A Light Footprint in the Cosmos
Symposium, exhibitions, performances, and screenings
June 24 – 27, 2022 | in-person and online
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre – SFU Goldcorp Centre for Arts, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver and other venues
Registration on a sliding fee scale. In-person registration includes catered lunches and coffee breaks and admission to performances and screenings.
GET TICKETS HERE
A Light Footprint in the Cosmos is a celebration of research methods and intercultural dialogue elaborated by the Substantial Motion Research Network (SMRN).
Inspired by 17th–century Persian process philosopher Sadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī, Azadeh Emadi and Laura U. Marks founded SMRN in 2018 for scholars and practitioners interested in cross-cultural exploration of digital media, art and philosophy. Sadra famously stated that each individual is "a multiplicity of continuous forms, unified by the essential movement itself," which describes how SMRN’s members inform each other’s practice and how those practices weave across artistic and scholarly work. Our collective method unfolds hidden connections: researching histories of media in world cultures, tracing paths of transmission, seeking models for media in world philosophies, studying vernacular practices, cultivating cultural openness, developing hunches, building imaginative and fabulative connections, and diagramming the processes of unfolding and enfolding. We fold South, Central, and East Asian, Persian, Arab, North and sub-Saharan African and African diaspora, Eastern European, and global Indigenous practices into contemporary media and thought. Our light footprint lies in seeking appropriate technological solutions, often from a-Western and traditional practices, to contemporary overbuilt digital infrastructures.
Celebrating the substantial motion of thought and/as creative practice, A Light Footprint in the Cosmos will feature presentations by 60 scholars and artists, delivered both online and in person, at the acoustically sophisticated performance venue Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre. We’ll kick off the symposium with a roundtable, The SMRN Method. Our through-provoking thematic threads include Grounding New Media in Traditional and Vernacular Technologies, Media Archaeologies, Travelling Cultures, Points-clés/Portals, Talismanic Media, Collective Imagination and the Imaginal, Cosmological Diagrams, I Ching as Method, Vibration and Breath, Body and Breath, Sensory Archaeologies, Healing Media, Algorithmic Media Disrupt Figurative Thought Patterns, and Three Ecologies.
The exhibitions, performances, and curated film screenings are integral to the event. We are delighted to present exhibitions of works of 17 artists, curated by Nina Czegledy and hosted by Vancouver contemporary art venues Or Gallery and Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and Studio T at SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. The artworks explore, via a wide variety of analogue and digital media, the global circulation and connectivity of theories and technologies, addressing both historical inspirations and contemporary issues. They illuminate hidden connections and reveal diverse yet complementary concepts and practices. The musical performances literally draw breath from deep cultural sources. SMRN’s methods extend into the curated screenings Cinema of Breath: Rapture, Rupture and Cosmological Diagrams.
A Light Footprint in the Cosmos affirms the substantial movement of thought and practice by seeking to stage dialogues, provoke discussion and spark new collaborations in order to decolonize media studies, art history and aesthetics.
More about Substantial Motion: substantialmotion.org
Presented with support from the School for the Contemporary Arts and the David Lam Centre.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
The Substantial Motion Research Network recognizes that this event takes place on the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Artists and presenters
Bahar Akgün, Julieta Aranda, Evan Barba, Steve Baris, Mansoor Behnam, Nathalia Bell, Brahim Benbouazza, Carol Bier, Joff P.N. Bradley, Ciğdem Borucu, Juan Castrillón, Millie Chen, Delinda Collier, Nina Czegledy, Henry Daniel, Garry Doherty, Navine G. Dossos, Stephanie Dossou, Siying Duan, Ron Eglash, Waèl El Allouche, Tarek Elhaik, Walid El Khachab, Mena El Shazly, Azadeh Emadi, Nezih Erdogan, Paul Goodfellow, Jan Hendrickse, Julian Henriques, Masayuki Iwase, Sunčica Pasuljević Kandić, Eyvind Kang, Bharati Kapadia, Pantea Karimi, Farshid Kazemi, Jessika Kenney, M. Javad Khajavi, Asad Khan, Somayeh Khakshoor, Michelle S. Kim, Lynn Marie Kirby, Keisha Knight, Olga F. Koroleva, Katie Kotler, Laura U. Marks, Nancy Mauro-Flude, Darija Medić, Matthew Melvin-Koushki, Narjis Mirza, Minoo Moallem, Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh, Katya Nosyreva, Mahmoud Nuri, J.R. Osborn, Arzu Ozkal, Sheila Petty, Manuel Baldoquin Pina, Radek Przedpełski, Bettina Schülke, Kalpana Subramanian, Yvan Tina, Wolfgang Weileder, and Eldon Yellowhorn.
With films by Karel Doing, Ja'tovia Gary, Jason Livingston, Lynn Marie Kirby, Anna Kipervaser, Peter Rose, and Malena Szlam (Cinema of Breath), and Somayeh Khakshoor, Millie Chen and Arzu Ozkal, Mena El Shazly, Radek Przedpełski, Çiğdem Borucu and Nezih Erdoğan, Narjis Mirza, Mansoor Behnam, Javad Khajavi, Gilles Aubry and Abdeljalil Saouli, Azadeh Emadi, Laura U. Marks, and Juan Castrillón (Cosmological Diagrams).
Please scroll down for Abstracts and Biographies
FRIDAY, JUNE 24
- HYBRID PANEL: Points-clés/Portals | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 9:00 AM – 10:45 AM
With Mena El Shazly, Asad Khan, Matthew Melvin-Koushki, Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh, and Radek Przedpełski.
- HYBRID PANEL: Talismanic media | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM
With Azadeh Emadi, Laura U. Marks, Nancy Mauro-Flude, and Manuel Baldoquin Pina.
- ROUNDTABLE: The SMRN Method | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
- HYBRID PANEL: Grounding New Media | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 4:00 PM – 5:45 PM
With Nina Czegledy, Ron Eglash, Pantea Karimi, Bettina Schülke, and Yvan Tina.
OPENING RECEPTION: 2nd Floor Terrace – SFU Goldcorp Centre for Arts | 6:00 PM
- GALLERY TOUR: Studio T, Centre A, and Or Gallery | 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
- HYBRID PANEL: Collective Imagination and Imaginal | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 9:00 AM – 10:45 AM
With Çiğdem Borucu, Nezih Erdogan, Bharati Kapadia, and Mahmoud Nuri.
- HYBRID PANEL: Travelling Cultures | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM
With Brahim Benbouazza, Millie Chen, Minoo Moallem, Arzu Ozkal, Sheila Petty, and Eldon Yellowhorn.
- HYBRID PANEL: Media Archaeologies | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
With Juan Castrillón, Delinda Collier, Walid El Khachab, and Farshid Kazemi.
- IN-PERSON WORKSHOP: I Ching method | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
With Evan Barba and J.R. Osborn.
- IN-PERSON PERFORMANCE: Azure | Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre | 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
With Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang.
Break for dinner
- IN-PERSON SCREENING + Q+A: Cinema of Breath: Rapture/Rupture | Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema | 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
With Kalpana Subramanian.
FREE VIRTUAL SCREENING: Link will be posted here on June 24, and will allow access for a limited period from June 25 – 27.
Program notes and link to the online version of the program will be made available here soon!
SUNDAY JUNE 26
- HYBRID PANEL: Cosmological Diagrams | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 9:00 AM – 10:45 PM
With Steve Baris, Paul Goodfellow, and Somayeh Khakshoor, and Olga Koroleva.
- HYBRID PANEL: Vibration and Breath | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM
With Nathalia Bell / Ziggurettes, Jessika Kenney, Sunčica Pasuljević Kandić, and Darija Medić.
- HYBRID PANEL: Sensory Archaeologies | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
With Henry Daniel, Julian Henriques, Michelle Kim, and Keisha Knight.
- HYBRID PANEL: Healing media | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 4:00 PM – 5:45 PM
With Mansoor Behnam, Joff P.N. Bradley, Siying Duan, Masayuki Iwase, and Katie Kotler.
Break for dinner
- IN-PERSON SCREENING: Cosmological Diagrams | Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema | 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
With Laura Marks.
MONDAY JUNE 27
- HYBRID PANEL: Body and Breath | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 9:00 AM – 10:45 AM
With Jan Hendrickse, Lynn Marie Kirby, Narjis Mirza, and Kalpana Subramanian.
- HYBRID PANEL: Algorithmic Media Disrupt.... | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 11:00 AM – 12:45 PM
With Bahar Akgün, Carol Bier, Navine G. Dossos, and Katya Nosyreva.
- HYBRID PANEL: Three Ecologies | Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre | 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
With Stephanie Dossou, Tarek Elhaik, Waèl El Allouche, and Wolfgang Weileder.
- CANCELLED: Immaterial Transformations | Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
With Jan Hendrickse.
CLOSING RECEPTION: 2nd Floor Terrace – SFU Goldcorp Centre for Arts | 4:00 PM
If you're not attending the full conference (which includes admission to all of the events), it's possible to purchase tickets to the individual events, as well.
- June 24 – 27, 2022 | in-person and online
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre – SFU Goldcorp Centre for Arts, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver and other venues
Registration on a sliding fee scale. In-person registration includes catered lunches and coffee breaks and admission to performances and screenings.
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
- IN-PERSON: Azure
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre | 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
With Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang.
- IN-PERSON SCREENING + Q+A: Cinema of Breath: Rapture/Rupture
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema | 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
With Kalpana Subramanian.
SUNDAY JUNE 26
- IN-PERSON SCREENING: Cosmological Diagrams
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema | 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
With Laura Marks.
MONDAY JUNE 27
- CANCELLED: Immaterial Transformations
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
With Jan Hendrickse.
A LIGHT FOOTPRINT IN THE COSMOS
a celebration of research methods and intercultural dialogue elaborated by the Substantial Motion Research Network (SMRN) at Centre A Gallery, OR Gallery, and Studio T at SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
Curated by Nina Czegledy
236 Pender St. East, Vancouver
June 15 – 26, 2022
Artworks by Juan Castrillón, Nina Czegledy, Somayeh Khakshoor, Katya Nosyreva, and Bettina Schülke.
205 – 268 Keefer St., Vancouver
June 15 – 26, 2022
Artworks by Steve Baris, Mansoor Behnam, Waèl El Allouche, Paul Goodfellow, and Navine G. Dossos.
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 Hastings St., Vancouver
June 23 – 28, 2022
Artworks by Çiğdem Borucu and Nezih Erdoğan, Millie Chen and Arzu Ozkal, Azadeh Emadi, M. Javad Khajavi, Radek Przedpełski, and Wolfgang Weileder.
Exhibition opening June 24, 6:00 pm
Exhibition Tour Videos
Dr. Laura U. Marks and Nina Czegledy walk us through A Light Footprint in the Cosmos exhibitions at Centre A and Or Gallery. Video: Joseph Malbon.
Dr. Laura U. Marks and Nina Czegledy do virtual walkthrough of A Light Footprint in the Cosmos at the SCA's Studio T at SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Video: Jospeh Malbon.
Abstracts and Biographies
Bahar Akgün: Re-reading Contemporary Ornament Through an Alternative Theory of Perception
Recent years have seen a vigorous proliferation of buildings featuring ornament in the international landscape of contemporary architecture. Theorists attempt to analyze this revival of ornament by categorizing the characteristics of its productions. The characteristic qualities of ornament in the West before the modernist movement redrew the contours of its status for the architectural production are not necessarily in use today. However, the qualities of contemporary ornament resonate with some non-Western traditions of architectural ornament. This presentation will exhibit the parallels between contemporary ornament and non-Western architectural ornament with a specific focus on those produced in regions of Islamic hegemony from the eleventh century to the colonial contexts of the modern Middle East. The aim here is certainly not to limit the operative logic of contemporary ornament to specific cultural contexts, but to find out how the specific visuality of these ornaments from regions of Islamic hegemony relying on a particular theory of perception can be drawn upon to use, approach and theorise the contemporary algorithmic media.
Bahar Akgün is a designer and researcher with a background in architecture, civil engineering and design computing. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Heidelberg in Germany as a member of the Heidelberg Graduate School for Humanities and Social Studies (HGGS). Her research focuses on the conception of space in Islamic art and architecture. As a scholar immersed in research, teaching, and installation design, she is invested in the discovery of a perceptual grammar based on a new theoretical understanding of spatial dimension of Islamic art and architecture.
Steven Baris: Topological Mapping in Art
A common thread connecting all facets of my art practice is my obsession with the challenges of spatial orientation and wayfinding in our rapidly re-engineered, networked ecosystem. I have always been interested in how artists conceive and represent the infinitely complex world beyond their own skins. To this end, I will make the claim that topological mapping offers an especially apt mental schema to represent the profound discontinuity and fragmentation of contemporary spatial and temporal experience. When most people think of maps, they're picturing some type of geographic or topographical map that assumes their regions to be a continuous space available for continuous movement over a continuous surface. A topological map, on the other hand, makes no claim to represent much less assume a continuum of spatial experience. It focuses exclusively on relative locations and relations of the mapped features. Its job is to preserve only the topological properties of connectedness and separation, extension, enclosure, relative proximity and relative distance with little regard for geographical details or actual distances and locations. With my series of paintings, Never the Same Space Twice, I deploy an abstract geometric visual language to evoke what I describe as hybrid topological route maps and flow charts. These pieces map no specific or actual space, but rather they enact a virtual experience of negotiating indeterminate terrains marked by discontinuities, disruptions, and detours.
