- Nina Bakan: together we reassemble the fragments: Deconstructing Colonial Time through Multimodal Artistic Practice and Aesthetics of Decay
- André Cechinel and Fabio Akcelrud Durão: Intelligence Provoked
- Kit Danowski, Kristen Lewis, Rumen Rachev: “I/we publish”: A Video
- Dr Isosceles, ‘Pataphysician (Anthony J. Gavin): Property Panic! An experiment in biological writing by Dr. Isosceles, ‘Pataphysician
- Margret Grebowicz: Foraging and the Aesthetics of Risk
- Jackson, Lady Baronia (James Currie): “From MIA to RIP (Return Tickets Unavailable)”
- Luke Kernan: Interrogating the Cryptographies of Obscure Words
- Pierre-Luc Landry and Kate Plyley: Inhabiting Perspectives: Interactive Photography
- Samuel McCormick: φ > [(-φ) > a] > d
- Leah McInnis: Where it Almost Never Stops
- Loumille Métros: Immanuel Pant and other Impo(r)tænt Phenomena
- Puppets Forsaken (David Gifford and Natali Leduc): Performing an un-selection from their future album Idiomatic Penumbra
- Sara Ramshaw and Kristen Lewis: Legal Advocacy as Improvisational Play (IP)
- Vitor Santos: A Portrait Of The Artist as Retired Young Man
- Mark Zion: And Say the Animal(s) Vanished: Derrida, Bernhard, and Infernal Prolepsis in the Sixth Extinction
Nina Bakan: together we reassemble the fragments: Deconstructing Colonial Time through Multimodal Artistic Practice and Aesthetics of Decay
This presentation follows the work in progress of an exhibition proposal titled together we reassemble the fragments. If accepted, the exhibition will take place at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, located in Victoria BC (unceded Lekwungen Territories), during their 2022/2023 season.
together we reassemble the fragments explores how multimodal artistic practice can serve to deconstruct colonial temporality – a distinctively Western conception of reality in which time is homogenous and teleological, implicitly linked to the capitalistic notion that progress follows a trajectory of forward momentum. In the wake of widespread ecological disaster and political dissension, certainty in this normative future is rapidly disintegrating. As a counterpoint, this exhibition will showcase artworks that engage with temporality as complex process of intra-action.
Garment artist Justine Woods’s design practice centres Indigenous fashion technologies and garment-making as practice-based methods of inquiry toward re-stitching alternative worlds of Indigenous resurgence and liberation. Notably, one of her pieces, walking through our world(s) with a fierce and tender love (2021) was recently damaged from an insect infestation, which left a hole in the fabric. Woods embraces this as an example of interspecies reworlding where decay and re-fabrication (in this case, the process of repairing the garment) combine to form decolonial narratives for the future.
Meanwhile, Alex Gregory’s Orchids Under Pressure (2019-2021) series explores the material ramifications of digital space and the ways in which digital technologies mirror organic matter. Using a digital scanner, she captures images of orchids in various stages of decay. Mold is aestheticized yet remains a dominant actor dictating the trajectory of the art-making process. Destabilizing the logics of colonial time can create spaces where new narratives for the future may thrive. Both Woods and Gregory exemplify the hope to be found in reassembling fragmentary futures.
Nina Bakan (she/her) is an arts programmer and emerging curator of mixed settler descent from Toronto/Tkaronto (traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishnabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat peoples). She has worked with several Toronto-based arts organizations including Pleiades Theatre, Public Studio, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Inside Out: The Toronto LGBT Film Festival, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and The Art Gallery of Ontario. Having recently completed her MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University (2021), Nina is now pursuing an Interdisciplinary PhD with a specialization in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought at UVic.
André Cechinel and Fabio Akcelrud Durão: Intelligence Provoked
Stupidity is today the natural course of things. Our presentation intends to specifically address the topic of academic stupidity, indicating its connection with the current regime of semiotic overproduction. After that, the idea is to present a concept of study that might work as an antidote to academic stupidity.
