Author: AK

Art, web & feminisms – roundtable

Le 23 mai 2019, de 14h à 17h, aura lieu la Table ronde « Art, web et féminismes » au local N-7050, à l’UQAM. Co-organisée par le RéQEF et Julie Ravary-Pilon(Boursière postdoctorante du RéQEF 2018), cette activité sera précédée par la deuxième version des Ateliers méthodologiques du RéQEF. J’animerai la table ronde « Art, web et féminismes » sur l’histoire des activismes et des arts féministes sur le web. Cette activité réunira les professeures Joanne Lalonde (histoire de l’art, UQAM), Krista Lynes (communications, Concordia), Rosanna Maule (cinéma, Concordia) ainsi que l’artiste de performance et sculpture Algonquine Anishinaabe mixte et bispirituelle Faye Mullen pour une conférence-performance. Cette activité bilingue, ouverte et accessible se veut un lieu de partages et de réflexions sur l’histoire de l’art cyberféministe, les potentiels du web pour la création artistique des femmes, les esthétiques des contestations (dissent) LGBTQI+ en ligne et hors ligne ainsi que la création numérique féministe en écrans. Les questions du public pourront être traduites sur place si nécessaire. Conférencières : Faye Mullen Murs trans-spatiaux, cérémonie et résistances Résumé …

Archive/Counter-Archive website is live

Archive/Counter-Archive: Activating Canada’s Moving Image Heritage brings together over 25 co-investigators, a dozen collaborators, and a network of Partners from across Canada to research and remediate audiovisual archives created by women, Indigenous Peoples, the LGBTQ2+ community, and immigrant communities. I’m a co-applicant (SSHRC Partnership Grant) and part of the Education and Outreach working group. Political, resistant, and community-based, A/CA creatively engages with archives through its dynamic network of Canadian archives, artist-run centers, community organizations, and Universities. Together, the goal is to create best practices and lay the foundation for innovative cultural policy. You can visit the website to sign up for the newsletter or to follow the activities on social media.

CCA 2019 – Paper Infrastructure: The Bowater Papers 1950–58

Paper presentation (with Rafico Ruiz) on the Bowater Papers archive, as part of the Materials and Media of Infrastructure panels: The Bowater Papers is a trade magazine that was published periodically by the Bowater Paper Corporation, based in London, running from 1950 to 1958. As the magazine’s inaugural editorial, “Thoughts on Paper,” begins: “Paper is the raw material of human communication; it binds together continents; history would be lost without it; [sic] for it is the link between the past and the future. But paper, the commodity, is not only for the chronicler.” This “large paper-manufacturing organization,” in the mid-1950s the largest producer of newsprint in the world, launched the magazine with a view to both creating and cataloguing its enterprise as a consolidating infrastructural network of paper producers and consumers. The series of four issues were intended to embody and materially contain the entire array of papers, paper products, and paper derivatives that the Bowater Paper Corporation’s global manufacturing system produced and promoted. Each issue is an “exposition of paper in use,” with inserts …

CCA 2019 – Materials and Media of Infrastructure

Rafico Ruiz and I are co-chairing a double-panel at the Canadian Communication Association this year called Materials and Media of Infrastructure: Infrastructures are increasingly at the forefront of critical communication studies. Rather than remaining in the operational background that subtends our contemporary digital landscape, these infrastructures establish “the rules governing the space of everyday life” (Easterling 2014), emerging as integral “chokepoints” (see Limn issue 10, 2018) that reveal the varied materials that both make up and travel across them. Whether oil pipelines or the infrastructures of the newsprint industry, examining the materials, materialities, and media of infrastructural arrangements allows for a better understanding of the social, political and cultural configurations that they make possible. Functioning in this way as logistical media (eg. Durham Peters), these visible and invisible infrastructures ultimately shape the movements and mediations of data and information. This double panel seeks to explore the relationships between materials and logistical politics by examining the ways in which infrastructures enact particular forms of mediation that are enabled and constrained by their varied material properties and …

