Concordia University, Topological Media Lab
Contact: Michael Montanaro
The Topological Media Lab approaches media arts and technologies research as a creative endeavour that cuts across disciplines and fields of experience. The TML describes its atelier research as studying processes of “subjectivation, agency and materiality from phenomenological, social and computational perspectives.” It approaches this by suspending assumptions about what we think are ego’s, humans, machines, objects, and subjects, and think instead of transformations on things, and see how they emerge in play and process. This is informed by a continuous, rather than tokenized object or grammar-based, approach to material change, hence the “topological” aspect. Topology is a field of mathematics concerned with the non-metric (non-numerical) properties of space and the continuous, dynamic relationships through which space is constituted.
TML researchers investigate how people build, inhabit and use sensate or active matter. Philosophically, TML research draws inspiration from the phenomenology of the Merleau Ponty’s later writings, the questioning of representation and meaning by Wittgenstein, the philosophy of technology of Simondon, and ethico-aesthetic sensibilities of Guattari amongst other sources. The TML is both an atelier and a research laboratory for research in improvisatory gesture and movement from humane but also non-anthropocentric perspectives. Projects conducted in the atelier draw on and inform research in the areas of performance, music, media arts and embodiment theory. The topological experiments also contribute to ongoing research in the computational and natural sciences, seeking to understand the dynamic interplays of social, psychical and material space.