Friday Seminar Series

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The ethos of SymbioticA is that ideas are discussed and shared openly and the Friday Seminar Series is designed to allow an open forum to disseminate artistic, scientific, ethical and philosophical research and practice of resident researchers, visiting artists and scholars. Our Friday Seminar Series are held salon style, in our studio space and commence at 3:00pm on Fridays. All are welcome. 

If you have an idea for a SymbioticA seminar in 2017 get in touch:

Public Talk with Petros Vouris: The Daedalus Project

Date: 17 Feb 2017
Time: 3:00
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Petros Vouris

The theorist Mihu Iliescu wrote about 20th Century Greek composer Iannis Xenakis in his 2011 ‘Beyond the modern-postmodern cleavage’. He attributed Xenakis’ exceptionally unique and modern technological work as being due to his ability to sit ‘out-of-time’: A fascinating coincidence that Iliescu contributed to Xenakis’ ‘mythical thinking’. This kind of thinking is considered ‘trans-historical’, because it deals with phenomena through ‘archetypal morphologies’, cyclic ritual, or what Pythagoras called Ēkhōs – ideas in transit, repeating through eternity – an alternative concept to the mechanistic sequence of modernity and its linear ontology.

In the case of Xenakis and many other post 20th Century Hellenic artists (Jani Christou, Takis,) and non-Hellenic artists (Anselm Kiefer, Karlheinz Stockhausen), there is an ideology, inspired from the creative application of the ‘pre-modern’ ethos towards the synergetic connection between art, science and myth, long anticipating the evolving contemporary dialogue of art, science and phenomenology.

Such ideas have been the inspiration for a continuing multi-disciplinary initiative called Hellenic Ēkhōs. The first show, self titled as Hellenic Ēkhōs, was held as part of the Perth leg of the National Experimental Arts Festival (NEAF), hosted by SymbioticA and in collaboration with Tura’s Club Zho in 2015.

The second event currently undertaken by Hellenic Ēkhōs is The Daedalus Project – a modular multimedia art event, held across three art spaces in the Maylands cultural district. The exhibition will be comprised of new work by 8 internationally and nationally recognised Hellenic-Australian artists such as Stelarc, Ioannis Michaloudis (Darwin) Victoria Holessis (Melbourne), as well as local artists Chris Cobilis, Renee Doropoulos, Masonik, Steve Paraskos and Petros Vouris.

The theme of The Daedalus Project interweaves through a timeless concept, drawn from a symbiotic relationship between art, technology and science, which is often erroneously considered an exclusively modern concept. We also look into the cyclic nature of myth in its role in this relationship, while discovering that the body, and even identity, are used as memetic devices where such discourse is thought and fought over.

The name of the project itself comes from the myth of the first Greek sculpture and inventor Daedalus. Daedalus, who is better known for his invention of the robot like giant Talon and mechanical wings that came with the plight of his son Icarus. Daedalus is symbolic of the symbiotic nature of art and technology prevalent in the ethos of Greek myth and culture. The significance of such ideas to us ‘moderns’ is analogous to the current reignited relationship between art and science; therefore, an investigation into the past may also reveal some insights into our future.

Petros Vouris, is an artist that works with sound, vision, words and time. He has performed with KK Null, Ikue Mori and has collaborated with Scanner (UK). Vouris has also had his work exhibited at San Francisco Museum of Modern art and Perth Institute of contemporary art. His interest in Philosophy, archaeology and Hellenic art and myth, has collided with his passion with technology, art and science. Such a seemingly odd mixture has led Petros to his most recent work – a collaboration with Stelarc, the creation of The Daedalus Project and the Daedalus Reanimated Symposium.

The Limits of Congruence

Date: 24 Feb 2017
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Dr. Natasha Lushetich

How are perceptions of incongruence and disorder – dissipating structures, incompatible scales of magnitude, temporal misdirections, ‘transgressive’ mixing, toxicity, and contagion – construed through disciplinary protocols? How are they experienced somatically, or bio-socially? To what extent have the various mathematical, physical, meteorological and philosophical frameworks, such as undecidability, non-linear dynamics, autopoiesis, or posthuman performativity, re-calibrated the socio-semantics of perception?
This talk focuses on two sets of artistic practices that push the limits of congruence: the 1960-70s work with iterability (Brecht), with obsessive irruptions of sameness (Kusama), with faintness (Shiomi), and with scatology (McCarthy); and, the 2010s work with electro-biology (Davis), cross-species swarming (Shen), and bio-digital circuits of continually transforming matter (Yoo). By bringing naturalist concerns to bear on conceptual and/or social processes, complexity is articulated through the lenses of ludic ethology and existential refrains (Guatarri), a form of organisation that is simultaneously an investment of energy, a patterning, a practice, and a relation.

Dr. Natasha Lushetich is an artist and theorist. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Practices and Visual Studies at LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore, having previously lectured at the University of Exeter, UK. Among her recent publications are: Fluxus The Practice of Non-Duality (Rodopi 2014); On Game Structures, a special issue of Performance Research, co-edited with Mathias Fuchs (2016); and Interdisciplinary Performance Reformatting Reality (Palgrave 2016).

Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot

Date: 3 March 2017
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Jonathan W. Marshall

What does it mean to describe a pathological disorder of movement as “performance” and to describe it in theatrical terms? Dr Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-93)---a founding figure in the history of neurology (with whom Freud studied)---gave highly theatrical lectures on neuromotor illness, including hysteria (or hysterio-epilepsy as he called it). By seeing the acquisition of movement in theatrical terms, Charcot created a powerful tool for the analysis and teaching of neuromotor disease. But was it all “just performance”, an empty theatre of tremours and screams, and if it was, what did this mean? Marshall has explored this topic in his recent monograph Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot (Palgrave, 2016). In this seminar, Marshall will introduce the work of Charcot’s school and discuss how this concept of Charcot’s both supported and undermined his practice, leading him to alternatively be described as the conquering “Napolean of the neuroses” as well as a tawdry, Wagnerian “ham-actor”.

Jonathan W. Marshall is the postgraduate coordinator at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University. Trained as a historian, his interdisciplinary research ranges across the relationship between neurology and the arts, animals in art, photomedia, sound, butoh dance, Australian choreography, and other topics. Marshall is a contributing editor for the national arts magazine “RealTime Australia” .

Getting Air: Technology and the Levitating Body in Sports Media

Date: 17 March 2017
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Isla Hansen

Getting Air: Technology and the Levitating Body in Sports Media outlines a history of technological developments related to capturing the athletic human body in motion. The role of filmmakers, artists, and inventors through the 20th century in this continued culture of photographing, tracking, and capturing the levitating body, reveals these images as texts in which cultural fears and desires can be read  Theorists such as Marshall McLuhan, Judith Butler, and others serve to analyze and critique the ideology that drives technological progress in relation to the human body and compels the ongoing re-iteration and mass distribution of these bodies and images.

Isla Hansen is an artist working across New York and the Rust Belt to reinterpret and complicate the relationship between the human body and technological progress. Her solo and collaborative installations, systems, and performances have been exhibited at the Columbus Museum of Art, MOCA Cleveland, Industry CityGallery, the Parrish Art Museum, the Hammer Musem, Miller Gallery, and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Isla has been the recipient of the Daedalus Foundation MFA fellowship and a Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art at the Frontier Grant from the Studio for Creative Inquiry.  She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her BA from Columbia University. Currently, Isla teaches in both the department of Art and at the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design at the Ohio State University.