Storing Authenticity at the Surface and Into the Depths

Very happy to be part of issue 32 of Intermédialités/Intermediality, edited by Nathalie Casemajor and Sophie Toupin, on the topic of Cacher/Concealing. I contributed a paper on security devices used in passports/banknotes called Storing Authenticity at the Surface and Into the Depths: Securing Paper with Human- and Machine-Readable Devices. Here is the abstract: This article examines the media technologies that mark paper as authentic. Using the examples of passports and paper banknotes, it considers the security features (e.g. graphic marks, holographs, chips) that do the work of reliably storing, protecting, and communicating authenticity across both space and time. These overt and covert authentication devices are examined in two interconnected ways: 1) as technologies with specific temporal conditions, constrained both by technical longevity and functional lifespan; and 2) as technologies that must be continuously reinvented to outpace counterfeiters and forgers. Together, these attributes have led to strategies of concealment that shift authentication from a human-legible activity at the perceptible surface to one that is concealed in the depths of machine readability. While this adds a level …

On the Concept of Recognition in Media Art

Now available: proceedings from the fantastic Politics of the Machines: Art and After (EVA Copenhagen) conference that was held in May are now online. I have a paper here which is my first working through the concept of recognition and how it might be useful in thinking politically about the media artwork, particularly artworks that explore the automated recognition of human emotions by computers that rely on a biometric analysis of the body. ABSTRACT On the Concept of Recognition in Media Art: Emotional Reactions, Empathetic Interactions Biometric technologies have transformed recognition into an empirical and automated activity. But recognition is not just a matter of identification or surveillance. As computer systems become capable of detecting human emotion, we are reminded of philosophical approaches to recognition that place it as central activity of human self-realization and social existence. Bringing together these dual notions of recognition, this paper considers how artists are taking hold of the technical possibilities of recognition to make political the media artwork. Specifically, it turns to Karen Palmer’s interactive film RIOT (protoype) (2016), …

Media History from the Margins

I was fortunate enough to participate this August in the Media History from the Margins summer seminar in Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland. The call for this fantastic retreat originally stated: The summer seminar aims to rethink media history from the margins and to place at the center of our attention neglected, alternative, or censured media texts, uses, and technologies. By shifting the discussion from hegemonic actors, dominant institutions, and successful mass media to the fringes of media history, it pursues the double objective of rewriting media history into media histories, and of opening a space to rethink historiographical practices and methods. The writing of marginal histories is inseparable from a reflection on the modes of operation and politics of historical writing: bringing together established and emerging scholars, the seminar investigates what has been left over by hegemonic mass media and hegemonic historical narratives. I highly recommend perusing the  extended abstracts from the programme, as well as the PhD students’  blog posts to get a feel for our discussions on the margins of media history. There …

CFP – Biometrics: Mediating Bodies

Special issue #60 of PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas Publication Fall 2019 Biometrics refers to the way that bodies are measured and identified. It uses the logic of calculation to reduce the identity of a body to a set of data. In her work on facial recognition, Kelly Gates (2011) reminds us that biometric identification is a way of addressing the “problem of ‘disembodied identities,’ or the existence of visual and textual representations of individuals that circulate independent of their physical bodies,” a situation that has been particularly exacerbated with the rise of media technologies since the nineteenth century. This issue of PUBLIC works to understand the many ways that biometrics reinserts the body into mediated communication. Signatures are one pre-digital example of the ways that we have extracted something produced by the body as a form of authoritative representation. Today, features of the body itself—such as the face, heartbeat, gait, fingerprint, DNA, voice—are used not only by humans to recognize each other, but also as a way to program computers, machines and electronic systems to read bodies …

Artefact Lab

The Artefact Lab is new space for research and exploration in the field of media studies in the Department of Communication at the UdeM. Privileging a reflection on media materialities across scales, time periods, cultures, and practices, the activities of the lab are located at the intersection of the following research axes: Media archaeology and history Technical and biological materials and matters of mediation Imaginaries, representations and cultural dimensions of the technical universe Practices and aesthetics at the crossroads of art and technology, including electronic, media and bio arts Digital infrastructures and emerging technologies Media spaces, environments and milieux Philosophy and epistemology of the arts, science and technology The lab is organized and directed in collaboration with my colleague Ghislain Thibault. It will host monthly meetings of its members and graduate students, reading groups, invited speakers, and other special events. Website

Porting Media II

Looking forward to presenting at Porting Media II, happening in Montreal October 12-14. I immediately loved the whole concept for this conference when I saw the call: Porting Media is a conference and workshop that draws on the nuances of the word “port” to investigate the transportation, translation, and reconfiguration of media within particular sites. Porting is a concept and metaphor useful for rethinking discussions of circulation and infrastructure; media transposition (or transmedia); game and cell phone cultures of portability; media archaeological approaches to portable technologies of transmission and telecommunication; and the porting of paradigms of analysis across different geographies and institutions. Thus, porting draws together multiple phenomena that participants will investigate together, in a manner that cuts across these multiple sites of inquiry. My paper is called “Import/Export: Tracking Authenticities in Motion.” I’ll be trying on some new ideas as part of ongoing work on authentication devices.

