The research topic Moving in Multiple Directions at Once explores new directions for the field of mobilities research. The project uses aesthetic association as a motor to move the topic in various directions. Influenced by the concept of The Anthropocene, the research process and the research itself attempt to destabilize or decenter common human subjectivity by exploring patterns of individual fragmentation and emerging collectivity. In line with mobilities research, the project looks to further ideas connected not just with moving as one self, but as multitudes together with multiplicities.
1 Context (July 2014)
Networked Urban Mobilities Conference, November 5-7th. Stephen Lichty, David Hilmer Rex, Aslak Aamot Kjærulff, and Amitai Rolf Romm).
Research based on aesthetic exploration.
“ApArt” exhibition project on working life, December 4th. (David Hilmer Rex, Aslak Aamot Kjærulff and Amitai Rolf Romm).
Installation of a learning space in Copenhagen.
2 Initial interests (August 2014)
‘Collective learning spaces’ (what can conferences and art projects be and do)
‘Moving with constraints’ (how can mobilities be considered anew in the Anthropocene era with Earth scale, all-encompassing ecological shifts)
3 Initiation: A (early September 2014)
Real-time encounters between New York and Copenhagen were set up via Video-meetings (via Skype & Google hangout) combined with collective writing processes (on Google docs).
The two interests were expanded through open-ended conversations drawing on each participant’s associations and ways of framing interests. The writings created texts of emerging mutuality.
4 Initiation: B (early September 2014)
As the texts grew, a search began for black holes in our common interests. A search for incomplete strings of narratives, where blind assumptions define territory worth investigating.
An exploration was initiated for “where it really hurts” to look. Where a question hurt the curious.
5 Exfoliation (mid September 2014)
Re-writing of the text focused on grouping narratives or themes that had been gathered so far. The re-writings attempted to go deeper into fields that would be hard and interesting, paradoxical and productive. What was exfoliated, were interests that were looking for relations to complexity.
This lead to a narrowing of questions that were not looking for answers, only to be asked again and statements that directed attention without gendering a specific meaning into it.
6 Prompting: A (mid September 2014)
A prompt is something that provokes thought, by carrying an unresolved set of ideas or emotions to a group of researchers.
Collective writing and conversation sessions were set up to generate statements from the exfoliation. We looked to draw on our uncertainties, doubts and interests.
This synthesization helped to sharpen previously formulated narratives into one statement (a prompt), that generates imagination and curiosity and serves as a knot in a collective gathering of resources.
10 prompts were created
7 Prompting: B (late September 2014)
Choosing one prompt involved a short withdrawal from the research process and attuning to what they had set in motion.
Most importantly was to find a statement we all liked, and would like to spend time investigating further.
Picking one prompt was an attempt to search for a node that could generate associations for all involved researchers, without initially narrowing the potential outcome of exploring it.
A methodological shift from text-based platforms to the multi-media platform Are.na
8 Sourcing (October, 2014)
The sourcing of images, texts, videos, sounds, .gifs, websites, etc. were gathered individually or in groups and added to a collective platform.
Research sessions were organized to take place simultaneously in New York and Copenhagen to enable ongoing cross-explorations, conversations and comments to be made in real time.
Choices and processes where at once individually free, relationally affected by others and collectively engaged in conversations.
9 On-going Conversations (October, 2014)
Throughout the research sessions longer conversations were held to talk about the status, progress or hindrances in the work. This developed relations about what was moved within the other researchers, their well-being, imaginaries, dry runs, loneliness, distractions or frustrations or inspirations.
An important part of the research process was to learn about what the group of researchers were learning themselves - what is opening up or what is closing down.
Learning about the viable paths and dead ends of others helped navigating and discovering techniques of responding to the prompt, as it kept repeating itself.
10 Themes (late October, 2014)
Out of the pool of sourced materials a set of relations started to emerge.
The themes represent associative ways of responding to what moving in multiple directions at once can mean.
11 The conference (early November 2014)
Rhei is a research practice based in New York City and Copenhagen focusing on leveraging exploratory aesthetic research methodologies to orient, inform and inspire specialists in various fields. Our researchers are artists, curators and theorists working in the field of contemporary art. Our research takes the form of digitally sourced texts, images, videos and sounds that serve to create a novel context around a given research topic. The material is activated in group discussions, in which it operates as speculative, value and desire-laden vectors to help challenge, explore and elaborate core imaginaries specific to a project, its stakeholders and the broader socio-institutional context at hand. The work is engaged with formulating a context in which the identified task or problem, and the solutions or actions it prescribes, are recontextualized and considered anew.
Examples of recent projects include Hosting Intimacy and Risk for a museum in New York City, The Learning Institution and Productive Antagonism for an art institution in Kansas City, The Mobility of Ideas for The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference 2013 in London and The Wristwatch in An Age of Mobile Devices for a design company in New York City.