2015 Collapsing Constellations: Remapping Art, Science and the Planetary

Collapsing Constellations: Remapping Art, Science and the Planetary

Keynote Speaker: Natasha Myers, Department of Anthropology, York University.

In our current ecological moment of crisis a collision between art and science is not only necessary, but inevitable. Many social and environmental activists are proposing an ecological politics that encompasses the physical in terms of a singular planetary conception. The inaugural Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology Graduate Symposium, Collapsing Constellations: Remapping Art, Science and the Planetary seeks to explore imagined and practical spaces that exist between contemporary ecologies of knowledge – envisioning new routes for intellectual migration and pollination. 

Sensorium is currently inviting proposals for presentations which revolve around these constellations and engage critically with the multiplying intersections of art and science within contemporary and historical practices. We are particularly interested in the intersection of art, science and the planetary as they are concerned with climate change and our ecological moment. This one-day symposium will offer a unique symbiotic opportunity for emerging researchers and artists to gather, exchange, bond, and cross-fertilize future landscapes for research materializing at disciplinary boundaries. If you are an artist invested in science and technology, a scientist absorbed by art, or a researcher engaged with collaborative or interdisciplinary investigation please consider submitting a proposal for this exciting and collaborative event.

Potential topics/areas include, but are not limited to:

  • The planetary in and through emerging media
  • Digital cartographies and conceptions of climate change
  • Funktionskreis, umwelt and theories of “the functional circle”
  • Bio-semiotics, bio-philosophy, and bio-art
  • Critical thing theory and “vibrant matter”
  • 21st century approaches to digital research and the environment
  • Human, animal, and planetary energy systems,
  • Global information networks and “the cloud”
  • Intercorporeity
  • Bodily cartographies
  • Deep data and deep earth
  • Cyborgs and the posthuman
  • Queer futurities

Presentational formats:

Posters, workshops, round tables, interventions/performances, presentations – traditional and experimental – and other emerging forms will be considered. We encourage cross-disciplinary interpretations, variations and unforeseen mutations of our working themes.

Submissions:

We invite papers and presentations that critique, consider, and construct the intersection of art, science, the planetary and iterations therein. Please send a 300 word abstract, along with a working title, short biography, and contact information. If you would like to submit a joint proposal with several researchers/artists please send only one application that includes collective biographical and contact information. Specify the format of your presentation, keeping in mind it should be no longer than 20 minutes in length (with 90 minutes for panels and/or round tables). The final date for submissions is 30 January, 2015.

Email: sensoriumsymposium@gmail.com

About Sensorium:

Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology is an experimental research centre based out of York University that supports cross-disciplinary work in all areas that intersect with digital media practices. Sensorium is a nexus for new ideas and experimentation that incorporates work from diverse fields of study and creates spaces for innovative dialogue. More information is available at: http://sensorium.info.yorku.ca/

 

We are lucky to have Natasha Myers as our keynote for the Collapsing Constellations Symposium 2015.

Natasha Myers is Director of the Institute for Science and Technology Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University. She heads up the Steering Committee for the Politics of Evidence Working Group, is a member of Sensorium, co-convenor of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon, and co-organizer of the Write2Know ProjectMyers’s ethnographic research examines forms of life in the contemporary arts and sciences. Her forthcoming book, Rendering Life Molecular (Duke University Press, August 2015) is an ethnography of an interdisciplinary group of scientists who make living substance come to matter at the molecular scale.

Please join us for Natasha Myers’ talk, “Plant Planet: Art, Science, and the Turn to Plants in a Time of Climate Change” to be presented at YYZ Artist’s Outlet (140-401 Richmond St. W) beginning at 4:35pm with a question and answer period to follow.

