- Hélène Cazes
- Fabio Akcelrud Durão and Tauan Tinti
- David Gifford
- Luke Kernan
- Pierre-Luc Landry
- Kristen Lewis
- Ania Malinowska
- Leah McInnis
- Loumille Métros
- Elisa Pagan
- Kate Plyley
- Sara Ramshaw
A « common » phrase, this Who is this? I first hear this Who is this? as Émile’s question. I am drawn to Knock-knock jokes. Now, I am asked « who is this » when I am standing at the door of the conference. Then, I repeat the question, and I cannot answer. Neither to Émile nor to myself. I do not answer with a simple reply, but I actually develop several questions. I want to explore how common place, like rhymes, and reminiscences, make my place, take my place or displace me from my place. Displace me from mes lieux communs et mon “je suis”.
- Who is this? You ask me? I am this? Who are you to me, that would be the real answer. I am your colleague, your friend. By saying that, I tell you that you are my colleague, you are my friend. And again, I am part of this.
- We are only two of us, though, when I ask the question: I and the this. Can I ask the question to myself? Can I be without asking the question to myself? To the door? Which side of the door is this?
- There is the question, commonplace. The answer is to be wrought from silence. No common place there? Or other commonplaces? My name, a commonplace? Common place discourse would be the space where to recognize and acknowledge my place, my Cogito ergo sum, through a repeto ergo sum? But is it a « I » or a « we »? or a “oudeis”, nemo, no one. Who is this? Who are you? Thinking of the masked Pirate Roberts in Princess Bride. Who are you? I need to know! – Get used to disappointment. https://youtu.be/nZIlAExvneo No dialogue without the Who is this? game, implicit or explicit. Let’s establish communication…
- And what happens where my common places are not common, when I am alone there? Can I have common places? des lieux communs ? Qui est-là? C’est moi! But again, this is already a commonplace.
- And if I needed someone to ask me « Who is this » to be a this, a me? Now, it is not at the door but at the mirror. Do commonplaces speak in my place? They speak… English to me?
Who is she ?
Hélène Cazes has been teaching for the French Department at Uvic since 2001. Interested in the tradition and reception of knowledge, icons, ideas —and even fake science —, she uses literary theory and methodology for readings of medieval and Early Modern texts; she has published collections of essays and numerous papers on editorial mediations, book culture, friendship in the Republic of Letters, medical humanities and bibliography. She is the director of the Open Journal Topiques, Études Satoriennes. Our current research, Perfecta, connects gender, history of medicine and feminism.
In our presentation we will try something heterodox. We want to use narratological categories to explain contemporary political phenomena, as if we were inhabiting a novel (or a Brazilian soap opera). We will focus on the notion of literary character as a key to understanding our current predicament; but instead of analyzing one, we will create a personage that challenges the limits of verisimilitude.
“For my latest assembly causality machine I shall attempt to knock a nose off of a statue and push from a table a 5000 piece puzzle, depicting an early map of the world.”
David Gifford is a magician, colour theorist, art educator, noise artist and builder of causality assembly machines in his backyard. In these machines he finds expressions of drawing and poetry and experiences joy in putting to work his collection of objects and broken tools.
This performance, “In Exile (of the Self),” will poetically interrogate narratives of self-formation by playing with and exorcising ideas of the Self. That is to say, the poet will access evocative processes and sensory enskilment(s) to express away the lineaments of self-knowing through destruction and disintegration. The violent way a line of verse fades into the edges of its own self-existence as an un-awakened seed on the desolate hinterland of ghostly becoming(s) surfaces to the forefront. This plateau is only surpassed by how a new line pushes the poet to reclaim an erotic intelligence embedded in the act of falling—inhaling and exhaling into the blank-less, inked, free, and blinding direction of one’s life-force renewed. This spoken-word poem is then a meditation on the idea of eroticism within the theoretical traditions of Esther Perel (2006, 2021), Audre Lorde (2007), Natalie Loveless (2019), and Bracha Ettinger (2020).
