Audrey Bester
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April 2014

1. SymbioticA
2. Opportunities
3. Conferences, Talks & Symposiums
4. Exhibitions, Theatre & Events
5. Soapbox
6. Stuff We Like

1.a SymbioticA related activities

Dinner’s Ready, Aalto Course
4 April to 30 May 2014
Aalto University Finland
The Dinner’s ready! program is a series of open lectures, discussion events, visits, hands-on workshops and a final event, where agents with art, science and/or gastronomy background set the table using their different competencies and viewpoints. The ethics, aesthetics, ecology, gastronomy, arts, technologies and economies related with food and it´s production, consumption and conservation are frequent topics for everyday debate.
Dinner's Ready features the ArtMeatFlesh Cooking Show on the 10th May hosted by artists Oron Catts, Zack Denfeld & Cat Kramer together with author Laura Gustafsson and agroecology and environmental sustainability specialist Professor Sirpa Kurppa.

Life, in Theory
The 8th Meeting of the European Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
June 3-6, 2014 Turin, Italy
The VIII European Meeting of the Society for the Study of Literature, Science, and the Arts aims to continue the conversation between science and the humanities on the implications for our projected futures of the manipulation, administration, and governance of life forms. The concept of life today no longer provides sufficient ontological ground to distinguish among different forms of life and to guide ethical, political, legal, or medical actions. Thus, a discussion across disciplinary forms of knowledge and theories of life, and the practices they authorize, is literally to confront issues of life and death. SymbioticA's Academic coordindator Ionat Zurr will be speaking at this year's meeting.

Nerves in Patterns on a Screen

Devon Ward
Opening Friday 11 July 2014 6:00pm
Paper Mountain Gallery, Perth Western Australia

Nerves in Patterns on a Screen is a speculative exhibition by Devon Ward that investigates the levels of care and control that humans maintain over microscopic life in order to generate knowledge. Traditionally a hierarchical order is maintained during laboratory experiments, whereby someone observes and something is observed. This project explores how biological technologies that digitally record the activities of life can be reframed as a means of destabilizing this order. Instead of extending of our perceptual boundaries, the limits of the observational tools are shown.

Living neural tissue is employed as both medium and agent in this project. Digital animations are choreographed and corrupted by the electrical signals of neurons as our technological gaze is disrupted by the agency of life. A collection of chapbooks accompanies the digital, featuring typographic collages and biodigital poetries that cut up the rules of language. These works ruminate on the imposition of symbolism on both digital and biological life, creating a biosemiotic exchange in which an electrical impulses are imbued with meaning.

Nerves in Patterns on a Screen is the culmination of Devon’s research while pursuing a Master of Biological Art with SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. During this research, he engaged with scientific laboratory practices, drawing inspiration from the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic experiences when working with wet biology. The outcome, Nerves in Patterns on a Screen, explores the digitization of life processes and the materiality of the digital.

1.b SymbioticA Friday seminar series

Evolution of Human Communities: A Primatologist’s Perspective

Date: 11 April 2014
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Cyril Grueter

One of the universal features of human sociality is the fact that our social networks are highly integrated: human societies exhibit several nested social layers including families, bands and communities. Several factors have been identified as creating disincentives for hostile intergroup relations, including economic interdependence, intermarriage and cooperative defence against external adversaries. I will explore the emergence of amicable relations between human communities and identify precursors in non-human primate societies.

Cyril Grueter completed his PhD degree in biological anthropology in 2009 at the University of Zurich/Switzerland, which was supervised by Prof. Carel van Schaik. Grueter research was aimed at understanding the evolutionary determinants of multilevel societies in primates and included 20 months of observations on wild snub-nosed monkeys in China, complemented with comparative cross-species analyses. Subsequently he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig/Germany and conducted a field study on the feeding ecology and feeding competition in mountain gorillas in Rwanda between 2009 and 2010 in collaboration with the Karisoke Research Center. In 2012, Grueter took up an Assistant Professor position at the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology at The University of Western Australia.

Please note SymbioticA will not host seminars on the 18th and 25th of April.

