The Arts of Recognition: Strategic and Tactical Approaches to Smartness from ID to Interactivity

This project considers how recognition—as concept, technology, and practice—emerges through the coming together of the logics and techniques of multiple fields. The research offers a theoretical and historical unpacking of the concept of recognition that considers it both politically—as a moment of visibility in which individuals can be seen and heard in the world—and technologically—as a mediating process and practice that allows for legibility, communication, and exchange. It is particularly interested in the ways contemporary media artists are participating in a larger ecosystem of innovation and how they are contributing to negotiations on the uses, protocols, and functionalities of these technologies. It places recognition as existing in a tension, or paradox, between the ideals of interactivity and the requirements of identification. This framework places recognition as shifting from a notion of validation to one of monitoring, and uses the passage from human to machine readability as a way to map the changing technical and cultural meanings of recognition. Finally, by situating these evolving technologies as machines that “recognize” (“acknowledge,” “examine,” “know”) generic bodies and specific identities, and so as altering the relationship between humans and their environment, the project argues that recognition is essential for systems and infrastructures aiming to be “smart.” Bridging art and technology through an inquiry on recognition, this research articulates recognition as a political project, a mediation process, and pivotal in the infrastructural realities and imaginings of smart human-machine connections.

This project is funded by the Fonds de recherche  du Québec– Société et Culture (FRQSC Research Support for New Academics).

High Tech Paper: Material Cultures of Security and Authentication

This project examines how we inscribe and circulate information about who and what is “real,” and specifically considers the devices, media, and technologies used to authenticate (but also identify, verify, recognize and “secure”) paper and paper-like substrates (i.e. polymer). Devices (such as watermarks, metallic threads, invisible inks, holograph, RFID chips, or nano-optical images) are techniques of classification that mark and separate. In the first phase of the research, I look at the changing functionalities of the authentication device by situating current and emergent advances within a history of visual, informational, and computational media that maps the story of authentication devices in the interlaced histories of the technical image and security printing, material innovation, and media convergence. By exploring the particular conditions that drive innovation in anti-counterfeiting technologies, it also works to develop a theoretical framework for a media history of “irreproducibility.”

This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC Insight Development Grant).

Archive/Counter-Archive: Activating Canada’s Moving Image Heritage

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. 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.

This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC Partnership Grant).

Nano-Verses: Nano-Optical Image-Making

This project is an ongoing art-science collaboration with the artists Christine Davis and Scott Lyall, and the Ciber Lab at Simon Fraser University. It works to develop “nano-media” using nano-optical materials to produce a new kind of substrate, along with its accompanying image-making techniques, and to explore the circulation of these nano-optical images across fields and applications. Our work has been presented in a variety of venues, including academic and industry conferences (such as Siggraph and ISEA), and in exhibitions at the Miguel Abreu Gallery in NYC and Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto, Paris and London in Fall 2017, and the Olga Koerper Gallery in Toronto (Winter 2018). A website that presents the scientific, artistic, and technological dimensions of the project will be launching summer 2018. An article in Leonardo is available here.

This project was in part funded by the Mitacs Elevate post-doctoral fellowship programme and a Canada Council for the Arts/GRAND NCE Media Artist and Scientist Collaboration grant.