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Will Hallett

Will Hallett is an artist and researcher working in creative music, code, and writing. He is interested in American post-pragmatist philosophy, Turing, and politics as well as the enduring question of theory and practice. He is currently an MA candidate in Psychoanalysis at the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS). His writing can be found in the Triple Ampersand Journal and in the upcoming publication of the Yale Machine as Medium conference proceedings.

My main research is based around two primary questions: the question of political practice and the question of computational creativity. My secondary effort is in elucidating the ethics of the latter within our political situation as well as in the investment in the process or becoming politically conscious.

Across this work, I am increasingly tuning to and seeking distance from the existing relational matrix and the language that it speaks. My interest in psychoanalysis is both one of a patient and as a road to think artistic creativity in the contest of real and symbolic investments of the imagination.

Coming from a background in English literature and an early infatuation with deleuze and guattari, I look at the dual problem of my research - political practice and computational creativity - through both an interest in the notion of a machinic process by which to evade the political situation as well as a latter viewpoint increasingly informed by Badiou and others from which the situation cannot be evaded but is itself the material in question. This approach makes technology less a cultural producer than itself a product of culture, even on the plane of discourse.

The question of practice then returns inevitably for me to the human subject. Even with regards to computational creativity, the shared structure of thought that forms computers from the history of philosophy and mathematics grounds, in my reading, technological fabulation in the traditional impasses of meaning. Thus the question of practice remains within the realm of cultural work rather in mediation of work.

However, this doesn’t preclude the possibility of structures existing, or the importance of understanding them and of at some level there being an understanding of the quantitative. Here I see an impasse between Marx and Badiou, in my reading, regarding the possibilities inherent in quantitative thought. One might say that computational science poses the individuation of the quantitative field itself. But again this is a human field. And indeed its progression may be caught up in existing antagonisms, yet it is unclear from whence a quantitative form can be drawn that would counter the existing manifestations of quantitative thought in computer science and in computers.

This is the question in my research posed by Badiou to both Zizek and da Silva and the answer is I think, in my strong but amateur interest, in mathematics and the theory of computation as a zone of formalism. My approach to creative practice is thereby in exploring the formal possibilities of creative musical, literary, and visual mediums as well as in mapping their correspondences to concepts from maths.

The resulting political model is both a search for programmatic ways of working and secondly in appreciating Marxism as a science through which to level politics with the form and experimentation of the scientific.

As I wrote in my previous statements, I am interested in asking the following: what is the nature of the political problem of the analog and digital modes of mediation today? My main research is in finding the form of this problem. Arguably this process is also a reconsideration of human subjectivity in computational creativity problems but this risks discussion of symbiosis and whatnot that easily obfuscates the logic of commodification.

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