For more information on SymbioticA's seminar series visit:

1.c SymbioticA residents

Soichiro Mihara
Nov 2013 to August 2014

For more info:

2a. Opportunities: Employment, Education, Funding & Prizes

2014 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards
Young Tall Poppy Science Award Nominations are now open and accepted from all fields of science and technology and are made in all states and territories.
Nominations close at midnight AEST 27th April 2014.

Meeting Place: Practice Performed Across Disciplines
Northumbria University UK/BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Commencing: 7 October 2014
The proposed project will investigate, through practice-based research, the reciprocal relationship between the life sciences/medicine and contemporary visual/performing arts as it is constructed, perceived, negotiated or performed at the nexus of physical and conceptual human bodies. At the heart of the project will be innovative forms of interdisciplinary (possibly collaborative) research, where the body in its’ real or imagined state - from cell sample to living patient or cadaver - is the central focus. The project will negotiate the creative possibilities of the intersection between activities and persons in different fields. Practice-based research, which utilises the participatory, interactive approach theorised, as ‘relational aesthetics’ by Bourriaud may be most relevant here, though no particular media is prescribed.
Deadline for applications: 14 April 2014

2b. Opportunities: Call for Papers & Proposals

The Sixth International Conference on Science in Society
UBC Robson Square, Vancouver, Canada, 10 - 11 October 2014
This annual event seeks to create an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of the past, present, and future of the sciences. Contributions range from broad theoretical, philosophical, and policy explorations, to detailed case studies of particular intellectual and practical activities at the intersection of science and society.
Due: 15 April 2014

The programme of experimentation in art and politics (SPEAP), founded in 2010 at Sciences Po Paris is driven by key notions of experimentation, inquiry and representation with a view to the creation of new operational procedures, which combine the social sciences, art and politics. This implies the renewal of existing formats that serve to define 'public affaires', from which the term 'art politics' rather than 'political science' emerges. SPEAP intends to interrogate the issues surrounding 'public affaires' by putting in place an experimental space, taking inspiration from pragmatist philosophy, sociology, the history of science, as well as the history of art. The originality of the course is the way in which it has participants work for one year in groups on practical projects relating to real issues.
Deadline: 25 April 2014

FLUID: 28th Annual Conference for the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
October 9-12, 2014
Dallas, Texas
The concept of fluid in the arts, sciences, and humanities evokes multiple, overlapping definitions that work across and around the edges of disciplinary boundaries.  Fluid can describe the property of flow, particles that move freely among themselves and that form and deform under pressure.  It can refer to liquids both bodily and cultural, for example, blood and capital. It evokes anything that is not solid, fixed, or stable.
Abstracts due: April 30 2014

5th New Materialist Conference
25-26 Sept 2014 Barcelona
The theory of new materialism is traversing many disciplines of knowledge: from quantum physics to art theory. This allows a search for a common ground for interdisciplinary studies. In addition, these theoretical approaches are proving themselves as a suitable “ethic-onto-epistemological” framework (Barad, 2007) that permits the examination of social phenomena from multidimensional perspectives, alongside offering new ways to theorize and challenge the divisions between matter and discourse, nature and culture, etc. However, the methodological parameters of these approaches remain underdeveloped and somewhat unclear especially when related to feminist theories and politics. New materialism has been coined as a “third wave feminist epistemology” (van der Tuin, 2009) in the present globalized information society, and it is because of this that a profound reassessment of some of the core research concepts is needed if these ways of theorizing want to configure themselves as an alternative to social constructivist approaches specifically in the context of digital cultures and political engagement. To these methodological concerns, we have included ‘gender’, ‘politics’ and ‘the digital’ because of their centrality in scholarly debates produced in feminist journals and scholarship. The terms also remain key for contemporary feminist practice. Can we still consider gender as a key concept for feminist politics? How is social change conceived of and produced within a new materialist framework? How is digital inter-connectedness  affecting/affected by new materialisms, and most importantly different forms of life?
Abstracts due: 1st May 2014

