[ISEA2017] Panel: Alejandro Valencia-Tobón — Art, Science and Anthropology Experiments: Inviting other Knowledge about Mosquito-borne Diseases through Transdisciplinary Collaborations

Panel Statement

Panel: Training Methods for Transdisciplinary Collaboration

Keywords: Multispecies Relations, Health Campaigns, Mosquito-borne Diseases, Coexistence, Public Experiments

In order to investigate the effectiveness of public health campaigns to reduce mosquito-borne diseases, I have designed a series of “public experiments” that combine ethnography and artistic installations. In these experiments, a collaborative team -including scientists, artists and patients- create relational art experiences using visual and sonicmedia and performance. People in these collaborations participate by attending “parasite” events in which they gather together as research partners, subjects and objects at the same time. These events provide a means for dialogic and experimental approaches, allowing the hybridisation of “research outcomes” and “the research itself.” My approach to collaborative forms of research aims at ethical and inclusive ways of understanding people’s knowledges and understandings. The best practices for successful collaborations are, therefore, derived from open-ended and process-based events that stimulate debate among the public and the intersubjective exchange of experiences. Based on these premises, I present Serotype, Vampires and the Mosquito Kite Project, public experiments in which the pre-established ways of working for designing health campaigns were put aside. By doing so, I argue that a new relationality, one that includes both the academic and public domain, is needed for thinking differently about mosquitoes and diseases.

  • Alejandro Valencia-Tobón, Universidad Autónoma de Occidente Cali, Colombia. Alejandro Valencia-Tobón is interested in developing interdisciplinary collaborations and experimental methodologies at the interface of art, anthropology and science. Valencia-Tobón’s work has been exhibited at the Festival International de cerf-volant de Dieppe (Dieppe, 2016); 42nd Photographic Art Salon, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Medellín, 2016); Medellín Planetarium (Medellín, 2016); Horniman Museum & Gardens (London, 2013); Miami Science Museum (Miami, 2012); Museum of Science & History (Jacksonville, 2011); Lakino Film Festival (Berlin, 2011); La Plata Audiovisual Art Festival (La Plata, 2011) and the Inter-American Development Bank (Washington, DC, 2010). With a background in biological sciences at the Universidad de Antioquia (Medellín, Colombia), Alejandro received a MA in Visual Anthropology with Sensory Media in 2012 and a PhD in Social Anthropology with Visual Media from the University of Manchester in 2016. He is currently based in Cali, Colombia, as Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente.

Full text (PDF) p. 696-699