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Bringing arts to the forefront at Mac’s new research centre The Centre for Networked Media and Performance aims to facilitate artist-centric research

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Drew Simpson

On June 26, the McMaster University board of governors, specifically the executive and governance committee, approved recommendation from the senate executive committee to establish the Centre for Networked Media and Performance.

According to the Oct. 18 board of governors meeting agenda, the vision for the CNMAP is “the production, exploration and analysis of new forms of expression, communication and collaboration enabled by networks and networking techs.”

As highlighted in the agenda, the approval for the centre comes as the rapid proliferation of technology continues to outstrip discussions about their human uses and impacts. At the heart of the technological revolution is the advent of “the network,” namely connections such as shared software, online communications and new electronic and data environments. 

“Humanities research has a special role to play in this context,” reads part of the agenda.

“Research and research-creation in the media and performing arts offer a setting in which new configurations of our networked landscape can be imagined, actualized, evaluated, and transformed in experimental ways.”

As of its launch this past summer, the CNMAP has been utilizing the networked imagination laboratory and the black box theatre in L.R. Wilson to organize workshops, conferences, interdisciplinary collaborations and other forms of artist-centric research.

According to the board of governors agenda, the centre has interest in hosting an interdisciplinary national sound conference at McMaster in 2019.

Some examples of the ‘nodes,’ or research spaces, that are said to comprise the centre include the cybernetic orchestra, pulse lab, networked imagination laboratory, software studies reading group and the sounds studies reading group.

The the CNMAP also connects these nodes through an online platform aimed at facilitating communication and collaboration.

Some anticipated CNMAP expenses include national and international conferences, server software costs for the online platform and the cost of graphic design and promotion, which can involve hiring undergraduate multimedia students.

Revenues allocated to these expenses include the seed funding of $40,000 by the humanities faculty vice president of research.

In its first semester, the CNMAP was involved with organizing and promoting a number of events, including four free live coding workshops and the “Imaginary Landscapes” exhibition, which occurred in Dec. 2018 and featured soundscape performances, a cybernetic orchestra concert and an informative artist-centric poster demonstration.

Students interested in receiving updates and getting involved with the CNMAP can contact David Ogborn, the centre’s director, at ogbornd@mcmaster.ca and/or follow the centre on Facebook and Twitter

 

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