Ms Jane Grant
Profiles

Ms Jane Grant

Associate Professor (Reader) in Visual Arts

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)

Role

I am a Principal Supervisor of The Planetary Collegium, an International Research Platform which promotes the integration of Art, Science and Technology and Consciousness Research under the rubric of Technoetic Arts. It is based at Plymouth University and has nodes in Lucerne, Trento and Shanghai. Currently there are 43 Doctoral candidates enrolled in the Collegium and 53 Ph.D graduates since its original inception. Since 2010 I have worked with PhD students at sessions in Trondheim, Kefalonia, Shanghai, Cairo, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Prague. The Planetary Collegium was the winner of The World Universities Forum Award for Best Practice in Higher Education in 2011.

I am co-director of the Art and Sound research cluster in the School of Art and Media at Plymouth University. There are many aspects to my role including research mentoring, advising with management of publication,grant proposal writing, and public dissemination of work. We operate a regular formal research meeting, which includes opportunities for staff and research students who are located in the Art and Sound Research Cluster to present on-going research. My role as co-director of the Research Cluster involves the organising of research seminars across disciplines and inviting speakers. I have organised and chaired several Research Symposia including NeuroArts Plymouth (2010 and 2012) NeuroArts Istanbul 2014, NeuroArts: Noise in Sydney 2013 and The Undivided Mind, Plymouth 2015, the proceedings of which I was asked to curate as Guest Editor of a Special Issue of the Journal, Technoetic Arts (The Undivided Mind 2016). We also work collaboratively with Regional Institutions including the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery where we co-produced  theArtists Rooms locative sound exhibition at alongside Gerhard Richter’s work. This project involved the coming together of several distinct Institutions within the city in addition to the City Museum; The University, The College of Art and dbs Music.

I teachon the Media Arts BA and have in the past run many modules includingCollaborative Practice. Currently I have been working with final year studentson the Dissertation Module.

Teaching interests

I am currently one of the PI’s on CogNovo, a 4.2 million Euro Marie Curie ITN (2013 – 2017). This single site interdisciplinary project employs 26 students to complete a fully funded PhD across many disciplines in Novelty, Cognition and Creativity. I am on the supervisory team of three of the CogNovo students and I am member of the Research Dissemination Committee. As part of the CogNovo project I work in a number of teams, managing collaborative relationships with staff and with students on secondment at several institutions internationally including the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Kin Design, London and (from May 2016), Google New York. In January 2016, I co-organised and managed the week long Social Creativity workshop for the 26 students.

I am a Principal Supervisor of The Planetary Collegium, an International Research Platform which promotes the integration of Art, Science and Technology and Consciousness Research under the rubric of Technoetic Arts. It is based at Plymouth University and has nodes in Lucerne, Trento and Shanghai. Currently there are 43 Doctoral candidates enrolled in the Collegium and 53 Ph.D graduates since its original inception. Since 2010 I have worked with PhD students at sessions in Trondheim, Kefalonia, Shanghai, Cairo, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Prague. The Planetary Collegium was the winner of The World Universities Forum Award for Best Practice in Higher Education in 2011.
I currently have 22 PhD students, one completion (two completions to come in April/May 2016 and a possible further three by October 2016). Their research ranges across gaming,locative media, dance and performativity, sound installation and trauma theory. One of my main aims in working with PhD students is to advance artist-engaged methodology and writing. I have examined 6 PhDs to date and chaired 2 vivas. 

I have been teaching in Higher Education for 20 years. AtUWIC I worked in the sculpture department, where I taught studio practice andintroduced a seminar programme where students presented work related to theirstudio work and thesis therefore forming a bridge between theory and practice.I have taught B&W and colour photography, digital film, 16 mm film, sculpture,installation, site-specific practice and sound. I have lead around 30 modules onBA Media Arts at Plymouth University and BA Visual Arts notably in developingthe Collaborative Practice Module, one of the main strands for final yearstudents. Here I introduced archiving processes, collaboration and creativity,interdisciplinarity and management of large-scale projects. I have a great dealof experience in curriculum development and was team leader for the developmentof a new undergraduate BA in Sonic Arts. Presently I work with undergraduatestudents on BA Media Arts on the Dissertation Module and give lectures in theCritical Studies, and Media Essential modules.


