Author: AK

Paperology Symposium – May 2022

Event website A public event exploring paper in its different forms and permutations. Un évènement public voué à l’exploration du papier dans ses différentes formes et permutations. May 6 –7, 2022Canadian Centre for Architecture, MontrealFree. All welcome. Organized by Juliette De Maeyer, Aleks Kaminska and Ghislain Thibault

“‘Don’t Copy That’: Security Printing and the Making of High-Tech Paper”

ABSTRACT Printing is not a new media technology, but it is continuously being renewed. In this sense, it is an example of novelty going largely unnoticed, woven into the quotidian and ordinary in unassuming ways. One reason for this is the incomplete way we tell the story of printed paper, which privileges narratives of readings, access, and dissemination. To complicate the way media scholars think printing, this article turns to the case of security printing, which produces objects like banknotes and passports that circulate with trust and authority. Here, printing emerges through the specific need to print securely, offering a narrative based on the need for order and protection. The work of security printing, always straddling between art and science, produces artefacts understood as authentic copies. Such a transformation of paper into valuable object relies on the technical artistry of the security printer, who sets the aesthetic and material standards of authenticity through physical features like watermarks, engravings, holographs, special substrates, threads, or inks. Drawing on a close reading of informational materials produced by the …

Sleep Salons – Winter 2022

Detailed information for all the salons and speakers on the dedicated page of the Sociability of Sleep website. Eventbrite to register You Tube channel for video recordings of the salons. Salon no. 5 : Sleep and Labour Speakers: ✦ Sarah Barnes (Cape Breton University)✦ Debra Skene (University of Surrey) The rise of the modern, industrial workday also put sleep “on the clock.” As an optimizable activity of rest and recovery, sleep has arguably become as much a part of our work lives as work itself. This salon explores sleep as an experimental (and monetizable) zone of performance enhancement and bodily entrainment, considering the seemingly extreme cases of professional athletes and hospital shift workers to reveal the tensions we all experience between the social and biological demands of work and rest. Salon no. 6 : Performing Sleep Speakers: ✦ Amara Tabor-Smith (Stanford University + Ellen Sebastian Chang (iIrector, Producer, Educator)✦ Jasmeen Patheja (Artist) Sleep is usually associated with personal environments and the literal and metaphorical withdrawal from the outside world; so the spectacle of sleeping in …

Sleep Salons – Fall 2021

Salon no. 1 : The Social Lives of Sleep How might we begin to think the sociability of sleep? Speakers: ✦ Matthew Wolf-Meyer (Anthropology, Binghamton University)✦ Carmela Alcántara (Social Work, Columbia University) Register on Eventbrite How and why should we conceive of sleep in social terms? Sleep appears to be a way that the body leaves behind the social world for an inner and highly individualized landscape. Yet much sleep research has also attended to the ways sleep reinforces the social, political, and environmental forces that govern our waking lives. Here we invite two distinguished researchers to share how their research approaches the social and collective dimensions of a seemingly singular experience. ✦ Matthew Wolf-Meyer is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Binghamton University. His book The Slumbering Masses: Sleep Medicine, and Modern American Life uses ethnographic and archival materials to explore the history of sleep and sleeplessness in 20th century American life against the backdrops of modern medicine and industrial capitalism. ✦ Carmela Alcántara is Associate Professor of Social Work and Associate Dean for Doctoral …

Paperology RAG

The Paperology Reading and Activity Group took place over Zoom during the 2020-2021 academic/pandemic year. I co-organized it with my colleauges Juliette De Maeyer and Ghislain Thibault, along with the infatiguable legwork of postdoc Alysse Kushinski. There is more info on the projects page, and the links below give a good sense of what we did and the amazing community that gathered around the material that is paper. Our monthly schedule Our DIY book, currently travelling the world Twitter: @paperologyRAG Much to our delight, three Paperologists decided to keep the group going with a 2nd edition in 2021-2022. Here is the site for Paperology 2.0! There are more Paperolology activities and publications still in the works, including a grad seminar, a publication or a few, a perhaps we’ll even meet in person one day? To be continued…

The Sociability Project

Website We received the exciting news that our project The Sociability of Sleep has been awarded a New Frontiers for Research Fund grant. This new research is an interdisciplinary research-creation project exploring the epistemologies and equities of sleep that runs from 2021–2023. I’m working with a fantastic team, starting with Alanna Thain at McGill. More about everyone involved here. ABOUT THE PROJECT With the SoS project, we are interested in both the everyday and the exceptional experiences of sleep and its disturbances. In sleep, we all become radically vulnerable in a way that requires social forms of care: individuals are experts of their somatic experience, and yet access to the sleeping self relies on the perception of human and technological others. How might exploring a sleeper subjectivity—the quotidian ways we navigate time, space, ourselves, and others—help us rethink and reanimate the sociability of sleep itself? From the cyclical rhythms of productivity and rest to shiftwork to overwork; from racial and gendered inequities to cultural alterities; from the stigmatisation and performance of fatigue to the medicalization …

“Mediating the Tree: Infrastructures of Pulp and Paper Modernity in the Bowater Papers”

