[ISEA2020] Panel: Carlos Castellanos, Elizabeth Demaray, Tyler Fox, Ken Rinaldo & Amy Youngs — Sentience and Trans-Species Collaboration: Considering the Aims, Desires and Perceptual Landscapes of the Non-Human

Panel Statement

Keywords: Sentience, anamality, non-anthropocentric design

Artists and researchers work with living and semi-living organisms for many reasons. In 2004, the artist and theorist Roy Ascott coined the term “moist media” to represent the convergence between dry computational systems and wet biological processes. Ascott saw moist media as a way of extending the sensorium of the self. Some makers may utilize these materials to explore issues in the anthropocene that are faced by humans and non-humans alike, while others may be motivated by the aesthetics of life itself.
What do these artworks, studies, and designs tell us about the aims, desires, and perceptual landscapes of the non-human? This panel will explore sentience in our companion species through the work of five contemporary new media artists working with living and semi-living organisms. In their presentations, these artist-researchers will share what they have learned about sentience in other species from working in a non-anthropocentric framework. The panel will also consider the issues involved in collaborating with life, animal rights in the studio, and what our companion species can teach us about living systems.

  • Elizabeth Demaray builds listening stations for birds that play human music, cultures lichen on the sides of skyscrapers in New York City, and designs alternative forms of housing for hermit crabs. Demaray is head of the concentrations in Intermedia and Sculpture in the Department of Visual Media and Performing Arts at Rutgers-Camden and an adviser in the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Rutgers-New Brunswick, USA
  • Carlos Castellanos, Assistant Professor, School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA. Carlos Castellanos is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher with a wide array of interests such as cybernetics, ecology, embodiment, phenomenology, artificial intelligence and transdisciplinary collaboration. His work bridges science, technology, education and the arts, developing a network of creative interaction with living systems, the natural environment and emerging technologies. His artworks have been exhibited at local, national and international events such as the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), SIGGRAPH & ZERO1 San Jose. He is also a founding member of DPrime Research, an art-science nonprofit research organization. He holds a Ph.D. from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), Simon Fraser University and an MFA from the CADRE Laboratory for New Media, San Jose State University. ccastellanos.com
  • Ken Rinaldo is internationally recognized for interactive art installations, bio-art, and animation developing hybrid ecologies with animals, algorithms, plants, and bacterial cultures. His art/science practice serves as a platform for hacking complex social, biological, and machine relationships. Rinaldo is focused on theories of life, symbiogenesis, trans-species communication, and providing models for how technological systems can use structural and process lessons from nature to be more sensitive to all living species. Bio-art, interactive installation, non-violent action, animation, food systems, trans-species artworks, robotic sculpture, and rapid prototyping are all areas of active research. Rinaldo’s works have been commissioned by museums, festivals, and galleries traveling to over 30 countries; such as the B3 Biennale of Moving Image, Frankfurt, Art laboratory, Berlin, McDonough Museum of Art, US, Innovation Media Research and Commercialization Center, US, ALIFE; Mexico, Centro National Arts Mexico, Nuit Blanche, Canada, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Kiasma Museum; Finland, World Ocean Museum; Russia, Ars Electronica; Austria, National Center for Contemporary Art; Russia, Lille International Arts Festival; France, la Maison d’Ailleurs; Switzerland, Vancouver Olympics; Canada, Platform 21; Holland, Transmediale; Berlin, AV Festival; England, Caldas Museum of Art; Colombia, Arco Arts Festival; Spain, Te Papa Museum; New Zealand, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo; Spain, Pan Palazzo Delle Arti; Italy, V2 DEAF; Holland, Siggraph; Los Angeles, Exploratorium; San Francisco, Itau Cultural Museum; Brazil and the Biennial for Electronic Art; Australia. Rinaldo was the recipient of an Award of Distinction in 2004 at Ars Electronica Austria for Augmented Fish Reality and first prize for Vida 3.0 Madrid for his work Autopoiesis, which also won an honorable mention in Ars Electronica in 2001. In 2008 Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs were awarded a Green Leaf Award from The United Nations Environment Fund for the Farm Fountain. He is the recipient of three Battelle Endowment grants as well as a cultural Olympian for the Vancouver Olympics in 2009. Rinaldo is a member of the Senior Academic Board for Antennae Magazine and author of Interactive Electronics for Artists and Inventors. His work has been featured on the radio and TV internationally, including BBC, ORF, CNN, CNET, CBC & the Discovery Channel. Select publications include Art and Electronic Media by Edward Shanken, Evolution Haute Couture Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age edited by Dmitry Bulatov, Art and Science Steve Wilson, Inside Art E Sciencia edited by Leonel Moura, Politics of the Impure V2 Publishing, Digital Art by Christiane Paul, Information Arts by Steve Wilson, Contemporary Italy, NY Arts Magazine, NY Times, Art Press Paris, Tema Celeste Italy and Wired Magazine. kenrinaldo.com.
  • Amy M. Youngs creates eco artworks that explore interdependencies between technology, plants and animals. Her practice involves entanglements with the non-human, constructing ecosystems, and seeing through the eyes of machines. She exhibits nationally and internationally at venues such as the Te Papa Museum in New Zealand, and the parks in New York City. She received a BA in Art from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an Associate Professor of Art at the Ohio State University (USA) where she leads interdisciplinary grant projects and teaches courses in digital art, eco art, and art/science. hypernatural.com.
  • Tyler Fox, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States of America