The 25th Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference

Digital Matters: Designing/Performing Agency in the Anthropocene

September 5 – 7, 2021

Heilig-Geist Kapelle, Humboldt University Berlin

and online & Zoom

Hosted by the Excellence Cluster Matters of Activity: Image – Space – Material in cooperation with the Excellence Cluster EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective” & the practice-based research project Viral Theatres, funded by the VolkswagenFoundation.

Table of Contents

Welcome to DRHA 2021

Hybrid Conferencing


       Information for F2F participants @Heilig-Geist-Kapelle

Information for Virtual Participants

Conference Timetable

Presenter Abstracts and Bios


Lecture/Performance & Workshops

Research & Performance Panels


Moderator Bios

Index of Sessions

Index of Participants

Acknowledgements and Thanks

Welcome to DRHA 2021


Welcome to the 25th Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference! We are glad to have made it this far and cannot wait to actually meet you all – whether in Berlin or on

Our goal for DRHA 2021 is to create a space of encounter between environmental and digital humanities that matches our own hybrid backgrounds as practice-based researchers and researching artists. We hope that this unique mix of making and thinking can help  build new forms of social agency that meet the challenges of tackling life in the Anthropocene. Our conference theme Digital Matters: Designing/Performing Agency in the Anthropocene has become even more pressingly relevant now – after devastating flooding in Germany, destructive wildfires across Europe and the world, and the most recent IPCC report warning of the imminent effects of soaring temperatures – than it was when we drafted our CFP. These events – as much as the COVID-pandemic itself – mark that the Anthropocene and our critique of it has moved into a new phase: from a sense of abstraction to an imminently lived experience.

This year’s conference will also offer the chance for a hybrid experiment in conferencing, with a majority of presenters and audience present virtually while only a minority can be onsite due to COVID-regulations and global travel restrictions. We are dedicated to integrating these different spheres of physical and virtual encounter throughout the three days of the conference. Believing that the future of academic conferencing will be hybrid, we have pursued a method of approach to DRHA 2021 that participates in fostering new practices and habits that will be crucial in making the most of such hybrid environments. So, this is a shout out also to all of you as participants to claim the spaces for your experiments with hybrid gatherings and work processes.

We were also excited and grateful for the immensely varied and stimulating international proposals we received in response to our Call for Papers with over 150 submissions in total. We are now able to host 76 participants from 25 different countries all across the world. This spread of backgrounds and cultures is also only possible due to the hybrid nature of the event, which lowers the financial and logistical bar for participation. We are so glad to converse with you all: a mix of scholars, artists, and digital makers that we have been able to attract, and we hope that you will find the encounter with their works as exciting as we have found it in the run-up to the conference.

Finally, this conference is also a unique collaboration of Berlin-based Research Clusters – of EXC Matters of Activity who is hosting us all at the Humboldt University and of EXC2020 “Temporal Communities” at the Freie Universität Berlin. It is their support and trust in our vision of this conference and their willingness to think across institutional boundaries that allows us all to have this event during the pandemic crisis. We hope that this cooperation across Clusters, institutions, and nationalities is only the starting point of many further such ventures.

Hybrid Conferencing


In this section, we would like to give you a brief overview over what to expect from our hybrid conferencing format when you are participating in person.

The entire conference is planned as a dialogue between virtual and actual spheres, and each session includes both F2F and digital presenters as well as audiences. The entire conference will be live-streamed and recorded. Given the current COVID-restrictions, the majority of our panelists and audience will be online, while only a limited number of up to 60 participants is allowed to be present on site.

We have five different types of events planned for you:

  • Keynote lectures and roundtables with a range of international guests, framing the various conference  themes.
  • Workshops, both digital and full presence which call for practical audience participation and interaction.
  • Research/performance panels with 3-4 panelists and a moderator, mixing digital and full presence.
  • Installations, i.e. video artwork, digital and physical sculptures, XR artwork which can be visited and experienced individually throughout the conference.
  • Social gatherings, ranging from the Installation Opening to the Conference Dinner and Conference Speed Dating to allow digital and actual participants to interact.

Information for F2F Participants @Heilig-Geist-Kapelle

The Heilig-Geist Kapelle is a former hospital chapel dating back to the 1300s, and is now part of the Department for Economics at Humboldt University. It is located on Spandauer Str. 1 in the heart of Berlin’s city centre, and in close proximity to the sites of Berlin such as the Museum Island, the Alexanderplatz, the newly opened Humboldt Forum and the S-Bahn/tram station Hackescher Markt (your nearest public transport point) with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. The conference Hotel Motel One Alexanderplatz is about a 7min walk away from the conference site.

We have five dedicated conference spaces onsite.

On the GROUND FLOOR, there is:

  • The Entrance Hall & adjacent courtyard: The registration/help desk is located here;  Snack breaks and lunches take place and some of the installation works can be found here.
  • The Chapel & Seminar Room 22: panels, talks, and workshops will take place here.
  • Seminar Room 23: VR installation/adaptation of Beckett’s (Virtual) Play (Trinity College Dublin) is set up here and the Offsite Project’s VR piece The Terminal: Human Shaped Whole will also start from here. Sign-up sheets available onsite to participate.

On the FIRST FLOOR, just up the stairs from the entrance hall, on your left:

  • Seminar Room 125: the primary space of workshops, where panels and talks also take place here.

On the SECOND FLOOR, another flight up and to the left at the end of the hallway, you will find:

  • Lecture Hall/ Hörsaal 202: the keynote events will take place here. In addition, the video installations will be shown throughout the day on a big screen.

Hygiene Rules

Please note, the following hygiene rules are in place due to the COVID-pandemic:

  • only participants/audience who are tested, vaccinated, or recovered will be able to enter the conference space. Please show  a rapid test taken on the day (each morning) or written/digital proof of your vaccination or COVID-recovery at the registration desk. Rapid ‘Bürgertesttests’ are free and widely available in Berlin.
  • please wear medical or FFP2 masks whenever you move around the conference spaces and be mindful of keeping 1.5 metre distance to others.
  • Please follow all instructions of our student helpers, especially when exiting a session, which may take place via roll call by sections.
  • Weather permitting, please have snacks and drinks in the seating areas in the courtyard outside or make sure to maintain a 1.5m distance inside while consuming food/drink.
  • Should you feel even only slightly ill, please switch to attending the conference virtually for the period that you are unwell.

To all physical presenters and audiences: We strongly encourage you to reach out to the digital participants throughout the conference by bringing your own laptop to the conference and checking out the virtual conference space. There are various meeting spaces and sessions for social gathering to be found there.

Information for Virtual Participants

We are very excited to host the virtual version of DRHA 2021 on is a location-based video-conferencing software that allows all digital participants to have a cohesive spatial conference experience as they move through a virtual conference space with an avatar, allowing for interaction with objects in the space as well as other digital participants. Socially, this means that as you walk around the space, you can bump into people known or unknown and talk to them (video-conferencing will automatically pop-up when you stop in close proximity to someone else and close as you move on). You navigate the avatar with the arrow keys on your keyboard; and you can interact with objects in the space by pressing X (might provide a video, written material, a zoom link etc.) once you come into close proximity. You can also get to all the different event and conference spaces; the following rooms/sites will be available to you once you enter the space:

  • The Entrance Hall:  This is where you start and have access to all other rooms. The registration/help desk is located here; you can gain access to the conference program, meet other conference participants and move on to session rooms and social hangout spaces.
  • The Chapel & Seminar Room 22, Workshop Room (Seminar Room 125), Hörsaal/Lecture Hall: these are the access points to the conference sessions which will take place on Zoom. Navigating your avatar to the entry points of these rooms will pop up a Zoom link to the session. There is also a timetable for each room available in front of each room.
  • The Installation Room: hosts the virtual exhibition of video and sculpture art that we have gathered on this occasion. You can call up each artwork by interacting with one of the objects in the room. The Room will open on Sunday, at 7:30pm during the Installation Opening and will then permanently be open; and you will have a chance for Q&A with the artists as well as leaving comments on the Installation message board.
  • The Lounge: is a social gathering space where you can hang out in small groups and meet other conference participants during the session breaks.
  • The Tent/Anthropocene Gallery: the Conference Speed-Dating Sessions on Monday evening (7-8pm CET) and Tuesday lunchtime (1:30-2:30pm CET) will take place here.
  • The Virtual Play Room: Offers access to a dedicated space for the VR installation Virtual Play (Trinity College Dublin).
  • The Gardens: Keep exploring the space. You may find further artwork and surprises here.

Preview of the DRHA space.

To all digital presenters & audiences: we strongly encourage you to keep your video on during the  Zoom sessions (unless otherwise prompted) to help create a more communal and personal exchange and to actively get to know each other.

Timetable DRHA 2021

September 5 – 7, 2021, Heilig-Geist Kapelle Berlin/ /Humboldt University Berlin

Please note: all times are CET.

Sunday, 5 September

SESSION 1 – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

11:30 – 12:00

Registration and Digital Meet & Greet on

12:00 – 12:30


Susan Broadhurst (Chair, DRHA Standing Committee)

Wolfgang Schäffner, (Director EXC Matters of Activity, HU Berlin)

Lindsey Drury, Ramona Mosse, Christian Stein (DRHA 2021 Organisers)

12:30 – 14:00

“Just Enough for the City – Some Lessons on Anastrophic Design from the Torrid Zone”

Keynote by Nashin Mahtani & Etienne Turpin (anexact office)
Moderator: Lindsey Drury (EXC Temporal Communities, Freie Universität Berlin)

– Intermission: Drinks & Nibbles-



Stream A- Seminar Room 22

Stream B – Seminar Room 125

Stream C Chapel


14:30 – 16:00


Anthropocene Across Media Borders

Moderator: Anastasios Maragiannis (University of Greenwich)

Wolfgang Schäffner (Humboldt U.) – From Digital Humanities to Material Humanities (digital)

Jørgen Bruhn (Linnaeus U.) – Intermedial Ecocriticism (f2f)

Niklas Salmose (Linnaeus U.)-
Future Food Cultures (f2f)


Social Movements, Digitality & Interconnectivity

Moderator: Holly Maples ((University of Essex)

Vítor Blanco-Fernandez (U. Pompeu Fabra)- Silicon Realism (digital)

Ruth Schmidt  (Ruhr-U. Bochum) – Digitality from Below (digital)

Annabel Castro/ Genoveva Castro (U. Autonoma Metropolitana /Southern Connecticut State U.) – Literature textiles from the desert borderlands (digital)


Scene, Atmosphere & Architecture

Moderator: Gauti Sigthorsson (University of Roehampton)