Luke Kernan (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Victoria) is a poet, mythographer, and graphic novelist. His doctoral work in anthropology explores sensory experiences of psychosis, and his ethnographic fieldwork will construct sensorial narratives via a participant-led anthology of what psychosis is like to model these moments through comics and poetry. His poems have recently been published in The Silent World in Her Vase, Issue 9; The 2021 Rhysling Anthology; Déraciné, Volume 7; Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies; and The Anti-Languorous Project’s Soundbite, Volume 2.
- Perel, Esther. 2017 . Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. New York: Harper Paperbacks.
- Perel, Esther. 2021. The Erotic Is an Antidote to Death. [https://onbeing.org/programs/esther-perel-the-erotic-is-an-antidote-to-death/]
- Lorde, Audre. 2007. The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Pp. 53-59. Berkley: Crossing Press.
- Loveless, Natalie. 2019. How to Make Art at the End of the World: A Manifesto for Research-Creation. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Ettinger, Bracha. 2020. Matrixial Subjectivity, Aesthetics, Ethics, Volume 1, 1990-2000. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pierre-Luc Landry, “Failures at Getting Better: an Academic Poem of Sorts”
For a long time, I looked down to mundane and seemingly unimportant aspects of daily life, encouraged to do so by my academic upbringing, even if it has always been these mundane and seemingly unimportant aspects of daily life that provided the buoys that preserved my life in moments of crisis or great joys; in this academic poem of sorts, I’ll reflect on the reinstatement of oneself after a period of depersonalization, of losing one’s ties to the self. I’ll explore the relationships between the mundane, the everyday and the search for self (the “culture de soi,” as Foucault called it): drinking a ginger tea in silence; reading the newspaper in the garden; listening to the story of that man who experienced a deep coma after 48 bags of cocaine exploded in his stomach…—potentially transformative mundane and seemingly unimportant aspects of daily life that I will visit through experimental and hybrid poetry. My contribution to SOT3WIT will embody Halberstam’s queer art of failure and will oppose positive thinking by suggesting that an exacerbated form of attention to detail can transform some insignificant aspects of human experience into moments of care, of self-solicitude. “Je choisis de céder è mes magnifiques échouages,” writes Sylvie Bérard in her poetry collection titled À croire que j’aime les failles: therein lies the intuition of my poem, which is an attempt at transforming a permanent state of crisis into an essential element of getting better.
Pierre-Luc Landry was born in 1984 in Saint-Antoine-de-Pontbriand, in the old Appalachian Mountains. He grew up in Thetford Mines and studied in Montréal, Québec and Ottawa, with stops in Metz, France, and at the Oregon State University, USA. He taught at the Cégep de l’Outaouais, at Université Laval, at the University of Ottawa and at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston before joining the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, where he teaches literature and cultural studies.
He is a non-binary demiboy, white genderqueer eurodescending settler on the territory of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. He uses they/them and he/his pronouns.
Kristen Lewis, Who is This: Bodies, Fields and Strangers, Meeting
Kristen Lewis, JD & Dance Artist. LLM Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School. Participating Dance Artists: Avery Smith (Vancouver), Jamie Robinson (Vancouver), Mairi Greig (Toronto), Benjamin Kamino (Montreal), Jacinte Armstrong (Halifax.)
I propose to present the findings of a choreographic experiment launched in the late spring of 2021. The experiment involves pairing a dance artist with a non-dance artist, and asking them to engage in four, 1 hour long weekly phone or zoom conversations, during which time the dance artist leads questions that seek to uncover information about the gestural, kineasthetic, and feeling qualities of the fields their partner works in. After engaging in these conversations, I have asked each dance artist to create a short movement sketch (2 to 5 minutes maximum) of their “subject”—in particular, something that captures a bit of the gestural, emotional, and kinaesthetic tone of the field where the subject works. (Several of the subjects work as lawyers, and hence this experiment serves also as an expose of the field of “law,” whose bodily habits carry a distinct aura, discernible, I hypothesized, if set against sketches of subjects working in other fields.)
