The 10th International Somatechnics Conference
Byron Bay, NSW, Australia November 30 - December 3, 2016 1
F L O O R P L A N S Byron C o m mu n i ty C e nt r e , 6 9 J ons on S t
Byron Co mm u n i t y C olle g e , L e v e l 1 , 1 0 7 J on so n St
h ree s: Day T Abstract
Th an k
ay Tw o
ay On e
Ab str a
Ar two rks Abstr a
C O N T E N T S
W E L
C O M E We are delighted to welcome you to our ‘Technicity, Temporality, Embodiment’ conference! This conference is the tenth international conference on Somatechnics held since 2003, when the first, ‘Body Modification: Changing Bodies, Changing Selves’ was held at Macquarie University in Sydney, co-convened by Nikki Sullivan, Samantha Murray and Elizabeth Stephens. The Somatechnics research network grew out of this event. Recent conferences have been held in Linköping (2013), Otago (2014) and Tucson (2015). The term ‘somatechnics’ was coined in 2003, and was intended to provide a new critical framework through which to rethink the relationship between technologies and embodiment. As Nikki Sullivan argues in a recent issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly: ‘techné is not something we add or apply to the already constituted body (as object), nor is it a tool that the embodied self employs to its own ends. Rather, technés are the dynamic means in and through which corporealities are crafted’ (TSQ 1.1-2 2014). Our conference programme includes over 140 papers, presentations, performances and installations, with participants from the UK, USA, Canada, India, Singapore, and Europe. We have four keynote lectures and four spotlight sessions, featuring Susan Stryker, Valerie Traub, Catherine Driscoll, Suvendrini Perera, Vicki Kirby, Robert McRuer, Gail Weiss, Sharon Snyder, David Mitchell, Margrit Shildrick, and Anna Gibbs. In conjunction with the conference, we have also released a virtual issue of Australian Feminist Studies, featuring articles from our scholarly community on the theme of ‘Technicity, Temporality, Embodiment’ in the past 25 years: http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/bes/afs-technicity We hope you’ll enjoy our time together as much as we will!
Karin, Elizabeth & the Organising Team Byron Bay, December 2016 3
S C H E N o v em b er 3 0 1700 1800 1810 1830
Welcome reception Welcome address Introduction to program and workshops Poetry, art and entertainment
D e c em b er 1 0900 Welcome by the organisers 0910 Welcome to Country 0930 Keynote: S u v e n d r i n i P e r e r a , ‘See you in the funny pages: Penal sites, teletechnics, counter-artifactualities’ (chair: Karin Sellberg) 1100 Morning Tea 1100A Biotechnologies (chair: Nick Mattingly) Philip Armstrong, ‘“Little lamb, who made thee”: Ovine utopias’ Annie Potts, ‘Interspecies violence against female bodies (or, What do factory farms and feminist sex research have in common?)’ Tereza Hendl, ‘The somatechnics of autologous stem cell treatments’ 1100B Gender and Physical Cultures in Media and Space (chair: Erika Kerruish) Rebecca Olive & Valeria Varea, ‘Healthy, happy, active, strong: Progress selfies and the construction of women’s bodies’ Mair Underwood, ‘“U mad coz I’m stylin on u brah with my aesthetics?”: Embodiment and the performance of gender in the Zyzz fandom of recreational bodybuilders’ Candice Fields & Adele Pavlisis, ‘Beach body ready: bodily techniques and embodied technologies for feminist negotiations of body/image.’ 4
D U L E 1100C Sex, Subjects and Substance in a World of Becoming (chair: Kamillea Aghtan) Steven Angelides & J.R. Latham, ‘The sexual futures of trans children’ Bronwyn Wilson, ‘“Time spent wasting is not wasted time”: The queer temporalities of pro-anorexia’ Kate Seear, ‘Authenticity, temporality and legal enactments of the addicted subject’ 1100D Having Bad Sex with the Earth (chaired by panelists) Lindsay Kelley, ‘Extreme baking: Bad ecosex with common wheat’ Astrida Neimanis, ‘Residual waters (the morning after)’ Majidi Warda, ‘“I love you so much it makes me sick”: Fire textualities and fossil fuels’ 1100E Fashion, Design, Assemblages (chair: Marcia Nancy Flude) Hannah McCann, ‘Resisting identity, connecting bodies: Exploring the materiality of femininity’ Katve-Kaisa Konturi, ‘Cloth-bodies: Fashion, technicity, affect’ Sarah Elsie Baker, ‘Back to the future: Feminist speculative design and alternative pasts’ 1300 Lunch Theatre Video Screenings 1400A Trans Realities (chair: Karin Sellberg) Matthew Bruce Ingram, ‘Trans worldmaking practices on YouTube through gender timeline videos’ Benjamin Bolton, ‘Testosterone and trans masculinity: Reciprocally forming realities’ Akkadia Ford, ‘One year, three trans cinematic narratives: Duration, compression and extension of time in contemporary transgender cinema’ 5
1400B Non-Human Socialisation (chair: Nicholas Carah) Erika Kerruish, ‘Machinic gazes: the eyes of social robots and human corporeality’ Samantha Lindop, ‘Dea ex machina: Gynoid configurations in recent cinema’ Madeleine Boyd, ‘Multiple partial-perspectives: Human, horse and technicity’ 1400C Reproductive Technologies (chair: Andrea Josipovic) Nicola J Marks, ‘Embodied IVF in France – 1982–2016’ Jaya Keaney, ‘Making future kin: Likeness and future-time in donorassisted conception’ 1400D Encountering the (Non-)Human (chair: Peta Hinton) Christina Chau, ‘Framing destroyed human bodies in Thomas Hirschhorn’s Touching Reality’ Alexandra McEwan, ‘Symbolic violence and the animal protection field: reading Bourdieu through Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion’ Fiona McAllan, ‘Clive Hamilton’s anthroposcene and relational ontology’ 1400E Memory and Intra-action (chair: Ilona Hongisto) Marie-Louise Angerer, ‘Affective forces: The time of life and technology’ Paul Kirkham, ‘Debt and the temporalised body’ Nick Fox & Pam Alldred, ‘Memory, space/time mattering and the production of social life’ 1400F Workshop: Tarsh Bates, Performing spacetimematter 1530 Afternoon Tea 1600A Trans Narratives/Narratives of Trans (chair: Akkadia Ford) Natasha Seymour, ‘Reading bodies and articulating identities: Transgender and transsexual embodiment in theory’ Luara Karlson-Carp, ‘Questioning the ethics of sexual difference: Technophobia and transphobia in Luce Irigaray’ Jake Pyne, ‘Arresting Ashley X: Trans youth, puberty blockers and the engineering of the future’
1600B Social Media Bodies: Temporality, Orientation and Affect (chair: Rebecca Olive) Amy Shields Dobson, ‘Nightlife, affect and young women’s body images on social media: algorithms and ‘body-heat’ Matt Hart, ‘Digitally-mediated neo-tribes: Temporal bodies and ontological anchoring’ Akane Kanai, ‘Engendering a mind/body split: The instrumentalisation of gendered, raced and classed bodies on Tumblr’ 1600C Questioning Medical Somatechnics (chair: Elizabeth Stephens) Alison Moore, ‘Reading Foucault’s “Flesh” and “Work on the Self ” alongside McGilchrist’s Divided Brain in Consideration of Contemporary “Biohacking”’ Andrea Josipovic, ‘Historicing the hype: Child sexual abuse in early 20th century discourses’ Michelle Jamieson, ‘Between the sciences: Locating the object of psychosomatic medicine’ 1600D Representing Melancholia: Disembodiment and the Artificial Body (chair: Katve-Kaisa Kontturi) Harriette Richards, ‘A disembodied dance: The ghosts of fashion imagery’ Louise Fanning, ‘“How do I look?”: Sadness, sexuality and violence in the visual representation of cinematic AIs’ Alyssa Choat, ‘The body beneath: Disembodiment through symbolic inversion’ 1600E Time and Relationality (chair: Marie-Louise Angerer) Daniel Black, ‘Real time’ Daniela Cerqui, ‘Merging with Technology’ Laura Glitsos, ‘My iPod, myself: Grief and loss in the world of mobile touchscreen technology’ 1730 Keynote & Public Lecture: S u s a n S t r y k e r , ‘Breathe: Trans* Life at this Moment in History’ (chair: Elizabeth Stephens) 1900 Reception
D e c e m b er 2 0900
Spotlight Panel: Disability, Dislocations and Dissidence (chair: Elizabeth Stephens) Sharon Snyder & David Mitchell, ‘Memorialising disability: Contemplating low-level agency in non-normative citizenries’ Robert McRuer, ‘Cripistemology of the crisis: Desiring disability in an age of austerity’ Gail Weiss, ‘Doing time in a for-profit space: Re-negotiated identities in the prison industrial complex’ 1030 Morning Tea 1100A The Quantified Self (chair: Nikki Sullivan) Emily Cock, ‘Timing the body in John Floyer’s The Physician’s PulseWatch (1707)’ Christopher O’Neill, ‘The cultural techniques of medical haptic media, from the sphygmograph to photoplethysmography and the Apple Watch’ Thao Phan, ‘The politics of materiality and the gendered voice of Siri’ 1100B Virtually Queer (chair: Erika Kerruish) Jordan McArthur, ‘Sculpting in time: Bareback weblogs and crafting the everyday’ Carl Bonner-Thompson, ‘“No camp, no fem”: Masculinities, sexualities and embodiment across Grindr’ Shane Tas, ‘Heidegger on Grindr: Fragmentation, enframing and the persistence of nature-culture dichotomies in new technologies’ 1100C Chronologics (chair: Kamillea Aghtan) Cressida Heyes, ‘Addiction lite: Everyday anaesthetic time’ Brooke Kathleen MacArthur, ‘“You’re live!”: The conditioning and modulation of bodies in live television’ Ruth Barcan, ‘Paying dearly for privilege: Vocationalism and the body in academic life’ Holly Randell-Moon, ‘The somatechnics of digital infrastructure and citizenship in the Gigatown competition in the South Island’
1100D Biocreativity (chair: Elizabeth Stephens) Tarsh Bates, ‘The queer temporality of CandidaHomo biotechnocultures’ Jaden Hastings, ‘Xenopoiesis - acts of corporeal estrangement’ Svenja Kratz, ‘Emergent methodologies between disciplinary belongings’ Fiona Fell, ‘A view from the inside: Art scanning from a somatechnical perspective’ 1100E Embodied Time and New Materialism (chair: Peta Hinton) Monika Rogowska-Stangret, ‘Temporal cuts in the bodily encounters with zoe’ Ilona Hongisto, ‘Documentary, Time and Embodiment’ Michelle Royer, ‘Stars’ embodiment and the ageing process in cinema’ Tuula Juvonen, ‘Lesboratories, or On the productivity of material intraactions’ 1300 Lunch Video Screenings 1400 Keynote: V i c k i K i r b y , ‘New Materialism: A problem resolved or displaced?’ (chair: Peta Hinton) 1530 Afternoon Tea 1600A Disability and Time (chair: Rebecca Olive) Miranda Johnson, ‘Queer futures? Hacking gender through technology and collective making’ James Sheldon, ‘From no futures to the ship of fools: Building an alternative futurity for children and adults with disabilities’ Susannah French, ‘Access, resistance and “digital” bodies: The technical narratives as presented by autistic women’ Isabella Karpin & Karen O’Connell, ‘Social inequalities and the stressed body’
1600B Somatechnic Fictions (chair: Tomasz Sikora) Rajni Mujral, ‘Of vanishing bodies and embodied signs: Corporeality in the digital phase’ (Skype) Carolyn Lake, ‘Speaking through the body: Lesbian representation in Henry Richardson’s short fiction’ Wendy Gay Pearson, ‘“Alone and single-bodied”: Cyborg technicity, queer temporality and the possibilities of agender embodiment’ Susan Knabe, ‘“It’s the freakiest show”: Queerness, temporality and Life on Mars’ 1600C Being In and Out of Time (chair: Karin Sellberg) Emma Wilson & Jeremy Kane, ‘Universally alien: Xenofeminist politics and the future of the body’ Alex Edney-Browne, ‘The drone interface: Locating the “human” in digital war’ Holly Giblin, ‘The non-temporate tropical other: Women disrupting Western normative constructions of bodies, time and space in Cairns, Far North Queensland’ Rachael Gunn, ‘Breaking bodies: Deterritorialising (gendered) bodies through breakdancing’ 1600D Violence and Resistance (chair: Katariina Kyrölä) Honni van Rijswijk, ‘Suffering in Lars von Trier’s Dogville and the aesthetics of complicit witnessing’ Debra Ferreday, ‘“What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger”: The queer temporalities of survival as superpower in Marvel’s Jessica Jones’ Grace Sharkey, ‘The promise of queer pornography’ Madeleine Pettet, ‘What if we were all werewolves?: Combating the gender binary with claws, fangs and fur’ 1600E Somatechnic Subjectification (chair: Astrida Neimanis) Miranda Bruce, ‘The ontogenesis of somatechnics’ Nikki Rotas, ‘Wearable technologies and the co-composition of bodies’ Nancy Mauro-Flude, ‘A romantic mutiny in a maelstrom of data’ Alana Lentin, ‘The impact of antiracism apps on race, space and embodiment’ 1600F Workshop: Pam Alldred & Nick Fox, Space/time monism and the rematerialisation of sociology 10
Break Performances Vappu Jalonen, Noise-time Virginia Barratt, Eve Klein and AnA Wojak, de-tonation
D e cem b er 3 Spotlight Catherine Driscoll, ‘The trans girl: visibility, anxiety and reassurance’ (chair: Elizabeth Stephens) 0945 Spotlight Margrit Shildrick, ‘(Micro)chimerism, immunity and temporality: Rethinking the ecology of life’ (chair: Karin Sellberg) 1030 Morning Tea 1100A The darkening: Language lined with flesh lined with language (chair: Anna Gibbs) Quinn Eades, ‘The temporality of sound: Voice, testosterone, and transformation’ Virginia Barratt, ‘!panic! ictic vocalities’ Francesca Da Rimini, ‘Howl/Hurl: Resonances between the subjective inner states of infants and ecstatics’ 1100B Reflecting on Pedagogy (chair: Rebecca Olive) Vanessa Fredericks, ‘Somatechnics/mnemotechnics: Towards an embodied, ethical practice of reflection’ David Rousell, ‘Technicities of engagement: Diagramming noncompliant learning environments for Anthropocene times’ Briohny Walker, ‘Self-transformative ethics and the Free University movement’ John Ryan, ‘Skin and ink: Teaching English’ 1100C Theorising/Living Somatechnics (chair: Monika Rogowska-Stangret) Dennis Bruining, ‘Originary somatechnics’ Ben Nunquam, ‘Events and somatechnics’ Tomasz Sikora, ‘How to have a (queer) body?’ Susan Kozel, ‘Technologies of memory: A somatic approach to 3D archival technologies’ 0900
1100D Life/Death (chair: Karin Sellberg) Russell Smith, ‘The ghosts of vitalism in contemporary Frankenstein films’ Saartje Tack, ‘The logic of life: Thinking suicide somatechnologically’ Katarine Jaworski, ‘The timing of the body in suicide’ Peta Hinton & Xin Liu, ‘“Modern technology owes ecology an apology”, or Life’s suicidal Technē’ 1100E Imaging and Time (chair: Ilona Hongisto) Warwick Mules, ‘Photosense as the stilled image of time’ Jaqueline Felstead, ‘Loss in a simulated environment (and other works): The significance of newness, and error, in early photographic processes through Walter Benjamin and Kaya Silverman’ William Polson, ‘Queer relations: Towards autoethno[photo]graphy’ Rebecca Najdowski, ‘Photomedia: Earth, time, light’ 1300 Lunch Video Screenings 1400 Keynote: V a l e r i e T r au b , ‘Anatomy, cartography, and the prehistory of normality’ (chair: Peter Cryle) 1530 Afternoon Tea 1600A Science, Narrative and Inclusion (chair: Elizabeth Stephens) Nikki Sullivan & Corrine Ball, ‘Museological Somatechnics, or, pushing the limits of inclusion’ Maureen Burns, ‘Frontiers, weak objectivity and the Heroic Individual’ Jamie Milton Freestone, ‘Implied embodiment in popular evolutionary science texts’ 1600B Bodies and Transformation (chair: Erika Kerruish) Kataarina Kyrölä, ‘Affective indigeneity: Queering ecology and Sami authenticity in Sweden’s Got Talent’ Nicholas Carah, ‘Attunement: The work of tuning the bodily capacity to affect into calculative media’ Julie Vulcan, ‘Bodies of concern – temporary sites for transformation’ 1600C Early/modern Materiality (chair: Karin Sellberg) Simon Dumas Primbault, ‘Paper minds and their conservation research notebooks as prosthetic technologies in early modern Europe’ 12
Tully Barnett, ‘“A book dyed with the blood of the press”: The informational body and the fleshy text’ Paige Donaghy, ‘An unformed lump: Early Modern catheorisation of molar births’ 1600D The Creative Earth (chair: Marcia Nancy Flude) Steven Finch, ‘Technicity, temporality, embodiment’ (Skype) Hartmut Veit, ‘Temporal dissonance at the coalface’ Andrew Goodman, ‘Fragility, flux and the rewilding of art’ 1600E Art, Activism, Praxis (chair: Kim Donaldson) Tal Fitzpatrick, ‘Performing dissensus: Craftivism and the political moment’ Su Yang, ‘Feminist/feminine aesthetics: Representing women and cosmetic surgery’ Linda Voase and Denise Rall, ‘Contextualizing Neo-paganism elements within World of Warcraft’s screen culture: Artist as avatar creates Lilorean Lightwillow’ 1600F Workshop: Astrida Neimanis, Rebecca Giggs, Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Kate Wright & Tessa Zettel, ‘The Weathering Report’ 1730 Break 1745 Spotlight: Anna Gibbs, ‘Figuring: A relational mimetic’ (chair: Karin Sellberg) 1830 Break 1900 Final Night Party *TRANS-FORMATION* performance by AñA Wojak & Quinn de Rosa Pontello with guest appearance by Eve Klein
Video Works Trish Adams, Fractured Message, a space to cross Camille Auer, Monument for the Excluded Quinn de Rosa Pontello, Reaction to Landscape Anna Helme, MyMy Ali Russell and Monique Schafter, Trans Boys Ewan Duarte, Change Over Time 13
K E Y N S uv en d rin i Perera (Cu rti n Uni versi ty) ‘See you in the funny pages: Penal sites, teletechnics, counter-artifactualities’ Reflecting on the video recording of the beating of Rodney King in 1991, Derrida asserts, ‘technics will never produce a testimony’ (Echographies of Television 2002). In a context that includes the cell phone images captured by Black Lives Matter activists in the U.S and the CCTV footage from Australia’s Don Dale Detention Centre, I return to Derrida’s commentaries on a teletechnics characterized by artifactuality and actuvirtuality: ‘This virtuality … affects both the time and space of the image, of discourse, of “information,” in short, everything that refers us to this so-called actuality, to the implacable reality of its supposed present’ (6). Through a sequence of CCTV images as they are mediated and re-mediated among inmates, advocates, activists and artists, the paper considers relations of virtual and real, artifactuality and its counter, between the information of technics and the information of the witness.
Suvendrini Perera is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor and Research Professor of Cultural Studies at Curtin University, where she also serves as Deputy Director of the Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute. Her recent books include Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats and Bodies and Survival Media: The Politics and Poetics of Mobility and the War in Sri Lanka. She receives research funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She is the lead researcher on the transnational project, ‘Deathscapes, Mapping State Violence in Settler Societies’, also funded by the Australian Research Council. She is a co-founder of the collective Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites.
O T E S S us a n S tryker ( Uni versi ty of A ri zona ) ‘Breathe: Trans* Life at this Moment in History’ In this keynote address, trans historian and theoritician Susan Stryker explores the necessities and possibilities of trans* politics being inspired by, and conspiring with, movements for racial and economic justice. It conjoins attention to the phenomenology of the breath, the linking of action across material scales, the transversal relationality of oppressions rooted in racializing biopolitical assemblages, the vitality of dreaming, and critical methods drawn from living a transgender life.
Associate Professor Susan Stryker is the Director, Institute for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies, The University of Arizona. She is a multiple award-winning author, editor, and filmmaker whose credits include the Emmywinning documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, the massive, two-volume Transgender Studies Reader, the introductory textbook Transgender History, and popular nonfiction works. In 2014 she became founding co-editor of the new Duke University Press journal TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.
V ick i Kirb y ( Un i versi ty of N ew Sou th W a l e s ) ‘New Materialism: A Problem Resolved or Displaced?’ The interventionary importance of new materialist strategies is often explained as a corrective to the over-reach of the linguistic turn and an acknowledgement of the failures of constructionist arguments. A consequence of this freeing up has been a more robust engagement with the sciences, with plants, animals, climate change, geology and even physics. Not surprisingly, the critique of human exceptionalism is an inevitable corollary of this turning outward and away from what now appears as human solipsism. Does this seemingly more generous and inclusive vision, with its apparent liberation of analytical methodologies and research “objects,” effectively trump the insights and complexities of the linguistic turn in ways that exceed mere assertion? Where is the reference point that will anchor our evaluation? And should we care if we can’t find one?
Vicki Kirby is Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, UNSW. She is a prominent figure in new materialist debates and in recent attempts to review the work of Jacques Derrida through a more scientific lens. Books include (ed.) What If Culture Was Nature All Along? (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2017), Quantum Anthropologies: Life at Large (Duke 2011), Judith Butler: Live Theory (Continuum 2006) and Telling Flesh: the substance of the corporeal (Routledge (1997). She has articles forthcoming in Parallax, PhiloSophia, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, and a chapter in David Woods et al. eds., Eco-Deconstruction (Fordham UP).
V a le rie T raub (Uni versi ty of Mi c hi g a n ) ‘Anatomy, cartography, and the prehistory of normality’ My presentation argues that Western European representations of the human body on maps and in anatomy books in the 16th and 17th centuries offer a genealogy of the concept of the ‘normal’, one of the definitive modes of categorisation and disqualification in modernity. Through a detailed reading of anatomical illustrations and ornamented maps, I demonstrate that anatomy and cartography produced a shared graphic idiom of the human body dedicated to abstracting and plotting the body in space. They thereby contributed to certain cognitive habits that provided the epistemological wherewithal to begin to conceptualise the diversity of humankind by means of classification, comparison, and universalisation, and to apply this systematising habit of thought to populations across the globe. While the style of reasoning born of anatomy and cartography was produced within the ethnocentric parameters of Northwestern Europe, the taxonomies it promoted did not preemptively or straightforwardly abject cultural ‘others’ – although they would provide significant support to later developments of scientific racism. Rather, the convergence of anatomy and cartography participates in a paradigmatic shift in the evaluation of material and intellectual life, whereby a medieval style of reasoning governed by appeals to nature was absorbed into, and gradually superseded by, a modern reasoning based on norms.
Valerie Traub is the Adrienne Rich Distinguished University Professor and Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, where she served as Chair of the Women’s Studies Department from 2003 to 2009 and from 2014 to 2015. Working across the disciplines of literature and history, she is a specialist in the study of gender and sexuality in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. She is the author of three monographs: Thinking Sex with the Early Moderns (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015); The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England (University of Cambridge Press, 2002), and Desire & Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama (Routledge, 1992, reissued 2014). Both Thinking Sex and The Renaissance of Lesbianism won the best book award from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. 17
S P O T L
R o bert M cR uer, Gai l Wei ss and Sha r o n Sn yde r (G e o r ge Wa s hin gt o n Uni versi ty) Disability, Dislocations and Dissidence (Panel) ‘Cripistemology of the crisis: Desiring disability in an age of austerity’ Robert McRuer In 1990, the same year that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in the United States, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick wrote in Epistemology of the Closet that ‘many of the major nodes of thought and knowledge in twentiethcentury Western culture as a whole are structured – indeed, fractured – by a chronic, now endemic crisis of homo/heterosexual definition, indicatively male, dating from the end of the nineteenth century’. Spectres of disability of course already attend Sedgwick’s famous opening lines, given her metaphorical dependence on the fractured and the chronic. Yet the book as a whole often connects the crisis Sedgwick surveys to medical, scientific, and eugenic ways of knowing that were, less metaphorically, the dominant ways of knowing not only homosexuality but disability throughout the twentieth century. The ADA, however, is only one document of many in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries marking an interruption in the dominant politics of knowledge production around disability. State-based protections materialising disabled people as a minoritised and rights-bearing group emerged globally, and at a proliferating rate, at the turn of this century. Examples include not only the ADA in the U.S. (1990), but also Ley de integración social de las personas con discapacidad in Chile (1994), the Disability Discrimination Act in the UK (1995) and Ley de igualdad de oportunidades, no discriminación y accesibilidad universal [LIONDA] in Spain (2003). These and numerous other state documents participate in what Roderick Ferguson might term ‘the reorder of things’ in relation to disability: a neoliberal affirmation of disability-as-difference emerges (and is codified as official policy) to supplement dominant understandings of disability as lack, loss, or pathology. My presentation, however, theorises what happens to this reorder of things, to this production of knowledge around disability, in and through the post-2008 18
I G H T S
‘crisis’ and a global politics of austerity. ‘Cripistemology of the crisis’ argues that the emergent nodes of thought and knowledge about disability in twenty-first century Western culture as a whole are structured – indeed, fractured – by an acute crisis of capacity and debility, dating from the end of the twentieth century. And although integrally connected to Sedgwick’s epistemology of the closet in ways I will detail, this crisis is arguably, contra Sedgwick, indicatively female. Using Jasbir K. Puar’s recent theorisations of ‘capacity’ and ‘debility’, I examine crip embodiments and ways of knowing (cripistemologies) that have materialised in the face of austerity and in excess of the neoliberal state’s management or containment of ‘disability’. To fill out this embodied contestation over the state and disability, or the state of disability, I briefly survey a few key sites – including occupied squares or plazas in the US and Spain, student mobilisations in Chile, and anti-cuts activism in the UK – where dissident cripistemologies might be read. Robert McRuer is Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at The George Washington University. He has published or edited three books: Sex and Disability (co-edited with Anna Mollow, 2012); Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (2006); and The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities (1997). His article ‘Compulsory able-bodiedness and queer/disabled existence’ initially appeared Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (2002), and has been widely reprinted. He co-edited a special double issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, ‘Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies’ (2003) with Abby L. Wilkerson, and is co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, ‘Cripistemologies’ with Merri Lisa Johnson; he is completing a monograph tentatively titled Cripping Austerity.
‘Doing time in a for-profit space: Re-negotiated identities in the prison-industrial complex’ Gail Weiss In her 2006 book, Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self, Linda Martín Alcoff identifies two crucial components of individual identity that are often in 19
tension with one another, namely, the ‘public self ’, or the identity one presents to others and ‘lived subjectivity’, or an individual’s first-person understanding of herself from one moment to the next. Alcoff insists that both of these aspects of our identity are equally constitutive of the self; one cannot be prioritised over the other. Even though we have less control over our public selves than we might like since these latter are largely defined by others and by the existing social roles and material resources available within a given society, most people try to actively shape their public self in accordance with their personal (yet always socially and culturally mediated) understanding of who they are, who they have been, and who they want to be. This presentation will discuss the unique challenges faced by first-time prisoners who must reconcile their new public selves as convicted felons with their pre-carceral social identities, former identities that are not only invisible but also largely irrelevant in their new situation. I will also address the impact upon one’s lived subjectivity of dwelling within a rigidly confined, sexsegregated, highly technological, hierarchical, ableist, and homogeneous space and time where privacy is virtually non-existent and social interactions, restricted as they are, present both new possibilities for community but also new dangers. Gail Weiss is Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University and General Secretary of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle. She is the author of two monographs, Refiguring the Ordinary (2008) and Body Images: Embodiment as Intercorporeality (1999), and she has edited/co-edited four other volumes: Intertwinings: Interdisciplinary Encounters with Merleau-Ponty (2008), Feminist Interpretations of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (2006), Thinking the Limits of the Body (2003), and Perspectives on Embodiment: The Intersections of Nature and Culture (1999). Other co-edited projects include the Summer 2011 Special Issue of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (vol. 26.3) on ‘The Ethics of Embodiment’ and the Winter 2012 Hypatia Cluster Issue, ‘Contesting the Norms of Embodiment’ (vol. 27.2). She is currently completing a monograph on Merleau-Ponty and Simone de Beauvoir.
‘Memorialising disability: Contemplating low level agency in nonnormative citizenries’ David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder Disabled people abandoned by their families to life in an institution are always already viewed as incapacitated from participating in the key normative values of humanism such as sociality, productivity, and rationality. The problem of reconstructing their lives results from what we theorise as ‘low level agency’. Low level agency involves the analysis of the compromised pursuits of an abject, 20
devalued citizenry without access to the institutions that traditionally provide avenues for chronicling lives in the most unlivable circumstances. To date, most studies of the T4 program analyse their materials through the perspectives of the perpetrators (Robert Lifton’s The Nazi Doctors and Benno Mueller Hill’s Murderous Medicine provide immediate, influential examples). As such the perspectives of those who suffered under these ‘treatment regimes’ remain unavailable to researchers and, despite desires to the contrary, scholarship has been doomed to repeat the original evacuation of disabled subjectivities that resulted in their designation as ‘lives of unworthy of life’. How do we interrupt this propensity in the scholarship of the T4 program to duplicate dehumanising formulas they seek to expose? To take up a more active relation to this question, our research uses the responses of contemporary disabled people to imagine disability lives in the killing centres. In particular we have performed this qualitative research by leading multiple visits to T4 memorial sites with disability studies scholars and students. This paper uses an analysis of post-Holocaust contemporary memorialisation practices of medical mass murder currently operating in the US, Germany and Poland to examine ways of imagining the experiences of a ‘less agential’ population navigating ‘unworthy’ lives. This is not to say that there was not resistance or agency among disabled participants, but rather that we might come to a more layered and improvisatory understanding of those who experience ‘extreme subjection’ and ‘suffering’ by taking up the most radical promise of posthumanist memory studies (Weheliye, Abbas, Mitchell and Snyder). David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder are co-authors of Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (2006) and The Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment (2015). They are also the creators of three award-winning films about disability arts, history, and culture. Together they helped found the Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession at the Modern Languages Association and researched, wrote, and curated the Chicago Disability History Exhibit for ‘Bodies of Work: Disability Arts and Culture Festival’. They are now in the midst of writing a new book on the mass murder of disabled people during World War II and producing a new documentary film tentatively titled, Crematoria Waiting Room: Disability and the Holocaust. They are both on faculty at George Washington University.
C a t h erin e D riscol l (Uni versi ty of Syd n e y) ‘The trans girl: Visibility, anxiety, and reassurance’ This paper considers the challenges posed by contemporary discourses on trans identity, experience and embodiment for the field of girls studies. The growing literature on trans tends to be either socio-medical, and concerned with the management of human subjects, or politically media-oriented, and concerned with representing pre-defined trans subjects. But feminist approaches also need to consider the implications of defining trans girlhood by quantification, whether in socio-medical terms, by hormones and psychometrics, or in terms of such popular representational codes as ‘traditional gender roles’. Having insisted on the simultaneously social and embodied dimensions of girlhood, girls studies today must have something to say about the difference of trans girlhood, perhaps shaped by chemical blocking and/or application of hormones, or perhaps not. We should be just as interested in the girlhood of girls who become boys, or who become men later in life, as in those who embrace and thus strive to positively define girlhood for themselves. And we should also engage seriously with how older figures of girl-commodity-spectacle are continued in the visualisation of girlhood claimed or abandoned that centres contemporary representations of trans children and adolescents. These should not be easy adjustments to our understanding of girlhood, or we would not be taking them seriously. There should thus be room for disagreement and even for anxiety over what we make of the powerful accoutrements of femininity – like dolls and mirrors – by which trans girl credentials are proven in order to access biomedical and social support, especially for the young. Professor Catherine Driscoll is based in the Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her books include Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory (Columbia UP, 2002); Modernist Cultural Studies (2010); Teen Film: A Critical Introduction (2011); and The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience (2014). She is also co-editor of Gender, Media and Modernity in the Asia-Pacific (with Meaghan Morris, 2014), and Cultural Pedagogies and Human Conduct (with Megan Watkins and Greg Noble, 2015). 22
M a r grit S h ild rick (Li nköpi ng Uni vers i t y) ‘(Micro)chimerism, immunity and temporality: Towards an affirmative Bioethics’ The recent upsurge of interest in the co-articulation of biopolitical and bioethical entanglements underpin both a concern for the putatively temporal thresholds of human life and the very conception of a bounded humanity itself. Taking a step further, I want to suggest that micro(chimerism) as a very specific form of somatic multiplicity, read together with the contemporary rethinking of the concept of immunity, instantiates a fundamental disordering of linear temporality. And that in turn calls for a further reconceptualisation of conventional bioethics. I acknowledge the force of an existing postmodernist bioethics that has attended to the materiality and viscerality of the body and challenged the meaning of human being (Shildrick and Mykitiuk 2005), but, until recently, it has not addressed the bookends of life and death. Once the teleology of the life course is contested, however, death is no longer an insult to being, but merely one event constituting an ongoing vitalism. I propose an atemporal bioethics of coexistence rather than one of successive existence that is faced always with its own finitude. Margrit Shildrick is Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production at Linköping University, and Visiting Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Toronto. Her research covers postmodern feminist and cultural theory, bioethics, critical disability studies and body theory. Books include Leaky Bodies and Boundaries: Feminism, (Bio)ethics and Postmodernism (1997), Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self (2002) and Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Sexuality and Subjectivity (2009), as well as edited collections and many journal articles.