Steven Baris is an artist, teacher, and author of the Expanded Diagram Project, an ongoing, multi-platform investigation that makes the argument that "diagrammatic thinking" aptly describes significant aspects of creative processes for many contemporary and historical artistic traditions. Baris was born and raised on multiple American Indian reservations in Northern California, Montana, and Washington State. He received a MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and continues to live in the Philadelphia area. He has exhibited widely throughout North America and Europe. His work is represented in New York by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, in Philadelphia by the Pentimenti gallery, and in Denver by Space Gallery. His work is included in numerous private, corporate, and public collections.
Mansoor Behnam: Fragments of A Cinematic Reality: Stigmata (2:50, 2020) – Amalgams Fallen Through Earth's Atmosphere (14:27, 2022)
From King Solomon to Nietzsche, aphorism has been used by Saints, mystics, literary figures and scientists to encourage wisdom in literature, art and social life; however, for Nietzsche aphorism is rather a way of encouraging interpretation rather than wisdom. In the project “Fragments of A Cinematic Reality” I will produce a few video art/performances that attempt to open up different layers of interpretation. As a result, the project will enhance ‘ways’ of perception and thought processing instead of one single and fixed way of producing meaning. These visual aphorisms and experimentations challenge thinking as the immanent characteristic of human brain. My goal is to express how cinema as a material technology shifts perception of reality. This will shed light on perception and thought processing as the mystical functions of the brain that reinforce its vitality, as well.
Mansoor Behnam is a video artist and scholar based in Toronto with 22 years of experience in both Iran and Canada. His practice-led Ph.D. focused on a decolonized archeology of digital film/media. His research-creation projects attend to Western media theory but primarily draw its conceptual, aesthetic, and cultural inspiration from indigenous and noncanonical sources. Behnam synthesizes Eastern and Western media technologies to rejuvenate sensations archived/embodied in objects and images which eventually lead to different forms of affects. This involves the historical and global conditions that lead to the emergence of different types of media. His goal is to investigate, creatively manipulate, and reverse-engineer these media as elements of sensation and control.
Nathalia Bell: Ziggurettes
Inspired by scholarship on the aesthetics of breath in cinema, this project confronts a problematic type of breathing in cinema, namely, the prevalence of smoking in films. Through experimental film practice and found footage appropriation, Ziggurettes, an overlap of the word cigarette and ziggurat, reimagines this footage with spiritual resonances. Informed by theories of breathing as manifesting both immanence and transcendence, the project likewise investigates smoking as an impetus for existential reflection and an assertion of being. With mindfulness breathing, a traditionally Buddhist meditation, as a counter-reference, smoking might be considered Western culture’s closest manifestation of intentional breathing. Smoking is not only problematic for human breathing, but its industry, according to a 2018 study by Imperial College London, has a devastating impact on the atmosphere. This project aims to heal smoking’s negative carbon footprint by restoring it to the lighter footprint of Eastern spiritual practices, such as mindful breathing, incense, and prayer. The act of smoking finds lighter-counterparts in spiritual practices such as pranayama, mindful breathing, but also in the offerings of incense in mosques, which uplift the souls of pilgrims, and their prayers serve as offerings, counteracting the smoke cloud ‘offerings’ from cigarettes. Through experimental film practice, the footage of smoking is rendered spiritual as a redemptive act; the carbon footprint is rendered cosmic. With smoking, breath and matter are in motion, but with the film edits, the spirit unfolds out of the matter; a convergence of film grain-pixel and matter, with light. The film is transfigured and breathes anew with lighter cosmic footprints of existential and ecological reverberations.
Nathalia Bell is a Canadian film artist and writer, based in London. She completed her MA in Experimental Film at the Kingston School of Art in 2017. Her film work has featured in festivals and venues such as at the Imperial War Museum and the British Film Institute. Most recently she presented her project Ziggurettes at the Religion & Art Forum at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her forthcoming journal article ‘Negative Apotheosis: Georges Bataille and the Semiotics of Sacrifice in Performance Art'’ will feature in Morphē Arts’ Agnoscis journal. Her art practice and poetic essay films reflect a Walter Benjamin-like constellation style that brings fringe figures and interdisciplinary matter into dialogue, informed by her academic background in the philosophy of religion.
Carol Bier: Isfahan’s Architecture Considered in Light of the Philosophy of Mullā Ṣadrā
Many Safavid architectural monuments in Isfahan, Iran, dating from the late 16th and 17th centuries, still function today as mosques, madrasas and bazaars; others, such as palaces and pleasure pavilions, are now museums and tourist destinations. But they may also serve to inform us of the algorithmic aesthetic that characterizes Islamic ornament more generally. Glazed ceramic mosaic and tilework exhibit geometric patterns that rely upon symmetry – reflections, glide reflections, rotations, and translations, to use the mathematical terms of rigid motions and identity functions. The relationships between craft and technology that result in these patterns in turn rely upon materials and processes. These patterns, and the repetitive playfulness of architectural forms such as arches and niches, with solids and voids, projections and recesses, may relate in unexpected ways to themes discussed by a prominent philosopher of the Safavid court, Mullā Ṣadrā. Likewise, though less monumental, the patterns of Safavid textiles are dependent upon symmetry, and expressive of the interaction of craft and technology, materiality and movement, interlacing and the penetration of forms. This paper will advance several hypothetical relationships that endeavor to explore the intersectionality of architecture and the arts with the philosophy of Mullā Ṣadrā, in particular his presentation of al-ḥaraka al-jawhariya (substantial motion), and his views of existential reality.
Carol Bier is a historian of Islamic art, published widely in the fields of textile history, and Islamic arts and architecture. Her research focuses on cultural aspects of geometry in Islamic art that inform a beauty of form, pattern and structure. She is Research Scholar at the Center for Islamic Studies (2010-present) at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA, and concurrently, Research Associate (2001-present) at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, where she served as Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections (1984-2001). She was President of the Textile Society of America (2006-08), and elected Honorary Member of the International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry in October 2018.
Çiğdem Borucu and Nezih Erdoğan: “I see a woman…” Turkish Coffee Fortune telling and the Imaginal World—A Musical Treatise
The process of substantial motion also includes music and sound images as they belong to the Imaginal Realm. Borucu and Erdoğan’s short video consists of a combination of sounds and images that are produced by way of Turkish coffee fortune telling, a favourite pass time. This version of tasseography involves the fortune teller reading the muddy sediments in the cup, that is the residue of coffee which very much looks like an inkblot in the Rorschach test. The patterns that appear in the sediment may be thought of as randomly formed, but how random is random? Each image is unique and in its formation, the angle the cup is held, how many times the cup is taken to the mouth, the way it is sipped should all be taken into account. The inner surface of the cup serves as a screen for viewing and interpretation. The fortune teller, who perhaps functions more like a lecturer in the early years of cinema, produces a narrative addressing the narratee/drinker/listener, who is also its protagonist. When a series of coffee cup stills are projected one after another they will appear to be moving, creating a cinematic effect. Can we therefore consider the experience of coffee fortune telling within the Imaginal Realm?
Çiğdem Borucu is a pianist, composer, sound-designer and a lecturer based in Istanbul. She studied piano at Istanbul University State Conservatory and chamber music at Hochschule fur Music and Darstellende Kunst in Graz, Austria. She received her bachelors and master’s degree in piano and composition from Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College (CUNY) where she received Meriem Gideon and John Cage awards. Her compositions have been played at various festival and radio stations. Apart from her acoustic piano and electro-acoustic pieces, she also composes music for theater, video, film and installations. Her solo albums Silver Moon (2018) and Many Things (2020) are available on iTunes and Spotify.
Nezih Erdogan teaches film history, screenwriting and digital storytelling at Istinye University, Istanbul. He has published articles and book chapters on colonial discourse, national identity, and sound and body in Turkish popular cinema, the reception of Hollywood in Turkey, censorship and the distribution-exhibition of American films in Turkey. He co-edited Shifting Landscapes: Film and Media in European Context with Miyase Christensen. In recent years, he has published and given talks at national and international conferences on the problems of Turkish film history and historiography, how the advent of cinema was received by the Istanbul press and on the spectatorial experiences of the Istanbulites in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Juan Castrillón: Sounds for Sarah
Sounds for Sarah features an experiment of speculative organology that involves repairing a set of sound objects and redesigning a musical performance. These objects are four Ney flutes acquired by Sarah Frishmuth in the late nineteenth century. Frishmuth donated them to the University of Pennsylvania Museum with the purpose of contributing to the appreciation of Islamic art, but they were never on display. In 2020, Juan Castrillón curated an organological exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania featuring the instruments but due to the shot-down of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic they weren't seen. This presentation addresses the elliptical dwelling of neoplatonic affectivities which characterizes the ontology of the Ney flute and elaborates on redesigning a musical practice in dialogue with Laura Marks's notion of enfolding/unfolding aesthetics.
Juan Castrillón is a Colombian anthropologist, performer, and filmmaker with a doctoral degree in Ethnomusicology and a graduate certificate in experimental ethnography from the University of Pennsylvania. His art and research practice explores theories of listening, media archives, and contemporary healing arts in daily life. Currently, he is the inaugural Gilbert Seldes Multimodal Postdoctoral Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication at UPENN, and active member of the Substantial Motion Research Network (SMRN) and the Center for Research and Collaboration in Indigenous Americas at the University of Maryland (CRACIA).
Millie Chen & Arzu Ozkal: SRS (Silk Road Songbook)
In the audio-video project, "SRS (Silk Road Songbook)," we pose the question: where there is limited freedom of expression, how can creative resiliency thrive? SRS is a socially driven, interdisciplinary, multilingual project that weaves songs of dissent into the land, broadcasting distinct, unruly voices on an ancient Eurasian migration route, while challenging Orientalist exoticism, cultural tourism, and censorship. The songs are generated with collaborators in communities along the route. For each place, their voices are the dynamic driving force, the land the visual anchor.
Millie Chen's visual, audio and performative works are intended to interrupt habits of viewing. At the core of her projects are social inquiry and the use of sensory modes of perception in the generation of knowledge. Chen's artwork has been shown across North and South America, East Asia and Europe. Her most recent awards are Media Arts grants from Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council, and a UB Humanities Institute Faculty Research Fellowship. Her work is in major public collections and she has produced several public art commissions. Her writing has appeared in publications in the U.K., Canada, the U.S. and China. Chen is a Professor in the Dept. of Art at University at Buffalo.
Arzu Ozkal is a Turkish-born interdisciplinary artist, designer, and researcher focused on the role of design in generating creative critical outcomes through participation and collaboration. She has done extensive work with women from Turkey, Europe and the U.S. to design platforms for social exchange with the aim of understanding the conditions impacting women's participation in contemporary culture. Ozkal has exhibited in Athens, Istanbul, Barcelona, Ghent, Amsterdam, Berlin, Los Angeles, and New York. Her writing has appeared in publications including Photoworks Magazine UK, Afterimage and Collaboration in Design Education. Ozkal is an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University.
Delinda Collier: Technical Lines of Sight and Occult Apotropaic Assemblages: Media in 18th Century Lisbon
My presentation will discuss the confluence of ways of seeing during the 18th century, the era of the first lighthouse in Cabo da Roca, Portugal and early globality. Specifically, I will examine the confluence of ways of seeing in Lisbon among Catholic rectitude, Portuguese scientific medicine and abstract mathematics, and apotropaic assemblages in occult or “magic” healing. Portugal’s entrée into the Enlightenment was unusual. Its Inquisition was carried out “according to an explicit rationalist policy” and did not execute a single accused “witch,” but instead cleaved medicinal practice into elite and popular forms. The devastating 1752 earthquake that gave urban planners a tabula rasa where churches and state buildings were given similar profile and visibility in Lisbon. Using accounts from mathematicians, artists, politicians, and heretics, my paper will examine the (unusual) confluence of the Church and scientists against magical vision in order to revisit given ideas about secularism—its conjugation of bodies—and its newly-developing visual media. Never simply a descriptive term, the apotropaic was rather a floating accusation that suggested an avoidance of a line, a breaking of a line of sight that was increasingly concretized in city planning and a system of lighthouses. In Lisbon, the definition of elite and folk in the 18th century rested on what Flusser describes as magical versus linear thinking, but inflected a by-then mythical rehearsal of Portugal as the creators of globality and conquest.
Delinda Collier is Associate Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she teaches courses on modern and contemporary African art, new media studies, and Cold War modernisms. She is the author of the books Repainting the Walls of Lunda: Information Colonialism and Angolan Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and the forthcoming Media Primitivism: Technological Art in Africa (Duke University Press, 2020). She has published articles and reviews in Convocarte, Nka, African Art, Third Text, Critical Interventions, ISEA Electronic Almanac, and Times Literary Supplement.