Most of the pairs I put together are near to complete strangers (except for one pair, who happen to be sisters.) These encounters, thus far, have generated surprising levels of intimate communication, as strangers across the distance explore approaches to the question ‘who is this’ that defy the usual patterning that govern social interaction, and seek to return mere “information about so and so” to the so-often-neglected ground of bodily experience. In engaging this experiment, I was interested to see how many of the deep skills that dance artists develop as a result of working in their field might translate into the task of getting to know a stranger in this highly artificial, contrived, and yet oddly intimate environment of encounter. These dancerly skills include, for instance: communication rooted in deeply-honed capacities for kinaesthetic resonance, an eye for gestural detail, and the ability to seek communicative commonalities across distance.
For SOT, I will invite the dance artists to present their short sketches, after which I will lead a short discussion in which dance artists and “subjects” share something about their experience in this experiment. I envision a hybrid format, with some dance artists joining us live, and others via zoom (participating artists come from Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax, and for some, thus, an in person appearance is not practical.)
Kristen Lewis, JD: engages a rigorous practice that puts dancing, thinking, and performance in conversation with various other phenomena, including, of late, law and the legal field. She is interested in how the beauty and intimacy of bodily performance can open up information-saturated Human Persons to something of the experience we lose when we forget our emotional, sensory, animal selves. She enjoys dancing outside and encouraging others to do the same. She is, incidentally, a graduate student at the Osgoode Hall law school, pursuing an LLM that looks at the normative worlds where Law and Indigenous Religion meet
Ania Malinowska, Selfing the Self
Selfing the Self – a short video essay against self-kleptomania (a position of the self that “steals – without thinking of [the self’s] will – elements of [the self’s] individuality” (Tzara 1920)), aimed to discuss selfing (“an attempt at integrating the self by means of selfies” (Malinowska 2021)) whereby a selfie is understood as a way of redefining selfhood – and NOT as a “the movement from […] an autonomous agent, the author of their own being, to a model of a more heteronomous individual whose existence is realised through continuous external validation” (Panton 2019) – based on personal story of selfies for no display inspired by a shooting technique from Photo Robotoid (Jasielski 2016) that probes the reversal of selfie’s default ideas, functions and templates.
This essay will break down into four parts: LOCKDOWN (the discovery of false mindfulness), ARTIFICIAL CONSCIOUSNESS (AI’s perception of the “who”); FILTERS FOR NOBODY (no audience self-fashioning); SELFIE-ZEN (on noticing the indoor self).
Ania Malinowska is an author, a cultural theorist and Associate Professor in Media and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Silesia (Poland), and a former Senior Fulbright Fellow at the New School of Social Research in New York. Her research concentrates on cultural theory, love studies, digital humanities, and critical robotics – and specifically on the formation of cultural norms and the social, emotional and aesthetic codes in relation to digitalism.
Malinowska has authored and co-edited a number of articles, chapters and books preoccupied with the posthuman condition and technologies of affect, including Love in Contemporary Technoculture (CUP 2021), (with Karolina Lebek) Materiality and Popular Culture. The Popular Life of Things (Routledge 2017), (with Michael Gratzke) The Materiality of Love. Essays of Affection and Cultural Practice (Routledge 2018), and (with Toby Miller) “Media and Emotions. The New Frontiers of Affect in Digital Culture” (a special issue of Open Cultural Studies, 2017). CV
Leah McInnis, Sweet Venetian
On occasion of SOT3WIT, I will be releasing Sweet Venetian, my second mixtape on soundcloud. This suite of songs are dedicated to the French artist Sophie Calle, who famously followed a stranger to Venice in 1980, among other things. In 1981, she hired a detective to follow her through the streets of Paris. She took a job as a chambermaid so that she could spy on guests and read their diaries. She’s been the subject of many fictions; some of which she has made art about.
Borrowing the tone from early film noir, this mixtape could be a score for her pursuits, or it could be something closer to a sad emo-rap ballad of a person who is consumed by seeking. Words lose and gain meaning through clumsy translation, thus offering alternative insights into the (mis)adventures of Sophie Calle.
