[ISEA2011] Panel: Leonie Cooper (moderator) – Testing New Ground: An Interdisciplinary Discussion on Hybrid Habitats

Panel Statement

Chair Per­son: Leonie Cooper
Pre­sen­ters: Pa­tri­cia Adams, An­drew Bur­rell & An­gela Ndalia­nis

The media en­vi­ron­ments we now in­habit are hy­brids: both ma­te­r­ial/vir­tual, ac­tual/imag­i­nary, sci­en­tific and sci­ence-fic­tional, fu­tur­is­tic and yet also fun­da­men­tally grounded in media his­to­ries. This panel will con­sider the is­sues at stake as we shift from think­ing of the screen as a por­tal to other worlds that mir­ror those we cor­po­re­ally in­habit to fig­ur­ing out al­ter­na­tive ways of think­ing about tech­no­log­i­cally me­di­ated forms of in­hab­i­ta­tion. It aims to con­tribute to new ways of think­ing about habi­tats by in­volv­ing artists work­ing with mixed re­al­ity tech­nolo­gies and think­ing through the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of their re­search for is­sues of self and em­bod­i­ment. The is­sues of self and cor­po­re­al­ity that emerge from sites that are ‘vir­tu­ally’ in­hab­ited are con­sid­ered along­side other habi­tats where screen tech­nolo­gies are in­ter­wo­ven with ma­te­r­ial ge­o­gra­phies. The­o­rist-his­to­ri­ans who have re­searched con­tem­po­rary urban en­vi­ron­ments and off-world habi­tats such as space sta­tions offer in­sights into the his­tor­i­cal con­di­tions from which they have emerged as well as what they re­veal of con­tem­po­rary  modes of tech­no­log­i­cally me­di­ated in­hab­i­ta­tion. Oth­er­wise in­vis­i­ble syn­er­gies be­tween prac­tice and the­ory will emerge from an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary de­bate on hy­brid habi­tats guided by the fol­low­ing ques­tions:

  1. How are new tech­nolo­gies im­pact­ing upon the imag­i­nary and ma­te­r­ial for­ma­tions of ‘habi­tats’ –  as ma­te­r­ial sites, as screen-worlds and hy­bridi­s­a­tions of both.
  2. What eth­i­cal and aes­thetic con­sid­er­a­tions do these habi­tats raise? Are they atopias (non­places), utopias or some­thing else en­tirely?
  3. Who in­hab­its these worlds and how? Are they con­sid­ered view­ers, par­tic­i­pants or do these habi­tats in­vite other modes of en­gage­ment?
  4. How might al­ter­na­tive –  even in­ter­species –  habi­tats re­flect dif­fer­ent un­der­stand­ings of cor­po­re­al­ity, con­scious­ness and iden­tity?
  5. How does nos­tal­gia and the past in­form and in­ter­sect with the con­struc­tion of new, utopian-in­spired habi­tats?
  6. Do these al­ter­na­tive habi­tats have his­to­ries? How might such his­to­ries be re­con­structed?
  • Leonie Cooper is a Lec­turer in the Fac­ulty of Art & De­sign, Monash Uni­ver­sity (AU) where she men­tors grad­u­ate stu­dents un­der­tak­ing re­search in media arts prac­tice and the­ory. Her ap­proach to re­search and teach­ing draws upon ex­per­tise in the his­tory and the­ory of film, tele­vi­sion, dig­i­tal media and screen arts with an in­ter­est in their in­ter­me­dial re­la­tions. Her doc­toral the­sis in­ves­ti­gated the fig­ure of the as­tro­naut in the con­text of con­tem­po­rary screen media in­clud­ing film, theme parks at­trac­tions and vir­tual worlds. She has pub­lished on the as­tro­naut and crit­i­cal the­ory and been in­vited to speak on these areas. Cur­rent re­search ex­tends es­tab­lishe work on sci­ence fic­tion aes­thet­ics into con­tem­po­rary dig­i­tal net­works as pre­dic­tive media.