[ISEA2020] Panel: David Howes, Jennifer Biddle, Rea Noir, Christopher Salter, David Garneau & Suzanne Kite — Sensory Entanglements: Decolonizing the Senses

Panel Statement

Refuting outmoded paradigms that lock culture into ‘once was’ models of tradition in which Indigenous life worlds and cosmologies are invariably rendered distant and past, Sensory Entanglements brings culture and heritage into sharp relief within the realm of contemporary media arts experiences. This round table will share insights about the collaborative processes of research-creation that led to the production of three portable sensory environments developed as uniquely embodied means for cultural knowledge transfer. Discussion with Session Chair jake moore [CA]

  • David Garneau (Métis) is a professor of Visual Art at the University of Regina, Canada. He is an artist, curator, and critical art writer mostly focused on contemporary Indigenous visual art, identities, and display cultures.
  • Rea Noir (r e a) is an artist / curator / activist / academic / cultural educator / creative thinker; from the Gamilaraay / Wailwan / Biripi (NSW) people of Indigenous Australia. r e a’s ongoing practise-led research takes its development from new and critical discourses exploring intersectionality and positionality, through the cultural convergence of Aboriginality; within the creative arts and technology, history and colonialism, the body and identity, gender and queer politics. r e a is an artist who’s experimental digital arts practice spans three decades of reinterpreting western theories of Aboriginality, reframing identity politics and repositioning new stories that challenge these ideas through a contemporary lens of art and history. r e a has a doctorate in Visual Anthropology, University of New South Wales, Art & Design titled: “‘Vaguely Familiar’: haunted identities, contested histories, Indigenous futures”; which includes a creative body of work that explores the actions of learning to listen to country and draws on a legacy of lived experiences, the impact of intergenerational trauma, grief and loss. In reclamation there is an acknowledgement of de-colonisation / disruption / protest / Indigenisation.
  • David Howes is a Professor of Anthropology at the Centre for Sensory Studies of Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Montreal. He has conducted field research on the cultural life of the senses in the Middle Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea, Northwestern Argentina, and the Southwestern United States. He is currently directing a project on “Law and the Regulation of the Senses” and collaborating with new media artist Christopher Salter to produce a series of art installations that re-arrange the senses. His latest publications include Ways of Sensing: Understanding the Senses in Society (2014) co-authored with Constance Classen from Routledge, and the four-volume Senses and Sensation: Critical and Primary Sources compendium (2018), also now from Routledge. He is the Managing editor of the journal The Senses and Society. See further  concordia.ca/faculty/david-howes.html
  • Chris Salter is an artist, Full Professor for Design + Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal (Canada) and Director of the Hexagram Concordia Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology. He studied philosophy, economics, theatre and computer music at Emory and Stanford Universities. After collaborating with Peter Sellars and William Forsythe/Ballett Frankfurt, he co-founded and directed the art and research organization Sponge (1997-2003). His solo and collaborative work has been seen all over the world at such venues as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Ars Electronica, Barbican Centre, Berliner Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, Musée d’art Contemporain, LLUM BCN 2020, PACT Zollverein, Villette Numerique, EMPAC, Transmediale, EXIT Festival and Place des Arts, among many others. He is the author of Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance (MIT Press, 2010) and Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (MIT Press 2015). His new book on human and machine sensing will be published by MIT Press in 2021.
  • A/Professor Jennifer L. Biddle is Senior Research Fellow in the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), UNSW Art & Design, Australia. She is founding Director of Visual Anthropology & Visual Culture, an international program specialising in Indigenous and Asia Pacific research, one of only a few programs in Australia to support ethnographic and practice-led research as a basis for creative and critical research innovation in the arts.
  • Suzanne Kite aka Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice highlights contemporary Lakota epistemologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fibre sculptures, immersive video and sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records. For the inaugural 2019 Toronto Art Biennial, Kite, with Althea Thauberger, produced an installation, Call to Arms, which features audio and video recordings of their rehearsals with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) York, which also consisted of a live performance with the conch shell sextet, who played the four musical scores composed by Kite. Kite has also published extensively in several journals and magazines, including in The Journal of Design and Science (MIT Press), where the award winning article, “Making Kin with Machines,” co-authored with Jason Lewis, Noelani Arista, and Archer Pechawis, was featured. Currently, she is a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar. kitekitekitekite.com