Irish visits UK for talks, research on artist Stephen Willats

CDI Project Coordinator Sharon Irish’s research on the London-based artist Stephen Willats has taken her to the UK, where she will deliver two talks during a month-long visit.

On April 28, Irish will speak to members of the Anticipation Research Group at the University of Bristol on Willats’ participatory, computer-based projects. On May 9, she will present her talk, “Stephen Willats and the Performance of Information Flows,” at a meeting of the Computer Arts Society in London.

Abstract: In the 1970s, artist Stephen Willats explored participation and interaction within an art context. He created the means to collect, sort, code, process, and use data to foster exchanges, essentially performing information flows using computers to help examine social systems. His Edinburgh Social Model Construction Project (1973) and Meta Filter (1973-75) enacted exchanges of information among groups, instantiating Willats’s cybernetic way of thinking.

In 2014, Irish received support from the Arts Writers Grant Program – funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation and administered by Creative Capital – for her research on Willats’ work. Irish is completing a book on Willats.

Irish is an historian with particular interest in community cultural development and urban spatial practices. Since coming to the GSLIS in 2007, she has focused her research on two artists who base their practice in communities – Willats and Los Angeles-based Suzanne Lacy.

Irish is active with FemTechNet, a collective of artists, scholars, and students interested in intersections of feminisms and technologies, and in Imagining America, a national consortium through which she works with other faculty on campus to catalyze publicly-engaged scholarship.

In addition to her role at CDI, serves as an advisory editor for the journal Technology and Culture. She has authored three books and numerous articles.

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