IN ANTICIPATION OF YOUR INTERVENTIONS:
Please see below for the local conference organizer's explanation and discussion of the structure of the ELO_AI conference and arts program.
- Maximize the number of plenary sessions.
- Resist the structures implied by the scheduling of one or two keynote speakers. Instead, schedule a relatively large number of plenary sessions, each of which are initiated by a 'Seeded' speaker.
- Integrate the academic and artistic programs.
THE SEEDED PLENARY SESSIONS
and how we hope to conduct ourselves
- For each seeded plenary, we will schedule a seeded speaker and four, rarely five other named presenters (from amongst those whose abstracts were accepted).
- Seeded speakers will begin the session with a 15 to maximum 20 minute presentation. Seeded speakers are also quite at liberty to take less time if they prefer. For the two double-seeded sessions, these speakers may have equal time.
- Chaired open discussion will begin immediately after a seeded speaker's presentation. However, at any time during this discussion, any of the other named speakers may request the Chair for their clear 10 minutes of plenary presentation time.
- After each of the named speakers has concluded (or used up their clear presentation time), chaired open discussion continues, until it, in turn, is interrupted by any of the remaining named speakers.
This structuring device is, of course, a compromise. Named speakers, in particular, are asked to give up time in exchange for plenary attention to their presentations. They are also asked to engage with the live discussion that we hope will be initiated by the seeded speakers and then make their interventions at a moment when they have a chance of provide some response to the active discussion as well as introducing their new or divergent materials. Named speakers are being asked to adapt their paper presentations on the fly.
We realize that this may not be palatable for some proposed named speakers who have already been accepted onto the program. We will also have a limited number Offshoot and Parallel sessions in smaller venues both for those speakers who strongly prefer to present their work in this way. There will also be schedule limitations that will enforce such alternative, and there some panel presentations for which we feel a specialist, parallel approach may be more appropriate.
We know that this will be somewhat controversial and there will differences of opinion about its effects, but we hope that you will enter into the spirit of this experiment in academic and artistic engagement.
Please also note that artist talks and artist presentations will be mixed in to these seeded plenaries and that artists are, therefore, also asked to adapt their presentations to these admittedly demanding conditions, once again, trading time for plenary attention.
It will be what we make of it.
CONFERENCES . INTERRUPT . SEEDED . ARTS . FESTIVAL
the following are John Cayley's somewhat more personal remarks
A conference and arts program such as this is a gathering of scholars and practitioners. What actually happens at the gathering depends on those who gather. Before they gather the contributors make submissions. They propose to do something, to make something happen. The formality of the gathering may frustrate them. It may require them to do something else. It may even make what they proposed to do impossible.
We are all familiar with these circumstances. They are inevitable, even in the best of all possible gatherings. However, during ELO_AI these circumstances are not only inevitable, they will be contrived. Why?
Because we would like to propose that we all take part in an experiment that is intended to enable and encourage — during the sort time available to us — precisely what is enabled and encouraged by gathering: discussion, interaction, conversation, critique. We are trying to challenge the usual emphasis on display, presentation, exposition.
We also have some empirical evidence that the type of structured pleanary session we are proposing can work well, as it did during the admittedly much smaller Interrupt 2008 festival here at Brown.
There is finally the simple and obvious fact that reading a paper viva voce to a small gathering, or a plenary even, often offers little more than would be or is offered by a printed or web-posted version of the paper. For ELO_AI we plan to have the papers available online before the conference opens, behind a registrants-only password, and we will pursue of selected proceedings in a reviewed, edited collection of this work.