Useful Fictions was a week-long symposium and a public participatory art project in Paris.

One of the stated missions of the symposium: 

  1. This project invites critique of the human-centered narrative that dominates and defines contemporary cultural consciousness. The issues we are faced with challenge us to reclaim knowledge creation by examining the idea of proxy and measurements in ways that will expand anthropocentric lenses. Through the use of both critical discourse and practice-based research in art, design, and science, as well as case studies in climate science and related contextual research, we will ask: “What controls the manufacturing of our systems of belief? What stories do we tell ourselves? Can we imagine differently?”

As a graduate fellow in the symposium I worked in LAB 2: A MICROCLIMATE OF ONE at the Laboratoire d'hydrodynamique (LadHyX)
with Professors Jean-Marc Chomaz (LadHyX, École polytechnique) and Stuart Dalziel (DAMTP, University of Cambridge).

The goal this of lab this lab was participatory art installation in which synthetic Schlieren photography would be used to produce real-time photographic portraits of participants through visualizations of the invisible atmospheric plumes produced by the heat flux and convection of the human body. Through the unique sensitivites of this photographic technology developed by Prof. Dalziel, the subject can see that the edges of their own body are not as explicit and concrete as one may think - visually reinforcing the idea that the corporeal self may be an illusion, and that as humans we are quite literally more connected to the rest of the world than we may imagine.