Article written with Rafico Ruiz based on a short-lived trade publication produced by the Bowater paper mill in 1950s Newfoundland. Excerpt from the introduction: Thinking of paper via the tree requires some new conceptualizations of environmental media theory. First, trees are a problematic model of an “extractive” logic, since they are not exactly extracted from the land but cleared, razed, felled, harvested, and exploited. This act of deforestation can—at least in theory—be fol- lowed by its opposite, reforestation: trees are an example of a resource that is not finite and that can be replaced. Second, paper provokes an expansion of what constitutes elemental media, broadening from the four elements (earth, water, fire, air) as used by John Durham Peters (2015), to include other primary matters, such as the tree.4 This might lead to the question: could there be a media philosophy of tree, or wood, or forest? Could we think of these together under a common rubric such as “xylomedia” (from the Greek “xylo” or “relating to wood”), and would such a material enfolding be …

Special issue: Materials and Media of Infrastructure

Edited collection with Rafico Ruiz, Canadian Journal of Communication. Vol. 46 No. 2 (2021) From our introduction: “As researchers, we are fortunate that, especially if studying the contemporary moment, the tangible materials of infrastructural architectures are available for analysis, starting with how they have been inscribed on the land. Infrastructure, capitalist extractivism, postcolonial space, and a damaged environment are bound together through a set of relationships that cohere in the project of settler infrastructure building. While infrastructures are invariably and most often extractive, drawing from the land in the sense of taking space and making use of materials and resources, one of the central aims of this special issue is to gesture toward how infrastructures are themselves forms of mediation that are shaped by their material constitution. The materials and media of infrastructures signal a broad set of evolving relationships between humans and the environments they colonize, and how they cohere in highly contingent and mutable entities known as “infrastructures.” This issue examines the range of infrastructure as a category, one that can contain material …

Call for Postdoctoral Fellow: The Sociability of Sleep

Call for Applications – Postdoctoral Fellowship “The Sociability of Sleep: Careful Design for Collective Conditions” Université de Montréal and McGill University, Montreal, Canada DEADLINE: June 15, 2021 We are seeking a postdoctoral fellow for a 10-month position to work on the new interdisciplinary research-creation project “The Sociability of Sleep.” The candidate will work directly with Professors Aleksandra Kaminska (Director of the Bricolab, Université de Montréal, Communications) and Alanna Thain (Director of the Moving Image Research Lab, McGill University, English) and have the opportunity to work with project collaborators. These include researchers and practitioners from communication and media studies, media arts, cinema and performance, psychiatry, psychology, and clinical medicine across Montreal’s universities. The Sociability of Sleep is funded through the Exploration program of the New Frontiers in Research Fund, a special initiative to support interdisciplinary, experimental, and intensive projects considered to be “high risk, high reward.” We explore exceptional and everyday experiences of sleep and its problems to generate new knowledge and empathies for sleep conditions, defined as a disordered and debilitating relation between sleep and …

Biometrics: Mediating Bodies

I co-edited a special issue of the journal PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas on Biometrics. This issue maps out some of the ways that bodies have been measured and identified based on biometrics ever since the rise of media technologies, from nineteenth century anthropometry to modern day computational science. From case studies and interventions detailing the history and politics of biometrics, to creative and critical applications and visualizations of the biometric body, the authors and artists included here work across diverse theoretical approaches and disciplinary traditions to engage the machine-readable body. The contributions are organized around five conversations—History of Measurement; Politics and Governance; Aesthetics; Narratives and Experiences; and Design—that reflect the reach of biometrics today. One the one hand, they consider the quantified and objectified body as it becomes part of systems of identification and recognition, such as in contexts of security or surveillance. On the other, they highlight the new narratives, aesthetics, and experiential mediations of the body that surface in fields like health, cinema, media art, and curation. Along the way, these articles take on biometric …

“The Intrinsic Value of Valuable Paper”

ABSTRACT Authentication devices transform cheap paper into legitimate documents. They are the sensory, informational, and computational features that make up valuable papers like banknotes and passports, and they provide the confidence required in moments of exchange and passage. These devices – which include techniques like watermarks and specialized threads, proprietary substrates and inks, or RFID chips – are the product of security printing, an industry that continuously reinvents the possibilities of paper. Importantly, these components protect paper things from counterfeiting, allowing it to function as an original and authentic copy and to do the logistical work of connecting quotidian materials to global networks. The value of valuable papers is therefore not purely extrinsic, socially or discursively established, but is also performed through its intrinsic material qualities. These are the authentication devices that are read, assessed, and trusted as paper things are circulated, and they are what securely connects paper to infrastructures of mobility. Online First

“Nano-Optical Image-Making”

This article has been a long time coming* but it is finally available in print form in the April 2020 issue of Leonardo.  Nano-Optical Image-Making: Morphologies, Devices, Speculations ABSTRACT This article provides a technical overview of nano-optical image-making produced between the author, engineering scientists at the Ciber Lab in Vancouver, and the artists Christine Davis and Scott Lyall. It situates the work in relation to other optical technologies like holographs, to the primary application of nano-optical images as authentication devices, and to other artistic practices interested in nanoscale interactions of light and matter. The paper articulates the convergence of visual technologies and designed materials by explaining how the principles of structural color can be used for the production of images. Building a discussion on the shift from device to medium that is anchored around questions of remediation and reproducibility, it concludes with a speculation on informatic matters, or the convergence of mediating functions at the surface of things. *Accepted for Online First publication in January 2018. See on Academia