Creative Encounters with Science and Technology

Legacies, Imaginaries and Futures

at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016
February 18-19, 2017

Supported by
Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru
CEPT University, Ahmedabad
Transtechnology Research, Plymouth University, Plymouth


Call for Participation


The convenors invite participants to present reflections, ongoing work and first-hand accounts, tracing concerns and motivations within transdisciplinary, creative encounters with science and technology. We encourage submissions in formats that will challenge boundaries and lend themselves to creative encounters and unconventional framings.

The broad themes around which we invite presentations are as follows:
● Experiential histories of science and technology in India (as understood through Art/Science/Craft/Design/Technology encounters) and their relevance now
● Aesthetics and imaginaries of Science and Technology
● Intellectual cosmopolitanism of artists, scientists, philosophers, educators, architects, planners via collaborative forums such as conferences, building projects and educational initiatives
● Legacies of technological/development architecture/infrastructure/ideology from the 1960s and 1970s
● Material and visual culture of technology in scientific practice
● Philosophies of infrastructures including participatory infrastructures
● Mappings of epistemic communities across social geographies

In addition we invite contributions on other themes you consider relevant to this framing of concerns.


Concept Note


By focusing on creative encounters, the symposium aims to amplify transdisciplinary negotiations of art and science via tangible technologies and intangible infrastructures, through social domains As a fresh wave of media ideologies enter India’s state policy, such as in the form of the Smart Cities Mission, the symposium provides a timely pause for reflection on the roots, legacies and consequences of participatory technological infrastructures, in India as well as on the global stage.

In the context of India, a thread we are interested in opening through the symposium is the cosmopolitan, critical discourse that took place in India through the 1960s to 1980s around the extent to which development technologies, such as television, space technology, farming methods and nuclear power delimited or extended agency. Sources from this time that retrace concerns for intimacy within large-scale infrastructure and its structural blind spots include Johan Galtung’s ‘Violence, Peace and Peace Research’ (1969), Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World (1971), Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (1977), Ivan Illich’s ‘The De-linking of Peace and Development’ (1980), and Ashis Nandy’s ‘Counter-Statement on Humanistic Temper’ (1981). In addition, the public discourse and activities of key technocrats in India’s media histories, such as Yash Pal and Vikram Sarabhai, forged connections between science, technology, design and the arts. The notion of transdiciplinarity, as used in recent times to describe temporary mobilisations of a range of disciplinary perspectives in order to engage with emerging problems (Nowotny, Scott and Gibbons, 2001), becomes a relevant analytical tool with which to reassess less familiar patterns of creativity within genealogies of art/science encounters.

Setting such discussions within the Kochi-Muziris Biennale draws attention to the performance of science as experience, affect and visuality, which marks artistic practices and intervention. It highlights the intimate contexts in which large-scale technological infrastructures are encountered. The symposium, as intervention, sets out to critically re-examine historical experiences in order to better negotiate future scenarios.


Submission Guidelines


We invite proposals for 20-minute paper presentations. Please send the title, a 300 word abstract of your presentation and a brief biography of the author/s.

The mail should be sent to: [email protected] and [email protected]
Last date for submission: December 18, 2016

If you would like to submit a creative work (e.g. film, performance, other format) please also provide a web link and details of technical and space requirements. There will be scope to present work at Mill Hall, Mattancheri (a large warehouse building that includes a Fab Lab maker space) on the evening of Feb 18, 2016, as well within the symposium.

We hope to be able to offer travel bursaries to participants not attached to institutions. Please indicate in your submission whether you would require funding to attend.




Dr Joanna Griffin is a UK artist who is currently a Teaching Fellow conducting postdoctoral research at CEPT University, Ahmedabad in the Faculty of Design. She is also Associate Researcher with Transtechnology Research, Plymouth University and former Artist-in-Residence at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, where she led a three-year project called Moon Vehicle that brought together space scientists, design students and children. As an artist she has held an International Artist Fellowship at the NASA Space Science Lab, UC Berkeley and devised a performance with scientists from the Mullard Space Science Lab in the UK. Her current research focuses on collaboration between the Indian space agency and the National Institute of Design that took place in the 1970s in Ahmedabad. She has presented in space industry conferences internationally and writes about the motivations behind transdisciplinary activities between artists and scientists.

Dr Muthatha Ramanathan is a human geographer who has conducted extensive ethnographic research into the use of remote sensing technologies by NGOs in Karnataka. In her dissertation research she developed a place-based critique of technocratic spatial planning in India. She is Faculty at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology leading the postgraduate programme in Land and Livelihood Studies. Her current interests are centred around researching and teaching across disciplinary boundaries, specifically working with design students to historicise design and thereby develop connections between the politics of place and difference, and art and design practices.