Fabio Akcelrud Durão is Professor of Literary Theory at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil. Recent books include Metodologia de pesquisa em literatura (2020) and Ensinando Literatura (2022).
André Cechinel is Professor of Literature at Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, Brazil. Recent books include O referente errante (2018).
Danowski, Lewis, and Rachev: “I/we publish”: A Video
Christopher Danowski, Kristen Lewis, and Rumen Rachev present “A Video” under the rubric of “I/we publish”, in collaboration with performance studies scholars Eero Laine, Sozita Goudouna, and Eleni Kolliopoulo. The video archives, presents, and invokes a shared collaborative writing process we have been engaged in, as performers and performance scholars, over several months of dedicated process–we, a group of researcher-artists spread across at least 3 continents (4 if you count the UK as anomalous as one probably should).
Dr. Kit Danowski (xe/xem). I have an MFA in Playwriting and Fiction from Arizona State University, and a PhD through the University of Plymouth (U.K.) and Transart Institute for Creative Practice (Berlin). I have presented performance work and spoken word in Phoenix, Brooklyn, Berlin, Krakow, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Brighton, among other places. I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Performance at the University of Portsmouth.
Kristen Lewis, JD is the artistic director of Gull Cry Dance, an organ dedicated to two aims: 1) the creation of original works spanning the genres of contemporary dance, experimental theatre, and performance art; and 2) the provision of transformational movement education for children and adults, both community-based and professional. Kristen takes her dual roles of artist and legal advocate/researcher seriously and, in the second of these capacities, acts as the Executive Director for the Canadian Centre for Men and Families (Vancouver), a not-for-profit dedicated to advocacy for the dignity of men and their children. She has just completed an LLM from the Osgoode Hall Law School, to be awarded in October 2022. Kristen is also proud to serve as a campus security officer at Camosun college.
Rumen Rachev holds an RMA in Media and Performance Studies from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and is actively engaged in practice-led research in Art and Design (AUT), since 2017. As well, he is co-founder of the NEWS Programme (Negative Emissions and Waste Studies Programme) and is Creative Guest, Wairua Awhina (Helping Spirit), and Director of 希望学 (Hope-ology) at Activities and Research in Environments for Creativity Charitable Trust. Currently he holds the position of research assistant at Auckland University of Technology.
Dr. Isosceles, ‘Pataphysician: Property Panic! An experiment in biological writing by Dr. Isosceles, ‘Pataphysician
In a world where ‘pataphysical poets use CRISPR to scribe immortal verses on extremophilic bacteria, while Harvard geneticists auction off their complete genome sequences as non-fungible tokens, never before have questions about property been more pronounced (and here the word ‘property’ should be understood in its double sense, as meaning both possession and distinctive quality or characteristic). John Locke argues that the right to private property ensues from the mixing of the body and nature vis-à-vis labour—but this presumes that we must ‘own’ our bodies to begin with. Biotechnology patents put the lie to such dubious metaphysical assumptions, since naturally occurring ‘properties’ are generally seen as part of the public domain. In order for a biological ‘property’ to qualify as patentable, intellectual property (IP) law in most jurisdictions instead requires a case to be made for the originality of the processes by which it is rendered useful to human beings. In this talk, Dr. Isosceles, ‘pataphysician, presents the findings from his most recent experiment. By blending bioengineering, cryptography, poetry, and philosophy, he creates a speculative cartography of the ways in which the body can be ‘owned’ or ‘dis-owned’, charting imaginary (dis)solutions to the aporia of IP law and destabilizing its latent ‘humanism’ in the sphere of emerging genomic biotech.
Dr. Isosceles, ‘Pataphysician, is an alias of Anthony J. Gavin. Anthony is an interdisciplinary PhD candidate in the Cultural, Social and Political Thought program at the University of Victoria. His research engages a variety of theoretical perspectives—including deconstruction, critical posthumanism, speculative realism and new materialism—to analyze the rapid expansion of the field of biological ‘writing’ through emerging genomic biotech. Anthony is also a past participant in the Summer of Theory, where he occasionally delves into research-creation at the nexus of poetry and technology.
