Agency in Movement Symposium
Date: Friday 21st June 2013
Location: The University of Western Australia G06 Moot Court
Free: (Please RSVP email@example.com for catering purposes)
The Agency in Movement symposium employs a variety of disciplines to explore the complex relations between movement and vitality.
Motion is observed by attaching a frame of reference to a “body” and measuring its change in position relative to another reference frame. Therefore, movement is relative, means ever changing and is perceived as visceral and “alive”. The Symposium will include invited speakers from diverse disciplines (art, performance, biology, biophysics, biomechanics, and philosophy) who will explore and interrogate the conceptual and technical relations between life (biological or artificial), movement and perceptions of "vitality”, with the hope that some interesting meeting points and/or negations will emerge.
The symposium stems from an Australian Research Council project exploring the use of skeletal muscle tissue which is grown, stimulated and activated in a techno-scientific surrogate “body”. This moving twitching (semi) living material evokes, makes unease, and asks, in sensorial and theoretical means about issues of aliveness and agency. The project is concerned with onto-ethico-epistemological (Barad 2010) questions about life and the affect created through the phenomenon of movement.
We will be probing into the (sometimes) uneasy and undefined areas of shifting perceptions of life, heralded by developments in the life sciences and applied technologies, coupled with the introduction of engineering principles into life sciences. In the light of ‘new materialism’, ‘agential realism’ and when life is becoming a raw material to be engineered, we will examine the position and role of movement as agency.
Monika Bakke, a philosopher who interrogates cross species and non-human communication at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland. Andrew Pelling leads the Laboratory for Biophysical Manipulation at the University of Ottawa, which experiment with in vitro muscle cells and with artists. Elizabeth Stephens, a science historian from the Centre for the History of European Discourses. Elizabeth will analyse some historical discourses and understandings in relation to vitalism. Jonas Rubenson, biomechanics, the University of Western Australia, will be looking at principles of animal movement and the diverse roles of muscles as biological machines. Stuart Hodgetts, a biologist from UWA will contribute to the understanding of the neuromuscular interface. Chris Salter, the Director of the Hexagram Concordia Centre for Research, who’s artistic research explore the performative, focusing on dynamic and temporal processes over static objects and representations. Jennifer Johung, will contribute her perspective on performance and agency in art (Art History, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee). Oron Catts, SymbioticA’s Director, will discuss the demonstrable in science and the arts. Gabrielle Decamous, will look at semi-living material as a device in undermining the polarized understanding of the world (Kyushu University, Japan). Miranda Grounds of UWA provide her extensive knowledge in the cell biology aspects of skeletal muscles. Ionat Zurr will explore an artistically grown and induced semi living movement which attempt to reintroduce a sense of agency.
Chris Cobilis (SymbioticA) +61 8 6488 5583