A n n a Gib b s ( W estern Sy dney Uni ve r si t y) ‘Figuring: A relational mimetic’ Between Arthur and Martha, the devil and the deep blue sea, the frying pan and the fire, a rock and a hard place, now and then, here and there – things happen not at the shaky poles but in the seething space of the in-between where difference endlessly multiplies itself as movement. This is the space in which writing compensates for nothing but composes something else, a space in which darkness has never meant lack, not a site of ‘straight talk’ but a situation of queer torque, a refractory form of diffraction, the muttering of mattering. Professor Anna Gibbs is based in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, and is a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre and the Digital Humanities Research Group. She has published widely across the fields of textual, media and cultural studies with a particular focus on affect theory, mimetic communication, corporeality and feminism. Other current research interests include new materialism, experimental and conceptual writing and e-poetry. Co-editor of three collections of contemporary Australian writing, she is also an experimental writer, collaborates with artists and performers, and curator of ‘(Un)coverings: art, writing and the book’ (Horus and Deloris Gallery, Pyrmont, 2009). She is a long-time practitioner and theorist of fictocriticism.
P A R T I E S The Somatechnics Conference features two party evenings – a welcome on November 30 and a closing night party on 3 December. Please join us for these two fantasic nights. N o v em b er 3 0 Wel c ome Party Proc e e di n gs Karin Sellberg & Elizabeth Stephens: Welcome address Introductions to Program Elements: Tarsh Bates: ‘Performing Spacetimematter’; Nick Fox & Pam Alldred: ‘Space/time Monism and the Rematerialisation of Sociology’; Astrida Neimanis, Rebecca Giggs, Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Kate Wright & Tessa Zettel: ‘The Wethering Report’; Katve-Kaisa Kontturi & Kim Donaldson: ‘Feminist Colour-IN’; Kamillea Aghtan: Somatechics 10 Art Poetry Readings: Shastra Deo: ‘The Agonist’; Anna Gibbs: ‘Dividuum and Details’ D e c e m b er 3 Cl osi ng Party Proc eedi n gs *TRANS-FORMATION* performance by AñA Wojak & Quinn de Rosa Pontello with guest appearance by Eve Klein Deconstructing normativity with a reflection on the pathologization of the transbody and its socio-medical definition. Trans identity is pathologized by the medical community/industry and dominant cultural narratives. It reinforce the diagnosis that to be transgender is simply a gender-related dysphoria for one’s body, a condition to be treated, when it can be argued that it is the heteronormative binary that is the disorder with gendered meanings, expectations, and associations attached to our bodies, particularly genitalia, as a defining factor. For in a binary world dictated by patriarchal forces ambiguity is transgression and seen as suspect, abject and threatening. For AñA Wojak’s biography, see page 39. For Quinn de Rosa Pontello’s biography, see page 35.
A R T A n n a Helm e (w ri ter & di rec tor) M yM y ( 2 0 1 4 ) V id eo , 1 4 m ins In a mythic cyberfeminist universe, a frustrated young man yearns for affinity and connection. In this age of digital avatars, he crafts a version of himself that is far more corporeal – by stitching together parts of himself to become his own cyborg twin, embracing the radical potential to create the self. However his new clone has been corrupted by a techno-magick virus. This Other self embodies a dangerous idea: that there are parts of ourselves beyond our control. This lo-fi sci-fi short film is an experimental hybrid of documentary, fiction and performance art. The story plays out in an affective cinematic mode, largely based on a lexicon of imagery and gesture. It features two transgender men, playing a very queer version of their own characters as they perform aspects of themselves onscreen. Throughout the film they are haunted by a chimera, a post-human personification of the desires, fears and possibilities that form who we might be in the future. The film features a compelling cast of Sydney queer artists and performers. Jackson Stacy is a sculpture and media artist whose work includes The Testosterdome commissioned for Nextwave 2014, Vincent Silk is a writer of poetic science fiction and a craft-maker. Justin Shoulder is an acclaimed performance artist, whose shows include “The River Eats” at Carriage Works in 2013. http://mymyfilm.com/
W O R K
Anna Helme is a filmmaker, video artist and media activist, based in Melbourne, Australia. Her short films include Continental Drift (2011, 15mins) (Melbourne International Film Festival 2012, Frameline 2012, SBS TV) and MyMy (Outfest LA, Frameline 2014). She has co-directed documentaries about indigenous cultural connection and rights to water (Cultural Flow, 2012) and fat activism (Aquaporko!, 2013). As a live audiovisual performance and video installation artist she has performed and exhibited in Australia and internationally. She is a cofounder of EngageMedia (www.engagemedia.org), a participatory media project focused on social-justice and environmental video from the Asia-Pacific. She has recently begun a PhD at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, where her artistic research is focused queer feminist filmmaking methodologies.
T r i sh Ad am s F r a ctured M essage V i d eo , 1 : 1 6 mi n a sp ace t o cross V i d eo , 3 : 5 8 mi n Fractured Message comprises an intentionally distorted soundtrack. It is intended to be difficult for you to understand, mirroring the isolation and comprehension issues experienced by the deaf, amongst others in society. Alongside the slippery, socio-cultural constructs of corporeality and embodiment that form a focus of this conference lie the destabilised paradigms and structural mutations emerging from contemporary biomedical research laboratories. For instance, recent developments in adult stem cell research are opening the door for bodily augmentation through modified organs and limbs which have been grown in the laboratory using adult stem cells extracted from our own bodies – in the field of hearing loss, these regenerative technologies are being used to culture stem cells in the laboratory in the hopes of creating new hair cells robust enough to implant in the human ear. Sci-fi fantasy films have taken these developments to more extreme levels that push the bounds of credibility but, in spite of this, they do serve to highlight the fact that we are entering a new phase with regard to definitions of the structure of our physical or ‘able-bodied’ selves when aspects of corporeality can be scientifically enhanced by discoveries made in a biomedical laboratory. Within this challenging and thought-provoking framework, my art/ science research has explored the notion of ‘humanness’ as a shifting biological construct for more than fifteen years. a space to cross includes documentary footage of aggressive honeybee behaviours collected during Adams residency with the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience group, Queensland Brain Institute. Contrary to their normally regulated and purposeful community behaviours, in this footage the aggressive honeybees exhibit apparently hectic desperation. The video thus evokes a sense of foreboding, unease and entrapment that reaches beyond its original context to invoke both socio-cultural issues related to urban stresses and the endangered status of the honeybee itself. http://trishadams.tv/
Through her research and artworks Trish poses questions about what it means to be human in the twenty-first century, and the ways in which our understanding of ourselves will be changed by contemporary biotechnical and ecological developments. This includes changing adult stem cells from her blood into beating cardiac cells in vitro (machina carnis) and experimenting in experiments on cognition and navigation strategies in the European Honeybee. A recent collaboration with a hearing specialist at the ‘Sensory Laboratory’ at RMIT’s Institute of Health Sciences, received an Australia Council for the Arts Artist’s with Disabilities Grant and resulted in her Disconnections artworks, informing Trish’s interest in both the physiological and emotional effects of deafness. 29
Cam ille Auer M on um en t f or the Exc l u ded (2016 ) V id eo This television has been donated to the Gender Identity Research Institute of Tampere to mark the site of ongoing marginalisation and exclusion of transgender people who do not fit the norm of gender binary or who are stigmatised as mentally ill or otherwise seen as â€˜unfitâ€™ to be full members of society. This television carries the memory of its predecessor, which was destroyed in an outburst of transgender rage after a particularly violent session of denying a human being of their basic rights for self-determination and health care. It stands here as a reminder: for them, we are worth less than this television. But we will get tired of being strangled with bureaucracy and pathologised with violent diagnoses. This is a monument for those who have been and will be denied recognition and health care. For those who have died because of it. For those who have suffered and keep suffering. And for those who keep making it and living their truths. We are everywhere and we are unstoppable. This television belongs to us. We paid for it, not only with our money but with our tears and anxiety in the face of absolute bureaucratic power. camille auer is an anarchist trans dyke bitch artist and writer. she works with sound, words, digital image and direct action. her subject matter is often the conflict between herself and state bureaucracy. camille auer has graduated from the masterâ€™s program for visual culture and contemporary art in aalto university, finland.
Monument for the Excluded Conceptualising the performative power of transgender rage ‘I live daily with the consequences of medicine’s definition of my identity as an emotional disorder. Through the filter of this official pathologisation, the sounds that come out of my mouth can be summarily dismissed as the confused ranting of a diseased mind.’ ‘Like the monster, the longer I live in these conditions, the more rage I harbor. Rage colors me as it presses in through the pores of my skin, soaking in until it becomes the blood that courses through my beating heart. It is a rage bred by the necessity of existing in external circumstances that work against my survival. But there is yet another rage within’ (Stryker, 1994) A broken television is at the beginning of this intervention into the medical realm of transgender bureaucracy. An intact television is where we start from, to find its transformation to brokenness, and its rebirth as another identical television in the exact same spot. For a person who wouldn’t know what happened in between, there would be just a continuous existence of a television without the disruption of it being broken and replaced. For the broken television, there is no future as a coherent whole, there is only destruction and disassemblage. But the illusion of the undisrupted existence of the television in the fourth floor waiting room 31
of building Z3 of Tampere University Central Hospital remains intact to anyone who hasn’t witnessed or heard of the happenings of february 11th 2015. A spontaneous act of outrage can be a powerful opposition to structural power and violence. It can destabilize the hierarchy of decision-making and give its perpetrator their subjectivity back. This is what happened to me when i was faced with the pathologisation of my identity. Long story short, i had subjected myself to the investigation of the transgender authorities of finland, namely the Gender Identity Research Institute (this is my english name for it, i don’t care what its official name is in english) at the Tampere University Central Hospital, one of two places in finland that have the legal right to administer gender affirming medical care for transgender individuals. I was already ordering hormones online and taking care of my transition like any good transgender person would, but in order to get legal recognition and your passport’s gender marker changed, you need to undergo the official process of crossdisciplinary research by a nurse, a social worker, a psychologist and a psychiatrist that can take from six months to a few years. Since being referred to them, i had waited for my first appointment for six months, then met a nurse twice in intervals of a couple months, then after a few months a social worker, another month or two till i met the psychologist, another month till i met her again, another two months till i met the psychiatrist and one more month till meeting her again and then a few months before my final meeting with all of them where my destiny would unfold to me. Through all this time i had no idea what was going to be their decision. And they make decisions about wether someone is transgender or not. They say it themselves: they have no way of knowing the gender experience of another person. So they concentrate on their patient’s psychological well being to determine wether the person is capable of going through the demanding process of medical gender affirmation. Needless to say, withholding information about the most important decision in a person’s life, a decision the person has no part in making, constitutes an act of psychological violence. Withholding medical care from a person who might die without it constitutes structural violence. Based on the Rorschach test i had taken in one of my meetings with the psychologist, she made the assumption that i had an unconscious sexual trauma. I hadn’t said anything that would suggest anything like that. She was directly trying to offer me a false memory. She said that i was sexually perverted, because i had seen a lot of vulvas in the inkblots. I told her that if you pour ink on paper and 32
fold the paper, you most likely get a shape that at least in some parts looks like a vulva, that it was purely technical. She insisted i was hyper sexual even after i told her i wasn’t interested in sex. On top of everything she said i probably have borderline personality disorder, a serious mental illness i later learned should only be diagnosed together with the patient when it helps the patient. For me, it made me paranoid. I started seeing everything i do as symptoms of the disorder rather than my own actions. I also had to go through the possibility of childhood sexual trauma, which seems extremely unlikely. So because of my alleged mental illness, i was denied recognition as a transgender person. And with that came the denial of legal recognition and public health care. I kicked in the flatscreen TV in the waiting room. They made me pay for it. A crowd funding was organised and it was payed for collectively. That’s the long story short. That’s not only my personal history, it’s also the history of many transgender people before and after me, who failed to present themselves as mentally and emotionally stable enough. Who failed to present them as trans enough in front of a jury consisting wholly of transphobic cisgender professionals that have the job of upholding the heterosexual matrix. Maybe they didn’t kick in a TV, but i’m sure they experienced the same frustration, rage and disappointment of being faced with absolute bureaucratic power that denies their existence. I was applauded for my act of spontaneous rebellion. Many transgender peers said they wished more people would vandalize the Institute. The western history of transgenderism is a history of exclusion, pathologisation, invisibility, ridicule, incarceration and violence. Continuing today. That is the history dealt to us from the outside, from the cisgender community, from the heteropatriarchal knowledge machine, the media, the education system, religion and plain old familial values. But that’s the history of how we’re seen, it is not a history of our own. We have our own history, and it’s a history of fierce resilience in front of what seems like an impossible adversary: the whole world. As Susan Stryker writes in My Words to Victor Frankenstein, we are at war with nature itself. Nevertheless, our existence and our identities are real. For the people whose TV i broke, it was only further proof of my mental disorder. For me, it was an act of reclaiming my subjectivity after being robbed of it. They 33
decided i didn’t deserve my identity, a decision that should have been mine to make, so i decided they didn’t deserve their TV. Even-steven, motherfuckers. Mentally ill women have been denied their subjectivity all through history. Transgender people have been denied their subjectivity. I took mine back in an act of vengeance. They claimed it was violent, but i say it was vandalism. You can only be violent toward animals, including humans. A year after the incidence i returned to the place to rename it. I saw the new television, slightly tilted to one side. Perhaps someone had tried to break it, or perhaps it was just poorly attached to the wall. I posted a sign next to the television, renaming it as Monument for the Excluded. A week later i receive a phone call from the Institute. It’s the psychiatrist i had to see there. She is sorry she has to make the call, explains that she was assigned to make the call and couldn’t refuse. Some people at the Institute have perceived my sign as a security threat. The psychiatrist doesn’t agree with that. I find it amusing and also i’m rather flattered that my art is a security threat to a violent state organization. But the phone call goes on and we talk about what happened a year before. I tell her to tell the psychologist how unprofessional she had been in offering me a false memory and suggesting a major mental illness based on two meetings and a rorschach test. To my surprise, she agrees and promises to tell my greetings to the psychologist. We go on to discuss my situation, she promises to send me instructions on getting all the information they have written about me and also encourages me to start the process again.
Q u i n n d e Ro s a Po nte l l o Re a ct i o n to La n d s ca p e Video B ra d M u s tow (p h oto g ra p h e r a n d e d i t i n g) J a n e n n e V i cke r y a n d E l eve n G re e n s to n es (p i e rci n g a r t i s t s) The piece is based on nature supporting life, interconnection, destruction, devastation, the overwhelming pain of environmental degradation. Roots and rivers run like veins, pumping rage, anger and fear, into despair and then defeat, until all stops, dead, grey, no sound, dark, empty â€Ś numb. Endurance performer and concept design, Quinn de Rosa Pontello. Quinn de Rosa Pontello is a queer, quirky and bent trans* Batboi with a keen interest in social justice and environmental issues, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management at Southern Cross University. He first started connecting his passion for the environment and art in 2014 with Reaction to Landscape, an endurance piece for video. This will be his second collaboration with AĂąA Wojak following his live debut at In the Shadows, Mullumbimby 2015. Quinn is passionate about igniting an interest in others on environmental and social justice issues through his art and performance pieces. He is keen to further his exploration in pushing his personal boundaries, body and mind, through ritual, body modification, magick and pain, and the methods through which one can use these experiences to transcend into other dimensions and states of being.
V a p p u J alo nen N o i s e -t i m e (2 016) Tex t- b a s e d s o u n d p e r fo r m a n ce Noise-time is a sound improvisation with a text-based installation, performed for the first time at the the 10th Somatechnics conference in Byron Bay. It deals with the inability to produce and to go forward, depressed vulnerability and time, the dream of a beach, noise and hope. Noise-time is a sound improvisation with a text-based video installation. It is performed for the first time at the Somatechnics conference in Byron Bay. It deals with the inability to produce and to go forward, the depressed vulnerability and time, the dream of a beach, and noise and hope.
Vappu Jalonen is an artist and writer. She lives and works in Berlin and Helsinki. She is doing her doctorate in the Department of Art at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. Her research interest is the entanglements of human and nonhuman agencies and the frictions between them.
V i rgin ia Barratt, Eve Kl ei n and A n A W o j a k d e -to n at i o n (2 016) So u n d a n d m ove m e nt p e r fo r m a n ce … just went on, my body doing its best without me
de-tonation is a sound and movement performance which explores the possibilities of a desubjectivised (a)sounding, experimenting – using electronic instrumentation and the body as a sounding and gestural medium – with the limits of semantic vocalities, the semiotics of gesture and ‘non-ideomatic’ improvisation as experimentation. Beginning with the model of subjective deterritorialisation/depersonalisation as its starting point – in this case triggered by such out of body events (OBE) as drug taking, ritual, deep engagement with technological virtualities—three artists working with: electronic music and opera (Eve Klein), text and vocality (Virginia Barratt) and movement and ritual (AnA Wojak); develop a performative experiment/experience of the ‘evacuation of the voice’. Speech has its necessities as a signifying system, and requires a subject body to enunciate. In an OBE event, or an event of deterritorialisation the sonicity of the constitutive body is disentangled from functioning as an ordered semantic system, which is tacit to our interpersonal communications. In a process of unlanguaging the ordered march of consonant and vowel, of soft plosives and fricatives, of glottal stops tempered by voiceless approximants is reorganized into howls, clicks, stammerings, stutterings, non-verbal gesturing which create an affective resonance communicating a becoming-otherness. de-tonation finds resonant concepts and practises in the ideas of Artaud and Deleuze, specifically the Body without Organs (BwO) and its call to deterritorialise through experimentation. The concepts in the performance are explicated in a paper/panel proposal by Virginia Barratt focusing on panic vocalities. Dr Eve Klein is a lecturer in music technology and popular music, an operatic mezzo soprano and a composer at the University of Queensland. Eve’s research is concentrated on music technology, recording cultures and contemporary music. Her current research explores classical music recording practices, environmental sound recording, popular-classical music hybridity, and technology-enabled 38
performance. Eve’s music has featured at Australian and international festivals including VIVID Sydney, Brisbane Festival, Underbelly Arts, Turra New Music Festival, Undisclosed Territories (Indonesia), Melaka Art and Performance Festival (Malaysia), and the International Festival of Artistic Innovation (England). Eve’s recordings have been released on Wood and Wire, New Weird Australia, and Feral Media. She was a principal artist with Opera Australia and Pacific Opera. She has received numerous grants and awards for her performance and composition work. AñA Wojak is an award winning inter-disciplinary artist working in performance, assemblage, installation, painting and theatre design. Australian born, she studied in Gdansk, Poland amid the turmoil of Solidarity and Martial Law. She has been an exhibiting visual artist for nearly 40 years and a performance artist for 20. She has shown in numerous award exhibitions including the Archibald Prize, Salon des Refuse, Portia Geach Award, Waterhouse Prize, Paddington Art Prize and Blake Prize, winning in 2004. Her work is featured in private and public collections including Artbank and National Portrait Gallery of Australia. Based in Northern Rivers, NSW, her performance and video work have been shown extensively throughout Australia and internationally and she has collaborated with the likes of Tony Yap Co, Pacitti Co, senVoodoo (co-founder), La Pocha Nostra, Felix Ruckert and Textile Audio amongst others. AñA Wojak has performed at festivals in Australia, Europe and Asia, such as: Alice Desert Festival 2007, Brisbane Festival 2011, Interakcje14, Poland 2006, DIAF, China 2006, undisclosed territories, Java 2007, 2013 and MAP Festival, Malaysia 2013, 2014, 2015. With a particular interest in site-specificity, ritual and altered states, her vision taps into the emotive psycho-physical and subconscious to create visually poetic performances that resonate with a visceral depth. Virginia Barratt is a writer and performer based in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia. She is writing a PhD at Western Sydney University in the Writing and Society Centre. Virginia is a founding member and slime sister of the cyberfeminist collective VNS Matrix, and continues to work collaboratively with them to this day. Her research focuses on panic, affect and deterritorialisation. Her work can be found in Writing from Below, TEXT journal, Banquet Press, Overland and is forthcoming in the anthology Offshoot: Contemporary Lifewriting Methodologies and Practice in Australasia and her performative writing text SLICE is forthcoming from Stein and Wilde. Virginia has performed most recently in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Helsingor, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Performing Arts Forum (PAF) in France and in Berlin, sometimes with occasional collaborators Amy Ireland and Francesca da Rimini. In 2016 She will present work at the Biennale of Sydney, in France at PAF and the Sorbonne and in Berlin.
V I D E O S C R E E N I N G S A l i R u ssell & M oni qu e Sc hafter T r a n s Bo ys ( 2 0 12) A u s t ralia, 1 5 mi n Trans Boys follows three Australian transgender men during a year of their lives as they negotiate physical technologies of gender embodiment, testosterone, surgery and the trials of love, sex and family. Film screening courtesy Ali Russell and Monique Schafter.
E w a n D uarte C h a nge O v er Ti me (2013) U SA , 7 m in Change Over Time is an animated, experimental, personal documentary about the filmmaker’s first year on testosterone from an impressionistic and poetic perspective. Film screening courtesy Ewan Duarte.
A B S T R A C T S
DAY ONE Thur sday , D e c e m b e r 1
B io t echnol og i es
‘Little lamb, who made thee?’: Ovine utopias Philip Armstong (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) Long before anyone thought up the words ‘cyborg’ and ‘biotechnology’, the livestock breeders of the Eighteenth Century were cultivating organic machines explicitly designed to serve industrial values. The creation of the New Leicestershire breed of sheep by Robert Bakewell in the 1760s, for example, was described and celebrated at the time ‘as though an engineer had invented a new machine’ (Wood and Orel, Genetic History in Selective Breeding, 2001, 95). Other new breeds of sheep followed soon after, purpose-built for particular ends: the Cheviot, hardy enough to survive in the Scottish hill country, which enabled the Highland Clearances; the antipodean version of the Spanish merino, the primary instrument of agricultural colonialism in Australia and New Zealand; and so on. Meanwhile, sheep were also being used in laboratories, as human substitutes in experiments with blood transfusion, parasite control, reproductive health and disease, and the neuropathology of pain and shock. Yet, paradoxically, over the same historical period, sheep continued to be associated – especially in the pastoral, Arcadian and Romantic traditions – with innocence, tranquillity and harmony between humans and the natural world. This paper will trace the tensions and continuities between, on one hand, the role of the sheep in industrial and scientific history, and on the other, the longstanding cultural, religious, artistic, literary and scientific trope of the ovine utopia.
DAY 1 / 1100A
Philip Armstrong is an Associate Professor in English at the University of Canterbury, and Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (www.nzchas.canterbury.ac.nz). His recent publications include Sheep (Reaktion Books, 2016); A New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in Our History, Culture and Everyday Life (co-written with Annie Potts and Deidre Brown, AUP 2013); What Animals Mean in the Fiction of Modernity (Routledge 2008), and Knowing Animals (co-edited with Laurence Simmons, Brill 2007).
‘Interspecies violence against female bodies (or, What do factory farms and feminist sex research have in common?)’ Annie Potts (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) Critical Animal Studies’ scholars focus on critiquing and dismantling anthropocentric institutions associated with the exploitation and suffering of 42
nonhuman species. A CAS approach also pays attention to the ways in which the oppression of nonhuman animals intersects with the oppression of marginalized humans. As feminist vegan theorist Carol Adams (2010) has shown in her slide-show ‘The sexual politics of meat’, the animalization of women’s sexual and reproductive bodies – in agribusiness and meat, egg and dairy advertising, for example – maps onto the sexualization of female animals’ bodies in these same domains. It is no coincidence that Adams scrutinizes the egg and dairy industries: these are both key domains where the reproductive bodies of females, in particular, are exploited (so-called ‘surplus’ males are killed soon after hatching or birth). The field of sexology, which involves the ‘scientific study of human sexual response and “function”’, is another domain in which the sexualized and reproductive bodies of female animals are exploited for supposed ‘human benefit’. Biological, medical and pharmacological experimentation on other species’ bodies occurs routinely within sexological research seeking to better understand the ‘complexities’ of female sexual response and pleasure, identify and categorize new ‘diagnoses’ of ‘FSD’ (‘Female Sexual Dysfunction’) (DSM V, 2014)), and create lucrative pharmaceutical treatments for sexual difficulties. Even those working at the forefront of ‘feminist sexology’ – with the objective of enhancing women’s sexual experiences and pleasures – may be involved in the manipulation, mutilation and dissection of nonhuman female bodies. In this presentation I will discuss the ways in which sexology, including feminist sexology, has relied on the intimate abuse of animals. Notions of ‘sexual liberation’, ‘sexual pleasure’ and ‘sexual experimentation’ take on far more sinister connotations when considered in the context of (feminist) sexological history. Associate Professor Annie Potts is the Head of Cultural Studies and Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand. She is the author of The Science/Fiction of Sex: Feminist Deconstruction and the Vocabluaries of Heterosex (Routledge, 2003) and Chicken (Reaktion, 2012), co-author of A New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in our Culture, History and Everyday Life (Auckland University Press, 2013) and Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes (CUP, 2014), and editor of Meat Culture (Brill, 2016).
The somatechnics of autologous stem cell treatments Tereza Hendl (University of Sydney) Autologous stem cells (ASCs, stem cells derived from the patient’s own body) are increasingly being promoted for use in the treatment of chronic diseases, 43
with a growing number of private clinics offering adult stem cells to patients for a range of conditions including osteoarthritis motor neurone disease, autism and asthma. Despite questions regarding their efficacy and safety, ASCs are currently unregulated. These ASCs are being offered as ‘innovative’ therapies used outside the context of formal clinical trials and there is limited evidence of the therapeutic value and safety of such treatments. The decision to not regulate ASC treatments seems to be underlined by an assumption that stem cells derived from the patient’s own body will not harm the patient. This assumption of the safety of ASCs involves a range of cultural and biomedical narratives about corporeality and immunity. The tales about safety, corporeality and immunity contrast with evidence showing that some patients develop serious conditions (such as tumours) within a few years following ASC treatments. My interrogation of these tales builds upon data derived from an ARC Linkage project ‘Regulating autologous stem cell therapies in Australia’ which is investigating persisting and emerging ethical and legal challenges raised by ASCs and the processes employed by Australian providers and regulatory bodies to address these challenges. In particular, my analysis builds on insights gained from interviews/ group sessions with different stakeholders involved in ASCs, including patients and patient advocacy groups, policymakers and providers of ASC treatments. Overall, this paper presents an argument for the development of an ethical and socially sustainable regulatory framework for ASC treatments in Australia and internationally.
DAY 1 / 1100A
Tereza Hendl is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine (VELiM) at the University of Sydney. She completed a PhD in Philosophy at Macquarie University with a dissertation exploring ethical aspects of sex selection for social reasons. Her paper ‘A feminist critique of justifications for sex selection’ was awarded the 2015 Max Charlesworth Prize in Bioethics. Dr Hendl’s research interests include global aspects of biomedical practice and issues related to gender, sexuality and disability. At VELiM she works on a project focusing on ethical aspects and regulation of autologous stem cell interventions in Australia.
G en d er and Phy si c al Cu l tu re s i n M e di a a n d S p ace
‘Healthy, happy, active, strong: Progress selfies and the construction of women’s bodies’ Rebecca Olive (Southern Cross University) and Valeria Varea (University of New England) Social media is awash with images that women choose to represent themselves, their lifestyles and their aspirations. Selfies in particular are seen as a tool for women’s empowerment, allowing women the opportunity to show themselves on their own terms. On Instagram, women’s health and fitness accounts are encouraging the taking and posting of selfies in similar terms, encouraging women to use ‘progress selfies’ to chart their body changes across a workout program. Rather than checking their weight on a set of scales, progress selfies allow women to watch their body change as they work towards their fitness goals of losing body fat, developing muscle, or developing overall fitness. These selfies can become part of a particular community, such as that of Kayla Itsines, who runs the Bikini Body Guide (#bbg). The captions and comments posted by users and followers under the images advocate that it is not about being thin, it is about feeling good about yourself and being happy, healthy and strong. Of course, happiness remains related to the loss of body fat and the gaining of appropriate musculature. The images posted by users tend to be of semi-dressed bodies (e.g. sports bra and underwear or tights) with captions and comments focusing on lean-ness, discipline, a restricted diet, challenging exercises, and the benefits of working out. In this way, these images of ‘healthy bodies’ do little to challenge existing female health and fitness associations with thin-ness. This presentation will explore progress selfies on Instagram, in particular those associated with women’s fitness celebrity, Kayla Itsines and #bbg. Rebecca Olive lectures at Southern Cross University and the university of Queensland. Her research focuses on power, ethics and pedagogy in lifestyle sport and physical cultures, including on social media. Using ethnographic methods, Rebecca is also interested in how theory shapes methodological approaches, especially in relation to lived and online experiences and relationships. She has published in journals including International Journal of Cultural Studies, Sport, Education & Society, Media International Australia and Continuum, and is a co-editor of the forthcoming book, Women in Action Sports: Power, Identity and Experience.
Valeria Varea’s research draws on critical and socio-cultural perspectives, using qualitative research methods to extend knowledge and critique people’s understandings of bodies, health, Physical Education, sport and physical activity. She has published in journals including Sport, Education and Society, European Physical Education Review and Australian Journal of Teacher Education. She is a co-editor of the book Cuerpo y Educación Física: Perspectivas latinoamericanas para pensar la educación de los cuerpos [Body and Physical Education: Latin American perspectives to think body education] and has authored the book Perspectivas socioculturales para pensar el deporte [Socio-cultural perspectives to think sport].
‘“U mad coz I’m stylin on u brah with my aesthetics?”’: Embodiment and the performance of gender in the Zyzz fandom of recreational bodybuilders Mair Underwood (The University of Queensland) Despite suggestions that the recent emphasis on muscularity among men is due to a “crisis in masculinity” that stems from increases in women’s power, there has been surprisingly little research investigating how the body is used by men to alter gendered power relations. In this talk I present the results of an online ethnography of the Zyzz fandom: an international community of thousands of young, male recreational bodybuilders who idolize Aziz Shavershian (aka “Zyzz”). Specifically, I describe how the body is shaped and displayed in order to become “alpha” and thus change relations with women, and between men. In so doing, I demonstrate how the body is used as both an arbiter and as means to dominate even in online environments where bodies are not physically co-present.
DAY 1 / 1100B
Mair Underwood is an anthropologist and lecturer in the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland. She specializes in human bodies, in particular how modifications of the body (such as tattoo and bodybuilding) construct, reflect and subvert boundaries of class and gender.
Beach body ready: bodily techniques and embodied technologies for feminist negotiations of body/image Candice Field (Griffith University) and Adele Pavlidis (Griffith University) How does a body become ready for the beach? There are a myriad of ways to answer the question of how people engage in a range of techniques and technologies to improve/alter/protect/hide/show/prepare their bodies at the beach. For bodies sexed as female the media takes its focus on the ‘bikini ready’ 46
body – including dieting, working out, taking supplements and plastic surgery. The Australian beach is often considered an egalitarian space – one which is free and available to all, centered on a relationship with an unjudging natural landscape, where the only barriers and boundaries are of nature; the ocean’s depths, the climbing cliffs and tidal waterways. The freedom of the beach however, does not imply safety. The natural dangers of sharks, jellyfish, rip tides and sun cancers are also joined by social dangers. From the extreme, such as the race riots experienced at Cronulla, to personal, such as bodily judgements, when we are on the beach we are innately aware that we are sharing a not only a natural space, but a social one. This paper draws on qualitative interviews with a diverse group of women to ask: how does a body become ready for the beach? And, importantly, how do affects enable or impede this process? Candice Field has this year completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, majoring in Sociology at Griffith University and will begin her PhD in February. Her honours and PhD both centre around Beach Bodies and in June she presented her research at the Australian Women and Gender Studies conference. Aside from her studies, Candice works at Griffith assisting first year students of Sociology and is passionate about exploring the taken-for-granted, lived and embodied experiences of Australian women. Adele Pavlidis’ 2013 PhD explored roller derby in Australia and the gendered power relations at play in this dynamic and growing sport. She has published 13 peer reviewed articles and chapters in quality outlets, including the first book on roller derby in the world, Sport, Gender and Power: The Rise of Roller Derby (coauthored with Simone Fullagar). She is currently working on a range of projects, including a contract with Palgrave to co-author (together with Simone Fullagar and Wendy O’Brien) a book on the biopolitics of depression and recovery. Her interests traverse the field of feminist leisure and sport, with a focus on youth and wellbeing.
S ex, S ubjec ts and Su bstanc e i n a W o r l d o f B eco mi ng
‘Time spent wasting is not wasted time’ Bronwyn Wilson (University of Melbourne) Popular discussion of pro-anorexia (pro-ana) frequently frames both eating disorders and online digital media cultures as posing a threat to the ‘natural’ progression from adolescent to mature heterosexual femininity. The majority of attention to pro-ana has focused on ‘thinspiration’ (content shared for the purpose of encouraging weight-loss) and the role of image-sharing technologies in ‘causing or promoting’ eating disorders in ‘impressionable’ young women. The dominant discursive framing of anorexia and pro-ana as risks relies on a romanticised image of ‘the anorexic’ as a child-like adolescent female and a sentimentalised narrative of her life as tragically interrupted. This paper considers ways in which certain forms of pro-ana activity complicate this overdetermined set of associations between pro-ana, anorexia and female adolescence. Proana digital cultures exist in a critical relation to dominant understandings of anorexia, expressed by users of pro-ana media as either outright rejection of, or ambivalence toward, the temporal-discursive frame of ‘recovery’. Through analysis of the practices of adult pro-ana users on the social media network Twitter, I argue that the affordances of that platform are deployed to negotiate conflicts between ‘pro-ana time’ (marked by fasts, binges, purges, weigh-ins and weightloss milestones) and ‘normal time’ (marked by meals, weekdays, weekends and life milestones). I suggest that while problematic, this use of networked media might also be understood as a survival tactic that instantiates a queer relation to heteronormative female life-narratives. DA Y 1 / 1100C
Bronwyn Wilson is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her doctoral research investigates how relations among bodies, media and clothing mediate women’s experiences of embodiment.