Nina Czegledy and Bettina Schülke: Secret Languages
Secret Languages is a collaborative interdisciplinary project researched in various geographical and cultural contexts. The project is focused on secret systems of language as expressed in historical and contemporary textiles in analogue and digital forms. The introductory project explores the historic khipu or talking knots from the Inca Empire. Several centuries ago a binary coding system was used to create these khipus. How are these objects expressing the concepts of secret languages including interpretation of the structure of the knots, their significance, their cultural backgrounds? Current literature considers that the khipus did not only serve as an accounting device but were also tools for legal procedure, rituals etc. How much is recorded of this extended history? Are there any similarities with other forms of secret languages? We are looking into different methods of how textiles are used to communicate. These questions and the connected research inform the next phase of Secret Languages.
Nina Czegledy, independent curator, media artist, researcher and educator, is based in Toronto, Canada. She collaborates internationally on art&science & technology projects. Current curatorial projects: A Light Footprint in the Cosmos for the Substantial Motion Research Network (2022) in Vancouver; Sensoria: the art and science of our senses, Laznia, Contemporary Art Centre Poland in collaboration with Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts&Technology, Canada (2022); Dobble Debate digital educational game focused on dis/different abilities with Lynne Heller, OCADU (2022). Recent curatorial projects: Agents for Change/Facing the Anthropocene (2020) The Museum, Canada; Who?s you? (2019) at JD Reid Gallery, New Zealand; Leonardo 50th, CyberArts ARS Electronica (2018), Austria. Academic affiliations: Adjunct Professor, OCAD University, Toronto; Fellow, KMDI, University of Toronto; Research Collaborator, Hexagram International, Montreal; Board member Leonardo/ISAST; Leonardo/LASER co-chair, Senior Fellow, Hungarian University of Fine Arts; Researcher, NOEMA Italy; Chair, Intercreate.org New Zealand.
Bettina Schülke is an Austrian artist working on the intersection of art, science, textiles and technology. She has worked on international collaborative projects, participated in conferences, workshops, festivals, events and has recurrently been teaching in Finland and Austria. 2017 Schülke completed her practice based doctoral research at the University of Lapland, FI. Publication of her dissertation and further journal publications. She has exhibited widely in solo gallery shows as well as participation in group shows. Currently the Museum, Landesgalerie Niederösterrich presents her textile work. Previous exhibition venues had been for example the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale, GR; De Winkelhaak Design Museum, Antwerp, BE; Kemi Art Museum; Lume Mediakeskus, Helsinki; the Arktikum Museum and Arctic Science Centre, Rovaniemi, FI; the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, AT; and textile works had been shown at the Austrian Pavilion at the 8.th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, IT. Upcoming: Several exhibition venues and participations throughout Austria (Vienna, Schörfling am Attersee, Mondsee).
Dr. Henry Daniel: Movement Maps
Only when “seeing things as they really are” means something essentially different from our usual “seeing” does one become aware of the problematically different “levels” or degrees of being. Otherwise, the term “being” can only appear as the most general and vaguest of concepts. (Morris, 66-67: 1981). This paper responds to the quotation above by Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (Morris, 1981) with two questions of my own posing. What is being? And how does one become? It posits a relationship between cartography as a discipline that deals with the conception, production, dissemination, representation, and study of maps of geographical territory, and cortical mapping as a method by which the brain—through the spine and the peripheral nervous system—dynamically represents relationships between the body and its movement experiences in space/time (Shadmehr & Mussa-Ivaldi, 2012). Since this ‘representation’ is an internal process of the brain that organizes and ‘interprets’ space/time relationships, we can say that the human body moving through space and time presents an opportunity to claim the information in those spaces as personal knowledge. Thus, if dance is the intentional movement of bodies that leads to an experience in space/time, choreography becomes the deliberate organization of those movements into coherent and meaningful structures towards some specific goal. In other words, movement is analogous to the unfolding of a thought process, and through dance and choreography that unfolding becomes an opportunity to understand and therefore claim the knowledge that is in the body as well as in the spaces through which it travels. I argue that this process of claiming embodied knowledge is the foundation of a ‘self’ and hence ‘being’.
Distinguished SFU Professor, Professor of Dance, Performance Studies and New Technology, scholar, performer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Full Performing Bodies, Henry Daniel’s research concentrates on strengthening notions of Practice-as-Research (PaR), Arts-based-Research, and Research/Creation in Canada. He leads a group of artists and scholars who help define new parameters for excellence in these areas. He has a professional background in dance, theatre, and new media with a career that started in his native Trinidad & Tobago and continued in the USA, Germany, the UK, and Canada. Daniel began his career as an actor with James Lee Wah's San Fernando Drama Guild and continued in Port-of-Spain with Derek Walcott's Trinidad Theatre Workshop. He was also a founding member of Astor Johnson's ground-breaking company, the Repertory Dance Theatre of Trinidad and Tobago. In the USA he was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre Workshop, Pearl Primus African American Dance Company, Frank Ashley Dance Company, Asakawalker Dance Company, the Bernhard Ballet, and soloist with the José Limón Dance Company of New York. In Germany he founded and directed Henry Daniel and Dancers while continuing to work as a member of TanzProject München, Tanztheater Freiburg, and Assistant Director, Choreographer, and Dancer for Tanztheater Münster with Birgitta Trommler. In the UK he founded and directed the performance group Full Performing Bodies, which he still maintains.
Navine G. Dossos: The Kaleidoscope of Unfolding News
My work is concerned with the use and affect of images in the contemporary world. Drawing on both traditional techniques of Islamic art and design and the patterns and processes of the digital age, my large-scale paintings emerge from a philosophy of the image which extends beyond the iconic and the decorative. My most recent works that will be under discussion, such as “Shoot The Women First” and “No Such Organisation,” take stock of our exposure and response to images of political violence, and seek out symbolic equivalences of these events which stand in opposition and resistance to the mass distribution of images of terror that increasingly define our age. The intention of my work is to create spaces in which the viewer is engaged with a political landscape but supported by a new visual language, enabling them to spend time with and meditate upon the subject without reliance upon the reproducing of trauma. In this talk I will extrapolate on how this approach came to be, and the ways in which I deploys it in my practice. “No Such Organisation” in particular (elements of which will be included in the exhibition) deals with cyber spyware used by governments, and I will talk about the act of looking through the lens of surveillance, but also through the metaphor of the kaleidoscope (kalos, beautiful + eidos, vision), describing how a news story unfolds in real time.
Navine G. Dossos (b. 1982, London) is a visual artist working between the United Kingdom and Greece. Her interests include Orientalism in the digital realm, geometry as information and decoration, image calibration, and Aniconism in contemporary culture. She has developed a form of geometric abstraction that merges the traditional non-figurative philosophy of Islamic art with the algorithmic nature of the interconnected world we live in. Previous bodies of work have explored counter-extremist policy, the role of women in the discourse of terrorism, and the propaganda of jihad.
Stephanie Dossou: Finance Art: A Case Study of the Finance Art Installation 'Bahia-Benin | Slavery | Finance | Exchanges | Network
This presentation investigates the strategies deployed by the field of finance art and its intricacies with non-Western centred globalised financial and trading networks during the slave trading routes between Benin and Bahia. This investigation uses my finance art piece, “Bahia-Benin | Slavery | Finance | Exchanges | Network” as a case study to demonstrate how the global circulation of ideas and technologies through space and time can be explored using current technologies and tools to look at these past rhizomatic and multi-layered networks and their connections. As part of my creative process, I assemble different abstract machines, finance-machine, art-machine, into a bricolage to create effects I want produced. My art practice is not powered by defining what my pieces are but by what functions they should perform.
'Bahia-Benin | Slavery | Finance | Exchanges | Network' explores the financial market networks in place between the Bight of Benin and São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos in Brazil from the 16th until the 19th centuries, when human beings were the main market commodity alongside sugar cane, tobacco, diamonds and cacao. This installation integrates financial transactional data collected as part of these exchanges' records as well as the cultural transfers and becomings that occurred as by-products. These include ritualistic practices such as Voodoo (in Africa) or Candomblé (in Bahia) as well as music and dance. This piece attempts to give new perspectives on the commerce and financial networks of slavery with the intent of orchestrating a number of functions including the creation of new views of this commerce by drawing new maps and revealing its multiplicities, as well as linking slavery trade to current financial methods, showing the contemporaneity of such practices. This piece is not based on an historicist approach but is a contemporary (re)mapping of an historical period.
Stephanie Dossou holds a PhD in Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin. Her research is a practice-based research on finance art, investigating the use of finance own methods and tools in art production. It reflects on how artists can employ methods from finance; what critical issues are thrown up through such approaches; and what are the potentials for art practice. The practice part of this investigation uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and other statistical methods, as well as cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies used in finance. Her main topics of investigation are financial markets and global finance. Her art practice consists mainly in projection mapping, interactive installations, and online curated tools. She holds an MSc in Multimedia (DCU), Postgraduate Certificate In Intelligent Systems (De Monfort University), Bachelor in Arts (Sorbonne-Pantheon) and Master in Accountancy and Finance. She has 24 years of industry experience.
Siying Duan: Healing the Rupture of Past and Now: Chinese New Ink Artworks
With the heated debates on whether Chinese painting should keep its brush and ink tradition at the end of 20 centuries, a school of New Ink Art works declared their existence in a series of exhibition including “An Experiment in Tension: An Exhibition of Expressive Ink Painting” (1994) and “Tension and Expression: An Exhibition of Ink-Wash Painting” (1995). Although much less accessible internationally because of the difficulty in categorizing and understanding, these artworks actually make traditional Chinese aesthetics contemporary by incorporating traditional ideas and artistic techniques in new media art practices. This presentation will discuss how these artworks are capable of speaking to the new living reality which Chinese people currently reside in, and thus may contribute to the shaping of the new identity which deeply grounded in its own culture history but also relocated in a globalized world, and thus heal the rupture of China’s past and present by confronting audience with current situation through a distanced and refreshing eye.
Siying Duan is a lecturer at College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University. She has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. Her research interest focuses mainly on the study of media arts, comparative aesthetics, and Chinese aesthetics. She is also the producer of the podcast channel “Elephant says” at the platform Creative Disturbance and the editor of the bilingual journal Critical Theory.
Ron Eglash: Indigenous Sympoiesis: Decolonial Pathways to a Generative Future
Western science and technology co-evolved with the rise of an extractive economy, such that we cannot simply disentangle the two. By collaborating with Indigenous and vernacular communities around the world, we can move towards a generative future in which ecological value, labor value and social value can circulate in unalienated forms.
Dr Ron Eglash is a Professor in the School of Information at University of Michigan. He received his B.S. in Cybernetics, his M.S. in Systems Engineering, and his PhD in History of Consciousness, all from the University of California. His work as Fulbright scholar was published as African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design. His “Culturally Situated Design Tools” software, offering math and computing education from indigenous and vernacular arts; publications on the theory of generative justice; design experiments with artisanal cyborgs and more can be found at generativejustice.org
Waèl El Allouche: Ways of Knowing: Materialising the Gaze
In my practice I am motivated by the basic aim of making something comprehensible through the unorthodox application of data. By combining factual information with poetic and philosophical insights, I developed my own personal way of learning. This is the basis of my practice: learning and understanding 'things' or 'phenomena'. My projects are mostly covert natural and humanistic studies, represented as or in art. I love to position between disciplines and seek relations on the basis of collected (digital) data. Currently, I am creating my own instrument scientific to be able to measure the frailest and most abundant rays of light. I want to measure a this 'phenomenon' with a Hyperspactral Spectrographer in collaboration with Myspectral. For me, the goal of technology is not to make the fabrication processes more efficient. Rather, I will use these machines to serve my goal of understanding contexts. Inspired by the processes of Ways of Knowing - Materializing the Gaze, I started to question the existing Western, scientific ways of sensing, mapping and creating knowledge. This led to his design-research project Orientalising Science, which questions dominant frameworks for gaining and propagating knowledge in science and technology. I aim for a pluralization of perspectives and transformation of invisible layers and phenomena into models that create alternative ways of knowing.
Artist and Designer Waèl El Allouche (TN/NL) graduated from the design department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. He is interested in the way abstractions, such as Data and Algorithms, shape reality and vice versa. By digitizing phenomena and objects from the world around him he tries to understand them, before returning them to reality as reconstructions.
Walid El Khachab: The Cave as Archetype in Screen Theory
The cave I use as an archetype of screen experience, is not Plato’s. Rather, it is that of the Sleepers of Ephesus where the cave is the locus of transcendence intertwined with immanence, and where the “unreal” is outside of the cave/movie theatre. Plato’s parable of the cave has often served as model for movie going experience in screen theory. I suggest another parable from the Islamic and Eastern Christian tradition can serve that purpose. The story of the Sleepers of Ephesus provides a complex example of contemporary screen experience. For one, it underscores the arbitrary nature of the dichotomy cave+ignorance vs. outside light+reality and knowledge. It also underscores the parallel temporalities between an environment “enveloped” by the screen (the theatre, for example) and one enveloping the screen (the “real” world).
