The underlying theoretical framework for the Neural String Network project originates from Telematic Art events and happenings of the mid to late 1980s, including my own involvement as an artistic contributor in events such as ‘Le Palais Idéal’ in collaboration with Roy Ascott in 1988, where the essential conceptual background is rooted in Roland Barthes’s ‘Death of the Author’ (1967). The Neural String Network reveals these origins of social networking that have since become embed in everyday contemporary digital culture.
Neural String Network is a hybrid practice-based project bringing together interactive arts, installation and performance as a creative research method in the form of an analogue computer system; a room installation, consisting of pulleys and washing lines, where it becomes possible for audience participants to peg a sheet of paper to a line and winch it across to other users at any one of five drawing table nodes. Representing the interconnected synapses and neurons of the brain, the role of each participant is that of cause and effect, a single instruction initiates a series of consequences that unfold in drawings, marks and patterns.
The fundamental research imperative behind the Neural String Network was to experience and better understand the creative potential and significance of shared collaborative telematics arts practice through an entirely physical model, spurning intellectual property in favour of open-content, making it possible to grasp the complexity of global networked communication as a tangible paradigm.
The Neural String Network was first prototyped at MediaCityUK Salford in March 2012 before being installed, presented and extensively documented at the College of Fine Arts Shanghai University in July 2012. The outcomes of these installations were further presented at the DRN12 Drawing Research Network Conference at Loughborough University in September 2012 and finally included in the Intellect Journal Technoetic Arts (Ed. Roy Ascott) in September 2013.
Project Web Site: http://www.paulsermon.org/string
DRN 2012 Proceedings: http://www.drawing-research-network.org.uk