This project follows last year’s release of In Search of the Miraculous Mixtape which focused on the late Dutch artist, Bas Jan Ader (presented during SOT2SOS). You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-761572629/sets/lalalala-love-songs
Leah McInnis (b. 1988) is an emerging Canadian conceptual artist with an interdisciplinary practice including video, sculpture, spatial intervention and printed matter. Selected recent exhibitions include MASS (Open Space Arts Society, 2019), Mood Swings (Flux Gallery, 2019), The Frog in the Desert at Twilight (Xchanges, 2018) and Laugh Laugh Cry, (Vancouver Art Book Fair, 2018). Leah has a BA from the University of Alberta, BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and an MFA from the University of Victoria. Her work is informed by Mope Collective (Brooklyn, NY/Victoria, BC), of which she is a founding member.
Loumille plans to float about, in disguise, wearing a black “Team Wellburns” t-shirt.
Elisa Pagan, Who is stupid? On Bouvard, Pécuchet, scientists and flatearthers
Start a conversation with a flat-earther. Tell him he’s an idiot, that the Greeks already knew the Earth was round, that he cannot believe in something just because he wants to. He may tell you this: if the Earth is round, prove it. How would you do that?
Kate Plyley, Photo Retro: Viva Camera Lucida
Gazing at a photographic portrait, one may wonder: “who is this?” or, perhaps more precisely, “who is this at this moment in time?” A portrait offers a glimpse into who the subject was at the instant the photograph was taken. After all, as Roland Barthes put it, “a photograph is a witness, but a witness of something that is no more” (Barthes, The Grain of the Voice, 356). Barthes wrote about photography in numerous texts, including Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Here, Barthes considers the relationship between time and the photograph, even noting that cameras are “clocks for seeing” (Barthes, Camera Lucida, 15). But, like the fleeting moment captured by the portrait, the photographic context that Barthes reflects on in Camera Lucida has also faded. As Geoff Dyer writes:
For Barthes the photograph was not just a record of something that is absent but a “reality in a past state,” a record “of what has been.” Much of what Barthes says about photography rings true only if we are thinking of its traditional chemical/mechanical phase. Polaroids provided instant memories but digital photography seems entirely devoid of any qualities of past time (Introduction to Camera Lucida, xvii).
Perhaps the most obvious response is to accept that Barthes’s reflections describe a period in the history of photography that belongs to the past. But, there is an alternative: we can revitalize this period by bringing the technology to the text rather than bringing the text to the technology. For my presentation, I will be presenting photographs from my polaroid camera and engaging with Barthes’s Camera Lucida, using a retro camera and meeting the text on its own terms.
In 2018, Kate completed her Ph.D., which engaged with the Foucauldian notion of “tolerated illegality” (e.g., jaywalking) and considered its various social, legal, political, and cultural dimensions. Since then, she has been—and continues to be—an independent scholar. One of her independent scholarly projects is the Marginal Comments website and Instagram page. She is also a photographer; her Instagram page is a gallery of images taken, mostly in Victoria, throughout the pandemic, and she has also collaborated with dancer Kristen Lewis.
Sara Ramshaw, Who Is It?: Sounding the City
Who Is It?: Sounding the City is an interactive experiment in soundscape composition in which SOT participants become earwitnesses (Schafer), applying deep listening practices (Oliveros) to identify the subjects of the acoustic urban environments sounded throughout the performance. It asks: what is the relationship between subjectivity/ies and sound(s)? How are sonic experiences at once relational and contextual? What negotiations (of power, of subjectivity) are performed by sounding bodies as both agents and inheritors of sonic information? And why does it matter in an increasingly digitally-mediated world?
Sara Ramshaw is a Professor of Law and the newly appointed Director of CSPT. Her research interests fall broadly in the area of arts-based approaches to law, with a specific focus on the improvisatory arts, especially music, dance and theatre. Although she has been collaborating with academics and sonic artists in Australia and Northern Ireland for several years on the topic of Acoustic Justice, this is her first attempt at soundscape composition.