About my research
What we seem to ‘see’ and know as perceptual experience cannot be taken for granted. Conscious perceptual experience, that which we think we know that we see and feel, and which we seek to make sense of, is a matter of cultural, sensorial and neurological conditions for experiencing things in a particular manner.
Theory on perception in relation to art has predominantly been studied in terms of how we ‘see’ art, multi-sensorially, and to meanings we attribute to art and reflections and interpretations we suppose that the art evokes. But the ubiquity of digital media and algorithmic processes challenges how we can account for a sense of perceptual consciousness. With an attention to digital art and urban, media aesthetic phenomena, my research examines perceptual experience with art and aesthetics in perspective of contemporary technogenesis. The concept of ‘technogenesis’ generally concerns our evolution with technology and the epigenetic effects of mediated experience. I develop the notion of technogenesis from a feminist materialist (or, neo materialist) position and explore art’s experience as an experiential place to question how we evolve with technics and digital culture.
I research, teach and disseminate in the domain of art, technology and digital culture. In my work, which also involves curatorial research and practice, I consider how digital culture conditions a particular environment for art’s perception, inquiry and existence; how, in this context, we can be analytically attentive to corporeal, neurological processes of perception and mechanisms of memory engaged by the temporalities and aesthetics of the digital; how we can nuance understandings of especially media-based art’s perceptual and cultural implications when it expands to environments of innovation; and how perceptual conditions of digital culture challenge established ontologies for art. I lean on philosophies, methodologies, tools and thinking frameworks from various disciplines – as well as academically anchored life experiences – which, in the theoretical or analytical experiment deem useful to examine how perceptual experience with art and other aesthetic phenomena is constituted. Rather than pursuing answers to epistemological questions, my research departs from concerns with ontologies of media aesthetic phenomena and how their experience condition us to sense in a particular manner and evoke a sense of possibility and change. This inquiry continues explorations into art as an anchor point of human consciousness and into how art’s sensibilities and political aesthetics entangle with the sensorial ecologies from which our cultures and innovations emerge.
My current research at the Center for Art as Forum at the University of Copenhagen, titled Art of our Times, explores an intratemporal ontology for art, when intersubjectivity (or, intercorporeality) is entangled with interobjectivity, referring to data-driven processes and relations among digital objects. I engage a temporal optics on how the art exists through temporalities that we live with and transform through. My work specifically addresses how temporality in aesthetic experience affects temporal processes of emotion and memory structures, neuronal connections, and eventually habits and intuitions underpinning cultural formation and social structures.
This research builds upon my recent work on memory and technogenesis in expanded reality experience at City University of Hong Kong, which examines how a sense of reality is technologically expanded (or, reduced) with art and media aesthetic phenomena and the sociopolitical implications this entails. I examine subjectivity as a transdisciplinary configuration, leaning on cultural theory, neuroscientific theory, computer science, optical innovation, feminist science studies and different philosophies of time.
My research (2018-2023) is supported by the Carlsberg Foundation.
Tanya Ravn Ag, Ph.D, is a curator and researcher. Her work examines perceptual experience, memory and technogenesis in relation to art and urban media aesthetic phenomena. She studied Media Studies at The New School and Modern Culture with a specialization in Urbanity and Aesthetics at Copenhagen University before gaining her doctoral degree from the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at Copenhagen University. Her dissertation explores a critical, temporal perspective on urban media art. She has taken up visiting research at Columbia University, The New School and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design (CuratorLab). In 2018-2020 she was a research fellow at the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong. Ag has taught at Copenhagen University and at various universities worldwide in the framework of the Urban Media Art Academy, which she co-founded in 2017. She is editor of Digital Dynamics in Nordic Contemporary Art (Intellect, 2019) and co-editor of What Urban Media Art Can Do – Why, When, Where, and How? (av edition, 2016). She is Chair of the IIAC, the International Advisory Committee to ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Art) and a member of various conference and gallery boards (Media Art Histories – RE:SOUND 2019, Media Architecture Biennale 2018, Human-Computer Interaction Conference (HCI) 2017 and 2018, Open Sky Gallery in Hong Kong 2015-2016).
Ag’s curatorial practice engages media art and media architecture in urban and hybrid environments. She was curator of the Screen City Biennial 2017 in Stavanger and led the biennial’s artistic research program. Since 2011 she has been associate curator of the Streaming Museum (New York City), and between 2012-2014 she was curator of the SP Urban Digital Festival and various public space exhibitions in São Paulo, produced by Verve Cultural. Her independently curated exhibitions include Voyage to the Virtual at Scandinavia House in New York City in 2015 and Here All Alone in a closed-down factory in Copenhagen in 2015.
Contact: tanyaravnag (at) gmail . com