Opening/Introduction Day 1Opening of the symposium, bios for co-directors
Laura Magnusson, Karine Aguiar S Saunier, Isaiah GreenThe original presentations by these speakers are linked in the video and below.
Karine Aguiar de Sousa Saunier
Karine Aguiar de Sousa Saunier is a recording artist and researcher born and raised in the city of Manaus, nested in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. She has a masters in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability in the Amazon (Universidade Federal do Amazonas) and now is a PhD candidate at Universidade de Campinas (UNICAMP), where is developing a research project with Amazonian Ecomusicologies under Suzel Ana Reily’s supervision and funded by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES).
Laura Magnusson is a queer Canadian artist and filmmaker, with a focus on video, sculpture, performance, and underwater research-creation. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, researching the capacity of multimodal artforms to elucidate felt experiences of trauma resulting from sexual violence. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan (2019), and a BFA from The School of Art at the University of Manitoba (2010), where she has a permanent public sculpture on display.
Isaiah Green is from Waynesville, North Carolina and is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at Indiana University where he also currently serves as a graduate assistant for the Diverse Environmentalisms Research Team (DERT). He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor in Music with a concentration in vocal performance in 2017. He completed a Master of Music with a concentration in musicology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2019. His research focuses on musical expression in Pagan spiritual practices and their connections to the environment. He has presented on ecomusicology at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Music of the Sea Symposium in Mystic, Connecticut, and will present at the National Meeting of the Society of Ethnomusicology in October of 2021. He is currently conducting fieldwork with Pagan musicians and historical research on witchcraft in North America.
Nik Forrest (Concordia) and Kate Paxman (Plymouth)Nik Forrest is an interdisciplinary artist based in Tio’tia:ke/Montreal. Their practice includes experimental sound performance, installation and composition, as well as experimental video and video installation. Their recent projects explore the ecological potentials of sound and listening as techniques to heighten attunement to entangled human and non-human materials, bodies and forces, and to the interconnected affective, social and environmental relations. They are currently working on a PhD at Concordia University in the interdisciplinary humanities program.
Kate Paxman is an artist, educator and practice-led PhD researcher in Media Arts with the School of Art, Design and Architecture at Plymouth University. Kate works with film and sound, paying close attention to geologies, entities and systems and building speculative narratives which explore our era of unavoidable climate catastrophe. Her work has received a number of commissions and awards, most recently from Aeolus Online, BEAST FEaST 2021 and Arts Council England, and her published work includes writing for ‘The Ecological Citizen’, a peer-reviewed ecocentric journal and THEOREM 2018, Cambridge, UK, Ruskin Arts.
In this presentation, Kate discusses her research for her film and sound installation Sirens (2021). Kate’s research is focused on sea caves in the shore area of Torbay’s Marine Conservation Zone where she implements a proactive methodology of research through observation, inspired by the field work activities of natural history, but expanded to include other ways of measuring such as through intuition and imagination, and using conjuring, augury and ritual. In her work for Sirens these techniques allow Kate to engage in an acknowledgement of an ecology of the senses and how non-humans and humans sense the environment, as she attempts to decentre patterns of exceptionalist thinking and apprehend the diverse sensibilities of others.
Ali Kenefick (Concordia) and Emilio Chapela (Plymouth)Alexandra Kenefick is a PhD Candidate at Concordia University, Montreal, in the independent interdisciplinary program, INDI. Her research focuses on the intersection of feminist Design and ethics in meat consumption/ production politics. With a Bachelor’s degree in communication design from Emily Carr University and a Master’s in the gastronomy of meat from the University of Gastronomic Sciences, her work emphasizes the materiality of meat through making and embodied experience and exposing meat’s complex narratives through feminist Design. This work seeks to expose the complicated relationships humans contend with meat and meat-animals, the divisions of power present in the commoditization of meat and the consumer landscape, and ultimately questions how humans can be response-able agents of mindful eating practices as part and as distinct from the industrial animal-agricultural complex. Through her scholarly and creative work, she hopes to spark deeper inquiry into the profound and contentious thing that is killing and eating other animals, and how the subtleties of individual response can persuade the momentum of great change.
b. 1978 Mexico City
Chapela is a PhD candidate at the University of Plymouth, a visual artist and researcher with a background in science, sculpture and moving images. His work explores connections between science, technology and ecology through the art practice by examining notions of time and space as manifested through forces such as rivers, astronomical phenomena, light, gravity, rocks, plants, volcanoes. He has had several museum and gallery exhibitions in Mexico, USA and Europe. The most recent being at Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City in 2019, where he collaborated with architects, astronomers and scientists. He currently collaborates as senior research assistant at the University of Essex in the project entre-rios.net, an online community coordinated through the arts dedicated to the wellbeing of bodies of water.