Mary Anderson & Richard Haley (Wayne State U.) – Dancing Scenographic Materials (digital)

Elaine Bonavia, Alexandre Mballa-Ekobena, Douny Laurence, Jessica Farmer, Nikolai Rosenthal, Mareike Stoll,  Karola Dierichs (Weißensee School of Art & Design) – Augmented Spinning (digital)

Paula Guzzanti/John D’Arcy (U. of Malta/ Queen’s U. Belfast) – Pathways: The Futurity of Pedestrian Movement in the Maltese Islands (f2f)

– Intermission: Drinks & Nibbles-


Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Stream B – Workshop Room 125

Stream C – The Chapel

Stream D – Lecture Hall/ Hörsaal 202

16:15 – 17:45


Animal Extinction & Interspecies Encounters

Moderator: John A. Nyakatura (Humboldt University Berlin)

Krista Caballero/Frank Ekeberg (Bard College/ Independent) – Birding the Future (digital)

Lily Hunter Green (Independent) – Silencing the Virus (digital)

Eduardo Abrantes (Roskilde U.)- Wild Arrangements (digital)


DATURA – Remnants, Ashes, Relics

Moderator: Anastasios Maragiannis (U. of Greenwich)

John Mitchell, Holly Smith, Ben Braman and Tony Obr

 (Arizona State University)


 Decolonization Workshop Series:

 Practices of Unsettling

Moderator: Lindsey Drury (Freie Universität Berlin)

Part I. Clémentine Deliss:

“Counter-Conduct in the Museum, or the Practice of Academic Iconoclasm”


Agency in the Anthropocene

Moderator: Olu Taiwo (Winchester University)

Christoph Müller, Eva Jägle (U. of Vienna/philomation) – de-marginalization: agential mattering of the virtual (f2f)

Antje Budde (U. of Toronto) – Cutting Edge(s) (digital)

Daniel Larlham (Independent) – Cancel the Apocalypse (digital)

– Intermission: Drinks & Nibbles-

SESSION 4 – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

18:00 – 19:30

“Performing Planetarity: Feminist With A Drone”

Keynote by Joanna Zylinska (King’s College London)

Moderator: Maria Chatzichristodolou (Kingston School of Art)

19:30 – 21:00

20:00 – 20:30

Drinks Reception

Installation Opening onsite & on

including live discussions with Darcy Gerbarg, Andy Weir, and Antonio Báia Reis

With works by:

Pita Aerrola-Burns, Elliott Burns, Jason Isolini (Offsite Arts Project /Art Institute Chicago)

Selene Citron & Luca Lunardi (Citron/Lunardi)

Darcy Gerbarg (DVI Ltd)

Irini Kalaitzidi (Goldsmiths)

Brisa Mp (Biónica)

Sarah Pini/Melissa Ramos/Jestin George (University of Southern Denmark/ Dance Cinema/University of Technology Sydney)

Ella Raidel (NTU Singapore),

António Báia Reis (University of Porto)

Andy Weir (Goldsmiths)

Monday, 6 September

9:30 – 10:00

Registration, drinks & snacks, digital breakfast hour on


Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Stream B –  Workshop Room 125

Stream C – The Chapel

Stream D – Lecture

       Hall / Hörsaal 202

Installations – Room 23  

10:00 – 11:30



Performing the Moving Body in Virtual Reality

Moderator: Christian Stein (Humboldt University)

Leonie Rae Gasson  (Independent)– Queering VR (digital)

Thomas Lilge  (HU Berlin) – Motion research at a standstill (digital)

Zelia Zz Tan (City Contemporary Dance Co., Hong Kong) – ID Transfer in future dance VR (digital)


 Decolonization Workshop Series: Practices of Unsettling 

Moderator: Lindsey Drury (Freie Universität Berlin)

Part II.  Discussion Session with special guests Nashin Mahtani & Etienne Turpin



Decomposing Matters

Moderator: Robert Stock (HU Berlin)

Joella Kiu (Singapore Art Museum) – Sharing With, Becoming With (digital)

Diana Lengua & Irene Pipicelli (Goldsmiths/U. of Turin). Non Fungible & Fungible Waste (digital)

Andy Weir (Goldsmiths/Arts University Bournemouth) – Pazugoo, Demonic Personification of Nuclear waste (f2f)


The Politics of Social Media

Moderator: Torsten Jost (FU-Berlin)

Hsiu-Ju Stacy Lo (National Yang Ming Chiao Tung U.) – What does it “Meme”?: (digital)

Shweta Khilnani  (U. of Delhi) – East Asian Home Vloggers (digital)

Rimi Nandy  (Adamas University) – The “network”-ed Anthropocene (digital)

VR Installations in Room 23

– Intermission with drinks & nibbles –


Stream A– Seminar Room 22

Stream B – Workshop Room 125

Stream C- The Chapel

Stream D – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Installations – Room 23  

12:00 – 13:00

 Lecture Performance:

The Cults

Moderator: Gauti Sigthorsson (University of Greenwich)

Dani Ploeger (CSSD) (f2f)


Unwhorl – A Hybrid Provocation

Mari Bastashevski, Sam Lavigne, Matti Pretolani, Clemens Driessen, Int Studio and a rout of garden snails (EPFL/NTNU/Wageningen Universities) (hybrid)


Gestural Listening in the Near Field: Re-coupling Local and Virtual Sonic Environments

Moderator: Agata Lisiak (Bard College Berlin)

Chris Moffet (Columbia University) (digital)


Indigenous knowledges & immersive technologies

Moderator: Olu Taiwo

(Winchester University )

Chiara Minestrelli & Matteo Dutto (London College of Communication/ Monash University)  – Indigenous Futures (digital)

Elizabeth Swift (University of Gloucestershire)- Narratives of the Future (digital)

Sculpture, VR and Video installations on site and on

13:00 – 14:00


Digital Installation Q&A on

Publication Information Session

Seminar Room 22

 “The Nuts and Bolts of Academic Publishing”

 Laura Hussey, Routledge (digital)

SESSION 7 – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

14:00 – 15:00

Designing Resilience – On A Third Culture with Many Transitions Keynote by Claudia Mareis (EXC Matters of Activity, Humboldt University Berlin)

Moderator: Anita Traninger (Co-Director EXC Temporal Communities, Freie Universität Berlin)

– Intermission with drinks & nibbles –


Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Stream B – Workshop Room 125

              Stream C – The Chapel

Installations  Hörsaal 202 & Room 23

15:30 – 17:00


Mixed Reality Theatres

Moderator: Ramona Mosse (Freie Universität Berlin)

Annette Balaam (Bristol U.) – Virtual Beckett (digital)

Neíll O’Dwyer, Paul O’Hanrahan, Matthew Moynihan, Aljosa Smolic, and Gareth Young (Trinity College Dublin) – MR  Ulysses (digital)



Gaming and the Sensorium

Moderator: Susan Broadhurst (Brunel University)

Nathan Bitgood (Texas A&M University)-Who Hacks the Hackers? (digital)

Lino Strangis (C.A.R.M.A.) – Multimedia and interactive installations as scenic devices (f2f)

John Toenjes (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) – VR Dance Adventure Game (digital)


Water As Medium

Moderator: Sara Ehrentraut (Freie Universität Berlin)

Anna Street/ Kamila Mamadnazarbekova (Le Mans Université /Sorbonne Université) Performing Water (digital)

Sebastian Schwesinger/Robert Stock (Humboldt University)- Sounding Out the Anthropocene Ocean (f2f)

Followed by Roundtable with Dr. Jana Hoffmann (Hearing in Penguins, Natural History Museum Berlin)

Sculpture, VR and Video installations on site and on

– Intermission with drinks & nibbles –

17:00 – 18:00                                                                                              Room 23: VR Session – Aljosa Smolic (Trinity College Dublin)

SESSION 9 – Lecture Hall /Hörsaal 202

18:00 – 19:30

Performing Survival: Rethinking Interdisciplinarity and Adaptation Through Beckett in XR

Keynote by Nicholas Johnson & Aljosa Smolic (Trinity College Dublin)

Moderator: Doris Kolesch (Freie Universität Berlin)



Conference Dinner

& Digital Conference Speed-Dating on

Tuesday, 7 September

9:00 – 9:30

Registration, drinks & snacks, digital breakfast hour on



Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Stream B – Workshop  Room 125

Stream C – The Chapel

Installations – Hörsaal 202 & Room 23

9:30 – 11:30


Zoom Theatres

Moderator: Ann-Christine Simke (U. of Bern)

Marcel Kieslich (Mozarteum University) – Sympoietic Atmospheres (f2f)

Maria Combatti, Nicoletta Damioli and Lucina Hartley-Koudelka (Columbia U. / U. of Paris 8 /Independent) – A Zoom Artist Residency in the Pandemic Era (digital)

Alice Breemen (University of Amsterdam) – Pandemic Dramaturgy (digital)

Lin Chen (University of Exeter)- Negotiating Liveness /Online Theatre (digital)


Sonic Environments

Moderator: Susan Broadhurst (Brunel University)

Holly Maples (University of Essex)- Walking into history/audio walks (digital)

Adam Pultz Melbye, Paul Stapleton and John Bowers (Queen’s U. Belfast) The Virtual is Material : Music improvisation in post-digital ecologies (hybrid)

Hongliang Zhou (Zhejiang University) – Narratives, Performances and Rituals in the Chinese Theatre of Cai Lun (digital)


Digital Mapping

Moderator: Francesca Morini (Urban Complexity Lab Potsdam)

Oliver Dawkins, Duncan Hay &  James Smith (University College London/ University College Cork)- Mapping the Anthropocene (digital)

Gabriele Colombo, Liliana Bounegru & Jonathan Gray (Politecnico Milano/King’s College London) – Mapping Amazonian Rainforest fires (digital)

Raquel Caerols-Mateo & Francisco Cabezuelo-Lorenzo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) – Mapping Brain Activity (f2f)

Rachel Hill (UCL) –Digital Worldbuilding and Exoplanetary Affects in the Anthropocene (digital)

Sculpture, VR and Video installations on site and on

– Intermission with drinks & nibbles-


Key Roundtable

12:00 – 13:30

“The Nonhuman in Artistic Practice/Research”

with Kim Albrecht (Potsdam University/Harvard Media Lab), Siobhan Leddy (FU Berlin) & Annette Jael Lehmann (FU Berlin/Harvard Media Lab)

Moderator:  Johannes Birringer (Brunel University London)