‘The sexual futures of trans minors’ J.R. Latham & Steven Angelides (Macquarie University) This paper considers how the imagined futures of trans minors act in the practices of trans youth medicine. Recent critiques of trans youth medicine, specifically the use of ‘hormone blockers’ and ‘cross-gender hormones’, suggest that medicine tends to treat transexuality as a ‘natural disaster’ from which children can be ‘saved’ (Sadjadi, 2013) and sets up a trajectory of normative binary gender 48
development from which being transgender can be avoided, corrected, overcome, or erased (Castañeda, 2014). Important critical interventions from trans scholars and advocates committed to valuing the diversity of trans ontologies, highlight how treating trans young people in these ways raises troubling social, medical, and ethical questions about future fertility and gender variant possibilities that are not being sufficiently addressed. We extend these critiques to examine how sexuality, pleasure and sexual possibilities are framed and entangled in these gender treatment practices. As well as permanent infertility, hormone suppressing and altering drugs affect genital development and we examine how (and which) sexual embodiments come to matter in this field. We also engage with intersex rights activism, which argues that the bodies of minors should not be medically reconstructed for cosmetic benefit until after the age of consent, to think through this predicament. Whilst acknowledging that this advocacy comes from a different context, it nevertheless invites questions about how sexual capacities, and in particular sexual pleasures, are presumed, imagined or ignored in gender treatment practices of trans youth medicine. We consider what sexual and reproductive possibilities might be lost in treating transexuality as a stable condition curable in (or before) adolescence. We end by asking some questions about how to open up the field of trans youth medicine to an ontological politics of becoming. J.R. Latham’s doctoral research (PhD submitted) examined how the sexual practices and multiple realities of trans men challenge current treatment practices of transgender medicine. His work has been published in Sexualities, the Australasian Journal on Ageing, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and is forthcoming in Studies in Gender and Sexuality and Feminist Theory. Steven Angelides (PhD) works in the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University and is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University. He is the author of A History of Bisexuality published by the University of Chicago Press and has just completed a second book, The Fear of Child Sexuality, which is under contract also with the University of Chicago Press.
Authenticity, temporality and legal enactments of the addicted subject Kate Seear (Monash University) Temporality features centrally in discourses of ‘addiction’ and drug use. In this work, distinctions are often drawn between pre and post ‘drug time’, and between temporality as experienced before, via and after periods of ‘addiction’. 49
In Reith’s work, for instance, addiction has been described as a ‘period of “lost time” characterized by an inability to envisage the future’, where recovery from addiction emerges as a ‘reawakening’ and ‘reanimation’ of the future. Suzanne Fraser and kylie valentine (2008) suggest that these distinctions play an important role in the constitution of ‘addicted’ subjectivities, insofar as they are underpinned by a binary logic of normal/abnormal time and natural/ unnatural consciousness. In this presentation, I extend these insights further, looking at how the law and legal processes conceptualise temporality and drug use, and the implications of this for addicted subjects. I do this through an analysis of select case law where addiction figures. I argue that temporality is often a central concern in cases involving ‘addiction’, but that the way that the law conceptualises addicted temporality has been hitherto neglected by critical scholars. I highlight the important and mutually co-constitutive roles of temporality and authenticity in the production of addiction and addicted subjecthood. I argue that particular and highly problematic conceptions of addicted subjectivity are enacted and sustained through the minutiae of legal knowledge and practice, with implications for the lived experiences of people who use drugs and are conceptualised as ‘addicts’. I conclude with a consideration of how the law and legal processes might be reconceptualised.
DA Y 1 / 1100C
Dr Kate Seear is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award fellow and a Senior Lecturer in Law at Monash University. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts program at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. She has written extensively on issues at the intersection of drugs, gender, the body and law, and is the author of two books, including Making Disease, Making Citizens: The Politics of Hepatitis C (with Professor Suzanne Fraser), the world’s first full length social science study of the disease.
Hav in g Bad Sex wi th the Ea r t h
‘Extreme baking: Bad ecosex with common wheat’ Lindsay Kelley (University of New South Wales) By tasting and writing an eating body, Extreme Baking invites radical speculative reimagining of the kitchen as a vector for war, peace, and care. We will be hacking our digestion with hard tack, a survival food that sustained European voyages of conquest. When we eat biscuits and crackers, we taste the places where and manner in which wheat and humans have travelled together. Hannah Landecker looks to nutritional epigenetics to articulate food as an environment-food is a form of molecular exposure. Annemarie Mol writes an eating body, finding that eating bodies in western practice and theory have been neglected by the philosophies that were produced in conversation with colonial expansion. Conquering bodies were exposed to hard tack above all, making this biscuit the nutritional environment of European colonial expansion. Hard tack made conquest possible. For a while now, Homo sapiens have been having bad ecosex with common wheat, Triticum aestivum. We leave the encounter unhappy, perhaps the unhappiness of denied pleasure, at times coupled with the more lasting feeling of stomach sickness. Thinking about Isabel Stenger’s trouble with tolerance and the ways in which educated tolerance excuses ignorance, we might consider the increasing precarity of wheat and gluten tolerance as an environmental shift, a change in our molecular exposure, a gut clenching, bowel irritating symptom of decolonization. White supremacist patriarchal colonial culture continues to reckon with the bodies hard tack made. How might we taste differently? Working in the kitchen, Lindsay Kelley’s art practice and scholarship explore how the experience of eating changes when technologies are being eaten. Her book, Bioart Kitchen: Art, Feminism and Technoscience, has just been published by IB Tauris. Bioart Kitchen emerges from her work at the University of California Santa Cruz (Ph.D in the History of Consciousness and MFA in Digital Art and New Media). Kelley is an International Research Fellow at the Center for Fine Art Research, Birmingham City University. Her current work asks, “what does nationalism taste like?”. She is a Lecturer at UNSW Australia Art & Design.
‘Residual waters (The morning after)’ Astrida Neimanis (University of Sydney) If you visit the Kurnell Wastewater Treatment Facility in Cronulla, about halfway through the tour you will come to the tanks where wastewater is microbially transformed through bacterial admixture. At this point, all solid matters should have already been filtered out of the bubbly brown soup by massive metal rotating screens. On our visit in 2016, though, we found bobbing in the corner of one of these tanks several foot-long white torpedos, used condoms that had survived metal grates, scrapers, and screens. Heather Davis (2015) tells a similar bad ecosex story, of a fisherman in Norway hauling in and gutting a large cod, only to find a massive silicon dildo in its belly. Davis’s interest is both in a critique of our plasticated lives which leave traces that will stick around for the next 100 000 years, but also in finding ways to think about plastic as a kind of queer progeny for the Anthropocene. This paper will think about water as a transmitter and archive for bad ecosexual encounters. Water washes up the residues of bad ecosex on our shores, asking us to account for what we did last night, but water also holds onto to these prurient tales, and becomes a queer archive of ugly feeling. This is particularly the case with less tangible lovers: hormones, pharmaceuticals, and various persistent organic pollutants. With a specific focus on endocrine disruptors, I want to explore the ugly feelings that water holds latent, in the kind of temporality that Michelle Murphy (2013) describes as a temporal lag that ‘names the wait for the effects of the past to arrive in the present’.
DA Y 1 / 1100D
Astrida Neimanis joined the Gender and Cultural Studies program in 2015 after holding various teaching and research positions at universities in Canada, the UK, and Sweden. Her writings on water, bodies, weather, writing, and other environmental matters can be found in journals, books, magazines, artworks and other media. She is Associate Editor of Environmental Humanities, a Key Researcher with the Sydney Environment Institute and co-convenor of the Composting: Feminisms and the Environmental Humanities reading group hosted at the University of Sydney. Her forthcoming monograph is called Bodies of Water, and her current project is on Water as a Planetary Archive of Feeling. She collaborates, a lot.
‘“I love you so much it makes me sick”: Fire textualities and fossil fuels’ Majidi Warda (University of Sydney) What stories do humans tell about fire and what do they reveal about our relationality to the world, to each other and to ourselves? More curiously, does fire tell stories, too? Does it communicate a text? With a focus on the entanglements of coal mining and carbon emissions, this paper will ask how burning human desires for a fossil fuelled planet come back to haunt us, as we become rewritten as the objects of this fiery fatal attraction. This presentation will offer a rethinking of bodies as not only human, but also as earthly and planetary fire textualities. Beginning with fires in human guts, I will explore the links between (a) human digestion as a complex composting system (b) human bodies as compostable matter (c) coal as the compost of our ancestral swamps, and (d) fossil fuels. I will trace these questions through the example of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain. Using this example, and drawing on the work of geographer Kathryn Yusoff I will ask: how are these coals and fires also us? Considering Donna Haraway’s identification as a ‘compostist not post-humanist’ and Elizabeth A. Wilson’s rethinking of matter’s ‘paradoxical antagonisms’, I am interested in how these heat textualities communicate an alter-narrative of species temporality and extinction. Importantly, this is an alter-narrative to ‘good Nature’ versus ‘bad mining’. Could it be that our consumption of a coal-fired life is both burning desire and that which makes us sick? Majidi Warda is currently undertaking a Master of Arts (Research) in the Department of Gender and Culture Studies at the University of Sydney. The working title of her research is Natural Born Disasters: Wild Women, Queer Fires and Other Irreversible Combustions.
F ash ion, Desi g n, A ssembl ag e s
‘Resisting identity, connecting bodies: Exploring the materiality of femininity’ Hannah McCann (University of Melbourne) Since the 1990s ‘femme’ has re-emerged as a queer identification. Originally conceptualised as always paired with “butch” and used as a specifically to refer to lesbians, femme is now employed as a standalone subject position that may be occupied by a range of queer-identifying people. Femme activists argue that gender presentation is not a marker of sexuality and resist the idea that ‘feminine’ female bodies signify heterosexuality. Despite this nominal position on feminine expression, many femmes distance themselves from ‘straight’ bodies, claiming that femme is qualitatively different in style. Drawing on interviews with femmeidentifying people in Australia conducted in 2013, this paper considers how we might re-think femme in ways that makes a case for feminine materiality that does not draw a sharp distinction between the straight and the queer. Rather, this paper argues for seeing the queer potential of femininity through its materiality – where fabric, substances, hair and makeup come together in ways that trouble the distinctions between humans and objects. It is through this lens that we might find ways to connect rather than separate feminine bodies, in ways that queer the ‘normal’.
DAY 1 / 1100E
Hannah McCann is a lecturer in gender studies at the University of Melbourne. She completed her doctoral work as the Inaugural Gender Institute PhD Scholar at the Australian National University. Her research explores feminine gender presentation as represented in feminist discourse and in queer femme LGBTQ communities. She has published in the Australian Humanities Review, Australian Feminist Studies, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and on The Conversation, writing on topics including postfeminism, affect theory, queer femininity, and Fifty Shades of Grey. In 2015 her comic explainers Judith Butler Explained with Cats and Foucault Explained with Hipsters were exhibited in the German Historical Museum show ‘Homosexuality_ies’ in Berlin.
‘Fashion exhibitions and creative technicity: Studying exhibition design beyond mere mechanics’ Katve-Kaisa Kontturi (Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne) This paper is a critical, visual-performative collection of moments, fragments and visions that in their various ways touch upon entanglements of the cloth and the body. The paper suggests that the (affective) relational movement between the cloth and the body is essential for understanding what clothing is and how it works. It asks, how to talk about clothing in a manner that would express its peculiar corporeal-material existence – its vitality and also temporality as a moving, relational object? The term cloth-bodies refers to fashion as something intrinsically more-than-human. More-than-human is a concept that suggests that rather than having become posthuman only recently human lives are essentially more-than-human as they co-emerge in relation to the non-human. As a concept, it speaks against binaries, and rather seeks to attend to complex entanglements and becomings-with. The paper discusses what cloth-bodies can do by offering examples that range from everyday situations to haute couture creations displayed at art museums. It studies, for instance, how clothing participates in the movement and experiences of the body both in restricting and enabling (technicity) manner, even sizing the body, molding it according standardised cuts and sizes, and also how cloth-bodies can retain their vital activity in the fashion exhibitions organised at museums. New Materialism, and especially theories of relational materialities give tools to study clothing beyond anthropocentricism of fashion system. Dr Katve-Kaisa Kontturi is an art theorist and writer. Her research focuses on material-relational processes of art and the body and she has a special interest in fashion, fabrics, and curating. She is currently a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow and co-convenor of the Matters of the Body research cluster in the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne. She is also a founding member of the European New Materialist Network, and co-chairs its working group New Materialism Embracing Creative Arts. Her essays have appeared, for example in Carnal Knowledge: Towards A ‘New Materialism’ through the Arts (2013) and in the new materialist special issues of A+M Journal of Art and Media Studies (2014) and Cultural Studies Review (2015). She is preparing a book manuscript The Way of Following: Art, Materiality, Collaboration for the Immediations Series at Open Humanities Press.
â€˜Back to the future: feminist speculative design and alternative pastsâ€™ Sarah Elsie Baker (Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand) Critical speculative design is a design practice that creates objects and representations in order to imagine alternative presents and possible futures. Now over fifteen years old, critical speculative design has emerged as a field in its own right. Using critical theory as inspiration for its speculations, projects often ask questions about the role of new technologies in our everyday lives and the conditions of contemporary consumer culture. Recently, speculative critical design has come under some harsh criticism; the field has been accused of reproducing western privileged perspectives, and of rendering the social inequalities of class, race, gender and sexuality invisible. Drawing on emergent practical and theoretical work that attempts to address some of these concerns, I explore the possibility of a feminist speculative design. I argue that for a feminist speculative design to be truly transformative it not only needs to acknowledge social inequalities, but should challenge the ahistorical nature of much speculative design practice. I propose a complementary method of speculation that works with alternative and forgotten pasts in order to think about possible futures. I argue that by drawing on feminist histories of everyday life new speculative futures can emerge that pose decidedly different questions and modes of engagement.
DAY 1 / 1100E
Dr. Sarah Elsie Baker is a Senior Lecturer in Design and the Research Coordinator at Media Design School in Auckland.
Tran s Real i ti es
Trans worldmaking practices on YouTube through gender timeline videos Matthew Ingram (University of Texas) The distribution and consumption of transgender timeline or time-lapse videos as a genre on YouTube has increased over the last few decades and has provided trans communities with a valuable resource for gendered self-making. Through affordances of the YouTube medium, users are able to present a gendered timeline of photos as they transition from their institutionally imposed gender to their felt gender through several practices that rely on temporality and time-space compression. Through temporal compression, transition timeline videos use creative worldmaking practices where users present hundreds to thousands of still photos as they are compressed into a seemingly moving image; thus creating the allusion of movement across time. In creating these transitions videos, users utilize several embodied technological methods that help them produce an alternative gendered history that goes against or disrupts normative gendered histories that are prescribed. Therefore, in this article explores some of the rhetorical effects and community uses of trans timeline videos as a genre and makes a comparison to older technologies such as motion films that utilize still images to create the allusion of motion. In addition to focusing on the technological affordances that are available to craft gendered forms of embodiment on YouTube, I will focus heavily on a corpus of YouTube meta-linguistic commentary I collected over several years in order to show how YouTuber orient to the videos and how the space can be pedagogical for many who know very little about trans identities in general. Matthew Ingram is a third-year PhD student in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin. He is primarily interested in how gender and sexual identities are stylized in everyday life through the use of embodied resources. In doing so, he examines the gesturing body through microanalytic, sociolinguistic and rhetorical methods.Â
â€˜Testosterone and trans masculinity: Reciprocally forming realitiesâ€™ Ben Bolton (University of Sydney) Testosterone is a highly socially and culturally loaded object, particularly in contemporary Western spaces such as the US, UK and Australia where testosterone is intimately entwined with our understandings of appropriate 57
forms of masculinity. Insufficient testosterone levels have become associated with effeminacy and a lack of virility in cis (non-trans) men, while its ‘inappropriate’ use (that is either medically un-supervised and/or significantly above ‘normal’ cis male levels) has been framed as dangerous to social and cultural fabric, requiring governmental intervention and medical regulation as a drug associated with sport ‘doping’, roid rage and possible damage to the body, including death. For trans masculine people (e.g. trans man, FtMs, genderqueers using testosterone) navigating testosterone (or T) use is a highly contentious practice where individual’s belonging within the trans community can hinge on the appropriately, that is medically, prescribed way of ‘doing T’. While not all trans masculine people use testosterone, testosterone remains in many ways fundamental to trans masculine people’s engagement with the gendered body, socialities and identity construction. How then is testosterone conceived by these individuals beyond merely as a tool to use for gendered bodily modification? How does testosterone use, or the expectation of its use, impact trans masculine people’s experience of their bodies and genders, their identities and communities? And how does testosterone become a specific kind of object through encounters with trans masculine lives?
DAY 1 / 1400A
Benjamin Bolton is a PhD candidate in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on testosterone and its productive potential particularly in relation to trans masculinity and the formation of identities, communities, bodies and selves.
‘One year, three trans cinematic narratives: Duration, compression and extension of time in contemporary transgender cinema’ Akkadia Ford (Southern Cross University) This paper will explore temporal techniques in relation to cinema and how three different filmmakers handle one year in the life of a trans narrative. Drawing upon recent examples of independent cinema including the Trans New Wave (Ford 2014, 2016 Forthcoming) narrative short documentary Trans Boys (Ali Russell and Monique Schafter, Aus., 2012), the experimental animated short film Change Over Time (Ewan Duarte, USA, 2013) and the feature film 52 Tuesdays (Sophia Hyde, Aus., 2013) as texts which show how filmmakers utilise temporality as a narrative and stylistic technique in cinematic trans narratives. These are texts where cinematic technologies converge with trans embodiment in ways that are constitutive of participants and audiences. Cinematically framed within the temporality of one year, three different perspectives of contemporary 58
trans filmmaking emerge: as we follow three Australian transgender men during a year of their lives as they negotiate physical technologies of gender embodiment, sexuality and fatherhood in Trans Boys; as a transmale filmmaker utilises an an impressionistic and poetic perspective to self-reflexively document his first year on testosterone in Change Over Time; and from the point of view of a coming of age drama, as a young adolescent experiences a parent transitioning to live as male – filmed over the course of one year, once a week, only on Tuesday afternoons in 52 Tuesdays. Akkadia Ford is a PhD in Cultural Studies, School of Arts & Social Sciences, at Southern Cross University, Australia and is a trained filmmaker, establishing and working as Festival Director of Queer Fruits Film Festival (2009–2012). Current areas of interest are focused upon transgender representation in films, transliteracy, queer film, film classification (ratings systems) in Australia and USA, gender disruption, film festivals, audiences and issues of spectatorship. Recent publications have focussed upon transliteracy as a theoretical approach to reading gender–diverse cinema of the Trans New Wave. Akkadia’s recently examined doctoral thesis title is: ‘Transliteracy and the Trans New Wave independent trans cinema representation, classification, exhibition”.
Non -Human Soc i al i sati on
Machinic gazes: the eyes of social robots and human corporeality Erika Kerruish (Southern Cross University) This paper examines the use of eyes as an expressive feature of social robots and the organisation of human corporeality they produce. At times the only facial feature attributed to a robot, eyes encourage people to ascribe personality and ‘aliveness’ to machines as well as generating a sense of attentiveness and responsiveness. Robotic eyes of varying degrees of expressive and perceptual complexity are increasingly recognised as an integral part of designing social robots. Despite those aspects of robotic eyes that suggest they mimic human and animal eyes, there are profound asymmetries between machinic and biological eyes, which in turn reconfigure the embodiment of humans relating to them. The dynamics of these shifts in corporeality will be examined through considering collaboration with social robots to be an example of mediation (Kember and Zylinska 2012) in which digital media is corporeally processed (Hanson 2004, 2006). Erika Kerruish is lecturer in cultural studies at the School of Arts and Social Science at Southern Cross University. Her research examines expression, perception and affect in technologies such as film, video art and robotics. She is co-editor of the journal Transformations.
DAY 1 / 1400B
‘Dea ex machina: Gynoid configurations in recent cinema’ Samantha Lindop (University of Queensland) This paper critically examines how emerging ethical issues associated with real world developments in machine consciousness, bio-robotics, and the fabrication of lifelike female robots (gynoids) are explored in the creative medium of film. In the field of social robotics recent trends in design have seen androids fashioned to replicate attractive, sexually appealing young women. The intended function of such gynoids is to work in service industries, as well as to attend the physical and psychological needs of humans as companions, carers, and servants. These directions in gynoid manufacture raise questions about the type of companionship some of these machines will be used for – human intimacy with robots seems inevitable. This prospect, coupled with advancements in machine sentience and the blurring of distinctions between the organic and the artificial has given rise to increasing scholarly debate in the field of robot ethics. 60
Focusing primarily on Alex Garland’s provocative 2015 thriller Ex Machina, the paper will explore how these directions in technology, along with the ethical questions they evoke, are engaged with, negotiated, and critiqued in cinema. I argue that Garland accesses the darker aspects of social robotics and the unspoken possibilities and taboos about sex, intimacy, ownership, control, use, and abuse of gynoids in a way that confronts and challenges conceptual notions about the boundaries between human and machine. Samantha Lindop is an academic at the University of Queensland and author of Postfeminism and the Fatale Figure in Neo-Noir Cinema. She is currently developing a research project investigating the way real-world directions in social robotics and the manufacture of female gendered androids and sex dolls are interpreted in the creative medium of film, in the context of contemporary postfeminist discourses.
Multiple partial-perspectives: Human, horse and technicity Madeleine Boyd (Independent academic and artist) This paper describes initially the processes leading towards research videos and video artworks. A central question addressed is the manner in which the perspectives of non-humans can be recorded and shared. The non-human refers at first to the animal other, and then also to technicity. Material-affective forces between bodies are considered to be a significant means by which sharing of partial perspectives occurs between entities, human or non-human. Agencies of lively technology are considered in this paper’s discussion to become enfolded with agencies of living entities in the art making process. The resultant artworks are suggested to reveal shared worlding within concepts of becoming informed by Karen Barad’s Agential Realism and Vinciane Despret’s anthropo-zoo-genesis. Following on, the paper details a series of ‘Horse / Human / Camera Hybrid Experiments’. The extended discussion on material-affect of the moving image, shared partial-perspectives and originary technicity is held in consideration as the video production process is recounted. The video work has served both as investigative method and research output in tandem with theoretical advancement. Development of the video experiments can be tracked alongside encounters with Agential Realism and material-affective philosophy. Producing contemporary art through equine-led process is a central theme throughout.
DAY 1 / 1400B
Madeleine Boyd relocated in 2016 from Inner West Sydney to Burleigh Beach, Queensland after 15 years studying, exhibiting and curating within Sydney art and academic networks. She is an Australian artist although her school years were spent in Halifax, Canada. Her first tertiary degrees were in Biology and Environmental Science, later professionalizing an interest in sculpture and performance through arts study at the National Art School and Sydney College of the Arts (SCA). InÂ 2016 Boyd completed her Doctorate of Philosophy at SCA, where in 2005 she also received a Master of Studio Arts. Current associations are writing and curating with the Australasian Animal Studies Association and the New Materialism in Contemporary Art research cluster at SCA. Boyd co-curated and exhibited work in three significant group exhibitions since 2013 with the support of the Australasian Animal Studies Association and the University of Sydney. She has presented original concepts on art practice-led-research and philosophy at several academic conferences.
Rep ro du c ti ve Tec hnol ogi es
‘Embodied IVF in France – 1982–2016’ Nicola J Marks (University of Wollongong) Through an examination of professional discourses, this paper will think through some of the changing affective and somatechnical entanglements in assisted reproduction in France, focusing in particular on how women’s bodies are imagined and described. In 1982, the first French baby conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) was born. The following year, a national bioethics committee (Comité Consultatif National d’Ethique) was instituted to advise governments on ethical and social matters relating to biology and medicine. The first laws on assisted reproduction and embryo research were passed in 1994. Since then, a number of changes have taken place regarding the modalities of IVF (how it is done, for whom, for what purpose, what can be done with supernumerary embryos, how women’s bodies can be treated etc.), while some key features have, thus far, remained unchanged (such as the importance of anonymity and noncommercialisation of human bodies). Drawing on interview data as well as on publically available testimonies of key professionals involved in French IVF, this paper will explore how their ways of thinking and doing have changed (or not), paying particular attention to the complex and at times contradictory ways in which embryos, women, couples, oocytes, doctor-patients, technical artefacts and pharmacological products are conceptualised. I draw on Latour’s appeal to make visible ‘affective entanglements’ in ‘matters of concern’, Bellacasa, Murphy and Mol’s works on care in technoscience, as well as Haraway’s call to ‘stay with the trouble’. This work is part of a broader project “IVF and Assisted Reproductive Technologies: The Global Experience”, funded by the Australian Research Council, with Senior Professor Vera Mackie and Professor Sarah Ferber. Nicola J. Marks is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Wollongong. She has a background in Science and Technology Studies and received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Her areas of interest are at the intersections between biomedicine and society, with a particular focus on IVF, stem cell research and end-of-life care. She is currently Chief Investigator on and ARC-funded project with Senior Professor Vera Mackie and Professor Sarah Ferber, entitled ‘IVF and assisted reproductive technologies: The global experience’.
‘Making future kin: likeness and future-time in donor-assisted conception’ Jaya Keaney (University of Sydney) Donor assisted conception is a form of assisted reproductive technology in which donated sperm or eggs are used to conceive a child. Using qualitative interviews with parents who intend to conceive via donors, I argue that experiences of donor selection are structured by the imperative of ‘making likeness’. That is, intending parents aim to select donors that are ‘like them’, and will therefore produce offspring that resemble them in appearance or personality traits, if not genetically. In this paper, I explore the idea of likeness as a central ontology of donor assistedconception practice. I untangle some of the different ways this idea is deployed in parents’ experiences, with particular attention to the racialised implications. Reproductive technologies introduce new practices of biological relations that, in turn, generate new meanings of ‘the biological’ itself. The idea of likeness can be understood as an emergent concept of the biological, where the relations between kinship, embodiment, genetics and reproduction are reconfigured through technological practices. The imperative to ‘make likeness’ is inseparable from a distinct temporality that permeates parents’ experiences of donor-assisted conception – that of future time. The desire for a happy future with a child operates as a horizon, playing a central role in organising the narratives and practices of intending parents. I elaborate a theory of queer futurity to explore this entanglement between likeness and future time. This theory illuminates that only certain kinds of futures are imagined as securing happiness and fulfilment for intending parents, and the pursuit of likeness in donor selection is a key way in which individuals attempt to secure these happy parenting futures.
DA Y 1 / 1400C
Jaya Keaney is a PhD candidate in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research explores multiracial kinship and practices of racialised family-making through assisted reproduction technologies.
En counteri ng the (N on- )Hu m a n
‘Framing destroyed human bodies in Thomas Hirschhorn’s Touching Reality’ Christina Chau (Curtin University) Thomas Hirschhorn’s Touching Reality (2012) is a confronting video installation that presents a woman’s hand swiping through photographs on a touchscreen. Featured in the photographs are scenes of war and carnage: usually individual corpses surrounded by witnesses, caretakers, or culprits. Hirschhorn concentrates on a visual economy that thrives on excess, and political ambivalence towards up-close, seemingly intolerable representations of the body. However academic and art critic Rex Butler argued that the artwork is ‘strangely out of date,’ to the extent that it reifies Baudrillard’s approach the visual economy performed during The Gulf War. Hirschhorn himself also refers to the regulation of images performed by mainstream media outlets, rather than online visual culture. Despite Hirschhorn’s intentions, this paper argues that Touching Reality is useful for discussing how representations of the body in war are consumed and distributed by contemporary audiences that primarily engage with news media online. Consequently, Touching Reality is an indicator of a changing relationship between technicity and conceptualising the body in contemporary culture. The documentation of war is not something new. What is novel in contemporary society is the readiness to consume and distribute such imagery at a rapid rate – something that is particularly visible in the immediate circulation of professional and amateur material. In a post-Baudrillard order, we Google ‘gross images of dead people’ and find images of atrocity mingled in with images of makeup tutorials of zombies, and stills from The Walking Dead, and hence representing war through photography is limited in its effect. Therefore, rather than being interested in the representation of suffering, Hischhorn points to the ambivalent affects produced by online visual culture. Christina Chau (PhD W.Aust) is a lecturer in Media, Communication and Creative Arts at Curtin University, the editorial assistant for the academic journal Deleuze Studies, and upcoming presenter for Shock Art on ABC iView in 2017. Her current research interests include duration, temporality, digital media, kinetic art, movement studies, time-based art, contemporary art, machine aesthetics, and online visual culture.
‘Symbolic violence and the animal protection field: Reading Bourdieu through Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion’ Alexandra McEwan (Australian National University) This paper has as its premise that the key concepts used to debate animal protection law and policy reform, animal cruelty-animal welfare and animal welfare-animal rights are ‘systems of symbolic opposition’. These oppositions shape our engagement with and perceptions of animal protection as a distinct area of law, and as a contested area of social life in Australia. As an area of law and policy, animal protection offers an example of what social theorist Pierre Bourdieu calls ‘symbolic violence’. That the cruelty-welfare and welfare-rights binaries function as a form of symbolic violence may go some way to explain why ‘the modern animal advocacy movement has largely failed’. It is on this basis that I adopt the concept of violence as the foundation for a research framework, in the form of a triptych of three complimentary conceptualisations of violence; ‘symbolic violence’, ‘individuated violence’, and ‘structural violence’. For the purposes of my work, the framework is visually represented by Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion 1944. In one interview Bacon stated ‘[l]ife itself is violent, (you only have to think of the meat on your plate)’. As well as gesturing to the chain of violence by which a segment of dead animal is delivered on to a dinner plate, animals were essential to Bacon’s artistic practice. In developing his unique expressionist style Bacon studied photographs of racing horses and greyhounds in motion. This paper reads Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence and related concepts: field, doxa, orthodoxy, and heterodoxy through Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. DA Y 1 / 1400D
Alex McEwan is a PhD Candidate at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University. She submitted her thesis, The Concept Violence: A Proposed Framework for the Study of Animal Protection Law and Policy in July 2016. She holds a BA Anthropology (Hons I) and LLB (Hons I) and is admitted as a solicitor in the Australian Capital Territory. She also holds qualifications in health and spent many years working as a health practitioner, educator and researcher in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
‘Clive Hamilton’s Anthropocene and relational ontology’ Fiona McAllen (Swinbune University of Technology) In Clive Hamilton’s two articles entitled “The Banalty of Ethics in the Anthropocene” (2015), he laments how all systems of international law and ethics, all philosophical efforts, have proved wholly incommensurable for the autonomous subject, who now stands in the Anthropocene era - (that is, where human activity with the environment has created a new, soon to be humanly uninhabitable geological age). He claims to recourse to ethics now has us leaping over a more fundamental question about the nature of man … as we’re caught asking ourselves “What on Earth have we thinking? Who’s been at the wheel?” Presumably “tongue in cheek”, Hamilton relates how the anthropocentric subject is suddenly dismayed at the forces of nature that appear to be daring to present a will of their own. Some non-anthropocentric “beast” is apparently stirring, awakening even … presenting an agency beyond the will of human consciousness. Yet such discussion, which Hamilton attempts to capture the imagination of the public sphere with, is simply more disconnect that avoids meaningful human engagement. It is therefore necessary to reposition Hamilton’s papers in relation to Indigenous and Posthumanist thinkers’ ontologies, in order to adequately consider human responsibility. My undergraduate joint-major degree was in Literature and Critical Cultural Studies and my PhD was in Sociology -Indigenous Issues (deconstructionist approach). I am interested in the points of resonance between Indigenous relational ontologies and poststructuralist and posthumanist thinking. My research has focused on ways to critique Western philosophy’s traditional ontological foundations/institutions in order to better allow for relational ontologies. My published work is in the areas of inter-subjectivity/aesthetics, ‘Australia’s’ colonial relations, law and sovereignty, and critical whiteness, and my PhD, which I published as a book and film, was an auto-ethnographic exploration in relation to traditional cultural continuity in ‘Australia’.
Mem o ry and I ntra- ac ti on
‘Affective forces: The time of life and technology’ Marie-Luise Angerer (University of Potsdam, Germany) In my presentation, I will speculate on the relationship between two notions of the interval – from the 19th century via Henri Bergson to neurociences – where the time code switches from a mechanistic, calculable time into a vital, living time, both of which, in their different ways, can be understood in terms of media technology affects. Thus, it comes as no surprise that today’s proclamation of the ‘plasticity’ of the brain (Catherine Malabou) combines the two dimensions of time again – and connects them via affect, or rather a process of auto-affection. In this view, not only does affect organize the relation between bodies and their (social and technical) environment, but also, in deep layers of the brain cortex, it organizes the brain’s own activities in their specific time scales.