Hira Sheikh, Shareed Mohammed, André S. BailãoAndré S. Bailão is a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, under the supervision of Professor Lilia M. Schwarcz. He researches the scientific, artistic, and cultural histories of Brazilian landscapes at the intersection of science studies, history of science, environmental history, environmental humanities, and visual culture studies. In the past, he has researched scientific controversies around climate change and drought in São Paulo and written a master’s thesis on the production of Brazilian climate change science and technology— with a chapter to be published in Sillitoe, P. (ed.) The Anthropocene of Weather and Climate, Berghahn, 2022. He is one of the coordinators of the Enciclopédia de Antropologia (EA), an open online encyclopaedia at the University of São Paulo, with essays written by graduate students on historical and current concepts, debates, authors, institutions, and works in Anthropology and related disciplines (https://ea.fflch.usp.br).
Hira Sheikh is a Doctoral Researcher with the Urban Informatics Research Group at the QUT Design Lab and QUT Digital Media Research Centre. She is an architect and an urban design theorist by background. Her research focuses on more-than-human smart urban governance. Before commencing her Ph.D., she worked as an urban planning consultant at The United Nations Development Programme and as a Research Assistant with [urban interfaces] at Utrecht University. Her artistic practice takes on ecocritical, decolonial, and multispecies approaches to explore human-nature relationships.
Shareed Mohammed is currently a PhD candidate in the Literatures in English programme at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago. His PhD thesis aims to demonstrate that Wilson Harris’s shamanistic quantum imagination results in the creation of a re-visionary and cross-cultural poetics.
His most recent conference paper entitled “L’envoi Morts (sending of the dead): Wilson Harris’s Instrument of Challenge and Disruption to the Territorial Language of Progressive Realism” was presented at the University of the West Indies/University of Leicester 2021 International Summer School Online Workshop.
Melanie King, Julie Gemuend, Deepta Sateesh/Laura DenningJulie Gemuend is a Canadian artist. She received her MFA from Ryerson University. Her practice is aligned with a number of intersecting movements that emerged in the 1960s, including performance-based video, body art, and land art. In her work, Julie aims to explore our profound connection with the natural world by probing the edges of identity and environment, interiority and exteriority, the tamed and the wild, and the places where the two merge. She employs her body to speculate on theories concerning the self, space, and materiality within the context of the human body and its relationship to the physical world. She has participated in various artist residency programs in North America and abroad and exhibits her work internationally. She is currently completing a research-creation-based Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Brock University.
Melanie King is an artist and curator with a specific focus on astronomy. Her studio is based in Ramsgate, Kent. She is co-Director of super/collider, Lumen Studios and founder of the London Alternative Photography Collective. Melanie is currently Artist In Residence at the School of Metallurgy and Materials at The University of Birmingham, from 2021 to 2022. Melanie is a PhD Candidate at the Royal College of Art (2015-2022). She is a graduate of the MA in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins (2013), and the BA Fine Art at Leeds Art University (2011). She is a lecturer on the MA programme at the Royal College of Art, and on the BA Photography course at University of West London. She is represented by the Land Art Agency and has prints available for purchase via Argentea Gallery, Birmingham. Melanie’s solo exhibitions include Photofusion, London (2022), Photo Co Op Folkestone (2021), Big Day Film Collective USA (2021), Leeds Art University (2017, 2020), Bloomsbury Festival (2019), the Blyth Gallery, Imperial College London (2018). Melanie has exhibited in a wide range of international galleries, such as the Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden, BOZAR Brussels, Unseen Amsterdam, the Williamson Gallery in Los Angeles and CAS Gallery in Japan.
Laura and Deepta's video presentation: https://youtu.be/2RgIME95RLs
Deepta Sateesh is a design researcher, educator, architect and planner, working in landscapes in conflict. Her environmental practice is focused on creating new pathways in design, education and policy. Her doctoral research in the Western Ghats of India gathers situated practices, movement, and the politics of the colonial eye, and draws from design, environmental humanities and philosophy. She is also a dancer, wanderer and photographer.
She is Director and Founder of Odde Research Center, and Dean of Research and Collaborations, at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education. The research and projects of Odde Research Center are concerned with the environment and its inhabitants, oriented towards revealing and generating new possibilities and frameworks for nature-culture synchronicities. The Center’s work is framed by wet ontologies, and is focused on: design of environmental policies that are inclusive, emergence of participative eco-pedagogies, and framing of responsive adaptive everyday practices. Research and practices at the Center are collaborative, gathering communities, NGOs, researchers and young learners, and government organizations.
