The Turbine Plays; the role and legacy of art in addressing challenges for humanity

13:30 – 16:30 seminar/discussion - Auditoire Horta

16:30 – 17:00 wrap up

The Turbine Plays is a collaborative, art-initiated project that is focused on the energy transition and specifically on the opportunities, value, and challenges of art science collaboration on that journey. The TTP project originated in Groningen (The Netherlands), a region known for its history of energy production, decade-long gas exploitation and its current, necessary shift toward sustainable energy sources, most iconically, wind energy. The current, but growing TTP team fosters collaboration between artists and scientists from local to European level and involves various artistic disciplines, science, and humanities professionals, many of whom interested in employing existing and developing novel instruments to grasp and make sense of the energy that can sustain our and other species on our planet Earth for time to come. Together with the local communities and business initiatives we explore the impact of our energy needs and harvesting practices on our surrounding landscapes.

The project specifically focuses on sustainability of our daily lives and practices through facilitating a dialogue between the past and future and by bringing together different sectors in our society and create a common language, which not just brings us together but closer. We believe Art is a valuable, even necessary partner in the challenges we face, we thereby aim:

  • To engage citizens in the process of imagining new futures through art science collaborations.
  • Art Science connections provide an avenue for engaging multiple audiences to stimulate societal behavioral change towards sustainability.
  • Despite the common goal of art and science to motivate behavioral change, art in its many forms, provide a complementary pathway for engagement. Because it has the liberty to generate shifts in societal perceptions in ways that science does not.
  • Art is a catalyst to open a dialogue among the different stakeholders.

The upcoming Brussels event invites the participants to actively contribute to discuss how local challenges mirror global ones warranting collaborations at different scales. We believe that we cannot answer that question in Groningen alone, but that we must engage internationally with artists, scientists, and citizens in thinking new ways of imagining our future.

TTP invited Jack Ox and Peter Beyls, distinguished pioneers in the fields of Media Art, Science, and Technology, to discuss and give us their insight about the legacy of Art in questioning societal imaginaries. Accustomed to exploring various potential energy pathways, their expertise intersects with the realm of emergent processes.

Their presentations will serve as springboard for discussion on the role of art in societal challenges and specifically with The Turbine Plays.

Our guests are :

Jack Ox, Executive Creative Director of Intermedia Projects, is a trained artist with an MFA in visual arts from the University of California at San Diego and a Ph.D. from Swinburne University of Technology, School of Design, Melbourne, Australia. From 2010-2014, Ox was an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Music at the University of New Mexico. She was also Associated Faculty with Center for Advanced Research Computing during this time, and from 2005-2007 Artist in Residence and Research Associate at the ARTS Lab at UNM. She is a musicologist, having spent thirty years creating large-scale visualizations of extant musical compositions: Including Kurt Schwitters' Ursonate, Anton Bruckner's Eighth Symphony, Claude Debussy's Nuages, Igor Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements, and John Cage's 4 minutes and 33 seconds (4'33"). Ox created Intermedia Projects Inc in 2015. She is building The Legacy of Artist-Scientists with the other leaders in ImP. This online international archive will define the essence of art science for the general public. In her 2015 dissertation, Ox researched manifestations of conceptual metaphor and blending theories in science, design, and art, thereby showing the existence of these concepts before they appeared as written theories. Jack Ox has served on the editorial board of Leonardo Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (MIT Press) for over thirty years.

Peter Beyls is an interdisciplinary artist working on the intersection of computer science and the arts, active as a researcher, curator, educator, occasional performer, and software artist. Beyls studied at the Royal Music Conservatory Brussels, the Slade School of Art, University College London and holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Plymouth, UK. He was a professor of digital culture at LUCA Brussels and The School of Arts, University College Ghent, Belgium and visiting professor at various institutions in the US, Canada, and Japan. Beyls was a researcher at the VUB Artificial Intelligence Lab, Brussels and CITAR (Centre for Research in Art and Technology), UC Porto, Portugal. Currently, he is a visiting researcher at the FormLab, UC Ghent. His research interests include machine learning in interactive music systems, generative autonomy in machines, cognitive issues in software art and human-robot interaction. Beyls published extensively on various aspects of computational art. Two monographs document his work: Simple Thoughts (MER Publishing, 2014) and Coming Full Circle (Verbeke Foundation, 2019).


Organized by The Turbine Plays,

Founded by Frouke Wiarda  

Image : Stephan Balleux


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