Date: 22 Nov 2018
Speaker: Laura Barendregt, Maastricht University
After spending three and a half months as a shadow with ulterior motives, I would like to take the chance to collectively reflect on my time and research at SymbioticA. The focus of my research has become the tension I witnessed between discourses of 'art as process' and 'art as object' and how they were manifested and enacted through the people, events and institutions I came in contact with over the last 3 months. After presenting my findings I'd like to open it up to a group discussion and feedback, and then mention a few projects I have begun thinking about for the future based on my time here.
Date: 28 September 2018
Location: Art Collective WA*** 565 Hay St Perth
Speaker: Sera Waters
Limb by Limb is an evolving textile-based installation by Sera Waters which explores how radical shifts in Australia’s ecology have occurred, hand by hand, limb by limb. Waters will create patterned woolly embroideries on-site which will be slowly added onto a seven metre long longstitched wallpaper. Together, the creations made by stitching, suturing, and re-constructing, suggest alternative historical narratives that embrace the entangled knottiness of shared pasts. Waters is the Art Collective WA's 2018 Artist in residence.
Sera Waters is a South Australian based artist, art writer and academic. She is a graduate of the South Australian School of Art (1997-2000), has a Master of Arts (Art History) from University of Adelaide (2004-06), and is currently a PhD candidate at University of South Australia. Since being awarded the Ruth Tuck Scholarship to study hand embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (UK) in 2006, Waters’ art practice has been characterised by a darkly stitched meticulousness. In particular she specialises in black work, and revels in repetitiveness, pattern and crafting. Her work is in the Cruthers collection of Women’s art, Ararat Regional Gallery and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Waters is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery.
Date: 31 August 2018
Speaker: Jessyca Hutchens
Since the 1990s, there has been a rapid proliferation of artist-in-residency programs, many of them offering ‘time and space’ for artists to develop and make work. This talk will look at ‘retreat’ type residencies – programs in ‘idyllic’ rural and remote locations that claim to be oriented primarily towards artistic development, purporting to provide relative autonomy. Increasingly these retreats are depicted as a chance for artists to withdraw from the accelerated pace of contemporary life and artistic labour, yet they are also often seen as part of peripatetic project to project style working.
This talk considers how these retreat residencies are imbedded within broader cultural trends which support some of their central values: notions of the rural that romanticise it as an ideal place for retreat from city life, a broader culture of ‘retreat tourism’, and popular theories that link practices of slowness, idleness, and solitude to elusive notions of creative autonomy. As well, it considers how residencies discursively address these topics, often directly critiquing these broader cultures of retreat. As the ‘artist in retreat’ is being used as something of a model figure, related to strategies for coping with modern life, how do residencies both rely on and interrogate this trope?
Jessyca Hutchens is currently undertaking a PhD in art history and theory at the Ruskin School of Art, The University of Oxford.
Date: 24 August 2018
Speaker: Leon Harris
To be human is to create and interact with tools and toys, knowledge systems and symbolism. We frequently look at the artifacts of the knowledge systems of other cultures such as the churingas of the central desert peoples and admire their beauty as art. Yet these are functional, and are used to encode sacred knowledge. Our objects are rich with possibilities, not only those their makers intended for them. They can in their own ways become portals to knowledge, in the hands of the amateur scientist.
We at the start of the 21st century are surrounded by objects that have both a daily usage and a hidden and parallel potential.
Op shops are filled with the relics of past years fashions, not just in clothes but in consumerism. They represent a vertical slice across time that lets us view one of the greatest of our societies abilities, the production of stuff. To the (self) initiated amateur scientist, worlds of possibilities exist in such places, and objects become a link between their intended daily use and a second chance as part of a home lab.
In this talk, I will briefly describe my hunts through such places for materials to make vacuum pumps, gas chromatography instruments and Geiger counters, before I delve in depth into my current project, which is to make a plant tissue culture lab available for schools and hobbyists.