Walid El Khachab taught cinema at the Universities of Montreal and of Ottawa, and is currently Associate Professor and Coordinator of Arabic Studies at York University (Toronto). After writing a Ph.D. dissertation on Le mélodrame en Égypte. Déterritorialisation. Intermédialité, Walid El Khachab has focused his research on the Sacred in cinema and Middle Eastern cinemas. He has published fifty chapters and academic articles on cinema and pop culture, in Durham NC, Montreal, Cairo, Paris, and Istanbul. His work appeared in CinémAction, Sociétés & Représentations, CinéMas and Intermédialités, among others.
Mena El Shazly: The Desert that Furnishes a Thousand Offerings
The conception of the soul for ancient Egyptians allowed them to form connections with the infinite and to celebrate an obsession with life and a pleasure in its continuation beyond the bodily form. The many facets that constitute a soul include Ren (name), Ib (heart), Ka (essence), Ba (personality), Akh (intellect) and Shut (shadow), among others. The bodily form that exists in the actual world is described through its many parts, as well, and is known as “the sum of bodily parts.” The research centers around ancient Egyptian rituals and beliefs, mainly the conception of the soul, the sphinx as a mythical sum of bodily parts, labor in the afterlife, and the Book of Coming Forth by Day or the Book of Emerging Forth into the Light, tackling the core of contemporary new media and the contemporary society’s worldview on death and immortality. It takes the form of a multimedia lecture performance, which utilizes segments from my previous artistic projects and happens in conversation with these works, changing formats and traveling through time and space. The research presentation complements a video by the same title.
Mena El Shazly is an MFA student at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Her visual and video art practice is currently focused on contemporary practices and rituals of decay and repair. She received her degree in Performing & Visual Arts from the American University in Cairo and is a former fellow of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Contemporary Image Collective (Cairo), Vivo Media Arts (Vancouver), Palace of Arts-Cairo Opera House Complex (Cairo) and House of World Cultures (Berlin). She is the current artistic director of Cairo Video Festival for video art and experimental film organized by Medrar for Contemporary Art.
Tarek Elhaik: Cogitations Alongside the Alboran Sea
In this presentation I inquire into image-based practices of mediation, collaboration, and litigation between fishermen, marine scientists, environmental activists, regional officials, and media artists alongside the Alborán Sea. The Alborán Sea is surrounded by the Iberian Peninsula, the strait of Gibraltar and the northern coasts of Morocco and Algeria, and is both a fascinating and threatened biodiverse marine area of the Mediterranean. In Northern Morocco and Southern Spain, ecological concerns reach different publics through various media forms, expressive modes, and image strategies. In this image ecology one's attention is often re-attuned to the deleterious effects of increased global maritime traffic; to the impact of overfishing on halieutic resources; and to the vexing issue of sound pollution brought by tourism and aquatic sports which affect the life of certain species of cetaceans, such as the dolphin Tursiop Truncatus. According to local fishing communities, this species both preys on their catch and damages their nets. Environmental organizations in turn decry fisher people's retaliation against dolphins by displaying "images of human cruelty". The convergence of these grievances also demands mediations with designers experimenting with technologies for harmlessly deterring cetaceans from approaching the nets. This mediation often takes the form of images of high-tech equipment for sea exploration and data curation. These images range from newsreel-like aesthetics to poetic reveries on the water element and maritime existence. In this paper I offer preliminary cogitations on the Alborán sea's marine media ecology.
Tarek Elhaik is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Davis. He is a leading scholar in the vibrant fields of the Anthropology of Art and Media Anthropology, with years of fieldwork and participation in the global art and film world. Elhaik publishes in various venues—academic and non-academic—and is the author of The Incurable-Image: Curating Post Mexican Film and Media Arts (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and Aesthetics and Anthropology: Cogitations (Routledge 2021). He is also the founder and director of AIL: Anthropology Image Lab, a space for conversations with interlocutors in adjacent disciplines committed to fostering inquiries between philosophy, art, and anthropology. The Lab's seminars, conversation series, and podcasts reflectively bring together contemporary artists, philosophers, curators, and anthropologists into dialogues that trouble the border between the social sciences, the humanities, and the visual arts. Elhaik is currently working on a new book and radio documentary exploring relations between fishermen, marine scientists, cetaceans, and environmental activists in the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar.
Azadeh Emadi: Altering Perception and the Hidden Cosmos
Altering Perception explores the concept of perception in its broadest cultural, philosophical and technological terms. Using audiovisual impairment as a point of departure to (re)examine sense perception as our common ground for experiencing the world, the project engages with the philosophy and cosmology of perception from Persian Islamic perspectives such as those offered by Mulla Ṣadrā Shirazi and Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi. Audio-visual impairment, experienced by the deaf and blind community in Scotland, is a point of departure for a dialogue that questions our perception, while learning from differently abled individuals and their enhanced sense of the world. The aims are to reveal alternative perceptions and points of view through creative engagement and dialogue with marginalised communities in Scotland and beyond, to question how we ‘see’ and the act of seeing (both philosophically and physically) from the intersection of art, related technologies (e.g. VR, 360 video) and science, to challenge the conventions of image-making. An anticipated creative outcome is a short experimental film, and double screen video installation.
Azadeh Emadi is a media scholar and video and film installation artist. As a researcher and a video maker, Emadi is deeply invested in interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches that cross over diverse cultural forms of knowledge and digital media arts. The underlying focus of her research is to investigate new ways of seeing by applying historical Persian concepts and arts within contemporary Western schools of thought and moving image. Concepts such as virtual reality, time and motion, perception and representation, digital im/materiality in the post-digital era, as well as digital media and its latent potentialities in relation to real life events and current socio-cultural issues, are the current foci of her research and video practice. As one of the co-founders of SMRN, Emadi’s work is central to the concerns of SMRN such as the links between Islamic media archaeology, non-Western media archaeologies, cosmological perspectives, and perceptual research.
Nezih Erdoğan: Imaginal World at the Threshold of Modernity: Early Cinema in Istanbul and the Audiences Marvelling at Pictures
This paper is largely informed by the recent works on the Imaginal Realm by Laura Marks, Hussein Nasr and the late Turkish film and screenwriter Ayşe Şasa. While Nasr is interested in traditional Islamic arts, both Laura U. Marks and Ayşe Şasa conceive of the Imaginal primarily as a matter of experience of cinema, a modern medium. My focus will be not on the contemporary cinema but on early cinema in Istanbul. The first screening was held in 1896 which can also be considered a milestone in the history of Turkey's modernisation. How did the spectators adapt to this new experience made available by moving images? Was Karagöz, a popular shadow play a pre-cursor of cinema? Basing my research on the newspapers of the time, I am going to try to provide an account of the transition to technical images and point to its implications in terms of the Imaginal Realm.
Nezih Erdoğan has published articles and book chapters on colonial discourse, and sound and body in Turkish popular cinema, the reception of Hollywood in Turkey, censorship and the distribution-exhibition of American films in Turkey. He co-edited with Miyase Christensen the book Shifting Landscapes: Film and Media in European Context (2009). In 2010 he made a found footage video with Ciğdem Borucu, “Istanbul do/redo/undo: waters, streets, faces” compiled from archival materials showing images of Istanbul in the late 1890s and early 1900s. In recent years, he has published and given talks at national and international conferences on the problems of Turkish film history and historiography, how the introduction of cinema was received in the Istanbul press, and on the spectatorial experiences of the Istanbulites in the late 1890s and early 1900s. His book on the early years of cinema, spectatorship and modernity in Istanbul came out in 2018. He is currently working with Ebru Kayaalp on a book edition with the title: “Exploring Moving Images of the Past in the Digital Age: Forgetting the Archive” forthcoming from Amsterdam University Press in 2022.
Paul Goodfellow: System Painting as World Index, Icon and Diagram
Drawing from Graham Harman's object-oriented ontology, this paper takes a speculative realist position arguing that information exists in the structure and arrangement of matter and is independent of our senses, and art is an important way of accessing the world by directly channelling material and information. The paper focuses on systems painting and argues that a systems practice derives material from the world and offers a model of the world. Consequently, a painting exhibits the three forms of sign—index, icon, and symbol articulated by Charles Sanders Peirce—as it simultaneously shares a material connection with the subject, describes the subject and symbolises the subject in the form of a diagram. This understanding of painting as an information system is considered through the work of the author, his mentor, the systems artist James Hugonin and the School of Fontainebleau (1960), by Cy Twombly.
Paul Goodfellow has a background in Environmental Science, Visualisation and Art and is interested in the intersection of these disciplines and how aesthetic and affective experiences emerge within complex systems. A central enquiry of his research and art practice is the nature of material experience and whether objects are merely vessels which channel energy and forces, solely defined by their relationships, or whether their true nature is withdrawn from access and specifically the human gaze. He has presented his work at both conferences and exhibitions, including ISEA (Istanbul), Transart Film Festival (Berlin), Museum of Contemporary Art (Taipei) and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Newcastle). He has published articles in Garageland, Arts journal and Leonardo Electronic Almanac. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Jan Hendrickse: Towards a Respiratory Aesthetics; a Situated Model of Practice
In this presentation I will be discussing a music performance and compositional practice informed by respiratory philosophy. I propose that our experience of breathing offers an alternative way to understand our being-in-the-world that is situated, relational and based on flows rather than objects. I will also be demonstrating, using flutes, how this philosophical perspective emerges through practice. This perspective offers us alternative ontologies which may seem unfamiliar yet are rooted in traditional perspectives. The project marks a shift of emphasis, away from the primacy of the aesthetic concerns of the human composer, towards an eco-systemic model that recognizes creative agency as distributed and therefore intrinsic to the world. An eco-systemic, or situated, practice is one that enables processes of composition and performance to emerge in dialogue with materials, environments, and bodies. Such practices move beyond binary notions of human ‘subjects’ and material ‘objects’ to embrace relational approaches to practice.
Jan Hendrickse is a performer, composer, researcher and educator. His research examines epistemic models adopted in creative practice. This has entailed the development of hybrid and transcultural approaches to practice and education as well as knowledge production and research. He is trained both as a western Classical flute player, but has also studied several other flute traditions including Turkish Ney, Chinese Xiao and Dizi as well as Rajasthani Satara and Alghoza. He teaches Turkish Ney at the Yunus Emre institute in London as well as in private classes. He works both as a contemporary artist and musician, receiving commissions for concert performance, installation works and contemporary dance scores, as well as working as a performer and recording artist. He has performed with artists from electronic and freely improvised musics, such as Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and David Toop, as well as featuring regularly as a soloist on traditional instruments for major film scores. Jan teaches socially-engaged practice and practice-based research at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and has also led creative projects in communities around the world including Gambia, Thailand, Germany and Gaza and the West Bank. He is experienced in facilitating conversations and interviews and has chaired discussions with the musicologist Georgina Born and artists Mark Fell, Michael Gordon and CC Hennix, amongst others. He has recently been a visiting lecturer at ZKM in Karlsruhe as well as Trinity Laban in London.
Julian Henriques: Sounding the Cosmos: Vibrations Finite and Infinite
Sound is light, very light – an energy wave weighs nothing. What then, might sounding tell us about the cosmos on which images remain silent? This presentation explores how some different cultures and traditions configure their understanding and relationship with the universe through sounding. This auditory approach goes against the grain of much of Western and Eastern ocularcentric philosophies. But not all. Thinking and feeling through sounding and vibrations has roots in a range of traditions and practices, such as the Vedic Om mantra and chakra system, the dream of the harmony of the spheres and Pythagorean ambition to reconcile the bodily sensations with mathematical reason. A sonic logos is described as distinct from the traditional visual or discursive ones. This claims that auditory and other vibrations offer an understanding of the cosmos that is inherently dynamic, rather than static, relational rather than reified and non-linear, rather than hostage to “progress.” Sonic space-time locates the cosmos across different dimensions to the conventional visual ones. The sonic logos not only gives recognition and respect to otherwise forgotten or disparaged cosmologies, but also fosters conviviality and ecologically sustainable ways of being in the world. This is the case not only with esoteric but also popular traditions, such as those of Jamaican reggae sound system culture.
Professor Julian Henriques is convenor of the MA Cultural Studies programme, director of the Topology Research Unit and a co-founder of the Sound System Outernational practice research group in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, Julian ran the film and television department at CARIMAC at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother and We the Ragamuffin short. Julian researches street cultures, music and technologies and is interested in the uses of sound as a critical and creative tool. His sound sculptures include Knots & Donuts (2011) at Tate Modern and his books include Changing the Subject (1998), Sonic Bodies (2011) and Sonic Media (forthcoming). He is currently the Principal Investigator on an ERC research grant, Sonic Street Technologies: Culture, Diaspora and Knowledge.
