Ryan Nolan is a PhD researcher at Aarhus University (Denmark), interested in media and cultural theory, contemporary art, and music. Recent publications include ‘The Crackle of Contemporaneity’ in Futures of the Contemporary (2019) edited by Paolo de Assis and Michael Schwab and ‘Beyond Theory and Practice in Arts Research’ in Theorem: Doctoral Research in the Fine Arts and Design (2018) edited by Jayne Boyer. He is affiliated with The Contemporary Condition, a research project at Aarhus co-led by Geoff Cox and Jacob Lund and is a visiting researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University.

Selected projects / talks / publications
'The Crackle of Contemporaneity', in Paolo de Assis and Michael Schwab eds., Futures of the Contemporary (Leuven University Press, 2019). Co-authored with Geoff Cox and Andrew Prior. The text contributes to discourses on contemporaneity, moving beyond the broad question 'What is contemporaneity?' to consider more acute ways in which this condition can be traced and signalled. It further builds understanding of planetary-scale assemblages, the subjective experience of such invisible architectures and the signal-traffic that traverses them, through the analysis of Howse and Miyazaki, of hauntology, and in engaging with electromagnetic phenomena and their orchestration with network technologies. The text enhances understanding of artistic research as an epistemological mode, and media archaeological methods as artistic modes, challenging distinctions between textual and practice approaches to research. PDF

'Beyond Theory and Practice in Arts Research', in Jane Boyer eds., Theorem: Doctoral Research in the Fine Arts and Design (Ruskin Arts Press, 2018). Talk under the same title delivered at the Theorem conference at the Cambridge School of Art in 2018. The paper argues that arts research in the university has become increasingly instrumentalised, demonstrated in the rise of managerial language and frameworks that judge (artistic) research in terms of an end-product and other quantifiable metrics (eg., REF). This phenomenon has otherwise been referred to as the 'commodification of knowledge'. The text proposes that the distinction between 'theory' and 'practice-based' research in arts education (language central to the field) actually promotes a means-end function, increasing the risk of institutional weaponisation and as such its usage should be confined to methodologies and the pages of proposals (rather than in titles of projects etc). Version of text here. (Note that while I still support the general argument, I wouldn't necessarily make it in the same way now.) PDF

'La condition contemporaine': Contribution a une reflexion en cours. The Contemporary Condition workshop in conjunction with the Comparative Literature programme at University of Paris VIII with Lionel Ruffel. The workshop was oriented towards doctoral candidates in the doctoral schools 'Pratiques et theories du sens,' 'Esthetique, sciences et technologies des arts' and the ArTeC laboratory. It consisted of practical reading and discussion sessions. The workshop culminated in a day of presentation and synthesis, at the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin. I participated in the workshop alongside others from Aarhus, including Geoff Cox, Jacob Lund, Anne Kolbaek Iversen, and Johanne Logstrup.

RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group. I delivered a paper, 'Is New Music Contemporary Art?', that attempted to bring together music, medium-specificity, media archaeology, and cultural materialism. King's College London, July 2019.

Time, History and Materials. A one-day symposium on the theme of time, history and materials in artistic research. The symposium was run in conjunction by the Orpheus Institute (Ghent) and Canterbury Christ Church University (UK). I delivered a paper, 'Can Music be Contemporary?' which analysed the situation of music in the context of recent critical theories of a supposedly 'transmedial' contemporary art.

Review: Popular Music in the Post-Digital Age. A review for Leonardo of Popular Music in the Post-Digital Age, Ewa Mazierska, Leslie Gillon, & Tony Rigg eds. (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018).

Review: Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music. A review essay of Kyle Devine's book Decomposed, entitled Lac Bugs, Petrocapitalism, and Data: 'Mediatic Musicology Without Music', for the Journal of Media Art Study and Theory's special issue on Media, Materiality and Emergency. PDF

Dark Economies, Falmouth University (UK), 8th-10th July 2020.
(Postponed to 2021 due to Covid-19)
RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group, King's College London (UK), 1st-2nd July 2021.
British Sociological Association's annual conference 'Remaking the Future', theory stream, online, 13th-15th April 2021.

The Contemporary Condition, Aarhus University.
Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, London South Bank University.

Email: rnolan@cc.au.dk
Twitter: @ryannolansk
Pure: research profile
CV: Spring 2020