Visualising Invisible Networks as Collaborative Arts Practice


Session Title:

  • Networked Collaborations

Presentation Title:

  • Visualising Invisible Networks as Collaborative Arts Practice




  • The practice of collaborative art-making is interested in the “creative rewards of collaborative activity” (Bishop 2006). This paper explores the rewards offered by collaborative art projects that incorporate the practice of visualizing communications networks and networked objects. It does so by considering the following hypothesis: having knowledge of the underlying structures and dynamics of networks unveils the actors within networks (Latour 2005); and, gaining an understanding of the distribution of agency among network actors helps facilitate consciousness around participation in networks (Lovink et al. 2009).

    It is a response to Bruno Latour’s (2010) recent call to action that “we need to invent new ways to represent networks and new ways to make sense of them”; and, recognition of Roy Ascott’s (1989) assertion that “making the invisible visible” was “the great challenge of late twentieth century art” (Ascott 2003, 222). The paper examines cybernetics and the field of telematic art to gain a sense of how collaborative art and design practice can respond to rendering invisible communications networks visible.


    1. Ascott, R. 2003. Telematic Embrace: visonary theories of art, technology and consciousness. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    2. Bishop, C. 2006. The Social Turn: Collaboration and its discontents. Artforum International.
    3. Latour, B. 2005. Reassembling The Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies: Oxford University Press.
    4. Latour, B. 2010. Networks, Societies, Spheres: Reflections of an Actor-network theorist. Paper read at Annenburg Networks Network, at Annenburg.
    5. Lovink, G., G. Coleman, N. Rossiter and S. Zehle. 2009. From Weak Ties to Organised Networks: Ideas, Reports, Critiques. In Hogeshool van Amsterdam, edited by I. o. N. Cultures. Amsterdam.

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