Alchemy for the 21c (AME)


Alchemy for the 21c
Sha Xin Wei and Adam Nocek
School of Arts, Media + Engineering, ASU
12 February 2020


How can we live in a world which is always full of surprises, where bacteria outflank antibiotics, more data yields less understanding and Gaia herself shrugs off carbon capitalism with a fever? We’ll look at a few examples of queering art, technoscience and politics playfully and ethico-aesthetically, in the 21c: post-digital responsive media environments, quantum finance and non-anthropocentric design.


Sha Xin Wei PhD is professor and director on research leave at the School of Arts, Media + Engineering at Arizona State University, and directs the Synthesis Center for transversal art, philosophy and technology. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, fellow of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems and senior fellow of Building21 at McGill University.

Dr. Sha’s core research concerns a topological approach to poiesis, play and process. His art and scholarly work range from gestural media, movement arts and realtime media installation through interaction design to critical studies and philosophy of technology.

Trained in mathematics at Harvard and Stanford Universities, Dr. Sha has led the creation of reciprocally informed speculative philosophy, experimental art and visionary technologies. In 2001 Sha established the Topological Media Lab as an atelier for the study of gesture and materiality. From 2005–2013 as Canada research chair in media arts and sciences, and associate professor of design and computation arts at Concordia University in Montréal, he led the Topological Media Lab creating responsive environments for ethico-aesthetic improvisation.

Dr. Sha has published in the areas of computer science, human computer interaction, philosophy, media arts, experimental music and performance, science and technology studies, including the book Poiesis and Enchantment in Topological Media (MIT). He is an associate editor for AI & Society, and serves on the Governing Board of Leonardo International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.

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