13:30 – 14:30

Lunch & Digital Conference Speed-Dating Part II on



Stream A – Seminar Room 22

     Stream B – Workshop  Room 125

Stream C – The Chapel

Installations – Hörsaal 202 & Room 23

14:30 – 16:30


Performance in the Pandemic

Moderator: Ramona Mosse (EXC 2020, FU-Berlin)

Ann-Christin Simke (U. of Bern), Sascha Förster (Theatermuseum Düsseldorf) and Raimund Rosarius (LMU) – Going to the Theatre (digital)

Vincenzo del Gaudio (Universitá di Salerno) – Dance of Silence: Covid 19, lockdown and new forms of liveness in Italian digital performance (digital)


Dancing Beyond the Human

Moderator: Alexander H. Schwan (FU-Berlin)

Johannes Birringer (Brunel) – Somatechnics and Dis/ability (digital)

Jeannette Ginslov and Daniel Spikol (London South Bank U./ U. of Copenhagen) – Deep Flow (digital)

Julia Abs (U. of Sao Paolo) – Compost Choreography Performance (digital)

Sarah Pini/Jestin George (University of Southern Denmark/University of Technology Sydney) Shifting Perspectives in a more than human world (digital)


Fragments, Time & Futurisms

Moderator: Nina Tolksdorf (EXC 2020, FU-Berlin)

Maria Kyrou (Aristotle U. of Thessaloniki)- Hybrid specimens (f2f)

Camila Mangueira, Fabrício Fava & Miguel Carvalhais  (University of Porto) – Found shells – Geomedia Art Project (digital)

Ella Raidel (NTU Singapore) – Accelerating Spectrality in Contemporary China (digital)

Jaya Yadav (U. of Delhi) – Army as the Anthropocene (digital)

Sculpture, VR and Video installations on site and on

– Intermission with drinks & nibbles –


Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Stream B –  Workshop  Room 125

Stream C – The Chapel

Installations – Hörsaal 202 & Room 23

17:00 – 18:30


Visualising Data in Artistic Practice

Moderator: Jan-Erik Stange (EXC 2020, FU Berlin)

Christian Riegel and Katherine Robinson (University of Regina) –Covid Distancing and the Creation of Data Art (digital)

Toni Sant & Enrique Tabone (U. of Salford) – Visualizing Scientific Data (digital)

Sarah Thomasson (Victoria University Wellington) – Festival Networks (digital)


Artificial Becomings

Moderator: Susanne Lettow (FU Berlin)

Gabriella Giannachi (University of Exeter) – Living with AI -Revisiting Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Agent Ruby (2002)  (digital)

Tivon Rice (University of Washington) – Environmental Literacy (digital)

Duman, Heerden and Bas (Bogaziçi U./ Koç U./Marmara U.) – Binary Selves, Endless Becomings: Datafiction and Emancipation in ‘AI -When a Robot Writes a Play’ (digital)


Reframing Immersion

Moderator: Christian Stein (Humboldt University Berlin)

James Harper  (De Montford University) – An Argument for Reflexive Hypermediacy (digital)

Ethan Edwards  (Nokia Bell Labs) – The Veil (digital)

Anne Dion (Ryerson University) – Warping the Unthinkable (f2f)

Sculpture, VR and Video installations on site and on

18:30 – 19:15

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

An Outlook on DRHA 2022 presented by Anastasios Maragiannis (Deputy Chair of the DRHA)

Conference Closing

Abstracts & Presenter Bios DRHA 2021

September 5 / September 6 / September 7

Heilig-Geist Kapelle Berlin/ /Humboldt University Berlin


“Just Enough for the City – Some Lessons on Anastrophic Design from the Torrid Zone”
Nashin Mahtani & Etienne Turpin (anexact office)

12:30 – 14:00, Sunday, September 5

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderated by Lindsey Drury (Freie Universität-Berlin / EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective”)

This desire in the human heart, where does it lead, already so blue, Between the one land, and the other?

— Edouard Glissant

As residents in the west of Germany recently expressed their disbelief that catastrophic flooding could occur “in this country,” many people in the tropics were left to wonder why it was perfectly acceptable for such climate change-fueled disasters to happen to residents in the Global South. In a spirit of international solidarity required by the climate crisis, Mahtani and Turpin will respond to these recent European climate disasters (and the ideologies that attend to them) with some lessons on anastrophic design from the tropics. Beginning with a discussion of monsoonal precipitation and residential epistemologies, they will explore how design anthropology, collective equipment, and iterative R&D processes can alleviate some of the stresses of overcapacity urbanism. However, they will further insist that such approaches to the megacities of the Anthropocene also require a careful, thorough evaluation of historical colonialism and the lingering coloniality that characterizes contemporary political economic relations. Through a reading of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report and its recommendations for climate change mitigation and adaptation, Mahtani and Turpin conclude that a threat to climate stability anywhere is a threat to environmental security everywhere, and that designing anastrophically for this inescapable fact might be just enough for the city.

Nashin Mahtani is an architectural researcher and designer, investigating the interplay of software aesthetics, ecological governance, and social behaviours to advocate for environmental justice. She is currently the director of Yayasan Peta Bencana, where she leads a multidisciplinary design research team in developing humanitarian infrastructures for climate adaptation, and coordinator of anexact office. She is also part of MERA, a research collective developing speculative proposals for new sovereign layers of governance based on ecological systems.

Etienne Turpin is a philosopher and founding member of anexact office. With Anna-Sophie Springer, he is principal co-investigator and co-curator of the exhibition-led inquiry Reassembling the Natural and co-editor of the intercalations: paginated exhibition series, published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in the context of Das Anthropozän-Projekt. He has also co-edited The Work of Wind: Sea (K. Verlag, 2021), The Work of Wind: Land (K. Verlag, 2018), Fantasies of the Library (MIT Press, 2016), Art in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2015), and Jakarta: Architecture + Adaptation (Universitas Indonesia Press, 2013); and, edited Architecture in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2013).


Mahtani, N. and E. Turpin, “There is no capital: Reflections on Accumulation and Abandonment in Indonesia,” Kerb 28–Designing for Co-existence (December 2020): 10-17; online:

Mahtani, N. “Torrential Urbanism and the Future Subjunctive,” e-flux architecture–Accumulation (7 September 2020); online:


Mahtani, N. “Impressions of Disaster,” e-flux architecture–Post-Internet Cities (4 August 2017); online:
Stull, K. and E. Turpin. “Our Vectors, Ourselves,”
e-flux architecture–Superhumanity (25 January 2017); online:



 Workers on a bamboo platform take sea floor measurements of Jakarta Bay in front of the Regata Development Complex in North Jakarta (2020)

“Performing Planetarity: Feminist with a Drone”

Joanna Zylinska

18:00 – 19:30, Sunday, September 5

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderated by Maria Chatzichristodolou (Kingston School of Art)

My talk will engage with planetarity as a visual and conceptual trope, with a view to developing a planetary micro-vision for a post-Anthropocene world. My argument will lead through two ways of performing planetarity, encapsulated by two case studies. The first one will investigate still and moving images of picturesque locations, taken by drones and collected on social media. I will analyse the aesthetics and politics of planetarity this kind of “nonhuman vision” embraces – and the picture of the world it constructs. Yet the focus of my critique will not be on the machinic aspect of vision per se or on its aerial elevation, but rather on the assumed heroism of the eye-in-the-sky drone acrobatics. In response, I will propose a case study from my own art practice, titled Feminist with a Drone. Presented in the form of images and field notes, the work explores ways of mobilizing the very same technology to enact a less masterful and less heroic viewpoint. Working against the register of #amazingviews produced from high in the sky, with this amazingness referring to both their breathtaking scope and high image quality, I will outline, with a nod to writer-artist Hito Steyerl, the concept of “loser images” as a feminist rejoinder to the magnificent drone-image aesthetics. I will then consider to what extent the production and curation of such loser images can be deployed towards an enactment of a different relationship to our habitat.

Joanna Zylinska is a media theorist and artist, working on digital culture, artificial intelligence, photography, ethics and the planetary ecological crisis. She is Professor of Media Philosophy and Critical Digital Practice at King’s College London. She has also held a professorship at Goldsmiths and visiting positions as Guest Professor at Shandong University in China, Winton Chair Visiting Scholar at the University of Minnesota, US, and Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar at McGill University in Canada.

Zylinska is the author of seven books – most recently, The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse (University of Minnesota Press, 2018; online version freely available), Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017) and Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2014; e-version freely available). Her translation of Stanislaw Lem’s philosophical treatise, Summa Technologiae, came out from the University of Minnesota’s Electronic Mediations series in 2013. Her own work has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Turkish.

Zylinska combines her philosophical writings with photographic art practice and curatorial work. In 2013 she was Artistic Director of Transitio_MX05 ‘Biomediations’: Festival of New Media Art and Video in Mexico City. She has presented her work at many art and cultural institutions, e.g. Ars Electronica in Linz, CCC Barcelona, Centre Culturel International de Cerisy, Fotomuseum Winterthur, MMOMA in Moscow, Serpentine Galleries in London, SESC Sao Paolo and Transmediale in Berlin. She has recently co-edited Photomediations: An Open Book and Photomediations: A Reader as part of Europeana Space, a grant funded by the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme.

Her current research involves photographing media entanglements and starting a new project on hydromedia (with water literacy being considered a form of media literacy). She is also exploring the conceptual and creative edges of artificial intelligence in a new polemical book, AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams.

Planetary Exhalation (above), Ballsame-1 (below) and -3 (top right), Joanna Zylinska.

“Designing Resilience: On A Third Culture with Many Transitions”

Claudia Mareis

14:00 – 15:00 Monday, September 6

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderated by Anita Traninger (Co-Director, EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective”)

This talk is about the intricate relationship between design and resilience. Drawing on selected genealogical and contemporary sites, I will discuss how design was promoted from the mid-20th century onwards as an independent ‘third culture’ of knowledge emerging between the natural sciences and humanities. In this context, the practical abilities and the inventiveness of design was emphasized, understood as an epistemology in its own right. On the one hand, design was introduced in post-war Western society, especially in Germany, as a means of implementing democratic values through material culture and the built environment; on the other hand, design was also part of theories of ill-structured problem-solving and complexity management. In my talk I will focus in particular on the role that systems thinking played in producing both design and resilience around 1970 as robust, crisis-resistant modes of being and acting and how these two concepts have finally become interdependent in the crisis-ridden present: If resilience is asked to be the much-needed state to survive societal and ecological crises, design seems to be the means to achieve it. However, this assumption is not without problems, since both concepts are not only proposed to solve the superimposing crises of the present, but are also held responsible for bringing them about. Most importantly, design and resilience serve as analytical lenses to re-read and problematize unsustainable presents and pasts in order to derive as good as possible futures.