She is Senior Advisor at the Forum for Law, Environment, Development and Governance; member of IUCN Commission on Education and Communication; and co-editor of the book Product-Service-System Design for Sustainability.
Laura Denning is a transdisciplinary artist working across film, sound, social participation and installation. She has received commissions, as well as a number of awards from Arts Council England. Most of her work aims to reveal novel insights that can contest familiar ways of thinking about people, place and sensation.
She undertook her first funded film Manual for Nomads as writer, director and producer (working with actors, crew and post-production for the first time) in 2020. This resulted in a commission for the Arts Institute Plymouth The Underside of Time (2020), and a commission for Beastly Landscapes We are all Beasts 5 minute Artists Moving Image piece for Newcastle University’s Centre for Research Excellence in Landscape (Sept 2021).
Recipient of the inaugural scholarship in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, Denning has recently successfully defended her PhD thesis. This practice-led research positioned art practice within experimental geography in order to open up the registers within which art might operate, and to foreground the environmental and ecological focus of her art practice.
Sanaz Sohrabi (Concordia) and Livia Daza Paris (Plymouth)Sorry, we had some recording issues with this video so it is different than the rest!
Sanaz Sohrabi is currently writing her doctoral dissertation at Concordia University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. Sohrabi’s doctoral artistic research maps an unlikely geopolitical calendar of political affinities, competing and contradictory national projects wherein oil was both the agent of imperial power and the catalyst for anticolonial political projects. She incorporates multimedia installation and essay film as her means of research to examine the transnational visual and film culture propelled around “raw material sovereignty” and decolonization of oil industries between 1950-1980. Her project aims to draw a comparison between anticolonial mobilization and resource nationalism in Iran with other nations in the Global South. As a filmmaker and artist, Sohrabi is deeply invested in researching the role of film and visual culture as an axis of solidarity, political influence, and propaganda during this period. She asks: how did oil become one of the main anchors to navigate the political task of nation-building on the one hand and transnational solidarity on the other? And in what ways did the decolonization of extractive industries rely upon the visual field to wrestle with the issues of growing national elitism and repression following independence and to navigate the networks of solidarity across different petro-states despite the ideological antagonisms in their competing political projects? This project further traces the relationship between the oil industry’s transnational labor force and the evolving visual regimes of identification as independent “oil nations.”
In this presentation Sohrabi discusses her recent film “One Image, Two Acts” which unpacks the photographic archives of British Petroleum during its operations in Iran to unravel BP’s widespread construction of cinemas in the oil towns of Iran wherein oil has operated as an agent of power in the colonial episteme. “One Image, Two Acts” is a coalescence of infrastructures, images, and archives of oil wherein cinematic time and geological time mobilize different sites, temporalities, and numerous material modalities.
Livia Daza-Paris is a Venezuelan-Canadian transdisciplinary artist working with performance, participatory art, video and documentary evidence. Her art-led research is informed by her background with experimental dance and Skinner Releasing—a technique immersed in poetic imagery and principles of entanglements of self and world, including the more-than-human. In this research, attunement as method and decolonizing methodologies support the emergence of poetic testimonies about non-oﬃcial history in a context of disappearances, systemic colonial violence and US interventionism. Attunement grapples with disappearance as a deeply disorienting felt experience, defying representation. Decolonizing methodologies admit a plurality of ways of knowing—including Indigenous knowledge–where multiple worlds frame the onto-epistemological.
Daza-Paris is a PhD candidate at the University of Plymouth, UK. Her works and writings have been presented and published in Performance Research Journal, VIS NORDIC Journal, THEOREM Journal; Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge, UK; Project Anywhere with Parsons Institute, NYC; Alchemy Film & Arts Festival, Scotland; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas, Venezuela; and Optica Gallery in Montreal.
‘Attuning to more-than-human kinship: The wounded tree and the politically disappeared’ (in-progress) is an art-led research project by Livia Daza Paris, conceived through site-specific installations, performativities, durational art, video documentary and writing. The project suggests that assemblies of solidarity could be constituted by humans and the more-than-human to effect claims about non-official history of state violence in a context of systemic coloniality and US interventionism. Informed by Indigenous ways-of-knowing, attunement processes and ecology-as-intersectionality, the project is an invitation to think alternatively on articulations of truth while inquiring: who else is witness? Unanticipated ‘poetic testimonies’ emerge from more-than-human witnesses on who and what has been made disappeared.