Research interests

I am co-director of the Art and Sound research cluster in the School of Art and Media at Plymouth University. There are many aspects to my role including research mentoring, advising with management of publication,grant proposal writing, and public dissemination of work. We operate a regular formal research meeting, which includes opportunities for staff and research students who are located in the Art and Sound Research Cluster to present on-going research. My role as co-director of the Research Cluster involves the organising of research seminars across disciplines and inviting speakers. I have organised and chaired several Research Symposia including Neuro Arts Plymouth (2010 and 2012) NeuroArts Istanbul 2014, NeuroArts: Noise in Sydney 2013 and The Undivided Mind, Plymouth 2015, the proceedings of which I was asked to curate as Guest Editor of a Special Issue of the Journal, Technoetic Arts (The Undivided Mind 2016). We also work collaboratively with Regional Institutions including the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery where we co-produced  theArtists Rooms locative sound exhibition at alongside Gerhard Richter’s work. This project involved the coming together of several distinct Institutions within the city in addition to the City Museum; The University, The College of Art and dbs Music.

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/other-venues/display/gerhard-richter-plymouth-city-museum-art-gallery

I am currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Sound Art with John Matthias (Plymouth University) and David Prior (FalmouthUniversity), a large reference work aiming to explore and interrogate the current state of the field in this exciting emergent research area, which will be published by OUP (New York) in 2017. As editors, we will be commissioning 42extended essays including 7 from internationally recognised ‘Theme Leaders’ whom we have already recruited, co writing the introduction, and writing a chapter.This is an international enterprise with authors coming from most continents of the world.

Other current ongoing projects include:

The Anomaly (working title) soundinstallation, Jane Grant, new work about black holes and the multiverse, inprogress.

The Oxford Handbook of SoundArt, OxfordUniversity Press, New York, (edited by Jane Grant, John Matthias, David Prior,introductory essay written by Jane Grant, John Matthias and David Prior).Single authored article, Feeling theintangible (working title), Jane Grant. Publication date: 2017.

Inbetweeness: Between Minds,Bodies and Worlds,(edited by Sue Denham, Jane Grant, John Matthias, introductory essay by SueDenham, Jane Grant, John Matthias). Single authored article: Jane Grant, Routledge, (in negotiation) 2018.

The Anomaly: noise, ghosts and the multiverse, single authored paper for ISEA Hong Kong, 2016.

Bruising the Infrathin: black holes, ghosts,otherness and the multiverse, (working title) single authored article for Environmental Humanities, specialedition, edited by Istvan Praet. 2017.

TheFragmented Orchestra 2008/9 Jane Grant, John Matthias, Nick Ryan

 

The Fragmented Orchestra was the recipient of many awards and grants including the PRS Foundation New Music Award 2008 (likened to the Turner Prize in music), an Honorary Mention Prix Ars Award 2009 with significant national press coverage. TheFragmented Orchestra was exhibited at FACT in Liverpool as part of theLiverpool Biennial and simultaneously at 24 locations across the UK, including the National Portrait Gallery, The Roundhouse, Bronte Museum,and Kielder Observatory. The Fragmented Orchestra was also funded by The Wellcome Trust (Public Engagement Award), Arts Council England with contributions from several commercial partners.

http://www.thefragmentedorchestra.com/

 

Ghost 2011 Jane Grant

My sonic artwork Ghostwas exhibited in ISEA Istanbul 2011 and the Istanbul Biennial 2011.

In thiswork a model of a small artificial cortex based on the Izhikevich spiking neuronal network model was developed and connected to eight microphones and eight loud speakers. The model was ‘memory embedded’ in the sense that sounds had been previously implanted into the ‘cortex’. The work was premiered at ISEAin Istanbul/ Istanbul Biennial and installed in Maksem, a beautiful old building in Taksim Square. Once installed, live sounds picked up by the microphones outside of the building (the microphones were attached to the windows) stimulated artificial spiking neurons modeled in the computer to ‘fire’, sending small fragments of sound to the eight speakers inside the building. If the external sounds fail to reach a particular threshold in the model, the ‘memory embedded’ sounds begin to be heard. Over time, the external sounds start to embed themselves into the model, gathering sensory information and sonifying both the past and the present. If these sounds fail to reach a certain threshold, the cortex will journey around its own architecture,re-visiting older, established pathways, using its ‘memory’ as buoyancy when external stimulus dies away. This memory is its own internal noise, its earliest and primary stimulation. These sounds are heard as ‘sonic ghosts,’ aterm I have used to describe internal or endogenous noise embedded in the cortex, which reoccurs when the external stimulation is low or not present in the gallery space.

