[ISEA2020] Panel: Steve Daniels, Alexandra Bal, Lila Pine & Kathleen Pirrie-Adams — Kinship and Disembodiment in Mediated Cloud Spaces

Panel Statement

Keywords: Embodied, Kinship, Sentience, New Media Art, Media Frenzy, Cloud Thinking, Rational vs Sentient, Emotions

This panel explores the idea of human and machine sentience as they pertain to art practices. Sentience makes new media art unique because it is a pathway to a different understanding and approach to time, space and the body. But, is machine sentience the same a biological sentience?
“From the Orrery to the Cloud: Precursors and Foundations of Sentience in New Media Art” is a reflection by Steve Daniels on how the history of technology and media systems and corresponding shifts in cultural metaphors interact to create artworks that make meaning through sentience.
“Mediated Networked Selves – New modes of Human and Machine Sentience?” is an exploration by Alexandra Bal of the historical roots of cybernetic, telematic cultures in order to ascertain how new modes of human and machine sentience currently emerging are an evolution of our culture. She discusses the potential dangers of a world where machines and embodied sentience are incomprehensible to disembodied humans.
Lila Pine explores Go’gmanaq which examines our kinship with new media technologies.
In “Creature Quality in Kinetic Art” Kathleen Pirrie-Adams shows how the behavior of kinetic art moves the audience away from the field of vision into a phenomenological field of experience. It explores how movement invites identification and establishes the ‘creature quality’ of human-made entities.

  • Dr. Alexandra Bal is an associate professor in the RTA School of media, at Ryerson University. Toronto, Canada. She has done funded research focused on the impact of social digital media on children and youths. She now researches the impact of western culture on the senses and how to create decolonized sensory literacy. Her digital photography focuses on creating nature vivante photographs, portraits that celebrate nature’s sentience. She also participates in ecological art by decolonizing land. For the last 16 years, she has helped a forest regain its sovereignty over farmland.
  • Steve Daniels uses electronics and communication technologies to create hardware agents, kinetic sculptures, ubiquitous spaces and networked events. Through his practice he juxtaposes disparate knowledge systems and experiences in an effort to reveal their underlying structures and assumptions. His works and collaborations have exhibited at the TIFF Lightbox, Ontario Science Centre and InterAccess (Toronto, ON) and were recently included in the MACHines show at the Centre des Arts, Enghien Les Bain (FR), as a part of Eveil/Alive/Despertar (SESC Santana, Sao Paulo, Brazil), TEI’15 (Stanford, USA) and ISEA (Disruption) 2015 (Vancouver, CAN). Steve is currently associate professor in the New Media program in the RTA School of Media, Ryerson University. Steve teaches courses in Malleable Media, Making Objects, Physical Computing, Telepresence and Networked Objects. He holds an MSc from the University of Manitoba (Zoology, Behavioural Ecology) and is a graduate of the Integrated Media program at OCAD (Toronto). Steve can be found online at spinningtheweb.org
  • Dr. Lila Pine, of Mi’gmaw descent, is a New Media artist and Indigenous thinker. She is the Director of Saagajiwe, Ryerson’s Indigenous Communication and Design network, whose mission is to facilitate the creation and dissemination of Indigenous thought and ways of knowing and doing. The name Saagajiwe, given by an Elder in a sacred ceremony, is an Anishinaabemowin word which means something like the first ray of light. One of Lila’s research/creation projects seeks to develop a way of “seeing” sound in order to identify distinct qualities in the speaking of different languages. It employs digital art creation as a scholarly research tool and it engages Indigenous research methods to shift perceptions around the relationship of language to worldviews and ecological concerns. Lila is also collaborating with Buffy Sainte-Marie on a project called Creative Native: Youth Mentorship in the Arts Initiative, which brings touring multi-arts festivals to First Nations communities across Canada. She is currently associate professor in the New Media program in the RTA School of Media, where she teaches Indigenous media and new media courses at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
  • Dr. Kathleen Pirrie Adams is the Chair of RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, Toronto,Canada. She is a curator and media theorist who has developed exhibitions and media programmes for the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto Photographer’s Workshop (TPW), the InsideOUT Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Images Festival, and the Venice Architectural Biennale. Her most recent publications include a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Museum, Media, and Communications that examines how digital media reframes the core provisions of the museum. Her current research project looks at how amateur experts use online spaces to create ‘heritage-at-large’.

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