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Roy Ascott

Roy Ascott
Born Roy Ascott
26 October 1934
Bath, Somerset, England
Nationality English
Education King's College, University of Durham (now Newcastle University)
Known for art, technoetics, syncretism
Notable work La Plissure du Texte, Electra, Paris; Planetary Network, XLII Venice Biennale; Telematic Embrace: visionary theories of art, technology and consciousness University of California Press. 未来就是现在:艺术,技术和意识 [The Future is Now: Art, Technology, and Consciousness], Gold Wall Press, Beijing, 2012
Movement Telematic art
Awards Honorary Professor, Royal Society of Arts. Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica Award for Visionary Pioneers of Media Art 2014.

Roy Ascott (born 26 October 1934) is a British artist, who works with cybernetics and telematics, on an art which is technoetic, focusing on the impact of digital and telecommunications networks on consciousness.

He is President of the Planetary Collegium, and DeTao Master of Technoetic Arts at the DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai. He is the founding editor of the research journal Technoetic Arts, an honorary editor of Leonardo Journal, and author of the book Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness.

His Golden Nica award is for “those men and women whose artistic, technological and social achievements have decisively influenced and advanced the development of new artistic directions.” He is recipient of the Ars Electronica Golden Nica award for Visionary Pioneer of Media Art 2014,


  • Biography 1
  • Work 2
  • Interactive computer art 3
  • Books Authored by Roy Ascott 4
  • Books edited by Roy Ascott 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Roy Ascott was born in Bath, England. He was educated at the City of Bath Boys' School. His National Service was spent as a commissioned officer in the RAF Fighter Command working with radar defence systems.[1] From 1955-59 he studied Fine Art at King's College, University of Durham (now Newcastle University) under Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton, and Art History under Lawrence Gowing and Quentin Bell. On graduation he was appointed Studio Demonstrator (1959–61). He then moved to London, where he established the radical Groundcourse at Ealing Art College, which he subsequently established at Ipswich Civic College, in Suffolk. Notable alumni of the Groundcourse include Brian Eno, Pete Townshend, Stephen Willats, Roger Ruskin Spear, and Michael English.

Ascott taught in London Ealing,[2] and was a visiting lecturer at other London art schools throughout the 1960s. Then briefly was President of Ontario College of Art,[3] Toronto, then Chair of Fine Art at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, before moving to California as Vice-President and Dean of San Francisco Art Institute, during the 1970s. He was Professor for Communications Theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna[4] during the 1980s, and Professor of Technoetic Arts at the University of Wales, Newport in the 1990s.[1],. where he established the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts. He established the Planetary Collegium at Plymouth University in 2003.

He has advised new media arts organisations in Brazil, Japan, Korea, Europe and North America [2], as well as UNESCO[3], and was Visiting Professor (VI), Design|Media Arts, University of California Los Angeles (2003–07)[5] at the UCLA School of the Arts. Ascott was an International Commissioner for the XLII Venice Biennale of 1986 (Planetary Network and Laboratorio Ubiqua[6]).

He is the founding president of the Planetary Collegium an advanced research center which he set up in 2003, with its Hub currently based in the University of Plymouth, UK, and nodes in China, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland. In March 2012 he was appointed De Tao Master of Technoetic Arts at [4] (DTMA), a high-level, multi-disciplined, creativity-oriented higher education institution in Shanghai, China.[5]. In 2014, he established the Ascott Technoetic Arts Studio at DTMA [6] creating the Technoetic Arts advanced degree programme, taught jointly with the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art. The DeTao-Node of the Planetary Collegium was established in 2015.


Since the 1960s, Roy Ascott has been a practitioner of interactive computer art, electronic art, cybernetic art and telematic art.

The historian of art and technology Frank Popper writes of Roy Ascott:[7]

Roy Ascott was among the first artists to launch an appeal for total spectator participation ... At present, Ascott is one of the most outstanding artists and theoreticians in the field of telematics.