Masayuki Iwase and Joff P. N. Bradley: The Search for Mu/無: Cosmological Diagrams and Everyday Banality
Our presentation is based on an edited video entitled “The Search for Mu/無: Deleuze and Ozu”. This is part of our ongoing video series Autopoietic Veering. We created it based on the raw footage we shot in the traffic and bustle of the metropolis of Tokyo and during our recent excursion to Chigasaki and Kamakura, both on the west side of Tokyo, where the Japanese film director and screenwriter Yasujiro Ozu scripted and shot many of his prominent films including Late Spring (1949) and Tokyo Story (1953). Our edited video is an artistic experiment probing the existential trauma of the present. We tried to explore the pre-emptive power of nonhuman algorithmic intelligence which inhabit the everyday and to glimpse at the prospect of new becomings in the making of new cinematic stimuli. We ruminate on the bifurcatory potentials of Ozu’s still life shots and shots of everyday banality and how fabulative images may draw new cosmological diagrams. Deleuze said Ozu picks out the intolerable from the insignificant. Ozu extends the force of a contemplation full of sympathy or pity across daily life. We are intrigued by such curative powers of cinematic everydayness. This found its way in our search for Mu/無 (nothingness). The edited video invites us to trace the territory of nothingness by renouncing the immediately perceptible, discernible, representable transcendent being. As such, it generates the force of contemplations of ourselves always already in the ceaseless creative process of differing from ourselves as becoming-imperceptible and becoming-nothing.
Masayuki Iwase is a PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Studies of the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. His dissertation titled Minor-Videos and Becoming-Japanese is about the exploration of new subjectivities and futurity through collaboratively making videos with disinvested young migrants in Japan and analyzing video images using Deleuzian film-philosophy. He is also a multimedia specialist in the Learning Teaching Technology division of the Centre for Educational Excellence at Simon Fraser University. He is an experimental video philosopher and artist in and outside academia.
Joff P. N. Bradley is Professor of Philosophy and English, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan. and visiting professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India, and visiting fellow at Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. In 2022, he is visiting professor at Durham University and Nanterre University. He is vice president of the International Association of Japan Studies and lectures on Japanese culture and philosophy in various capacities. Joff has co-written A Pedagogy of Cinema & coedited: Deleuze and Buddhism; Educational Ills and the (Im)possibility of Utopia; Educational Philosophy and New French Thought; Principles of Transversality, Bringing Forth a World; Bernard Stiegler and the Philosophy of Education. He published Thinking with Animation in 2021. His two books on schizoanalysis will come out in 2023.
Bharati Kapadia: An Absent Presence
“Philosophy brings about a vast deviation of wisdom—it puts it in the service of a pure immanence”—Gilles Deleuze, Pure Immanence. The objective of this paper is to explore the connection between the archetypal image from ancient Indian culture, the sound mantra AUM and the inner realisation from which it has evolved. Out of a wide range of potent images, I have chosen AUM in particular, as it not only provides an apt exposition of “absent presence,” but also lends an insight into the process of creation itself. AUM articulates the creative impulse as it radiates outward from pre-existence ground of Oneness of Consciousness. The Tantric concept of the pre-existence ground of Oneness of Consciousness in which “there is no movement, no action, no mind-play” resonates profoundly within the Deleuzean discourse in Pure Immanence: “A LIFE, and nothing else... complete power, complete bliss.... subjectless, neutral, and preceding all individuation and stratification, is present in all things, and thus always immanent to itself.” The trajectories of both these concepts, the Tantric and the Deleuzean, are tandem, not so much as parallels but more as double helix lines: diverging, meeting, diverging again, and so forth. Through the act of looking at my work during and after the process of completion, I have realized how the work is sending out signals on various levels. On an experiential level how it touches and evokes a certain ground, a certain ethos, in which my generic roots have found anchorage; from which they have gathered sustenance and strength of rejuvenation. From my work and through it, I have sensed its connection to a certain ground, a certain ethos, in which my generic roots have found anchorage and gathered their strength of rejuvenation. A tiny piece of this ground, the ground from which my self and my work have grown, is what I intend to put before you today.
Bharati Kapadia, known for her innovative approach to materials, mediums and techniques in creating her art, has exhibited widely in India and abroad. She has participated in several group exhibitions including “The Search Within’” showcasing works of 10 Indian and 10 Austrian artists, Pernegg and Salzburg in Austria and National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi and Mumbai, India; “Objects of Wonder,” The Brewster Project; and 8th European Patchwork Meet, Alsace, France. She was invited by Transcultural Exchange, Boston to participate in their 2002 and 2004 international art initiatives “The Coaster Project” and “The Tile Project” and in 2001, was awarded the Apex Art International Residency, New York. Her solo performance piece titled “Untold Stories” has been performed in India, Istanbul and Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her video works, L For... and Playing with Danger have been screened internationally. She was awarded the BASE scholarship for Artistic Research//Art based Philosophy for 2017. She has presented at the conference Aesthetic and the Political in Contemporary India: Deleuzian Explorations, Mumbai, 2017. In 2019 she co-curated VAICA festival of Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists 2019/20 and 2021/22. She is invited as artist participant for the international, interdisciplinary project ‘Bodies Unprotected’ curated by Dr. Sandra Noeth and hosted by Mousonturm, Frankfurt. Links to her works:
- YouTube link to Unclosing the Body presentation
- YouTube link to video work For Sahba
- YouTube link to video work L For...
- YouTube link to video work Playing with Danger
Pantea Karimi: Travels of the Uninterrupted Line
The never-ending intricate geometric forms of the Topkapı scroll, the incessant sinuous lines of stylized vegetal forms in Persian carpets, endless calligraphic commentaries in manuscript marginalia, the infinite Siahmashgh practices on a single folio, and the never-ending reflections of the praying masses in the mirror halls of Shiite shrines. These are the concepts that inform my artistic practice. In Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory installation I animate long strips of silk organza fabrics with stylized healing floral patterns and bloodstains. This installation captures my childhood: a happy life in the garden district of Shiraz, interrupted by the 1979 Iranian revolution and a personal injury. I painstakingly draw geometric patterns on long paper scrolls just so that I can erase them all in a single and repetitive process. I know how these parchment scrolls were used to transfer geometric patterns onto the walls of mosques and shrines in the historic city of Natanz. This is my way of amplifying the dangers facing Natanz, amidst its proximity to the Iranian nuclear site. Medieval maps of the Middle East are taken out of the manuscripts, all abstracted and darkened, thus uttering the current geopolitical state of the region, always in flux and trapped in uncertain conflicts. In this presentation, I will address the notion of traveling patterns, from historic times to modern life, through three bodies of work: Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory, Artful Attacks, and Medieval Maps, Waters of Life, Waters of Death. Speaking of both my research into Iran’s rich visual culture and my art, I will show how transforming cultural patterns across space and time can be liberating, and even therapeutic, for an Iranian artist in the diaspora.
Pantea Karimi is an Iranian-American multidisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator based in San Jose, California. Her work explores the intersection of science, art, and history through investigating documents, scientific manuscripts, and historic objects at major libraries and archives around the world. Taking a cue from her research and Iran’s historic art, and visual culture, Karimi’s work highlights political and societal issues, and personal narratives, and tackles issues of representation and dissemination of the scientific, artistic, and intellectual heritage. She employs virtual reality (VR), performative video, sound, traditional and digital print, and drawing in her work. Karimi has exhibited internationally across a range of solo, group, and traveling exhibitions in Iran, Algeria, Germany, Croatia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. She is the recipient of the 2022 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant, the 2022 Mass MoCA the Studios Residency Award, the 2021 University of California, San Francisco Library Artist in Residence Award, 2020 the City of San José's Public Art Program Art Award, the 2019 City of San Jose Arts and Cultural Exchange Grant, the 2019 Silicon Valley Artist Laureates Award, and the 2017 Kala Fellowship-Residency Award mong others.
Farshid Kazemi: Archaeoapocalypse: A Hermetic Archeology of Technical Media
Michel Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge has had a lasting impact in the literature on the archaeology of media and cinema, with the term ‘archaeology’ itself gesturing back to the title of Foucault’s text, if not to his methodology. In this presentation I will propose an alternative theoretical and methodological approach to the term ‘archaeology’ in the archaeology of media and cinema, by evoking a hermetic archaeology of media that I have called archaeoapocalypse. I have given the name archaeoapocalypse (formed from the Greek arkhaiología + apokalypsis) or archeological revelation, to a motif of the “discovery” of antediluvian knowledge, often magical and arcane in nature, which was hidden and lost to humanity, and which was subsequently ‘archaeologically’ recovered or (re)discovered. The hermetic discovery motif is an ancient literary motif, a sort of frame narrative, by which a text is presented as an ancient source that has been discovered (in a temple, a tomb, underground, inscribed on a pillar or stele) by the author. In this presentation, I will introduce this hitherto understudied hermetic archaeology associated with Alexander Legends, in which Alexander the Great is installed into this heritage of archaeoapocalypse. While the discovery motif ascribed to Alexander seems to be a late outgrowth of this legendary, from the evidence presented here, it will be seen that the discovery motif is very old indeed, stretching all the way back to ancient Egyptian and Babylonian texts, which were later widely deployed in occult, magical, and alchemical sources in the Hellenistic era and beyond into the Islamic period. It will be argued that the motif of Alexander’s discovery of the fabled ‘Emerald Tablet’ (Tabula Samargadina) of Hermes Trismegistus (which is mainly attributed to Bālinūs or pseudo-Apollonious of Tayna) entered Europe via a misreading by Latin translators of Arabic texts of the 8th and 9th centuries, some of which were translations of Greek texts dating from the Hellenistic era. In these texts the rediscovery of knowledge is presented as a physical act of archaeology – an archaeoapocalypse. This presentation lays the theoretical and historical groundwork for the paper I presented at the SMRN meeting in April 2021, in which I demonstrated that Giovanni Fontana’s treatise “Book of Instruments of Warfare with Drawings and Enciphered Descriptions” (1420 CE), which contains the first ever depiction of a proto-magic lantern in Europe, almost certainly derives from Arabic Pseudo‐Aristotelian Hermetica material (parts of which were transmitted into Persian Alexander Books or Iskandarnameh), in which Alexander, Aristotle, and Bālinūs figure prominently.
Farshid Kazemi is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. His research interests combine an interdisciplinary and theoretical approach to Film and Media Studies/Film Theory, Iranian Studies, and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh, with a thesis on Iranian cinema and second wave psychoanalytic film theory titled: The Interpreter of Desires: Iranian Cinema and Psychoanalysis. He has published several articles and book chapters on Iranian cinema, psychoanalytic film theory/feminist film theory in journals such as Camera Obscura. His book on the film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night will be published by Auteur/Columbia University Press in 2020.
Jessika Kenney: Azure: Hidden Grief, Radiant Joy
For this presentation, I will describe the compositional process utilized in creating the musical work of "Azure", which is inspired by the "ghafieh" or repetitive line-ending of a particular Persian ghazal from the Divan of Hafez of Shiraz (15th CE). Beyond the lens of subject/object relations, Hafez' poetry lends a special resonance to the concept around the word "of", or "از", causing us to question what it is to belong, to be similar to, to originate in, to have separation or relationality with, or our desire to have closeness with another. I will discuss the ways in which vocalization, cyclical time experiences, breathing, and counting become methods of contemplative focus of this concept of "of" that can be shared through the medium of listening. I will also discuss the role of sustained frequency or drone and its effect upon the listeners' sense of time, proportion, texture, weight, and emotional atmosphere as encapsulated in the poetic invocation of "them" or the gender-neutral Persian pronoun "او" which signifies in the ghazal architecture of verbal iconography, "the one who is loved". We will also contemplate together the experience of song as "the color of breath".
Jessika Kenney is a sound and voice artist working across a wide range of collaborations in literature, music, philosophy, dance, performance, and electronic and recorded mediums, including her solo album "Atria". Her acclaimed duo with Eyvind Kang has released 7 albums including "the face of the earth", the title of which is a translation of Nizami's reference to Majnun "dam-o dam buseh mizad bar rokh-e khak". Kenney began her performance career in the street worlds of punk and has studied independently with Ostad Hossein Omoumi and many others. Recent exhibitions include "Spokane River Sound Action", at Gonzaga U in Spokane, Washington, "color a body who flees" at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and "Anchor Zero" at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.
Somayeh Khakshoor: Moon Phases and the Calligraphic Shapes of لا as Diagrams
لا (la) is a combination of two letters ل (Lam) and ا (Alif). It is an Arabic word meaning don’t, no, and not. The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters, but some thinkers—mostly calligraphers and Sufis—consider لا to be the 29th. لا is also the title of a short diary film I made, which contains a record of the Moon chasing experiences I had during a period of about three months of isolation. It is based on personal conversations with the Moon while my soul was also going through lunar phases. This film is meant to be a celebration of both the Moon and لا; I used the commonalities that I saw between them as the compass that guided me in finding words, images, and sounds. By recounting the story behind the making of this film and providing some context on the diagrammatic readings of different calligraphic forms of لا, this talk is meant to complement the film for anyone who might want to know more about it.
Somayeh Khakshoor is a nomadic Iranian moving-image artist. Her main sources of inspiration are synchronicities and classical Persian literature. Somayeh is a member of Substantial Motion Research Network and also Animation; Experiment which is a collective of Iranian experimental animation artists.
