Check back soon for information on upcoming Fal 2018 events.
Lectures & conferences
The Centre sponsors innovative interdisciplinary scholarship across the Humanities and Fine Arts through regular public events and happenings, including conferences, symposia, exhibitions and a Speaker Series that brings internationally recognized scholars to Concordia to give talks and lead workshops.
Keynote address as part of the
6th Derrida Today Conference
Hosted by Concordia University, in cooperation with Macquarie University and Saint Mary's University
Alexander García Düttmann is a philosopher of art and aesthetics, with a background in critical political thought. He is a Professor of Aesthetics at the Universität der Künste Berlin and a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London. He is the author of Derrida and I: The Problem of Deconstruction (2008), Participation: Awareness of Semblance (2011), and What Does Art Know? For an Aesthetic of Resistance (2015), and the editor of Théorie et pratique, Derrida's 1975-76 seminar on Marx.
Co-sponsored by Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Room MB 1.210 John Molson Building
“The sensorium is a fascinating focus for cultural studies,” wrote Walter J. Ong in “The Shifting Sensorium” (1991). Ong’s words heralded the arrival of sensory studies, an interdisciplinary field of inquiry which takes a cultural approach to the study of the senses and a sensory approach to the study of culture. Sensory Studies has galvanized much exciting and provocative research and experimentation in the humanities and social sciences and visual and performing arts over the past three decades. Uncommon Senses 2 aims to take stock of the many advances in sensuous scholarship and art practice since the first Uncommon Senses conference at Montreal’s Concordia University in 2000.
The conference is organized around three broad topic areas:
- Crossing Sensory Borders in the Arts: The Rise of Multisensory Aesthetics and New Media Art
- Alternative Pedagogies: The Education of the Senses
- Law and the Regulation of the Senses
Plenary speaker: Caroline A. Jones (MIT), author of The Global Work of Art: World’s Fairs, Biennials, and the Aesthetics of Experience (2016) and Eysesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (2005), and editor of Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology and Contemporary Art (2006) among other works.
Uncommon Senses II is hosted by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. It is co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies (CSS), Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Art Education, Milieux Institute, Concordia University Research Chair in New Media, Technology and the Senses, and the Hexagram Network for Research-Creation in Media Art, Design, Digital Culture and Technology, with additional financial support from the Office of the Dean, Arts and Science. The organizers also gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) and the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA).
For registration and other information see the page dedicated to the conference at www.lawandthesenses.org
Inquiries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Uncommon Senses II Plenary Address: Sensing Symbiontics, Or, Being With Archaeo-Bacteria
May 3, 2018, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. - Room EV 1.60
This lecture is part of Uncommon Senses II, a sensory studies conference hosted at Concordia from May 3 to May 5, 2018.
Caroline A. Jones, Professor of Art History (Department of Architecture, MIT) will give the conference's plenary address.
Abstract: Symbiontics is a portmanteau for a polemic: Let us set a new goal for our cultural evolution, in collaboration with the earth system and multiplied species on which we utterly depend. Thinking with a range of contemporary art works that lead us in the right direction, I explore how sensory studies can serve as the opening wedge for a critique and an awakening, through which the obsessions of Western philosophy (privileging the phantasmagorical "individual," his "rational mind," and his "internal representations") might finally be set aside. In the clearing thus produced, we might glimpse, touch, taste, smell, and hum with that which is, (ontics).
Graduate seminar – Caroline A. Jones: Invisibilities, or, how not to see the anthropocene
May 2, 2018, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Two papers will be circulated in advance of the seminar, both co-written with Peter Galison (Pelegrino University Professor, History of Science, Harvard).
The first is the essay that got the whole conversation started around how something as diffuse as “the environment” comes to be seen (and at the same time obscured), entitled “Unknown Quantities,” published in Artforum November 2010. The second is “How Images Obscure the Anthropocene, or How Not to See” (a work in progress). To receive the papers, please register for the event. A link to download the papers will be sent to your email address.