A Perth lad, Leon Harris started out his professional life as a catch 'em and tag 'em biologist, before becoming fascinated with the biochemistry of an extremely iron-loaded fish. After an old-fashioned biochem-style PhD (it was finished when there was enough data to write up) that involved tissue culture, aquaculture, masses of most types of spectrophotometery, and trudging around south western creeks with a 400 volt electrofisher strapped to his back, he completed a 3 year post doc at the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the NIH. He come back home to WA to start a software business with his now wife, settled, had a family and built a house, in doing so acquiring some carpentry and building skills. The house still hasn't fallen down (so must be judged a success) and now sports a very useful workshop/shed, where many of his crazy ideas are built. Leon became qualified as a teacher 12 years ago, after a period of biochemical consultancy and industrial biochemistry (brewing), and now tortures the younger generation. He was a founding member of Perth DIYBio, a group of biohacking enthusiasts who occasionally meet at The Artifactory and communicate mostly by Facebook. His two great passions of electronics and biology overlap with his education work so much now that it is hard sometimes to tell them apart, and work and hobbies often seem to feed off each other. When he grows up, Leon wants to be an accountant.
Date: 17 August 2018
Speaker: Lachlan Howells, Honours Student, Curtin University
The online media genre ‘video live streaming’ has seen a recent rise in popularity both as a means of entertainment as well as a focus within academia, and with this rise new theories and terminology have begun to take shape, providing more sophisticated frameworks for analysis. Despite this there remains a lack of a comprehensive understanding regarding the form by which the genre operates and the communicative process that underpins it. In order to contribute to a more sophisticated understanding of the media genre and, in particular, the modes of communication distinct to the live video streaming format, I will bring into question the nature by which communities form around particular Twitch gaming channels and the function symbols, primarily in the form of jokes, have in bolstering communities and fostering user engagement. In order to explore this, I will draw on web memetic theory in order to form conclusions regarding the impact and appeal the live component of live video streaming has on the formation and subsequent spread of stories and jokes via memes online. By tracing the network by which these memes spread from Twitch to other websites, I will draw attention to the manner by which users engage with Twitch alongside other online platforms in order to supplement their participation with live-streaming communities. This leads me to the question at the centre of my thesis, where I ask how do Twitch users cohere across several online platforms, and what function might this cross platform engagement serve in the development of online communities?
Lachlan Howells is a researcher currently completing his Honours at Curtin University. He is interested in web communities, video gaming, web memetics and new technology.
Date: 3 August 2018
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.
Date: 20 July 2018
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.
Date: 6 July 2018
Speaker: Cristin Millett, Professor of Art, School of Visual Arts, and Embedded Faculty Researcher, Arts + Design Research Incubator, The Pennsylvania State University
What is the future of human reproduction? The capacity to conceive offspring is a basic human biological function, but how we go about reproduction is rapidly changing. Between Ectogenesis, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs), and CRISPR, recent scientific discoveries have radically expanded the available avenues we can pursue to spawn a child. As an artist, Cristin Millett creates sculptures and installations that prompt a contemporary cultural critique of societal issues surrounding reproduction and gender identity. A new direction in her artistic practice focuses on ectogenesis, the extracorporeal development of an embryo outside of the body in an artificial environment.
Millett’s investigations of medicine and its history are integral to her process. Her research and discourse take its genesis from her childhood. She grew up in a medical household where dinner conversations focused on the human body: its diseases, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments. In her family of scientists, the discussions continue to this day. Those exchanges, both past and current, have a profound effect on her work, a theme of visual semiotics that has endured throughout her art. She commenced study of the anatomical waxes of Clemente Susini and the anatomy theater at the University of Padua during her graduate studies at Arizona State University (M.F.A., 1996). Whereas most scholars respond to their research through writing, Millett, as a visual artist, expresses the results of her critical analysis by creating works of art.
Millett’s artwork has been widely exhibited, including at the Villa Strozzi in Florence, the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. She is an Embedded Faculty Researcher in the Arts + Design Research Incubator and a Professor of Art at the Pennsylvania State University.
Date: 29 June 2018
Speaker: Drew Thornton
The insects are a diverse, prolific, ecologically significant and often misrepresented group of animals. While some feature abundantly in art and culture, others remain unknown, misunderstood or maligned. So what exactly defines an "insect", and what makes them tick*?
Join SymbioticA Master's student Drew Thornton for an unconventional approach to insects and their creative behaviors — including six legged singers, dancers, sculptors, gardeners and architects. Learn about some obscure and charismatic "creepy crawlies", and the way they perceive and shape their own environments, then discuss the ways that we, as humans, respond to our chitinous relatives.
Drew is currently studying the Master's of Biological Arts, coming from backgrounds in both microbiology and visual arts. He is interested in ways that humans react emotionally, socially and ethically in encounters with non-human entities; this pursuit (and an enduring enthusiasm for creatures and critters) has led Drew to focus his studies on insects particularly.
*no, by the way, a tick is not an insect.