Margret Grebowicz: Foraging and the Aesthetics of Risk
Mushrooms are all the rage. Because of this, what might be called the Fungal Turn, I have resisted writing about my little life with mushrooms, until now. Since the last thing the world needs is another book about mushrooms written for late capitalist Anthropo-scenesters (like myself—there, I said it), presented yet again as a key to “the mysteries of nature,” I’ve decided instead to focus on the practice of foraging as a key to… something else. Indeed, the same news sources that report on the wonders of mycelium as the new sustainable substance that will save us are the ones telling readers not to pick wild mushrooms for the table, because they might be poisonous, or that foraging is bad for the environment. Instead of encouraging readers to learn about edible wild foods, such reports scare us out of even trying. Mushrooms are good, as long as they mean growth and profit, but foraging, not so much, if it means empowering people and taking their agency seriously. Something big is at stake in these ongoing prohibitions which claim to be in the interests of staying “on the safe side.”
You might have heard the well-rehearsed notion that one absolutely cannot eat a wild foraged mushroom until one has a 100% positive ID. In fact, as foragers expand their knowledge and the scope of what they want to try eating, they often use eating itself as a method for identification. From the “spit test” to actual cooking and eating some of the hundreds of species whose edibility is listed as “unknown” in the field guides, ingesting the unknown mushroom is actually one of the foundations of a robust ID-ing practice. Following Vilém Flusser’s Gestures, I will explore eating—and the occasional vomiting and diarrhea–as a gesture of getting-to-know. But this getting-to-know is inextricably bound to a very personal aesthetics of risk: what are you willing to risk in return for what? Epistemologies of foraging are complicated in the best ways, and my working hypothesis is that such complexity helps to cultivate interiority in the face of its generalized withdrawal.
Anna Tsing’s great contribution, that life with wild mushrooms is para-capitalist, is focused on the collapses of the big systems and ideas. Her mushroom is a figure of the future, a future that belongs not to space billionaires but to the dispossessed. My goal is to show something like that about foraging, but on the smallest and most personal level, the level of what Jean-François Lyotard called “the secret life.”
Environmental philosopher Margret Grebowicz is the author of Rescue Me: On Dogs and Their Humans, Mountains and Desire: Climbing vs. The End of The World, Whale Song, The National Park to Come, and Why Internet Porn Matters, and co-author of Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway. She is founding editor of the Practices series for Duke UP, co-editor of Lyotard and Critical Practice, and editor of Gender After Lyotard. Her most recent articles have appeared in The Routledge Companion to Gender and Environment, Environmental Humanities, the Atlantic, Slate, LARB, and the minnesota review. She has two books currently in progress, The Border Sublime: National Parks and the Social Future and a short, action-packed book about foraging for mushrooms. Margret has held professorships in the U.S. and in Russia, and is currently an associate professor at the University of Silesia in Poland. She is a true mushroom enthusiast from the Old World. Come for dinner–if you dare.
 See Lyotard. Jean-François. “The General Line” in Postmodern Fables. Translated by Georges van den Abbeele, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
Luke Kernan: Interrogating the Cryptographies of Obscure Words
As a creative writer and poet, I have been a longstanding typewriter advocate, owner, and practitioner. This liberating mode of analogue, ink-spilling composition has captivated me for its ability to lock one into presence. To grip and to give. And having the brief pleasure of walking the streets of Belfast—as one does—I was drawn to a dishevelled artifact of rubbish, an electronic, toy typewriter that had been strewn, slant, and broken by time, by free-playing hands. The sight of its decay, a varnish rustled up by a layer of dirt and leaves. The surreal delight and punctum of that image brought me to a point of pure recall of what I had once been told as a student. In a letter to John Taylor (1818), Keats wrote to his friend, “[if] poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.” The image (with this set of specific cultural understandings) seems to convey an array of intricate lessons on the process of writing—if one cares to reflect. Wit itself smashed into patterned debris.
