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. These seminars are open to the public.


Covid-19, Risky Bodies, and the “Perfectly Governed City”

Date: 30 July 2021
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Laura Glitsos

In recent research, I have questioned the production of the discursive construction of ‘risky bodies’ via the rapid absorption of state directives into the home (two-person rule) and into the body (social distancing and notions of face-touching, for example). I argue that these directives have set a precedent for a new standard of state boundary-crossing that should be monitored by cultural studies academics with prejudice.

To do this, I deploy Foucault’s framework of the perfectly governed city, which he used to explain the ways in which state power can leverage health crises in order to implement a shift in control paradigms. He said of 17th century France that we saw the:

“The plague-stricken town traversed throughout with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; the town immobilised by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in a distinct way over all individual bodies – this is the utopia of the perfectly governed city” (Foucault, 1977, p. 198).

Similarly, I would suggest our duty as academics, even citizens, is to bear witness to the creeping surveillance state unfolding in the rhetoric of public health and ‘risky bodies’.

Dr Laura Glitsos is a Lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley. Her work traverses popular culture, popular music, gender studies, and most recently, the exploration of bodies and technologies that reshape our relationships to power.

Making Madness and Machines

Date: 6 August 2021
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Matt Gingold

Are artists always tortured? Scientists always mad? Do machines have souls? And how do we negotiate living with, through or against them?

Matt Gingold is a collaborative and experimental artist with a fuzzy practice that weaves together performance, audiovisual design, interactivity and machine learning. He is currently researching the role of creative production in transdisciplinary practice, and the borders of “mental health” in the context of disability and creativity.

This seminar is an open invitation to discuss ways of transforming and (re)conceptualizing creative practice in light of critical histories of science and technology, including the ethics of artificial intelligence, (non)human biomedical research and pathologies of "madness".

With excursions through the life of Joseph Fourier, magic numbers, AI datasets and the taxonomy of organs without bodies, Matt will give an overview of his previous works and present some recent ideas and future experiments.

Gingold’s mentorship with Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr is generously supported by the Australia Councils’ Artists with Disabilities Mentorship Initiative, SymbioticA and the Nicholas Building Association.