Christine cricri Bellerose “Dissolve”

Bio: 

Christine cricri Bellerose is a Montreal interdisciplinary scholar and artist exploring hybrid forms of movement art. Bellerose lived a decade in China; Western and Eastern cosmologies permeate her art. Since 2004, the artist performed, curated, and exhibited her works in China, USA, and Canada; favourites are: “The Writhing/Les É-cris,” “Abanico Negro”, “Corpo Insurrecto 3.2”, “Yellow Umbrella Butoh”, and “Artist as Shaman”. Since 2010, Bellerose embodies her butoh alter ego, Dalidada, on stage and through eco-performances. Bellerose trains with Montreal performance artist Sylvie Tourangeau: “Performative Listening of Metis and Indigenous Artifacts”, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2014, training in Utah with dance scholar Sondra Fraleigh, Bellerose performed a series titled, “Healing my Mother,” embodying layers of organic ancestral history from Anasazi Petroglyphs to motherly womb. Bellerose holds a B.F.A. in Theatre and Development from Concordia University. She is completing at York University, an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies and projects to start her PhD in Dance Studies in 2015. Her Major Research Paper aims to study the phenomena of presence in movement performance art through the spatio-temporal optic of Shinto Zen Buddhism, ‘ma’. websiteVimeo site

Abstract:

Dissolve is a durational multi-platform performance involving human, visuals, and machinery. The installation builds from a Deleuzian ‘crystal-image’ argument, performing hybrid theories of Merleau-Ponty’s ‘intercorporeality of self’, and Susan Leigh Foster’s ‘choreographic empathy’.

Contemporary ecologies of knowledge are reflected in the crystal-performance of today’s society, ubiquitous and in a state of permanent connectivity. I believe realities are felt first, through spatial and temporal images of texture and senses. Simultaneous layers of social memories are involved in pollinating the experience of a 21rst century human. My research focuses on the re-embodiment of the layers of de-corporated world (social) memories. Dissolve is a transformative and experiential intervention/performance, allowing the viewer to experience what film theorist Vivian Shobchack terms, “an expression of experience by experience.”1

The performance was created in 2014 by the artist, assisted by creative coder Jason Levine. Dissolve has not yet been performed in front of a public audience. Dissolve is an installation of three simultaneous tableaux, set up as a 360 view-point. On one side, I perform two tableaux: the original human performance and the virtual performance. The original tableau shows the performer embodying the organic memory of an artifact. A 3D camera pointed at the performer projects a virtual one-colour image of the performer on a wall. The back side image of the performance is the cyber performance. A low resolution camera captures the double image of the front tableaux, screening the live-stream. The visual reactive installation at once reproduces in time one image through multi-space.

Each reproduction of the original image dissolves itself according to the pixel resolution. This viewing of dissolution is śūnyatā’, a state of eternal dissolution. The cycle of re-corporating a memory completes itself as the viewer returns to the original tableau.

Embodying the experience of performing is an essential part of my methodology of research. Through my work, expressing world memories through corporeal re-corporation, I intend to show that “memories do not disappear when we stop talking about them.”2

1 Vivian Shobchack re-appropriates Merleau-Ponty’s, “an expression of experience by experience.” In Dissolve, I propose to enlarge the argument as, an expression of experience by expression. (36)

2 In, How Societies Remember, Connerton argues that the “unconscious collective memories” continue through time and space, “They do not disappear because we stop talking [or dancing] about them.” (3)

Works Cited

Connerton, Paul. How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. Print.
Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986. Print.                                                                                                                                                       Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1989. Print.                                                                                                                                                                                          Foster, Susan Leigh. “Kinesthetic Empathies and the Politics of Compassion.” Critical Theory and Performance. 2007. Eds. Janelle G. Reinelt and Joseph R. Roach. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2010. 245-58. Print.                                               Marratto, Scott L. The Intercorporeal Self: Merleau-Ponty on Subjectivity. New York: State U of New York P, 2012. Print. Sobchack, Vivian. “Phenomenology and the Film Experience.” Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film.” Ed. Linda Williams. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1994. Print. 36-58.

Justin Derry “Telling Tales in the Anthropocene: Inhabiting Art/Science Entanglements to Gather Ecological Stories”

Bio: 

Justin Derry is finalizing his dissertation in the Department of Humanities at York University. His trans-disciplinary dissertation, tentatively titled ‘The Ecological Humanities in an Era of Climate Change: Re-Framing Ecological Actors and Actants’, moves humanities methods and theories beyond an exclusively intra-human focus by examining knowledge ecologies that situate and entangle human narratives and worlds within broader relational networks that exceed the human.