Claudia Mareis is an expert for Design Studies as well as Cultural History and Theory. Since 2013 she has been a professor at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel, where she heads the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM). After initial training in Graphic Design, she studied History and Theory of Design, Art and Culture in Zurich, Berlin and Linz.

Her research interests comprise design history and methodology in the 20th century, knowledge cultures in design, cultural history of creativity, experimental design and media practices, and design criticism.

Research and teaching stays have taken her to the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge/MA, the Vilnius Academy of Arts, and the University of Basel. She is also a National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and an associate member of eikones – Center for the Theory and History of the Image at the University of Basel.

“Performing Survival: Rethinking Interdisciplinarity and Adaptation Through Beckett in XR”

Nicholas Johnson & Aljosa Smolic

18:00 – 19:30 Monday, September 6

Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderated by Doris Kolesch (Freie Universität Berlin / Principal Investigator, EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective”)

This talk investigates the theoretical and practical mechanisms of how cultural works endure, using the intermedial oeuvre of Samuel Beckett as a case study. The two speakers collaborated on the creation of Virtual Play (2017, available to experience at the conference) and Augmented Play (2019), XR versions of Beckett’s work for theatre entitled Play (1963). While activating (and altering) Beckett’s text in newly available media may at first appear to be a radical break, such practice actually fits within a robust experimental tradition, highlighting both the openness of Play’s dramaturgy and its surprising continuity over time. In the era in which Beckett was producing his work, the human subject was already a technological subject, whose embodiment either affected, or was affected by, machines. Three decades after Beckett’s death, both technology and embodiment have evolved, with substantial implications for the ongoing production and reception of his texts. In addition to discussing the technical challenges and the team’s research into volumetric video, virtual reality, and XR narrative studies, this talk will reflect on the ‘ecological’ dimensions of interdisciplinarity and the ‘migratory’ nature of Beckett’s source material, as it is translated across the borders of language, media, and genre, adapting to survive.


Nicholas Johnson is Associate Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin, where he directs the Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies and convenes the Creative Arts Practice research theme. 2020 book publications include Experimental Beckett (Cambridge UP), Bertolt Brecht’s David Fragments (1919–1921): An Interdisciplinary Study (Bloomsbury), and Influencing Beckett / Beckett Influencing (Károli/L’Harmattan). He co-edited the “Performance Issue” (23.1, 2014) and the “Pedagogy Issue” (29.1, 2020) of the Journal of Beckett Studies (Edinburgh UP). He directed Virtual Play (2017–19) and world premieres of The David Fragments (2017), Enemy of the Stars (2015), and No’s Knife (Lincoln Center, 2015). He works as dramaturg with Pan Pan and Dead Centre.

Aljosa Smolic is the Professor of Creative Technologies at Trinity College Dublin. Before joining Trinity, Prof. Smolic was with Disney Research Zurich as Senior Research Scientist and Head of the Advanced Video Technology group, and with the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz- Institut (HHI), Berlin, also heading a research group as Scientific Project Manager. At Disney Research he led over 50 industrial R&D projects that have resulted in technology transfers to a range of Disney business units. They include film studios, TV broadcasters, consumer products and are used in professional production today. Prof Smolic was Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing and served as Guest Editor for the Proceedings of the IEEE, IEEE Transactions on CSVT, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, and other scientific journals. He is a Committee Member of several conferences, and served in several Chair positions of conferences. His research project here at TCD, V-SENSE, core research objective is to Extend the Dimensions of Visual Sensation through novel algorithms and workflows for Image-Based Visual Computing, expanding the classical 2D video viewing experience common today.

“The Nonhuman in Artistic Practice/Research”

Roundtable with Kim Albrecht, Siobhan Leddy & Annette Jael Lehmann

12:00 – 13:30 Tuesday, September 7

The Chapel

Moderated by Johannes Birringer (Brunel University)

In recent years the role of non-human actors and non-human agency in visual art and practice-based research has deeply influenced creative processes and outcomes. The refiguration of human/non-human relations is disrupting exiting notions of collaboration and aesthetic impact. We are specifically interested in the generative potentials of theses practices, particularly how they form new networks of relations and co-activites, be it with bacteria or algorithms or both. The question is if these co-active processes have the potential to emerge into multiple coexistences of a shared ecosystem. How can these aesthetic encounters help to build a more-than-human politics in the midst of capital-driven climate crisis? What kinds of sense-based knowledge(s) or consciousness(es) can emerge? The roundtable discusses the limits of self-representation, communication and mediation and asks how their various artistic research projects can function as interfaces between the human and non-human worlds.

Kim Albrecht visualizes cultural, technological, and scientific forms of knowledge. His diagrams unfold and question the structures of representation and explore the aesthetics of technology and society. Kim is a principal researcher at metaLAB(a)Harvard and a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Potsdam in media theory. As a design researcher, Kim Albrecht explores the boundaries of visual knowledge in the post-digital age. Working and living in Berlin, Kim exhibited, among others, at Harvard Art Museums, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Four Domes Pavilion Wrocław, Ars Electronica Center, Cooper Hewitt, Cube design museum, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Kaestner Gesellschaft, The Wrong Biennial, Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum, and Kunsthaus Graz. 

Siobhan Leddy is a researcher, writer and artist based in Berlin. She is currently a PhD student at the Freie Universität Berlin, researching more-than-human communication in artistic practice. She also holds an MA in Global Arts from Goldsmiths University of London. Recent work has been presented at CTM Festival, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Cashmere Radio, among other places, while her writing has recently been published in Real Life, The Outline, PULSE Journal and others. More details here.

Annette Jael Lehmann is Professor for Culture and Media at the Institute for Theater Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. She has a strong inter- and cross-disciplinary focus in research and practice-based collaborations with various institutions in academia, art, and culture. In 2015, she was awarded a Senior Research and Teaching Stay at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and, in 2016-2017, was Global Humanities Senior Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. She is currently Principal Investigator (PI) at the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) in Berlin. Since 2019, she has been working as Principal Researcher (PR) in Research Area 2, ‘Travelling Matters’, within the ‘Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective’ Excellence Cluster (EXC) 2020 at the Freie Universität Berlin. In 2019, she became Principle Investigator at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule für Literaturwissenschaftliche Studien. Since October 2019, she is Head of the Seminar für Kultur- und Medienmanagement at the Institute for Theater Studies, FU Berlin. She is a senior affiliate at  metaLAB(a)Harvard and the Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University.

Recent publications include: Black Mountain Research (2016) and Tacit Knowledge: Post Studio/Feminism – CalArts 1970–77(2019). She is currently working on Invitations/Archive as Event, a research project and catalog (forthcoming from Spector Books 2021), the EXC 2020 transfer project ‘Embodied Histories — Entangled Communities: Approaches to Narratives and Performative Arts’ and the monograph Art Projects: Performance, Exhibition and Event, forthcoming from Routledge.

Lecture/Performances & Workshops

Decolonization Workshop Series: Practices of Unsettling

This is organized as a space for digital artist/researchers to critically reflect on decolonization as unsettling (Tuck & Yang, 2012). Within the first session, the author, curator, artist, and scholar Clémentine Deliss brings an initial provocation, drawing from her experiences as a radical arts educator and renegade curator. In the second session, we draw from Deliss’s initial provocation and reflect upon the keynote presentation of Nashin Mahtani and Etienne Turpin to address what the central themes of the DRHA conference 2021 (anthropocene/ design/ digitality) might mean to the decolonial project and the fundamental pursuit of Indigenous sovereignty.

Part I. Session with Clémentine Deliss

“Counter-Conduct in the Museum, or the Practice of Academic Iconoclasm”

16:15 – 17:45, Sunday, September 5

The Chapel

Moderated by Lindsey Drury (EXC 2020 / FU-Berlin)

Today we are living through different manifestations of counter-conduct performed within the civic space of the museum. Critique of the museum’s matrix swings between acute decolonial positions on employment equity to demands for the return of significant cultural heritage extricated, not without contention, from an original environment and system of ownership. The complexity of today’s institutional dissent affects all museum typologies, be they old or new, art historical, contemporary, or ethnographic, located in the global north, or reconfigured elsewhere. The museum with its collections and archives is undeniably a colonial phenomenon, and it is this aspect of its genealogy that is being called into question. To perform the decolonial on historical collections requires the practice of what I shall call academic iconoclasm, a form of counter-conduct that blankly refutes disciplinary divisions inherited from 19th century European scholasticism. As a mode of research, it seeks out artefacts, artworks and methodologies that invoke contention, inciting discordant readings of history, body politics, gender, race, ethnicity, and diversity, and potentially making the artwork unacceptable to public viewing. Its inquiry is located backstage and reflects counter-conduct as askesis, as communicational abstinence, as the right to non-disclosure, to withholding information, and confidentiality. With artistic interference and classificatory transgression, academic iconoclasm is the willful suspension of normative structures that inscribe epistemic, bureaucratic, and legal rules to police others working with public collections. It is, in the words of Michel Foucault, the “art of not being governed quite so much.”

Clémentine Deliss works across the borders of contemporary art, curatorial practice, and critical anthropology. She is Associate Curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, where she is currently developing the “Metabolic Museum-University” with a peer group that includes BLESS, Matthias Bruhn, Iman Issa, Augustin Maurs, Tom McCarthy, Henrike Naumann, Azu Nwagbogu, Margareta von Oswald, Manuel Raeder, El Hadj Abdoulaye Sène, Krista Belle Stewart, and Luke Willis Thompson.

Between 2010–2015, she was Director of the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt/Main, where she instituted a transdisciplinary lab to remediate collections within a post-ethnological context, working with a wide range of artists including Otobong Nkanga, Luke Willis Thompson, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Antje Majewski, Thomas Bayrle, and El Hadji Sy. Selected exhibitions include “Portable Homelands. From Field to Factory” for “Hello World. Revising a Collection”, National Galerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2018); and for the Weltkulturen Museum: “Object Atlas – Fieldwork in the Museum” (2011); “Trading Style” (2013), “Foreign Exchange (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger” (2014); and “El Hadji Sy – Painting, Politics, Performance” (2015). Earlier exhibitions include “Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa” Whitechapel Gallery (1995); and “Lotte or the transformation of the object” Styrian Autumn (1990).

