DH seminar: Artistic practice to challenge and expand approaches to DH

Seminar by Sally Jane Norman, Director of the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī – at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.

The dynamic renderings of digital tools and platforms make it possible for humanities research to evolve from passive, text-based information systems to multisensory databases that actively relate to their users. Yet for all their potential to generate novel kinds of knowledge, the digital humanities are still largely constrained by the habitus of traditional scholarship, replacing desks by desktops or display systems that, however novel, tend to elicit fairly conservative behaviours.

Powerfully audiovisual, tactile, gestural and kinesthetic affordances of our latest computational systems thus remain largely subservient to the knowledge-seeking experiences and practices of bygone cultures. This stalemate belies the potential for digital humanities to engage in new kinds of multisensory exploration in our crafting of knowledge relevant for the 21st century. Drawing on digital arts experiments designed to exploit holistic sensory skills and synergies, I will attempt to show how radical creative approaches to computational resources might allow us to forge and tap into valuably critical, compellingly lively lines of research.

Professor Sally Jane Norman (Aotearoa-New Zealand/ France) is Director of the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī – at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to returning to New Zealand, Sally Jane co-founded the University of Sussex Humanities Lab, leading Digital Performance Research. Previously founder of Culture Lab at Newcastle University, and Director of the Ecole Européenne supérieure de l'image (Angoulême/ Poitiers), she has served as artistic co-director of the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam, and research associate on European Framework information technology projects at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe.

Sally Jane is a Sussex Visiting Fellow, Visiting Professor at Peking University, and ensures numerous international advisory roles. Holder of a Doctorat d’Etat and a Doctorat de IIIe cycle from the Institut d’études théâtrales, Université de Paris III, she has examined PhDs throughout Europe and Australasia. Her research as a performing arts theorist, historian, and practitioner addresses artistic practices in contexts ranging from ancient theatre to emerging forms of artificial life. https://people.wgtn.ac.nz/sallyjane.norman

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