Abstract: 

This paper will work through two kinds of artistic and scientific knowledge ecologies that differently address and respond to the crisis of climate change. I’ll first examine how the climate models and visualization technologies earth system scientists use to understand and know the changing climate challenge or intrude into the tales and refrains that have typically gathered eco-political modes of thinking, feeling and imagining the planetary. Drawing on science studies scholars like Paul Edwards, I will discuss that although there is clarity about the anthropogenic origins of climate change, climate models, as situated knowledge ecologies, are ‘fuzzy’. That is, climate models have difficulty modelling or rendering climate change as a clear and distinct object, which in effect challenges anthropocentric and human exceptionalist narratives about ‘our’ place as stewards or protectors of ‘the’ earth.

Following the thought of Isabelle Stengers and Donna Haraway, this intrusion of the ecological crisis gathers ‘us’ into multi-species mesh-works that require the cultivation and performance of knowledge technologies that don’t place ‘us’ at the center of things. Drawing on Haraway’s notion of ‘response-ability’, I will turn to the art/science practices of Natalie Jeremijenko, and argue that her work provides resources for the articulation of anthropo(de)centric knowledge production practices. In effect, I will show how Jeremijenko’s eco-political apparatuses work as environmental visualization technologies and multi-species knowledge production practices that lead to alternate worldly stories, enactments and becomings.

Bryn A. Ludlow “Make It Last’: Affect and attachment patterns revealed in portrait drawings”

Bio: 

Bryn A. Ludlow is a Ph.D. student at York University in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, York-Ryerson Joint Program in Communication & Culture. She holds a BFA in Integrated Media from the Ontario College of Art & Design University (2010) and a MA in Health & Aging from McMaster University (2012). Bryn has presented her research on body mapping at national and international conferences, including at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (2011).

Aside from school, she is Assistant Curator of “The Body Electric” an annual digital art exhibition with the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada. As a Graduate Research Assistant working with a team at OCAD University at the “HomeLab”, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, she is developing and testing a postcard iPad application geared to older adults with a diagnosis of early stage dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, to learn if the application can assist with their recall of event-based memories. Website.

Abstract:

One of the last songs by the late Kate McGarrigle, titled, “I Just Want To Make It Last” [1] tells the story about the artist’s wish for the earth to slow down, and for at least one out of the many brilliant artists and scientists in the world to find out how. In end-of-life patient care, taking the time to slow down and see the perspective of the patient while at the bedside is essential to maintain engaging communication.

In my M.A. thesis study, I facilitated 12 body mapping sessions with 5 geriatric inpatients at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute in the dialysis unit; in a retrospective review of the data, intriguing adult illness adjustment and attachment patterns are represented in the patient portrait drawings [2]. A visual research method, body mapping is supported by almost thirty years of interdisciplinary research, beginning in 1985 [3]. Patients received daily (6 day/week, 2-3 hr.) hæmodialysis therapy for end-stage renal disease. While in the dialysis unit, they drew and wrote about their bodily sensations and emotions over three sessions on a paper map with a line drawing template of a human figure.

Self-portraits were digitally isolated from the body maps, then analyzed quantitatively following a grounded theory analysis of the body maps and interviews. An analysis of the eye gaze, turn of the facial midline and mouth on the portraits reveals patterns of attachment [4] in each patient case that are presented in results of the complete analysis of the maps, and interview themes.

Maintaining sustained engagement is challenging with time-limited patient care visits; caregivers are at the intersection of caring for their patient or loved one, and caring for themselves. Still, the constellation of care includes layers of meaning worth exploring with arts informed research methods that might expose the layers in the moment.

References

1. McGarrigle, K. (25 Jun 2013). I Just Want To Make It Last. On Sing Me The

Songs: Celebrating the works of Kate McGarrigle. London, New York, and Toronto: Nonesuch Records. (June 12, 2010, London; May 12–13, 2011, New York City; June 13, 2012, Toronto).