Between 1996-2007, she produced the itinerant, independent artists’ and writers’ organ, “Metronome”, which was twice part of documenta (1997, dX and 2007, d12). She is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg) and has taught curatorial practice, artistic research and theory at the University of Fine Arts (HfBK) (Hamburg); Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG); Ecole nationale supérieure d'arts de Paris Cergy (ENSAPC); and Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule. From 2002–2009, she ran the research collective “Future Academy” with student cells in London, Edinburgh, Dakar, Mumbai, Bangalore, Melbourne, and Tokyo. She is a mentor of the Berlin Program for Artists (BPA), member of the Advisory Committee of the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht; and Faculty at Large, SVA Curatorial Practice, New York. In 2020, she co-directed “Home Museum” ( for African Artists’ Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria. Her recent book The Metabolic Museum was published by Hatje Cantz in August 2020 in co-production with KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.

Decolonization Workshop Series: Practices of Unsettling

Part II. Seminar/Discussion Session

with special guests Nashin Mahtani & Etienne Turpin

10 – 11:30 Monday, September 6

Seminar Room 125

Moderated by Assaf Gruber

This session provides space for a cross-cutting discussion of Mahtani & Turpin’s keynote, allowing participants to bring it into relation with the ideas presented in the Sunday session with Clémentine Deliss. After an initial provocation by our guests, an account of the conflicting possibilities of unsettling will initiate our discussion session.

*As a note: A pdf Decolonization Reader will be provided to all workshop participants, with key readings drawn from foundational decolonial theory as well as from the work of Deliss, Mahtani, and Turpin.

Remnants, Ashes, Relics

A Workshop by DATURA

16:15 – 17:45 Sunday, September 5

Seminar Room 125

This workshop will focus on the trans-disciplinary creation and performance strategies developed by the DATURA ensemble during the creation of its latest work, "Vestigia". "Vestigia" was created within the Arizona State University Decision Theater – a visually immersive environment situated as a convening space for policy makers, community members, and researchers to consider possible futures through visualizing data and creating model scenarios. During the workshop we will utilize collective improvisational structures for sound, image and movement while incorporating crossovers from the natural to the digital by using on-the-body sensors to translate movement into responsive images and sound. We encourage movement specialists, visual artists, and electronic composers to attend. If you work in an electronic environment please bring generating devices to use at the workshop. The session will emphasize the subtle strengths of collective collaboration in unplanned ways, whilst remaining vigilant to being 'in the moment' and recognizing unique artistic opportunities when they appear.

We will primarily focus on: SOUND PRODUCTION: HEARING/CODING, and MOVEMENT CREATION: EMBODIED EXPERIENCE AND PARTNERING, within the broader context of interdisciplinary collaboration. However, we can accommodate artists of all kinds, including image makers and spoken word artists, so if you are interested in the workshop, please attend and bring your making stuff (musical instruments, anything for image making, etc.).


We wish to work with media makers of all types, and we ask that all participants bring the following to the workshop:


1.)   This is a practical workshop and our intention is to make work, so please bring your making equipment, as much as travel will permit. If you are a sound maker or a real-time image maker, please bring your ‘rig’ or instrument so that we can improvise together.

2.)   We are asking everyone to bring a small object to the workshop that falls into one of three categories:          


a.     • a small personal object that has some significance to you;

b.     • a personal object that you are now finished with – something that you would either throw away or donate;

c.     • a small object that you find on your way to the workshop that morning.

DATURA (Phoenix Arizona) is a media ensemble dedicated to using both digital and analog structures, environments, and processes to create improvisational, trans-disciplinary performances. Founded in 2013, DATURA has been performing in various formats and settings including F2F, Digital, and Hybrid for the past seven years.

Participating researchers include John D. Mitchell, Holly Smith, Anthony Obr, Benj Braman

Please check out DATURA performance group at

“Gestural Listening in the Near Field: Re-Coupling Local and Virtual Sonic Environments”

Chris Moffett (Columbia University)

12-13:00, Monday September 6

The Chapel

The Walkman ushered in the age of ubiquitous sound, everywhere and nowhere. Virtual conferencing now bridges local soundscapes: the sounds of any place come together, front and center. Within this collective hyper-soundscape, it is not just the time lag between face and voice, but a strange space-lag that tugs on our bodies. Directionality is an uncanny differential—a persistent discrepancy of degrees as we search for which square is "talking" or the flooding of un-muted background noises into the ostensible foreground—the collectivity of which we find ourselves constantly querying: “where are what sounds?” Faced with this complex double move of intensification and suspension of directionality within the hyper-soundscape, the body stills and strains, as if to compensate.

What is the virtual but the long material history of this decoupling? What is the bodies’ greatest trick but this apparent suspension over time? It is not a question of giddiness or regret—the Platonic double gesture of anabasis and paranoia. It is that, in the Anthropocene, humans are most at work on the earth through this differential gesture, which goes about organizing, colonizing, and mining all the other gestures of the earth. It is that we have yet to develop a way of listening and moving across this differential, of modulating it, of de-colonializing it in our Zoom-fatigued bodies.

Chris Moffett, Ph.D., is an artist, philosopher of education, and movement educator. He is cofounder of the artist collective ARE, exploring the intersection of art making and somatic practices. He currently teaches Art Education and Foundations of Art at the University of North Texas. He may have once walked the length of Paris, from South to North over the course of three days, completely underground.

Unwhorl – a Hybrid Provocation

Workshop by Mari Bastashevski, Sam Lavigne, Mattia Pretolani, Clement Driessen, Int Studio, and a rout of garden snails

12-13:00, Monday September 6

Workshop Room 125

This workshop will be conducted in collaboration with live snails around the world by means of touchpad devices, and an app configured specifically to accommodate other-than-human means of cultural production. After a brief demonstration of our process and results, the participants will be invited to devise their own methodologies by which they could incorporate the gastropods contributions into their own research, all while observing the experiment conducted in real time.

This provocation is concerned specifically with generating speculative methodologies that would allow us to include other-than-human subjectivities into the speculative practice of world-making. In thinking with the snails, we will try to establish what constitutes an interesting question and a satisfying answer, what is and isn’t meaningful research, and how common household technologies can be reconfigured to this task.  

Sketches, films, vibrations, sounds, or navigation maps will be the material output of this workshop. The less tangible, but no less significant, outcome of the exercise will be the forming of a temporal ecology emerging from the experiments. A temporality we posit that may provide a space for reflection otherwise rarely achieved while attached to screens.

In an attempt to break away from the extractivist mindset, still so prevalent in both scientific and cultural collaborations with other-than-humans, we incorporate the work of Lorraine Daston. Working from an understanding that we are all dependent on the partial knowledge we possess, no one, as such, has more knowledge than another; thus, we are implicated in an interdependent relationship we are yet to explore.   

The Cults (A Lecture Performance)

Dani Ploeger, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

12-13:00, Monday September 6

Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Gauti Sigthorsson (University of Roehampton)

The Cults is a sci-fi short film (16mm, 6’) that takes an afro-futurist perspective on the appropriation of obsolete consumer technologies (‘orodha’ in Kiswahili) and their transformation into devices with new uses and meanings, a commonplace practice in Kenya. The devices that are featured in the film were created during two collaborative workshops with artists, electronics artisans and academics that took place in Nairobi, Kenya in 2019 and 2020.

Drawing from the style of mid-20th century ethnographic films, the film imagines an alternate technological culture that takes it’s starting point from East-African stories, myths and practices in order to challenge the standardized technological narratives of globalized consumer culture. Shot on Dandora dumping site, one of Nairobi's biggest garbage dumps, the film reworks a 1930s ethnographic text by a British colonial administrator on the early 20th century Mumbo cult, an anti-colonial religious movement.
Taking fragments of this colonial text out of context and thus reversing its meaning, it is used to critique neo-colonial resource-harvesting and the fetishization of standardized consumer technologies. Part of the text is reclaimed by one of the protagonists – a woman in sci-fi attire made of African kitenge fabric – who narrates the origin story of the Mumbo cult, translated ‘back’ from English into its original language, Dholuo, directly to the viewers.

The Cults forms part of Disobedient Devices (, a collaborative art and research project that explores the afterlives of consumer technologies to envisage new ways to shape and experience digital culture. Initiated by Dani Ploeger in 2013, the project has brought together artists, humanities researchers, scientists and technicians from eight countries across Europe, Africa and Asia. Drawing from digital performance arts, cultural studies of technology, environmentalism and post-colonial criticism, participants have done field research and collaborative thinking and making during workshops in Nigeria, Kenya, the UK, and Hong Kong.

Dani Ploeger’s artwork is shown at museums, galleries and festivals for fine art and media art, such as ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, transmediale, Venice Architecture Biennale, V&A Museum London, Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, House of Electronic Arts Basel, The New Institute museum for architecture, design and digital culture in Rotterdam, WRO Media Art Biennale and Cité Internationale des Arts Paris. My writing has been published in books and academic journals including Leonardo, The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media and The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination.

Ploeger is a Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, and currently leading an artistic research project into the appropriation of consumer technologies in Kenya. Ploeger is also an Associate Research Fellow at De Montfort University Leicester and a Fellow at V2_Lab for the unstable media in Rotterdam, conducting a media archaeological investigation into the use of hacked consumer electronics in Improvised Explosive Devices from the 1980s until the present.

Ploeger is represented by Art Claims Impulse gallery in Berlin.

Special Lunchtime Session: “The nuts and bolts of academic book publishing”

Laura Hussey, Monograph Editor for the Theatre and Performance list at Routledge

13:00-14:00, Monday September 6

Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Ramona Mosse (Freie Universität Berlin)

Routledge editor Laura Hussey will present on the basics of publishing your book, sharing advice and dispelling some publishing myths! This will be followed by a Q&A where Laura is excited to discuss any questions you have around your own projects, your perceptions of publishing procedures and encourage you to enter the publishing process feeling informed, excited and empowered. Laura is also available via email (  if individuals want to set up a phone call meeting after the conference or have any questions they would prefer to ask outside of the session.

Laura Hussey publishes Routledge Research Monographs across Theatre, Performance, and Dance studies. She commissions for Routledge Series in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Theatre and Performance, Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama, Advances in Theatre and Performance Studies, Routledge Studies in Theatre, Ecology, and Performance (STEP)  and Series in Audience Studies. She is currently developing a number of series and is interested in feedback on new potential series across the field. She is keen to work with new scholars as well as those more established in the discipline. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Research & Performance Panels

Anthropocene Across Media Borders

14:30-16:00, Sunday September 5

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Anastasios Maragiannis (University of Greenwich)

“From Digital Humanities to Material Humanities”

Wolfgang Schäffner (Humboldt University)

In the heydays of the Digital Age there is occurring an unprecedented revolution of the material. Today, the materiality of the digital and the biomaterials changed fundamentally the classical idea of passive materials. In this context digital humanities tried to keep the traditional boundary alive that separated the Humanities / Geisteswissenschaften from Natural Science, and culture from nature. At the same time, however, the new active materialism exemplified in the emerging field of Materials Science has to be seen as a fundamental challenge for the Humanities, which since its origins followed quite an opposite mode of research. It was the overwhelming power of technology that defined for Wilhelm Dilthey in the 19th Century the urgency for establishing the new field of humanities. Nevertheless since the beginning the humanities were deeply marked by the modern media technologies and its inherent materiality as well as by the biological sphere of the life sciences.

