Proboscis is a non-profit group based in London, England, that functions on a project by project basis, in collaboration with independent curators, scientists and artists and with such organizations as universities and galleries. The group was founded in 1994, originally as a partnership for publishing COIL journal of the moving image,
and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1996. Proboscis's founder and creative director is Giles Lane, a visiting research associate with Media@lse
(a multidisciplinary program at the London School of Economics) and a research fellow in communication art and design at the Royal College of Art's School of Communications.
Since its inception, Proboscis has pursued several innovative publication projects that explore the moving image in all its artistic and critical forms. In 1995, Proboscis launched COIL journal of the moving image,
a forum for artists, writers, researchers and anyone else investigating film, video and new media artworks. The last of the journal's 10 issues came out in October 2000. Proboscis also publishes Diffusion eBooks, (1)
artist books in PDF format that readers can access on the Internet and then print and assemble. The first series of books focuses on the theme "Performance Notations," with artists such as Marina Grzinic, Johnny de Philo (Sue Golding) and Aaron Williamson contributing text on live arts and the moving or digital image. A second series, named "Species of Spaces" after the Georges Perec book, is forthcoming.
Proboscis is also extremely active in developing new research projects that explore innovative ways to create and present contemporary art. Mapping Perception, (2)
an artistic research project involving Giles Lane from Proboscis, filmmaker Andrew Kötting and neurophysiologist Mark Lythgoe, investigates perceptions of impaired brain function. Inspired by Kötting's daughter Eden who has Joubert syndrome, a rare brain disorder, the project will examine disability both scientifically and artistically. The research conducted will result in an installation and film that are expected to be completed in November 2001.
As well, Proboscis and various independent curators and researchers are working within a new research platform they have termed SoMa (Social Matrices: A think tank for culture). Project organizers have set out a series of objectives, including a desire to:
Explore the roles of creative people and the "cultural industries" in the development of society, culture and public policy by conducting "Research through Practice."
- Draw on bodies of knowledge and experience from the fields of Art and Design and the Social Sciences to create a dynamic approach to assessing the impact of creative activities, and in particular the experimental arts, on society and culture as a whole.
- Investigate how networks and modes of communication-virtual and physical-foster and build communities (of people and interests), and are transformative of social and cultural relations within local and across global communities.
- Identify ways through "cultural analysis" in which creative practices can be critical forces for change and development in society, such as being effective tools in social and economic regeneration.(3)
SoMa encompasses several new Proboscis projects including the earlier mentioned Diffusion eBooks
as well as Topologies, (4)
a series of commissions for public artworks intended for British public libraries. In addition, Proboscis recently initiated the Peer-2-Peer Network (5)
to investigate how new communication technologies are used to disseminate and provide access to new artistic projects. In April 2001, the group held a seminar to plan an expansion of this network through on-line means and additional seminars and to discuss the development of collaborative efforts between art, science and industry. Participants included Peter Ride DA2, (6)
Don Foresta from MARCEL, (7)
as well as artists and practitioners from Britain and abroad. Documentation of the event can be found on the Peer-2-Peer Web site. (8)
Proboscis is also hoping to nurture another project through the knowledge and issues raised within the Peer-2-Peer Network.
Partly funded by the Daniel Langlois Foundation, Private Reveries, Public Spaces (2)
consists of a series of prototypes for public artworks using converging media technologies.