Michelle Kim: Korea, I Love You. How the Korean Concept of Jeong is Expressed Aesthetically in South Korean Moving Images
The Korean sociocultural concept of han—a sentiment of collective sorrow—has been frequently characterized as "the Korean ethos" and the soul of Korean art, literature, and film. 1 Han-centric themes that aestheticize Korean history, tradition, and culture have been consistently identified by film scholars as fuelling the work of many South Korean filmmakers, such as Im Kwon-taek. However, this paper argues that han has transformed into jeong—love, warmth, connection—as the hardships of the past have now resulted in a need to connect to other people and cultures, making solidarity synonymous to Koreans, as demonstrated by the worldwide popularity of K-dramas. This paper will investigate how Jeong is aesthetically expressed in South Korean images. I will trace jeong's origins to the history of its hancha (Chinese characters that are the basis of Chinese loan words incorporated in the Korean language) and traditional cultural practices and artifacts. By drawing on the Korean concept of beauty and aesthetic characteristics embedded in Korean traditional ceramics and K-dramas, this paper will explore just how loving South Korean moving images are.
Michelle Kim is a Korean-Canadian filmmaker, film scholar, and novelist. Her directorial feature film debut, The Tree Inside, won best feature film awards at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival in Portland and was screened at festivals in North America and Asia. Running Through Sprinklers, her first novel about girls growing up and apart in Surrey was published by Simon & Schuster USA in 2018. Kim has a Master of Arts degree from the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University; her research focused on traditional Korean aesthetic expressions in contemporary South Korean moving images.
Lynn Marie Kirby: Impermanence: Towards an Ephemerality of Making
What kind of a footprint do we leave as artists? What kind of activities do we engage in if we do not want to contribute to the accumulation of stuff, and instead attempt to work outside systems of commodification and the production of objects? I am attracted to temporal practices of art making that include walking, listening, active attuning to and playful engagement with people and places—often in collaborative and performative interventions. I will investigate aspects of the impermanent and show through examples of my work what it might mean to leave a light footprint so that one’s work disappears over time. Drawn to the ephemeral, yet engaged in public discourse, how does this impermanent work circulate? Does leaving a trace contradict this focus on ephemerality? How is this trace represented? Do we remember something that is fleeting, not as sadness, but in the acceptance of impermanence? What is the role of memory in the transmission of experience between artist and public? I will also talk about enlarging the idea of the exhibition, public space as exhibition space, the use of site intervention, and at making work that circulates outside and alongside established art systems. Places speak to us. They transmit histories across time. I am engaged with ideas around the powers of both visible and invisible forces in order to access forms and experiences of different temporalities. Through the use of scent, pattern, repetition, and sacred geometry, these varied forms of engagement access vertical approaches to sites and histories, and present to the public translations of transmissions across time and space. Through this talk I will present different projects from the last twenty years that engage a wide variety of outcomes, materials, and gestures that leave a light footprint.
Lynn Marie Kirby works in a variety of time-based forms, including film, public installation and performance, engaging our relationship to place, often with text, often with collaborators. Lately she has performed site interventions outside and alongside established art systems enlarging the idea of the exhibition and its relation to the public. Each of Kirby’s projects map emotional topographies, her most recent work uses practices of attunement, scent, taste, and touch to explore expanded embodied perception beyond the visual and aural, to engage with the public in the history of particular sites. In addition to her site embedded and interventional work, Kirby’s work has shown in galleries, museums, and film festivals around the world; generous foundations have supported her projects. She is a professor of film and fine arts at California College of the Arts.
Keisha Knight: Circulation and Imagination
When thinking about film, its creation and what that creation unfolds, the object of the film contained within the frame usually emerges as the site of primary concern. Yet films are unable to activate and unfold space in the collective imagination without circulation and exhibition. As Keller Easterling writes, the narrative of corporate capital often foregrounds “content to disguise or distract from what the organization is actually doing” (Easterling, Extrastatecraft, 15). This holds true for film circulation. The neglect of critical and creative inquiry into film distribution allows for corporate concerns to monopolize the field. Cultural practices around film circulation (otherwise known as film distribution) create and sustain the channels through which cinematic visions flow. As a result film distribution plays a crucial role in sculpting the collective imaginary. This paper unfolds film distribution as a creative act through which to build community, expand the collective imagination, and push the boundaries of cinematic possibility.
Keisha Knight is a PhD candidate in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University who has spent the majority of her adult life in Asia and New York City. Keisha holds a BA from Barnard College in Comparative Religion and an MA in Media Studies from Pratt Institute. Keisha’s practice-based inquiry and theoretical explorations are aimed at understanding power structures embedded in and around cinema and art. Keisha is the founder of Sentient.Art.Film.
Olga F. Koroleva: Soft Forest
Soft Forest is a poethical* text that explores planthuman relations between the medicinal plant Callisia Fragrans, which I grow, hidden disability, connecting to own roots, and foraging as healing practice. ‘I have carried these words in my mind all day. Words— human words that cannot begin to describe my relationship with Callisia; learning to live and work with Callisia began with learning to be at tree-time—slowing down, being at Earth pace: going for a walk without a phone or a watch, sitting down to watch the grass swaying in the wind for an hour—or two, collecting herbs and when sorting them, doing just that, nothing else, paying attention to the task at hand; on my way back I tread carefully around tarmac-bound roots of trees that green these residential suburban London rows; I avoid them if possible— as though withdrawing my one light step is any consolation for their life-long confinement; trees in city parks fair no better— the soil around them is so compressed from all our human weight their roots struggle to get enough air and water; my fibro-body, muscles aching from walking on soil as hard as concrete, intuitively knew this wasn’t right before I could articulate it; it seems we share conditioned living bound by the predicament of cohabitation on the careless planet.’ There are many sources— books, people, places that have informed Soft Forest, but most importantly they are:
- Matters of Care, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa
- The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben
- The Plant Messiah, Carlos Magdalena
- Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki
- my grandfather
- *filmmaker Noor Afshan Mizra
- Master Shi Heng Yi's teachings
- Lake Farm Country Park, West London, UK
- Nettlebed Common, Oxfordshire, UK
- Palm House, Kew Gardens, London, UK.
Soft Forest was developed as part of my ongoing project Hidden.
Olga F. Koroleva is a UK-based artist – curator – un-academic researcher – forager – lecturer. Her work honours slow practice and self-care while exploring ways of non-exploitative cohabitation with multiple others on this planet. She works primarily with expanded research cinema, and is the founder of the international peer group The Political Animal. She has previously taught at The School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University, Wimbledon College of Arts, Chelsea College of Art and Design, and Bucknell University, PA, US. Her recent work has been made possible with funding from the Arts Council England. She is currently a Film Practice Fellow at the Centre for Film and Ethics, Queen Mary University of London. www.olgakoroleva.com.
Katie Kotler: Permanent Fixtures
In 2012, I was involved in a bike accident that left me with a mild traumatic brain injury. The effects persist in my daily life; my artistic interests in light and sound are hindered by an extreme sensitivity to overstimulation, cognitive difficulty and fatigue. As a result, I have a newfound appreciation for domestic tranquillity and beauty. I long to establish a space that is as nurturing and safe as possible. My obsession with self-care is a call for self-preservation. With funding from the Toronto Arts Council and Canada Council of the Arts, I have spent the past few years producing a body of work which addresses the forced domesticity that my disability relies on as well as my spiritual journey. I created Resilience (2021), a series of animations that tell the narrative of my accident and healing. These were shown at the Toronto Art Project (2020), School of Visual Arts Flatiron Gallery (2021) and BigArtTO (2021). In 2020, I was selected to deliver an artist talk with Artcite Inc., where I discussed my creative process throughout the pandemic and its parallels to living with a disability. In 2021, I created a panel with other artists who have suffered brain injuries. Here, we discussed our experiences and I screened Resilience. This month, I am showing my installation Permanent Fixtures at Ignite Gallery. This show features animations projected onto a bathtub and blinds. The work asks, how can I foster an environment that both accommodates and honors my needs for repose and art? The goal of Permanent Fixtures is to create work that effaces the boundaries between art and the viewer, thereby playing with the viewer’s sense of perception, creating a conceptual 3D void and helping them into a state that transcends the physical pain and boredom of self-isolation.
Katie Kotler is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Toronto. Her practice explores how the physicality of animation can be translated into installation art, print and music. She is also interested in how lineages of art histories meld into one another, often in previously unnoticed ways. Kotler creates immersive and self-reflexive atmospheres that use as lo-fi materials as possible. Her work has been featured on the CBC, Hyperallergic, Rhizome and Canadian Art. Kotler is the recipient of grants from the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council of the Arts. Selected prints are sold at Likely General in Toronto.
Laura U. Marks: Practical Steps for Talismanic Media Making
Magic is defined as “the exertion of action at a distance by means of an intervening image” and as “the awareness of the interrelatedness of all things in the world by means of a simple but refined sense perception.” These are also definitions of movies and other image media. In certain cases, media arts can make practical changes in the cosmos. This talk draws from the thirteenth-century magic text the Picatrix, a manual for magicians (that is, media makers) to adapt the following practical steps:
- Know the cosmos you want to operate on. Causality follows from cosmology: if you know how the cosmos is structured, you will understand what causes events within it.
- Learn the connective powers of media. From Al-Kindi to C.S. Peirce, signs are understood to be connected to their cause: the question is how to read them.
- Understand your media as operational images: after Haroun Farocki, images that do not represent an object but carry out an operation. Talismans are a special case of operational image. The talisman, an inversion of musallat, “that to which power over something is conferred,” bends causality by connecting to cosmic powers.
- Train your mind and body. The Picatrix considers humans to be microcosms, who, with knowledge and practice, can embody the cosmos more completely and intentionally. The magician must have strong desire, imagination, good technique, confidence, as well as practical skills of speech and actions of the hand. An element of glamour or what Alfred Gell terms stickiness also helps.
Once you have carried out these steps, you are in a position to make media that bend the cosmos. Beware! Like magic, talismanic media can be healthy or toxic. I will suggest criteria to shape your practice according to the desired outcome.
Laura U. Marks works on media art and philosophy with an intercultural focus and an emphasis on appropriate technologies. Her fifth book, The Fold: From Your Body to the Cosmos, is under contract with Duke University Press. Marks co-founded the Substantial Motion Research Network of scholars and artists working on non-Western genealogies of media technologies. She founded the Small File Media Festival and leads the research group Tackling the Carbon Footprint of Streaming Media. Marks teaches in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. www.sfu.ca/lmarks
Nancy Mauro-Flude: Cosmographic Networks, Asemic Writing and the Provenance of Text Based Computation
Cosmographic Networks are a stygian site where we are faced with thinking not of communication or computation but rather visceral performances with materialities in collaboration with the paraphernalia of writerly networked technologies, by thinking along the contours of a matrix, where the kerning happens in the cells between the letters beneath the Graphical User Interface. The Internet is a rodeo for keystrokes, scripts, and text files nesting in mined metal alloys. Its presence is palpable. Asemic acts relay the sentience of a fern by a lake; such permutations include a diversity of forms: scrying, divination, theatrical improvisations, concrete poetry, choreography, cut-ups, punk rock mystic language, programming languages, media collage, net.art, chance compositions (and so on)...For instance, the petroglyphs chiselled by the Toogee into slabs of dolerite, pulsating since time immemorial in a site more recently known as Tasmania, exhale complex geometric carvings, concentric circles, drifting trellises, dots and crosses. Cosmographic Networks like these are a fertile and marvellous source of abundance, where obscure symbolic elements, wayward strategies, and indeterminate offerings transmit elsewhere. Carving out an expansive space is where nascent meanings and enunciations brew and a cradle for aesthetic ambiguity that sheds common notions of identity, favouring a more critical form of awareness and interchange of tacit knowledge. This presentation will provide case studies of contemporary moments artworks that engage in asemic writing as a visceral and visual form of composition that grasps protolinguistic states. Contest common understandings of computational practice instead of looking toward low bandwidth forms of computational poetics and attentiveness to cosmographic infrastructures. Best read as a cradle for aesthetic ambiguity that sheds assumed notions, deepens our engagement, and invokes a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of situated ontologies' localised, scalable and gestural origins. A continual accretion of possible association and a simultaneous divesting of certainty and phenomena obscured by habit.
Dr Nancy Mauro-Flude is a Tasmanian artist and critical media philosopher. Her research contributes to aesthetic awareness of our corporeal engagement with visceral and emerging systems. She applies to codesign, artistic and somatic methodologies, ethnography, and experiential prototyping to examine feminist STS (Science, Technology and Society) foci. Nancy spent the last decade as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norwegian University of Technology, where she continues to cooperate as an affiliate in the Department of Art and Media Studies; and Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore, directing the Curatorial and Cultural Leadership program, in collaboration with ArtScience Museum. Most recently, she leads the ‘Next Nature Networks studio’ at the College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University. An ongoing Research Fellow Institute Network Culture Amsterdam, represented by Bett Gallery, Nancy is the founder of Despona’s Coven— a grassroots feminist webserver atelier and citizen science fiction mother ship (homebrewed in 2008). Complementary to her artistic practice, she also has a background in dance, working in dance therapy and as a specialist in Somatic Movement therapy at the Institute of Somatic Movement.