In my talk I will sketch the special role and challenge for the humanities within this context by focusing on the genealogy of humanities in relationship to media technological materialism (Kittler), and the new role of the analog by no longer excluding nature as opposed to technology and culture. This requires a fundamental change in perspective. The new urgency for today’s humanities is the challenge to go beyond the digital and its invasive character which even deepens the destructive dichotomy between culture and nature. Therefore, my plea for material humanities focuses on the fusion of the material and the symbolic, digital or virtual, on the fusion of culture and nature for making post Antropocene non-invasive humanities possible.

“Comparing Anthropocene content across media borders: Intermedial Ecocriticism”

Jørgen Bruhn (Linnæus University, Sweden)

In this paper I present research in progress from an intermedial research cluster at Linnæus University, Sweden: we combie intermedial studies with ecocritical thematics, often focusing upon the inherent problems of representing the Anthropocene.

In the research group we are developing a comparative methodology that possible offers the missing link between the fine-tuned aesthetic analyses of ecocriticism, and the more hands-on impact studies of, for instance, Climate Change Communication Studies. The proposed model will be briefly exemplified by comparing a popular science website with a novel to bring out the medial affordances of the two media types as well as the more fine-grained similarities and differences in content and form.

Jørgen Bruhn, PhD., is professor of Comparative Literature, Linnæus University, Sweden. His two latest monographies are The Intermediality of Narrative Literature. Medialities Matter (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) and, with Anne Gjelsvik, Cinema Between Media. An Intermedial Approach (Edinburgh UP, 2018).

His main research areas are literary theory, intermediality and media studies, film studies and ecocriticism and environmental humanities. He is currently writing a book with the working title ”Intermedial Ecocriticism. Anthropocene Representations across Media” (with Niklas Salmose), and forthcoming are two volumes related to intermedial studies: Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices (Punctum Books, eds Jørgen Bruhn and Ida Bencke) and Intermedial Studies. Meaning Making across Media (Routledge, eds Jørgen Bruhn and Beate Schirrmacher).

“Future Food Cultures across Media Borders”

Niklas Salmose

An important step in battling the climate crisis is what climate science name “a Great Food Transformation” (Willett et al. 2019). In order to reach the UN sustainable development goals we need to radically rethink food production, processing, distribution and consumption. Crucial for this transformation is how future food cultures are communicated through a diverse and partly commodified media landscape. Recently The Lancet published a significant call to action titled Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. This publication argues that the “civilization is in crisis” partly because “we can no longer feed out population a healthy diet while balancing planetary resources” (Willett et al. 2019). The rationale of the commission is to help outline how this shift in “how the world eats” can come about. In their summary report they launch a very ambitious program aimed at making people eat in ways that are more sustainable both for their bodies and for their environment. This program is scientifically very well grounded and a necessary step towards addressing both poor diets and climate change. Science communication is one thing, but how does scientific facts translate into a digestible format for ordinary people? And how are future food cultures communicated across media borders?

This paper sets out to discuss some preliminary ideas about mediated future food cultures by exploring two very diverse media products: the website (2020), which is a popularized and activist rendering of the scientific Lancet report, and the speculative climate fiction film Bladerunner 2049 (Villeneuve, 2017). The paper aims to discuss how the two different media types website and fiction film work very differently in communicating future food cultures through their media types’ respective different affordances even if both are in a broad sense transmediations of scientific knowledge.

Works Cited
Willett, W., Rockström, J., Loken, B., Springmann, M., Lang, T., Vermeulen, S., . . . Wood, A. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet, 393(10170), 447-492.

Niklas Salmose is Associate Professor in English Literature at Linnaeus University, Sweden. He is an active member of the Linnaeus University Centre of Intermedial and Multimodal Studies and has published extensively on modernism, nostalgia, intermediality, media communication and environmental humanities. He is currently working on the project Future Food Cultures in the Anthropocene and a monograph on intermedial ecocriticism for Lexington Books.

Social Movements, Digitality & Interconnectivity

14:30-16:00, Sunday September 5

Stream B – Seminar Room 125

Moderator: Holly Maples (University of Essex)

“Silicon Realism. Rendering Reality and Plausibility in the Anthropocene”

Vítor Blanco-Fernández (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Silicon Valley’s tech corporations –all along with their correspondent investment funds and venture capital firms– render our embodied quotidian experience and determine what we can and cannot consider possible.

Donna Haraway’s informatics of domination, and Yuk Hui’s mono-technology are concepts that already described this. In this paper, however, I aim to add another parallel perspective. Taking Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism as a departure point, I suggest coining “Silicon Realism” to describe tech corporations’ power to determine what we socially consider Real in the present, and plausible in the future –i.e. the Valley’s capacity to build up sociotechnical imaginaries (a concept by Sheila Jasanoff).

On the present, photo algorithms determine our daily pictures to compensate smart-phone’s camera lens mediocrity. Software systems and international underpaid workers also determine what becomes visible in our daily scroll through social media feeds.

Thinking about the future, the same way we cannot imagine the end of capitalism (Fisher), we are also incapable of imagine the end of Facebook. Or better: we cannot think about the end of the current digital environments, networked affordances and quotidian technological uses as designed by the corporations.

At the doors of a sixth mass extinction and a point of no return in global warming, Silicon Valley’s enterprises avoid debating their necessary degrowth by building up a false future of massive renewable energies capable of sustain our current over-use of resources. This discourse of unstoppable technological growth is an ideological basis for Anthropocene continuity.

Luckily, Silicon Realism can be faced. Yuk Hui’s techno-diversities, or Ian Allan Paul’s informatics of resistance are some conceptual examples. Moreover, there exists a rich tradition of political formalist genealogies against violent Realism, such as Afrofuturism, queer world-making, feminist science-fiction and inter-species imagination.

Vítor Blanco-Fernández is a PhD candidate in the Communication Department at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra of  Barcelona and a research  fellow at the CritiCC (Critical Communication) research group. Blanco-Fernández holds a degree in Audio-visual Communication, as well as an MA in International Studies on Media, Power and Diversity and is currently writing a PhD thesis entitled “Digital Speculations, Volumetric Fictions. Volumetric/3D digital images within the contemporary trans-feminist debate.” Blanco-Fernández’s main research lines are Digital and Virtual Environments, LGBTIQA+/Queer Media Studies, Feminist Criticism and Contemporary Art.

“Digitality from Below”

Ruth Schmidt (Ruhr University Bochum)

Digital computerization is praised as global technology connecting all of us and spanning a world wide web. And yet it begins as secret war technology for simulating nuclear fission that will shape the planet's face. But how do the global, the digital and the anthropocene relate precisely? How did the computer evolve into a tool for measuring the world by other means? On the basis of two elucidating documents this contribution examines this knot of digitality, globality and anthropocene – to then ask for conditions for practicing the digital in another way:

To predict the weather in the early 1920s, Lewis Fry Richardson invented an algorithmic weather theatre, a kind of a computer simulation before the existence of computers. On the basis of his lucid idea it crystallizes that the digital divides connections and cuts entanglements into discrete units to make up a calculable globe. The globe is on our computers. No one lives there”, as Gayatri Spivak later states. In comparison with the recent large-scale EU project "DestinE" (Destination Earth) that shall produce a "digital twin" of the earth to simulate the planet´s activities, Spivak´s sentence becomes uncomfortably visionary: The globe is uninhabitable even or exactly when simulations shall be spaces of possibilities for other futures.

So bearing these connections in mind: how can we re/think the digital not as such global technology but as local practice from below? It´s not about digital organization for neighborly help but the question if we can think the digital as a bodily practice that is corporeally intermingled; as a practice that instead of rasterizing the world from a bird´s/satellite´s eye view lets us move through digital space with our feet. As one possible way of such digitality from below I´ll present parts of our recent artistic work „Entering the City with the Tongue”.

Ruth  Schmidt  works as an artist within the collective ScriptedReality; their  research-based  films and performances explore the world-building power of fictions as strategies of documenting / producing reality. Currently they work on a radio feature on the changing role of nature in video games. Ruth is also research assistant at the Institute for Theatre Studies, Ruhr University Bochum (Germany). Her PhD explores counter strategies of decolonial and queerfeminist knowledge production in the digital age.



“Zan: much cloth to dress with. Literature textiles from the desert borderlands”

Annabel Castro and Genoveva Castro (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana / Southern Connecticut State University)

Zan is a project in process that creates a dialogue between women in the deserts at the north of Mexico and India. It also reflects on the relation between the borders with the United States and Pakistan respectively. The word Zan signifies “woman” in urdu, one of the languages spoken in the border between India and Pakistan. The title of the project evokes an episode of the Mahabharata, a popular Indian epic poem, in which one of the protagonists is given as payment by her husband after loosing a game of dice. The new owner tries to disrobe the protagonist, but by divine intervention her sari cloth becomes endless and her body is never exposed. In this context textil patterns are design to make visible the desert women's perspective. The patterns are formed by texts about women by women writers from the desert.

The project cloth’s active force comes from the desert women themselves, with their words they change their circumstance. The project explores how the Mexican desert women writers define women. It explores their identity by gazing from another border in India. Both belong to desert geographies that are frontier with territories that before belonged to their country.

During the project online workshops take place on the creative use of data and artificial intelligence, also texts by women authors of both regions are reviewed by participants from both countries. The texts that form the cloth are generated with the resulting material of the project's workshops. With the use of machine learning proceses the texts are organized in designs that evoke common well known patterns. Garments are produced with the cloth and exhibited in both countries.

Through the presentation the context, development and results of the project are examined.

