Un­nec­es­sary Re­search, What’s the Point?


Session Title:

  • The Institute of Unnecessary Research

Presentation Title:

  • Un­nec­es­sary Re­search, What’s the Point?



  • Panel:  The Institute of Unnecessary Research

    This paper de­scribes the In­sti­tute of Un­nec­es­sary Re­search (IUR) from its in­cep­tion in 2005. The IUR is an in­ter­na­tional group of artists, sci­en­tists and philoso­phers ob­ses­sively in­volved in their own cu­rios­ity dri­ven re­search work­ing both (in­sid­i­ously) within and out­side of acad­e­mia. The struc­ture of the IUR is based on a typ­i­cal aca­d­e­mic model, with var­i­ous ‘de­part­ment heads’ re­spon­si­ble for their own spe­cific areas of re­search. Ap­point­ment to the IUR is ap­par­ently open but highly nepo­tis­tic (based on the aca­d­e­mic model). The re­searchers in­ves­ti­gate sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy from a wholly artis­tic par­a­digm, mak­ing wide and var­ied con­nec­tions, but work­ing solidly within their fields in such a way that their re­search could be of equal in­ter­est to the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity as to the artis­tic one. The re­search is widely dis­sem­i­nated via per­for­mance events and ex­hi­bi­tions within the com­mu­nity in a non-elit­ist way, with a view that any­one can un­der­stand any­thing, if it is ex­plained in a way that pro­motes un­der­stand­ing. Au­di­ence in­ter­ac­tion is also keyand often vis­i­tors to events par­tic­i­pate ‘hands on’ in the ex­per­i­ments/per­for­mances.