Katya Nosyreva: Breathing Patterns: Topology of Pattern-Making
Using her analytical sequence of drawings of Islamicate geometric patterns, based on the methodology developed by the English mathematician Anthony Lee, Katya will argue for a phenomenological approach to the process of pattern-making from an artist's point of view. The unmediated engagement with drawing geometric figures and operations where only a slight change in crossings angles of interesting lines causes the whole composition to change. Katya will discuss how patterns borne out of underlying structures result in a topology of pattern- and meaning-making where stars and rosettes move or breathe along the lines of symmetry, and whether drawing and observation of geometry can be considered as technology for cognitive and spiritual transformation.
A quote by Leanora Carrington that "craftsmanship is falling into oblivion" had a profound effect on me as a maker and researcher exploring how perfection of technique, intimate knowledge of one's tools and materials, and becoming unaware of one's usual thought patterns and surroundings can create an unmediated creative practice. Through drawing, working with translucent porcelain clay, and teaching, my work focuses on the historical development and reception of Islamicate geometric patterns. My particular interest lies in extant manuscripts on geometry and architectural scrolls where diagrams and text come together to elucidate and confuse the transmission of knowledge, offering tantalising glimpses of the working methods of craftsmen and the thought processes behind the transition from theoretical geometry to applied ornamental architectural solutions.
Katya Nosyreva is a freelance artist working with porcelain clay and the visual and symbolic language of geometry. Her creative practice is informed by her studio-based PhD research and travels, as well as her immediate surroundings on Dartmoor.
Sunčica Pasuljević Kandić + Darija Medić: Decompression Lowcast. Low-fi Explorations of Embodied Decompression in the Digital Age
How is the sound of a freshly baked pie or an epilator perceived in a voice messaging conversation, depending on the state of listening? How is it read differently depending on the caption of the person sharing the sound? The world of sounds is primarily one of sensation rather than reflection. That is the starting point of Decompression Lowcast—Explorations in embodied decompression in the digital age, a proposal for a sensorial methodology in forming shared acoustic spaces of asynchronous conversation, remediation and decompression in the digital realm. Conducted as a constrained location prompt based acoustic exchange between two people, the format of the lowcast is a distributed low threshold form for a podcast. For A Light Footprint in the Cosmos we would like to propose a performance lecture, navigating through and collectively listening to the archive of the created sonified environments and accompanying diary logs. Feminist new materialist scholars have tackled the question of the posthuman voice in decentering the notion of voice and agency. This project explores the healing applications of concepts around the posthuman in recording and considering one’s direct environment as an embodiment practice and the further exchange of acoustic artefacts into a decentering of the self through engaged listening. It sees voice messaging as a temporal distribution of networked, globalized communication in relation to the scarcity of time, especially pressing during intense periods of social distancing in the stronger waves of the COVID pandemic. Experimenting with and around sonic environments, the project opens up a dialogue between the stress response cycle and lived bodies as interfaces. The resulting lowcast is a multimodal proposal for a space of learning and unlearning, a mode of developing knowledge from lived experience as an epistemic reset, with an open invitation to include a broader multiplicity of voices and (re)imaginaries.
Sunčica Pasuljević Kandić, a poetic media explorer and anti-disciplinary practitioner working at the intersection of artists research, curatorship and art pedagogy. She explores intertwined connections of collaboration, communication, identity, language and knowledge production in regards to interaction with technology and nature. Facilitating “experiential action-thought choreographies“ her practice becomes collaborative, ephemeral and processual in nature. For the past 5 years she has been teaching at the Academy of Art in Novi Sad at the New media art department. She is a PhD student at the Academy of Art in Novi Sad researching the potential of infrastructures for (un)learning, listening and creation that encourage critical and creative thinking about the phenomena of emerging technologies and their impact on nature and society. Her work has been presented in Finland, Spain, Brazil, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, where she has also established a network of collaborators. sunneko.wixsite.com/portfolio
Darija Medić is an explorer of (un)coded networked behavior, a digital practitioner, artist, and scholar, working between spaces of policy, art education and curating. She is a PhD student in the Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance Program, where she develops interfaces for unlearning harmful habituation in and with technology. Interested in how a digital sense and sensibility free from romanticism can be built, in an interface culture that is governed algorithmically, she explores spaces between regulation and play through interactive fiction as a form of speculative fabulation and collaborative meaning <> knowledge making. As an independent artist and curator, she has showed work and collaborated with various institutions internationally such as The Internet Governance Forum, Device Art (Croatia; Czech Republic), Mindware: Technologies of Dialogue (Poland), Karasssuite (Slovakia; Belgium), Make Me festival (Serbia; Austria), Hacker Space Festival (France), Creative Time (New York), Memefest (international), Viral Communications conference (Netherlands), and elsewhere. syntaxerrror.com
Matthew Melvin-Koushki: Out-of-Body Experience as Occult Technology in Early Modern Iran
Wondrously enough, premodern and postmodern Western (Muslim, Jewish and Christian) thinkers often agree on one point: language—fully embodied yet always provisional and experimental—is human consciousness’s most reliable portal onto reality, the basis of all mind tech. Information science as self-divinizing talismanry. To encourage the comparative history of consciousness, this talk presents as case study Mīr Dāmād (d. 1631), chief philosopher and imperial jurisconsult of Safavid Iran at its height, who penned a gorgeous and pithy Arabic account of one of his out-of-body experiences. Unlike most OBEs today, however, it was induced by means of lettrism (kabbalah), which posits the cosmos as a mathematical-linguistic construct, to be decoded and magically recoded by the self-divinizing philosopher, responsible for the construction and maintenance of the world. His Illuminationist-lettrist philosophy was hence both a private and a very public affair. On the one hand, it is at the core of his peculiar theory of perpetual creation and personal ritual practice of prayer. On the other, it helped make early modern Islamic empire an occult technology, and the new imperial capital, Isfahan—the first modern, perspectival, Pythagorean city—a talismanic portal onto the superreal.
Matthew Melvin-Koushki is Associate Professor of Islamic History at the University of South Carolina. He specializes in early modern Islamicate intellectual and imperial history, with a philological focus on the theory and practice of the occult sciences in Timurid-Safavid Iran and the broader Persianate world to the nineteenth century, and a disciplinary focus on history of science, history of philosophy and history of the book. His several forthcoming books include The Occult Science of Empire in Aqquyunlu-Safavid Iran: Two Shirazi Lettrists and Their Manuals of Magic, and he is co-editor of the volumes Islamicate Occultism: New Perspectives (2017) and Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice (2020). He is also cofounder of the international working group Islamic Occult Studies on the Rise (IOSOTR), at islamicoccult.org, which showcases the newest work in this now burgeoning interdisciplinary field.
Narjis Mirza: Images and the Imaginal: Ta’wil in Art Practices of Light
This arts research aims to provoke an imaginative understanding beyond the representational knowledge of things, using ta’wil, an ancient method of interpretation in Islamic thought that performs in both material and immaterial forms. Through installation art practice, I explore light (together with animation, projection, voice, and textiles) as a medium with metaphysical resonance. Ta’wil influences my observations, making, and recordings of light, and initiates a transcendental movement in my artwork, according to one’s potential to be affected. I work with Arabic huroof, letters and the mysterious fawatih of the Quran, that appear as bodies of light projected onto delicate fabric with fragrance and light-bearing qualities. A sonic space is marked through these letters’ voicing, and when the seer enters the installation space, their body is inscribed with light and calligraphy. The major body of work for this research is titled Hayakal al Noor, Bodies of Light (2021). The philosophical paradigm of my art practice considers Persian Muslim philosopher Shihab ud Deen Suhrawardi’s (1154-1191) concept of Aalam al Mithal, the Imaginal, which is an extension of images of this world, without any materiality, opening out to the world of the imagination and the suprasensory. In the wake of social and political tensions that attempt to extinguish the light of Being, my aspiration for this research is to increase inter-cultural efforts of understanding and respect for different modes of being.
Narjis Mirza is a media installation artist working at the intersection of moving image and relational art. Her art practice stages a poetic, philosophical and spiritual meditation on light, time and transitional spaces. She creates large-scale light and sound installations incorporating projection, animation, video, moving image, textile and voice. The immersive art experience in her work engages the audience in performative participation. People transform the artwork into an event. Narjis completed her practice-led PhD from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. She is currently part of the team at the Interactive Media Lab at the University of New South Wales, developing new technologies for interactive participatory media art.
Minoo Moallem: Woven Connectivities and Ecological Aesthetics
In this presentation, I focus on the legacies of weaving and carpet-inspired art by engaging with the work of a few contemporary artists from different parts of the world. I argue that these artists open up space for thinking about geoaesthetics and ethics by breaking through the commodity culture's disciplinary orders and borders, interrupting the outcome of what capitalism has predetermined. Linking the actual and the virtual, the carpet-inspired artists unfold a will to art—causing the spectators to see and feel in new and unforeseen ways turning carpets into "smooth spaces" to reimagine the future.
Minoo Moallem is a Gender and Women's Studies professor and Director of Media Studies at UC Berkeley. She is the author of Persian Carpets: The Nation as a Transnational Commodity, Routledge, 2018; Between Warrior Brother and Veiled Sister. Islamic Fundamentalism and the Cultural Politics of Patriarchy in Iran, University of California Press, 2005, the co-editor of Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and The State (Duke University Press, 1999). She is also the guest editor of a special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East on Iranian Immigrants, Exiles, and Refugees. Her digital project "Nation-on-the Move" (design by Eric Loyer) was published in Vectors. Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular in 2007. She is working on a new project entitled "Dream Weavers: Tactility, cathartic rhythms, and wandering imagination in carpet-inspired art." Trained as a sociologist, she writes on postcolonial and transnational feminist studies, commodity cultures, Middle Eastern studies, and Iranian visual cultures and diasporas.
Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh and Asad Khan: The House of Second Wisdom (Future Library)
The House of Second Wisdom is the colossal immersive installation for a futuristic library that would fuse ancient, hypothetical, mythic, and eventual worlds. As a combination of speculative architecture and experimental theory, it asks what strange turns of imagination might surface when worlds drift at the critical edge of their own disappearance. In essence, what fascinating inscriptions and debris images might arise as time and space fall under siege and collapse into chasms? The House of Second Wisdom therefore aspires to generate its own unparalleled infinity-zone of thought and imagery by combining the most striking dimensions of mythology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, architecture, design, virtual reality, visual art, artificial intelligence technology, and ecology in an ambitious visionary experience. This collaboration manifests both as a text and video installation of fourteen distinct chambers (i.e. the fractal blueprint of the Library itself, refined according to unprecedented methods of digital architecture and conceptual descriptions of books that have never been written). The result is a moving labyrinth of concealed domains, archives, and impressions. The House’s spatial-narrative sequence will contain a set of rare atmospheres—pyramids, monasteries, glacier formations, mirror palaces, radio towers, underwater shipwrecks, caravanserai, bomb-sites—alongside micro-territories of ideas assigned to each setting (transformative objects, sensations, catalogues of yet-unfounded genres, falsified authors, arcane literary movements and conceptual categories). The result will be a landscape of contemplation, maze-like wandering, inhuman figments and secrecies amidst halls of invented volumes that test the outer boundaries of our definitions of consciousness, movement, body, desire, mind, machine, image, illusion, power, and appearance. The enigmatic, amorphous structure of this futuristic library takes its inspiration from several compelling examples.
Ultimately, the intent is to carve out an elegant architectural-ideational map that wrests viewers at the Symposium across a series of unique realms, such that the House of Second Wisdom comes to stand for that no-man’s land of the imagination where we can behold whatever principles, styles, and phenomena emerge at the last threshold of a world.
Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Babson College. His work explores rising poetic, philosophical, and artistic movements across both East and West, with particular focus on concepts of chaos, illusion, violence, disappearance, delirium, silence, madness, apocalypse, night, and futurity. He has published nine books to date—including The Chaotic Imagination (Palgrave, 2010); Inflictions: The Writing of Violence (Bloomsbury, 2012); The Radical Unspoken (Routledge, 2013); Insurgent, Poet, Mystic, Sectarian: The Four Masks of an Eastern Postmodernism (SUNY, 2014); Omnicide: Mania, Fatalism, and the Future-In-Delirium and Omnicide, Vol. II: Mania, Doom, and the Future-In-Deception (MIT Press/Urbanomic/Sequence, 2019/2022); Night: A Philosophy of the After-Dark (Zero Books, 2020/2022). He is the Director of the Future Studies Program and the 5th Disappearance Lab; he is also the Programmer of Transdisciplinary Studies for the New Centre for Research & Practice].
