Friday Seminar Series

Subscribe button

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.

Controlling the Cyborg: Implantable Technology and Governmentality

Date: 20 July 2018
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Benn van den Ende, PhD Candidate, School of Social Sciences

Implantable technologies have been available, predominantly in medicine for many decades. From the first internal cardiac pacemaker in 1958, to the more recent intracranial devices for deep brain stimulation in patient's with Parkinson's disease, implantable medical devices have been and continue to be important in healthcare. However, recently there has been a growth in research and development of non-medical implantables, the most common among them being the implantable radio-frequency identification device (RFID). Certain companies in the US and Sweden, among others, have begun to offer their employees the option to have RFID chips implanted under their skin. This allows the employee to access locked areas, check in and out of the workplace, log on to computers, use office tools and equipment, such as photocopiers, and even purchase food at the cafeteria, all with the swipe of a hand.

Benn's research looks at the effects of these implantable devices on practices of, what Foucault called, governmentality. Benn's research addresses the question: How is governmentality, its practices and techniques, diminished, enhanced or otherwise altered, by the presence of these new technologies? Preliminary findings suggest that not only are pre-existing practices enhanced, but these implantable technologies also create new ways of visualising the body and the population. This is an ongoing PhD project and therefore, comments, feedback and ideas are most welcome.

Benn is currently a PhD candidate at UWA with interest in the following research areas: New technology, Governmentality, Biopolitics, Thanatopolitics, Critical Theory and Philosophy of Science and Technology.

Coral Nurseries' Attempts to Restore Reef Degradation

Date: 3 August 2018
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Dimity Magnus

With the temperature and acidity levels of the oceans fluctuating due to climate change, our reef systems aren’t having the best time. We also have the dreaded crown of thorns starfish going nuts nomming on all our squishy underwater alien dudes.

It’s all really sad and scary and everyone doesn’t like it but it’s hard enough to cover the basics of feeding, housing and keeping oneself mentally stable let alone trying to figure out how to solve global warming before the reefs die out. The world is going to shit anyways so what can one do except yell about it occasionally?

Well there’s a little team of folk in Cairns called Reef Restoration Foundation who have finally secured the permits to start the first coral gardening setup in Australia. Observing similar setups in the U.S and Thailand the group have mimicked formats and begun to try and test how to grow nurseries off the coast of Fitzroy Island which will be used to help repopulate damaged areas on the Great Barrier Reef.

I first became involved with RRF by finding a small page over the net with founder Gary’s mobile number and was greeted by his huge enthusiasm to have some help with his very small team. After getting up to speed on the project, I trained for my open water and advanced open water diver certification and headed over to Cairns to start cleaning algae off underwater poles with hanging coral babies! When I’m not over in Cairns I help with cataloguing here in Perth amongst my other intrigues. I will be sharing the ins and outs of the project and it's possibilities as well as showing images and footage from the Nursery expansion happening this July.

Dimity Magnus is a Perth based artist, musician, events producer, science enthusiast and electronics fondler with a deluxe obsession for coral polyps.