Technological practice, relational being, non-anthropocentric being, the being of a space, and the space of being

04 Jun 2009

This article formally-thematically considers a notion of 'relational being', 'non-anthropocentric being', 'the being of space', and 'the space of being', in the context of current, past and prospective technological practice. These concepts are complex and none of them can be adequately explained in a single sentence, or even a paragraph. However it is intended that some sensing, comprehending of, and reflection on these notions is engendered through the evolution of this discussion. I am using 'technological practice' in a particular and crucial sense in this essay: referring to what might be thought of as an integrated epistemological process where art, philosophy, craft/technique and science were considered part of an integrated thinking-practice. The article re-considers the Buddhist philosophic concept of pratiyasamutpada (there is a glossary of non-English and uncommon terms such as this at the end of the article) - commonly known in English as 'dependent origination' - in the context of digital and new media art. In such context, the essay investigates Tannic thinking and practice that attempts to develop an integrated practice and dynamic entity of the body (artist and/or spectator), science, technology, art, philosophy, and nature. It discusses the veracity of such ideas in the context of particular new scientific insights. Furthermore the article interrogates a notion of a polyphonic T. Moreover, given the current proliferation of the worldwide web, the article discusses new ways of evolving current practice and thinking on themes related to the socialisation and mediatisation of 'difference'. Areas of formal and thematic investigation concern rethinking otherness, multi-culturalism, convergence; rethinking difference, identity, multiplicity, fragmentation; and developing a language of difference. The article is an evolution and expansion of an initial, shorter article on the theme (Ajaykumar, 2007). It also evolves ideas developed by the author in other articles, in public lectures, and in conference papers on related topics and disciplines. As readers may be unfamiliar with these texts, there will be some necessary repetition to assist the flow of this discourse. The nature of composition of the article approaches a form-theme synthesis, formally engaging with some of the concepts discussed. Moreover, here it interrogates the notion of 'practice as theory' and 'theory as practice'. This brings into question the notion of difference and distinction between the two, and the some time privileging of theory over practice in art and humanities research. Moreover this may have resonance with parallel approaches such as performance-lectures and lecture-texts of John Cage (Cage, 1973); as well as 'film essays', such as some of those of Chris Marker (1983); together with some of the textual strategies of Jacques Derrida. Of particular note is Derrida's text "Tympan" (1991, pp.146-168). Furthermore, the nature of the composition also serves to question conceptions of a polyphonic T.