Asad Khan is a computational designer and an architecture researcher completing a design-led doctorate at the University of Edinburgh. He directs the Entropy Project, which investigates the architecture of existential risks and catastrophes as artefacts of design intelligence, using the epistemic filters of remote-sensing, artificial intelligence, computer simulation, and design automation in order to investigate spatial realities as time-bound self-exterminators. The Entropy Project has been exhibited in national and international galleries and explores material dimensions of non-linear time and new situated approaches to vision. Recent exhibitions include The 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, Italian Virtual Pavilion, Future Lab Shanghai, China; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; Creative Informatics, Edinburgh; Berlin Film Festival; Photoforum, Pasquart, Biel, Switzerland; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, amongst others. He has also taught computational architecture at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture; Glasgow School of Art, and has been a guest critic at Goldsmiths University, University of Arts London, Bartlett UCL amongst others.
Mahmoud Nuri: Farabi's Neoplatonic View on Artists in Society
Farabi presents a hierarchical utopia consisting of five levels, first of which belongs to the philosopher-prophet. The second rank includes preachers, orators, poets, music composers and writers. This is where Farabi shows a generous attitude towards art unlike Plato' seemingly hostile approach. Farabi underlines that there is a shared task between the first two ranks of the utopia which is the translation of intellectual concepts into imaginable forms in order to make them understandable for the public. This might be Plato's own approach as he implements storytelling to convey his philosophy in most of his writings. An understanding of the stance of artists in the age of Plato and Farabi might help us understand the contrast in their orientation towards art.
Mahmoud Nuri was born in 1989 in Iran. His interest in cinema developed at an early age and he directed his first short film at the age of fifteen. Three years later he was enrolled at Tehran's University of Art where he took a B.A. and an M.A. in cinema. While he continued producing and directing his next films he took a Ph.D. in art history focusing on Farabi and his view on objectives of art.
Sheila Petty and Brahim Benbouazza: Reclaiming Indigenous Cultural Heritage in Moroccan Amazigh Film and Video
This presentation will focus on decolonizing practices in Indigenous film production in Morocco. We will examine the potential of Indigenous structures of analysis for reclaiming Indigenous cultural heritage through media such as film and video. For many years, and especially under the rule of Hassan II, manifestations of Amazigh identities were forbidden, although later in his reign Hassan II encouraged Moroccans to embrace the Tashelhit, Tamazight, or Tarifite languages rather than French. By the 1990s, Amazigh activists began to challenge the nature of Moroccan identity by reclaiming Amazigh aspects of identity. This activism spilled over into all cultural industries and Amazigh films gained popularity beginning with the production of Tamghart wurgh/Femme d’or/Golden Woman in 1993. Other popular films since then include Al Malaika la tuhaliq fi al-dar albayda/ In Casablanca Angels Don’t Fly, 2004, Itto Titrit/Morning Star, 2010, Adios Carmen, 2013, Tigmi N Igren/House in the Fields, 2017, and Monsters, 2019. We are especially interested in exploring how Amazigh cultural sovereignty is expressed narratively and aesthetically in the films and how Amazigh ideology and languages are structuring principles of the films.
Brahim Benbouazza was born in Rabat, Morocco where he taught constitutional and administrative law as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Hassan II (Rabat-Salé). He holds an MBA from the Université de Sherbrooke (Québec) and is presently a researcher at the University of Regina, Canada. In April 2013, he was the organizer of the following colloquium at the Institut français/University of Regina: Le printemps arabe et la problématique du changement/The Arab Spring and the Problematics of Change.
Sheila Petty is Professor of media studies at the University of Regina (Canada). She has written extensively on issues of cultural representation, identity and nation in African and African diasporic screen media, and has curated film, television and digital media exhibitions for galleries across Canada. She is author of Contact Zones: Memory, Origin and Discourses in Black Diasporic Cinema (2008) and editor and co-editor of several volumes including, Directory of World Cinema: Africa (2015).
Manuel Baldoquin Pina: MAGINES
My research revolves around the acknowledgment of digital interfaces as the dominant medium of the present, and its central role in the formation of new patterns of thought and sensibilities. Technologies of Digital Interface Design and UX perpetuate languages and metaphors of realities long gone, and constitute the locus of mental control, the new strategic domain. MAGINES is a term to denote the spatial essence of digital interfaces as new forms of knowledge creation: our daily navigations describe geometries across dimensions and realities that are at the center of our existences. MAGINES are emerging forms of space that cannot be described in any other language. One central goal is to imagine new forms of beauty, new healing spaces, in resistance to the addictive nature of dominant norms for UX design. The centrality of space in this new universe echoes the work of Steven Wolfram. The space in this link is based on one of his forms. The inspiration is deliberately magical, as advocated by Federico Magagna. In this regard, I am hoping to involve the magical vocation of the group and Laura, to explore the creation of MAGINES as trans-dimensional spaces of magic geometries from the Islamic Tradition: online talismans.
Manuel Piña-Baldoquín was born in La Habana, Cuba, in 1958. He is a Cuban Canadian artist based in Vancouver. After a few years working as a mechanical engineer he started his artistic practice in the early 1990s. Piña-Baldoquín’s work is concerned with the tensions between power and individual freedom. Earlier works consisted of cityscapes through which he interrogated the urban environment as both site and embodiment of this relationship. Currently his art projects and pedagogic practice investigate the ongoing impact of technology on contemporary vernacular approaches to the creation and dissemination of images. His works appropriate the visual language emerging from these conditions to investigate their potential as a means for social emancipation. His work has been exhibited in the Americas and Europe, including at the Havana Biennale; the Istanbul Biennale; Kunsthalle Vienna; Grey Gallery, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Daros Museum, Zurich; Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Projects, New York; and the Bronx Museum, New York. He teaches in the Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Theory at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Radek Przedpełski: Mountain Soul-Assemblages
The presentation brings resonances between Gilbert Simondon's thought around the magical phase of technicity and reticular points (points-clés) and Jerzy Ludwiński’s neo-avant-garde art philosophy from the 1970s launching a vision of art as energetic transformations straddling linear time. I put this constellation in dialogue with Mountain Soul-Assemblages exhibited at Studio T: my multi-channel installation on the spirits of the Carpathian Mountains, made up of across interconnected visions which spin together the geological processes of folding, erosion and denudation and the geo-poetic incantations of image and memory.
Radek Przedpełski (pronounced: rah-deck pshet-pe-oo-skee) is an artist and media philosophy scholar lecturing in interactive digital media at Trinity College Dublin. Radek graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a PhD in Digital Art and Humanities, focusing on Polish neo-avant-garde of the 1970s. Radek co-edited a volume on Deleuze, Guattari and the Art of Multiplicity published Edinburgh University Press in 2020. Radek is a member of Substantial Motion Research Network founded by Laura U. Marks and Azadeh Emadi for cross-cultural investigation of media art, as well as a curator, together with Laura U. Marks, of the annual Small File Media Festival hosted by SFU's School for the Creative Arts. Radek is interested in entanglements between the earth, the cosmos and artistic techniques.
Kalpana Subramanian: Breath: A De-colonial Embodied Aesthetics for Cinema
Even as “a universal right to breathe” becomes a profound call of our times (Mbembe 2020), breath is a remarkably forgotten subject in critical discourse (Irigaray 1999). While the “embodied turn” marked a shift away from ocularcentrism in cinema towards multisensorial and affective explorations of the medium, the aesthetics of breath as an aesthetic still remains relatively underexplored. This presentation asks, how can media be considered truly alive and embodied, if it does not breathe? It argues for breath as a life-force of cinema and attempts to articulate its cosmology drawing from transcultural respiratory philosophy and embodied traditions stemming from Asia. In particular it brings yoga and Buddhist meditational practices into conversation with phenomenology, Deleuzoguattarian philosophy and decolonial methodologies. This comparative philosophical approach aligns with frameworks of respiratory philosophy (Škof and Berndtson, 2018) and non-Western media-genealogies (Marks, 2010). It also builds on existing studies of breath in cinema and Marks’ enfolding and unfolding aesthetics. (Quinlivan, 2012; Marks, 2010). Breath is further articulated as an intersectional approach and decolonial practice of cinema, rooted in a radical poetics of liberation (Lorde 1978; Fanon, 1968). This argument explicated with examples of films included in the Cinema of Breath screening series, including Louise Bourque, Gariné Torossian, Ja’tovia Gary, Sky Hopinka, Peter Rose and others. The presentation concludes with a summary of Cinema of Breath as a new framework for cinema studies and its potential contribution to the broader larger humanities.
Kalpana Subramanian is an artist-filmmaker and doctoral candidate in Media Study at the University at Buffalo. Her research investigates the poetics of breath in film and media using a trans-cultural, interdisciplinary and practice-based framework of inquiry.Her films have been screened at several venues internationally and have received various awards. She has been a Fulbright Fellow at University of Colorado Boulder and is currently a Humanities Institute Fellow at the University at Buffalo. She also curates experimental film programs and is the founder of the transnational screening series Cinema of Breath that was recently presented as part of this symposium.
Yvan Tina: Artificial Media at the Risk of Primitivism and Brutalism
Drawing from two recent publications, Brutalism by Achille Mbembe and Media Primitivism by Delinda Collier, this paper explores the lines of witches drawn by these books about the historicity of the medium in Africa, the invention and appropriation of so-called ‘new media’ and the critical discourses that they produce as well as the imaginaries that they entail. Indeed, in this age of digital and biological revolutions, one is entitled to wonder about the uses of artificial media to engineer the living and a ‘living art’ in a context where social, political and economic issues are paramount - not to mention the aesthetic and ethical challenges that they unfold. This question is all the more acute when the reception of certain works resembles the “nexus of knowledge-power” once described by Michel Foucault in his writings. From then on, it would be a question of understanding how the notion of ‘governmentality’ applies to NBICs especially on a continent already marked by all forms of exploitation which was robbed of its history by slavery and colonization? What imaginaries can be deployed in light of the processes of brutalization and fetichism that are taking place in Africa and on the global stage? What could be their implications for cultural policy and for representation as a whole? Here are some of the issues at stake that this proposal seeks to address.
Yvan Tina is an educator, researcher and cultural activist working on the fields of technosciences, performance arts and cultural mediation. He served as creative director for Creative Disturbance, an international, multilingual network and podcast platform supporting collaboration among the arts, sciences, and new technologies communities. As artistic director of Virtual Africa, he develops publishing and curation strategies to foster art-science-technology initiatives on the African continent and throughout the diasporas. Yvan Tina holds a PhD in Performing Arts from the University of Aix-Marseille and a PhD in Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication from the University of Texas at Dallas. He currently teaches at the Institute of Creativity and Innovation of the University for the Creative Arts and Xiamen University in China
Wolfgang Weileder: Seascapes and Trees. Artistic Explorations into the Intensity of Time and Flux of Space
The two practice-led Fine Art research projects explore the perceptual shifts that occur when space is rendered photographically in flux and constant change, rather than as a representation of a single moment in time. Referencing the works of Japanese artists Hiroshi Sugimoto and Hasegawa Tohaku, both projects investigate the relationship between time and space and how this can be depicted with a new digital recording technique, developed especially for the project. In his Seascape series the contemporary Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto depicts the line of the horizon between water and air, capturing moments that suggest eternal validity. In contrast to this series, my Seascapes focus on the intensity of time and how it can be amplified by creating a pictorial space that is entirely made up of the changes that occur over time. This is further explored in the Trees series, which draws on the minimalist aesthetics of the ink paintings of 16th Century Japanese artist Hasegawa Tohaku and his use of empty space. The empty space in the image is as important, if not more important, as the painted mark. Re-interpreting the aesthetics of his Pine Trees screens, this photographic series records the removal of trees presenting the entire cutting process in one final image.
Wolfgang Weileder is an artist whose practice is primarily concerned with the examination and critical deconstruction of architecture, public spaces and the interactions we have with the urban environment. His works are investigations into the relationship between time and space, the interface between permanence and transience, and how these can be explored to question our understanding of the landscape, both built and natural. His work engages with the world through large-scale, temporary site-specific installation and sculpture; temporal recordings of spaces and environments through photography; film, performance and sound installation. Wolfgang Weileder is originally from Munich, Germany. He moved to the UK in 2000 and is currently Professor in Contemporary Sculpture at Newcastle University.
Eldon Yellowhorn: The Stories We Tell: Re-visiting Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians
Clark Wissler and David Duvall published their treatise on Blackfoot mythology in 1908 and since then many researchers have cited this work stating questions related to anthropological discourse and the symbolism carried in old stories. Common to all the literature published from these examinations is the central notion that mythology is not history. Moreover, few of those voices were Blackfoot and none took the stories as evidence of lived experience. However, in revisiting the work of Wissler and Duvall as a Blackfoot archaeologist I have determined that mythology is history. I can also work beyond the phrase ‘time immemorial’ and consider the antiquity of some stories by employing the methods of archaeology. I can suggest calendar dates that relate when these oral narratives entered the mental library of Blackfoot storytellers.
Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn is from the Piikani Nation. He is a full professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies (formerly First Nations Studies) at Simon Fraser University. He established the Department on the Burnaby campus in 2012 and was Chair until 2017. He is a long-time member of the Canadian Archaeological Association and served on its executive committee as President (2010–12). Dr. Yellowhorn is a native speaker of Blackfoot and has worked on preserving the language using modern media such as animation and videography. His current research involves new media such as artificial intelligence and robotics to advance the goal of revitalizing the Blackfoot language.