Tim Hyde & MCRM, 2019 “A Useful Fiction". Tight fist holding beam
Tim Hyde, 2019 
A Useful Fiction
C-Print on Aluminum
15 x 23 inches
ed. of 3

Useful Fictions

Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 - Friday, Sept. 13, 2019
École polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, France

Jiayi Young, Associate Professor, University of California Davis, Department of Design
Tim Hyde, Assistant Professor of Visual Art, University of California Davis, Department of Art & Art History
Jean-Marc ChomazDirector of Research at CNRS, Professor at Ecole Polytechnique, associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and Chair of the Laboratory of Excellence LaSIPS de University Paris Saclay. Co-Chaire of Arts & Sciences, École Polytechnique 
Humans collect and interpret measurements to understand the world and exercise control over chaos. We rely on mechanisms of measurement – such as a meter, the speed of light, or a photographic record – with the assumption that they establish a truth in which we can believe. However as traces, proxies, and indices, measurements are fragile and prone to manipulation and misinterpretation. Tools are almost as malleable as the ideas they produce; the promised indexical pars pro toto correlation between measurements and their interpretations has been increasingly exploited in pursuit of human agendas. In the context of a complex problem, such as climate change in the Anthropocene, this relationship has become increasingly political.    Useful Fictions is a week-long symposium and a public participatory art project in Paris. It is a platform to embrace complex problems by modeling radical openness to research in which tools, laboratories, studios are shared between artists and scientists to generate research to expand concepts for ecological thinking. the 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?”

“Useful Fictions 1 : An Overview” from Chaire arts et Science, École Polytechnique, Paris France 

Stuart Dalziel, Professor of Fluid Mechanics, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University UK

Useful Fictions was initiated through a University of California Davis Global Affairs International Activities Seed Grant with matching funds from the College of Letters and Science and the Office of Research, Chaire Arts et Sciences of the École Polytechnique, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, and The Fondation of Daniel et Nina Carasso. Since its conception, additional funds have been contributed by the Chaire arts et sciences and the Chaire Développement durable – EDF (École polytechnique). The development of the project also received generous support from Samuel Bianchini and Manuelle Freire of the Chaire arts et sciences and the Reflective Interaction Group of EnsadLab (the research lab of École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs – EnsAD, PSL University, Paris), and David Bihanic (University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne / EnsADLab - Reflective Interaction Group).

Principal Investigator: Jiayi Young (UC Davis), Co-Principal Investigators: Jean-Marc Chomaz (École polytechnique), Timothy Hyde (UC Davis), and James Crutchfield (UC Davis); Collaborators: Victoria Vesna (UCLA), David Familian (UC Irvine), Asa Calow (Madlab, Manchester, UK)
The Speed of Light / Speed of Shadows Expedition: Tim Hyde, Jiayi Young, Jean-Marc Chomaz with the collaboration with Laurent Derobert (Galerie HUS) and Chloé Laumonier (Effets désirables).
Guest Editors and Advisors: James Housefield (UC Davis) and Jens Hauser (Michigan State University)

Communication and Project Manager: Julie Sauret, Chaire arts et sciences
Co-organizer: Christine Lavaur, Chaire Développement durable – Edf, École polytechnique
Student Intern: Ragnhild Ståhl-Nielsen, University of Copenhagen; Alice Magdelénat, SDA Bocconi School of Management Milano
Tim Hyde © 2023