2. Ludlow, B. A. (2012). Body mapping with geriatric inpatients receiving daily haemodialysis therapy for end-stage renal disease at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute: A qualitative study. [Unpublished Master of Arts Thesis]. Hamilton, ON: McMaster University. Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/11375/12677

3. MacCormack, C.P. & Draper, A. (1987). Social and cognitive aspects of female sexuality in Jamaica, In Pat Caplan, ed. The Cultural Construction of Sexuality, London: Tavistock  pp. 143-165.

4. Hunter, J. J., & Maunder, R. G. (2001). Using attachment theory to understand illness behavior. General hospital psychiatry23(4), 177-182.

Sasha Opeiko “A Melancholic Approach to Dark Abstract Space”

Bio: 

Sasha Opeiko sustains a solo and collaborative artistic practice in Windsor ON, while also maintaining an interest in critical theory. Focusing on topics of ideological entrapment, objects, materiality and perception, her ontological orientation can be paralleled with branches of speculative realism. She works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, video, installation and sculpture. Sasha received a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of Windsor in 2009, followed by a MFA in Visual Arts from the University of Victoria in 2012. Her work has most recently been exhibited at Artcite Inc. (Windsor ON), Thames Art Gallery (Chatham ON) and Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery (Sarnia ON). Her recent collaborative projects include Third Line (with Martin Stevens, International Zizek Studies Conference 2014, Cincinnati OH) and the Meta-Etcetera Hovercraft 1.0 (with Megan Press, part of Artcite Inc.’s Precariat, Windsor ON). Her writing has been featured in FUSE magazine (Toronto ON) and in accompanying texts for exhibitions at Forest City Gallery (London ON) and PAVED Arts (Saskatoon SK). She is currently working as art director for a Windsor-based contemporary art magazine ARTWINDSOR.

Abstract:

This paper uses examples of speculative realism, ontology and cultural texts such as films and contemporary art to discuss the notion of inaccessibility and melancholic process in relation to the visualization of abstract space. Supposing abstraction to be defined as a neutral, detached space of potentiality that is perpetually invisible and can be approached only indirectly, abstract space is not restricted to the aesthetic realm of art, but this indirect approach is always a matter of vision and visibility. Self-referentially, abstract space requires the application of vision to see itself. As a process reliant on visionary fixation, melancholy is interpreted as a mechanism of withdrawal and self-reflexivity that can be used to approach dark abstract space. Melancholy can only exist while its objective is unattainable, it is always closed and immobile, as mobility instigates an internal collapse of the melancholic loop. The melancholic process proves to be a catalyst for seeing abstract space, but always indirectly. This process is observed and analyzed with examples of Piotr Kamler’s science fiction film Chronopolis (1988), Jean-Luc Godard’s science fiction film noir Alphaville (1965), and London Fieldworks’ sculptural project Null Object: Gustav Metzger thinks about nothing (2012). The above examples contain melancholic elements of autonomy, obsession and self-reflexivity, as well as inevitable self-destruction or self-negation. The temporal disposition of the melancholic mechanism is of self-enclosure and self-reliance. Looped in its own incomplete presence, but devoid of past and future, it lacks the germ of potentiality. These object-oriented concepts are coalesced through reference to pertinent theoretical texts such as Giorgio Agamben’s Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture (1993), Graham Harman’s Bells and Whistles (2013), Ben Woodard’s Slime Dynamics (2012), Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (2013) and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980).

Jonathan Osborn “When Species (M)eat”

Bio:

Jonathan Osborn is a dancer, choreographer and PhD student from Toronto, Canada. Jonathan’s research interests revolve around studying the depiction of monsters visually and kinetically in live performance, film, cartoons and video games. Jonathan holds an MA in Dance from York University, and a BA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia.