Plasticity, Jane Grant, John Matthias, Kin, Nick Ryan, 2012.

Plasticity was exhibited at the onedotzero festival at the BFI, London, at the Google CampusLondon and at the HWK Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Germany.

Plasticity is a discrete participatory sound and light artwork comprising 6microphones and 16 speakers within one large room. This work was concerned with the sonification of spiking networks of neurons heard through the context of the human voice. The computer model runs a network of 100 artificial neurons and records the input sound made by the ‘audience’ into the microphones, and retriggers short sections of this sound when one of the neurons ‘fires’. The neuronal network is driven by a noisy signal keeping the system ‘buoyant’ and has an additional algorithmic ‘plasticity’ code, which changes network connection strengths according to causal firing between the neurons, mimicking simple ‘learning’. When the neurons ‘fire’, the corresponding LED light also lights up causing cascades of firing events to create a scattering of light and recorded live sound across the speaker network. A chorus of voices performed byThe Holst Singers was fed into the work as it opened at the BFI. This chorus then underpinned the work forming a sound bed over which public participation took place.

The proximity of the speaker array to the microphones afforded the participants a visual overview of the work as a whole so that they could see and hear their contribution and its effect on the instrument. This work focused specifically on the voice, therefore microphones were placed strategically and grouped to together encouraging audience participation. As the participants perform they build emerging rhythmic structures using their voices or sound.

In 1908 Bergson wrote ‘A remembered sensation becomes more actual the more we dwell upon it, that the memory of the sensation is the sensation itself beginning to be’. And one might make an analogy here with Izhikevich’s models of spiking neurons where, deprived of external stimulation and drive/n by noisy currents, the model re-visits older neural pathways and clusters formed by external stimulation, these pathways correspond exactly as if the external stimulation were present. Izhikevich concludes; ‘Such ‘thinking’ resembles ‘experiencing’ the stimulus.’  

Fathom, Jane Grant, John Matthias 2013.

Fathom is large-scale sound art installation commissioned by The River Tamar Project that creates a sonic boundary 6ft (a fathom) above the surface of the earth. On entering the installation space, visitors are immersed in an underwater sound environment where the minute or vast fluctuations of the sea are heard as they move around the space. These fluctuations are marked by waves of live and recorded sound moving across the building triggered by environmental events. Above the fathom, over the 6ft surface of water, airborne live atmospheric sounds were just detectable, drawn from birds and human-made sounds. Those who wished to elevate themselves above the surface are able to climb up small steps thereby lifting their heads above the ‘fathom’, above the watery sonic surface and into the volume of ‘air’. The sonic boundary between air and water is created using cutting edge technology in an unusual way. The sound system uses Multi-cellular Array technology to generate a very precise sound field, through the manipulation of phase,amplitude and equalisation. Sound is thought of as pervasive, it is everywhere and unlike vision we cannot turn away from it. Fathom shifts our perception of this phenomenon, creating a vase but specific volume of sound, with a definite but mutable boundary that differentiates the world of water from our world of air. The surface is a boundary form within a three-dimensional air space, a sculptural plane that ruptures the expectation of transmission and dissipation, a boundary between an under water sonic world and our familiar acoustic territory but all taking place within our acoustic domain inside the installation space.

 

Soft Moon, Jane Grant, CGI film installation, (2010).