DAY 1 / 1400E
Marie-Luise Angerer is professor of Media Studies at the Department for Art and Media, University of Potsdam, Germany. Before that she was professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Visiting fellow and guestprofessor in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Member of the European Network How Matter comes to Matter (2014-2018), and of the Research Network Affective and Psychotechnology Studies (DFG 2015-2017) The focus of her research is on media technology, affect and neuroscientific reformulations of desire, sexuality, and the body. Her most recent publications include Desire After Affect (2014), Timing of Affect (with Bernd Bösel and Michaela Ott, 2014), Choreography, Media, Gender (with Yvonne Hardt and Anna-Carolin Weber, 2013), numerous articles in books and journals on the topic of affect, technology, and media theory.
‘Debt and the temporalised body’ Paul Kirkham (University of Otago, New Zealand) Debt has historically held an uneasy relationship with the body, which has provided the site where an equivalence is extracted, where pain is inflicted, where a memory is inscribed on the debtor. Contemporary discussions of bio-capitalism are interesting in this respect – where previously capitalism was understood as extracting surplus value from raw materials, now the material body has become the machine of value. In the context of affect theory the body of subjects, their affective capacities and their informational content become the units of exchange. This paper is concerned with Lazzarato’s discussions of the body of indebted 68
subjects in the context of societies of control. He talks not about the disciplining of the body but the ‘making of the body’, how the body is marked by the power signs of production and reproduction of capital; the mnemotechnics of digital media create subjects inscribed with a memory for future surplus value. I will argue that the understanding of life in terms of molecular biology allowed for a new understanding of memory. And that while control societies, as described by Deleuze, still utilize disciplinary mechanisms which act on the body of subjects, there is also the growing capacity to act on the souls of subjects, on the memory and conatus associated with the brain. This opens up new lines of interpreting power as control over living matter, as an intervention at the level of memory and its relation to the virtual. This paper aims to critically assess this understanding of the temporal dimension of debt in relation to the body and brain of indebted subjectivities, thinking through new trajectories for understanding our temporal relation to the future possibilities. Paul Kirkham is a current doctoral student in the Media, Film and Communication Studies Department at the University of Otago. He is currently working on the topic of debt, focusing on work done by Maurizio Lazzarato.
‘Memory, space/time mattering and the production of social life’ Nick J Fox (University of Sheffield, UK) and Pam Alldred (Brunel University London) For social scientists, memory has been regarded conventionally as predominantly a psychological phenomenon: a subjective representation of the social world, often bearing an unreliable relationship to the ‘reality’ of historical events. In sociology, memories have been used empirically as a source of data provided by respondents on aspects of their experiences, while more recently narrative approaches have explored how people produce stories that have individual and possibly social relevance in terms of identity construction or maintenance. In this paper we take a different view of memories, treating them both as material (in the sense that they may materially affect bodies things and social processes) and as a key process in social production, of great importance to the temporal processes of social continuity and change. We set out a materialist and monist ontology, in which the focus shifts away from ‘human actors’ as the mediators of social production, to concern with a multiplicity of affective relations; and replaces structures or systems that mediate continuities and change with fluid and unpredictable assemblages that are the sole
sources of social production. In this post-anthropocentric ontology, memories (along with aspirations, expectations and emotions) play a particular part in this affective economy in terms of influencing the ‘space/time mattering’ of the social world, linking what has been with what is yet to come. We explore the part that memory can play in producing the present (and hence the future) through a study of adults’ food decision-making and practices. We examine how memories deriving from childhood affect current food practices, and how these contribute to the materiality of people’s consumption of food stuffs and to both overweight/obesity and to efforts to lose weight. We conclude by reflecting on the wider importance of memory for social production and for significant social change. Nick J. Fox is honorary professor of sociology at the University of Sheffield. Nick has researched and written widely on postmodern and new materialist social theory, with books and many papers focusing upon health and embodiment, and more recently on topics including sexuality, creativity and emotions. His latest book (with Pam Alldred) is Sociology and the New Materialism (Sage, 2016).
DAY 1 / 1400E
Pam Alldred is based at Brunel University, London, UK in the Department of Clinical Sciences. Her work is predominantly on gender, sexuality and youth work, informed by post-structuralism, feminist theory, and new materialism. Alldred and Fox have been working together since 2010 on projects developing new materialist and DeleuzoGuattarian analyses of sexuality, masculinities and social inquiry. Their book Sociology and the New Materialism is published by Sage in 2016.
‘Performing spacetimematter’ (45 mins) Tarsh Bates (SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia) This performance/workshop introduces participants to the queer materialsemiotics of quantum physics through a series of enactments of macroentanglements. Quantum physicist and feminist philosopher of science Karen Barad argues that there is no pre-existing, independent reality waiting to be discovered. Rather, the way we understand our world is determined by the apparatuses we use to examine it. For Barad, an apparatus includes both the physical experimental equipment and the theoretical or conceptual framework upon which an examination is founded. An apparatus is therefore an inseparable entanglement of material and knowledge. Since the components of any apparatus are inseparable from each other, the ‘object’ of examination is inseparable from the ‘subject’ (or observer). In fact, there can be no object or subject. It is not just that an observation by a pre-existing observer influences and changes a pre-existing observed. The observer and observed are entangled parts of an apparatus which creates a moment of observation. Change any part of the observer or observed, and the moment of observation is necessarily different. Barad describes the inseparability of subject and object as ‘intra-action’. Reality then, is constituted by a series/continuum of intra-acting ‘quantum entanglements,’ or ‘phenomena’, constantly changing, constantly in flux. Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher/educator interested in how knowledge and experience form and transfer through the relationships between material, bodies, environment and culture. She completed a Master of Science (Biological Arts) in 2012 and 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 and counter realism, an editor, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model. She is currently a candidate for a PhD (Biological Arts) at SymbioticA UWA where her research is concerned the aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a multispecies ecology. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.
Tran s Narrati ves/ Narrati ves o f T r a n s
‘Reading bodies and articulating identities: Transgender and transsexual embodiment in theory’ Natasha Seymour (Australian National University) Transgender Studies has, by nature, re-introduced cultural studies to the ways through which corporeality informs sexed subjectivities. In the words of Jay Prosser, ‘we must make changes to our theoretical paradigms if we are to make room for the materiality of transsexual narratives’ (Prosser, 1998). This paper will perform a critical analysis of Amazon’s 2014 television show, ‘Transparent’, by incorporating the analytical practices of queer and transgender studies, in a way that will bring to the surface the imperfect, gender-liminal, and integral lived histories of embodied transgender and transsexual lives. By engaging with the narratives and lived experiences of the transgender body this becomes a critical exercise in making sense of the topographical history and temporal trajectory of the transgender body. In my study of ‘Transparent’, I will incorporate the historical specificities of Maura’s corporeality to both accurately and definitively trace, understand, and inform the lives of those who have sojourned outside the margins of normative intelligibility. In contemporary gender theory, we are able to make use of the visual temporalities of television to answer a question which I believe transgender theory has allowed us now to ask: how do bodies – our bodies – make sense, and how do we make sense of bodies? Through consideration, this study of ‘Transparent’ engages with the complicated history and specificities of transgender corporealities, and brings meaning to the embodied experiences of both transgender and transsexual lives. DAY 1 / 1600A
Natasha Seymour is a student of literature, gender and politics. She has recently graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Arts in these areas. In July of this year she completely her honours thesis. The project focused on literary representations of transgender embodiment and was titled ‘Understanding and articulating the in-between: Transgender embodiment in culture.’ She hopes to pursue a Phd at the University of Queensland in a similar area next year.
‘Questioning the ethics of sexual difference: Technophobia and transphobia in Luce Irigaray’ Luara Karlson-Carp (University of Melbourne) In Anne Murphy’s 2006 chapter Beyond Performativity and Against ‘Identification’: Gender and Technology in Irigaray shows how Luce Irigaray’s “technophobia” is intimately connected to her dismissive and pejorative views of transgender (and indeed, any non-binary) subjectivity. Irigaray’s ethics of sexual difference requires an ontology of two sexually different subjects, ‘male’ and ‘female’, to act as an anchor or guarantee of alterity in order for any encounter between others to be considered ‘ethical’. Yet, for Irigaray woman still does not ‘exist’, as phallocentric discourse and metaphysics precludes expression of ‘the feminine’. Culture is in a state of sexual indifference. On this view, what Heidegger has termed ‘modern technology’ is a symptom of the very phallocentrism preventing feminine subjectivity and the ontological ‘two’ required for ethical relations. In this paper I follow Murphy’s interrogation into the ways in which Irigaray’s relationship to technology engenders her transphobia. I compare Irigaray’s neo-Heideggerian view on technology to that of ‘somatechnics’, a view of technology that inherently contests the validity and possibility of a natural ‘male’ or ‘female’ body that is not co-constituted through technological processes and practices. Such a view deeply challenges the dimorphic vision of sex espoused by Irigaray and introduces the ethical mandate to validate transgender ontologies and epistemologies. By comparing these two visions of technology and their relationship to the sexed body, I finally ask whether an ethics of difference is at all useful or beneficial to contemporary gender studies, and whether the “futureanterior” temporality of Irigaray’s ethics of sexual difference is compatible with the political urgency of prioritising discourses that centre transgender voices. Luara Karlson-Carp has completed an honours year at the University of Melbourne examining the work of Luce Irigaray in relation to transgender subjectivity.
‘Arresting Ashley X: Trans youth, puberty blockers and the engineering of the future’ Jake Pyne ([SKYPE] McMaster University, Canada) In 2004, a young Seattle girl with significant disabilities known only by the pseudonym Ashley X, underwent a series of medical procedures without her consent. At the request of her parents, Ashley received a bilateral mastectomy, 73
a hysterectomy and hormonal treatment, designed to arrest her development in a child-like state. In the eyes of her doctors, her family, and their lawyers, it was urgent that Ashley’s body and mind be ‘aligned’. The temporal and ethical arguments used to justify this treatment, turned Ashley’s body into groundzero in a debate over disability and human rights, consent and medical science, eugenics and the engineering of the future. Yet the similarities and differences between Ashley’s non-consensual pubertal arrest, versus that actively sought by trans youth, are rarely if ever mentioned. This paper uses the case of Ashley X to think through this current moment in which the bodies of (some) trans youth are treated to greater and greater forms of autonomy, while some other bodies have none. While the availability of puberty suppression for (some) trans youth can be narrated as a sign that things are getting better, the literatures of queer temporality and critical disability studies, help to consider that it may also augur something else – a widening gap between those bodies invested with the ability to stop time, versus those that are stopped in time.
DAY 1 / 1600A
Jake Pyne is a PhD student in Social Work and Gender Studies in Toronto, Canada. His doctoral research focuses on this current generation of trans youth who are transitioning young, asking questions about how their futures have become thinkable in this time and place. Jake writes frequently on issues for and about gender non-conforming children and trans youth, including scholarly work as well as community reports and media opinion pieces.
S o cial Medi a Bodi es: Tempo r a l i t y, Or i e n t a t i o n an d Affec t
‘Nightlife, affect, and young women’s body images on social media: algorithms and “body heat”’ Amy Shields Dobson (University of Queensland)
This paper examines the gendered circulation of images on mobile and algorithmic social media platforms, drawing on data from a research project that examined nightlife promotional work, drinking cultures, and flows of images between social media accounts and a nightlife precinct. We show how the human capacity to use bodies to affect other bodies, and to make critical judgments about bodies, is vital to algorithmic media platforms that aim to profit from calculative judgements about the affective dimensions of human life. We propose an expanded register of ‘body heat’ on social media as both the symbolic labour of producing, maintaining, and digitally mediating a body that conforms to heterosexy visual codes, and the affective labour of using a hot body to affect other bodies through movement, touch, and excessive consumption. The escalating capacity of social media platforms to calibrate flows of attention depends on the ‘hot’ bodies of users and user’s work in curating ‘hot’ body images to upload. Hot female bodies are critical to nightlife promotion via social media. In what we suggest is a co-constitutional process, young women’s labour is also critical to the development of more valuable platform algorithms that are better attuned to human, affective and gendered processes of judging and evaluating bodies; likewise human subjects who regularly use algorithmic social media platforms learn to think in accord with technological systems and procedures as they post. Dr Amy Shields Dobson holds a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, where her work focuses on youth, gender politics, and social media. Amy’s projects include research into gender and cyber-safety education, sexting in schools, and female genital cosmetic surgery in Australia, including the role of social media practices. Her bookPostfeminist Digital Cultures (2015) is published by Palgrave Macmillan. With leading girl studies scholar Anita Harris, Amy has recently co-edited a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies on ‘Post-girlpower: globalized mediated femininities’.
‘Digitally-mediated neo-tribes: Temporal bodies and ontological anchoring’ Matt Hart (Western Sydney University) Visual social media are presenting new challenges in which older subcultural models are becoming increasingly inadequate for understanding identity and sociality in the digital age. Michel Maffesoli wrote that the neo-tribe is without the rigidity of the forms of organisation with which we are familiar, and refers to a certain ambience that is characterised by fluid, temporally-situated gatherings. Despite his writings pre-dating the spread of online social media, I extend Maffesoli’s analysis to conceptualise how risky selfies shared by young people on tumblr constitute a form of digitally-mediated neo-tribalism, one which situates the body *and* group as a temporal phenomenon. Here, I stretch the notion of temporality beyond mere fleeting instances of sociality, towards social gatherings in which time-specific bodies coalesce and disperse. The embodiment that one performs on Tuesday may be contextually diverse from the body displayed on a Wednesday. Utilising self-curated archives, temporal bodies can be recalled ad hoc to provide ‘anchor points’ for highly-fragmented, abstract identities as a form of ontological security. This paper is based on an 18 month qualitative study of 25 young people’s nude selfie blogging on Tumblr, and their online participation in specific temporally-situated social gatherings such as Topless Tuesday and Wet Wednesday.
DAY 1 / 1600B
Matthew Hart is a PhD candidate at La Trobe University. Matt’s thesis involves investigating how and why young people share nude ‘not-safe-for-work’ (NSFW) selfies on Tumblr. He is particularly interested in how negotiating with risk and cultural boundaries enables young people to experience wellbeing and belonging online.
‘Engendering a mind/body split: the instrumentalisation of gendered, raced and classed bodies on Tumblr’ Akane Kanai (University of Newcastle) Thinking through the phenomenological understanding of technology as ‘orientation’, this paper seeks to explore how modes of digital expression co-constituted through digital participants and platforms intensify the instrumentalisation of bodies. Here, I theorise how digital media builds on modes of postfeminist gendered subjectivity in which young women are asked to categorise, discipline and extract value from their bodies. On platforms where 76
images and digital participants encounter each other, this gendered orientation of seeking, using and sorting bodies is intensified as a means of parsing and organising a visually saturated environment. My case study on Tumblr is a series of blogs in which GIFs are set up as incongruous to the everyday moments situations they describe, such as ‘when it’s Friday at 5pm’ or ‘when someone finds me attractive’. In articulating youthful feminine experience, the blogs arrange, transact and interact gender, class and race in multiple ways, indexing social inequalities without recognising them as such. Bodies in the GIFs become ‘stock’, used for selective resignification and use. Accordingly, this bodily technology catalyses the increasing micro-classification and categorisation of bodies according to their exchange value, whilst enacting a mind/ body split through the subjectivity of the digital participant who becomes oriented towards instrumentalisation and transcendence. Akane Kanai is a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia in social theory and identity. As an early career researcher, she is interested in the politics of gender, race and affect in digital cultures and in popular culture more generally. Her work has been published in M/C Journal, Celebrity Studies and Social Media + Society and she has a forthcoming book with Palgrave Macmillan, entitled Funny Girls: Gender, affect and identity in digital space.
1 6 0 0 C Questioni ng Medi c al Somate ch n i cs
DA Y 1 / 1600C
‘Reading Foucault’s “Flesh” and “Work on the Self ” alongside McGilchrist’s Divided Brain in Consideration of Contemporary “Biohacking”’ Alison Moore (Western Sydney University) The recent global popularity of notions of ‘biohacking’ suggest good reason to revisit Foucault’s notion of ‘work on the self ’ in relation to the tension in his opus between biopower, or the construction of sexuality, and the power of ‘the flesh’. Recent neuroscientific languages most frequently invoke computer hardware as a model of the brain but as Nikolas Rose has shown, the incursion of mechanistic language into the biological sciences has been becoming broadly pervasive since the 1990s via the growing influence of genetic research, with its terminology of DNA as ‘code’. British psychiatrist and literary scholar Iain McGilchrist has provided a model of integration of biomedical with humanistic inquiry in his historicisation of the Western mechanistic habits of thought that have helped to produce such scientific languages and their frequently incumbent biologism (The Master and His Emissary, 2010). In this account, the overreliance on lefthemispheric brain activity has beguiled us away from the holistic, embodied, culturally-embedded reality of our evolved humanity. Such a view would miss the delicate intricacies both of Foucault’s view of embodied selves in culture, and of biohacker subjectivity. While Foucault certainly insisted that biology alone could not account for the explosion of new meanings about desire, pleasure and Eros that produced modern sexuality as ‘types of people’, he also emphatically insisted on the power of “the flesh” and of the “vital” dimensions of past humans’ subjectival production. In this presentation, I propose that biohacker subjectivity is both more fluid in its approach to mind and matter, while also participating in new discourses of transhuman potential. Alison Moore is a historian of modern Europe. She is author/editor of three books and many articles relating to the history of sexuality, gender and medicine, historical theory, French cultural history and the history of excretion. She researches, governs and teaches in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University.
‘Historicising the hype: Child sexual abuse in early 20th century discourses’ Andrea Josipovic (University of Queensland) ‘Es gibt Männer und Frauen, deren geschlechtliche Neigung auf Kinder gerichtet ist’ [There are men and women whose sexual attraction is towards children.], wrote Albert Moll matter-of-factly in his 1908 text, ‘Das Sexualleben des Kindes’ [the sexual life of the child] (p.199). What has changed since? This paper seeks to examine the thinkability of adults engaging in sex with children, tracing the history of an idea which seems in contemporary discourse very much presented and shaped by thoughts about gender and power. Today, the acknowledgement that some men engage in the sexual abuse of children is hardly news to anyone. On the flipside, to make the same claim about some women seems quite another matter altogether. Through tracing commentary about these ideas in late 19th and early 20th century texts, the paper aims to provide some insight into a period when the idea of women’s potential to abuse children circulated both across a range of national domains and across sets of emerging disciplinary knowledges. In short, such abuse was not only thinkable, but within specific disciplinary frameworks some researchers actively sought to render it knowable. And yet these cases also highlight the difficulty that exists in detecting or recognising child sexual abuse by women as these acts are committed by those who are closest to children, given charge of them, share their space, and to some extent are able to influence or control what information the child discloses to others. The commonly used term ‘women and children’ can imply they are one entity, at once acknowledging this closeness and not allowing for separation. Andrea Josipovic studied philology and history, before training as a counsellor with a specific interest in developmental theories and therapeutic approaches. She works as senior advisor in a child protection agency where she engages in capacity building with staff and partner agencies around high complexity matters. Andrea is currently writing her PhD thesis Child sexual abuse by women: A genealogical approach to the constitution of an unthinkable crime, at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland. A general attitude of curiosity and the strive to find the perfect question in every situation are important to her. She is interested in a number of versions of a narrative – depending on who tells the story – and attempts to remain open to the possibility she got it wrong. She enjoys opportunities to improve her language skills and welcomes corrections as moments of learning. 79
‘Between the sciences: locating the object of psychosomatic medicine’ Michelle Jamieson (Macquarie University) Psychosomatic medicine was an interdisciplinary medical field established in the late 1930s in response to growing dissatisfaction with the Cartesianism assumed in both conventional medicine and psychiatry. Seeking a method that could address the many health conditions that fell outside the scope of any particular specialisation, advocates of psychosomatic medicine were doctors, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who insisted on studying and treating the organism as a whole. This movement was championed by Helen Flanders Dunbar – an enigmatic psychiatrist and philosopher who insisted that the success of medicine rested on its ability to take account of the entanglement of mind and body in illness. This paper examines Dunbar’s struggle to locate and define the object of study in psychosomatic medicine: namely, mind-body interrelation. I suggest that she was burdened with the seemingly impossible task of creating a scientific discipline that would challenge and overcome the problem of disciplinarity, or specialisation, itself. What is an object of study without a stable frame of reference? How did psychosomatic practitioners negotiate the different, competing knowledges and technologies of medicine, psychiatry and other areas? Drawing on the work of prominent New Materialist scholars Elizabeth Wilson and Karen Barad, this paper critically elaborates the philosophical and empirical implications of Dunbar’s project for thinking about the nature of objectivity, and the politicalethical entanglement of ‘what’ and ‘how’ we know.
DA Y 1 / 1600C
Michelle Jamieson holds a PhD in sociology and lectures in the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University, Sydney. Moving between sociology, feminist science studies and the medical humanities, her research critically engages the assumed division between sociality and biology, especially in relation to illness and medicine. She recently completed a major project about allergy and the politics of immunological discourse. She is the author of ‘The Politics of Immunity: Reading Cohen through Canguilhem and New Materialism’ (2015) Body and Society, and ‘Imagining Reactivity: Allergy Within the History of Immunology’ (2010) Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. She is currently co-editing a special issue of the philosophy journal Parallax on the theme of ‘autoimmunities’.
R ep resenti ng Mel anc hol i a: Di s e m bo di m e n t an d t h e A rti fi c i al Body
‘A disembodied dance: The ghosts of fashion imagery’ Harriette Richards (Western Sydney University) The structure of fashion, like the ghost, is allegorically situated in the liminal, melancholy space between past and future, and between life and death. The process of fashion, like that of the ghost is one, as Walter Benjamin observes, of eternal recurrence. However, fashion is also, interestingly, perennially preoccupied with the concept and imagery of the ghost. A dancing, disembodied figure, played by Kate Moss, was produced as a hologram and featured as both the dramatically evocative finale to Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2006 ‘Widow of Culloden’ Paris runway show and as the centerpiece in the ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition of McQueen’s work at the V&A Museum in London in 2015. The performance is not only hauntingly emotive but also mesmerising. However, static imagery of the performance enhances this ghostly quality. Roland Barthes suggests that that ‘if the photograph bespeaks a certain horror, it is because “it certifies that the corpse is alive, as corpse: it is the living image of a dead thing”’ (Cadava 1997). As such, in the photographic image of this performance, we encounter the depiction of a human experience yet also the loss of that experience, that time and the people within that moment. This paper explores the melancholy ghosts of fashion imagery with reference to three points of orientation. First, it considers the structural manner in which fashion, as aesthetic form, is inherently related to the ghost. Second, it explores the relationship of photography to ghosts and deathliness, and how this relationship contributes to the ghostly manner in which fashion is portrayed in photographic imagery. Finally, this paper discusses the disembodiment of the female body by way of such ghostly apparatus. Harriette Richards is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Her background is in political science, international relations and sociology. Her current research considers the relationship between fashion and melancholy, focusing on sartorial re-presentation in the antipodes, particularly in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. Recent work has been published in BIAS: The Journal of Dress Practice, borderlands e-journal, Forum: Journal of Culture and the Arts, and Vestoj: Journal of Sartorial Matters.
‘“How Do I Look?”: Sadness, sexuality and violence in the visual representation of cinematic AIs’ Louise Fanning (Western Sydney University) According to C. G. Jung the ultimate aim of alchemy was to produce a ‘corpus subtile, a transfigured and resurrected body, i.e., a body that was at the same time spirit. … the diamond body, in other words, the attainment of immortality through the transformation of the body’ (C. G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, pp. 427–8). On the cinematic screen the body can become whatever it wants, and artificially intelligent (AI) bodies even more so! Yet cinematically imagined AI bodies cling passionately to the form and emotion of a ‘real’ human in many ways, and indeed being human is what is longed for. The representation of this longing, sadness, plays an ambivalent role in both the narrative and the visual representation of AIs. From Ex Machina’s humanoid Ava (played by Alicia Vikander) to Terminator Genisys’ Guardian (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), images of sadness are connected to sexuality and violence and appear to underline the fashioning of these idealized forms. In this paper I will investigate how longing for a fully embodied human condition is played out in the visual representation of AI bodies on film.
DAY 1 / 1600D
Louise Fanning is presently a doctoral candidate at Western Sydney University in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. Louise’s area of research is film costume, and asks how ancient, traditional and contemporary masks and their myths inform our apprehension of the costumed cinematic body in order to elucidate meaning. Louise draws on her experience as a costume designer for film and television, and deploys a Jungian method of interpretation which views myth and its visual manifestations as a fantastical creation of our inner lives connected to aesthetic display. Louise completed a Master of Arts, Cultural Psychology(s) (Jungian Studies) at UWS in 2005, and a Master of Design (Research) at UTS in 2012. The title of that thesis is: Suffering Flesh, Spectacular Bodies: Connecting Costume and Cinema Through an Analysis of Symbolism, Myth and Ritual. The thesis can be viewed on the UTS Digital Thesis Collection site: http://hdl.handle. net/2100/1299.
‘The body beneath: Disembodiment through symbolic inversion’ Alyssa Choat (University of Technology Sydney) In performance, dress and body covering is often used to disembody and display otherness. This is analysed through the anthropological photographic work of Jackie Nickerson’s Terrain 2013 and Phyllis Galembo’s book Maske 2010 82
(pictured), alongside my own performance work in De Framed 2016, as an application of the Bakhtinian theory of the grotesque and the carnivalesque as a site of disembodiment through the upheaval of normative bodily presentation. In this work, the body becomes disembodied as the dress of those photographed enables the masquerading participants to perform an ‘other.’ Performances and rituals such as the masquerade, elaborate on Bakhtin’s theology of the carnival as a site of social upheaval and the disruption of ordinary life. It is a site for performance, which provides interesting insight into the performing body as disembodied. In relation to the gaze the body beneath unable to be seen, the spectators gaze is unable to be reflected and the spectator is denied the ability to visually seize the performer. This paper analyses the Bakhtinian notion of symbolic inversion, the deliberate upheaval of normative dress practices as a display of otherness or the ethereal and intangible. This paper will examine this representation of the body as displacement, a display of disembodiment through covering. Alyssa Choat is a doctoral candidate with a joint PhD ‘Critical Spatial Thinking: Narrative Space and Performative Practice’ with University Technology Sydney and Technology University Berlin. Her background is in Fashion and Textiles Design and she is currently working as a lecturer at University Technology Sydney in the Bachelor program. Her current research considers representation of the body in relation to power and the performing body as a site for upheaval of normative cultural structure. Her research is practice based with most recent performance work to be exhibited as part of Art Month Sydney, at the Galeries Victoria. Alyssa has completed a Masters of Design by Research with the title Revelation Through Concealment, 2014 and has more recently been published as part of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes annual conference 2015 in Florence, Italy where she presented the paper Fetishisation of the Image: The Ugly/Beautiful Paradigm.
Tim e and Rel ati onal i ty
‘Real time’ Daniel Black (Monash University) A number of writers (for example Virilio, Castells, Stiegler) have claimed that technology’s acceleration of time is nearing (or has reached) an apocalyptic crescendo that threatens to annihilate time altogether, leaving human beings without agency or the ability to control or critically evaluate the operation of the machines around them. They refer to this annihilation of human temporality using the borrowed technical term ‘real time’. However, this paper will argue that their usage of the term ‘real time’ is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of its meaning and significance for thinking about the relationship between human bodies and machines: where they take real time to mean a machine time characterised by instantaneity that is alien to human experience, real-time computing arose from an attempt to humanise the operation of technology by synchronising it with the time of human action and perception. Having explained the origins and contemporary relevance of real time, the paper will then go on to consider more broadly the possibility of closely integrated temporal relationships between bodies and machines.
DAY 1 / 1600E
Daniel Black is a Senior Lecturer in Communications and Media Studies at Monash University, Australia. His research focuses on technological embodiment, and the ways in which human action, perception and understanding are inflected by relationships with machines and artefacts. He has written and edited books including Embodiment and Mechanisation: Reciprocal Understandings of Body and Machine from the Renaissance to the Present and Contemporary Culture and Media in Asia (with Olivia Khoo and Koichi Iwabuchi), as well as writing book chapters, and articles in journals including Body & Society and Theory, Culture & Society.
‘Merging with technology’ Daniela Cerqui (Université de Lausanne) I am an anthropologist interested in the relationship between body and technology in the era of converging technologies. In 2005, after carrying out fieldwork in different research labs, I discussed my PhD thesis about how engineers involved into robotics and technological prostheses pictured humankind. In a nutshell, my conclusion was that we were shifting from a 84
therapeutical medicine towards an augmentation medicine and, at that time, everybody told me it was science-fiction! It leaded me to another lab, in the UK, where Kevin Warwick was the first human being with a chip implanted in his nervous system for augmentation purposes: he thinks that humans beings are obsolete and need to merge with technology in order to give birth to a new species. the cyborgs. I spent several years trying to understand his values and representations and we are still collaborating for common talks and papers. Temporality is a very important topic related to my analysis, as his brain to brain and brain to machine invasive interfaces are clearly based on the idea that the quicker we access data, the better. In this view, the body is seen as an interference. Dr Daniela Cerqui is a social and cultural anthropologist interested in the relationship between technology and society (and, more fundamentally, humankind). She is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) where she is involved in teaching and research on emerging and converging technologies (biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, information technologies and cognitive sciences). She spent several years doing a full-time research in the Department of Cybernetics of the University of Reading – where Prof. K. Warwick was merging human beings and computers – and she is still closely working with him in order to identify the social and ethical issues.
‘My iPod, myself: Grief and loss in the world of mobile touchscreen technology’ Laura Glitsos (Curtin University) In this paper, I explore the way mobile music devices with touchscreen technology produce new somatechnical relationships between the music listener and their device. I deploy somatechnics as conceptual apparatus because the field suggests an ‘intimate entanglement of soma (the body) and techne (techniques or technologies)’ (Dahl and Sundén 2013). Up until now, somatechnics has been largely applied in queer theory to bring forth and denaturalise ‘operations of power that shape corporealities’ (Sullivan and Murray, 2012). However, I extend its use here in order to argue that the changing relationships between the humancomputer interface result in new affective schemas that expand and reconfigure how it feels to lose one’s mobile music device. I frame the device in terms of a music-prosthetic, which produces new forms of emotional support in the everyday lives of users, but also new possibilities for absence and grief if and when 85
those devices are lost or broken. I suggest that because the mobile touchscreen device can be touched, caressed, manipulated and of course taken everywhere with the listener, this particular relationship is prone to deep feelings of grief if and when it is fractured. Laura Glitsos has recentlyÂ completed her doctoral degree at Curtin University with a focus on the transformation of music listening experiences with the digitisation of technology. She currently teaches at Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University across media, arts, communications and cultural studies.Â
A B S T R A C T S
DAY TWO Fri day , D e c e mbe r 2
Th e Qu anti fi ed Sel f
‘Timing the body in John Floyer’s The Physician’s Pulse-watch (1707)’ Emily Cock (University of Winchester) In this paper I use queer work on temporality to read the first major English study of the pulse: John Floyer’s The Physician’s Pulse-Watch; or, an Essay To Explain the Old Art of Feeling the Pulse, and to Improve it by the Help of a Pulse-Watch (1707). The late seventeenth century witnessed a revolution in chronometry as a series of major mechanical developments greatly increased people’s access to accurate clocks. This in turn produced a drastic shift in how people experienced and conceptualised time, including in relation to their personal health. A long-practicing physician, Floyer (1649–1734) commissioned a special watch with a stoppable second hand so that he could accurately measure the pulse rates of his patients, and recorded in meticulous detail variations and their likely causes. He embraced the seventeenth-century movement from a spatial to temporal understanding of the pulse, and drew on Classical Greek and Chinese as well as contemporary European understandings of the pulse in his treatise. His belief in the pulse rate as the key to bodily health in this text enables it to be read as proto-chronobiology. I therefore draw on recent work on chrononormative embodiment from theorists such as Elizabeth Freeman and Jack Halberstam to show how within Floyer’s text can be seen the beginnings of a mechanical approach to regulating the body’s natural timekeeping.
DAY 2 / 1100A
Emily Cock is a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Winchester on the Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘Effaced from History: The Disfigured and their Stories from Antiquity to the Present Day’. She holds a PhD from the University of Adelaide.
‘The cultural techniques of medical haptic media, from the sphygmograph to photoplethysmography and the Apple Watch’ Christopher O’Neill (University of Melbourne) This paper shall pursue a comparison of the cultural techniques surrounding the 19th century pulse writing technology the sphygmograph, and the contemporary blood pressure measuring medium of photoplethysmography, a clinical technology which has been remediated as a component of the Apple Watch. By drawing attention to the particular haptic reconfigurement afforded by both technologies, this paper shall pursue a critique of wearable sensors which will theorise their 88
function as tools for the sensibilisation of authority. The touch of the physician is often considered metonymic of the intimacy which characterises the ideal relationship between doctor and patient. Much criticism of modern medicine decries this loss of intimacy, the loss of the hands-on relationship between doctor and patient which becomes irrelevant when it is machines rather than hands doing the probing of sickly bodies, or when taking a patient’s pulse. However, as an analysis of the 19th century sphygmograph and contemporary photoplethysmographic devices reveals, the hand of the doctor has remained an impassable element of the technological apparatus, fundamental in the correct application and interpretation of the device. Hence, while many accounts of technological media have emphasised the effacement of the haptic and the promotion of a violent scopic drive as constitutive of modernity’s sensorium (cf. Crary 1990), this article shall examine how within medical haptic media, it is the touch of the doctor which remains an ‘obligatory passing point’ (Latour & Callon 1987) in the authorisation and calibration of physiological data. This observation in turn serves to complicate arguments that the current proliferation of wearable sensor devices and the emergence of the Quantified Self community signals the obsolescence of the traditional doctor-patient relationship, demonstrating instead that trained medical practitioners remain necessary in order to bridge gaps in wearable sensors’ recording mechanisms, thus binding users of wearable sensors in an intimate embrace with the medical industry. Christopher O’Neill is a PhD candidate in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is currently completing a thesis examining the genealogy of wearable sensor technologies, focusing on the fields of medicine, labor, and security. He is a member of the Research Unit in Public Cultures Graduate Academy at The University of Melbourne.