Registration for this seminar required via the Réseau Hexagram website.
Abstract: Collaborating across our domains as historians (of science, of art), we inquire into the intellectual, technical, and cultural histories of recent operative images of environmental disaster. We are interested in how something as diffuse as “the environment” comes to be seen, and how contemporary images also obscure. Just as every statement requires a silence to render it audible, so regimes of the visible require invisibilities: blanks and voids that shadow and adumbrate what we see and “know.” Contemporary images necessarily call on cultures of seeing and traditions honed through centuries of landscapes, summoning genre and the aesthetics of the sublime.
We pursue specific case studies to assess how the visibility operates to produce specific kinds of knowledge, and functional ignorance. Under water, on the ground, and in the air, images proliferate; states and corporations attempt to control the visual narrative, even as activists and scientists rely on images as never before. Inevitably, we encounter the special challenge presented to humans by new “senses” of planetary alteration. How can humans make visible global systemic effects, which transcend normal registers of visual culture in their temporal and spatial scales?
Ultimately, we argue for a mesh of cultural and technical operations that feed imaginaries, incorporating olfactory, haptic, microbial, ethical, and data-driven modes of being. Visibilities alone are not enough.
Guest Lecture by Philippe Van Parijs
"Must surfers still be fed?" Basic income and its philosophical justification after thirty years
April 6, 2018, 4 - 6 p.m.
In April 1990, Philippe Van Parijs gave a lecture at Harvard subsequently published under the title “Why surfers should be fed. The liberal case for an unconditional basic income.”
Three decades later, the idea he was then arguing for is being discussed, proposed and tested throughout the world. In this lecture, he will look back at the initial ethical justification of basic income and update it in the light of what has been happening since then.
Philippe Van Parijs is a Belgian political philosopher and political economist, best known as a proponent and main defender of the idea of a universal basic income. He is professor at the Faculty of economic, social and political sciences of the Catholic University of Louvain, where he has directed the Hoover Chair of economic and social ethics since its creation in 1991. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University’s Department of Philosophy since 2004. His books include Evolutionary Explanation in the Social Sciences (1981), Qu’est-ce qu’une société juste? (1991), Marxism Recycled (1993), Real Freedom for All (1995), Refonder la solidarité (1996), Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World (2011), and Basic Income. A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy (2017).
Immersed in the Theatre: Environments and Sites
A talk by Arnold Aronson
Thursday, March 15, 5:00-6:00 PM
Milieux Institute, EV Building, Resource Room 11.705
Concordia University SGW, 1515 Sainte-Catherine St. W.
Fifty years ago, Dionysus in 69, an adaptation of The Bacchae by Richard Schechner and The Performance Group, introduced the theatre world to something Schechner called “environmental theatre.” That term has been all but forgotten, replaced almost indiscriminately by “site-specific” and “immersive.” But are these more recent descriptors accurate, and has anything new really emerged? This talk examines the use of performance space and the agency of the spectator within these spaces then and now, and suggests that immersive theatre may be an instance of “old wine in new bottles.”
Arnold Aronson is a professor of theatre at Columbia University in New York City. He writes on scenography and contemporary theatre. Books include The Routledge Companion to Scenography (editor); Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design; Looking into the Abyss: Essays on Scenography; and American Avant-Garde Theatre: A History. He is a former editor of Theatre Design & Technology, and currently co-editor of Theatre and Performance Design. He has a long history with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design, serving as President of the Jury in 1991 and 1999, curator of the U.S. exhibit in 1995, and General Commissioner in 2007.
EXPLORING VENICE’S ‘GARDEN OF EDEN: An ongoing feminist, sensory, collaborative art project
Friday, November 17, 2017 • 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. - EV 1.605
Giardino dell’Eden is an ongoing multidisciplinary artistic collaboration by Cynthia Hammond, Kelly Thompson and Kathleen Vaughan that uses sensory engagement, digital images in projection, textile installations and imagination to explore the meanings and metaphoric potential of Venice’s lost ‘Garden of Eden’ or Giardino dell’Eden.