Scene, Atmosphere & Architecture

14:30-16:00, Sunday September 5

Stream C – The Chapel

Moderator: Gauti Sigthorsson (University of Roehampton)

“Dancing Scenographic Materials in Remote Environments: A Dramaturgy of the Beyond”

Mary Anderson & Richard Haley (Wayne State University)

Philosophies of audience reception emphasize the relationship between human performers and spectators. Much less has been theorized about the way spectators interact with the non-human in the context of scenographic materials and spaces. This essay entertains a set of possibilities about how the philosophical project of Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) can help us theorize audience members’ experience of objects in remote and screen dance performances. Describing the affective and narrative dimensions of audiencing within several COVID-era dance performances, we investigate how the existential questions and circumstantial aesthetics driving artistic production during this period invite an uncanny attention to the non-human, which, in turn, reveals some of the limits of anthropocentric theoretical paradigms of performance reception and visuality. Approaching the narration of our embodied experience as spectators through the landscape of Phelan’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Choreographing Writing,” we write through our notes, our memories, and our archive of images of Hubbard Street Dance's Space in Perspective and The Sky Was Different as well as Michigan Opera Theatre's drive-through production of Twilight: Gods. The writing is designed to perform a poetics of memory investigating the ways objects in performance produce and unravel, weave and tangle, disturb, unsettle, and unhinge our perception of theatrical forms. In this manner, invoking Rachel Hann's mobilization of Homi Bhabha's concept of "the beyond," we are interested in how a dramaturgy of the beyond may serve as a mechanism to explain some of the complex juxtapositions of isolation and intimacy, proximity and distance, focus and distraction that audiences feel as they construct meaning in relation to objects performing in remote contexts.

Mary Anderson is the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University in Detroit, United States. She is interested in heuristic processes, the convolutions of remembering through writing, and objects in performance. Her articles have appeared in Adjacent; Performance Matters; About Performance; Body, Space & Technology; Canadian Journal of Practice-based Research in Theatre; Theatre, Dance & Performance Training; Teaching Artist Journal; Research in Drama Education; Journal of Dance Education; International Journal of Education & the Arts; and Arts Education Policy Review.

Richard Haley is a senior lecturer in digital art at Wayne State University. He exhibits and curates regularly, with a focus on relationships between sculpture, photography, video and performance art. His articles have appeared in Performance Matters; About Performance; Body, Space & Technology; and Adjacent.

“Augmented Spinning: Haptic construction of a filament-based architectural material system”

Elaine Bonavia, Alexandre Mballa-Ekobena, Douny Laurence, Jessica Farmer, Nikolai Rosenthal, Mareike Stoll, Charlett Wenig and Karola Dierichs (Weißensee School of Art & Design, Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, University of Stuttgart)

The project “Augmented Spinning” investigates the potential of haptic technologies in the process of constructing architectural material systems at full architectural scale. In this context augmentation is understood as the overlay of the human sensory system with virtually generated information in a real-time feedback loop (Avram 2014).

On the one hand “augmented spinning” allows for the collection of information about the construction procedure and on the other, it processes this information and returns it iteratively into that very process. Together, these processes begin to derive a collective construction intelligence between the users, the simulation and the augmentation tool.

Currently, the application of augmented reality (AR) in architectural contexts is focused on facilitating the process of complex geometric construction through tools that provide visual aid and are often centred around instruction giving. ArGan (Goepel and Crolla 2020) is a recent example of this application comparable with the geometric constraints present in “augmented spinning”. This research calls for technology to provide more space for the implicit, which is precisely what was investigated in the design studios leading up to this research.

The research draws from communal silk-cocoons, naturally occurring non-woven enclosures spun by processionary caterpillars. In addition, the technical process of turning West African cocoons into silk was investigated as a multi-stage embodied process experienced by local silk producers that involves collaboration and an implicit relationship between the hand, bodily motions and the material itself (Douny 2021).

The novel design process involved creating a designed filament and its laying patterns for an architectural prototype. The act of spinning with the entire body was explored collectively and individually. The introduction of an augmentation device allowed the spinners to perceive the process with added insight and in dialogue with the sense of touch. The final prototype of the studio will be spun in a natural environment, integrating nature as an additional agent in the process. To conclude, the entire process will be reviewed and discussed as a form of future scenario-formation as a cultural technique.

Pathways: The Futurity of Pedestrian Movement in the Maltese Islands

Paula Guzzanti/John D’Arcy (University of Malta/ Queen’s University Belfast)

This paper will offer a reflective account on the durational performance 'Pathways' (2021) which will take place from February to May 2021 in the Maltese Islands. Written from the perspective of the dance artist-researcher, this practice-as-research project aims at awakening public awareness of the way large infrastructural works produce particular pedestrian movement affordances, directly impacting upon people’s desire to walk.

Urban planning and design set out pathways in the space. The aesthetic experience along these lines of motion plays an important role in stimulating the inclination for walking. From this perspective, James Gibson’s notion of ‘affordances’ helps to study the interaction between walkers and their environments. The term refers to both the environment and the human animal, and how their interaction is shaped by what the environment has to offer to the body. Starting from the perspective that walking is an activity that enables humans to be sensorially connected and associated to their habitats, thus the less we walk, the more alienated from our ecosystems we become over time.

This paper will approach walking as a methodology for action research that integrates experiential aspects of our embodiment to the realm of public policy design practices. Drawing on Tim Ingold’s concept of the line, 'Pathways’ involves mindful and performative walking as a tool for investigating the ‘life of lines’ and their entanglements as they evolve in response to the new road infrastructures currently unfolding in Malta.

Because of their small territory (316 km2), the Maltese Islands offer a unique case study for exploring the impact that road projects have on pedestrian mobility. The immediacy of the finitude of the land makes remarkably obvious the way urban design shapes everyday life. The year 2021 appears as a significant historical moment for exploring the corporeal impact of the architectural shifts taking place in the country. Two major road infrastructure projects are re-shaping the local mentality on pedestrian mobility and travelling. The construction of a multi-level intersection involving seven flyovers (Marsa Junction project; 2018-2021), and “the development of a 14-kilometre, partly subsea, tunnel accommodating two vehicle lanes” (Malta-Gozo Channel (2020-2024) will offer new pathways for the interaction between people and its environment.

'Pathways' will articulate an embodied research methodology within a terrain in flux to critically consider the argument that in order to make people actively engaged in public policy that promotes sustainable futures, they need to be sensorially connected to the environment they inhabit. It is ultimately through the intelligence of the body that we can recognise the needs of our ecosystems.

Dr Paula Guzzanti lectures in artistic research practices at the University of Malta. In her research practice she works at the intersections of critical improvisation studies, collaborative performance-making, affect theory, and conflict transformation studies. She completed her practice-as research PhD project at Queen’s University Belfast. Her performance work develops in collaboration with sound artists and musicians. Her most recent performance pieces has been showcased at the International Metabody Festival (London, 2015); Envisioning Weekend Festival (Lisburn, 2016); JamJar Women’s Improviser’s Platform (Belfast, 2016), Sonorities Festival (Belfast, 2017), Digital Echoes Conference (Coventry, 2018), Senselab Speakers Series (Montreal, 2017); International Women’s Day Celebrations (PS2 Gallery, Belfast, 2018); International Dance Day University of Chile (Chile, 2019), and at the University of Costa Rica (San Jose, 2019). Paula’s recent publications include a chapter on the language of affect (Palgrave, 2017), and papers on dance improvisation (Corpografias, Vol6, 2019; Choreographic Practices, 8.1, 2017) and affect and perception (PARtake Journal of Performance Research, 2017). In 2019, Paula won the Higginson Leadership Award of the year to facilitate a dance and well-being project for Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica. She is currently working on a post-doctoral long-term project investigating the corporeality of activism, using participatory research, screendance and improvisation as central methodologies.


John D’Arcy is an artist and researcher based at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC).  His research interests include technology-mediated live performance, voice-based intermedia artwork, and participatory song-making.   His recent project Do You Hear What I Hear? shares interactive experiences that allow audiences to explore the diversity of hearing using a smartphone and headphones.

Lecturing in Digital Media at Queen’s University Belfast, John delivers courses in interactive media, radio production and audio production.   John annually co-ordinates STEAM outreach activities at SARC for NI Science Festival, and has delivered long-term online digital arts engagement workshops with SEN classrooms through the Virtually There programme (2017-2020).

John currently directs experimental vocal ensemble HIVE Choir, creating improvised music with an interdisciplinary group of artists for site-specific arts commissions with organisations including Open House Belfast, Belfast Film Festival and Belfast Music City Summer festival.

John is a board member of the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association and curates sound art exhibitions and events at Sonorities Festival, Belfast.

John’s work has been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster and Resonance FM, and featured at The Science Museum, London; Belfast Festival at Queen’s; and Happy International Samuel Beckett Festival. John’s podcast The Jewel Case (2015-2017) profiled a range of artists in a variety of practices working in Northern Ireland.

Agency in the Anthropocene

16:15-17:45, Sunday September 5

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Olu Taiwo (Winchester University)

“de-marginalization – agential mattering of the virtual”

Eva Maria Jägle and Christoph Müller 

Drowning in the Mediterranean, displaced minorities, repressed facts:, all of this has its reality regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. Life worlds, social processes, but also spatial and material manifestations are the content of our cinematic discussion. Based on Deleuze ’and Bergson's thoughts on virtuality and Karen Barad's thoughts on a theory of agential realism, we would like to use the means of performative philosophy to explore the diversity of the agential realities that surround us. The filmic event becomes a performative enabling of a border crossing, an opening wormhole, at the end of which stands the multidimensionality of collective identity. Using human transgressions of digital boundaries, we want to show that human subjectivity has always shifted into the actualization of a collective agency, whose self-referentiality as an apparatus (as a boundary-drawing practice) is no longer knowable for the subject. The becoming visible of the virtual (unseen) shifts the previous starting point (apparatus) of the consideration in its entirety. We leave the subjectivity of our singularity and condition the altered agency as the performativity of our existence. We will learn to make more collective decisions, which relate their validity to being aligned with a collective agency. In the cinematic experience, as the delimitation of our human being into the virtual potential of digital life and at the same time solidification of our performative expression as the mattering of a changing apparatus, we will show the necessity of the diversity of identity as a collectivity and make it tangible.

For this we create a cinematic experience based on our integration into spatial and social structure. This perspectivity (apparatus) changes, expands its reference points, enlarges the radius of its actualications and becomes itself a transition. The integration of social discourses, digital extensions of being human and material re-configurations of the apparatus break time and with the continuity of the cinematic experience. The viewer becomes a performative act of a digital, collective enactment which is about to come to matter.

Eva Maria Jägle is pursuing her Phd in philosophy at the University of Vienna about Deleuze and his connection to art and his style of writing and studies Art at the Academy of Fine Arts inVienna. Her work is based in experimental videos and focuses on the intersection between

art and philosophy. With the philomation collective she realizes performative philosophy installations.

