Ecologies of Practices Symposium – September 18th Events

Media Lab, Stadium, Gate 7, Suite 255
Grad + Faculty Workshop with Sha Xin Wei
(open to all grads and faculty – sign up required for presenters)

Students & researchers can present projects, demos and research ideas for response and discussion.

Graduate students and faculty from all disciplines are invited to participate in this workshop where Sha Xin Wei will respond to presentations of works and/or works-in-progress in a casual format. Six 30 minute presentation slots are available.

Please contact Teri Rueb (teri.rueb[at] if you have questions or wish to reserve a time slot. Participation throughout the duration of the event is encouraged so that we can share group dialogue and exchange across the entire group, and relate one presentation to another. Sign up at eventbrite.

Public Lecture (ATLAS 100)
Professor Sha Xin Wei
Director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering ASU
Ateliers for Prototyping Social Forms


Alchemy was the art of transmuting bodies and substances, the quick and the dead, the inert becoming vital, accidentals and essences becoming quintessences. Five centuries ago, alchemy was a practical and magical art, concerned with bodies and materials that are always suffused with ethical, vital and material power. Under the prism of the Enlightenment, such practices split into the practical (e.g. engineering or medicine), the scientific, and the arts of the imaginary.

But Isaac Newton himself was both the first modern scientist and the last alchemist. New insights emerge if we turn to knowledge-making before its fragmentation into physics, biology, psychology and philosophy, and to techne before its fragmentation into arts and engineering. Poiesis, the art of creation, precedes theory-building, and theory-building precedes methodology, because methodology repeats a process that no longer generates knowledge. Therefore the arts and humanities play a central role in creating fresh knowledge. But how can engineers and humanists learn more effectively from artists other than beholding their singular products, and vice-versa?

We propose to navigate the wicked problems of our age by imagining worlds other than what is at hand, and prototyping those alternatives. Such transdisciplinary work requires collective practice and respect: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I grant that you know what you’re talking about. So I’ll come back and work with you again.”

Sign up at eventbrite.