‘The politics of materiality and the gendered voice of Siri’ Thao Phan (University of Melbourne) We live, contents Alexander Galloway (2006), in an algorithmic culture. Algorithms are now inescapably embedded into everyday life transforming processes and objects from cultural artefacts into ‘smart’ systems. But unlike most algorithms, which are obscured behind the black box of post-industrial processes, Intelligent Personal Assistant Softwares such as Apple’s Siri are imbued with voice and personality. That is, they are given a materiality and tangibility. This paper aims to interrogate the nature of this materiality, and specifically, the manifestation of the gendered voice. It is my contention that the gendered voice 89
of Siri is symptomatic of the difficulties in performing trust and transparency in what is essentially an intangible process. As Christian Sandvig (2015) has argued, transparency and trust are processes that must be seen in order to be believed but the issue with algorithms is that for the most part they can’t be seen. Thus for these ‘robots’, the performance of human sociality, specifically the use of language, humour, and the presentation of gender are cunning manoeuvres that contribute to the performance of ‘trust’ in the theatre of persuasion. Continuing Sandvig’s trajectory, this research seeks to explore the relationship between gender, sociality, and immediacy in these artificial systems.
DAY 2 / 1100A
Thao Phan is a PhD candidate in the Media and Communications program at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests are in feminism and technoscience, and her current dissertation interrogates the figure gendered body in discourses of Artificial Intelligence.
Virtuall y Q u eer
‘Sculpting in time: Bareback weblogs and crafting the everyday’ Jordan McArthur (Macquarie University) The temporality of barebacking – that is, intentional unprotected anal intercourse among men who have sex with men – is often conceived through the prisms of HIV/AIDS hauntings and the anti-heteronormative reimagining of the life-death continuum. In this paper I aim to unfold these understandings of bareback time to explore what practitioners do with temporality, with a focus on the bareback blogosphere. Central to this paper is the development of a socio-technical and techno-cultural account of bareback weblogs that attends to the material specificity of blogging technologies as well as the multiple articulations and enactments of digital bodies in the bareback blogosphere. Using a conceptual frame from anthropology, cultural studies, and media studies, this paper argues that barebacking practitioners ‘sculpt in time’, to borrow Russian filmmaker’s Andrei Tarkovsky’s famous phrase, crafting everyday experiences in order to develop subjective and intersubjective identities, communities, and meanings of barebacking. The aim of the paper is to contribute to conversations about the cultural dimensions of bareback subculture through the examination of temporality, technology, and digital corporeality. Jordan McArthur is a postgraduate student in Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. His research investigates the material difficulties of sustaining safe sex. He has a forthcoming article in Fat Studies.
‘“No camp, no fem”: Masculinities, sexualities and embodiment across Grindr’ Carl Anthony Bonner-Thompson (Newcastle University, UK) This paper highlights the initial findings from my PhD research, which explores masculinities and sexualities across the location based, ‘hook-up’ app, Grindr. I draw upon 31 semi-structured interviews and four participant research diaries with gay men who use Grindr in Newcastle-upon-Tyne – a postindustrial city in Northeast England. Mobile dating applications are becoming increasingly enmeshed in everyday socio-sexual lives, providing ‘new’ spaces for the construction, embodiment and performance of gender and sexuality (van Doorn, 2011; Longhurst, 2013; Kinsley, 2014). Drawing attention to the ways power relations shape materiality, desire and eroticism, I explore how digital 91
spaces, technologies and bodies are intertwined in the construction of online masculinities. I argue that such online forms of masculinities are embedded in normative ideas of manliness (for example, body size, language and grooming), however the ways these come to matter are subject to digitally mediated forms of embodiment. Through this, I highlight the different ways Grindr users are constructing and embodying masculinities online, and how these gendered subjectivities shape the way they engage with other users. Carl Bonner-Thompson is a Human Geography PhD candidate at Newcastle University. He is also the Editorial Assistant for Gender, Place and Culture: A Feminist Geography Journal.
DAY 2 / 1100B
‘Heidegger on Grindr: Fragmentation, enframing and the persistence of nature-culture dichotomies in new technologies’ Shane Tas (University of Melbourne) The release of the iPhone application Grindr in 2009, has significantly altered how gay men approach desire, intimacy, sex and relationships. In this paper I consider firstly how bodies are represented visually on this site and also the ways in which language is deployed around these bodies. What emerges is a catalogue of terms and rules regarding ideal, othered and excluded bodies. Evidently such technologies mediate and categorise bodies, desire and subjectivity in ways that are limiting and restrictive. Moreover they tend to reinforce ideals of masculinity, one that is thoroughly hegemonic - white, heterosexual and physically powerful. That is, profile users are represented within corporeal terms and framed within a set of templates that simplify or “thin out” their subjectivities in accordance with deeply embedded (and persistent) ideologies regarding gender and sexuality. In raising these concerns I consider Heidegger’s essay on technology and in particular his notion of enframing. I argue that his work provides a productive framework in which to examine the features of Grindr and their effects. Moreover it emphasises the need to address technology and the relationship we have developed with it. In many respects technologies such as Grindr are a perfect paradigm for the continuing problem of the nature-culture dichotomy. The ways in which we develop and engage with these technologies points to an obsession with this dichotomy and man’s persistent attempt to control and order nature.
1 1 0 0 C C h ron ol og i c s ‘Addiction lite: Everyday anaesthetic time’ Cressida Heyes (University of Alberta, Canada) The phenomenological tradition has typically understood temporality as a central organizing axis of lived experience, and experience itself as always temporal. As embodied subjects we always exist spatially and temporally, with an interesting bent toward the future: our eyes look ahead, and we most commonly and easily move forward rather than back. More subtly, some phenomenological thinkers understand the typical lived experience of temporality to require activity—the self-conscious completion of various doings that fill in and provide a framework for grasping the passing of time. This paper picks away at the subtle assumption that activity is required to make sense of time, outlining instead an experience that is part and parcel of postdisciplinary temporality. Not exactly the same as boredom or day-dreaming, anaesthetic time is ‘addiction lite’ (as I show through comparing and contrasting research in phenomenological psychology on serious opiate addictions). It is a diffuse, drifting, unpunctuated, unproductive, and unsynchronized temporality facilitated by everyday drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, benzos, or sugar. Anaesthetic time is sitting on the couch in the evening drinking beers and binge-watching Netflix. It refuses to allow experience to be temporally organized – maybe it even refuses to count as an experience because it refuses to be taken up with anything we might call activity. It is simultaneously deeply political, offering a respite from the unceasing demands of technologically mediated paid labour and childcare. I offer a phenomenology of anaesthetic time that speaks in both registers simultaneously. I suggest that both aspects of anaesthetic time must be denied in order to gloss the realities of overwork and addiction for privileged populations, as I show through the example of the marketing of bad wine to white middle-class mothers. Cressida Heyes is Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality, and Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Alberta, Canada. She is the author of Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies (Oxford University Press 2007) and Line Drawings: Defining Women through Feminist Practice (Cornell University Press 2000), and the editor or co-editor of a number of volumes of essays. She is currently completing a book tentatively called Anaesthetics of Existence: Essays on Experience in its Absence, and is starting to think through a feminist philosophy of sleep. 93
‘“You’re Live!”: The conditioning and modulation of bodies in live television’ Brooke Kathleen McArthur (University of Sydney) In this paper, I investigate the worker’s body in the labour of producing and delivering live television content. It explores the multiple bodies and temporalities at work in the various labour processes that enable the production and delivery of live content. Further, the paper discusses how these processes require workers to engage in different practices of conditioning their body to prepare for and endure the event. The entanglement of bodies and temporalities is contingent on where the labour is situated within the process of producing and delivering live content, the spatio-temporal and socio-technical arrangements associated with the labour process, the genre, and the time of capture and delivery. Developing a conceptual framework from cultural studies, media studies, and phenomenology, this paper examines the modulation of bodies as well as the affective, cognitive, and physical responses to the multiple temporalities of live television. This papers aims to contribute to the understandings of labour processes in television institutions by introducing the complexities of corporeality, temporality and technology. Brooke McArthur is a postgraduate student in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her current research interests include cultural institutions and practices; culture and economy; labour and processes; and consumption.
DA Y 2 / 1100C
‘Paying dearly for privilege: Vocationalism, temporality and the body in academic life’ Ruth Barcan (University of Sydney) This paper explores the forms of lived time that characterise a vocational relationship to academic work. Drawing on qualitative interviews and surveys with 30 academics from a number of countries, it paints a portrait of vocationalism as a double-edged sword. The research, conducted with academics who had left the profession early or had given up looking for ongoing academic work, found that despite widespread disaffection and disillusionment, academics overwhelmingly consider their profession to be a ‘vocation’. A vocational relation to work implicates temporality and embodiment in particular ways. Vocation is, as David T. Hansen argues, not merely an attitude, idea or feeling of commitment, but a mode of being enacted through practice, some of it mundane. It is characterised by ‘sustained creativeness’ (Emmett, qtd. in Hansen) and innumerable quiet repetitions rather than dramatic displays of heroism, and 94
it reposes on inherited ‘layers of public significance’ built up over generations. It thus relies on big temporalities (legacies from the past; visions of a collective future) and on particular configurations of lived time (or what Sarah Sharma calls ‘temporal architectures’). It typically produces a sense of purpose, meaning and satisfaction, while also being open to exploitation by managers. In the words of one of the interviewees, ‘Yes, [academic work] is a privilege, but you pay dearly for it’. Associate Professor Ruth Barcan works in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research explores the body in contemporary culture, with particular interests in nudity, nudism and complementary and alternative medicine. She is also a keen teacher, and is the winner of a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award (2011) and a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (2014). She is the author of Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy (2004); Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Bodies, Therapies, Senses(2011); and Academic Life and Labour in the New University: Hope and Other Choices (2013). She currently has two research projects: one on academics leaving the profession and the other on the resurgence of chicken-keeping in Sydney. She tries hard not to mix them up.
‘The somatechnics of digital infrastructure and citizenship in the Gigatown competition in the South Island’ Holly Randall-Moon (University of Otago, NZ) Gigatown was a joint initiative between the telecommunications company Chorus and the New Zealand government to award a town “the fastest internet in the Southern Hemisphere” through a social media competition. Although framed as an energising and creative endeavour, the Gigatown initiative harnesses competition as the policy mechanism through which resource allocation is implemented. The competition somatechnically positions residents as both citizens, who have the right to participate in policy planning and development, and consumers, who must be proficient in social media and give away their digital labour freely in order to enjoy this right. Whilst touted as an initiative that could bring cities into the ‘weightless’ economy of online global markets, Gigatown exemplifies the tensions between the embodied creative participation in policy development and the ownership of the mechanisms through which participation can take place. For instance, Gigatown holds digital copyright of the social media materials produced by participants, disappearing their bodily labour, which has led to community and artist opposition to the initiative. The Gigatown competition connects digital creativity to social inclusion and access to 95
policy development, with the winning town receiving a substantial economic and infrastructural boost. At the same time, the use of a social media competition as the policy mechanism through which resource allocation takes place highlights problems with the Digital Divide and the somatechnical reliance on social media proficiency in a development scheme assumed to yield benefits for all community members.
DA Y 2 / 1100C
Holly Randell-Moon is a Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Her publications on popular culture, gender, and sexuality have appeared in the edited book collections, Common Sense: Intelligence as Presented on Popular Television (2008) and Television Aesthetics and Style (2013) and the journals Feminist Media Studies and Refractory. She has also published on race, religion, and secularism in the journals Critical Race and Whiteness Studies, borderlands and Social Semiotics and in the edited book collections Mediating Faiths (2010) and Religion after Secularization in Australia (2015).
Biocrea ti vi ty
â€˜The queer temporality of CandidaHomo biotechnoculturesâ€™ Tarsh Bates (SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia) Candida albicans is a yeast; one species of the hundreds that live in the ecosystems of the human body. It dwells in the multispecies communities within our bodies, on our dark, moist, warm folds, consuming sugars and other nutrients. Environmental change invites the usually companionable yeast to occupy the desolated spaces vacated by bacterial inhabitants destroyed by antibiotics or excessive use of antibacterial or antiseptic cleaning products. Immune inhibition incites yeast cells to morph into hyphal cells that put down roots into human cells and tissue. Multispecies communities resistant to anti-fungals thrive in multistory micro-scaffolds built on latex, silicon, titanium, stainless steel and acrylic biomedical prosthetics. Inflamed tissues riot, trying to evict the intruders. The host absorbs anti-fungals, yoghurt, garlic; purges sugar, carbohydrates, fruit, to soothe the populace. Scales of spacetime are crucial in the relationships between Homo sapiens and Candida albicans. From a human perspective, candida are internal, microscopic, invisible, simultaneously short lived (days) and immortal. How might candida perceive time? Is it the time of intracellular communications between host and self, or the temporality of reproduction and replication â€“ when one cell becomes two, identical, yet separate? If self is constantly replicated, when is one born? Does one die? How is a life measured? Is time reckoned as the temporality of consumption, when sugars appear and reappear? Does candida recognise periodicity as intervals of infection; an exuberant fecundity, or as length of mycelial growth? This paper is an attempt to understand how other species might understand temporality, through the radical difference of CandidaHomo biotechnocultures. Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher/educator interested in how knowledge and experience form and transfer through the relationships between material, bodies, environment and culture. She completed a Master of Science (Biological Arts) in 2012 and 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 and counter realism, an editor, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model.
She is currently a candidate for a PhD (Biological Arts) at SymbioticA UWA where her research is concerned the aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a multispecies ecology. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.
‘Xenopoiesis – Acts of corporeal estrangement’ Jaden J. A. Hastings What is the status of the art object made of disembodied flesh? The act of alienation from the body fractures its identity, forcing it into a liminal state, as it transitions from functional tissue to art object. What of the diminished body from whence it came? Moreover, could the archetypal elements of mythology, prove applicable toward a comprehension of this transition, this apotheosis, of body into artwork?
DA Y 2 / 1100D
There are three modalities through which I propose the flesh can transcend into an immortal object, and each represents the acquisition of a degree of freedom from its source: disembodiment (freedom from the body to form an independent identity), transfiguration (freedom to take on another form) and transubstantiation (freedom from a priori temporal-spatial constraints of the proto-body). In parallel, as these transcendental objects reach toward immortality, the Self (the artist’s body) will undergo a series of repeated deaths as its corporeal material is gradually isolated and removed through a schema of incremental disembodiment and toward an intentional obsolescence of the Self. This body of artwork in development proffers the body as terrain for exploration and exploitation for the. It interrogates notions of preservation, regeneration, and modification for the sake of attaining immortality. Examples of the artist’s previous work – Penetralia, Bennu and Pritmitiae, in particular – will be presented, as well as work in development as part of this research. Jaden J. A. Hastings’ work focuses upon the intersection and interplay of art and science - from philosophy to praxis – merging scientific and artistic research. An alumna of New York University, Harvard University, and the University of Oxford with advanced degrees in both Biology and Bioinformatics, Jaden’s career in scientific research spans over a decade. In 2012, she was awarded a full scholarship to attend the studio based MA in Art & Science at Central Saint Martins. Graduating with Distinction, she was also one of three students shortlisted for the Daniel Ford Prize for Innovation. 98
Jaden has been an invited to be artist-in-residence for the Story of Light Festival in Goa, the Khoj Workshops in Delhi, SymbioticA in Perth, the Lumen Residency in Atina, Italy, and Ausstellingsraum Klingental in Basel. Presently, Jaden is a PhD candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts of the University of Melbourne in Interdisciplinary Arts Practice on an IPRS/APA scholarship.
‘Emergent methodologies between disciplinary belongings: New Materialism and transdisciplinary creative practice’ Svenja Kratz (Interdisciplinary Creative Practice at the Creative Exchange Institute and Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania) At present we are living through times of profound and increasingly rapid change in which oppositional thinking is gaining renewed criticism. Human actions and the material products of our culture have significantly altered the earth’s climate and ecology, thought is finally recognised as a biological and embodied process and humans are no longer seen as the pinnacle of evolution, but rather, as Timothy Morton asserts, part of an unpredictable, evolving and interconnected ‘mesh’ of animate and inanimate components. This rethinking, which is broadly linked to the multiple resonances of new materialism, has profound ethical, economic and political implications, but is also starting to transform approaches to creative practice as research. Drawing together ideas from the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Elizabeth Grosz and Estelle Barret and Barbara Bolt, the proposed paper examines the significance of corporeality and the vitality of matter in the context of transdisciplinary contemporary arts practice. Mapping the development of creative works produced in a nexus between art and science, the importance of chance encounters, environmental affordance, process and duration is addressed, with particular attention to the productive charge of creative practice underpinned by a philosophy of becoming. The value of working across disciplinary terrains is also explored, with emphasis on the transformative potential of hybrid methodologies that embrace uncertainty and highlight the value of lived experience and embodied interaction with the world. Svenja Kratz is a contemporary Australian new media artist interested in transdisciplinary creative practice, particularly the intersections between science and art. She has received the QLD Premier’s New Media Scholarship from QAGOMA and a Creative Sparks grant from the Brisbane City Council, and has been artist in residence at the University of Queensland participating in an interactive architectural project in collaboration with the UQ Art Museum,
Queensland Brain Institute and IT/EE, Architecture and Music departments at UQ. Svenja holds a PhD in Biotechnology and Contemporary Art from QUT and has exhibited her works at a range of national and international. She is currently based in Hobart and works as a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Creative Practice at the Creative Exchange Institute (CxI) and Tasmanian College of the Arts (TCotA) at the University of Tasmania.
â€˜A view from the inside: Art scanning from a somatechnical perspectiveâ€™ Fiona Fell (Griffith University)
DA Y 2 / 1100D
This paper comments on a particular development in my artistic practice in the realm of ceramic sculpture that can be identified as an instance of somatechnics. By employing technologies that are meant and developed for scientific rather than artistic use and employing them for constructive rather than diagnostic purposes, my art evolves on an exciting, innovative interface that reconnects rational distance and emotional involvement and allows for alternative paths of creative experience and analysis. In my search for new terrains of representation of the body beyond established ceramic and sculptural methods, I have incorporated medical scanning and imaging technologies into my studio-based research, inserting my art practice and outcomes in New Media and Performance Studies. The technologies applied to my artistic research and practice are producing new ways of seeing beyond their alleged initial purposes, leading to a rich somatechnical interface of ex/change that rescripts the body of art and the artistâ€™s in novel ways. Fiona Fell has been a professional ceramics artist for over 25 years and an educator at Tertiary institutions for 20 years. Fiona has received several international grants and exhibits nationally and internationally. She is represented by Watters Gallery in Sydney and is currently Lectures in 3D
Em b odi ed Ti me and New M a t e r i a l i sm
‘Temporal cuts in the bodily encounters with zoe’ Monika Rogowska-Stangret (Warsaw University, Poland) In this paper I introduce the concept of ‘bodily encounters with zoe’. The concept is dwelling on the notion coined by Luce Irigaray – bodily encounters with the mother. Irigaray claims that what remains in the shadow of Western culture is the figure of the mother and maternal body, thus what she calls ‘bodily encounters with the mother’. However, recent shift to matter, flat ontologies and non-human agencies (in the new materialisms and posthumanism) brought attention to what is beyond human as excluded and forgotten in anthropocentric culture. The concept of ‘bodily encounters with zoe’ mobilizes theoretical approaches of Rosi Braidotti, Elizabeth Grosz, Erin Manning and Brian Massumi to present lines of contact with zoe as a dynamic space of emergence, encounters, and fading of human and beyond-human. The space created by ‘bodily encounters with zoe’ is one of bodying (vide Massumi), of open pulsation of bodily differences, flows, and transformations. It is an ontological concept that encourages the affinity of human and beyond. Those theoretical frameworks appear to embrace all the differences and include all the exclusions in their openness and fluidity. It is however important to ask: is there an ‘elsewhere’ of ‘bodily encounters with zoe’? Karen Barad and her potent concept of intra-actions brought the ‘elsewhere’ to the very heart of mattering (here: of ‘bodily encounters with zoe’) and this theoretical shift rephrases the question of inclusion-exclusion in terms of ‘cut together/apart’. In this paper I would like to suggest that different bodily temporalities enliven both the openness and fluidity of ‘bodily encounters with zoe’ and the cuts introduced to them. Thus, ‘bodily encounters with zoe’ are shaped, enabled, and inhibited by time. It is due to temporality that the differences and cuts are effected. Monika Rogowska-Stangret is a theorist and researcher in the fields of philosophy, gender studies and animal studies. She collaborates with the Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, she currently teaches at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences. She defended her PhD thesis entitled “The Body – Beyond Otherness and Sameness. Three Figures of the Body in Contemporary Philosophy” at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences (October 2013). She is a Member of Management Committee of European network: New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Action IS 1307. For more information see: https://independent.academia.edu/ MonikaRogowskaStangret.
‘Documentary, time and embodiment’ Ilona Hongitso (Macquarie University)
DAY 2 / 1100E
This paper focuses on the techniques with which documentary films frame their subjects. More specifically, it focuses on framing as a technique that captures bodies at the throes of change. The specific setting of the discussion is postSoviet Eastern Europe and the transition period during which Eastern European countries gradually transformed into (prospective) members of the European Union. Within this socio-political setting, the paper focuses on embodiment on two levels and draws on new materialist takes on corporeal emergence. First, it discusses the impact of the transition period on corporealities in general and then it elaborates on the ways in which documentary frames capture and express corporealities in transition. Here, the paper will look at longitudinal documentary projects from Eastern Europe and elaborate on long term serial observation as a technique of capturing embodiment in becoming. The serial form of longitudinal documentaries ties documentary bodies to futurity. Indeed, the paper argues that seriality captures and expresses documentary bodies in ways that evoke questions of futurity, realities that are yet to come. The paper posits that framing and seriality are the documentary’s prime techniques for dealing with bodies in transition. Ilona Hongisto is Lecturer in Media Studies at Macquarie University and Honorary Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne. Her research cuts across documentary media, philosophies of fabulation and emergent cinemas, most recently in a project on post-Soviet Eastern European documentary cinema. Hongisto’s monograph Soul of the Documentary: Framing, Expression, Ethics was published by Amsterdam University Press in 2015. Her work has also appeared in such journals as Cultural Studies Review, Studies in Documentary Film, Transformations and Journal of Scandinavian Cinema.
‘Stars’ embodiment and the ageing process in cinema’ Michelle Royer (University of Sydney) This paper will explore the potential of cinema to embody the ageing process through stars’ presence. It will show how films craft corporealities of ageing through: the use of spectators’ filmic memories and their sense of intimacy with stars; manipulation of time through intertextual and extra-filmic links; flash back, flash forward and haptic shots. Two sets of examples will be 102
analyzed: Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert in Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1984) and in The Valley of Love (Guillaume Nicloux, 2015) and Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant in Amour (Michael Haneke, 2013) with references to Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) and And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1956). Michelle Royer is Associate professor in the Department of French Studies at the University of Sydney. She lectures in the area of French and World Cinema, has published extensively on Marguerite Duras’ cinema and recently co-edited a volume titled Stars in World Cinema: Film Icons and Star Systems across Cultures (2015). Her publications include chapters on Claire Denis’ cinema (2012), on Simone de Beauvoir and Cinema (2012), on French star Isabelle Huppert (2014) and she is involved in a large research project on ‘Senescence in World Cinema’. She is the convener of a conference on ‘Marguerite Duras and the Arts’ (University of Sydney, June 29 – July 1, 2016).
‘Lesboratories, or On the productivity of material intra-actions’ Tuula Juvonen (University of Tampere, Finland) Lesbian communities are often seen as an unproblematic point of departure for empirical research, as if they would have always already been there, stable entities, ready to be studied. In my paper I want to argue that lesbian communities should rather be conceptualized as “lesboratories”, as apparatuses, which enable the constant state of becoming both for the community itself, and those lesbian subjectivities which both create it and emerge out of it. Such an approach, which benefits from the theoretical work of Karen Barad (1996), is particularly productive when studying the emerging lesbian communities, in this case in Finland of the 1980s. In the paper I explore how lesbian subjectivities started to emerge from the intra-actions of gendered bodies that were taking place in and with two subsequent venues, Työväentalo and Merirosvo, in Tampere. Based on oral history interviews I have conducted with women who used to frequent the dance parties held in those places, and a few related news articles, I seek to tune in to the self-understanding of an emerging sexual community. I do that by focusing on certain material items mentioned in the interviews as those venues were discussed, such as door signs, a bar counter, beer bottles, music equipment, and curtains. I argue that the intra-actions they enabled and initiated with the patrons were vital for the particularities of emerging lesbian subjectivities. 103
DAY 2 / 1100E
Tuula Juvonen works as an Academy Research Fellow at the University of Tampere, Finland. After finishing her Ph.D. on the post-war construction of Finnish homosexuality, she has scrutinized the heteronormativity of diverse professional practices which have been involved in knowledge production about female and male homosexuality, such as journalism, sex research, parliamentary politics, and archiving. Currently she is studying intimate and social lives of women with same-sex sexual attractions in Tampere since the 1970s.
Disab il i ty and Ti me
‘Queer Futures? Decolonising the body through DIY technology’ Miranda Johnson (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK) In this paper I examine Catalan anarchist collective Gynepunk’s DIY gynaecology laboratory to argue that the collective’s goals dovetail with what Zach Blas calls queer technology, where these technologies ‘offer not only a critique of mainstream technological developments and functionalities but also…gesture toward queer utopic potentials with technology.’ Catalan anarchist collective Gynepunk aim to decolonise the female body by providing open-access, DIY gynaecological tools, advice, and treatment for socially disadvantaged women, sex workers, and queer and trans people who are uncomfortable with or unable to access medical treatment through traditional paths. Queer technology is similarly connected to the biopolitical constructions of the body, posthuman debates, and the resurgence of scientific discourse in new materialist feminist writings. In particular, Jane Bennett’s argument for the ‘vibrancy’ of matter suggests that the construction of the body itself, its molecules, are ‘lively and self-organising’ with their own agenda - a suggestion that has significant implications for theories of queer and trans embodiment. Queer technology also draws upon other recent debates within queer theory spearheaded by Jack Halberstam and Jose Esteban Munoz, in which utopian visions of the future contain queer potential for political change. Therefore, by examining the turn to DIY gynaecological treatment by the Gynepunk collective, I will interrogate the connection between new materialist concerns, queer theory, and utopian visions of queer technological futurity. Miranda Johnson is a recent graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London, where she completed an MA (Contemporary Art Theory) in the Department of Visual Cultures. She is particularly interested in how craft and DIY technologies intersect with notions of queer futurity and post-capitalist theories of work, labour and time. Miranda is currently based in Perth, Australia.
‘From no future to the ship of fools: Building an alternative futurity for children and adults with disabilities James Sheldon (University of Arizona, USA) Normative time is disciplined through what Freeman calls chrononormativity, and this disciplining is particularly evident in the experiences of disabled children. Despite the constant regimenting of the present reality for disabled children in both time and space, they are essentially denied a future, the future generally being figured without people with disabilities, as discussed by Mollow and Kafer. Exploring Muñoz’s critiques of Edelman, I emphasize the importance of futurity for children with disabilities, particularly a future in which they get to construct it themselves rather than it being constructed for them.
DAY 2 / 1600A
Concomitantly, spatiality for children with disabilities is structured by the apparatus of special education and keeps children in highly restrictive settings that are more about fulfilling the needs of the special education system than about the needs of the children thus confined. I turn to Foucault’s discussion of the Ship of Fools in order to begin to imagine an alternative, queer time and space that is “steered” by children (and adults) with disabilities towards their own ends and goals. James Sheldon is a doctoral student in the Math and Science Focus of the Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies department at the University of Arizona. His research interests include queer/crip temporality and spatiality, curriculum studies, queer math, disability studies, and collaborative groupwork. His recently published chapter, ‘Versatility’, appeared last month in an anthology, Critical Concepts in Queer Studies in Education. Upcoming publications of his explore the issues of people with disabilities conducting their own research and deconstructing the active/passive binary in Paulo Freire’s work. He can be reached at email@example.com.
‘Access, resistance and “digital” bodies: The technical narratives as presented by autistic women’ Susanna French (Australian National University) The female autistic profile has long been determined by patriarchal medical epistemology. A result of this has been a silencing of female autistic identities. This paper will focus on interviews with autistic women and their forms of resistance against patriarchal medical narratives of the female profile by using 106
social media. This paper will explore how technology poses a way for these women to become legitimate and legible subjects by creating a kind of ‘digital’ body that gives them access to a political sphere that was otherwise closed to them. My participants have presented creative and innovative narratives that would otherwise not be found in medical research. They discuss in their own words their autism symptoms associated with their female embodiment and capacities. They also discuss how they navigated their agency and autonomy in a world that privileges neurotypical hegemonic masculinity. Their digital bodies have opened up new discourses on the female profile that did not exist previously, and have also opened up new research efforts concerning the female experience. Susannah French is a PhD candidate in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University researching the female experience of autism. Her thesis argues that there is under- or mis-diagnosis of females with autism, rendering them invisible to the autism support community. Susannah’s thesis aims to explore how the social conditioning of females and conventional diagnostic practices contributes to the invisibility of autistic females. Through her research, she hopes to improve the understanding of clinicians and the public of the varied experiences according to gender that autistic individuals have.
‘Social inequalities and the stressed body’ Isabel Karpin & Karen O’Connell (University of Technology Sydney) Social inequalities are smuggled into medical explanations of disability, allowing unacknowledged racialized and gendered assumptions to skew our understandings of what it means to be a person with disability. Epigenetic harms, produced by exposure to stress and environmental shocks, can, it is argued, turn certain genes on and off. Recent literature on epigenetics highlights the view that these stresses can be traced to underlying, and unequal, social relations (Guthman and Mansfield, 2013). Niewohner (2011) argues that the prevailing ‘molecularised’ concept of stress is problematic as stress has a complicated genealogy. We suggest that stress is also an embedded legal concept, registering the harm that follows negligent or other unlawful shocks as remediable. We examine the concept of stress in discrimination law, which is directed at redressing social inequalities. While socially disadvantaged groups have consistently described the stress of unequal treatment as pervasive, we show that law also ‘molecularises’ this inequality into isolated incidents of discrimination. Epigenetics provides an account of social inequality that gives scientific weight to first-person narratives 107
of the bodily and systemic harms caused by discrimination. In critiquing the molecular approach, we argue for more complex, and just, legal concepts of stress and discrimination. Professor Karpin is in the Law Faculty at UTS and researches on the bioethical implications of laws governing reproductive technologies, genetic testing and disability. She explores the challenge posed by new biotechnological developments on legal understandings of normality, disability, individuality, and family. She has a BA and LLB from Sydney University, a Masters of Law from Harvard University and a Doctorate (JSD) from Columbia University. She is the author and co-author of articles, book chapters and books including recently Perfecting Pregnancy: Law Disability and the Future of Reproduction 2012 (with K Savell) published by Cambridge University Press and edited collections such as Nisker, Bayliss, Karpin, McLeod and Mykitiuk, ‘The Healthy Embryo’ (2010). She is currently involved in two major ARC projects, one exploring the regulation of behaviour as a disability (with Dr O’Connell) and the other examining family formation using reproductive technology both inside and outside law and across borders (with Professors Millbank, Stuhmcke, Mykitiuk and Jackson)
DAY 2 / 1600A
Dr Karen O’Connell is in the Law Faculty at UTS and is an expert in discrimination law, particularly sex and disability discrimination, and biotechnologies of the body, neuroscience and genetics. She is experienced in law reform, policy development and managing large research projects. With Professor Isabel Karpin, she holds an Australia Research Council grant on ‘The Legal Regulation of Behaviour as a Disability’ (2015–2018). She joined UTS in 2010 as a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research fellow, with a project on ‘Equality Laws in the Biotechnological Age’. Dr O’Connell has a BA and LLB from Sydney University, and a Masters (LLM) and Doctorate in Law (JSD) from Columbia University.
S o m at ec hni c Fi c ti ons
‘Of vanishing bodies and embodied signs: Corporeality in the digital phase’ Rajni Mujral (The English and Foreign Languages University, India) Corporeality manifests itself through and in language or even on a metadiscursive level where body moves into the symbolic. The question of embodied subjectivity has to engage with the challenge of disembodied condition of existence emerging from the increasing degree of prosthesis. This can also be seen as the issue of vanishing bodies, bodies that recede and fade with the surging wave of techne. Interruption of technology is leading to, what Bernard Stiegler calls, noetic impoverishment, indicating the decadence in the notion of care. Care functions as an originary and ethical category, as the constituent element of the ‘self ’. Explaining it as a mode of ‘transformation of individuation’, Stiegler maintains that, ‘care … always works through the care one takes of oneself through the care one takes of others’. To put it in alternative terms, it is a question of ‘the manifoled [sic] acts of other people in relation to me, acts performed intermittently throughout my life: acts of concern for me, acts of love, acts that recognize my value’. Further, it is a question of experience, a corporeal experience that plays a constitutive role. An experience of caring, bestowing a form and a name, a somatic and semiotic enterprise. However, the empire of signs has another dimension: of fictionality. Destabilizing the relation between the signifiers and signified is one of the primal moves of fictionality. As an act of displacement, this destabilization of the significatory function is directly linked with the taking possession of a discourse. The main thrust of the paper is to examine the ever-renewing subject that is immersed in the embodied state, in corporeal and semiotic fields. Rajni is a researcher working on the contemporary English fiction at The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. Her doctorate research is on Bakhtin in the literary context. She was part of the Fulbright Summer Institute in Bulgaria (August 2014), and participated in the program on Collaborative Research in Humanities at the Queen’s University, Belfast (July – August 2014). She has published on Salman Rushdie, Meena Alexander, and Carnival/grotesque. She is currently working as Research Associate for a project on Disability Studies in India at The English and Foreign Languages University University, Hyderbad India.