Date: 22 June 2018
Speakers: Tony Hughes-d’Aeth and Andrea Gaynor
In the Anthropocene, a paradox has opened up between science and knowledge. Namely, as science has become ever more capable at knowing the world, the impotence of this knowledge in preventing environmental catastrophe has also become ever clearer. For every environmental success—unleaded petrol, a ban on whaling, a ban on CFCs—there has been an unrelenting litany of intractable failures.
The premise of the Environmental Humanities is that because environmental problems are overwhelmingly anthropogenic, environmental solutions must be human solutions. At the heart of many of these issues is what Dori Laub calls, in the context of Holocaust Studies, a crisis of witnessing. That is, environmental catastrophe is unseeable inasmuch as it comes up against the horizons of human sense. The challenge for Environmental Humanities is turning scientific knowledges into actionable value systems.
In this discussion, Andrea Gaynor and Tony Hughes-d’Aeth talk about their vision for Environmental Humanities and how this is being, and might better be pursued, at UWA and beyond. In particular, they will share their ideas for an Enviro-Humanities Lab and how this might work. Equally, they are actively seeking input from those concerned with these issues and are particularly eager to hear from the members of SymbioticA about the challenges and rewards of working at the interface between science and creativity.
Andrea Gaynor is the Chair of the Discipline of History at UWA. Amongst her recent publications is her co-edited collection, Never Again: Reflections on Environmental Responsibility after Roe 8 (UWAP, 2017).
Tony Hughes-d’Aeth is the Chair of the Discipline of English and Cultural Studies at UWA. Last year he published Like Nothing on this Earth: A Literary History of the Wheatbelt (UWAP, 2017).
Date: 8 June 2018
Speaker: Dr Boris Oicherman, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota
Just as we should view art not as an accumulation of so-called art objects, but as a way of approaching knowledge, we should also view knowledge not as an accumulation of data, but as a flexible mechanism for reorganizing reality.
Luis Camnitzer, An Artist, a Leader, and a Dean Were on a Boat…
During three days in May 1970 an unusual event took place in Venice, CA. Robert Irwin, an artist known at the time as a minimalist painter, hosted a NASA-commissioned scientific symposium in his studio: The First National Symposium on Habitability of Environments.
The motivation for the symposium was set by changing needs in the space program at the end of the Moon landing era and the acute question it brought about: what would it take to construct an inhabitable environment for humans in outer space? Irwin, then an artist in residence with the NASA subcontractor Garrett Corporation, found scientists’ approach to this problem to be overly technocratic and lacking the perspective of the very human who would inhabit new environments. He believed that art, as a discipline dedicated to subjective experiences, was in the position to restore that perspective. Together with his collaborator, NASA program psychologist Edward Wortz, Irwin decided to turn a scientific symposium into an artwork crafted for a single purpose: to challenge NASA’s approach to habitability.
Frequently mentioned and routinely underexamined, The Symposium on Habitability provides an utterly unique case study for development of artistic agency. A radical hands-on attempt of an artist at challenging the dominant research discourse in the science of space travel, the significance of Irwin’s act is in proposing a new model of creative practice where the artist functions as a meta-scholar, temporarily attaching one’s art to other disciplines to create new insights. But what systems in arts support such a model of practice? More specifically, what are—or rather what should be—the institutional implications of this practice on art museums? Even more specifically: what operational, curatorial and financial practices should be in place in a university art museum that is interested in supporting artists in engaging head-first with social and academic discourses far removed from the arts?
Dr Boris Oicherman is the Cindy and Jay Ihlenfeld Curator for Creative Collaboration, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota.
In my practice-led thesis I approach socially engaged art as both a theorist and practitioner to understand how exchange is employed by artists to generate critique. The burgeoning genre of relational aesthetics has led to interest and confusion as to the intent and methods of social practice. Through a study of the literature and critical investigation of fellow artists’ methodologies, I examine how exchange functions as a model in social practice to generate participatory outcomes, and the ways that exchange fosters critique. Analysing how exchange is employed by artists in the forms of commodity, gift, confrontational and dialogical exchange, I consider the effects of their chosen methods, and adapt selected strategies for use in my own practice. In the course of this research I produced four socially engaged artworks, each framed to examine how exchange facilitates participation and creates opportunities for social, political, and institutional critique. The artworks were constructed in a series of residencies and institutional art spaces within Australia and examine a range of audience responses to social practice. The information gathered from my reflections, and from participants in debriefing and interviews, is used to illuminate the experience of the artworks and my methods. Reviewing the strategies adopted and their artistic outcomes, I examine how the experiences produced by these exchanges generate findings that expand and diverge from my prior knowledge of social practice and human relationships.