Abstract:

This short workshop will be an introduction to my research about animals, somatics, pedagogy and embodiment. Participants will learn through experiential and experimental means about anatomy and kinetics with the assistance of a dog. Particular attention will be devoted to specific areas of the body (such as the neck and spine), and basic movement concepts (such as “the core” and “rotation”). This workshop is aimed toward those, regardless of physical ability or past experience with dance, with an interest in the body, animals, or pedagogical practices. 

David Perrett “Materiality at the Intersection of Natural and Digital”

Bio: 

David Perrett is a sculptor based in Hamilton, with an art practice that includes public art, live plants, sound installations, stone sculptures and physical computing. Growing up in Winnipeg, he split his formative years between urban art making and wilderness canoeing. The implied separation between these two activities led to a desire to reconcile competing aesthetics of urban/technological and wilderness/pastoral through art. Currently pursuing an MFA at York University his work blends traditional stone carving techniques with micro-processor based robotics.

Abstract:

Materiality is at the heart of human interaction with the world but the perceived gap between the natural and the manufactured seemed to be an increasing source of stress in society at large. As technology infiltrates every corner of daily life, the inner workings appear more and more like sorcery to the lay observer. He sleek and nearly seamless designs of tech objects removing most of the material touchstones that we have relied upon for centuries to contextualize an item and orient us to its use. My work is slowly struggling for a synthesis between recognizable tellurian materials (such as stone, wood, and metal), and the technological capabilities of physical computing and robotics.

In the beginning I simply wanted rocks that could roam freely and chaotically around the house. What started as a playful(and failed) attempt at making kinetic sculpture is expanding into an exploration of how materiality can be both enhanced and subverted by embracing technology. Working to augment the affective potential inherent in my materials with dynamic and reactive circuitry I am increasingly finding that the two are not in binary opposition but instead are complimentary manifestations drawn from the same well. In the same way that a sensation of solidity, permanence and timelessness are the results of a stone being a stone, so too is an iphone a natural outgrowth of of humans being. My curiosity now is trained on seeing what happens to the agential role of a work of art when it is no longer static, when it can take action independent of the viewer. Sticks and stones, computation and circuitry, as it happens these create a rabbits warren and I would like to share some of my experiences getting lost in that labyrinth.

Jonathan Petrychyn “Soft Skinned Cyborgs: Pedro Almodóvar’s Transgender and Transgenetic Futures”

Bio: Jonathan Petrychyn is a PhD student in Communication and Culture at York University. He holds an M.Phil in Humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a B.A. (Hons.) in Fine Arts from the University of Regina. His research focuses on how queer and trans media objects create alternative worlds.

Abstract: 

“The present is not enough,” writes the late queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz in Cruising Utopia. “It is impoverished and toxic for queers and other people who do not feel the privilege of majoritarian belonging, normative tastes, and ‘rational’ expectations” (27). In the face of an increasingly oppressive present, Muñoz’s work calls us to think towards the future, and to think towards the future queerly. This presentation aims to consider the effect time and queer temporalities have on the establishment of alternative political worlds through a consideration of the temporal relation between art, science, and transgender bodies in Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In (2011). Set in a Muñozian queer future much nearer to the present than we are used to, Almodóvar’s film follows Vicente, a young man who rapes the daughter of plastic surgeon Robert Ledgaard and is forced into sexual reassignment surgery as punishment by the surgeon. Vicente is renamed and reborn as Vera, a veritable doppelganger of Ledgaard’s deceased wife. Obsessed with assuring that Vera is never horribly disfigured in a fire like Ledgaard’s late wife, Ledgaard grafts a transgenetically modified hard skin impervious to cuts, burns, and ultimately to feeling onto Vera. Situating The Skin I Live In in the context of Almodovar’s other future-oriented films, I aim to critique this notion of hard skin by proposing a “soft skin politics” through the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Ranciere, and Jacques Lacan. I argue that a radical politics oriented towards the creation of future possible worlds happens when our gaze is allowed to cut a soft skin. These alternative possible worlds are structured as Muñozian queer futurities: possible worlds yet-to-come structured by the no-longer-present.