The 6th Conference of the Beyond Humanism Conference Series: Posthuman Politics
Mytilini 25-28 September 2014, University of the Aegean
What does the notion of “posthuman politics” entail? How would world politics, in global, local, environmental and personal/bodily scales, benefit from a posthumanist approach? We would like to explore the notion of relationality and connectivity among spaces and times for a new definition of posthuman politics based on non-dualistic practices that calls into question the dominant rationalistic, humanistic tradition. We would also like to explore the current state-of-things, opening up the discussion to the consequences of contemporary military practices such as the use of drones or ubiquitous surveillance, as well as contemporary economic practices and the conditions of current global capitalism. How has what Donna Haraway called Cyborg Politics, over 25 years ago, evolved in the meantime? Has post-cold-war philosophy and political economy led societies away from the norm of equality as much as from the appreciation of difference? Is posthumanism the philosophy of a new economy that has overcome modern capitalism? Does transhumanism lead to a new phase of neoliberal economics, or can it open up new fields of political ecology and relationality?
E-mail for abstract submission:
Deadline for abstract submission: 1st May 2014

Topologies of Sexual Difference
Luce Irigaray Circle Conference, Melbourne, Australia
Wednesday 10 December to Friday 12 December 2014
The Communication, Politics and Culture Research Centre at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, with the support of the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, will host an interdisciplinary conference inspired by Luce Irigaray and her thinking of sexual difference. This will be the seventh meeting of the Luce Irigaray Circle. The overall theme for the conference will be Topologies of Sexual Difference. In order to think and to experience sexual difference, Irigaray suggests that the Western tradition's conception of space and time could be reconsidered. There are at least three senses of topologies we seek to address: as the places in which bodies are and become, as ideal spaces of conceptualization, and as the designation of specific contexts. These contexts include, but are not limited to sexuality, “race”/ethnicity, gender, class, posthumanism and the animal, new materialisms, and sovereignty.
Abstracts Due: 31st May 2014

Critical Approaches to Arts-based Research
Special Edition of UNESCO Observatory Refereed e-journal
Arts based research and its proponents have come a long way in the past few years.  Whether framed as arts-informed practices, practice-led research or applied research, it is certainly interesting times for those working at the nexus of arts, research and scholarly thought.  There has been an unprecedented proliferation of discourses and approaches and we are continuing to move away from a defence of arts based research and its ‘validity’ and toward a celebration of this proliferation of diverse ways of knowing and doing. This ‘coming of age’ of (what we here call) ABR opens new possibilities for critically theorising and epistemologically interrogating deeper understandings of its works and workings.
Full paper submissions due 2 June 2014

Evental Aesthetics
We welcome both full-length articles (4,000-10,000 words) and Collisions (1,000-2,500 words). Collisions are brief responses to aesthetic experiences that raise philosophical questions, pointing the way towards suggestive discussions rather than necessarily arguing for particular answers.
Deadlines:30 June, 30 September 2014

3. Conferences, Talks, Workshops and Symposiums

WORKSHOP: Curie’s Children [glow boys, radon daughters]
An investigation of radioactivity in the context of art, physics and activism” originating from the Case Pyhäjoki project.
When/Where: 2nd-5th of June 2014, Helsinki, Finland (exact place TBC)
Guides: Erich Berger and Martin Howse
Guests: Mari Keski Korsu, Andrew Paterson, and others Application deadline: send your application including CV and motivation until 18.4.2014 to Participation fee for coffee and radiation detector: 20€

The Anthroposcene Workshop
Artists and Writers in Critical Dialogue with Nature and Ecosystems
June 17-18 2014
Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University
An in-studio conversation with artists and writers who attend to changes in the environment in their work.
This workshop considers perceptions, values and representations of human relationships with natural systems. The sessions will involve looking, listening, walking and talking with colleagues, and everyone presenting an example of their artwork or writing that imagines new relationships with nature, landscapes, seascapes and ecosystems, or creative response to biodiversity loss and climate change. We expect a mix of tradition and experimentation, new media and old media, narrative, lyricism and poetry.
We assemble to consider how the arts reset perception with experiences that challenge values; with potential to reconfigure feelings of moral responsibility for the environment. We will consider the import and difference between sympathetic and empathic approaches to non-human relationships. Closing with discussion about how the arts contribute to a cultural discourse about aesthetic virtues and the evolution of freedom.
Apply by 14 April 2014

Environmental Humanities Conference: Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions
Dates: 19-21 June 2014
Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra
The Fifth Biennial Conference of The Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture, Australia and New Zealand (ASLEC-ANZ) – and an Environmental Humanities collaboratory with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and Minding Animals International. Perceptions, values and representations of our relationship with the physical environment have been read anew in the Anthropocene century through the lens of ecocriticism and affect theory. At present we are witnessing a turn in ecocritical theory to the relevance of empathy, sympathy and concordance, and how these move across flora and fauna; yet ecocriticism has not thoroughly considered whether human and non-human affect are reducible to a theory of the emotions. This conference seeks to refine the turn while articulating the contemporary expansion of the analysis of the humanities.