Elizabeth Pedler was born and raised in Perth, and attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours at the University of Western Australia. Her work has been shown at TarraWarra Museum of Art, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, The Jewish Museum of Australia, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Harvest Music Festival (Melbourne), Melbourne Fringe Festival and Gertrude Street Projection Festival. Elizabeth has held solo or two-person exhibitions at galleries in Perth, Melbourne and Launceston. In 2012 she was awarded an ArtStart grant from the Australia Council, and in 2015 was the recipient of a Young People and the Arts Fellowship from the Western Australian Government Department of Culture and the Arts. In 2014 Elizabeth returned to Perth, to undertake PhD (Art) studies at Curtin University, focussing on participatory art forms and audience engagement. Interested in the range of participation possible in art, Elizabeth's practice spans from playful and interactive installations to collaborative relational aesthetics. Exchange, food, and community involvement are areas of particular focus, and have led to significant artistic development in her recent arts practice, engaging with audiences through the sharing of experiences and storytelling. Elizabeth has been working with Janet Carter since 2015, and on the project Eat the City since 2016; sharing stories and knowledge relating to food through creative practice. Eat the City has been presented as part of Know thy Neighbour by International Art Space, Festival of Disrupted Ideas, Greenskills Sustainable Living Festival and Social Impact Festival, engaging with audiences and building awareness of food precarity.
The Paleo diet’s vast popularity, replete with impassioned celebrity endorsements and cult-like commitment among adherents, has been matched by an equal measure of media mockery and condemnation from health authorities. But beyond the hype, who are the people taking up the diet, and why are they drawn to its restrictive regime? Far from the dominant images of fit, tanned gym-junkies, my ethnographic research has found that the majority of Australian Paleo adherents are sufferers of lingering health issues. Rates of obesity and chronic illness have increased in tandem with neoliberal policies engendering precarious working conditions, an increase in polluted, toxic environments, and the unregulated sale of junk foods. Yet, the individual is consistently cast as responsible for their health and weight and is subject to stigma when unable to attain the healthy, slim ideal. Internalising such values, the ill and overweight seek redemption from their fleshly challenges, often turning to populist leaders who construct the Paleo Diet as oppositional to contemporary neoliberalism’s ills. Weight loss is, however, big business in Australia, and Paleo proponents have built alternative health empires on the back of anti-elite sentiments stemming from the perceived health crisis. Based on ethnographic research in Melbourne, Sydney and online, I argue that despite its oppositional self-styling, the Paleo diet’s market orientations, and focus on individual health in lieu of social reform, ensures it reproduces more than resists neoliberal values and practices.
Catie Gressier is a cultural anthropologist with a focus on settler societies in southern Africa and Australia. She has published widely on issues including racial and national identities, the anthropology of food (and meat in particular), and health and illness. Her first book At Home in the Okavango examines belonging and connections to land among the white citizens of northwest Botswana, while her second book Illness, Identity and Taboo among Australian Paleo Dieters explores the industrial food system and contemporary consumption practices via the Paleo diet. She is HDR Education Coordinator at the University of Notre Dame, an Editorial Board member of Anthropological Forum, and a committee member of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.
Date: 27 April 2018
Speaker: Francis Russell
The use of game logics in non-game contexts, or “gamification”, has been seized upon in contemporary mental health discourse as an exciting new means of offering treatment for mental illness. For many researchers, medical professionals, and politicians, the gamification of mental health treatment is a possibly innovative and efficient means to utilise various forms of play, in order to help combat the ever-growing global rates of mental illness. Such enthusiasm is part of a more general trend to look at games – or, more specifically, video games – as a model for reinvigorating depleted forms of citizenship and social reproduction. By gamifying our lives, so proponents of gamification discourse claim, we can produce a significantly healthier and happier world. Despite this optimism, critics of gamification point to the trend as an extension of neoliberal governance, warning that gamification only encourages the further quantification and control of life under metrics of utility, productivity, and competitiveness.
Accordingly, in this talk I will critically examine the politics of gamifying mental healthcare, and the broader question of the link between play and mental health. By engaging with the works of psychoanalysts and social-psychiatrists such as Donald W. Winnicott and Richard P. Bentall, and philosophers and critical theorists such as Jacques Derrida, David Golumbia, and Alexander Galloway, I will attempt to open up a space for considering the value of play and games for sufferers of mental illness, that is not confined to the strictures of neoliberal governance.
