Abstracts & Biographies

Christine (cricri) Bellerose — “On the Lived Imagined Body” and “Unplugged”
The short presentation focuses on imagining dancing with wings, while living wings as a somatic reality. The presentation will further narrow the scope of this proposed triangulation by focusing on a model of kinesthetic imagination – framed within Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, “The Imaginative Space of Dance” (2015 [1966]). This model of kinesthetic imagination is part of a wider work that mixes practice-based research, East & West phenomenology, and somatic knowledge. The aim of this study is to generate a discussion around the significance of the dancing body as site-of- research, unplugged.

The premise for “On the Lived Imagined Body” study addressed the case of a dancer’s winged body in its lived and imaginative visual-kinetic form. The phenomenology of “body” is addressed by means of a critical triangulation: contemporary dancer and somatics teacher Benoît Lachambre in his presencing workshops (2015, 2016); dance phenomenologist Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s Sartrean enlarged approach in, “The Imaginative Space of Dance” (2015 [1966]); and Kyoto School philosopher Nishida Kitarō essays from 1923 to 1927 on lieu, translated by Jacynthe Tremblay, in De ce qui agit à ce qui voit (2015).

The study was initiated in 2015, and continues to develop. The compound two reflections: “On the Lived Imagined Body” and “Unplugged”, serve as practice-based études to inform at this time, a budding doctoral research in the academic field of dance and Performance Studies.
Christine (cricri) Bellerose is a Québecois movement artist and researcher, PhD (soon-to-be) candidate at York University in Dance Studies (Toronto, Canada). She lived in Vietnam and China from 1999- 2008; Eastern-Western cosmologies permeate her art and research. Her study on Shinto Zen ma space- time-place in movement performance is in the press, to be published by U of Illinois P, a book on phenomenology and performance edited by Sondra Fraleigh. Meanwhile, Bellerose’s current work focuses on learning from Indigenous Stories, while looking inside, and continuing to dance rivers.

Ian Jarvis — “Creating Fire: An overview of implementing concatenative synthesis and machine learning in digital instrument design”

This paper presentation will provide a critical overview of the process of creating “fire”, a movement from the larger work Elemental Agency (link to program note) which was part of the Incubator Project, The Space Between here at York University. Grounded in Embodied Cognition, an action-oriented approach (Leman 2008) was taken to develop fire including a digital instrument designed around the movement of the dancers. There will be a brief overview of previous and current research that grounds the work presented including machine learning in the context of digital instrument design (Fiebrink 2012), and concatenative synthesis (Schwartz 2013). Next will be an outline of the metaphors used to frame and constrain the movement followed by a description of the technologies used create the instrument (maxMsp, catArt, SuperCollider, iPad, Myos, and Wekinator) and the role each played. This will lead to a reflection on the implementation of machine learning into the author’s craft as an alternative method of a mapping strategy for digital instrument design. The presentation will conclude with a brief demo of the instrument.

This presentation will also include an interactive demo to allow for symposium attendees to have time to explore the performance of the instrument along with experimenting with its training through machine learning.

Ian Jarvis is an artist and researcher whose work centers around the creation and performance of music afforded through digital means. Motivated by the relationship of humans and their technology his work focuses on exploring and combining various strategies that engage the computer as a musical instrument that extends and augments the performance ecosystem. These strategies include live coding (programming as performance), gesture based digital instruments, performable databases, networked performance, and machine learning. His research and creative practice are informed by human-machine agency, digital performance and posthumanism. Jarvis is a researcher at the Distributed Performance and Sensorial Immersion Lab, or Dispersion lab, at York University where he is currently working towards his PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies. He has performed and presented his work nationally and internationally including at the conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), the International Conference on Live Coding (ICLC), the Network Music Festival, Sonorities Festival, Vectors Festival, Subtle Technologies, and the Progress Festival.

Signy Lynch — “The ‘Trumpian Performative’: social media performance, immediacy, and authenticity in the 2016 U.S. election”