Deep Listening: Art/Science
2nd Annual International Conference
on Deep Listening
July 10-12, 2014
Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)
at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy NY
This year's conference will conclude with the First Festival; Festival of Premiere Performances presenting new works and compositions centered around the practice of Deep Listening. These works will be presented as premieres.  Headliner performances include Deep Listening Band (Oliveros, Stuart Dempster and guests) and an Overnight Concert at RPI's CRAIVE Lab.

4. Exhibitions, Theatre & Events

Cynthia White
Evolving Memory
Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery (Fremantle, Western Australia)
Opens Friday, April 25th at 6:30pm (UPSTAIRS) show runs until May 11th.
An exploration of the nature of memory, Evolving Memory is a multimedia installation created by Cynthia White. It includes ceramic and video work which explores the expression of remembering, of how memories shift and change over time and how they can become more an example of the present rather than the past.

Bernie Lubell
Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?
Until June 7, 2014
Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street SF USA
Bernie Lubell’s new large-scale interactive wood installation monitors Intersection for the Arts’ building systems. The installation uses wood computers to slowly get nothing to happen as we work together in surveilling the “nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.”*  ”Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?” is adamantly low-tech, consisting of a complex system of gears, cranks, wheels, and pulleys that relies entirely on participant engagement to come to life.

Future Human
6-28th June 2014
11am-6pm daily
GV Art gallery, 49 Chiltern Street, W1U 6LY
Integrating art and science, Future Human plays with the possible, the probably and the implausible through a collection of interdisciplinary artworks, experiments and speculative designs. The exhibition invites you to image a future where humans have evolved to survive a dark earth; where disabilities are seen as abilities; where we create energy rather than consume it; and where the city is beyond recognition. All accompanied by an interdisciplinary programme of workshops and talks.

Pinar Yoldas: An Ecosystem of Excess
Until 4 May 2014
Schering Stiftung, Unter den Linden 32–34, 10117 Berlin
With An Ecosystem of Excess, the Turkish artist Pinar Yoldas creates a post-human ecosystem of speculative organisms and their imagined environment. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a garbage vortex made up of several million tons of plastic waste in the North Pacific about the size of Central Europe is Yoldas’ site of interest and the birthplace for species of excess.
According to the “primordial soup” theory, life on earth began four billion years ago in the oceans, when inorganic matter turned into organic molecules.
Today, the oceans have become a plastic soup. Seeing this as a site of exchange between organic and synthetic matter, of fusion between nature and culture, Pinar Yoldas asks what life forms would emerge from the primeval sludge of today’s oceans. Her answer: An Ecosystem of Excess – a new biological taxonomy of the species of excess!

DEAF 2014 Biennale
Festival: 21 - 25 May 2014
Exhibition: 21 May - 9 June 2014
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
DEAF serves as a public forum and meeting place for young creative talent as well as established professionals, scientists and business stakeholders whose work focuses on our contemporary technological culture. Originally started by V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media in the mid 1980s; DEAF continues as an independent entity since 2012.

An International Summit on Interdisciplinary Arts and Technology
November 27 - 30, 2014
The Banff Centre Canada
Convergence is an arts summit dedicated to exploring the ways that arts practices intersect with each other and with technology in a complex physical and social ecology. The summit will explore what happens when contemporary professional practices in all forms of music, visual and digital art, film, theatre, dance, literature, or interdisciplinary arts cross-pollinate with emerging production and dissemination technologies.

5. Soapbox

Upcoming SymbioticA resident WhiteFeather Hunter GofundMe site:

6. Stuff we like

Action Potential Lab:

The Living Form

Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers

Slime Mold/Computing

Gentle giants of the Cambrian

Lawrence English blog/news



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SymbioticA, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology
M309 University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway Crawley 6009 Western Australia Phone: +61 8 6488 7116