Francis Russell is the course-coordinator of the humanities honours program at Curtin University. He has a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from Curtin University, and researches the political and philosophical implications of mental illness, alongside conducting broader research into neoliberal culture. He has published in Deleuze Studies, Space and Culture, Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy and has articles in press with Cultural Studies Review and Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy.
Desire, not Dysfunction: Experiences of Interaction Between Trans Women's Sexuality and Use of Hormone Therapy
Date: 20 April 2018
Speaker: Shoshana Rosenberg
The common medical narrative surrounding transgender women's use of hormone therapy provides a stark perspective on their experiences of sexuality and intimacy. Current discourse dictates that oestrogen-based hormone therapy causes a physiological 'dysfunction' which leaves trans women largely incapable and/or undesiring of sex and intimacy. Motivated by contradicting personal experiences, and a healthy dose of biomedical cynicism, Shoshana Rosenberg directed her Master of Sexology research at exploring the actual lived, intimate experiences of trans women who use hormone therapy.
Following on from completing her Masters dissertation '“I Couldn’t Imagine My Life Without It”: Australian Trans Women’s Experiences of Sexuality, Intimacy, and Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy', and submitting an article of the same title to Gender & Society, Shoshana will discuss her findings, which significantly challenge the monolithic medical discourse of the chemically 'dysfunctionalised' trans woman. Instead, her participants expressed a broad range of feelings and experiences about transitioning, hormones, and sex which far exceed any narrow viewpoints on the subject.
Shoshana Rosenberg is a transgender researcher currently residing in Perth, Western Australia and teaching at Curtin University. Her academic interests include gender and sexual diversity, transgender health, Queer Theory, Jewish Studies and musicology.
Send Lawyers, Guns and Money1: Is Organised Crime (Yazuka) the Reason Japan Is the Safest Country in the World?
Date: 13 April 2018
Speaker: Kent Anderson, Professor of Law and Japanese Studies, The University of Western Australia
Japan is the safest country in the world (when measured by violent crime rates) and has the greatest success with managing crime (when measured by rates of recidivism). How has it achieved this?
This discussion will rely on the four paradigms of Japanese law (ie, Culturalism, Structuralism, Managerialism, and Rationalism) to try to resolve the question, paying particular attention to the role of Japanese organised crime (yakuza) within the seeming enigma of Japanese criminal justice. I conclude with the normative questions of whether the negative associations of organised crimes can be justify by associated positives, and whether the yakuza is a culturally unique structure that leaves no lessons for how other countries might seek to regulate organised crime and reproduce the safe society of Japan.
Professor Kent Anderson is an international lawyer who specialises in comparing Asian legal systems. He joined the University as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Community & Engagement) in 2014. He has an eclectic background, having completed tertiary studies in US, Japan, and the UK in Law, Politics, Economics and Asian Studies. He also worked as a marketing manager with a US regional airline in Alaska and as a commercial lawyer in Hawaii. Before joining UWA, Kent was Pro Vice Chancellor (International) at University of Adelaide and before that Dean of the then Faculty of Asian Studies at the Australian National University. He started his academic career as associate professor at Hokkaido University Law School in Japan. Kent is on the National Library of Australia Council, Ministerial Council for International Education, New Colombo Plan Advisory Board, Board of Canberra Grammar School, and a variety of academic and community boards including President of The Asian Studies Association of Australia.
 Warren Zevon, ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’, Excitable Boy (1978).
Prelude to the Teratoma: Before They Grow Teeth and Hair
Date: 6 April 2018
Speaker: Lyndsey Walsh
The teratoma is a monstrous figure amassed in the terrifying totality of its bodily forms. It is commonly characterized as a disfigurement of tissue arising in the formation of of tumor embedded with teeth and hair. For Lyndsey Walsh, the teratoma is a monster speaking to a greater discussion about the cellular body and its environment.
As part of her Masters of Biological Arts, Lyndsey Walsh invites you to join her for a discussion about her upcoming exhibition entitled “Return of the Teratoma: Back with More Teeth and Hair,” opening 4th May at the Moore Building in Fremantle. Her works enact to deconstruct ideas about monstrous form, the in vitro “body,” and the complex relationship between making and knowledge.