‘Speaking through the body: Lesbian representation in Henry Handel Richardson’s short fiction’ Carolyn Lake (University of Adelaide)
DAY 2 / 1600B
Australian lesbian fiction has an uncertain beginning. It is not until the latter half of the twentieth century that ‘lesbian’ emerged in fiction as an explicit identification for same-sex attracted women. In the Australian literary sphere, the publication of Elizabeth Riley’s (Keryn Higgs) All That False Instruction in 1975 is remembered as an historical flashpoint in lesbian history. Nevertheless, same-sex attracted women and women writers have been present and even popular in the Australian literary scene since the late nineteenth century. Henry Handel Richardson’s three-novel magnum opus, The Fortunes of Richard Mahony (1930), is considered an Australian classic, illustrated by its inclusion in many Australian literature tertiary education courses. One of Richardson’s lesser known works, a collection of short stories published under the title Growing Pains (1934), chronicles the childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood of a discontinuous female protagonist. As the stories progress, the protagonist’s (queer) body emerges as a disruptive presence. By the collection’s final story, ‘Two Hanged Women’, the queer body is visible and producing derisive laughter. It is widely acknowledged that later in life Richardson lived and travelled with her partner Olga and the lesbian sub-text of the former’s works, such as Growing Pains and the earlier The Getting of Wisdom, is therefore often accepted if curiously unexamined. Writing and publishing in a time (and space) when ‘lesbian’ was yet to exist as a coherent and recognisable identification, the corporeal intensity of Richardson’s stories in Growing Pains gives sign to the embodied experience of queer desire and being. This paper explores the significance of the body in lesbian literary history by analysing Richardson’s ‘pre-lesbian’ lesbian fiction. Carolyn Lake is a PhD Candidate in the discipline English and Creative Writing at The University of Adelaide, South Australia. She has previously completed a Master of Philosophy, with a thesis titled ‘Passionately Subjective’: Challenges to Identity in the Works of Amy Levy. In 2016, Carolyn was awarded the E.W. Benham Research Scholarship. Her current research includes late-Victorian literature, queer Australian literature and arts, and the digital humanities. Carolyn is also a Researcher for ‘AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource Database’ and a Journal Manager for the Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies.
‘“Alone and single-bodied”: Cyborg technicity, queer temporality, and the possibilities of agender embodiment’ Wendy Gay Pearson (University of Western Ontario, Canada) In Ancillary Justice (2013), the first novel of a recent science fiction trilogy, Ann Leckie reanimates and queers the tired tropes of the space opera – evil galactic empire, decadent overlord, alien threat, extreme spans of linear time. The protagonist of all three books, Breq is, in fact, a space ship whose consciousness was for thousands of years extended onto planets and other ships through the bodies of her ancillaries (colonized subjects killed and re-animated as vehicles for hegemonic consciousness). I say ‘her’ because in the language of the Empire, gender is an entirely voluntary, disembodied concept and “she” the universal pronoun. After Breq-the-ship is destroyed, a grief-stricken Breq finds herself confined to the body of her single surviving ancillary, trying to negotiate a space/ time in which the Emperor is at war with herself over the ethics of imperial expansion. The tropes Leckie plays with are not new: they have been used with varying degrees of uninterrogated colonialist assumptions, heteronormativity, and chrononormativity by science fiction writers from Isaac Asimov to A.E. van Vogt. They have also been questioned and re-invented by generations of feminist, anti-colonialist and sometimes queer science fiction writers, from Ursula K. Le Guin to Samuel Delany. But Leckie’s work does something quite different from either of these genealogical antecedents, because of the different way in which she takes up the relationship between technicity, temporality (which is thoroughly queer in these novels), and embodiment, which is also highly non-normative. The certainties Breq mourns largely sidestep gender, inviting the reader into a different form of subjectivity that is queered in multiple ways. This paper will demonstrate these points through a reading of the three novels within a theoretical framework of contemporary thought on queer temporality, in particular. Wendy Gay Pearson is currently an Associate Professor in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research at the University of Western Ontario. She received her PhD from the University of Wollongong in 2004 for a dissertation on citizenship, belonging, and Canadian queer culture. Her current research projects include a long-standing interest in sexuality in science fiction, a continuing interest in queer Canadian culture, and a more recent interest in queer, Canadian, and Indigenous cinemas. She teaches sexuality studies, queer theory, queer and Indigenous cinema, and science fiction. She is the co-editor with Susan Knabe of Reverse Shots: Indigenous Film and Media in an International Context (2014) and the co-author, also with Susan Knabe, of Zero Patience (2011) on John Greyson’s eponymous 111
film. In addition, she is the co-editor (with Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon) of Queer Universes: Sexualities in Science Fiction (2008) and a past winner of the Science Fiction Research Association’s Pioneer Award.
DAY 2 / 1600B
‘“It’s the freakiest show”: Queerness, temporality, and Life on Mars’ Susan Knabe (University of Western Ontario, Canada) In this paper, I will consider how the diagetic and extra-diagetic elements of the UK series, Life on Mars (2006-2007) enable particular forms of queer readings of this televisual text. The inadvertent time-travelling hero of Life on Mars, DI Sam Tyler (John Simm), whilst unquestionably heterosexual in his orientation, nevertheless is read as queer by his boss, DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), within the macho fantasy policing world of 1973. In making apparent a queerness that was unavailable within historical genre television (epitomized by 1970s British television series The Sweeney) and that also is unrecognizable within the diagetic world of 2006, Life on Mars, enables queer viewers to engage with both a retrospective queering of the televisual genre of police procedural and a re-creation of queerness within a particular historical moment. This queering, however, does not present an unproblematic celebration of non-normative sexuality. The frankly homophobic (and sexist) attitudes, comments and slurs spouted by Hunt and his off-siders are undone by Tyler’s 2006 progressive sensibility, allowing viewers to time-travel to this period from the apparent safety of a more enlightened age. Moreover, and perhaps more significantly, the queer time travel enabled by the series – an opportunity to return to 1973, forewarned and forearmed with the knowledge and sensibilities of 2006 – offers queer viewers a powerful reparative fantasy, in which they might, in the words of Eve Sedgwick, ‘entertain such profoundly painful, profoundly relieving, ethically crucial possibilities as that the past, in turn, could have happened differently from the way it actually did’ (Novel Gazing 25) and so imagine a very different queer future. Susan Knabe is the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. She is also jointly appointed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. She received her PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies from Macquarie University, Australia in 2007. Knabe’s research interests include affect theory, especially in relation to sexuality and race; HIV/AIDS, cultural production, and cultural
resistance; popular culture representations of young women’s sexual and social dissidence. Her recent publications include Zero Patience (2011), ‘“Gambling with history”: Queer kinship and cruel optimism in Octavia Butler’s Kindred’, and ‘“Bash back, baby, your life depends on it!”: Pedagogical responses to anti-gay violence in John Greyson’s The Making of “Monsters”’, all co-authored with Wendy Pearson, with whom she also co-edited, in 2014, Reverse Shots: Indigenous Film and Media in an International Context.
Bein g In and Ou t of Ti me
DAY 2 / 1600B
‘Universally alien: Xenofeminist politics and the future of the body’ Emma Wilson (University of Melbourne) & Jeremy Kane Dissatisfied with established Leftisms, which continue to ‘hold to a folk politics of localism, direct action, and relentless horizontalism’, 21st Century Accelerationists seek to develop new macro-political strategies, capable of navigating and utilising ‘abstraction, complexity, globality, and technology’ (Williams and Srnicek, 2014). For Left Accelerationists, devising such strategies necessitates the reappraisal of disavowed Enlightenment values, such as rationality, universality, and positive freedom. However, amidst such ambitions, the question of the body tends to dissipate. Neither a valorisation nor an effacement of the body, Xenofeminism (XF) aims to secure an alien future where bodies remain integral to the elaboration of a rational universalist politics. On the one hand, XF rejects the tendency to privilege corporeality as inherently emancipatory. In threatening to confine the body to the realm of the natural, the sacred, the particular, or the ineffable, such attitudes preclude bodies from participating in the meaningful construction and realisation of techno-political agendas. Nevertheless, Xenofeminists remain wary of absolutist political discourses which – in disregarding the question of the body altogether – threaten to repeat the worst aspects of history. Rather than fetishizing bodies as singular and irreducible or, conversely, dissolving them into abstract totalities, Xenofeminists seek to deploy bodies in order to effectuate change at multiple levels of material, political, and conceptual organisation. Always already alienated, unnatural, and thereby endlessly transformable, bodies become networked vectors for collective technopolitical conspiracy, cutting across lines of gender, sexuality, race, class, ability, and geographical position. Whilst we are sympathetic to XFs universalising political ambitions – in so far as they provide a much needed response to the individualising tendencies of identity politics – we remain unsure as to whether Enlightenment values such as rationality and universality can be extricated out from the totalising oppressions inherent in their inception (racism, patriarchy, colonialism, etc.). The following paper explores the techno-political implications of Xenofeminist bodies whilst keeping this question in mind. Emma Wilson and Jeremy Kane are the infected hosts of >ect, a parasitic error that emerged from a crack in the real. It has been threatening their physiological integrity ever since. ectpodcast.wordpress.com.
The drone interface: Locating the “human” in digital war’ Alex Edney-Browne (University of Melbourne) The increasing reliance on high-technology, mediated platforms in the conduct of warfare has had the effect of rendering invisible humans’ emotional, psychological, and bodily experiences of war. It is politically expedient for US coalition government and military spokespeople to divert public attention away from the lived experiences of drone warfare, as this allows them to frame military drones as an ethically virtuous technology. Ironically, however, academic and activist critiques of military drones often discursively reproduce this dehumanisation: fetishising drone technology, quantifying civilian suffering, stigmatising or downplaying emotional and psychological harms, or focusing their concern on the nation-state (issues of international law, sovereignty, economy) rather than on people. My PhD research deviates from this trend: ‘locating the “human”’ in digital warfare, while exploring the precarious nature of its definition. It seeks to answer the empirical question: ‘what are humans’ lived experiences of drone warfare?’ In this paper, I present the conceptual framework for my thesis, positing the military drone as an ‘affective interface’. This conceptual framework allows us to approach the drone without fetishising it, as that which facilitates human-technology interaction and cross-cultural humanto-human interaction – in both hegemonic and subversive ways. Alex Edney-Browne is a PhD candidate in Screen and Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her thesis investigates the psychological and physiological affects of military drones on people living under drones and US Air Force drone operators. Alex’s research is interdisciplinary, engaging with science and technology studies, critical international relations and biopolitics.
‘The non-temperate tropical other: Women disrupting Western normative constructions of bodies, time, and space in Cairns, Far North Queensland’ Holly Giblin (Flinders University) The overarching theme of my thesis argues that dominant and normative forms of Western gendered bodily discipline are mediated through climate and are temperate-centric. By that, I argue, that what it means to perform normative Western femininity is determined by discourses and practices that are contingent upon the material specificity of temperate climates. I use Foucauldian discourse analysis to explore in-depth semi-structured interviews with 17 women from Cairns. What has emerged is an overwhelming sense of the role the tropical climate plays in how these women perceive themselves to be different to women 115
from other Australian places. This is an overview of my findings as I come to the end of my candidature. My findings are three-fold: that normative gendered discourses and practices of the body are temperate-centric and that this is signified by the interviewees describing themselves as ‘relaxed’ in their gendered practices of the body; that being ‘relaxed’ also intersects with racism and discourses of neocolonialism; and finally, that the repeated practices of ‘relaxed’ and ‘slow’ bodies as inhibited by the climate can produce locally specific identities that resist, and imagine alternatives to, temperate-normative forms of time, productivity and gender. Holly Giblin is a ‘queer failure’ of a PhD candidate (Halberstam, 2011). She currently lives and works in Adelaide tutoring in Indigenous cultural competency and is also an un-skilled labourer. She is from Gimuy/Cairns where her research is based.
DA Y 2 / 1600C
‘Breaking bodies: Deterritorialising (genderered) bodies through breakdancing’ Rachael Gunn (Macquarie University) In this paper, I draw on my experiences as a breakdancer (‘breaker’) in Sydney to examine the possibilities in breaking to move beyond the limitations of normative, gendered identity categories that regulate creative potential on the dance floor. Using the theoretical framework offered by Deleuze and Guattari, I conceptualize the breaking body as not a ‘body’ constituted through gendered assumptions, but as an ‘assemblage’ open to new rhizomatic connections. I support this argument through examining the conventions of ‘foundation’ and ‘originality’ in breaking culture, which not only deterritorialize the body as a stable, hierarchized unity, but also rhythmically facilitate passage to new ways of thinking. The multilayered expression that transpires on the breaking dance floor thus opens up new, virtual, connections and relationships to manifest between and across other bodies, times, and spaces. In this paper, I will therefore attempt to show how the rituals of breaking augment its capacity to deterritorialize normative understandings of ‘the body’, while also enabling new possibilities for performativities beyond the confines of dominant modes of thought and normative gender construction. Rachael Gunn has recently submitted her PhD in Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Her research combines cultural theory with auto-ethnography to examine the gender politics and performances within hip-hop dance. Primarily 116
utilising the theories of Butler, Deleuze and Guattari to analyse her own experiences breakdancing, Gunn seeks to identify possible ways to move beyond the gendered assumptions that both discourage and limit creative expression in Sydneyâ€™s street dance scene. As such, her research intersects with larger areas on the body, feminist and post-structural theory, as well as performance and dance studies. Gunn continues to compete as a breakdancer in Sydney, negotiating ways to challenge the masculine dominance of the scene.
V io len ce and Resi stanc e
‘Suffering in Lars von Trier’s Dogville and the aesthetics of complicit witnessing’ Honni van Rijswijk (University of Technology Sydney)
DA Y 2 / 1600C
This paper explores the ethics and politics of encountering representations of suffering and subjugated female bodies in film. I focus on the work of Lars von Trier – particularly his use of the figure of the female martyr. I consider whether his work may be worthy of attention for what it reveals about the aesthetics of complicity. His film Dogville, for example, thematises practices of particularity/ abstraction, as they relate to temporality, authority and self-representation. The film grimly reveals that aesthetics are not epiphenomenal to questions of power and abuse. Through a number of different representational approaches in its exegesis of the human condition – realism, allegory, minimalism – Dogville calls attention to the politics of practices of representation, and challenges the ways in which abstractions are argued over. Dogville references both a universal ‘humanity’ and a contingent, historically specific subject, which provides a way to draw out and complicate theorizations of the moral, legal, or ‘natural’ human. I will look at key issues of law-making authority, moral authority and representation in the context of the complicit subject, and what these concepts reveal about the material (and historical) position of women. Dr Honni van Rijswijk, BA LLB (Hons), LLM, MA, PhD (UW), is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney. Dr Honni van Rijswijk is a graduate of Sydney Law School and received her PhD from the University of Washington, where she was a Fellow in the Society of Scholars at the Simpson Center for the Humanities. She researches at the intersections of law, literature and legal theory, is co-convenor of the Law and Culture Group at UTS: Law, and is a member of the editorial board of Law and Critique. She has written on subjects such as feminist aesthetics of harm, narratives of consent in Stolen Generations cases, and the significance of Virginia Woolf to tort law. Her work has been published in Law, Culture and the Humanities, Melbourne University Law Review, Feminist Legal Studies, UNSW Law Journal, and Australian Feminist Law Journal. She is currently working on a book called The Figure of the Child in the Law’s Imaginary, which argues that in modern and contemporary periods, the child figure has become increasingly significant to the juridico-political imagination.
‘“What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger”: The queer temporalities of survival as superpower in Marvel’s Jessica Jones’ Debra Ferreday (Lancaster University, UK) The relationship between media and sexual violence, and the extent to which media operate as spaces of struggle and resistance as well as re-victimisation, is an area of urgent concern for feminist media studies. Following this tradition, the television comic-book adaptation of Jessica Jones, has been the subject of much discussion in feminist online spaces, fan space, and among victim-survivor activists. In the Marvel comic series Alias on which the 2015 TV series is based, Jones suffers psychological torture, some of it sexual, at the hands of Kilgrave, a man with superhuman powers of mind control. The TV adaptation, unusually for contemporary television, makes it clear that this constitutes repeated rape and domestic abuse. Jones is shown as suffering from PTSD: borderline alcoholic and with her life falling apart, she is nevertheless driven to pursue justice and protect those around her. What is significant about this adaptation is that, despite the queer affordance of the heroine’s super-powered body, Jones is always also a woman in a patriarchal world. This paper suggests that, both within the text and in wider fan spaces, Jones’ experience is widely imagined as an ‘authentic’ portrayal of victim-survivor experience which contrasts sharply both with the hyper-visible portrayals of the ‘rape victim’s’ body that dominate mainstream cinema, and with the narratives of survival and overcoming that circulate in popular media (Alcoff 2015, Mardorossian 2014, Horeck 2003). The representation of Jones’ body within the tropes of fantasy fiction forms, I argue, constitute the nexus of a queer assemblage comprising the technological apparatuses of production, text, and fan spaces to produce networks of resistance. Debra Ferreday is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Lancaster University. Her research centres on the affective cultural politics of digital and screen media, with a particular interest in questions of gender, sexuality and embodiment. Her current project, Screening Rape, explores the complex relationship between media, mediation and sexual violence across a diverse range of platforms including film, television, internet and social media.
‘The promise of queer pornography’ Grace Sharkey (University of Sydney) There is an emerging market for what is generally termed ‘queer pornography’. Pornography that has been made by queer people, for queer people. This paper will focus on the engagement between pornography and queer sexuality in contemporary pornographic genres as accessed through new media technologies.
DA Y 2 / 1600D
In her book, Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography, Susanna Paasonen argues for a new understanding of pornography as not cold, affectless and detached, but instead as a rich area for understanding complex affective dynamics of disgust and shame. Where Paasonen’s work is based mainly in ‘mainstream’ pornographic texts, this paper will translate these ideas into thinking about contemporary alternative pornographies, specifically queer pornography, with a focus on the specific affective dynamics found in and through these texts. This involves considering if and how the queer consumers of queer pornographies are assumed to have a different affective relationship to the text than do other, more mainstream, consumers of pornography. Queer pornography organises texts around certain affective promises, that perhaps soothe misgivings about pornography consumption, or excite those who feel their gendered bodily or sexual practices are not usually represented on screen. This type of pornography declares its intended address to communities of identity that expect specific promises and affective relationships not found in mainstream pornographies. Through a focus on how it is bodies which carry these kinds of promises, this paper will raise questions about how identity and pornography are related, how feeling and pornography are related, and consider the problems of classification and reception involved in relations between visible bodies and embodied identities. Grace Sharkey is a PhD candidate in the Gender and Cultural Studies Department at the University of Sydney. Her work is broadly focused on pornography, its relationship to feminism and its ties to queer identity. More recently, her work has explored queer pornography and its investment notions of ‘authenticity’. Grace is a sessional tutor in the GCS Department, teaching courses focused on gender, sexuality and violence.
‘What if we were all werewolves?: Combating the gender binary with claws, fangs, and fur’ Madeleine Pettet (Queensland University of Technology) Amazon feminism theorises that the mind and body are equally important to bring about social change, particularly if this change is enacted by a collective. A female body with masculine signifiers, as found with the female werewolf, can reveal the permeability of the gender binary (Clarke, 2008; Pulliam, 2014), particularly if she is accepted as part of a werewolf pack. Contemporary werewolf texts, such as MTV’s Teen Wolf (2011–2015), Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga (2005-2008), and Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld (2001–2012), are just some of the popular culture texts that are representing both female werewolves and werewolf packs. Therefore, through textual analysis of these texts, this paper argues that the combination of female werewolves in pack represent Amazon feminist principles and can destabilise the gender binary through the female body. Madeline is a PhD student at QUT investigating female bodies and gender performance in paranormal romance novels, with an emphasis on Amazon feminism. She has always loved all things paranormal and loves to explore how supernatural creatures have evolved alongside humanity. Her research on female werewolves in packs is only the start of a much larger thesis to be finished in 2020. She has also co-written a chapter for the upcoming Exploring Teen Wolf text.
S o m at ec hni c Su bjec ti fi c ati on
‘The ontogenesis of somatechnics’ Miranda Bruce (ANU) What do digital computational systems offer to the study of somatechnics? One answer (and the most popular) is to focus on the consequences of digital systems: how are soma-technés rearranged and reorganised according to a digital system’s political ideology? This question, although important, tends to ignore the first half of the temporal equation; it starts with the individual and works backwards to discover the process of individuation. But, to think about digital systems as somatechnical, perhaps this temporal relationship should be reversed. This is the argument of Gilbert Simondon and his theory of ‘ontogenesis’: in order to think about difference without being beholden to identity, one must think about relationships prior to their terms.
DA Y 2 / 1600D
To explore this argument, I will discuss the Internet of Things (IoT): a new computing paradigm that promises to change the very foundation of social relationships between humans and the world by allowing otherwise ‘inert’ objects to act meaningfully in the world. Drawing from IoT manifestos, technical texts, and ongoing projects, I will first discuss how the IoT can be read as an individual system whose individuation can be ‘discovered’ in order to create a political critique of its somatechnics. Then I will use Simondon to read the IoT ‘backwards’ as a process of individuation, and discuss how this requires a different approach to being and becoming. Finally, I will reflect on what Simondon offers to somatechnics as a whole – a method of developing a more relational ethics towards bodily techniques and practices. Miranda Bruce is a student at the Australian National University, doing her PhD on the Internet of Things: its history, discourse, logic, and implications for how we understand time, technology and the future. Her research interests include: the social history of ICTs, algorithms and individuation, feminist Deleuze studies, politics of recognition and sense, and “the event” in technology studies.
‘Wearable technologies and the co-composition of bodies’ Nikki Rotas (University of Toronto, Canada) This paper contributes to the ongoing conversation in feminist new materialist research in relation to educational practices (Lenz Taguchi, 2010; St. Pierre, 2013; Springgay, 2014). Drawing on Deleuze-Guattarian (1987) philosophy, affect 122
theory and theories of movement (Manning, 2013; Massumi, 2011; Munster, 1999), as well as Rosi Braidotti’s (2002; 2013) nomadic theories, this paper examines the practice of school gardening as a ‘diagrammatic function’ (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987) and/or method of mapping that produces alternative modes of subjectivity-making that are more-than human. Thinking through affect and theories of movement, I emphasize a becoming movement in and of which bodies deterritorialize pre-conceived notions of subjectivity in urban schools. Using the GoPro (i.e., a wearable camera that was worn by the researcher, teacher, and students in an urban school in Toronto, Canada) as a methodological technique and/or techné, I further argue that wearable technologies attend to the complexity and capacity of technologically mediated environments in movement (Munster, 1999). Such an understanding suggests that the wearable camera is implicated in a generative movement in and of which subjectification and/or the constitution of knowledge is co-composed and mapped. Nikki Rotas is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Her research focuses on ecology, embodiment, and theories of movement and affect in relation to educational research. She is also interested in feminist new materialist methodologies with a particular focus on the use of wearable technologies in urban schools.
‘A romantic mutiny in a maelstrom of data’ Nancy Mauro-Flude *Divination* is Romantic Mutiny in a Maelstrom of Data, is a project which highlights the high accessibility to so-called private data and offers an alternative view of information we transmit on a daily basis. By actively operating a network as a performance tool, the artwork interrupts the flow of user experience illuminating the complexity of uninformed consent strategies. Using distributed network of WiFi access points and social media bots, the artwork collects information about its audience and generates audio-visual experience. The maiden voyage set sail for the duration of the Dark Mofo June 2016. Audiences were chaperoned by human and non-human agents (that is, ‘chatbots’) called ‘pirate girls’, through an energetic collision of nautical mythology, computer culture and transgressive fiction. The Pyrate Queen, was not asking for gold to attend – but the audience’s personal data for the crew’s collective treasure chest – in order to steer the show. After opting in – the audience experienced network hauntings by pirate girls who observe and act performatively to highlight how technical agents within networked systems have become increasingly 123
inconspicuous. The performance lecture will explore our relationship with mysterious or communal forces and how they relate to 21C mass electronic surveillance programs. Listeners are invited to think about the Delphic relationship they may have with networks, signals, codes and other things you cannot fully comprehend, but may opt in to. Project site http://divination.cc. Nancy Mauro-Flude is an artist driven by the demystification of technology, and the ‘mystification’ that lie in and through the performance of the machinic assemblage. Experimentation with systems - from embodied and kinetic to non human kinds, form the basis of her work - where the computer is always approached as a theatre machine. Awarded an MFA (Media Design) Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2007), Research Fellow Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (2007-8), PhD University of Tasmania (2014). Mauro-Flude has collaborated with leading experimental institutions and festivals worldwide and has led cross-disciplinary events that examine society in a digital age.
‘The impact of antiracism apps on race, space and embodiment’ Alana Lentin (Western Sydney University)
DAY 2 / 1600E
Just as race is both embedded in and afforded by technology in general, it is encoded in the infrastructure, design and interface of the Internet. The burgeoning study of the relationship between race and digital technology has not as yet focused greatly on the role of mobile app technology. Physical space is being altered as we continuously locate ourselves ‘simultaneously in digital space and in material space’ as a result of ubiquitous mobile phone use. How then is racial embodiment enhanced, affected or disturbed by the phone in our pockets? This paper examines the role played by the growing number of antiracism mobile apps on the relationship between race, embodiment and digital technology. Based on empirical research with the developers of a number of different apps for antiracism intervention or education in three countries, I argue that these mobile apps potentially make it possible to place digitally constituted ideas of race in confrontation with their materially located effects. How one responds to a racist incident might increasingly be a function of how race is interpreted in the design of antiracism apps. This raises important questions for the designers of the increasing number of antiracism apps being developed in light of the rise in race hate crime and the awareness of racist policing. It also invites us to consider the effects of the imbrication of race in digital technology in embodied space, and
the impact of how race is variably represented digitally upon antiracism action beyond the screen. Alana Lentin is Associate Professor in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. She works on the critical theorization of race, racism and antiracism. She is co-editor of the Rowman and Littlefield International book series, Challenging Migration Studies. Her latest books are Racism and Sociology (with Wulf D. Hund 2014) and The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age (with Gavan Titley, 2011). Her articles have appeared in Information, Communication & Society, Ethnic and Racial Studies, European Journal of Social Theory, the European Journal of Cultural Studies, and Patterns of Prejudice and in many edited volumes. She has given keynote lectures at the Berlin Jewish Museum, the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin, and the The Kule Institute for Advanced Study, University of Alberta among many others. She is a contributor to The Occupied Times, The Guardian, OpenDemocracy and Eurozine.
Wo rksh op
‘Space/time, monism and the re-materialisation of sociology’ Pam Alldred (Brunel University London) & Nick J Fox (University of Sheffield, UK)
DAY 2 / 1600E
We are witnessing a renewed application of materialist ontology to sociology, with substantive sociological expositions of the ‘new materialisms’ by Latour (2005), DeLanda (2006) and Fox and Alldred (2016). This new sociological turn to matter does not recapitulate earlier historical materialism, which emphasised a ‘base’ of economic structures and a ‘superstructure’ comprising the ‘general process of social, political and intellectual life’ (Marx, 1977 ). The materiality addressed by the new materialisms is plural, open, complex, uneven and contingent, acting rhizomatically across space/time. Matter’s relationality means that physical bodies and things on one hand, and human thoughts, feelings, memories and desires on the other can be addressed together in terms of their material effects, offering a means to transcend mind/matter dualism. It also cuts across many conventional sociological dualities, including agency/structure, nature/culture, animate/inanimate, micro/macro, and emotion/reason, as well as the epistemological divide between realism and idealism/constructionism. This workshop explores how the new materialisms are being used to develop a monist sociology. After a short introduction, it will explore new materialist sociology by focusing upon monistic re-thinkings of social structures and systems; technology and embodiment; environment; time, continuity and change. For each of these, the workshop will aim to move beyond ontology to methodology, establishing a useable materialist sociology. It will be of interest to those concerned with theoretical and/or empirical issues in sociology and cognate disciplines. Nick J. Fox is honorary professor of sociology at the University of Sheffield. Nick has researched and written widely on postmodern and new materialist social theory, with books and many papers focusing upon health and embodiment, and more recently on topics including sexuality, creativity and emotions. His latest book (with Pam Alldred) is Sociology and the New Materialism (2016). Pam Alldred is based at Brunel University, London, UK in the Department of Clinical Sciences. Her work is predominantly on gender, sexuality and youth work, informed by post-structuralism, feminist theory, and new materialism. Alldred and Fox have been working together since 2010 on projects developing new materialist and DeleuzoGuattarian analyses of sexuality, masculinities and social inquiry. Their book Sociology and the New Materialism is published in 2016. 126
A B S T R A C T S
DAY THREE Sa tu rday , D e c e m b e r 3
1 1 0 0 A Th e D ark eni ng: Lang u ages l i n e d wi t h fl e s h lin e s with lan guag e ‘The temporality of sound: Voice, testosterone, and transformation’ Quinn Eades (La Trobe University) I am writing this abstract in a particular voice: the internal mutter – voice that follows alongside these words as I type, and the ‘voice’ of Eades, the author, that conveys a particular style or tone. I am also writing this abstract to propose that I use my voice to speak my words to an audience, but the voice I use to speak with in December will not be the same as the voice I use to speak with now. In six weeks I will have my first injection of testosterone, which will, over time, deepen and crackle my voice.
DAY 3 / 1100A
In an iteration of Barthes’s writing aloud, I will present ‘language lined with flesh’, where my pre (recorded) and post-testosterone voice will perform an iterative and echolalic paper from the body in transformation. I will posit the changing voice as a site of queer optimism for the person who changes, and queer failure for those who do not. Following on from Derrida’s critique of phonocentrism, where voice is understood to be in direct proximity to being, I will perform an interrogation of the desire to locate subjectivity within the temporality of sound, and open a space where written and spoken language collide. Dr Quinn Eades is a researcher, writer, and award-‐winning poet whose work lies at the nexus of feminist and queer theories of the body, autobiography, and philosophy. Eades is published nationally and internationally, and is the author of all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body, published by Tantanoola. Eades is a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Foundation Studies at La Trobe, as well as the founding editor of Australia’s only interdisciplinary, peer reviewed, gender, sexuality and diversity studies journal, Writing from Below. He is currently working on a psychogeographical history of a body of water near his home in Melbourne.
‘!panic! ictic vocalities’ Virginia Barratt (Western Sydney University) I propose a performed presentation entitled !panic! ictic vocalities in which I experiment with writing/sounding a Body without Organs. The presentation explores how to perform panic on the page (and then the stage/world). This experiment is part of my PhD project Beside my Self: panic and the body Unbecoming which explores panic as a lived experience of estrangement of/ 128
from the body and of ‘psychic de-territorialization’. Protevi notes that ‘drastic episodes of rage and fear are de-subjectivizing’, an ‘evacuation of the subject’ takes place and ‘automatic responses take over’. I am exploring whether the panic mobilused desubjectivisation offers up opportunities for non-normative modes of ‘becom[ing] – other, and in becoming-other, to return, not to dissolve into undifferentiated chaos’. Linguistics presents a particular problem for this project, given that the act of writing panic or other states of deterritorialisation (unless one is ‘channelling’ or otherwise automating writing) requires a cohesion between the subject and the body. The evacuation of the subject requires an unspeaking, unlanguaging, unknowing of materialities tacit to the subject in its ontologically secure state: the subject wearing its human suit, driving the machine that shores up crumbling facades. This performative is an experiment I have already undertaken on a couple of occasions, and am looking forward to further ‘melting down’ the ontology of language. Virginia Barratt is a writer and performer based in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia. She is writing a PhD at Western Sydney University in the Writing and Society Centre. Virginia is a founding member and slime sister of the cyberfeminist collective VNS Matrix, and continues to work collaboratively with them to this day. Her research focuses on panic, affect and deterritorialisation. Her work can be found in Writing from Below, TEXT journal, Banquet Press, Overland and is forthcoming in the anthology Offshoot: Contemporary Lifewriting Methodologies and Practice in Australasia and her performative writing text SLICE is forthcoming from Stein and Wilde. Virginia has performed most recently in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Helsingor, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Performing Arts Forum (PAF) in France and in Berlin, often with collaborators. In 2016 She will present work at the Biennale of Sydney, in France at PAF and the Sorbonne and in Berlin.