This arts-based presentation will unapologetically take the symposium’s (IP) theme as a shared dialectic between the two states, that of being “in process” and “in perpetuity.” I would like to even challenge everyone to co-interrogate this object’s wisdom by delving further into these spaces and how they can relate to the act of writerly composition through a continuum of associations and imaginary practices.
I will be reading a short poem to this effect and one that is still very much “in process.”
Luke Kernan (Ph.D. Student, University of Victoria) is a creative writer, internationally published poet, and anthropologist. His doctoral work in anthropology explores sensory experiences of psychosis, and his ethnographic fieldwork in British Columbia seeks to generate participant-led narratives that will humanize his participant’s lived experiences of madness through comics and poetry. The aim of this fieldwork is then to engender new ethical paradigms of care, empathy, and compassion toward these communities. His poetry has recently appeared in The Silent World in her Vase, Déraciné, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, and The Anti-Languorous Project’s Soundbite. See his podcast episode, “A Look into Psychosis Narratives,” on Beyond the Jargon to delve into his scholarship and advocacy. Of note, he has also founded The Unquiet Minds Project and has published a book-length anthology of youth art and poetry (2022) to support fundraising for youth arts programming in the city of Victoria.
Lady Baronia Jackson: “From MIA to RIP (Return Tickets Unavailable)”
In March of 2020, the future was temporarily suspended. And for some, amidst that devastation, it felt at last as if it were worth being alive. In isolation—unable for the moment to get ahead, all our strategic professional plans now made risible—some Other kind of being came to life. What had been there before had to die to make space for this arrival. But where are those Other beings now?
This paper is a séance in which the middle-aged, and increasingly irrelevant musicologist, Jamie Currie, acts as a medium for Lady Baronia Jackson (his childhood daemon, and now increasingly indelible alter-ego). She will not go away. She cannot be returned to where she came from. She comes to speak to us about the evils of work and the necessity of becoming a virgin once more.
Between the ages of four and nine, Jamie Currie (now associate professor in the Department of Music at the University at Buffalo, New York), dressed in women’s clothing and called himself Lady Baronia Jackson. For the next forty years, Baronia disappeared. But in the second decade of the new millennium, she rose once more from the dead. Now she will not shut the fuck up. She has just completed a manuscript entitled “Doing Nothing,” and is not busy at all thinking about what we should do when there is nothing that can be done. She smokes and is outrageously beautiful.
Samuel McCormick: φ > [(-φ) > a] > d
This presentation takes its start from three foundational claims – one about what it means to be human and two about the mode of inquiry best suited for the study of this condition: psychoanalysis. (1) Human being has three basic requirements: embodiment, care from others, and death. (2) Psychoanalysis is not a branch of human psychology but, instead, the closest thing we have to a science of human being. (3) The ontological horizon of this science is, in fact, meontological because psychoanalysis studies the constitutive non-being of our kind.
Prof. Dr. Samuel McCormick
San Francisco State University
Samuel McCormick, Ph.D. is an award-winning teacher and scholar. He lectures widely on Lacanian psychoanalysis, is Professor of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University, and was recently appointed EURIAS & Marie-Curie Research Fellow at Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark. His first book, Letters to Power: Public Advocacy Without Public Intellectuals, won the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression, the James A. Winans – Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, and the Everett Lee Hunt Award. His second book, The Chattering Mind: A Conceptual History of Everyday Talk, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press.
Leah McInnis: Where it Almost Never Stops
Reflecting upon the experience of collaboratively writing a novel, I will attempt to summarize, synthesize and explain the process of sharing a narrative voice. The novel is titled Club Assembly, and was published in June 2022 as part of an exhibition of the same name, at ARTSPLACE Gallery in Nova Scotia. The premise of the novel is the first person to live forever before they know it. Themes of legacy and futility are explored through overlapping and dissolving plotlines combined with photographs, drawings and prints. Slides and a short reading will accompany my own reflections on the text.