Soft Moon is a computer-generated film I made with Kin, a London-based Research and Design studio, in 2010 that explores the reciprocal attraction of two planetary spheres: the Earth and its Moon. The work is drawn from GeorgeDarwin’s Fission Theory, from Henri Bergson’s significant work Matter andMemory  and writer and journalist Italo Calvino’s short story also titled “The Soft Moon”. Bergson writes: “All division of matter into independent bodies with absolutely determined outlines is an artificial division”. The ideas in these works are intriguing; in my film there are shown two seemingly independent bodies in space. In effect their autonomy is ambiguous, as the surface of each sphere mutates in a mutual exchange of matter, emphasising that mass is a density of matter rather than a sovereign state. The film Soft Moon depicts the intensities of exchanges between things, makes visible the unseen: the tiny particles of lost matter, the undigitized dust not entered into astrophysical models. The surfaces of these worlds, ruptured by their encroaching proximity, become strange and uncanny,deformed by the intensities of the exchanges caused by the attraction of the two celestial bodies. In my series of accompanying drawings and in the film itself, tendrils of fluid matter and dust are depicted rupturing the boundaries of the surface of each world, splitting apart the internal gravitational structure.

I was recently invited to talk at the anthropology symposium, Frontiers of Life.Convened by Istvan Praet (University of Roehampton), Frontiers of Life is concerned with the ethnographic exploration of Astrobiology andPlanetary Science. Following the conference I was asked to contribute an article to be published in the Journal EnvironmentalHumanities in 2017. This area, Astrobiology is one that I wish to develop much of my research in. 

I have recently been asked to be on the advisory board of the new Bloomsbury Academic Book Series, ex:centrics.‘A series of books on contemporary art and music examining people, practices and movements from the space in-between, neither mainstream nor underground.’

 

I have been invited to Brisbane, Australia inJuly 2016 to give a series of talks at The University of Queensland, by author of Noise Matters: Towards an Ontology ofNoise (2013), Greg Hainge. Prof Hainge, Paul Hegarty, (University CollegeCork), Stephen Kennedy (University of Greenwich), John Matthias (PlymouthUniversity) and myself are also currently writing a networking grant application to the AHRC that deals with cultural and sonic aspects of noise.

 

I reviewed the Oxford Handbook of Computer Music for Leonardo Reviews. I have alsorefereed papers and articles for Leonardo and for ISEA (2010-). 

In 2006 I was awarded an AHRC grant for Threshold- Merging the Human Voice with Neurological Time Patterns to develop the Neurogranular Sampler. As Principle Investigator on this project I worked with programmer, Tim Hodgson and creator, John Matthias to develop a user interface for the sampler. This incredible instrument, the first of its kind, uses models of neurons firing to stimulate sound patterns. In terms of scientific enquiry there has been much recent interest in the idea of ‘moment’ and specifically how neurons with intrinsic time patterns in the millisecond range can give rise to thoughts that may last for a lifetime. This work has increased our scientific understanding of the processing or cortical part of the brain; the duration between the sensing and the action is thought to be created by the formation of polychronous groups of neurons in the cortex (Izhikevich et. al.). This gives us the very beginnings of a microscopic understanding of the processing(or thought) that occurs between hearing and action. (Hopfield and Brody,Ikegaya et al, Izhikevich et al.) For me, this research and development came from an interest in philosophical and theoretical concepts of consciousness that I had been working with for some time. In working and composing with this system we are biginning to make audible the processes of thinking, of sensing, of experiencing. This research developed intoThe Fragmented Orchestra (2008/9), Ghost, (2011) and Plasticity (2012). As PI on the grant I worked closely with the team developing and both the user interface but also the scope of the sampler,what it might do, how it would sound. There was a specific aesthetic quality and use of sound that I needed. My goal was to make the Neurogranular Sampler a musical instrument rather than a sonic illustration of firing patterns in the brain. The result is a much more versatile and aesthetic instrument. The team was funded by Plymouth University to develop the interface further. We worked with Kin in London to develop a visual language to convey the complexities of the instrument; firing patterns, inhibitory and excitatory neurons, grain sizes,stimulus etc.https://vimeo.com/102065774


Selected artworks:

Solo exhibitions: 

Leaving Earth (digital/CGI film) at Peninsula Arts Gallery (2010).

Still (video installation) atChapter, Cardiff, (2000).

Memento Mori,(sculpture, photography, installation) at Spacex Gallery and Exeter Museum andArt Gallery (1994).

Aufstiegen, (sculpture/site specific) Helibronn, Germany, (1996).

