The Useful Fictions Symposium takes place from Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, to Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, at École polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, France. Within the defined framework of Useful Fictions, research activities unfolds in the laboratories outlined below. These research engagements runs continuously from Monday to Friday in conjunction with guest lectures and group discussions.
LAB 1: CLIMATE MEASUREMENTS at the Site Instrumental de Recherche par Télédétection Atmosphérique (SIRTA) Observatory, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL)
Host: Imma Bastida (École polytechnique)
Victoria Vesna (ART | SCI Center, University of California, Los Angeles)
Alexis Tantet (LMD, École polytechnique)
Graduate Fellows: Vera Fearns, Ryan Cook, Guglielmo Zalukar, Tyler Lutz
“Dust has long blown across the Atlantic from Africa, but only during the past several decades of satellite observations have we begun to appreciate the vast scale of these events,” wrote Norman Kuring, a member of the ocean color group at NASA Goddard. “Estimates of the dust transported run to hundreds of millions of tons per year, yet we still know relatively little about the effects on phytoplankton productivity, climate, and human health.”
>> More information on SIRTA Observatory (IPSL) can be found via the website: https://www.ipsl.fr/en/.
LAB 2: A MICROCLIMATE OF ONE at the Laboratoire d'hydrodynamique (LadHyX)
Host: Jean-Marc Chomaz (LadHyX, École polytechnique)
Tim Hyde (Department of Art, University of California, Davis)
Stuart Dalziel (DAMTP, University of Cambridge)
Independent Artist: Jenny Dalziel
Assistants: Anouk Daguin, Olga Flor, Nicole Vereau-Kraemer
Graduate Fellows: Peter Hoffman, Beatriz Tatiana Avendaño Peña, Nathalie von Veh
A collaboration between researchers in contemporary art and physics, this lab is a participatory art installation in which synthetic Schlieren photography is used to produce real-time photographic portraits of participants through visualizations of the invisible atmospheric plumes produced by the heat flux and convection of the human body.
>> More information on LadHyX can be found via the website: https://www.ladhyx.polytechnique.fr/en/.
Keywords: plume, art installation, climate, photography, visualization, atmosphere, future
LAB 3: 4D Additive Manufacturing: From Print to Animation at the Laboratoire des Solides Irradiés (LSI)
Host: Giancarlo Rizza (LSI, École polytechnique / CEA/DRF/IRAMIS, CNRS / DISAT, Politecnico di Torino)
Antoine Desjardins (Reflective Interaction, EnsadLab, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs)
Simone Leantan (Politecnico di Torino)
Laurent Karst (Artist, Chaire Arts & Sciences / École Polytechnique)
Graduate Fellows: Jean Menezes, Nathanial Gilchrist
Bringing the dynamics of life into inanimate objects is the new realm of additive manufacturing. This novel mindset is also called “4D printing” and uses advanced materials that respond to the influence of external stimuli or energies to program the actions of a printed object. The objective of this workshop is to fabricate/use/experiment with magneto-responsive soft polymers to mimic the behavior of nature. 2D planar structures of magneticresponsive soft polymers are used to exploit origami and kirigami folding and unfolding processes. Throughout the workshop, participants speculate on possible near-future applications of 4D printing: what real-life environmental changes could be used to animate the 4D object and how might it physically react in response?
>> More information on LSI can be found via the website: https://portail.polytechnique.edu/lsi/en/.
Keywords: Additive manufacturing, 3D/4D printing, photo-curing, magnetic nanoparticles
LAB 4: DATA MATERIA at the X-Fab prototyping space
Aline Becq (Direction Entrepreneuriat & Innovation, École polytechnique)
Gareth Paterson (Direction Entrepreneuriat & Innovation, École polytechnique)
Jiayi Young (Department of Design, University of California, Davis)
Samuel Bianchini (Reflective Interaction, EnsadLab, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs)
Ianis Lallemand (Reflective Interaction, EnsadLab, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs)
David Bihanic, honorary (University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne / Reflective Interaction, EnsadLab)
Filippo Fabbri (C2N & IUT de Cachan, Université Paris-Saclay / CNRS)
Jeanne Bloch (Artist, Chaire Arts & Sciences / École Polytechnique)
Graduate Fellows: Elín Margot, Jacklyn Brickman, Raphaelle Kerbrat
This workshop invites participants to consider the concept of data as an abstract representation of our relationship to larger truths embodying the capacity for infinite possibilities of reification. Based on datasets, such as those from climate science and other sources, we will create and design new narratives, fictions, and utopias/dystopias. Together, we will imagine and materialize the creative manifestations of data occupying indoor and outdoor physical spaces that invite the rethinking of measurements in its relationship to the story we construct.
>> More information on the Fablab can be found via the website:
Keywords: data, representation, embody, reification, materialization, climate, measurements, story, narrative, fiction, utopia/dystopia
LAB 5: MAKING, ENGAGEMENT, AND REFLEXIVITY
Manuelle Freire (Chaire Arts & Sciences / EnsadLab, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs)
Aniara Rodado (PHD Candidate, Arts & Sciences, École Polytechnique)
Research Associate: Pedro Soler
Graduate Fellows: Teresa Margaret Carlesimo, Elisheba Fuenzalida, Matthew Ledwidge, Stefan Laxness, WhiteFeather Hunter
Scientific "truth" is constructed in an iterative negotiation between epistemic, methodological, and technical questions. Constructs – like ‘temperature’ as argued by Hasok Chang (2007) – are invented with the instruments that allow different concepts to be measured. Science is, in this sense, an arbitrary measure to assess “real” conditions. What other possible constructs and instruments have been or are being overseen in the histories of science and hence deprived of their own validity? What narratives and forms of knowledge are disavowed in the authoritative face of the Scientific Method? Into this group, we invite experts, researchers, and story-tellers of non-mainstream and fictional histories of science or vernacular knowledge, including of queer and feminist theories, who are interested in integrating other groups and pointing into unforeseen avenues of inquiry or proposing alternative, but useful, fictional constructs and instruments.
Keywords: histories of science, speculative narrative, situated knowledge, epistemicide, ecological crisis