> Ian Dawson and Paul Reilly, Messy Assemblages, Residuality and Recursion within a Phygital Nexus, 16.03.19
Epoiesen Journal for creative engagement in history and archaeology
Messy Assemblages is a visual essay which reflects on the movement of objects and images within the phygital and, in particular, how different components of assemblages meet, mingle and sometimes experience ontological shifts. It is a collaboration between an artist and an archaeologist, and their contrasting practices.
A phygital nexus can be thought of as a no-place and an everyplace in which the boundaries between what is physical and what is virtual are blurred, where digitally-defined objects (actants) are susceptible to transmutations and may be (re)deposited within multiple parallel or intersecting physical and digital assemblages, and are able to ‘jump’ almost anywhere in our digitally hyper-connected universe. In addition, phygital objects can be invoked, instantiated and brought into constellation with other practices and entities both physical and virtual, and ‘messy’ assemblages can, and do, emerge from these interventions. Phygital transformations, moreover, may be multi-directional: digital objects can become physical and, conversely, material instantiations can be virtualised.
In this collaboration, the phygital nexus is constantly subverted in order to appropriate and remix components of multifaceted, multi-(im)material, and multi-temporal phygital artefacts that recall themselves - nested and extended assemblages of persistent (im)material artefacts and other residues - and refract them through both our distinct, and combined interdisciplinary, critical practices, to produce new ontological assemblages, further residues of an ongoing collaboration. The residues and traces of this reflexive, team SHaG-like collaboration, has evolved iteratively as we each handed over work in progress to the other to be enriched and developed and includes this essay and an assemblage of art/archaeology pieces that comment, recursively, on both previous and subsequent assemblages, and our practices.