[-empyre-] October: This Mess We're In Week 3

High, Kathy highk at rpi.edu
Wed Oct 24 14:21:08 AEDT 2018

Hello all,

Forgive my slow response. Hectic times for us all!

I thank Tarsh for getting all this messiness going! Love to you Trash for your ongoing work!

I have been thinking a lot about Kira O'Reilly's performance in Perth Australia of late entitled " What if this was the only world she knew?" This performance has had a profound influence on me in the last few days! And I cannot shake its hold on me!

I have only seen a few images on Facebook. I was not present for any of the performance.
But knowing Kira - it must have been very moving.
And I cannot get the title and the images that I have seen out of my head.

A containment in the laboratory - a body trapped inside a hood - a sequined muffled face - and a windowed egg embryo... maybe with a beating heart...

So what if we imagine a creature that only knew a laboratory setting. And what if that was her entire world. Perhaps this is what Kira's performance alluded to... perhaps other things...

But what it has made me think of - besides the containment of lab life and the precious organisms who enable lab experiments - is how much I think of my own life this same way as well. 

I am turning 64 tomorrow (no need for birthday wishes as a result of this posting please!). But in my years I can see how much I operate in a vacuum. I try to be "wide-angle" - I try to see and experience things as much as I can outside my "box". But honestly I still feel so contained and sheltered. Protected - and kept. 
I am kept by the institutions I work in. The privileged spaces that house.
I am kept by my skin color - pale and northern european.  

I dive deeply into my microbial self to branch into the "multitudes that I contain"! To broaden my view...

But I do feel controlled and managed. 

Kira's performance brought me to a place where I see my existence from this place of containment. And I also see the limits of my vision! Of how I view my animality.

I have more to say but am not being terribly articulate.
I thank you Kira for the ways that your work allows me to focus on my advantages, my limits and where I really want to go...!

And to think about ways to escape and revolt and rebel. I think about animal revolution a lot... I am plotting now!
Kira made me think of this a lot more!

Thanks Kira O'Reilly!
Much love to you!

On 10/15/18, 6:36 AM, "Tarsh Bates" <tarshbates at gmail.com> wrote:

    Hi empyrists
    Huge apologies ... the hectic-ness of installing 26 artworks for the 
    TMWI exhibition kind of exhausted me. Huge thanks to Laura, Sue and Mike 
    particularly for helping make it look so awesome and gratefulness to all 
    the artists involved. Your work is exquisite and funny and moving.
    Week 3 will be almost as crazy for me. I am a co-convenor of the Quite 
    Frankly: It's a Monster Conference, which is on this week at the 
    University of Western Australia. Keynotes are Fiona Wood, Karen Barad, 
    Ambelin Kwaymullina and Kira O'Reilly and we have an awesome lineup of 
    140 presenters. It is going to be epic. I am very excited!
    So, we have five -empyre- guests this week, all of whom are artists in 
    TMWI and some of whom will be at Quite Frankly. They work in very 
    diverse media and conceptual spaces and I expect they will prompt some 
    interesting discussions. I am very pleased to introduce Abhishek Hazra, 
    Kathy High, Sue Hauri-Downing, Svenja Kratz and WhiteFeather Hunter.
    *Abhishek* uses video, performance and text with an ironic fascination 
    for theoretical debates around knowledge production and historiography. 
    His recent series of lecture performances explore questions around 
    affect, precarity and provincial cosmopolitanism. Abhishek has exhibited 
    widely, including Kochi Muziris Biennale, Experiment Marathon Reykjavik 
    and MAXXI Museum, Rome. He has been an artist-in-residence in various 
    residences including Gasworks, London and SymbioticA, Perth. Abhishek 
    has also been the recipient of multiple awards including the Sanskriti 
    Award for Visual Art.
    *Kathy* is an interdisciplinary artist working in the areas of 
    technology, science, speculative fiction and art. She produces videos 
    and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of 
    medicine/bio-science, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She hosts 
    bio/ecology+art workshops and is creating an urban nature centre in 
    North Troy (NATURE Lab) with media organization The Sanctuary for 
    Independent Media. High is Professor of Video and New Media in the 
    Department of Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She 
    teaches documentary and experimental digital video production, history 
    and theory, as well as biological arts.
    *Sue* is an Australian/Swiss artist interested in biocultural diversity, 
    biopolitics, solastalgia and the intricacy of interspecies 
    relationships. She is currently exploring relationships between honey 
    bees, humans and ecologies, focusing on the poetics and aesthetics of 
    human/bee/plant interactions and communications, and is particularly 
    interested in how artistic practices might allow humans to 
    experience/understand interspecies time. Previous work has included 
    explorations of the personal and cultural implications of the global 
    cultivation of native and foreign plant species, including aesthetics, 
    ties to "home", food security, traditional food availability, and 
    materials as artefacts. When possible, she repurposes donated or surplus 
    materials. She draws on the support, services and resources of volunteer 
    organisations or government funded individuals/groups to network, share 
    information, reduce costs, and to add passionate and concerned voices to 
    the issues being explored. Production of her works often involve groups 
    of people who share concerns and who might act as consultants, 
    designers, participants, technical specialists or evaluators. Sometimes 
    her artistic role may be simply as a facilitator.
    *Svenja *is a contemporary Australian new media artist interested in the 
    intersections between science and art.  From 2008 – 2012, she produced 
    three major bodies of work that mapped her engagement with contemporary 
    biotechnologies including primary culture of human and fetal calf cells, 
    tissue and genetic engineering, including /The Absence of Alice/, /The 
    Immortalisation of Kira and Rama /and /The Human Skin 
    Experience/Equivalent Project/. In 2013, she received the QLD Premier’s 
    New Media Scholarship and undertook a 5-month residency at Leiden 
    University and the Art and Genomics Centre in The Netherlands.  In 2015, 
    she was artist in residence at the University of Queensland in a 
    collaborative project across Architecture, Music, Interaction Design and 
    Neuroscience.  She holds a PhD in Biotechnology and Contemporary Art 
    from QUT and has exhibited at a range of national and international 
    venues, including The Science Gallery in Dublin in 2010, The Sydney 
    Powerhouse Museum in 2013 and Experimenta Recharge, 6th International 
    Biennial of Media Art touring Australia from 2015 – 2016. Svenja is 
    currently based in Hobart, Tasmania and works as a Lecturer in 
    Interdisciplinary Creative Practice at the Creative Exchange Institute 
    (CxI) and Tasmanian College of the Arts (TCotA) at the University of 
    *WhiteFeather* is a multiple award-winning Canadian artist-researcher 
    and scholar, as well as educator, arts administrator, curator and writer 
    based in Quebec. She holds an MFA in Fibres and Material Practices from 
    Concordia University and presents her work internationally, most 
    recently at Ars Electronica (Linz), Berlin (DE), Helsinki (FI) and 
    various North American cities, with forthcoming presentations in Namur 
    (BE). WhiteFeather positions her BioArt practice within the context of 
    craft and feminist witchcraft, via material investigations of the 
    aesthetic and technological potential of bodily and vital materials. She 
    hacks/builds electronics, uses web-based platforms to generate new 
    mythologies, works in narrative video, and performance as embodied 
    research. WhiteFeather is Principal Investigator and Technician for the 
    Speculative Life BioLab within the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture 
    and Technology at Concordia University and artist-in-residence at 
    Sporobole centre en art actuel in collaboration with Dr Denis Groleau, 
    Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Microorganisms and Industrial Processes 
    at Université de Sherbrooke.
    Co-Convenor Quite Frankly: Its a Monster Conference 18-19 October 2018
    Curator This Mess We're In 13 October - 2 November 2018 Unhallowed Arts 
    Festival 2018
    Postdoctoral Research Associate • SymbioticA • School of Human Sciences 
    • The University of Western Australia • M309, 35 Stirling Hwy Crawley WA 
    6009 Australia • T +61 8 6488 5583 • M +61 (0) 432 324 708 • E 
    natarsha.bates at research.uwa.edu.au
    I acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which I live: The 
    Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. I acknowledge their ancestors and 
    pay my respects to their elders; past, present and future.

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