Spring conferences

I recently presented some early work on my authentication devices research, first at SCMS then at CCA. Below a bit of detail from both. Article version in the works. SCMS March 2017 –  “Security Matters and Devices: Towards an Archaeology of Irreproducible Media” This paper uses and questions the rhetoric of security to propose that systems of legitimation and control demand a continuous supply of black box technologies designed to be secretive, opaque, and extremely difficult to copy. Vigilance over amateur access, technical disclosure, and reproducibility become politicized matters of “national security,” requiring an alternate media history that hinges on a notion of irreproducibility. Excerpt: …The ongoing need to complexify security devices to stay ahead of the copy-er has resulted in a particular alterna-tale within the story of media technologies that is driven not by ambitions of mass production or consumption, by ever-expanding accessibilities and usabilities, but rather by the controlled management and administration of legitimacy. Security devices are not just used by states, but by industries for objects of all kinds: credit cards, circuit …

Audible Walls, Breathing Vaults, and the Fantastic Sites of Re-Imagination

Based on a presentation at the Media Art Histories conference in Riga, Latvia a couple of years ago, the final paper of my longstanding Polish media art project has been published in Acoustic Space #15: Open Fields. Art and Science Research Practices in the Network Society. It looks at the fantastic as a productive mode of re-imagination and re-making, inspired by that famous Shklovsy notion of ostraniene, or defamiliarization. The article turns to Polish media artworks that—through images, experiences, and encounters —are not only strange but also disruptive, challenging the architectures, broadly defined, of the contemporary condition. Dominik Lejman’s Breathing Cathedral (2005) provides a case of a media art practice that harnesses the interplay between materiality and immateriality to re-imagine urban history, civic politics and architectural heritage; in Making the Walls Quake… (2012) Katarzyna Krakowiak creates a space where architecture becomes audible; and in She-Ona: Media Story (2008) Izabella Gustowska produces a fantastical experience of our mediated environment in a way that reflects back on the structures of the digital condition and transforms the technologies …

Polish Media Art in an Expanded Field

Polish Media Art in an Expanded Field (Intellect/University of Chicago Press, February 2016) Publisher’s website Polish Media Art in an Expanded Field situates media art—as technologies, practices, and experiences—in the politics of postsocialist Eastern Europe. It considers how artistic activity became representative of the tensions between global cosmopolitanism and national self-enfranchisement after Poland joined the European Union in 2004. Within this context, the book considers how media artists questioned and reimagined their site—historically, politically, technologically—and situates their works within the specific ecology of Poland’s aesthetic traditions and political history. This expansion of the global history of media art to include Eastern Europe’s heritage explores a key moment in Europe’s political and cultural history that brings together art history and criticism, media and cultural studies, globalization and nationalism studies, and political theory. In order to articulate a site-specific context to an art form often considered as belonging to the “non-place” of a global digital culture, the book proposes a genealogy of Polish media art through the lens of Polish experimentation, one that includes the Constructivists of …

Making and Doing: Cultures of Creativity

A graduate seminar I offered at Ryerson University in Fall 2015. DESCRIPTION This is a course about making. We will be thinking about making, but also making in order to think. We consider current trends around what has been described as “maker culture” or the “Maker Movement.” These communities of “makers” are reviving traditions of craft, the handmade, the open source, and the DIY through practices like knitting, weaving, or woodworking, but also 3D printing, hardware tinkering, and physical or digital hacking. But what is making? We will work through this question first by situating making in the broader history and philosophy of tools and technologies. Why do we make? The concept of critical making will provide us with a way to think about hands-on practice as a form of reflection and analysis, before we consider in particular craft, DIY, and hacking in the context of a renewed attention to materials, objects, and things. The question of community is woven throughout, as it propels the maker “movement” away from the myth of lone inventors. We …