Smoke: A PUBLIC Roundtable
November 17, 2018
part of SLSA 2018: Out of Mind
November 11-15, 2018
Hilton hotel at 145 Richmond St W, OCAD University’s Onsite gallery at 99 Richmond St. W, & Inclusive Design Research Centre at 205 Richmond St. W
Mobius artist, Sandrine Schaefer is a contributor to the Smoke: A PUBLIC Roundtable as part of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts in Toronto. Sandrine will share documentation, methods, research, and reflections on a performance artwork titled, Torpor (Pace Investigations No.5) developed on site at Banff Centre for Art and Creativity in 2017. This presentation engages ideas and strategies around how the acceleration and deceleration of actions can make mechanical, geological, and felt time palpable. Other themes explored in this reflective text include, surveillance, site-sensitivity, the body as material, anthropocentrism, witness participation, (in)visibility, and TRAnsferenCE.
We’re all out of our minds, in more ways than one. Some things we consciously put out of mind in order to think, while others gain their potency precisely from having always been outside of mind ‘proper.’ Madness, post- and pre-neuroscience, precognition, superstition, stupidity (bêtise), and bureaucracy all obtain on the question of our minds and their relation to thinking. Moreover, much recent Humanities scholarship has questioned the extent to which these minds were properly ours to begin with. In our present moment, the parts of our actions that exceed our conscious decision-making are heightened by the premediating effects of affective, hyperobjective, aesthetic, and algorithmic logics that are fundamentally alien to human cognition, even while they directly impact how we think and act in our daily lives. If the 2017 SLSA meeting indexed the fact that “anthropos is constituted by temporalities that are in excess of it,” our 2018 gathering will double down on this position to ask after the conditions, preclusions, and exclusions that make it thinkable in the first place.
And really, what does ‘thinkability’ even mean today, when so many of our experiences—political and otherwise—seem unthinkable? Importantly, the questions raised by the various profiles of “the nonhuman turn” have moved beyond the simple (but crucial) critical decentering of the self-possessed human individual to open onto the ways that cognition’s distributions are also aggregations, often advancing political and corporate agendas that are as devastating as they are headless. Put simply, all of this brings to mind a vexing problem: on one hand we know better than ever that we need to let go of the hubris of individual understanding in order to learn to think collectively and in deep temporalities, while on the other hand what is needed more than ever is mindfulness and rationality in the face of proliferating global crises. That is, (n)eurocentrism abounds; what’s to be done about it?
The University of Waterloo and York University will jointly host the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, held at the Hilton in Toronto’s downtown core. OCAD University—Canada’s oldest art and design institution—will also partner, as will the Rochester Institute of Technology.