Created in 1884 by the English expatriates Caroline and Frederic Eden as a welcoming private space, through the 20th century the Garden passed through hands of magnates and lesser royals before being bought by Austrian artist, Freidensreich Hundertwasser, who let nature reclaim what had been cultivated and tilled. Since Hundertwasser’s death in 2000, this largest private garden in Venice has been locked away, accessible only through archival photographs and texts, literary tales of gay cruising and high society romance, and transgressive acts of guerrilla photography.
Our presentation will explore our May 2017 artistic activities in the public lands and canals adjacent to the Garden, describing both work to date and that to be done. We engaged locals, offered past images and heard current stories, and gestured towards the possibility of opening the Garden to Venetians in the future. giardinodelleden.wordpress.com
Dr. Cynthia Imogen Hammond is Associate Professor and, previously, Chair of Concordia’s Department of Art History. A feminist, interdisciplinary artist and historian of the built environment, Hammond’s research-creation explores the relationships between women, gender, urban and biological landscapes. She has published one book and numerous essays on art, architecture, gender, and the city. Hammond is Lead Co-Director of Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. cynthiahammond.org.
Kelly Thompson is an Associate Professor in Studio Arts, teaching in the Fibres and Material Practices programs and is the Graduate Program Director for MFA Studio Arts at Concordia. She is active in the Milieux Institutes’ Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster, where her current research-creation project is Material codes: ephemeral threads funded by FRQSC, which questions the digital realm, big data and its fallibility, aiming to make the ephemeral visible and tactile in jacquard woven textiles. kellythompson.org
Kathleen Vaughan is an artist and educator with a trans-disciplinary orientation to questions of place and belonging, and often uses walking and mapping as method and form. She has developed studio-based and collaborative ‘place-based’ projects in Montreal and abroad. Kathleen is the Concordia University Research Chair in Socially Engaged Art and Public Pedagogies, Co-director for the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and Associate Professor of Art Education. akaredhanded.com and re-imagine.ca
Talk by Dr. Claire Jean Kim
Thursday November 16, 2017, 7–9 p.m. Henry F. Hall Building, H-431, 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. West
Abstract: This talk approaches the controversy over the killing of the gorilla Harambe in the Cincinnati Zoo in May 2016 as a unique window onto the making of animalness and blackness in the contemporary U.S. The construction of the “human” in relation to both the “animal” and the “black” is explored.
Bio: Claire Jean Kim is a Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. An influential scholar in animal studies, her work is at the vanguard of theorizing the intersections of racialization, animality and nonhuman life. Her most recent book, Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge University Press, 2015), won the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.
Reading seminar is from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in room H-1252
A discussion led by Dr. Kim, on her forthcoming chapter, Abolition, in the publication, Critical Terms for Animal Studies (ed. Lori Gruen, University of Chicago Press), and a text by Jared Sexton (2010), People-of-Color-Blindness: Notes on the Afterlife of Slavery.
Consider this an engaged meditation on the state of the field of sensory history. I ponder what, collectively, sensory historians are doing with their field and suggest what else they could be doing with it. This is a modest manifesto, a call to practitioners to think about how their field—now well over two decades old--needs to evolve if the real interpretive dividends of the approach are to be realized.The lecture highlights ways both to help the field flourish and avoid pitfalls which can deprive us of the dialectic necessary for robust interpretive growth.
Open to the public. All are welcome.
Based on two pre-circulated readings—one published, the other as yet unpublished—this seminar introduces graduate students to the underdeveloped but important connection between sensory history and natural disasters. The seminar focuses on tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes in the Atlantic World during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explores how such disasters were processed and experienced sensorially and how they functioned to destabilize established sensory hierarchies. The importance of context is stressed and the seminar examines ways in which the sensory history of natural disasters grants us access to questions not only of immediate experience but also questions concerning diplomacy and politics.
