Roy Ascott is an artist, theoretician and educator who has been a pioneer in telematics – the field that brings together computers and telecommunications – since the early Sixties. To be able to answer the main questions that the post-biological era posed, Ascott saw the need of a new speculative research through technoetic art, defined as ‘a convergent field of practice that seeks to explore consciousness and connectivity through digital, telematic, chemical or spiritual means, embracing both interactive and psychoactive technologies, and the creative use of moistmedia.’ Technoetic art, applying a syncretic, not static, nor closed methodology for speculative research, can be the tool not only for a new conception of creativity within the artistic realm, but also, as Ascott have done before with most of the concepts that he developed, to facilitate the apprehension of the changes and implications that technological, pharmaceutical and scientific knowledge in general can have on society at large.
If at the beginning of his artistic and academic career cybernetics was the integrative element that Ascott applied both in his works and pedagogical activities, more recently he consciously adopted syncretism, as the methodology informing this practice. Syncretism is the process that intends the amalgamation of disparate views, religions, schools of thought, without making them to lose individuality. It is not synthesis, nor eclecticism; it is a (delicate) balance in which each part maintains its individuality and power, while sharing at the same time with, and those belonging to, the other parts of the system. Syncretism applied as a methodology for speculative research and technoetic art can be of utmost importance to deal with a hybrid reality, a distributed mind, and a telematic planet. Among his most well-known pieces are worth mentioning the Change Paintings (between 1961 and 1963), the wood pieces (between 1961 and 1970), La Plissure du Text (1983), presented at Electra, Musée d’art moderne de Paris, and Aspects of Gaia (1989), presented at Ars Electronica , Linz.