In his first show (1964) at the Molton Gallery, London [7], he exhibited Analogue Structures and Diagram Boxes, comprising change-paintings and other works in wood, perspex and glass. In 1964 Ascott published "Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision" in Cybernetica: journal of the International Association for Cybernetics (Namur). In 1968, he was elected Associate Member of the Institution of Computer Science, London (proposed by Gordon Pask). In 1972, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ascott has shown at the Venice Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Electra Paris, Ars Electronica, V2 Institute for the Unstable Media [8], Milan Triennale, Biennale do Mercosul, Brazil, European Media Festival, and gr2000az at Graz, Austria. His first telematic project was La Plissure du Texte (1983), [9] an online work of "distributed authorship" involving artists around the world. The second was his "gesamtdatenwerk" Aspects of Gaia: Digital Pathways across the Whole Earth (1989),an installation for the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, discussed by (inter alia) Matthew Wilson Smith in The Total Work of Art: from Bayreuth to Cyberspace, New York: Routledge, 2007. Retrospective exhibitions of his work were shown in May 2009 at Plymouth Arts Centre, England, then in the Incheon International Digital Arts Festival, Incheon, South Korea in September 2010, and at SPACE (studios) in Hackney, London in 2011. Syncretic Cybernetics, a comprehensive exhibition of his work, was featured in the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012. Roy Ascott: The Analogues (featuring his work of the 1960s) was shown at the Plug-in Institute ofContemporary Arts [10], Winnipeg, July-Sept 2013. In September 2014, a mini retrospective of his work was shown in Linz, at the time of his Ars Electronica Golden Nica award [11]. The seminal work of 1962, "Video-Roget" [12] was acquired in 2014,by the Tate Gallery, London for its permanent collection.

Interactive computer art

Since the 1960s, Ascott has been a working with interactive

  • "Telematic Embrace: A Love Story? Roy Ascott's Theories of Telematic Art" by Edward A. Shanken, 2001.
  • Telematic Connections 2001 exhibition and online platform curated by Steve Dietz and inspired by Ascott's work.
  • Entry for Roy Ascott at the "Media Art Net" includes a biography and links to further sources, including articles by Söke Dinkla, Inke Arns, Rudolf Frieling, and Oliver Grau respectively
  • La Plissure du Texte, in the online catalogue "Media Art Net"
  • "Roy Ascott: Teaching Change", a Tate Blog article written by Elena Crippa, 15 June 2011
  • Webpage of the retrospective at Space London "Roy Ascott: The Syncretic Sense", May 20 - June 25, 2011
  • Time Out recommendation for the exhibition "Roy Ascott: The Syncretic Sense"
  • "Degree Zero", article on Roy Ascott's Groundcourse, frieze magazine, web version of printed article, published on 02/09/06, written by Emily Pethick
  • References for Roy Ascott with the German art magazine "Kunstforum International"

External links

  1. ^ Technology and Intuition: A Love Story? Roy Ascott's Telematic Embrace
  2. ^ [13]
  3. ^ Wolfe, Morris. OCA 1967-1972: Five Turbulent Years. Toronto: Grubstreet Books, 2002. ISBN 0-9689737-0-1
  4. ^ [14]
  5. ^ [15]
  6. ^ Planetary Network - Venice Biennale 1986
  7. ^ Popper, Frank (2007). From Technological to Virtual Art. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 77.  
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ A critical survey of Ascott's work is provided by Edward A. Shanken in his introductory essay "From Cybernetics to Telematics: The Art, Pedagogy, and Theory of Roy Ascott" in Ascott, R. 2003. Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness. (ed. Edward A. Shanken). Berkeley: University of California Press. [16]


  • Ascott, R., Girao, L. M. (eds). Presence in the Mindfield: art, identity,and the technology of transformation. Aveiro, Portugal: Universidade deAveiro. 2011.
  • Ascott, R., Gangvik, E., Jahrmann, M. (eds). Making Reality Really Real. Trondheim: TEKS. 2010.
  • Ascott, R., Bast, G., Fiel, W. (eds). New Realities: Being Syncretic. Vienna: Springer. 2009.
  • Ascott, R. (ed). Engineered Nature: art and consciousness in the post-biological era. Bristol: Intellect Books. 2006.
  • Ascott, R. (ed). Art Technology Consciousness. Exeter: Intellect Books. 2000
  • Ascott, R. (ed). Reframing Consciousness. Exeter: Intellect Books. 1999

Books edited by Roy Ascott

  • The Future is Now: Art, Technology, and Consciousness. 2012.Beijing: Gold Wall Press.2012
  • Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness. Ed. and Intro. by Edward A. Shanken. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2007.
  • Technoetic Arts (trans: YI, Won-Kon), (Media & Art Series no. 6, Institute of Media Art, Yonsei University). Yonsei: Yonsei University Press. 2002.
  • Art & Telematics: toward the Construction of New Aesthetics. (trans: E. Fujihara). Tokyo: NTT Publishing Co. 1998.

Books Authored by Roy Ascott


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