Mark M. Smith, Carolina Distinguished Professor of History, University of South Carolina is the most prominent historian of the senses in the United States. He is the author of Listening to Nineteenth Century America (2001), How Race is Made: Slavery, Segregation and the Senses (2006), Sensing the Past (2007) and, most recently, The Smell of Battle, The Taste of Siege: A Sensory History of the Civil War (2014, 2017). He is also the co-author of Hurrican Katrina and the Forgotten Coast of Mississippi (2014).
This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies and the Department of History.
This presentation explores the experimental, public, Warlpiri ceremony Milpirri as an art of necessity and survival. Milpirri began in 2005 as the result of one of the first youth suicides in the community of Lajamanu in the Northern Territory. Directed and conceived by Wanta Steve Patrick Jampijinpa, in intercultural partnership with TRACKS Dance Company, Milipirri combines Jardi-Warnpa with hip-hop, break-dance and high theatrical design. Radically embedded and embodied, Milpirri strategically mobilises what are highly subjugated, barely legible and deeply vulnerable place-based energetics that bind people to place through practice. Orchestrating perceptual experiences and qualities of attachment that are themselves under occupation, Milpirri activates ecological and physiological memories of the senses in new trajectories of tradition that do not yet exist. As Jampijinpa writes of Milpirri: It was an unseen thing and now it is a seen thing. This paper explores the vital material revelations of Milpirri as remote avant-garde in settler colonial Australia today.
Jennifer Biddle is Director of Visual Anthropology, Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, and a Visiting Professor at Concortdia University for the Fall term 2017. She has worked with northern Warlpiri for over two decades, and more recently, artists and art centres across the Central and Western Desert of Australia. Her interdisciplinary research spans Indigenous languages and vernacular literacies; translation; theories of embodiment; sensory formations and radical cultural aesthetics; trauma, memory and predicaments of occupation and experimental ethnography. Her recent book Remote Avant-garde: Aboriginal Art under Occupation (Duke UP 2016) models new and emergent desert aesthetics as an art of survival.
This public lecture is co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies and the University Research Chair in Computational Media & Indigenous Future Imaginary
Open to the public. All are welcome.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 • 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Visual Arts Building. 1395 René Lévesque W, VA 323, Montreal, QC
From Concordia to the North
Imagining Iceland is an interdisciplinary roundtable on the influence and impact of Iceland – as place and as imaginary. Iceland is huge these days: from images of its jawdropping terrain in the mega-hit Game of Thrones, to the export of music stars such as Björk and Sigur Rós; from the country’s recovery from the 2008 economic crash (and withdrawal from the EU) via a deliberately targeted tourist push, to its need to institute a ‘responsible tourist pledge’ as visitor numbers skyrocket to 1.6 million so far in 2017 – and this to a country of just 323,000 inhabitants. Historic, beautiful, clean, safe and Englishspeaking, Iceland seems destined to be an ideal visitor destination in our era of global strife and displacements. How can serious artists and scholars engage with Iceland and its people against this cultural backdrop? Four Concordia University scholars and artists suggest how they have approached these issues. Matthew Anderson (Theological Studies), Jessica Auer (Photography), G. Scott MacLeod (MA, Art Education) and Kathleen Vaughan (Art Education) will present their own work and then together take up questions of the complexities and joys of working in Iceland. Group discussion and reception to follow.
Jessica Auer (Photography) creates photography and video work that is broadly concerned with the study of landscapes as cultural sites, focusing on themes that connect place, journey and cultural experience. She lives and works part of the year in East Iceland, where she co-founded Ströndin Studio.
Matthew Anderson (Theological Studies) is professor at Concordia University, a documentary filmmaker and cleric with a special interest in pilgrimage, particularly the ‘dark pilgrimage’ undertaken by descendants of settlers under the guidance of First Peoples. In 2016 he walked a pilgrimage in Iceland.