Leah McInnis (she/her) is an conceptual artist currently living in Victoria, BC on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen speaking-peoples.
Loumille Métros: Immanuel Pant and other Impo(r)tænt Phenomena
“No, I. Kant, not Pant”
Like every summer since 2019, Loumille plans to float about wearing a “Team Wellburns” t-shirt.
Pierre-Luc Landry and Kate Plyley: Inhabiting Perspectives: Interactive Photography
For this fourth iteration of the Summer of Theory, Kate Plyley and Pierre-Luc Landry took a step back from technology and ventured into a collaborative, interactive and semi-private DIY, lo-fi performance/installation based on their interest in street photography and the seemingly mundane or insignificant visual archives of the ordinary. Each armed with a disposable camera, they met in Downtown Victoria to explore in parallel what the camera can show and the narrative potential of photographs. The rules of the game were easy: each would leave in a different direction to take pictures of whichever subjects inspired them while wandering around the city, and they would meet again to drop their cameras at a photo lab. No darkroom experience necessary, no special lenses or expensive cameras allowed, no digital editing permitted.
The next day, they each picked up the other’s pictures from the photo lab, which means that none of them even saw their own pictures before SOT4. Individually, they looked at what the other captured on film and chose 10 pictures from the lot: the photographs were then used as writing prompts and they will share, during their IP:IP presentation, the results of this creative writing and photographic undisciplined, living art project. Each presenter will speak about their 10 favourite images that the other person took. The idea is to inhabit another person’s perspective and see the city from their point of view. This project also includes an installation; all 20 photographs will be on display and SOT participants can add written comments below each one throughout the duration of the event.
Pierre-Luc Landry was born in 1984 in southeastern Québec, on Abenaki territory, 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 writer, an editor and a queer activist. He is a non-binary demiboy, a white genderqueer settler on the territory of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. He uses they/them and he/his pronouns.
Kate graduated with her Ph.D. from UVic in 2018. She is passionate about photography and enjoys continuing to learn more about this art form. She appreciates the annual Summer of Theory event because it provides a space to explore art and theory together.Instagram: www.instagram.com/k8_l.p
Puppets Forsaken, Victoria, British Columbia: Performing an un-selection from their future album Idiomatic Penumbra
Puppets Forsaken is a sculpture/sound collaboration between Natali Leduc and David Gifford formed in 2019. Originally inspired by the intonarumori of Futurist Luigi Russolo, author of the manifesto “Art of Noises” 1913, they construct acoustic noise generators that take over rooms and involve audience members, performing for old growth trees that are no longer there, theory symposiums, live radio and noise shows. They also entered a telekinesis competition in which they lost. Currently, Puppets Forsaken are building an operatic condition and envelope space that is the instrument itself, performed by the participants in attendance, called the Noisebau, gratefully acknowledging support from the Canada Council for the Arts and BC Arts Councils. Through retrocausality they continue to be nostalgic for Futurism.
Sara Ramshaw and Kristen Lewis: Legal Advocacy as Improvisational Play (IP)
This session introduces and explains the creative training tool, Hydra, which was developed by a group of legal academics, lawyers and sonic artists at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Traditional moot court or legal advocacy training is often criticised for failing to adequately prepare advocates to be nimble-footed in the courtroom. In contrast, Hydra (named after the serpent-like water monster with numerous heads in Greek mythology) hones legal argumentation skills, requiring participants to be ‘Hydra-headed’, that is, prepared for the unexpected and skilled at rapidly analysing legal issues from a variety of angles and perspectives. Through the use of cue cards and/or hand gestures communicated to and from the ‘judge’, participants forward legal arguments in relation to a pre-determined fact pattern, but can at any point in time be directed by the judge (as either a conduit of the participants or of their own accord) to switch arguments, switch roles, argue for the opposing side, increase or decrease their speaking volume, end an argument abruptly, or expand an argument. It is our belief that Hydra has potential to alter the legal profession in creative and inspiring ways and to teach students and practitioners alike the significance of improvisational advocacy for ethical lawyering. For this session, participants will be given a basic fact pattern and the applicable law and, using the Hydra ‘method’, will improvise legal advocacy in real time. The end goal is not a perfectly constructed, rational legal argument, but one that makes evident the creative potential of the liminal spaces in/of law, and offers the opportunity for participants to experience the power and potential of being in a state of flux, chaos and unfamiliarity.
