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Friday, March 27 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session 1 Panel Stream: Environmental Data for Creative Projects and Community Engagement

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Session 1 Panel Stream: Environmental Data for Creative Projects and Community Engagement

Kate Genevieve, Ian Winters, Andrea Polli and Leah Barclay: "Choreographies of Attention and Control: Climate Data, Networks and Visceral Experience in Installation and Performance"
The rapid proliferation of networked sensors and ubiquity of sensor data from mobile phones, game controllers and portable devices provide fresh possibilities for artists working with climate and environmental data at the intersection of performance, installation and networks. 

After the Snowden revelations on how individuals’ data is used, it seems that the great interpreters and choreographers of attention and control of our time may be government agencies and commercial interests. Data and its use is currently a resolutely political subject and a thoroughly emotional one. 

What can artists do in this terrain? 

This panel considers the visceral, emotional aspect of data and how artists are working with environmental data to explore emotional and visceral dimensions. It is clear that a real barrier to change - in the face of bleak climate research - is the inability to really feel what the data being shared might mean on a human and emotional level. How are artists using narrative, choreography, improvisation, and composition to handle data in imaginative and collaborative ways that allows people to listen, feel and understand on a personal, visceral level? And how vital is this work? 

This panel gathers together artists creatively exploring climate and environmental data, focusing on the different approaches, strategies and questions that they ask through their work. Using the idea of exploring data compositionally to create visceral effects as a point of departure, our roundtable hopes to open an informal discussion between practitioners and researchers working in the rich intersections of environmental work and performance/installation practice. 

The members of the panel work directly with these technological and compositional issues. The discussion is centered on a number of questions/provocations for discussion, posed to round table members to consider, both in the context of their own creative & technical practice, and through observations of others’ work. Through focusing on trans-disciplinary projects that combine creative vision, incisive data analysis and emotional reach, the panelists will consider what kind of effects ambitious creative work can have at this crisis point in human history. 

Our goal is to instigate an open discussion among round table members and audience about the opportunities and difficulties presented by using climate data to generate compositional material. 

How does the current expansion of the kinds of climate data made available in 2015 inflect your work? 
What implications does the ability to transform, across many media, the data extracted from environmental phenomenon have on the compositional process? 
How do you model and represent your work as it spans software, algorithm, choreography, sound and visual? 
If underlying compositional structures are being derived from environmental patterns, who is the ‘author’? 
Is the mobile phone sensor a special case in terms of facilitating collaboration, large scale participation and encouraging action and improvisation? 
How do you design how data effects the body?  

Mél Hogan, Laura Forlano, Liz Miller, Gisele Trudel, John Hopkins: "Performing Materialities: Water & Waste"
This panel brings together process-oriented audiovisual investigations engaging art, science and technology. The five panelists tend to the materiality of media, to water’s participation in processes that are of ecological concern and of ongoing social and cultural significance. Specifically, examining local/global sites–canals, waterways, bridges, islands, floods, sewage, waste water, shorelines, sea levels, droughts and deserts–this panel moves from the representational and relational (of media, labor, and institutionalized power) toward effective community action and social change. 

Filmmaker Liz Miller is the creator of The Shore Line, an online documentary that profiles educators, artists, architects, activists, scientists, city planners, and youth organizations from Canada, the U. S., Panama, India, and New Zealand, who are actively grappling with the balance-imbalance faced by coastal communities. Miller uses the online documentary format to instigate a critical dialogue about coastal squeeze, climate displacement, and rising sea levels. 

By way of performative audiovisual microevents, Gisèle Trudel exposes waste water systems presented in Canada, Germany and New Zealand. The research and production of this work (light, sweet, cold, dark, crude (LSCDC) (2008-on going)) originates in the « Eco Machines » system, pioneered by biologist and ecologist Dr. John Todd situated at the Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial of Sharon, in Vermont, and the Station d’épuration des eaux usées, an industrial system for the city of Montreal, juxtaposed with images of the southwestern U.S. deserts. 

John C. Hopkins relies partially on a background in geophysics to guide his visual-sonic explorations of elemental energy flows. The author argues that the human organism’s impact on its proximal and distal environment—expressed through the techno-social system—may be better understood using the model of thermodynamics and entropy as a starting point. One simple, ongoing performance series “Changing the Course of Nature” demonstrates, onsite in the desert West of the US, how life at all levels expends the energy it consumes and thus changes ... everything. 

Laura Forlano and Mél Hogan (co-authors) use Goose Island, an artificial island in the North branch of the Chicago River, as their site of inquiry. The island’s history includes industrial plants as well as, more recently, corporate R&D facilities. With respect to water, a variety of “Smart City” projects that map underground tunnels and waterways as well as seek applications for so-called “green technologies” are scrutinized. Drawing on critical feminist technology studies, this project uses a camera with built-in GPS sensors to document the role of water in the economy, historically, and in the context of the present-day material labor of the city. 


Douglas Quin

Described by the Washington Post as “the Audubon of audio,” Douglas Quin is a sound designer, naturalist, public radio commentator, educator, and music composer. For nearly 30 years, Quin has traveled widely, documenting the natural soundscape—from Antarctic ice to Arctic... Read More →

avatar for Leah Barclay

Leah Barclay

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Griffith University
Co-Chair, Sonic Environments (www.sonicenvironments.org)

Laura Forlano

Laura Forlano is an Assistant Professor of Design at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. From 2012-2013, she was a Visiting Scholar in the Comparative Media Studies program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research is focused on the intersection... Read More →

Kate Genevieve

Kate Genevieve is an artist and director of media art group CHROMA. CHROMA explore the flexible relationship between real and imagined worlds through trans-media events and immersive installation. Their site-specific projects range from light performances in Oxford’s Town Hall to... Read More →

Mél Hogan

Mél Hogan is a media scholar and graphic designer working as an Assistant Professor of Communication at IIT. Her recent publications and conference presentations look at internet materialities, archives, and surveillance — how infrastructures are made material, visible, and are... Read More →

John Hopkins

John Hopkins is a media artist and learning facilitator. He holds a transdisciplinary creative practices PhD from La Trobe University/University of Technology Sydney, an MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder (where he studied with renown experimental film-maker, Stan Brakhage... Read More →

Liz Miller

Liz Miller is a documentary maker and professor interested in new approaches to community collaborations and documentary as a way to connect personal stories to larger social concerns. Her documentary projects offer new and critical perspectives on gender, the environment, human rights... Read More →

Andrea Polli

Andrea Polli is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Ecology with appointments in the College of Fine Arts and School of Engineering at the University of New Mexico.  She holds the Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media and directs the Social Media Workgroup, a lab at... Read More →

Gisèle Trudel

Gisèle Trudel is an artist. In 1996, she cofounded Ælab, an artistic research unit with Stéphane Claude, who is an electronic and electroacoustic composer and audio engineer. Ælab’s commitment to collaboration and creative dissemination are ways of thinking and doing that try... Read More →

Ian Winters

Ian Winters is an award-winning video and media artist working at the intersection of performance and time-based visual media to explore the relationships between physicality, technology, and place. Recent awards include 2013 residencies at Djerassi, Earthdance, Nexmap/CNM, 2013 ISEA-Sydney... Read More →

Friday March 27, 2015 1:30pm - 3:00pm MST
Stauffer B125 950 S. Forest Mall Tempe, AZ 85281

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