harvard University in 2016 with the model in hand, ‘everyone ignored the object’. For the inauguration of a new chapter of its operations, De Appel in partnership with Universiteit van Amsterdam makes room for Darby English to deliver his lecture with a fully considered staging of Lorraine Motel, April 4 1968. English’s deft narration of this all too relevant cultural history sets the tone for De Appel’s future programming, foregrounding event- and exhibition-making as a way of making history otherwise.

The model will remain on display after the lecture…until the end of February. In this setting, English will return to hold three open seminars with the Curatorial Programme participants and learning partners, based on his two previous books about ground-breaking (yet underexposed) art and exhibition making: 1971: A Year in Color (2016) and How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (2007). He will also venture into unpublished territory, or as he writes: “This invitation will serve as a much-needed prompt to start giving shape to some new ideas that I have been playing with since last summer. They are to do with water, life, and differences.” English’s fluid way of thinking and his gift in combining seemingly disparate concerns promises to bring together differently-invested people, who would not normally gather in the same space.

PROGRAMME / SEMINARS with Curatorial Programme participants and learning partners from NICA

WHEN : January 14, 15, 16, 2020, 11.00-16.00 hrs

For Graduate Seminar credit (2 EC):
Please register at :

WHERE: De Appel Aula at Broedplaats Lely,
Schipluidenlaan 12,
Amsterdam Nieuw-West

Open for credit to students of Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit, and members of NICA.
Participants without academic affiliation welcome.

Darby English leads a special 3-day seminar that guides participants through the development of an art history, a way of reading and lending context to the social life of art, that offers tools for serious engagement with contemporary urgencies. Three questions which connect the days arise:  How to perceive key works of art and artists’ practice, including their role as exhibition makers, in greater depth and dimension? (Greater especially than “instituted meanings of subjectivity and crisis representation”.)  How to make such art truly public? And how then, together, constituting a public, “to sit hard with and listen to what fights meaning and how?”   On each of the 3 days, English takes as a point of departure a different body of research: two published books and one book in the making:

14 January       1971: A Year in the Life of Color (2018)
with special attention to the “De Luxe Show” an exhibition integrating experiments in abstraction curated by painter, Peter Bradley in a former movie theater in Houston’s 5th Ward on the invitation of patrons Dominique and John de Menil.

15 January       To Describe a Life: Notes on the Intersection of Art and Race Terror (2019)
With special attention to “Differing, Drawn”, a chapter on the “Skin Set” drawings of Pope.l, forthcoming artist at De Appel in 2022.

16 January       ‘Purifroy/Robert’ a rare chance to hear about Darby English’s unpublished research
(There will also be an opportunity to discuss English’s recent research into MoMA’s collecting policy summarized in his editorial project Among Others: Blackness at MoMA (2019))

Please submit requests for participation with the heading “Darby English Seminar” to or to affiliated faculties.

For Graduate Seminar credit via NICA / OSK
Please register at:

WHY THIS HERE NOW?  English has forged a form of historically aware, expanded and fluid thinking that offers particular anchoring stories, which diverse audience can identify with, and interpretive tools for navigating social and aesthetic questions around racial tensions, but also desires for integration.

RECORDING :  Following the keynote lecture, an audio-visual record of the events will be produced for De Appel’s Archive and for enduring dissemination, most widely via Podcast as this medium is increasingly attracting audiences interested in longer-form, essay-style content.

PARTNERS: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (Prof.Dr. Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes)

TBC, additional: Rietveld General Studio on Color (tbc: Vrije Universiteit, Black Archives, Research Center for Material Cutlure, Iris Kensmil (artist whose presentation at 2019 Venice Biennale featured English’s book How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness)

OUTREACH: will be broad, including students, teachers, plumbers, politicians – everyone is welcomed through a poster campaign that announces To Describe a Life as a Show & Tell Experiment that inaugurates De Appel’s full-year use of the Aula at Broedplats Lely


Creative Writing Workshop by Jane Lewty

Creative Writing Workshop by Jane Lewty

17 or 21 January 2020


17 January 2020 | OMHP, Oudemanhuispoort, Amsterdam, room C 0.23
21 January 2020 | PCHoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam,  room 5.59

In this day-long workshop, participants will examine texts that interact with the creative process in a variety of ways, as models and prompts for our own narratives. What happens to prose writing when we engage with other constructions of language? What kinds of actions might be foregrounded, complicated, or transformed? How do we write something new?

The event will be divided into two sections; the first will take the form of a short lecture on current trends, patterns and concerns of creative writing practices. Focus will be given to hybridity as form, by expanding our definitions of “crossing genres” and questioning the binary of the poetry / prose definition. Then, we will look at contemporary writers whose work subverts narrative practice, and who have embarked on collaborative acts across mediums with artists, dancers, scientists, architects and musicians. Through short creative writing experiments, participants will investigate the ways in which sound and image can interrupt, complicate, and layer a text, as well as the reasons a writer might embrace this multimodal, multivocal form.

The second section will focus on the craft of writing. Participants will learn contemplative practices that ground mind and body in active attention, invite curiosity, and prompt new directions for their ongoing academic work. Part of writing creatively is to be aware of a space that is equally open to possibility and failure; in our explorations, we will see that “failure” can also be innovative. We will take chances with form that may bring surprise and insight, and build a space for writing in which original compositions are able to appear. At the end of the session, participants will have produced a short creative manuscript that both reflects their immediate embodied experience, and is in some way responsive to the texts we have consulted throughout the day. All disciplines are welcome, since the objective of this writing workshop is to see how genres can merge and perform alongside one another.

This workshop will be of interest to current PhD students who not only wish to investigate the correlation[s] between creative and critical writing, but also want to expand their knowledge of cross-genre work. Students undertaking the rMA at NICA and OSL will similarly be energized by writing exercises and research strategies that may compliment their existing practice. They may earn one or two credits for their involvement.

Registration contact: Eloe Kingma at Please mention your affiliation.

Jane Lewty is the author of two collections of poetry: Bravura Cool ( 1913 Press: 2013), winner of the 1913 First Book Prize in 2011, and In One Form To Find Another (Cleveland State University Press: 2017) winner of the 2016 CSU Open Book Prize. She has also co-edited two volumes of essays: Broadcasting Modernism (University Press of Florida, 2010) and Pornotopias: Image, Desire, Apocalypse (Litteraria Pragensia, 2009). She is currently collaborating with the Dutch artist Jennifer Tee in a series of multilingual performance pieces on ecology. At present, she teaches History of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and she has held faculty positions at universities in the UK, USA and The Netherlands