Lyndsey Walsh is an American artist and researcher. Her fascination with modes of making has guided her work through various disciplines and mediums. Lyndsey views modes of making as one of the main sources of creating knowledge about the world around us. Her practice involves not only experimenting with different materials as a way to investigate different types of knowledge systems, but also exploration of their accompanying ideologies and influential narratives.
Date: 16 March 2018
Speaker: Alana Lewis
In 2008, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, states that successful learners are ‘’creative, innovative and resourceful and are able to solve problems in ways that draw upon a range of learning areas and disciplines’’. Through polymathic principles, is it possible that we can re-develop old school educational pedagogy to challenge traditional methods of classroom teaching to incorporate transdisciplinary practice for 21st century learners? Is it time to create a new educational “ism” - Polymathicism.
As an artist, Alana Lewis is a jack of all trades, she uses an eclectic mix of conceptual and material practices. As an educator she is interested in developing creativity through transdisciplinary practice in secondary education. In 2017 she was awarded the NSW Premier’s Copyright Agency Creativity across the Curriculum Scholarship to research transdisciplinary practice through Science and Art.
Date: 9 March 2018
Speaker: Tarsh Bates
I explore the physical, emotional and political relationships between humans and Candida albicans (an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans). These relationships span immunology and ecology, sexuality (both human and microbial) and evolutionary biology, public health and body discipline, institutional frameworks and kinship. I examine the microbiopolitical implications of the recent revolution in our understanding of the human body as being at least half non-human. I combine scientific experimentation, art–making, evolutionary ecology and queer theory to posit the human body as a queer ecology and explore the sexuality, performativity and community of C. albicans within this ecology. This talk gives an overview of my previous practice-led research with the CandidaHomo ecology and introduces work currently in development. I ask the audience to consider the human body from the perspective of the microbe and as a complex, dynamic and sensual habitat.
Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher interested in the aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a queer ecology. She recently submitted her PhD in Biological Art and is currently a research associate at SymbioticA, UWA and The Seed Box, Linköping University. She has worked variously as a pizza delivery driver, a fruit and vegetable stacker, a toilet paper packer, a researcher in compost science and waste management, a honeybee ejaculator, an art gallery invigilator, a raspberry picker, a lecturer/tutor in art/science, art history, gender & technology, posthumanism, counter realism and popular culture, an editor, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.
Date: 2 March 2018
Speaker: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell
Pell presents her artistic role in Performing Astronautics across the three phases of spaceflight as: the Architect (building new forms of Absolute Space), the Astronaut (embodying all of Representational Space), and the Avatar (live(d) art of Spaces of Representation). By framing her experimental and emerging practice as nodes of transfer and transformation, she explores movement in the relative qualities of space and spatiality over spaceflight time. By aligning her work to the gravity-shift arc of spaceflight, the artist hopes to prepare an embodied toolkit for audiences to experience new phenomena including the moment of earthly release, the orbital perspective or overview effect, and space-earth adaptation and residual bodily memory as described by many astronauts. For this, she suggests we design for a body of water.
Dr. Sarah Jane Pell’s practice intersects performing arts, interactivity design, and underwater diving – with parallel interests in human spaceflight and habitat technologies. Interested placing the body in real and imagined spaces for encountering “new frontier worlds”, Pell plays with elements of speculative fiction, live-lab style stunt and daring to explore the visceral and bodily fascination in high-risk exploration. An Undersea Simulation Astronaut to Project Moonwalk EU, Astronaut Candidate Project PoSSUM US, and Mars Desert Research Station MDRS Crew 188, she is carving out new opportunities for the artist-astronaut. Her Edith Cowan University PhD proposing ‘Aquabatics as new works of live art’ received Best PhD Art & Science, MIT LABS. She has logged over 500 commercial dives in zero visibility imagining an artist-in-space experience, with spin-off projects connecting to NASA, JAXA, ESA and the EU Commission. She has joined residencies and workshops including events hosted by SymbioticA: the art & science laboratory, the Arts Catalyst, Live Art Surgery, UK, International Space University, Singularity University and European Space Agency Topical Team Arts & Science (CoChair 2011-2014). Her work is exhibited, performed and published widely. Notable venues include Ars Electronica, Robotronica, CHI, MOMA, BEAP, NRLA, ISEA, NGV, PICA, PIAF, AIAF, MIAF, TNAM, & ESTEC. Dr. Pell is a TED Fellow, Gifted Citizen, and an Australia Council Fellow.