As was widely discussed in the days following the most recent American presidential election, social media is becoming an ever more influential force in politics (and everyday life). From Facebook fake news to Trump’s twitter rants, social media is now a key site for the creation and dissemination of information, affecting political attitudes and—in a ‘post-truth’ world—even perceptions of reality. In the face of the global rise of the alt-right, understanding how the power of social media can be harnessed (particularly by right-wing populist politicians) has become an increasingly important mission for leftist academics. Drawing primarily from a theatre and performance studies perspective, this paper will examine social media performance, specifically Donald Trump’s strategic use of Twitter and his self-figuration through the medium, in the context of the 2016 U.S. election. I will examine how both the medium of Twitter and the form/content of Trump’s tweets worked to create a sense of authenticity and immediacy in order to appeal to voters. My paper also examines a secondary question, following Marcus Youssef’s pronouncement that, “digital media [has] fundamentally altered our ideas about performance, authenticity, and narrative” (14): what becomes/has become of authenticity in the digital age? By reading Trump’s behaviour both on- and off-line as a form of artistic performance, I follow the work of scholars such as Laura Levin and Sarah Brady who have examined the benefits of adopting a performance paradigm in analyses of contemporary politics. I draw specifically from Levin’s work on politicians Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau, scholars Charlie Gere and Dhiraj Murthy on social media, and theorists from Adorno to Baudrillard to Benjamin on ‘authenticity’, in an attempt to understand the power of Trump’s performance and to explore the close connections between this performance style and a fascist aesthetic.

Signy holds a BA Honours in Drama from Queen’s University, where she served as artistic director of Vagabond Theatre from 2012-2014. In 2015 she received her MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from York University. Her research focuses on direct address in contemporary Canadian performance, modes of performative address, and the rhetorical and artistic framing of the theatrical encounter by scholars and artists. She is also interested more broadly interested in ethnography, political theatre, and spectatorship. She is currently a PhD student at York University where she received the 2015-2016 Don Rubin Dissertation Award.

Ian Macchiusi — “’Totemic Power’: Arrangement, Analysis and Performance in the Digital Audio Workstation”

The computer’s visual representation of sound has revolutionized the creation of music through the interface of the Digital Audio Workstation software (DAW).  With the rise of DAW-based composition in popular music styles, many artists’ sole experience of musical creation is through the computer screen.  I assert, the particular sonic visualizations of the DAW propagate certain assumptions about music, influencing aesthetics and adding new visually-based parameters to the creative process.  For instance, the DAW’s particular visualization of a composition as a compound graphical object, temporally delineated and stretched across a timeline, highlights a modular form of arrangement that centers a spatial analysis of music in the producer’s process.  I believe that for many artists, this spatial representation intensifies the powerful feeling of transcending musical time by transposing the common trait of navigating digital environments into the world of music.  Moreover, this navigation creates a new form of multimodal composition and performance where the producer can spatially remix their composition in real time.  An analysis of the impact of this type of visual representation on a producer’s process will be furnished through an examination of DAW user manuals, software design guidelines, psychological studies of computer usage, as well as comments on DAW-based Reddit communities.

Ian Macchiusi is a drummer and teacher interested in the intersection of computer software with musical performance, improvisation and composition.  He is currently working on his PhD. dissertation at York University examining the influence of the computer screen in software composed popular music.

Michael Palumbo —  “Data Issues: Please See Attachment” 

Data Issues: Please See Attachment is a digital performance art piece that confronts impressions of failure, the discharging of unfinished work, and embracing tinkering as performance aesthetic. A script searches all folders on the performer’s laptop for a Max patch that has not been modified for at least months. It runs this patch, and arbitrarily maps its synthesis parameters to buttons of a hardware MIDI controller. Unaware of the new parameter mapping, the performer learns to play the instrument for the first time in an improvisation. At a randomized point in the performance timeline, the script will permanently delete the patch from the hard disk, releasing a hold that the unfinished work has on the cognitive load of the artist, and instilling a sense of urgency and presence in this last encounter between designer-performer and instrument. 

Michael Palumbo is an award-winning sound artist and researcher based in Toronto. His work explores networked performance, participation, and self-organization, and has been presented internationally in performance, print, and through lectures. Michael holds a BFA with Distinction in Electroacoustic Studies, and is working toward an MA in Performance Studies at York in September.

 Nadine Ryan & Sebastian Oreamuno — Follow

Photography is a practice with a dispersive history. From its inception, photography has had a central role in science, art, and society. From a rare and reified position in a niche market (accessible only to specialists), to its mass-market production and simplified digital features, the practice of making photographs has become ordinary, everyday, and ubiquitous; allowing anyone to be the “specialist”, to be a “photographer”. Once tangible and primarily occupying physical spaces, or the “real”, photographic images have come to dominate virtual worlds, foremost in social media. Saturating social media networks, the photograph has become a significant means of self-expression and fashioning through self-documentation, or selfies (Murray 2015). Yet, this burgeoning phenomenon has been perceived to contribute to a “confused sense of self” (Tierney 2013:74), and, not to mention, a confused sense of what it means to connect and communicate with others.