‘Howl/Hurl: Resonances between the subjective inner states of infants and ecstatics’ Francesca Da Rimini (University of Adelaide) she wears a savage garland wrought from the bark of a three-‐headed hound guarding the limen between heaven and hell voices surrounded by light speak to her they promised they would bring her to paradise
The men say that the arrogance of this woman is insane. The men say they have never seen such a monster. meanwhile an infant, glittering, splits the night sky with its howls activating neuronic mirrors amongst its familiars
DAY 3 / 1100A
The paper is a hexecutable, a call and response between the ecstatic voice generated by states of grace or madness, and the ‘prosodic intonation’ and ‘communicative musicality’ shared between the infant and its besotted attendants. Sources include transcripts of the trial of Jeanne d’Arc, family diaries and recordings hurled into the material world during ‘psychotic’ states, and propositions about memory and ‘vitality affects’ from the groundbreaking work of the late neuroscientist and psychiatrist Daniel N. Stern. Dr. Francesca da Rimini (aka doll yoko, GashGirl, liquid_nation, Fury) is an interdisciplinary artist, poet and essayist. She revels in collaborative projects, seeking out companions for generating slow art, strange beats and new personae. As co-founder of cyberfeminist group VNS Matrix (established 1991), da Rimini contributed to international critiques of gender and technology. She continued such investigations with the transcontinental group identity_runners. In the short multilingual film White da Rimini and Josephine Starrs explored the wild mind of a woman in a closed psychiatric ward. The award-winning internet artwork dollspace (with Tiny K and Ricardo Dominguez) used the figure of the ghost girl doll yoko to lure web wanderers into a pond of dead girls and Zapatista hauntologies. As GashGirl/Puppet Mistress, she explored the uploaded erotic imagination of strangers encountered on the online platform/community LambdaMOO. More recent creative works include the wireless sensor data-driven live event Bloodbath (with Bump Projects and Sydney Roller Derby League); Hexecutable at LambdaMOO for Furtherfield, London; the commissioned libretto Songs for Skinwalking the Drone, and keynote hysteriography Hexing the Alien (cowritten and performed with Virginia Barratt in Helsingor and Berlin respectively); and echolalia: golden iterations (co-written and performed with WHOis for Experimentalities in Adelaide). da Rimini is also co-author of Disorder and the Disinformation Society: the Social Dynamics of Information, Networks and Software (2015). Leap into some of the internet artworks and traces from http://gashgirl.sysx.org
R ef lecti ng on Pedag ogy
‘Somatechnics/mnemotechnics: Towards an embodied, ethical practice of reflection’ Vanessa Fredericks (University of New South Wales) This paper examines the role of embodiment (somatechnics) and inscribed bodily memory (mnemotechnics) in learning and reflective practice. Traditional definitions of reflective practice and experiential learning focus on the cognitive (rational) processes of reflection (Michelson, 1998; Jordi, 2011; Stolz, 2015). Drawing on phenomenological accounts of ‘embodied learning’ (MerleauPonty), I consider the ways in which an embodied self-awareness can lead to a practice of reflection located in an understanding of deconstructive ethics as a corporeal responsibility to the other (Levinas and Derrida). I begin with an overview of traditional theories of learning in which learning is viewed primarily as a cognitive activity. This Western tradition privileges white, masculine identity and results in the marginalisation of others. Drawing on feminist and antioppressive pedagogies, I argue for a reconceptualisation of learning that includes the body, and a practice of reflection that incorporates the whole person. I turn to Merleau-Ponty’s concept of embodiment in order to emphasise the crucial role of the body in learning, and then drawing on Levinas and Derrida, I illustrate how embodiment can be articulated as a reflective ethics of the other. In the final sections of the paper I look at ways in which reflective practice could benefit from the integration of non-Western philosophies and somatic practices, focusing on what Hyde and Knappen (2011) have called ‘mindfulness pedagogy’, to refer to an ethical practice of both doing and being teaching. I propose that an embodied approach to pedagogy can lead to a practice of reflection that is ethical and responds to the other, not just the self. Dr Vanessa Fredericks is an Educational Developer at the University of New South Wales. She attained a PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies from Macquarie University in 2013, and has been working in the field of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education since 2011. Her research interests include poststructuralist theory, memory studies, learning and teaching with sessional staff, the history of emotions, embodied learning and reflective practice.
‘Technicities of engagement: Diagramming noncompliant learning environments for Anthropocene times’ David Rousell (Southern Cross University)
DAY 3 / 1100B
Engagement is a concept which often operates at the core of teaching and learning practices without substantive critical qualification, let alone ontological or metaphysical substantiation. With the rapidly changing material conditions of the Anthropocene, a conceptual diagram of engagement becomes necessary to account for how learning takes place in an environment which operates, on the one hand, as a territorialised society held in common (an ecology), and on the other hand, as an aesthetic encounter which is activated by noncompliance with existing structures and stratifications. Drawing on post-qualitative research undertaken in the States and Territories project (as in-formed by the process philosophies of Whitehead and Deleuze), this paper diagrams the concept of engagement as an ontogenetic process of learning to be affected through material encounters. It focuses on a specific data event which explores the concept of engagement in collaboration with pre-service teachers as they designed a series of ‘learning environments for noncompliance’. The diagrammatic analysis extends the notion of engagement from the affectivity of the body-environment nexus to address the pedagogical co-emergence of learning and perception in nonanthropocentric terms. This instigates a speculative movement from the affective and somatic registers of bodily experience to the crystallisation of learning as an event which is always incomplete (virtual), and thus always in excess of human perception and knowledge. The paper suggests that human modes of engagement and learning are not ontologically different in kind to nonhuman modes of engagement; rather, modes of engagement are found to differ in terms of degrees (or manners) of complexity, intensity and technicity. David is a Research Fellow and doctoral candidate in the School of Education at Southern Cross University. His PhD project collectively reimagines university learning environments in response to the rapidly changing material conditions of the Anthropocene. David’s research has been published in journals, including the International Journal of Education through Art and the Australian Journal of Environmental Education, and he has exhibited widely as an artist in Australia and overseas. David’s research interests focus on learning environments, process philosophy, contemporary art, and the emerging intersections between ecology, aesthetics, and pedagogy in the Anthropocene.
‘Self-transformative ethics and The Free University Movement’ Briohny Walker (University of Queensland) This paper draws on the work of Simone de Beauvoir and Michel Foucault to examine ethics as an embodied process of self-transformation, and selftransformative techniques as a basis for ethics. I will discuss this in the context of a notion of selfhood that is time-bound and deeply socially embedded, focussing on questions of oppressive socialisation and emancipatory education. Specifically, I look to the contemporary Free University Movement for inspiration and encouragement, drawing on my own experience as a co-founder and organiser of the Brisbane Free University, as well as conversations between other organisers around the world. In the distinction drawn between ‘ontological freedom’ and ‘moral freedom’, Beauvoir provides a vocabulary for the discussion of socialised oppression. Foucault’s middle period allows for an extension of this account, demonstrating the complexity, historical footing and contemporary prevalence of less visible modes of oppression. Beauvoir’s ethics – in particular, her concept of ‘existential conversion’, a process through which a person may become more able to self transform – provide in turn a means to address the challenges encountered in reconciling Foucault’s middle period with the ethics in his later work. What results is an account of oppressive socialisation that resonates with Foucault’s analysis of contemporary power relations, but additionally brings forth the possibility for an ethic that is able to operate within – or rather, through – the restricted agency available to a constructed self, using techniques of self-construction detailed by the later Foucault along with discussions of selftransformation central to Beauvoir’s work. The role of education within such an ethics is emphasised, with some forms of education aiding in an emancipatory ethical process of self-transformation, and others hindering it. The paper will conclude with investigations into the ethical critiques and emancipatory possibilities set out within the Free University Movement. Briohny graduated from Philosophy at University of Queensland in 2011 and the next year co-founded Brisbane Free University, a grassroots public education program. Briohny also researches and co-presents ‘Radio Reversal’, a historicopolitical philosophical talk show on 4zzz Community Radio.
‘Skin and ink: Teaching English’ John Ryan (Southern Cross Distance Education School) This paper reflects on successful Secondary English teaching through two units of work in which the body is represented as both a subject and a text that is inscribed through individual and cultural experiences. The paper evaluates the worth of critical conversations between teachers and academics when secondary teachers are intending to provide an education that is meaningful for high school age students. To illustrate this, I will draw on one particular example in which one particular coffee conversation between academic Elizabeth Stephens and secondary English teachers at a northern NSW Distance Education High School informed the development of two units of work. One of the units, Skin and Ink, addressed tattoo cultures and achieved a level of sophistication and simplicity that students with diverse identities embraced as they learned the liberatory and enabling value of locating themselves and other(s) as textual bodies in the wider world. The other unit, provocatively titled Genderwhatever, explores identity as written over, performed and contingent.
DAY 3 / 1100B
John Ryan is Head of English at Southern Cross Distance Education School, NSW. He has published widely in the field of human rights education most recently, ‘Peacebuilding education: enabling human rights and social justice through cultural studies pedagogy’ with Baden Offord. In 2011 he was a member of the NSW Higher School Certificate English Exam Committee.
T h eorisi ng / Li vi ng Somatec h n i cs
‘Originary somatechnics’ Dennis Bruining (Maquarie University) Ever since the term somatechnics was coined in 2003, it has been used by a variety of scholars to critically interrogate the inextricable relation between anatomo-political techniques and embodied being. Indeed, as Stryker puts it, ‘the body as a culturally intelligible construct [is intertwined with] the techniques in and through which bodies are transformed and positioned’. The discussion in this paper pays tribute to the various ways in which this understanding of somatechnics – that is, as a critical orientation towards theorizing corporeotechnicities – has been theorized, and aims to extend and expand this understanding by tracing the inextricability of soma and techné in the work of Bernard Stiegler and David Wills. In particular, the discussion in this paper focuses on those instances where these two philosophers of technology most clearly articulate their understanding of an originary technics, and draws important conclusions in terms of what this might mean for our understanding of somatechnics. Dennis Bruining recently received his PhD in Cultural Studies from Macquarie University, and holds a Masters of Law and Research Masters in Literary Studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His main research focus is contemporary approaches to materiality, and his wider research interests include critical theory, ethics, philosophies of technology and the posthuman. Bruining is currently working on a research project investigating the rhetoric of agential realism.
‘Events and somatechnics’ Ben Nunquam (Federation University) Backgrounding this paper, I draw on Greek philosophy’s obsession with theories of matter through Plutarch’s incorporation of sōma ‘bodies’ and the atomist’s atoma ‘uncuttables’ into Middle-Platonist thought. Plutarch’s commentary on Plato’s Timaeus claims that matter cannot move on its own. Matter requires rational principles to explain and predict the movement of bodies which would otherwise be in a non-evental state of chaos. Channeling various immaterial beings such as the human soul, a dēmiourgós (cosmogonic creator) and the actions of daimon (demigods), Plutarch distinguishes between mere bodies and their 135
‘mixture’ with timeless, formal entities. Platonist accounts of materiality inform thinking of materialities today through the lens of lacking or possessing evental status. In this paper I will be exploring how we specific events impact technological and human bodies. Those moving bodies without formal qualities run risk of having no perceivable encounter and I have been calling this phenomenon a ‘non-encounter’ based on exploratory readings of Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou and Bernard Stiegler. Events that fail to be encountered form the core of Badiou’s fascination with failed events – like revolutions – due to a lack of ‘fidelity’, Arendt’s observation of the ‘fact of natality’ and frailty of human action and Stiegler’s notion of the ‘prosthesis’ as a forgotten part of human evolution. The matter of technē and bodies is granted insight when put it in terms of the ‘(non-)encounter’: it explains, for example, why men have limited perspectives in experiencing rape culture (feminist standpoint theory). Non-encountering explains how privilege or ideology becomes imperceptible and it explains questionable anthropomorphic tendencies. Ben Nunquam is PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Education & Arts at Federation University. His work focuses on philosophy of technology and Artificial Intelligence and his PhD research is attempting to combine these topics with understanding how we conceptualise events. Ben’s interests include Wittgenstein, getting annoyed at futurists and obsessively digging through electronic archives.
DA Y 3 / 1100C
‘How to have a (queer) body?’ Tomasz Sikora (Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland) How to have, to be, a body, a queer body? (Language fails me: I know no verb that would fuse the concepts of having, being, sensing, sharing, using, and more.) How to have body, a body, any body, this body, a body with a sedimented history, a body-in-the-making, a body-to-come, a shared body, a body with or without organs? A body always mediated and mediating; a self-differentiating body which is never one, but exists as a contemporaneity of a myriad of material articulations and effects, itself an untimely and unruly process of self-articulation within the complexity of multiple material becomings? The body can be conceptualized as a field of intensity, a spatiotemporal force of technosomatic actualization, suspended aporetically between determinacy and indeterminacy. As a force, the body has the power to affect, but simultaneously it is a multilayered plane of resistance and receptivity, hence its capacity to be (un)affected. This openness to 136
being variously affected and to variously affect accounts for the indeterminacy of having/being/acting as a sensate body, but it also entails vulnerability to injury, cancerous growth, system breakdown, death. Temporality exposes bodies to an elemental precariousness, urging them to seek immunity and self-preservation, to hold on to a homeostatic future. However, one could shift away from the inescapability of the time-entropy axiom toward a queer ontology characterized by ‘a cutting together-apart of past-present-future in the wild play of dis/ identities and untimely temporalities’ (Barad). Such an ontology points to the (dis)continuities and anachronies that bodies harbour and perform, and thus legitimizes the question of what possible anarcho-temporalities are or can be mobilized in queer embodyings. ‘How to have a body?’ is not a know-how question, a calling for a set of instructions; it is a question that each body, at every turn, must practically, technically respond to through innumerable intra- and interactions. Tomasz Sikora teaches literature, literary theory and cultural studies at the Pedagogical University of Cracow. In the years 2000–2006 he co-organized a series of conferences that introduced queer theory into Polish academic discourse. Three volumes of essays collected some of the work inspired by the conferences, including A Queer Mixture (2002) and Out Here: Local and International Perspectives in Queer Studies (2006). He subsequently co-founded and continues to co-edit the online peer-reviewed journal of queer studies InterAlia (published in English and Polish; interalia.org.pl). He has also published widely in American and Canadian Studies. He is the author of two books: Bodies Out of Rule: Transversal Readings in Canadian Literature and Film (2014) and Virtually Wild: Wilderness, Technology and the Ecology of Mediation (2003). His main areas of interest include Queer and Gender Studies, interdisciplinary American and Canadian Studies, biopolitics, ecocriticism and New Materialism.
‘Technologies of memory: A somatic approach to 3D archival technologies’ Susan Kozel (Malmo University, Sweden) Spinoza’s formulation of a body is increasingly discussed and cited: Bodies affect and are affected Bodies exist across a combination of speeds and slownesses Bodies experience either an increase or a decrease of vitality (Deleuze 1988).
Notably a body is no longer defined by the perimeter of one individual, or primarily made of organic flesh. Bodies become patterns of exchanges, of forces or intensities, which can include the organic, inorganic, technical and structural. The premise of this paper is that these somewhat abstracted philosophical formulations can be grounded by somatic practices and the reflective skills that accompany them. The theories around affect and affectively defined bodies are fascinating and rich, yet many tend to fall short when it comes to bodily materialisations or practical grounding in corporeal exchanges. With this paper I propose to situate this valuable Spinozan inspired re-articulation of bodies into somatic reflective practices applied to 3D image generation within a large interdisciplinary research project on archives at Malmö University in Sweden called Living Archives (http://livingarchives.mah.se/).
DA Y 3 / 1100C
Inspired by the Rosen Method and years of dance improvisation, somatic materialism attends to ‘something that is nothing’ or ‘nothing that is something’, another way of saying that it is possible to sense the liminal: that which is just barely there and slides out of time. For this conference paper I apply Spinozan bodies and somatic reflection to 3D archiving technologies. Emphasising the temporal aspects of memory reconstruction and digitisation, specific moments of two artistic projects within the wider Living Archives Research Project will be described. This paper will juxtapose such fictions of timelessness with the presence and messy interruptions shaping the production of these seductive digital materialisations. If they are not out of time, what temporalties might they inhabit? What affective registers might they provoke and can we bring to bear on them? Susan Kozel is a Professor with the School of Arts and Culture at Malmö University in Sweden exploring the convergence between philosophy, dance and media technologies. She has an active artistic practice and has published widely on topics from affect to archiving, ubiquitous technologies to electronic music. She teaches for the Interaction Design program and is Project Leader of the major research project Living Archives funded by the Swedish National Research Council. Publications include the monograph Closer: Performance, Technologies, Phenomenology (MIT Press 2007); and shorter articles “Process Phenomenologies” in Performance and Phenomenology (Routledge, 2015), “Somatic Materialism or Is it possible to do a phenomenology of affect?” in Site Journal of Art, Philosophy and Culture(2013),“AffeXity: Performing Affect using Augmented Reality,” in Fibreculture Journal (2012) and “Devices of Existence: Contact Improvisation, Mobile Performances, and Dancing through Twitter”, in Improvisation and Social Aesthetics, eds. (Duke University Press, 2016). Current research considers the politics, philosophies and embodied practices of Affective Choreographies. 138
‘The ghosts of vitalism in contemporary Frankenstein films’ Russell Smith (Australian National University) Vitalism – the notion of a distinct life force – is usually regarded as an obsolete and discredited theory. In 1818, however, vitalism was the official doctrine of the Royal College of Surgeons, and Mary and Percy Shelley’s physician William Lawrence its most controversial materialist opponent. There is evidence to suggest that Victor Frankenstein’s ‘bad science’ is implicitly a product of his vitalist thinking. Drawing on Georges Canguilhem’s account of the persistence of vitalist ideas, and Shane Denson’s account of the Frankenstein film as an ‘anthropotechnical interface’, this paper examines how the ghosts of vitalism haunt contemporary thinking about artificial life, with reference to a range of recent film versions of the Frankenstein story. Russell Smith lectures in Modernist Literature and Literary Theory at the Australian National University, Canberra. He has published widely on Samuel Beckett, including a recently-completed monograph titled Beckett’s Sensibility. His new project, provisionally titled Frankenstein: A Life in Theory, uses Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its various ‘hideous progeny’ in film and other media as a way of exploring the relations between literary theory, biology, vitalism and materialism.
‘The logic of life: Thinking suicide somatechnologically’ Saartje Tack (Macquarie University) Accounts of suicide are often framed by narratives of prevention. Such (re)presentations of suicide are illustrative of an unquestioned understanding that suicide must be prevented, while the grounds, consequences, and effects of such framing remain uninterrogated. In the prevention narrative, life is seen as the natural, normal, and neutral state against which death is chosen - yet, simultaneously death is constituted as a non-choice in that it is a choice against the natural. As such, life is normalised and naturalised, and consequently death and the choice or decision to die are positioned as aberrant. In its collective repetition, life becomes the norm, an obligation rather than a possibility. The collective belief in the prevention of suicide thus posits life as a priori and creates the impression that what we understand as suicide is what it is in essence. In highlighting the soma-techno-logical character of life, this paper will attempt 139
to destabilise the logic of life, and foreground how ways of knowing about life render suicide intelligible in particular and situated ways. Saartje Tack is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her PhD thesis interrogates common conceptions of suicide that are framed through narratives of prevention, and the discourses these prevention narratives generate, reinforce, and exclude. She was awarded the Bruce Mansfield prize for her Master of Research thesis Transing Trans: A Queer Repsonse to the Field of Transgender Studies in the department of Modern History at Macquarie University. Her research interests include somatechnics, queer theory, and politics of (re)presentation. Saartje also tutors in a range of undergraduate gender studies subjects.
DA Y 3 / 1100D
‘The timing of the body in suicide’ Katrina Jaworski (University of South Australia) No matter how hard we try to grasp it fully, something about suicide always remains out of reach, unspoken, shrouded by the privacy and singularity of the moment in which someone suicided. The body of the one who once lived is at the centre of this moment, this secret of suicide. In light of this, how do we, the living, respond to this secret and its bad timing? How do we give voice to the unspoken, which ironically is bespoken, crafted and embodied the moment it comes to be? In this paper, I respond to the secret of suicide by examining how poetry resonates with suicide’s bad timing. My discussion orbits around four parts of one poem entitled, ‘Suicide Quartet in Four Voices’. Keeping company with thinkers such as Jan Zwicky, Jacques Derrida, Elizabeth Grosz, Emmanuel Levinas and Rosalyn Diprose, I analyse how the viscerality of the body and time constitute what comes across as beyond the limits of understanding suicide. My argument is that poetry bears witness to the gift of suicide – an ethical demand placed on the living to honour what is vulnerable and visceral in death. To do otherwise is to ignore the corporeal generosity death offers towards our understandings of what it means to live. Katrina Jaworski is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia. In 2014, she published her first monograph, The Gender of Suicide (Ashgate, UK). Katrina thinks, writes and publishes a lot about suicide in particular and death and dying more broadly, including Rwandan genocide, violent extremism and the philosophy of dying bodies. From time to time, she 140
manages to research happier topics such as queer theory, intellectual writing, higher degree education and gender, celebrities such as Lady Gaga, older men’s sheds and well-being, and pop-up economies.
‘Modern technology owes ecology an apology’, or Life’s suicidal Technē’ Peta Hinton (University of New South Wales) & Xin Liu (University of Tampere) What relation is invoked with the demand that technology must apologise to ecology? More to the point, why should we assume that technology is other than ecology, and with what, or whom, does technology align if we presuppose that it is somehow additional to ecological systems? In her recent monograph, Staying with the Trouble, Donna Haraway (2016) provides a powerful diagnosis of the problematic logics inscribed in much of the discourse concerning the Anthropocene, in particular the conventions of time and its privileging of the human underscoring a type of faith – ‘technofixes’ – that technology may ‘somehow come to the rescue of its naughty but very clever children’. In response to these Anthropo-logics, Haraway proposes a multispecies flourishing in the form of the ‘Cthulucene’ – a thick present in which, cum panis, humans are just some of the many ‘ordinary beings-in-encounter’ in relations that meld ‘partial and robust biological-cultural-political-technological recuperation and recomposition’ and prompt us into our response-ability to find ways to ‘live and die well’. With technology and human being thus ‘in the picture’ of this Cthulucenic ‘ecology’, nevertheless elements of Haraway’s vision resonate with Claire Colebrook’s concern that the preoccupation with how life may be sustained in view of the Anthropocene rules out the critical question of why it should be sustained in the first instance, such that a form of human exceptionalism is restored in the process of redressing its anthropocentric commitments. Staying with the trouble of Haraway’s proposal, together with Colebrook and Vicki Kirby we ask what provocations emerge if we rethink the relationship of technology and ecology beyond conventional notions of vulnerability and responsibility, to consider the Anthropocene in terms of life’s suicidal technē? Peta Hinton is an Honorary Lecturer in the Social Sciences (Sociology and Anthropology) at the University of New South Wales. She has recently held positions of fellow at the ICI Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin (2013–2016) and lecturer in Gender Studies at Utrecht University, Netherlands (2014–2016). She researches in the fields of feminist politics and new materialism, troubling conceptions of life itself, futurity, and ethics. Her work is published in Hypatia, 141
Somatechnics, and Australian Feminist Studies, and she is co-editor of and has published essays in Teaching With Feminist Materialisms, a volume in the AtGender ‘Teaching With’ series, 2015, ‘Feminist matters: The politics of New Materialism’ (2014) and ‘Quantum possibilities: The work of Karen Barad’ (rhizomes, 2016).
DA Y 3 / 1100D
Liu Xin is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Tampere, Finland, teaching research methodologies, feminist sciences studies and new materialisms. Her research examines the question of race from feminist poststructuralist, new materialist and postcolonial perspectives and currently focuses on the political economy through which the phenomenon of climate change becomes racialised and realised. She is guest co-editor for the journal Asia in Focus and has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Girlhood Studies, NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, and Sukupuolentutkimus-Genusforskning-Lehti.
Im agin ing and Ti me
‘Photosense as the stilled image of time’ Warwick Mules (Southern Cross University) This paper develops a concept of photosense, or the light sense released when the interface between remediated technologies is exposed as a stilled image of time (Benjamin’s dialectical image). Drawing on but diverting from Bernard Stiegler’s proposal of cinematic time as the generalised time of consciousness immersed in serial reproduction, I argue that photosense is the res gestae of an event – a material excess that eludes cinematic consciousness, exposing an image of time as void. In proposing photosense, my aim is to get around the technological determinism implied in Stiegler’s account of modern consciousness, and to address the issue of freedom as a way of seeing otherwise through the gap exposed between ground and structure in remediated technologies. An understanding of photosense throws light on the digital object as an extension of cinematic time, and allows for a reading of the Web in terms of what Yuk Hui calls complicity, or mutual understanding, enabling a delinquent experience to be brought into play in the formation of new object relations for a future ‘we’ disencumbered from present algorithmic commands. Warwick Mules is Adjunct Associate Professor in the School Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University. He is the author of With Nature: Nature Philosophy as Poetics through Schelling, Heidegger, Benjamin and Nancy (2014). Warwick works in the field of continental philosophy and critique and their application to art, film and nature. He is the founding editor of Transformations, a journal of theoretical, cultural and media studies.
‘Loss in a simulated environment (and other works): The significance of newness, and error, in early photographic processes through Walter Benjamin and Kaya Silverman’ Jacqueline Felstead (Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne) I am a photo-media artist/sculptor working with digital and archaic technology. In my current practice I engage 3D technology (such as hand held scanners and photogrammetry) to try to replicate irreproducible states - such as attempting to render in 3D an hour of someone’s time, or to render the glance between myself and another person or to render a birds-eye view although I am stuck on the ground. I am interested in the tipping-point where the technology 143
doesn’t quite fail me – where the computer renders a 3D cast that appears to unexpectedly enclose within it all of the difficulties of such projects, one that I can spin round and round on my computer, and print or output as a sculptural object. The importance of the technology lies in the unknown result, a novelty which nonetheless offers a strangely rational eye. Such works renew the - once photographic – conversation about the possibility of and desire for replication, and how such replicas relate to knowing and understanding where one is. This presentation focuses on connecting these ideas to the possibilities inherent in early engagements with photographic technology in portraiture. In light of this, Walter Benjamin’s consideration of the daguerreotype and recent work on the materiality of early photographic technologies by Kaya Silverman will be discussed.
DAY 3 / 1100E
Jacqueline Felstead is a photo-media artist working with digital and experimental photo formats. She holds a Master of Fine Art (Monash University), Bachelor degrees (Hons) in Media Art and Social Science and is currently completing her PhD at Victorian College of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include I am Here (West Space) and Gatwick Private Hotel (VAC), Everything (Objectifs, Singapore); Small Worlds (Curator, Substation Singapore), Because I KnowYou... (Curator, Counihan Gallery Brunswick) and group shows include Dots and Loops (Evans Contemporary, Toronto). Felstead has been awarded an Asialink Residency to Objectif ’s, Singapore with the support of the Australia Council and a studio residency at the Banff Centre, Canada. Recently shortlisted awards include National Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery Canberra; Ulrick Award, Gold Coast City Gallery; The Alice Prize, Arulean Centre; The Perceival Duo Portrait Award, Pinnacles Townsville; The Moran Prize, Sydney; Bowness Award, MGA; and the Head-On Portrait Prize, Australian Centre for Photography.
‘Queer relations: Towards autoethno[photo]graphy’ William Polson (RMIT University) Decontextualised, re-contextualised and distributed an inﬁnite amount of times amongst an inﬁnite amount of people, the idea of photographs and act of photographing has shifted from ‘representation’ to ’participation’. Photographs create complex networks that allow us to form multiple relationships with the world; relationships between subject, light, lens, ﬁlm, computer, photographer, audience and technology. This project examines how New Materialism can be explored through lens-based creative practice in order to re-articulate relationships with existing photographic processes. Using Queer Theory and Autoethnography
as a framework I will explore what insights New Materialism can offer photographic practitioners when making images of lived [queer] experience. The shifting nature of our relationship with photographs is best seen through the advent of vernacular photography as subject. Rather than focusing on what photography says, we have become ﬁxated on the act of taking or making photographs – the doing. The new materials of photography do not constitute what a photograph says about the world rather how it behaves in the world. Photographs no longer depict a singular subject or reality, rather they combine and collaborate with audiences to create new meaning in the world, altering their speciﬁcity and purpose. This photographic project explores the relationship between object, lens, maker, queer identity and audience and how photographs, polaroids, scans, photocopies and negatives (lens based art) can be explored through New Materialism and used to communicate the disparity between lived queer experience and the technologies needed to communicate said experience. Wil Polson is a PhD Candidate and lecturer at RMIT university. A photographer and practice based researcher, Wil’s research centres around themes of autoethnography, personal photographic essay and queer theory. Wil makes photographs using digital media, Polaroids, flatbed scans and 35mm film in order to explore notions of ‘straight photography’, the archive and the cumulative assemblage of identity.
‘A New Materialist account of photography: Earth, time, light’ Rebecca Najdowski (RMIT University) In photography, the question of representation – and signification and indexicality – has dominated theoretical discourse (see the discordant conversation amongst scholars in The Art Seminar in ‘Photography Theory’). This focus on the semiotic 1 function restricts what can be said about photography, limiting how we can use it to understand the world. However, if photography can be thought of as a material – as matter – rather than a representational media and a discipline, then a new vision may emerge. This paper proposes a new materialist account of photography through a discussion of earth, time, and light. Using the geological model provided by interdisciplinary media theorist Jussi Parikka in ‘A Geology of the Media’, this paper discusses the material of photography by looking at surface, strata, chemical interaction, minerals, time and transformation. The crucial element of light in photography is examined with reference to Sean Cubitt’s ‘The Practice of Light’. I argue that adopting a 145
new materialist approach, through highlighting and unbinding the properties of photography, will provide a new way to examine photographyâ€™s crucial role in how we understand the world. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a new discourse surrounding photography by offering new perspectives that challenge the established conventions of the medium.
DAY 3 / 1100E
Rebecca is a Melbourne-based artist working in photography, video, and installation. She is a photography lecturer and is undertaking a practice-led PhD project on materiality of photomedia. Rebecca received an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil, and was the first Artist Fellow at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened throughout the United States, and in Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Brazil, and Colombia.Â
S cien c e, Narrati ve and I ncl u si o n
‘Museological Somatechnics, or, pushing the limits of inclusion’ Nikki Sullivan & Corrine Ball As Helen Rees Leahy carefully details in Museum Bodies: The Politics and Practices of Visiting and Viewing, from their inception, museums have cultivated suitable publics through the deployment of a range of changing somatechnologies. At the same time, museums have, both intentionally, and inadvertently, excluded those whose bodily-being-in-the-world does not fit with the normative structuring structures and requirements of such institutions. In recent years there has been increased recognition in the museum sector that public institutions have an obligation to ensure access for all, and this concern has most often been spoken of in terms of inclusion. Whilst such recognition is no doubt important, in practice, inclusion strategies all too often fail to really grapple with the complexities of corporeal difference(s). This paper argues that opening up the museum to those whose corporealities and embodied histories are at odds with traditional museological practices necessarily involves a radical reconsideration of such somatechnologies, the assumptions that inform them, and the affects they produce. We will use two case studies to illustrate our claims: visitors with autism, and queer (LGBTIQ+) visitors. Nikki Sullivan was, until recently, a Cultural Studies academic with a strong interest in feminist philosophy of the body. In her new incarnation she is a Curator at the Migration Museum in Adelaide. Corinne Ball is a curator at the Migration Museum in Adelaide who has a particular interest in disability and museums.
‘Frontiers, weak objectivity and the Heroic Individual’ Maureen Burns (University of Queensland) The role of science popularization is to simplify scientific matters for a general audience, and in doing so many popularizations repeat and reinforce pre-existing social tropes and myths. In this paper I use a popular factual comic strip from the nineteen sixties and seventies: Frontiers of Science, to demonstrate some of the ways that such popularizations support weak objectivity. In the case of Frontiers of Science the myths concern frontiers, and science as masculine. Using Naomi Oreskes work, I discuss the ways that tensions between myth of the objective 147
scientist and the myth of the heroic individual, as these appear in Frontiers of Science, leave little room for women as holders-of knowledge to appear. In the first part of the talk I demonstrate how ‘women’s’ knowledge (cooking, mothering) is placed in contrast with scientific knowledge in the Frontiers of Science strips, and in the second part of the paper I use Sandra Harding’s concepts of weak and strong objectivity to further discuss the ways that the myth of the objective scientist excluded particular women scientists from an influential popularization that was published in newspapers around the world for nearly twenty years. Maureen Burns is a lecturer in Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Queensland and is currently working on a history of science popularization in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s.
‘Implied embodiment in popular evolutionary science texts’ Jamie Milton Freestone
DAY 3 / 1600A
Evolutionary biology forms the basis of many popular science texts, sometimes explicitly in texts about evolution, sometimes implicitly as in texts about microbiology, human genetic modification, or cognitive neuroscience. I perform a textual analysis of examples from the genre and identify a latent message of augmentation and embodiment through deep time. In this paper I argue that the use of the aesthetic of the sublime – via explanations of the ‘evolutionary epic’ – entails an attitude of new materiality that assumes a breakdown of barriers between the subject and the object and between the interiority of the human genome and the ‘outside’ environment. Jamie Freestone is a PhD candidate in English literature at the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. He is researching the aesthetic of the sublime in popular science texts.