G. Scott MacLeod (MA, Art Education) is a multimedia artist and filmmaker with a special interest in peoples and histories — Montreal’s, Canada’s, the Scottish Highlands’, and the Vikings’. His work has been exhibited, screened and collected by cultural institutions and individuals around the world. In June of 2017 Scott attended the SIM Residency in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Kathleen Vaughan (Art Education) has an artist’s interest in ‘place’ in our globalized and mobile world. She has strong ties to the Icelandic Textile Centre in Blönduós, where she will lead a field school in June 2018, and is completing a textile walking map about June’s 24-hour daylight near the Arctic Circle.
Open to the public. All are welcome.
This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, and Studio Re-Imagine.
CULTURAL TOPOLOGIES OF EXPERIENCE
Rob Shields, University of Alberta
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 6 to 8 p.m.
Henry F. Hall Building, H-763
Everyday interweavings of different temporalities and spatialities challenge our modes of recollection, representation, and complicate practice. This has implications for our understanding of bodies, causality, agency and power, and engagements with the wider environment. This discussion will explore the continuities and disruptions in the sense of social totality as a global condition of contemporary urban life. It seeks the sites and moments where aesthetic experience and ethical situations collide with with political and moral institutions and norms as a way of linking the ethical with the political.
Dr. Shields will also give a graduate seminar on "Virtuality and the Urban" on Monday, October 31 at 10 a.m. in EV 11.655.
Rob Shields is the Henry Marshall Tory Chair, Professor in Sociology and in Art and Design at the University of Alberta and Director of the City-Regions Studies Centre. Rob Shields is an award-winning author and co-editor of numerous books including: Spatial Questions, The Virtual, Lifestyle Shopping, Cultures of Internet, Lefebvre Love and Struggle, & Places on the Margin. Dr. Shields was past Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa. A Commonwealth Scholar at University of Sussex, he founded Space and Culture, an international peer-refereed journal, and Curb Canadian planning magazine. He was 2014 City of Vienna Visiting Professor in Architecture and Planning at TUWien and is currently completing research on nanotechnology as a space of concern.
ADMISSON IS FREE. ALL ARE WELCOME.
Download poster of the event
CREE WAYS OF KNOWING (NEHIYO ITÂPISINOWIN): Indigenizing University Education
2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2016
H-763 (Henry F. Hall Building)
In this Public Lecture, Joseph Naytowhow will present an overview of Cree ways of seeing/ knowing (nehiyo itâpisinowin). These ways challenge the conventional organization of knowledge by discipline in the university curriculum and also the distinction between theory and practice. While rooted in tradition, Cree ways of knowing are not stuck in the past but rather open up vital new avenues for “remembering forward.” The Naytowhow lecture will be of particular interest to those concerned with making indigenous knowledge an integral part of the university curriculum and exploring the far borderlands of interdisciplinarity and intercultural relations.
10 a.m. on Thursday, November 3, 2016
EV 11.705 (Milieux Resource Centre)
Joseph Naytowhow will also lead a seminar on “Indigenous Art as Performance,” which draws on his vast experience as a performer, including his recent role as Coyote (mîscakanis) in the stage adaptation of Maria Campbell’s “Little Badger and the Fire Spirit” at Sum Theatre, Saskatoon.
Joseph Naytowhow is a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer/ songwriter, storyteller, and voice, stage and film actor. He comes from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan. As a child, Joseph was influenced by his grandfather’s traditional and ceremonial chants as well as the sounds of the fiddle and guitar. Today he is renowned for his unique style of Cree/English storytelling, combined with original contemporary music and traditional First Nations drum and rattle songs. Joseph is the recipient of many awards. He also holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies, the RPLC Transformations in Indigenous Communities team, and the University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary.
Download poster of the event