This interactive installation focuses on Instagram, a social media site where people share photographs and videos—many of which contain captions and hashtags—with their followers. By bringing a virtual social media site to the physical medium of social interaction, Follow explores how a virtual identity translates into the physical world. Viewers will have an opportunity to converse with the individual whose Instagram photos will be displayed behind him, and consider how both the virtual and “real” enable “a different connectivity, a different difference, in parallel” (Massumi 2002: 25).

Nadine Ryan is a first year Masters’ student in Social Anthropology at York University. Through encounters in travel and specific topics in anthropology, I have become fascinated with visual culture, the arts, religion, and various forms of communication/expression. Alongside my education I have been developing my photography practice and experimenting with other art forms which I am currently attempting to connect with my Masters’ research.
Sebastian Oreamuno is a performer, visual artist, and academic. As an introvert, he uses the creative process to construct places and themes where he can go reflect and recharge. Sebastian holds a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, and an MA in Dance from York University. He is currently the Education Coordinator at Dance Collection Danse.

Daniel Smith — “Mapping Meaning: The Collective Cartography of Everyday Life”

This sound project draws on the works of Michel De Certeau and Gilles Deleuze in an investigation of the creation of meaning, distinctions of place and space, and ontological examinations of history. The project also takes inspiration from other soundscape mapping endeavours such as the Montreal Sound Map, but with a greater focus on collaboration and the retelling of personal narratives. In direct questioning of authorship and intentionality, the collection of sounds is chosen by the numerous guest artists and they also provide a narrative related to some of their choices. The presenting artist acts more as a partner in the collaboration than a curator, following the same steps as the other guest artists. However, the sound and narrative collection process is at first opaque to the participant or guest artist. These sounds are eventually overlaid on an interactive map, sorted by location. The narrative may take the form of a memory of the location or as a self-reflection on the sound collected. The collection of narratives and locations sounds make visible the normally unseen and highly individual network of experience within a city. These individual networks may overlap, acting as an archive of both collective and individual meaning of shared spaces. Ideally, users of the sound map are encouraged to explore in their own unique way, becoming collaborators right in this mapping project

Daniel Smith is a Masters student at York University specializing in Ethnomusicology. He is currently researching local dance and jazz band leader David Black with recent ventures into Sound Studies. Much of his research interests and personal projects, regardless of specialization, focus on memory, history, and narrative.

Mitchell Akiyama is a Toronto-based scholar, composer, and artist. His eclectic body of work includes writings about plants, animals, cities, and sound art; scores for film and dance; and objects and installations that trouble received ideas about history, perception, and sensory experience. Akiyama’s output has appeared in commensurately miscellaneous sources such as Leonardo Music Journal, ISEA, Sonar Music Festival (Barcelona), Raster-Noton Records (Berlin), Gendai Gallery (Toronto), and in many other exhibitions, publications, and festivals. He holds a PhD in communications from McGill University and an MFA from Concordia University and is currently a SSRHC Postdoctoral Fellow at York University’s Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts & Technology.

May Chew received her Doctorate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, where her CGS SSHRC funded research examined the uses of interactive and immersive technologies in diverse museological sites across the country, and how these facilitate the material practice of nation and cultural citizenship. Currently, she is a MITACS Postdoctoral Fellow at York University’s Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts. Her work examines the role of digital exhibit platforms in interdisciplinary knowledge production and collaboration. She also collaborates on Houses on Pengarth, a bourgeoning project centred on developing a socially-engaged, experimental art lab in Toronto’s Lawrence Heights community. Her recent work appears in the anthology Material Cultures in Canada, the International Journal of Heritage Studies and an upcoming issue of theJournal of Canadian Art History. Chew has taught in the areas of culture and technology, multiculturalism and film. She holds a MITACS Postdoctoral Fellowship and serves as Managing Editor for the journal, PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas.

Mary Elizabeth Luka‘s academic work focuses on the concept of creative citizenship to investigate how civic, culture and business sectors are networked in the digital age. Her PhD on the digital transformation in television in Canada was awarded the Governor-General Gold Medal and Concordia’s Distinguished Dissertation Award. She has received 10 academic grants for her research, and six research-creation grants for the digital media artist group she belongs to, Narratives in Space + Time Society, which intervenes in site-specific spaces to engage others in art practices and storytelling. The Banting Fellowship allows her to explore two strategic clusters of research interests in the culture sector: policy development including leading practices in data management, ethics and audience engagement in feminist science and technology studies (STS); and state-of-the-art creative hubs and partnerships.