Chelsea Phillips-Carr “Space Race: The Radical Potentials of the Machine in Science Fiction”

Bio: Chelsea Phillips-Carr is a first year MA candidate at the University of Toronto where she completed her undergraduate degree in Cinema Studies. Her interests lie in critical race theory and postcolonialism, especially as applied to French cinema.

Abstract:

In Ridley Scott’s Alien and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, we are presented with two robots, Ash and HAL9000, who ultimately disrupt the missions of their Earth crews. These antagonistic characters can, however, be viewed as more than simply villains, but as resistant subjects. By drawing parallels between colonial adventure and these space missions, and the connections between animals, machines, and non-white bodies by way of René Descarte’s thoughts on animals-as-automatons, this essay will construct a narrative of racial and colonial resistance. Though the films place the robots in demonized positions this essay will recuperate them as fighting against oppression, in a way that has a potential to disrupt the proto-colonial narratives of the films. This will be done by first demonstrating the colonial nature of the space missions, the racialization of these two robots, and finally the robot’s own anti-colonial disruptions. Through this argument this essay will attempt to update Donna Haraway’s cyborg manifesto for a more racial reading of robots.

Nemanja Protic “Grotesque Matters: Toward an Ethics of Materialism through a De-Forming Body”

Bio: 

Nemanja Protic is a Ph.D. candidate in English at York University, Toronto.  He works in the areas of Literary/Cultural Theory and Contemporary Literature, and his dissertation explores the poetics and politics of grotesque aesthetics in contemporary fiction, film, and comics.  He has presented his work on the intersection of literary/ cultural theory, literature, and popular culture at various conferences, and his publication in the Literature/Film Quarterly received the Thomas Erskine Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Adaptation Studies.

Abstract:

The grotesque, historically perceived as an aesthetically, politically, and/or morally subversive form of art, has been theorized as produced by “an aesthetic fusion that generates a correspondingly mixed intellectual and emotional [or bodily] response” (Thompson  103).  As such, this aesthetic mode, premised on representations of de-formation of the human body, can be utilised to think the function and ethics of materialism in contemporary culture of the West.  To do so, I theorize the grotesque as Janus-faced: existing on the edge between the Lacanian Symbolic and Real.

On the one hand, the grotesque is enmeshed in socio-political, Symbolic elaborations of counter-hegemonic discourses.  As such, any theoretical or ontological elaboration of this aesthetic form is necessarily “correlational” (Quentin Meillassoux) and “decisional” (Ray Brassier/François Laruelle).  The grotesque’s truth is here predicated on the way in which the human mind experiences reality and the way the human subject is – materially as well as socio-politically – situated.  On the other hand, the grotesque allows us to think the ontological as revealing the realm of the Real as separable from human consciousness/discourse.  The Real is here theorized in terms of a materialism rooted in the studies of the brain and this organ’s plasticity (as used in post-Derridean work of Catherine Malabou).

This utilisation of the grotesque allows us to go beyond focusing strictly on how the human subject experiences reality through discourse by situating this tendency within a more comprehensive framework in which the work of cultural studies intersects and harmonizes with the findings of natural sciences.  It also allows us to align the politics of cultural theory with the ethics and politics of materialism that considers matter to be “ancestral” (anterior to discursivity).  This ethics embodies “the labour of disenchantment initiated by Galileo in the physical realm, continued by Darwin in the biological sphere, and currently being extended by cognitive science to the domain of mind” (Brassier, Nihil Unbound 40), thus opening the vista of human ethical responsibility for other species and their (and our) ecological systems.  My presentation will discuss these characteristics of the grotesque through examples taken from visual art (R. Crumb’s comics and the painting of Francis Bacon) and literature (Oscar Zeta Acosta and Samuel Delany).

Works Cited

Brassier, Ray.  Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.  Print.                  Thompson, G. R.  “Interdisciplinary and Romantic Narrative: Analogues of the Visual Arts in the Literature of the Grotesque, Gothic, and Arabesque.”  Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature 49 (2001): 101 – 138.  Print.