Selected group exhibitions:

Fathom, (site-specific sonic artwork) Jane Grant, John Matthias, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, commissioned by the River Tamar Project (2013).

Plasticity, (participatory sonic art work) Jane Grant, John Matthias, Kin and Nick Ryan, exhibited at the BFI as part of the onedotzero festival, (2011) Google Campus London (2012) and HWK,Institute for Advanced Study in Germany (2012) .

Moon as transmitter, Jane Grant, sound installation/performance at Musica Nova,Dundalk, Ireland (2012).

Ghost, (site-specific sonic installation) Jane Grant, ISEA 2011, Istanbul Biennial (2011).

Soft Moon, sound-workas part of Specimen exhibition curated by Yuko Shiraishi, Shigeru Yokota  Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, May(2011).

TheFragmented Orchestra,Jane Grant, John Matthias, Nick Ryan, at FACT (Foundation for Art and CreativeTechnology), Liverpool and 23 sites across the UK including:

NationalPortrait Gallery, Watershed, Bristol, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Roundhouse,London, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, Kiosk,West Pier, Brighton, BronteParsonage Museum, Yorkshire, Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall, Everton FootballClub, Goodison Park, Liverpool, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, BarberInstitute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Centre for AlternativeTechnology, Macyhnlleth, Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology, Macyhnlleth,Wales, Landscove C of E Primary School, Kielder Observatory, Black Fell,Northumberland, Institute of  Psychiatry, Kings College, London, VerbalArts Centre, Belfast, The Hidden Gardens, Glasgow, Stephen Lawrence Centre,London, Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, Scotland, Blueprint Studios, Manchester,Rochelle School, London, St Andrews Church, Fulham Fields, London, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth, (2008/2009).

Running Piece, Jane Grant, at Multi channel at Artsway, (2008).

Threshold, Jane Grant, Just WorldOrder, Artsway, (2008).

Untitled (Room Piece), Jane Grant, John Matthias, SANExpo, Sonic Arts Network, Plymouth,(2007).

Dogs in Cars, Waiting,(16mm film) Jane Grant at Screen, selected exhibition of national and international artists and filmmakers Forest of Dean, (2000).

Contiunuum,(video installation) Jane Grant, Green Room, Digital Summer, Manchester,(1998).

Kissing the Dust,(sound, photography, 16mm film)  Jane Grant, Ajamu, MichaelRobertson, Walsall Museum and ArtsGallery, Huddersfield Museum and Art Gallery, Oldham Museum and Art Gallery(1997).

(Untitled), (sculpture) Jane Grant at Newyln Gallery, (1996)

 

Grants & contracts

Sponsorship for Ghost : Bowers and Wilkins and Cycling '74, 2011.

I have received grants and awards for the collaborative work The Fragmented Orchestra with John Matthias and Nick Ryan from the following:

PRS Foundation for Music, New Music Award, 2008, the most financially significant award for music in the UK and likened to the Turner Prize for Music.

Prix Ars Electronica 2009, Honorary Mention, Hybrid Arts Category.

WellcomeTrust, Engaging People Award, 2009.

Arts Council of England, 2008.

University of Plymouth, 2008, and 2009.

 Also sponsorship for The Fragmented Orchestra from:

Kin

Bowers and Wilkins

FACT

Samson

Be Broadband

Fibox

MGB

Feonic

 Individual awards have included:

AHRC, Principle Investigator, Threshold - Merging the Human Voice with Neurological Time Patterns. Awarded Nov. 2006.           

British Council Travel Award for Aufsteigen.

Arts Council Award for film Dogs in Cars, Waiting.

Sponsorship, Sony, for Still, solo exhibition.

University of Plymouth for Soft Moon, 2010.

For the collaborative project developing the Neurogranular Sampler with John Matthias, Kin, Tim Hodgson, Eduardo Miranda, Proof of Concept Award, University of Plymouth.

Research groups

  • art + sound
  • Centre for Media, Art & Design Research (MADr)
  • i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art & Technology)
  • Land/Water and the Visual Arts
  • Planetary Collegium

Additional information

Links

http://www.janegrant.org.uk/

http://www.thefragmentedorchestra.com/
http://www.prsfoundation.co.uk/newmusicaward/newmusicaward2008winner.htm