[ISEA2017] Panel: Kira Decoudres, Elizabeth Demaray, Tyler Fox, Leigh M. Smith, Helene Steiner, Jordan Matthew Yerman & Adam Zaretsky — Design for the Non-Human

Panel Statement

Keywords: Non-human, Anthropocene, Design, plants, Animals, Microflora, Art

New forms of technology now support shared experiences between humans and other species and may enhance the function of non-human life forms. Design for the Non-Human, brings together artists and design- ers working on generative, agent-based artworks that either (1) allow a non-human life form to use technology in such a way that its abilities are greater than those of a non-technologically enabled member of its own species, or (2) extend the sensorium of us humans to the sensorial experiences of our companion species.

  • Kira Decoudres is a recent graduate of Science, Technology, & Digital Media Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts (US). Her work ponders questions of posthuman potential and the futility of futurism through “glitched” media remixing and sensorial scrambling. At play in deCoudres’s work are themes of distortion and remix as bio-technic disruptions of embodiment.
  • Elizabeth Demaray (USA) designs listening stations for birds that play human music, fabricates alternative forms of housing for hermit crabs, and builds light-sensing robotic supports for houseplants. This last endeavor, titled The IndaPlant Project: An Act of Trans-Species Giving, entails creating moving floraborgs that utilize machine learning to allow potted plants to roam freely in a domestic environment in search of sunlight and water. A recipient of the National Studio Award from NY MOMA/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the NYFA Fellowship in Sculpture, Demaray is an associate professor of fine arts and head of the sculpture concentration at Rutgers University, Camden, USA. On the Rutgers, New Brunswick, campus, she is an advisor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and an advisor at the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab in the Department of Computer Science, which is dedicated to supporting artistic practice in the fields of computer vision and machine learning.
  • Tyler Fox is an artist, researcher, technologist and educator, his work focuses on the ways in which nonhuman relations shape our experience of and relationship to the surrounding world. Fox leverages technology to create affectively rich experiences featuring living, non human organisms. His writing mobilizes philosophy and contemporary theory to consider the aesthetic potential of technology and non-human experience. Fox incorporates pedagogy into his artistic practice, using formal and informal workshops as a form of community engagement. His artwork has been shown nationally and internationally. He received a PhD from the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University, Canada, an MFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland (NZ) and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Washington, USA. He is a member of DPrime Research, an art-science nonprofit research organization. Fox is a Lecturer in Human CenteredDesign & Engineering at the University of Washington. USA tylersfox.com
  • Leigh M. Smith is a computer scientist and software developer of music information retrieval (MIR), audio signal processing, computer graphics, embedded, and cryptography systems. He has published as a postdoctoral researcher with the Music Cognition Group at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL) and Analysis/Synthesis Group at IRCAM (Paris, FR), and taught at several universities on music perception, cognition and MIR, with a focus on analysis and modelling of musical rhythm for interactive performance systems. He is currently a senior research engineer at LANDR Audio Inc., based in New York City. His musical interests include performing as a guitarist. Smith and Yerman presented Street Cat Photo Booth 1.0 at ISEA2015.
  • Helene Steiner is a UK based designer and researcher with a focus on new interactions in and with our (natural) environment. Her research follows a biological approach and looks at opportunities to not only bridge the physical and digital world but also the natural and artificial. Her background is in Product Design with a MDes from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. During her time in Vienna she studied under FROG founder Prof. Hartmut Esslinger to explore the opportunities of extending our bodies with technology and prosthetics, what leaded to her MA and MSc in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London. Before her PostDoc position at Microsoft Research, she collaborated with the Tangible Media Group at MIT Media and is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London, UK.
  • Jordan Matthew Yerman is a Vancouver, Canada-based artist and writer who has worked and created from Tel Aviv to Tokyo. He explores the experiences of feral cats as a metric of urban measurement, while assessing the embodied practice of engaging such furtive subjects. Internationally published, he partnered with Fujifilm to photograph cats across Japan. He presented the Street Cat Project at BIL2015, and Street Cat Photo Booth at BIL 2016. He studied at UC San Diego (USA) and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, UK. He has performed off-off-Broadway and on the West End, and has appeared as a
    digital installation at the Bronx Museum of Modern Art, USA.  jordanmatthewyerman.com 
  • Adam Zaretsky, Ph.D. is a Wet-Lab Art Practitioner mixing Ecology, Biotechnology, Non-human Relations, Body Performance and Gastronomy. Zaretsky stages lively, hands-on bio art production labs based on topics such as: foreign species invasion (pure/impure), radical food science (edible/inedible), jazz bioinformatics (code/flesh), tissue culture (undead/semi-alive), transgenic design issues (traits/desires), interactive ethology (person/machine/non-human) and physiology (performance/stress). A former researcher at the MIT department of biology (USA), for the past decade Zaretsky has been teaching an experimental bioart class called VivoArts at: San Francisco State University (SFSU), SymbioticA (UWA), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), University of Leiden’s The Arts and GenomicCentre (TAGC, NL) and with the Waag Society (NL). He has also taught DIY-IGM (Do-It-Yourself Inherited Genetic Modification of the Human Genome) at New York University (NYU) and Carnegie Melon University (CMU, USA). His art practice focuses on an array of legal, ethical, social and libidinal implications of biotechnological materials and methods with a focus on transgenic humans. He also runs a public life arts school: VASTAL (The Vivoarts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.) and psiFert, a psychic Fertility Clinic.

Full text (PDF) p. 657-661