 Paul Smith “Resisting Flat Networks: Affect and Puncture in Digital Cultural Scripts”

Bio: 

I am a Chicago-based performer and critic. My work is concerned with banality and rupture in cultural scripts and art in the processes of globalization. Currently studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I have worked with numerous curatorial collectives such as 3rd Language, Templefest, and Napkin Poetry to explore and present queer futures and strange religions in untrammeled spaces.

Abstract:

The network is our keyword today – investigations are not performed on objects but in fields, as in a century of forensics. Even in common parlance, the object is now the oeuvre or the family of points. But this familiarity suffers us when, as Anna Munster suggests in her book ‘An Aesthesia of Networks: Conjunctive Experience in Art and Technology’, network relationality is flattened into uniform fields. This ‘flattening’ might be the same at hand in Pamela Lee’s ‘Forgetting the Art World’, an analysis of ‘irl’ art objects expressing globalization through leveling, and David Joselit’s idea of the flat as stereotype or script, its prominence accompanying a desire to expand all objects into those around them. Our understanding of networks must constantly push against this flattening, and struggle to regain its depth. Appropriating Henry James’s analyses of time as budding and flowing, this essay elaborates the idea of an affective ‘cluster’ or close proximity in the network. Positing astrology as an historic precursor to actor-network theories – and the internet – I wish to see when the network mass became banal – not void of emotion but feeling drenched in familiarity. I examine the practices of several web-based artists whose work culls emotional drift online to produce mutating texts. Investigating the digital transcriptions and confessional scripts of Anne Hirsch and Trisha Low, and the collective impulse of Kevin B. Lee, Steve Reinke and Natalie Bookchin, I wish to probe the emotional locus of networks – where our multi-connected experience is de-familiarized and rushes in anew.

9-9:40          Registration 

9:40-9:45    Remarks

9:45-11:30    Queerobots – Moderated by Cody Lang

  • “Space Race: The Radical Potentials of the Machine in Science Fiction” Chelsea Phillips-Carr (Cinema Studies, University of Toronto)
  • “Soft Skinned Cyborgs: Pedro Almodovar’s Transgender and Transgenetic Futures” Jon Petrychyn (Communication & Culture, York University)
  • “Grotesque Matters: Toward an Ethics of Materialism through a De-Forming Body” Nemanja Protic (English Dept., York University)

11:35-1:00  There is only One Affect – Moderated by Dr. Janine Marchessault

  • “Resisting Flat Networks: Affect and Puncture in Digital Cultural Scripts” Paul Smith (Art Institute of Chicago)
  • “Abstraction and Melancholic Objects” Sasha Opeiko (Independent Artist/Researcher)
  • “Dissolve” Christine Bellerose (York University)

1:00-2:15      Lunch

2:15-3:30      Fictions, Entropy & Waste – Moderated by Dr. Paul Moore

  • “When Species (M)eat” Jonathan Osborn (Dance Dept., York University)
  • “Telling Tales in the Anthropocene: Inhabiting Art/Science Entanglements to Gather Ecological Stories” Justin Derry (Humanities Dept., York University)

3:35-4:30     Realities in the Data Empire – Moderated by Dr. Michael Zyrd

  • “‘Make it Last’: Affect and Attachment Patterns Revealed in Portrait Drawings” Bryn Ludlow (Communication & Culture, York University)
  • “Materiality at the Intersection of Natural and Digital” David Perrett (MFA, York University)

4:35-6:20     Keynote Presentation by Dr. Natasha Myers “Plant Planet: Art, Science, and the Turn to Plants in a Time of Climate Change”

6:20-6:25      Closing Remarks

6:25-7:45         Social

Janine Marchessault, Cinema & Media Studies

Carmen Victor, Communication & Culture

Jonathan Osborn, Dance

Cody Lang, Cinema & Media Studies

Radojka Vrabac, Cinema & Media Studies

Mason Wales, Cinema & Media Studies

Jessica Bay, Communication & Culture

The symposium organizing committee would like to acknowledge a number of individuals and organizations for their support. Without the organizations and individuals listed below this symposium would not be possible.

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