B od ies and Transformati on
‘Affective Indigeneity: Queering ecology and Sámi authenticity in Sweden’s Got Talent’ Katariina Kyrölä (University of Turku, Finland) In 2014, Jon Henrik Fjällgren won the reality TV format contest Sweden’s Got Talent with a joik (traditional Sámi song style) performance. Fjällgren, who was adopted to a Swedish Sámi family from Colombia as a baby, performed the self-composed joik in traditional Sámi costume. His performance raised a lot of online commentary and debate around the validity of his Sámi identity. Fjällgren’s winning joik performances, composed in memory of his passed-away male friend, were widely praised as deeply moving, which further raises questions about affective intensities in performing indigeneity. In the paper, I ask how native authenticity, nature and affect connect to sexuality and kinship in the online circulation of the performance and its online reception. How are relations of affective immersion and recognition or belonging forged in such encounters? Drawing on the perspective of queer ecologies, I consider how gender, sexuality and indigeneity could be considered here in ways that center relations of place, space, nature and technologies instead of the human subject – on which debates about native authenticity often focus on. The paper is a part of the broader research project that analyzes contemporary Nordic popular cultural imagery of the Sámi by intertwining indigenous feminisms, queer ecologies and indigenous media studies. Dr. Katariina Kyrölä is Lecturer at Media Studies, University of Turku, Finland. She held the position of Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher in 2013– 2015, and worked as Lecturer and Researcher at Cinema Studies, Stockholm University in 2010–2013. She has done research in the areas of affect theory, feminist fat studies, porn studies, and queer theory, and her work has been published in e.g. International Journal of Cultural Studies, Sexualities, Lambda Nordica (Nordic Journal of LGBTQ Studies), and Feminist Theory (forthcoming). She is the author of The Weight of Images: Affect, Body Image and Fat in the Media (2014, Ashgate). Currently she is launching a research project on queer indigenous studies and images of Sámi in contemporary Nordic popular culture.
‘Attunement: the work of tuning the bodily capacity to affect into calculative media’ Nicholas Carah (University of Queensland)
DAY 3 / 1600B
In this paper I develop the concept of ‘attunement’ as a way of conceptualising an emerging and critically important facet of the affective labour commercial media platforms and devices appropriate. I begin distinguishing ‘attunement’ from established accounts of audience productivity that focus on watching or being watched. These accounts revolve around the creation, circulation and targeting of content. I am interested in the productivity capacity of users beyond symbolic expression or ‘thin’ accounts of affect that focus only on the capacity of users to narrate emotions or perform intimacies. Where once media institutions invested profit in the production of content, it is now funnelled into engineering the relationship between humans and machines. The engineering of media and the creative capacities of humans are entangled in an ongoing loop. The concept of attunement helps us think of the user of a media platform not as an expressive subject but rather as a subject that codes lived experience into the calculative logic of media. In this system, the contemporary experience of the user is that of accounting for the unknowable logic of the decision-making machinery of media. The emergence of deep neural networks as a key mode of machine learning is telling: not even the engineers, let alone the end users, can know how decisions are made about how to classify cultural subjects, bodies and artefacts. I draw on analysis of the institutional relationships between Google and the advertising industry and fieldwork with users to consider the vernacular judgments they make about the calculations that media make about them. With this discussion of attunement, I aim to consider what a critical account of media might look like in an era where its decision-making logic is unknowable. Nicholas Carah is a Senior Lecturer in Communication at the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. His research examines social media, branding and alcohol consumption. He is the author of Pop Brands: Branding, popular music and young people (2010), Media and Society: Production, content and participation (2015) and Brand Machines, Sensory Media and Calculative Culture (2016).
‘Bodies of concern – Temporary sites for transformation’ Julie Vulcan In the durational performance work ‘I Stand In’, I present an enactment of a stylised corpse washing ritual repeated hour after hour, body after body, with audience as witness and/or audience as participant. Imprinted shrouds from each body are hung in the space, accumulating as a symbolic archive, a record and a ghostly presence. In this presentation I will explore how performance can articulate embodiment, physicality and the transpersonal through the crafting of simple actions, of space and of temporality. I will reference visual documentation from ‘I Stand In’, participant responses and my own experiences over the past five years I have presented this work in Australia and overseas. In understanding the mortal body there needs to be an acceptance that death and dying are unequally distributed within an existing hierarchy of privilege. As the title suggests, the public are invited into the work by offering them an opportunity to ‘stand in’ for a body. The body in question is never identified in terms of gender, age, race or otherwise. It is a body to which the participant is offering a temporary face. It is an exhibited body not dissimilar to the museum body or the anatomy body but it is one that contests the normative body and assumptions of the deceased body. This body is not a curated body, a censored body, albeit it may be self-censored. It is the body that is here, right now. It is a body that reflects back and forward individual attitudes, emotions, fears and desires. In presenting a cycle of resonant bodies I offer an opportunity for the audience to enter a state of transformation within their own authentic transceiver feedback loop. Julie Vulcan is a research based interdisciplinary artist with a focus on performance, installation, text, digital media, durational and site responsive work. Transience and transference inform an interest in traces, archived remains and constructed histories whilst interrogating the veracity of mediated memory. She is one half of the exploratory lab SQUIDSILO and founder of base-metal a platform for experimental performance art exchange, dialogue and practice. Julie was the Associate Director and subsequent Artistic Director/CEO of PACT centre for emerging artists, Sydney 2010–2014. She has toured works nationally and internationally, most recently Holding Now (44 days) at Scratch Art Space, Sydney, Australia 2016; SQUIDSILO’s RIMA at the End(s) of Electronic Literature Conference, Bergen, Norway 2015; I Stand In at Venice International Performance Art Week, Italy, 2014; Drift at the Festival of Live Art, Melbourne and Metro Arts, Brisbane, Australia 2014; Redress # 7 ad nauseum at Rapid Pulse Festival, Chicago, USA 2014. Julie has presented on various symposia and contributed to a number of publications including Realtime and Emergency Index. 151
Early/modern Materi al i ty
‘Paper minds and their conservation research notebooks as prosthetic technologies in early modern Europe’ Simon Dumas Primbault (European University Institute)
DA Y 3 / 1600C
Among blackboards and wax tablets, research notebooks – mnemonic tools and heuristic instruments – are palimpsests that were not necessarily meant to be conserved, at least not in the long term, but that nonetheless were bequeathed to us by means of their peculiarly lasting materiality. By construing research notebooks as a prosthetic technology, resulting from the ongoing externalization of the human mind through exuded organs, I would like to contribute to the research on somatechnics by arguing that the peculiarity of such objects is due to their being halfway between a classic external device and inscriptions on the ‘lived body’ (Derrida’s corps propre): the extended mind of a distributed subject. Hence, the peculiar and idiosyncratic aspect that such objects display – filled with logics, numbers, figures, and equations, written upside down with words that do not form sentences and sentences that do not form texts. A form of inscription that reveals situated forms of thought reconciling tekhnè and epistémè in the embodiment of the act of thinking, as well as revealing the pas-de-deux of pathos and logos through the emotions and passions that drive the savant at work. I would like further to contribute to the research on somatechnics, time and temporalities by providing an anthropological perspective on just such an archival fever. Focusing on these paper minds, and the issue of their conservation, I propose to shed light on broad matters of historiography. Indeed, thus stretching the evidentiary boundary, we need to rethink our relation to the past, in the present. Heeding not the siren song of a fantasised presence of the past in these exuded organs, we need to devote our full attention to the semiotics and hermeneutics of traces and clues, of what is lost-in-transcription. Simon Dumas Primbault is a PhD student in History and Civilization at the European University Institute.
‘“A book dyed with the blood of the press”: The informational body and the fleshy text’ Tully Barnett (Flinders University) The conflation between the human body and the literary text has a long history. John Donne’s seventeenth century Latin lines in ‘Sed quae scripta manu, sun veneranda magis’, for example, employ significant blood, flesh and birthing metaphors . However, in the contemporary moment the shift towards digital methods for cultural production and its scholarship highlight the tension between information and matter. The Visible Human Project, where the human body is rendered into data, is one example of this, but so too is the grand scheme to digitise the sum total of human cultural production. Controversies such as printing a 3D replica of Palmyra to replace what was destroyed, dismembering books to scan them into digital archives with complicated afterlives, or the extent to which metadata is distinguishable from its source data illuminate the affective power of the rendering of information and the extent to which they accentuate the material. Add to this the phenomenon of information management, of the sense of an ordered world presented by search engines and the way that the function of the search constructs the searcher as co-creator of content. This paper considers the way that the human body has come to be understood in informational terms just as texts been understood as fleshy bodies, and the growing crossover between the two. It examines the implications these epistemological shifts have for the growing prevalence of digitization as a medium for cultural circulation. Dr Tully Barnett is a Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts at Flinders University where she works for the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres and the ARC Linkage Project Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture. She is the author of several articles on social reading and the Google Books project.
‘An unformed lump: Early Modern catheorisation of molar births’ Paige Donaghy (University of Queensland, IASH) In early modern Europe, the mola, mooncalf or false conception was a lump of unformed flesh engendered in women’s wombs, which appeared to quiver or be ‘alive’ within, or outside of, the womb. Early modern scholars believed that the mola was generated either by the meeting of ‘diseased male seed’ and ‘female menstrual blood’, or through a woman’s sexual imagination and/or masturbation, 153
which would cause her own seed to ejaculate into her womb. Historiographically, the mooncalf has been overlooked or absorbed into broader histories of monstrous births, reproduction and sexuality. In particular, Thomas Laqueur (1992) and Maurizio Calbi (2005) have argued that the theory of the mole’s creation by women alone demonstrates both masculinist anxiety as to the male role in generation and the existence of the ‘patriarchal hierarchy of reproductive fluid’. This paper seeks to do two things. First of all, it provides an historical analysis of the mola discourse across the sixteenth- to seventeenth-century, as an area of scholarship which is thoroughly lacking. Secondly, this paper complicates the arguments made by Laqueur and Calbi by pointing to the ways in which early modern scholars largely agreed, and acknowledged, the role of specifically ‘diseased’, ‘corrupt’, ‘weak’, or ‘barren’ male seed in the mola’s generation.
DA Y 3 / 1600C
I recently completed my Honours year in History at the University of Queensland, in conjunction with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH). My thesis examined the history of mola pregnancy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, exploring the ways in which early modern scientific knowledges informed the classifications of a human-generated, but not quite recognisable conception, the mola, which was largely described as a fleshy, unformed lump. My current research interests include how early modern cultural ideas of sexuality informed medical theories, and the central, pervasive role that imagination – specifically what Rene Descartes’ termed the ‘corporeal’ imagination – played in both early modern culture and science.
T h e C reati ve E arth
‘Technicity temporality embodiment’ Steven Finch ([SKYPE] Curtin University) In The Concept of Anxiety, Kierkegaard explains existential anxiety/dread is a becoming aware of life’s possibilities. You are on the edge of a cliff, and below you is the abyss of the past and future, and within you too, there is an abyss of possibility, and this abyss is also the freedom of choice. Kierkegaard explains original/hereditary sin as an existential condition, from history we inherit the figure of being human, yet because to be human-animal is to be free, we are also undefined/abyssal/chthonic. The chthuloscene is Donna Haraway’s alternative to the anthro/capitaloscene. The anthro/capitaloscene refers to human or capitalist effects on climate, chemical composition, and geological stratum, chthuloscene refers to “myriad temporalities and spatialities and myriad intra-active entitiesinassemblages – including the more-than-human, other-than-human, inhuman, and human-as-humus.” “Make Kin, Not Babies” Haraway declares. Chthuluscene works against the capitaloscene by defining the human-animal as an ecology, breaking with patriarchal familial structures and concepts of human subjectivity so that we are response-able to the stranger rather than the familiar. I propose to present findings and creative research from exploring Haraway’s concept of the Chthuluscene, particularly those from starting up a temporary religious exercise called ‘The “Cene”’ to further explore the relevance of religion as a mover and motivator of human biomass and its effects on the geological event known as the Anthropocene. Steven Finch is studying a creative literature PhD at Curtin University part time. He has had work published in Cottonmouth, Sitelines, Voiceworks, and in the Fremantle Press short story collection The Kid on the Karaoke Stage and other stories. Finch was the managing editor of the creative journal dotdotdash from 2009 until 2013, and a founding member of Aunty Mabel’s zine distro. In 2015, he co-directed the award-nominated Fringe World show Friendquest, was the recipient of a CAL Writer in Residence Award from the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA, co-produced an exhibition of floriographic poetry entitled Anthologia with local artist Alina Tang, conducted a temporary poetry shop called The Poesy Merchant with Westerly magazine, ran the charity campaign Meowvember and launched an ongoing nomadic residency project called ‘grr’ where he lives in a self-made travelling yurt. For Fringe World 2016 in collaboration with The Blue Room Theatre he hosted a mini-festival of theatre shows in the Grr called Grr Nights. 155
DA Y 3 / 1600D
‘Brown coal dust storm in the Latrobe Valley’ Hartmut Veit (Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne) This paper scrutinizes coal’s use in an art project to interrogate human relationality and temporal dissonance with non-human, geological matter. Informed by ongoing ethnographic fieldwork in Latrobe Valley communities and the frame of the 2014 Hazelwood Mine fire, the author builds on a long tradition of ecological performance art by feminist artists such as Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Jo Hansen. The gritty materiality of local brown coal is activated through installations and performative acts of labour, such as sweeping and cleaning in public spaces, neglected historical buildings and empty disserted shop fronts. Coal’s material agency highlights the impact of globalisation on local conditions and acts as an immanent microcosm, visual allegory and metaphor for much larger political and cultural temporalities. These interventions and new visual representations of geological matter reorientate human perception to address deeply entrenched thinking, which places human beings at the centre of all relations. Contextualised through the lens of New Materialism, matter’s commonly perceived bias for stable formations is challenged. Focusing on entropic processes and Bergson’s concepts of ‘duration’ the paper investigates whether the relationship of time and causality are mobile, fluid and non-linear. Departing from site-responsive concerns and context of peri-urban Victoria, Meillasoux’s idea of ‘fossilmatter’ is discussed. Coal, as the fossilized carbon of ancient Carboniferous forests is understood not only an object-as-record and trace of past life but it’s agency points to chtonic forces we have yet to fully comprehend. Ancestral realities existing long before the evolution of human consciousness challenge the authorative power of human subjectivity. Rethinking geological matter through the embodied processes of making and theorising this entanglement towards a relationship of co-responsibility and collaboration is discussed through texts from Bergson, Meillasoux, Delanda and Heidegger. The increasing ecological impact of human beings’ commodified relationships to nature, place and matter is exposed through the singular motif of coal’s vibrancy of matter to make a critical contribution to debates concerning anthropocentristic definitions of temporality, performance and authorship. Hartmut Veit is a practicing, exhibiting artist and currently a research candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne). Influenced by new materialist perspectives and long-term, ongoing anthropological fieldwork with Latrobe Valley mining communities, his research and performative/installation art practice collaborates with coal’s materiality to excavate it’s relationality, political 156
ecology and performative agency. He has recently given conference papers at the VI International Conference on New Materialism in Melbourne and the 2015 Performing Mobilities Conference in Melbourne.
‘Fragility, flux and the rewilding of art’ Andrew Goodman (University of New South Wales, Victorian College of the Arts) How is it that we might think a participatory art event beyond the human without denial of the potential of embodied experience? Can we reconceive of participation as inclusive of and giving agency to all the forces and entities that go to make up the ecology of the event without resorting to anthropomorphic metaphors? Could this be a ‘rewilding’ of art beyond such anthropocentric limitations? The recent ‘Rewilding’ movement has proposed radical new ways of conceiving of the care for ecologies as self-organising systems. Here the emphasis is placed on increasing system-wide dynamism rather than ‘conservation’. Stripped of its potentially romantic and sublime aura, rewilding’s rethinking of environmental degradation as a lack of intensive difference here provides the basis for an enquiry into radical experiments in enabling the prehensive capacities of ecologies to intensively evolve their own motivations: for climates or fields to immerge creatively. In this paper the concept of rewilding is examined through physicists Prigogine and Bak’s writing on far-from-equilibrium and self-organising criticalities and philosopher Erin Manning’s concept of the ‘minor gesture’ (the prehensive capacities of ecologies to evolve their own motivations). This discussion is then utilized to speculate on possible forms of such an approach within participatory art: What might a ‘rewilded’ art look like and what intensive motivations would it attend to? What transindividual collaborations might evolve? Here this is thought through an examination of Australian artist Cat Jones’ Somatic Drifts V1.0, a strange hybrid of therapy, participatory art and black magic that grafts human and plant life into new collective ecologies. Andrew Goodman is a visual artist with a background in political and ecological activism. He currently teaches art theory at Monash University and Victorian College of the Arts. He writes on art, process philosophy and ethics, and collaborates with Montreal based art-philosophy research group the Senselab at Concordia University.
Art, Acti vi sm, Praxi s
‘Performing dissensus: Craftivism and the political moment’ Tal Fitzpatrick (University of Melbourne) The inherently feminist practice of craftivism (the performance of activism and advocacy through the material practices of textile art/craft) approaches driving social change as a durational performance of dissensus. Regarded as form of ‘slow activism’ by those who identify as being part of the latest craftivism movement, this approach to activism is marked by its emphasis on the idea that sustained change takes time and care. In recognition of this, the material practices of craftivism are time-consuming embodied techniques with long histories in the feminist movement including embroidery, knitting and applique quilting. For craftivists these techniques are not tools for communicating demands but rather they are a dynamic means of practicing active citizenship, exercising democratic rights and acting on personal values.
DAY 3 / 1600E
In this practice-based exploration of craftivism as a durational performance of dissensus, Tal Fitzpatrick – craftivist, feminist and 3rd year PhD candidate at the VCA – will draw on her own socially-engaged artist practice in order to investigate the relationship between embodied practices of making and the temporalities of change. Using New Materialist philosophy, Jacques Rancière’s notions of dissensus and the political moment and the ongoing debate around the role and efficacy of participatory practice to aid the investigations. Tal Fitzpatrick (BA Hons, Griffith & PhD candidate, VCA) is a Melbourne-based artist, craftivist and community development worker. Her participatory approach to the practice of appliqué quilting is driven by her fascination with the power of craft to solicit the sharing of stories. Tal’s work looks to unpack how we can drive social and political change by using practice to engage diverse groups of people in complex conversations. As part of her research Tal works with community groups, charities and non-profit organisations on projects that explore issues such as women’s rights, disaster resilience and the everyday practice of democracy. Tal also has over five years experience working in the non-profit sector, focussing on community resilience building and community development. She has authored a chapter on community disaster resilience in the recently published second edition of Disasters and Public Health: Planning and Response
‘Feminist/feminine aesthetics: Representing women and cosmetic surgery’ Su Yang (University of Melbourne) This research aims to investigate the influences on contemporary domestic and overseas Chinese artists representing women in art and how or whether this has been affected by feminism and/or feminist art theory. The study focus specifically on the representation of the female form, how it reflects changing notions of beauty and how unnecessary, even harmful nontherapeutic cosmetic surgery is undertaken by women in pursuit of an ‘ideal beauty’. This in-depth study will complement my own paintings, drawings, photographs and video on questions of beauty and cosmetic surgery amongst Chinese women. Since Su Yang’s ten years old, she had been trained by her father on drawing and painting according to the same way of traditional European academy of art. Later she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Design from Tsinghua University in China. Su Yang started her Feminist and Cosmetic Surgery series and combined her interest in feminist perspectives and the philosophy of the body in her art practice during her M.F.A. study at the State University of New York at Buffalo in the United States. After graduation, Su Yang relocated to Australia to do her art practice-led Ph.D. research focusing on representing women in contemporary Chinese art with feminist art methodology at the University of Melbourne.
‘Contextualizing Neo-paganism elements within World of Warcraft’s screen culture: Artist as avatar creates Lilorean Lightwillow’ Linda Voase and Denise N. Rall (Southern Cross University) Part of Voase’s creative auto-ethnographic exploration of Neo-Paganism in her artwork includes 12 years of playing World of Warcraft – perhaps the most popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG, or MMO). In response to the war-like premise of WoW, Linda chose to pursue her pagan interests in healing, by creating the avatar Lilorean Lightwilliow, now a night elf druid, or Arch Druid Lilorean outside of WoW’s dominant conquest-based hierarchy. As an aspect of cyberfeminism, we explore the existence of women on the internet and the gender normalising behaviours they encounter – because when we create avatars we play with female identity. Further, Voase’s connection to a spiritual belief system was introduced through the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien, in the hobbit, as the Fantasy trope, which is now lived out in online play (Aupers, 2015).
The avatar Lilorean weaves through enchanted landscapes within the unique world of Azeroth, populated with mythical creatures, her role is to heal avatars who are injured in combat. The more recent world, Azeroth, contains mythological elements and beings from the popular trope of Fantasy. The world Azeroth contains possibilities for spiritual activity beyond simple warfare, strongly based on Neo- Paganistic practices, that was earlier named ‘TechGnocis’ (Davis, 1998). To date, Lilorean’s presence goes throughout the various worlds within World of Warcraft, and to date, she has healed over 38,985 combatants. Linda Janet Voase is a practicing Artist, Visual Arts Honours student and researcher who is currently enrolled at the Southern Cross University in Lismore. Her current work encompasses exploration of Avatar creation as an expression of identity and embodiment with agency and the experience of being a female gendered character within online environments in particular, the popular massively multiplayer online role playing Game World of Warcraft. Linda’s research involves a practice led or performative research involving immersion within screen culture as a healer in WoW, in order to reflect upon issues of gender normative behaviour, fantasy tropes and empowerment of women in online games.
DAY 3 / 1600E
Dr Denise N. Rall is an Adjunct Fellow (research) within the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University located in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia. Her eclectic research includes publications on textiles, fashion and wearable artworks, as well as how technology has impacted women’s roles in computing, cyberculture, domestic work, craft and social protest. Her recent book is Fashion and War in Popular Culture (2014, Intellect/University of Chicago Press). Her collaborative textile artwork recently won first prize in the ‘Paper on Skins’ competition hosted by the Burnie Art Gallery, in Tasmania.
‘The Weathering Report’ Rebecca Giggs (Maquarie), Jennifer Mae Hamilton (University of Sydney/NYU Sydney), Astrida Neimanis (University of Sydney), Kate Wright (University of New England), Tessa Zettel (independent artist) How might we understand and practice ‘weathering’ as a somatechnique for embodying climate change? In the context of a dominant climate change imaginary (in the so-called developed world), this phenomenon is too often posited as distant and abstracted from our everyday experiences of weather (see e.g. Neimanis and Walker, 2014; Yusoff and Gabrys, 2011). Such abstraction is buttressed by either neoliberal progress narratives of controlling the future or sustainability narratives of saving the past. Both largely obfuscate the ways that our bodies weather the world, and the ways in which our bodies are both archives and instruments in an ongoing gathering of climate-time. We propose that weathering as concept and practice might work as a poethical interruption to these abstractions. Bringing together weather and climate change in and as the body calls for a new understanding of measurement that exceeds the aggregation of data that we take as a sign of global warming. In this paper we thus explore how technologies for measuring the weather impact upon our embodied understanding of meteorology and simultaneously ask how the body is also barometer and thermometer. In turn, how do bodies become archives of climate-time or repositories of data in ways akin to but strikingly different from an ice core. Here, we present a Weathering Report that enacts our collective’s ongoing collaborative project in the art of weathering; we will unpack the theoretical underpinnings of our project, but more importantly, we will demonstrate weathering somatechniques through a series of interlaced and intra-active (Barad, 2007) readings, visualizations, and short participatory activities. In particular, we will activate weathering keywords such as scale / ants / lightening / measuring device / catchment. In doing so, we are reminded that we are not masters of the climate, nor are we just spatially ‘in’ it. Instead, we wish to ask how activating ourselves as weather-bodies can provide new imaginaries of climate change – linking this ineffable and massive ‘wicked problem’ to the very banal, intimate and felt experience of weather. Rebecca Giggs writes about ecology and environmental imagination, animals, landscape, politics and memory. Her essays and reviews have appeared 161
in The Best Australian Science Writing 2014, Chart Collective, Cordite, GriffithREVIEW, Aeon (UK), Overland, Meanjin, The Sydney Review of Books, The Guardian and The Weekend Australian. Works of nonfiction have also been produced for radio. Rebecca’s fiction has been widely published and anthologized in collections including Best Australian Stories 2011 and The Best of the Lifted Brow. Her first book – a work of literary nonfiction about whales in the Anthropocene era – is forthcoming from Scribe (Victoria). Rebecca’s creative work has been taught in universities in Canada and Australia. Rebecca has been the recipient of both state and federal arts grants, including: an Asialink Residency hosted by the Association for the Study of Environmental Literature, Japan; DCA(WA) Artsflight and Development funds; and Australia Council ArtStart and JUMP grants. She previously sat on the Board of Fremantle Press, and received the Matilda Award for Cultural Excellence from the University of Western Australia on the completion of her doctorate in the School of Social and Cultural Studies. Rebecca was one of the inaugural editors of The New Critic, the Journal of the Institute of Advanced Studies at UWA.
DAY 3 / 1600F
Since moving from Perth to Sydney, Rebecca has joined the Arts Faculty at Macquarie University where she teaches creative writing in the English Department, and has recently been the recipient of an Early Career Researcher Fellowship. Prior sessional appointments were at NYU Sydney, UTS and UWS as a researcher in the Centre for Cultural Research. Her fields include creative pedagogy and practice, environmental humanities, eco-criticism, nature and science writing, landscape studies, writing about animals, the uncanny, fictocriticism, creative nonfiction, literary nonfiction, essays and Australian literature. Scholarly publications are book chapters in the edited collections Criticism, Crisis and Contemporary Narrative: Textual Horizons in an Age of Risk and Telling Stories: Australian Literary Cultures 1935–2010. Jennifer Mae Hamilton is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, funded by The Seed Box: a MISTRA-FORMAS Environmental Humanities Collaboratory. She also lectures in Ecocriticism at NYU (Sydney). Her current research project is “Weathering the City” (weatheringthecity.wordpress.com) and her first book, This Contentious Storm: An Ecocritical and Performance History of King Lear is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic. Some of her creative collaborations include Walking in the Rain, Sea Shanties for Dead Sailors, Tilting at Windmills, erskineville and The Yurt Empire. She recently received a grant from the City of Sydney to co-curate a series of events with her partners at the farm called ‘Earlwood Farm Presents...’ at Sydney University’s Verge Gallery. This series includes such workshops as ‘Fossil Fuel Films’, ‘Read before Burning’, ‘Dance the Commons’ and ‘The Climate Change Christmas Variety Hour’. She lives at Earlwood Farm with her husband, baby, three friends and a chicken. The Farm is an experiment in “living with the trouble”. She blogs about domesticity, plants and labour (earlwoodfarm.com). 162
Astrida Neimanis is a feminist writer, researcher and teacher who is currently a Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney and coconvenor of the Environmental Humanities Collaboratory (Linkoping, Sweden). Her work is situated at the intersection of feminism and the environmental humanities, with a focus on embodiment, water and weather. She has been widely published in feminist, philosophical and cultural theory journals, including ‘Weathering: Climate change and the thick time of transcorporeality’ (with Rachel Loewen Walker) in Hypatia (2014) and ‘Hydrofeminism (or, On becoming a body of water)’ in Undutiful Daughters (2012). She also co-edited Thinking with Water (2013), a collection of cultural theory, poetry and art. Her scholarly interests include writing as a method of inquiry and transdisciplinary collaboration as an experimental form of research-creation. She has convened experimental writing workshops in Canada, Europe and Australia on weathering, queer ecologies and environmental bio/graphy. Convinced that current complex problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss demand new ways of thinking and acting together across nature-culture and other imaginary divides, she is also researching the science-based concepts of ‘incubation’ as ‘culturing’ as methods for activating arts-sciences-humanities collaboration on environmental themes. While primarily writing for academic audiences, her writing also deliberately engages the porous boundaries between scholarly research and poetics. Writing for non-academic audiences includes creative non-fiction (‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’, Descant, 2004) as well as short lyrical theory (e.g. ‘Currencies’, Harvard Design Magazine, 2014, ‘we are all bodies of water II: a memoir’, capricious, 2011; ‘we are all bodies of water’, Alphabet City: WATER, 2008). She is currently completing a chapbook entitled waterwork (punctum press, NY). Some of her academic-artistic collaborations include: (Unintentionally) Extremophilic in the Anthropocene – a series of lectures/performances with media artists and bioartists Kathy High, Oron Catts, Andy Gracie, Kira O’Reilly, Laura Beloff and Antti Tenetz, which is the result of a bioart residency in subarctic Finland; Someone:Water – a collaboration of philosophy, poetry and print design designer/maker Deborah Barnett and poet Beatriz Hausner (Toronto, CA); and ((( pollen ))) – a multimedia epistolary collaboration with Perdita Phillips and five other scientists, artists, and poets (inConversation, Spectrum Gallery, WA, 2014). Kate Wright is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Environmental Humanities scholar at the University of New England. Her current project is an experiment in multispecies and cross-cultural collaborative research methods through the development of a community garden focused on Aboriginal Australian culture and knowledges in Armidale, New South Wales. This grassroots community initiative draws Aboriginal philosophy into consonance with intellectual currents in environmental and posthuman theory, providing a co-research site and environmental activist platform as a place to develop alternatives to anthropocentric, Colonial and neoliberal ways of living and thinking. Aboriginal 163
community members are part of a co-research team that seeks to write with the nonhuman world, acting as scribes for weather, seasons, and the intraactive becomings of the multispecies garden. This innovative non-traditional research project expands the notion of community into a ‘mixed community’ of humans an d nonhumans, cultivating new forms of nature writing within ‘contact zones’ where humans embed themselves in more-than-human networks of growth and meaning (armidalecommunitygarden.org; facebook.com/ armidalecommunitygarden). Kate is currently completing a monograph that explores issues of climate change, species extinction and colonisation through intimate, embodied and situated encounters with the more-than-human world, titled Transdisciplinary Journeys in the Anthropocene: More-than-human Encounters (Forthcoming 2016: Routledge Environmental Humanities Series). She has published widely on environmental ethics and environmental philosophy, and received the Vice Chancellors Commendation for Excellence in Research for her PhD thesis, CrossKingdom Encounters: Journeys to the New England Tablelands. She is co-editor of the ‘Living Lexicon for the Environmental Humanities’, a special section of the open-access journal, Environmental Humanities; and convenor of the Posthuman Literary and Cultural Studies Research Group (UNE).
DAY 3 / 1600F
Tessa Zettel is an artist, writer, researcher and design educator who works to imagine or enact other ways of living in the present moment. Her interdisciplinary projects mostly take the form of durational, participatory interventions in which a kind of ‘fabulist archaeology’ makes visible contested histories and possible futures. They involve opening up spaces of dialogue, new forms of exchange, mapping as a research tool, and revaluing obscured cultural practices and knowledge. In 2013 Tessa spent time in Berlin, Belgrade and Sicily as part of a JUMP mentorship with Slovenian artist/architect Marjetica Potrč, during which she was a fellow at the inaugural Akrai residency, an invited guest at the Summer School for Applied Autonomy, and a participant in Belgrade’s Urban Incubator project. She recently completed a 3-month residency at ZK/U (Centre for Art and Urbanistics) in Berlin, developing a new project with Sumugan Sivanesan around bees and post-monetary economies. In 2015 she will spend 6 months in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts as a recipient of both the Power Institute Residency Fellowship and the Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Scholarship. Tessa is also a co-founder of Makeshift – a Sydney-based collaborative whose speculative site-based projects appeared in such exhibitions as If you were to live here… 5th Auckland Triennial (Fresh Gallery, Auckland), Primavera 2011 (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney), IASKA SPACED: Art Out of Place (Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth), Sister Cities Biennial: Urbanition (San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery/Carriageworks), and In the Balance: Art for a Changing World (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney). 164
T H A N K
Y O U
A ck n o wled gements The conference organisers consider this final page of the program our most important, as it is where we can convey our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the people who have helped to make ‘The 10th International Somatechnics Conference’ possible. In particular, the organisers would like to convey our gratitude to: Southern Cross University, especially the School of Arts and Social Sciences and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Geraldine Mackenzie, for providing the funding and support to launch this conference. The QSCU, especially Shae Brown, for funding assistance and for providing scholarships to enable four students to attend ‘Somatechnics 10’. The University of Queensland and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities for in-kind support. ACON Northern Rivers, especially Community Health Promotion Officers Tobin Saunders and Edda Lampis, for generous support and provision of the health promotion campaign materials throughout the conference. The Australian Feminist Studies, especially Maryanne Dever and Lisa Adkins, for supporting Susannah French’s participation in ‘Somatechnics 10’, and for allowing us to create a virtual special issue in concert wtih the conference. To our invaluable volunteers: Paige Donaghy, Nick Mattingly, Phoebe Heathcote, Natasha Seymour, Shastra Deo, Cai Mia Langford, Jeremy Kane, Cassandra Byrnes, Bonnie Evans, Emily McConochie, Patrick Walsh, Madeleine Boyd and Joe Ruckli. Finally, we would like to thank all our attendees for sharing their research and expertise with us and making ‘Somatechnics 10’ an exciting and special event.
Somatechnics www.euppublishing.com/soma PuBlISHED Biannual | iSSN: 2044-0138 | e-iSSN: 2044-0146
EDItoRS Dr Sheila Cavanagh, York University Dr Malena Gustavson, Linköping University Review eDitoR
Dr Nicole Matthews, Macquarie University
Somatechnics presents thoroughly multi-disciplinary scholarship on ‘the body’ Somatechnics provides a space for research that critically engages with the ethico-political implications of a wide range of practices and techniques. The term ‘somatechnics’ indicates an approach to corporeality which considers it as always already bound up with a variety of technologies, techniques and technics, thus enabling an examination of the lived experiences engendered within a given context, and the effects that technologies, technés and techniques have on embodiment, subjectivity and sociality. Articles of Interest include
‘Bodies of Failure: An Introduction’ by Eve Katsouraki and Daniel Watt ‘Corporeal Anachronisms: Notes on Affect, Relationality, and Power in Steampunk’ by Jenny Sundén ‘Hopeful Monsters: A Queer Hope of Evolutionary Difference’ by Donna McCormack
30 dayS free online acceSS! Access Token name: SoMa2016 1. Visit www.euppublishing.com 2. Create or log-in to My Account 3. Enter SoMa2016in the Access Tokens’ area of My Account and submit