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Instruments are sites of exchange and dialogue that intertwine people and technologies. They are boundary objects that articulate practices and theories as well as enable encounters across cultures and disciplines. With the growing enthusiasm around “maker culture” and the forms of digital craft it promotes, how does our practice and conception of instrument-making evolve?

From scientific representation to artistic performance, whether classical clarinets, particle accelerators, or repurposed game controllers, instruments take widely diverse forms and serve radically different purposes. Eventually, instruments are the combination of an artefact – material or symbolic – and a scheme of use (Rabardel, 1995) : they are the stage of an encounter and collaboration between different forms of agencies (Pickering, 1995; 2010). With the help of “makers”, digital technologies and know-hows fluidly move from one domain to another. What are the new instruments that come out of those digital encounters?


Workshop objectives

The workshop will focus on methodologies for documenting, reporting, and writing collaboratively on instrument-making as an artistic practice. Participants will experiment with “observant participation” and “enactive ethnography” (Wacquant, 2015). Those methodologies emphasis first-hand experience and immersion into practice as ways to report and reflect on a subject of study.

In groups of 2 or 3, participants will engage in 2 days of making and 1 day of writing. If willing to, they will be invited to propose a project already in development around which to collaborate. During the workshop particular attention will be given to the tools and means appropriate for documenting in the making and writing collaboratively.

Out of the workshop we expect to get a better understanding of the multiplicity of instrument-making practices and to get an insight on strategies for observing from the participant’s point of view.

Contact: saunier.alexandre@yahoo.com // 514-663-5422