IM Issue 7, 2011 Editorial

Conference Proceedings
3-5 September 2010, Murdoch University, Western Australia


This special issue of IM Journal contains the proceedings of the Diegetic Life Form II: Creative Arts Practice And New Media Scholarship Conference co-hosted by Dr Josko Petkovic and Dr Ingrid Richardson at Murdoch University, Western Australia during 3-5 September, 2010.

The conference arose from and follows the Diegetic Life Forms and Diegetic Logic: Assessing Image-based Scholarship Conference held at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia in July, 2009. The aims of the conference in this issue of IM Journal can be readily discerned from the conference Call for Papers included below.

Call for Papers (extract): The creative arts sector is an expanding field within academia. In part this is because of an increasing student demand for production-based programs at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in part because creative works are endemic to contemporary culture, and in part because we are seeing the proliferation of participatory or ‘small’ media creativity in everyday life.

On the conventional scholarship side there is an increasing acceptance that practice-based scholarship is a valid way of approaching certain research questions concerning creativity and aesthetics. Similarly, the creative arts sector has gone some way towards accommodating conventional scholarship methodologies.

The coexistence of these two strands of scholarship within academia still leaves some unresolved questions. For example, conventional scholarship has reasonably articulate, predictable, objective and verifiable methodologies. Can we say something similar for the methodologies of the creative arts sector? Can these methodologies be described, measured, prescribed? How can such work be evaluated? What are the observables, the evidence and verification process of creative methods? What is the role of emotion, audience and impact in this verification process? What is the agentic relation between the subject and object of an artwork? How do we discern the difference between authentic creativity and remixed or reused digital content?

We proposed that diegetic life forms have always been fundamental to scholarship, and creative arts scholarship in particular. We offer this as our Creative Arts Manifesto. For us there is no such thing as a pure “facts” or pure scholarship, or even axiomatic science – except in Plato’s Dreaming. Facts are always social, situated and contextual. In this perspective every element of knowledge has a social existence and should be treated as an abstract form of life. Abstract life forms have an ontology that is comparable to that of organic life forms; they are made up of bits and pieces of discourse, machinery, relations, networks, words, images and sounds; they invoke perception, synaesthesia, phenomenology, affect and emotions as well as libidinal dynamics. When such created life-forms communicate and narrate – they become diegetic life forms.

We have invited submissions from both creators and theorists of diegetic life forms, whether they be cinematic, new media, performative, kinetic, interactive or participatory. Participants have been invited to contribute conventional and unconventional presentations, latent and manifest avatars, digital Frankensteins, copied body parts, reloaded matrices, web 2.0 participatory media, and remixed digital content.

We have also welcomed theoretical papers that explore the emergence, evaluation and assessment of creative arts practice in the context of:

  • phenomenology, perception and affordance
  • new media theory and practice
  • theories of affect and emotion
  • material and non-material ontologies
  • epistemologies or ‘ways of knowing’
  • agency (of artists, artworks, audiences, users)
  • ethics of production in image-based and participatory media
  • creativity and aesthetics

A selection of these Conference papers is published in this special issue IM Journal Issue 7. A number of Conference-related papers were also published in the previous IM Journal Issue 6 on Performance. These include papers by Ken Miller, Jane Gilmer, Martin Mhando and David Moody, and Serge Tampalini.