Sara Ramshaw is Professor of Law and Director of Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT) at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. 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. This is her fourth time participating in Summer of Theory.
Kristen Lewis, JD is the artistic director of Gull Cry Dance, an organ dedicated to two aims: 1) the creation of original works spanning the genres of contemporary dance, experimental theatre, and performance art; and 2) the provision of transformational movement education for children and adults, both community-based and professional. Kristen takes her dual roles of artist and legal advocate/researcher seriously and, in the second of these capacities, acts as the Executive Director for the Canadian Centre for Men and Families (Vancouver), a not-for-profit dedicated to advocacy for the dignity of men and their children. She has just completed an LLM from the Osgoode Hall Law School, to be awarded in October 2022. Kristen is also proud to serve as a campus security officer at Camosun college, licensed as a Security Professional under the Security Services Act of British Columbia, and approved to carry restraints when required in the line of duty.
Vitor Santos: A Portrait Of The Artist as Retired Young Man
If Confucius were in the XXIst century he would never have said: “Choose a job you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life.” Especially if Confucius were a Brazilian man living under a neoliberal (and fascist) assault and had to deal with the erosion of labor laws, the strangulation of the education system and national culture. To make things worse, a global pandemic (or are there two already?). If so, he would not have the nerve to say such a thing. It’s hard to find something to love in a wasteland. Art alone is not enough, and neither is love.
Therefore how can we cope? What is left to do before so few concrete possibilities to earn a living for a professional artist? What is there to do but retire — a retirement for a new form of disability? In my presentation, I intend to present some of the reasons that made me retire as an artist before the age of thirty and return to being an amateur artist.
Victor Santos is a retired artist, (still) an art teacher and currently finishing his master ‘s degree at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp).
Mark Zion: And Say the Animal(s) Vanished: Derrida, Bernhard, and Infernal Prolepsis in the Sixth Extinction
In The Animal that therefore I Am, Derrida notes how the diversity of actual animals is obscured by the catch-all label “animal,” which is just a word. Via the “animot,” he invites a “limitrophy” that entails “complicating, thickening, delinearizing, folding, and dividing the line precisely by making it increase and multiply” (Derrida 2008 at 29). This injunction provides a helpful incitement to thought amidst the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history, which the (ill-named) “Anthropocene” heralds. At the same time, writing from a different historical context, Derrida did not attend to the problem of those animals that have vanished or are vanishing, often out of sight. It is human action, now a violent historical-geological factor across the whole planet, that is causing (and bound up with) the intensifying and entangled catastrophe of mass extinction. Spreading over the planet, sovereign practices of (attempted) mastery have produced a catastrophic homogeneity or ‘limitatrophy’—in material existence and in experience—that undermines any ethical relation to the Other in its irreducible particularity. Thought of a minimally livable shared future gives way to infernal prolepsis. As entire species are (re)made to die, a whole collective architecture of experience is lost: “each time an existence disappears, it is a piece of the universe of sensations that fades away” (Bird Rose at 220). In this experimental context, I will put some prior work on Derrida ‘in proximity’ with new ruminations on Thomas Bernhard’s novel, Extinction, thereby conjoining the problematics of multi-species, biographical, and familial extinction. Inane parameters? It’s possible.
Mark Zion is a PhD Candidate at UVic working on a chronopolitical critique of legal discourse in the Misanthropocene that is as unrelenting as it is disciplinarily unwelcome. Prone to incessant paronomasia and drawn to insistent perplexities, he looks forward to multiplying IP together.