IAIN BAXTER&, Pile of Ands (detail), 2008. Courtesy IAIN BAXTER&.

Mark your calendars! 



between creativity & information*

A One-Day Symposium
March 26, 2012
York University Libraries
Toronto, Canada 

*Registration now open ! :


Welcome from Adam Lauder, W.P. Scott Chair for Research in e-Librarianship

Welcome to interPLAY: between creativity & information, a one-day symposium that explores and challenges definitions of “information” from a diversity of disciplinary perspectives.  On behalf of York University Libraries, I invite you to join us for this groundbreaking event.

The ongoing publication of the IB&raisonnE—an experimental online catalogue raisonné being developed at York University Libraries, that seeks to expand and transform traditional reference formats through exploratory methods of social production <>—provides the ideal occasion for responding to the visionary information art of IAIN BAXTER& with fresh approaches to information, information technology, and library and information science.

Inspired by Marshall McLuhan’s transformation of information theory, from a “matching” model of communication to one of active “making,” in 1966 Canadian conceptual artist IAIN BAXTER& began to explore the creative possibilities of “information” as a medium (Cavell 1999: 349).  A 45-year process of exploration has led BAXTER& (a.k.a. Iain Baxter, a.k.a. N.E. Thing Co.) to engage with, and creatively reinterpret, information concepts across a range of disciplines, including business, computing, linguistics and theoretical biology.  Like McLuhan, BAXTER& challenges us to re-conceive binary code as the stuff of dialogue and sensation.  In the most recent work of BAXTER&, the Boolean operator “&” and DNA code are ciphers for what theoretical biologist Stuart A. Kauffman (2008: xi) has termed the “ceaseless creativity” of complex systems.

Notwithstanding the critical and creative models of information proposed by BAXTER&, McLuhan and others, Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver’s influential “transmission” model of communication (1962) continues to dominate approaches to, and uses of, information across the disciplinary spectrum.  A relative absence of critical and creative approaches to information is particularly notable in the field of library and information science, even as libraries face radical transformations in the information behaviours of users and to the overall information milieu.  Setting out to challenge conceptualizations of information as linear, quantitative, neutral and context-free, interPLAY will probe the “resonant interval” between creativity and information as a noisy space for transdisciplinary and social experimentation, insight and intervention through a program of participants drawn from a wide range of backgrounds.

Join us in Toronto for interPLAY!

Adam Lauder
W.P. Scott Chair for Research in E-Librarianship
Rm. 105E Scott Library
York University
4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, M3J-1P3
Phone: 416-736-2100 x55974

Cavell, Richard. 1999. McLuhan and Spatial Communication. Western Journal of Communication 63(3): 348-63.
Kauffman, Stuart A. 2008. Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion.New York: Basic.
McLuhan, Marshall. 2002 [1962]. The Gutenberg Galaxy.Toronto:University ofToronto.
Shannon, Claude E. and Warren Weaver. 1962 [1948/1949]. The Mathematical Theory of Communication.Urbana,IL:University ofIllinois Press.


interPLAY Brief Program*

(*view Full Program with abstracts here: <>)


Senate Chamber
N940 Ross Building (9th floor) (Building 28 in the PDF map below)
York University
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, M3J-1P3



8:30 – 9:00 Registration


9:00 – 10:00

Room A: Welcome


10:00 – 11:00

Room A: Keynote

Dr. Richard Cavell, Professor, University of British Columbia
“Paratactic Informatics: Towards a Soft Ontology of Iain Baxter&”


11:15 – 12:45                   Concurrent Sessions 

Room A: “Social Information”

Mayu Ishida, MLIS student, University of British Columbia,
“Digital Curation of Local Traditional Knowledge: A Case Study at the University of Alberta”

Siân Evans, MSLIS student, Pratt Institute,
“Occupy the Archive: Reimagining Power, Politics, and the Collective Voice in Contemporary Art”

Lisa Sloniowski, Associate Librarian, York University Libraries
“Embodying the Archive: The Noisy Feminist Challenge”

Cherie Crocker, student, Emily Carr University, and Goran Boskovic, Leadership Program Coordinator, Ryerson University,
“Going On: Implications for the Node Modality Network”

Room B: “The Information Landscape” (I)

Adam Lauder, York University Libraries,

Annette Smith, MA student, University of British Columbia, and Sandra Danilovic, PhD student, University of Toronto,
“What’s in a Virtual Name? The Impact of Pseudonyms on Professional Identity in Second Life”

Ariane Cloutier, PhD student, Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
“Play as a Communication Tool, Analyzing the Work of BAXTER& in Terms of an Aesthetic of the Ludic”

————————————— Lunch (provided) —————————————

1:45 – 3:15                           

Room A: “The Information Landscape” (II)

Vanessa Kam, Head Librarian, Art + Architecture + Planning, University of British Columbia Libraries,
“Tactical Media”

Dr. Christopher M. Drohan, Sheridan / European Graduate School,
“Empires of Information”

Stacy Allison-Cassin, Cataloging Librarian, York University Libraries,
“The Possibility of the Infinite Library: Exploring the Boundaries and Possibilities of Works and Texts in Library Cataloguing Practices”

Dr. Christine Berkowitz, University of Toronto Scarborough, Perry Sheppard, Manager, Web and New Media, University of Toronto Scarborough, Paulina Rousseau, Digital Scholarship Librarian, Library, University of Toronto Scarborough, and Sarah Forbes, Scholarly Communication Librarian, Library, University of Toronto Scarborough,
“The History Engine 2.0 Academic Research and Publishing in Time and Place”

————————————— Short Break —————————————-

3:30 – 5:00

Room A: “Noisy Information”

Dr. Gary Genosko, Lakehead University,
“Rethinking Matching and Regaining Transmission”

Dr. Kenneth R. Allan, University of Lethbridge,
“Information, the Counter-Environment, and the Lateral Extension of Art”

Rebecca Noone, MMSt student, University of Toronto, Karen Pollock, MISt student, University of Toronto, and Dr. Jenna Hartel, University of Toronto,
“Making Noise without Sound: Arts-Based Perspectives of Information”

Leif Penzendorfer, MA student, Concordia University, and Adam van Sertima, External Researcher, Technoculture Art and Games,
“Noise, Nietzsche, and McLuhan”


5:15 – 6:00

Room A: IAIN BAXTER&, Professor Emeritus, University of Windsor,
In conversation with Dr. Dan Adler, York University, and Dr. Janine Marchessault, York University

————————————— Refreshments ————————————–

 The symposium will also feature creative interventions by:

Sigi Torinus, Professor, University of Windsor

Christine Walde, MLIS student, University of Western Ontario





Holiday Inn Express, North York

Hotel Novotel North York

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