Topic outline

  • On campus location: Learning Centre | Oppimiskeskus, 2nd floor of the library, room 213 Eetu, Otaniementie 9

    Online zoom link: 

    (Note: This activity has been planned as an on-campus event.)


    The black box of experience and AR approaches to bridging, meshing, and connecting.

    By Jan Schacher, Professor of Music Technology, Sibelius Academy-University of the Arts

    What can artistic research do in articulating, connecting, crossing-over and bridging gaps, interstices and the continuously re-arranging relations that we experience in artistic practices?  How do we cope with the way relations are continuously juxtaposed with 'hard facts’ within our technicised society? How can we understand the implicit and explicit frames of reference that we integrate into practice when we work in direct (non-conceptual) connection with materials, bodies, processes, and technics? Have we clearly understood the paradigmatic shift from a static (object-based) ontology to a relational, fluid entanglement in a plurality of 'possibles'?

    The lecture "between data and experience" explores these questions from a departure point situated in the practice (of performing, doing, experiencing) connected to hybridising methods of technical mediation and mapping.

    If paradigms are frames of reference deployed by (scientific) communities to learn to recognise and treatproblems (Kuhn, Stengers), they constrain us to mainly operate at abstraction levels and through ideas as opposed to practices based on direct experience. 

    Yet, experience always contains a part of mystery, of the indivisible (invisible/intangible/ineffable) and it is located at the nexus of our doing. How can a translation be effected that creates a tangible, shareable common space that goes beyond the singular and personal, and what contribution do approaches from the measurement paradigm provide for this transformation?

    The measurement–modelling–simulation approach represents a paradigmatic framework for and from natural sciences. It has an increasing impact on culture through its presence in entertainment, design, and political/ economical decision making. The 'fetish' of facts, data, and models makes computation a dominant method used to understand, address, and take a position towards phenomena and ideas. For artistic research, the question concerning simulation, modelling, and symbolic abstraction then is what it provides as a means for 'getting a grip' on fluid relations in experience, in particular if they are operationalising the elements involved in the relation?

    As an example: motion capture studies of dance manage to capture and make representable the outwardly visible aspects of a moving body, but fail to transmit, touch upon, or unveil the intent and affect potential of that performance.

    Artistic research approaches provide a means to bridge the two poles of experience and data. They can do so by making explicit the silent assumptions in terminology, methodology and ideas (paradigm) imported from sciences and by thoroughly exploring the blind-spots and edges of the practice regarding addressing and articulating direct experience and technically mediated imagination.



    By Dominik Schlienger-Tuomi, Artist-Researcher-Developer

    In this presentation, I will question the presumption that the “digital revolution” the experience that “art has changed” due to “the digitalisation”, constitutes, per se, a paradigm shift. 

    As the use of quote-marks on the earlier terms indicate, I feel these concepts are not self-evident phenomena, and I propose that the apparent paradigm shift we experience in art due to “digitalisation”, “AI” and “computer technology” has not happened and is not happening as a change in our artistic-technical practices: Technical practices as embodied human interactions with the world have not changed paradigmatically through the use of of computational methods. I aim to revive the argument that new media is old media by reference to the linguistic nature of computer languages and algorithms. 

    Rather, I claim that the apparent paradigm change is a consequence of the gap between theory of technology and technical practice. The discrepancies of practice and theory in the life of “the modern” was the starting point for Bruno Latour’s “An Inquiry into the Modes of Existence”:

    Latour speaks of category errors: When we look for answers across modes of existence, we create quasi subjects in the process, that we endow with forces they might not actually have. My reading of Latour suggest that if we fictionalise the “machine” as a material entity rather than configurate it as a performed practice (a socio-material arrangement, as Lucy Suchman defines it), we are in effect endowing the emperor’s clothes with world defining powers. Eventually the question arises in whose interest that is happening.

    Latour argues “we have never been modern”,  that the paradigm shift to modernity has never happened. But living in this incongruence of theory and practice has become normalised to the extend that the recognition of that fact constitutes a paradigm shift nonetheless. The necessary re-conceptualisation of technology in the arts provides an example.



    Bruno Latour, An inquiry into modes of existence : an anthropology of the moderns. Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2013, translated by Catherine Porter.

    Lucy Suchman and Lucy A. Suchman, Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions, ser. Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    About Jan Schacher

    Jan Schacher is an artist-researcher and educator performing on stage and other environments, working with/through sound and presence. Trained as an instrumentalist, composer and digital artists, the focus of his practice has shifted from using sounds to be organised as music to seeing the body as the central site of action, perception, and culture, thus becoming the carrier of sounding performances. In his practice, he investigates how the musician's body, acting as resonator for sound's presences, establishes and grounds the intertwined relationship between inner and outer perception, between tangible musical actions and the intangible presence of sound, between the different subject's agencies towards, with, and through sound.

    His artistic works have been heard and seen in such diverse contexts as media festivals, improv music gigs, intercultural projects, and sound art investigations in urban space, and aim at linking the diverging, yet complementary strands into a comprehensive and comprehensible assemblage that functions both in the artistic and scholarly domains. 

    In parallel to his practice as an artist, from 2003 onwards, Jan Schacher was an Associate Researcher at the at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he led research projects on musical gesture, immersive media and sound, interaction, and its perception from a position of artistic as well as systematic research. Since 2021, he has been Professor of Music and Technology at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki.


    About Dominik Schlienger

    Dominik Schlienger is a musician-researcher from Switzerland. He was active in the Bristol music scene and performed on the West of England festival circuit from 1999-2011. In 2007 he graduated from the University of the West of England with a BSc in creative music technology, and in 2012 with an MSc in audio production. In 2013 he moved to Finland for doctoral studies at the Center for Music & Technology (SibA, Uniarts), where he defended his thesis in 2022. His doctoral project was a development project for spatially interactive technology in sonic arts. The thesis also engages with the role of technology in the arts and society on a more theoretical level.