Christoph Müller studied philosophy in Leipzig. Starting with German  idealism, it developed through phenomenology to performative philosophy. His main interests are consciousness, digitality, time, contradictions and new materialism. With the Performance Philosophy collective philomation he works at the interface between art and philosophy, the limits of which he would like to make tangible in a performative way. In addition to essayistic texts, his current means of expression consists of experimental videos, sound collages and installations.

“Cutting Edge(s) – Struggling matter(s)” (lecture performance)

Antje Budde (University of Toronto)

A bloody-nose performance lecture about unintended growth, global capitalism, and the spiky thing/being in-between.

Apparently, scientists struggle to define whether viruses are things or beings. They are submicroscopic agents that replicate in living cells of animals, plants, humans, even bacteria. Viruses enforce the copy and paste of their original form but also mutate. Viruses rule planet earth as there are no other more abundant biological entities than viruses. Viruses are not considered organisms. They are poisonous provocations challenging organisms across the living world, pointing out and relentlessly exploiting the weak spots (both biologically and socially). They are a most ancient hacker team causing death, destruction and innovation. Humans have used them as biological weapons.  

These undead objects, unliving beings spread around the world, in human bodies, using effectively human-build infrastructures and social behaviours. They forced the human species into isolation (me working mostly from my basement), making us stay away from each other, including our hairdressers. And while the invention of the electron miscroscopy in 1931 made a virus visible to the human eye for the first time it was my growing hair in 2020 that became the accumulating eco data indicating the passing of time and the ruling power of the virus. Something had to be done. Resistance had to be performed. Laughter of defiance had to be unlocked. Evidential bio data had to be collected. The edges had to be cut. An anti-viral sacrifice by the queer priestess with a clown’s nose had to be invented – using the basement as a material/digital makeshift performance space and virtual holodeck of absurdity. And here I was, stumbling between entangled software, hardware, objects that were mostly delivered by the super-hub of global capitalism AMAZON, collected, transported and distributed by their AI driven robotic systems and underpaid and dangerous human labor.  

This lecture performance is based on a self-experiment cutting the growing matter on my head with an Amazon delivered hair-dresser set made in China, a clown’s nose made in China (?), witnessed by three surveying webcams, captured in Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) installed on an Apple laptop and streamed into the growing distance between human and human.  

“Cancel the Apocalypse” (performance intervention)

Daniel Larlham

“Cancel the Apocalypse” is made up of a series of externalized interior monologues, surreal dialogic exchanges, and parodically overblown avant-rock songs.  

The piece invites its audience to interrogate the apocalyptic fantasies and sense of existential dislocation that media reports on climate change can provoke. It dramatizes and challenges the mind’s tendencies to proliferate in doomsday scenarios and fantasies about securing conditions of safety for oneself and one’s immediate loved ones in answer to the desperate question, “What must I do?!” The production asks its audience members to conceive ways of summoning more steady, reflective, and collective forms of agency in the years ahead, and, in particular, wonders aloud about the role of heroism and the heroic (as an artistic genre and a psychic potentiality) in the decades to come. What might heroism in the Anthropocene look like – for me, for us, for our species – when individualistic striving and egoic supremacy have led us so far astray?

Daniel Larlham is a performance researcher and theatre maker with a PhD in theatre from Columbia University and an MFA in acting from NYU. He has held academic appointments at Yale University, Saint Mary’s College of California, and the Freie Universität Berlin (as a Humboldt Foundation Research Fellow). His articles and reviews have appeared in TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre Journal, Theater (Yale), Modern Drama, and Theatre Survey. His current research interests include drama and psychology, heroism and the heroic, and the environmental humanities.

Animal Extinction & Interspecies Encounters

16:15-17:45, Sunday September 5

Stream D – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderator: John A. Nyakatura (Humboldt University Berlin)

“Birding the Future” (digital performance intervention)

Krista Caballero (Bard College) and Frank Ekeberg (Independent Artist)

Birds provide a unique window into the cultural, technological, and multi-species entanglements of our time. Unrestricted by human-imposed borders, approximately five billion birds migrate every year linking cultures, countries, and ecologies, and revealing issues collectively shared. Declining bird populations in practically all habitat types signal profound changes over our entire planet. Birding the Future poses three questions in response to this crisis: What does it mean that we can only see and hear extinct species through technology? What might happen as the messages of birds are increasingly being silenced? How might we bridge knowledge systems using traditional and emerging technologies to develop a cross-cultural praxis for ecological futures rooted in kinship with the world?

Birding the Future is an ongoing artwork exploring current extinction rates by focusing on warning abilities of birds as bioindicators of environmental change. The installation invites visitors to listen to endangered and extinct bird calls and view visionary avian landscapes through stereographs, sculpture, and video.

Calls of endangered birds are extracted to create Morse code messages based upon tales, stories, and poetry in which birds speak to humans. These messages are combined with unmodified calls of extinct birds, which act as a memory of the past and underscore technological reproduction as the only means to hear certain species. A real-time algorithm scales the extinction rate to the duration of the exhibition by decreasing the density and diversity of calls. The soundscape is paired with a series of stereographs. Composite photographs of real and imagined environments connect regional issues with a global perspective. On the back, textual analysis explores the complexities of our more-than-human world via poetry, data and other relevant research.

Krista Caballero & Frank Ekeberg started collaborating on Birding the Future in 2013 to explore the implications of species extinction and environmental change and ways in which technology mediates interspecies encounters. The project has been presented internationally in exhibitions, festivals and conferences.


Caballero  and  Ekeberg  were  selected  as  2017  Smithsonian  Artist  Research  Fellows  and  are  now  Smithsonian Research Associates researching the cultural implications of bird species decline.

To view artwork, please visit:


Lily Hunter Green (Independent Artist)

SILENCING THE VIRUS is an immersive Sci Art installation that mixes a virtual virus environment with performance, science, ecology and digital arts. It has two key objectives. One to raise awareness of the decline in global honeybee populations and the impact on human societies. Two to examine the intricate social systems of the honeybee; how the hive works as a collective to repel aggressors, specifically viruses, and what can be learnt from their social immunity mechanisms.

One of the major causes of the decline in honeybee populations is disease. This includes the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV): an RNA virus that leaves honeybees paralysed and that can result in the death of entire colonies.

Drawing on research by molecular scientist Dr Maori (Cambridge University), SILENCING THE VIRUS mimics the spread of IAPV via an interactive sound installation or collective embodied listening experience: an LED visualisation of a digital honeycomb and music composition both infected with a converted sample of the virus' genome. As participants orbit and infect the virtual hive, it becomes apparent that only by working as a collective, akin to the honey bees, will they be able to SILENCE THE VIRUS.

Lily Hunter Green (UK) is an interactive design artist. She has extensive experience making multi-component immersive works based on the science of the hive under the banner of BEE COMPOSED: an interdisciplinary more-than-human ‘hive’ project that uses digital media, coding and performance to communicate rapidly changing ecologies, and humans' role in that process. An Associate Research Fellow at Birkbeck College (London) and an Artist-in-Residence at the Maori Lab, Cambridge University, Lily’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

“Wild Arrangements – sonic and performative strategies for interspecies encounters”

Eduardo Abrantes (Roskilde University)

In the European classical tradition, singers are categorized according to their vocal range. From high to low: soprano, mezzo-soprano, and contralto for women, and countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass for men. Within range there is reach and there is comfort. The upper and lower frequency limits of range are expansions of an individual singer’s comfort zone, called tessitura, which is the pitch interval where the singer can vocalize the longest and produce the widest dynamic variation (between loud and quiet), with the least effort or strain to their vocal apparatus. At the limits of range negotiation occurs, both within the individual (endurance and purpose) and in the collective (concord and counterpoint). If the limits of range offer possibilities of hybridization, excess and exchange, then the tessitura points to a stable identity, the middle-point of equilibrium where song meets spoken word and the voice is at its most pliable.

In the more-than-human realms of interspecies cohabitation the issue of sonic range is equally pressing. Those who utter and sing – from mammals and reptiles, to insects and amphibians – do so within a specific “acoustic niche” (Krause, 1993), a frequency range, not unlike a radio station’s bandwidth, which a certain species can occupy without conflicting with others. Each niche is an acoustic zone where a given species sound out its lifecycle, from mating calls to territorial cries, to the multilayered choruses at dawn and dusk. In a healthy ecosystem these niches are stable, while in one under threat, either by human or other disturbing agents (climate change, resource scarcity, invading species), these niches are subject to fierce competition and adaptation. In order to survive, species are known to, literally, teach themselves a new song (Giuseppe and Saino, 2007).

As a sound artist often working through site-specific performative strategies, I have been exploring the potential of human and more-than-human encounters through the tuning of their vocal ranges toward finding a common ground – a niche – in which a kind of sonorous exchange might happen. Many of these recent explorations have been centered around a specific ecosystem in Copenhagen, the Amager commons – 220 hectares of nature and wildlife surrounded by the cityscape, and currently under close scrutiny due to ongoing urban planning and development. I have used a combination of approaches, from field-recording analysis and sonification, to soundwalks and extended vocal performances, to radio interventions – all somehow gathered around the possibilities of attunement, entanglement and co-habitation.

This is presentation is a hybrid piece. On one hand, a short mapping inquiry into how sonic performative approaches have explored and facilitated interspecies encounters, together with the post-human drive behind this, particularly in an ecological humanities context. On the other, a reflection on my own practice-based site-specific experiments with vocal range, its limits and tessitura, and how to approach interspecies encounters by activating a “parliament” of voices.

Performing the Moving Body in Virtual Reality

10:00-11:30, Monday September 6

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Christian Stein (Humboldt University Berlin)

“Queering VR”

Leonie Rae Gasson (Independent Artist)

This presentation will use case studies to explore how VR and mixed reality experiences can embody queer politics.  It will investigate non-hierarchical and collaborative relationships between the artist and player as well as how ideas of completeness or wholeness can be disrupted using mediums where the player always has their back to something.  It will also explore the potential for new fairer working methods and strategies for creating inclusive processes in this emerging medium.

Leonie Rae Gasson is a queer neurodivergent multi-reality director based in Scotland. Her background is in live performance where she has worked for organisations like the National Theatre of Scotland. Over the last few years she has worked across 360 film, VR and games to create a fusion of mediums that incorporates both the live and digital as part of the audience experience.

“Motion Research at a Standstill”

Thomas Lilge  (Humboldt University)

“The ID Transfer in Future DANCE VR”

Zelia Zz Tan (City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong)

The topic of this presentation is experimental VR as a future agency with dynamic interactions. The theme is identity beyond the physical body, to derive irreplaceable new connections from multiple vulnerabilities. Vulnerability is the collection of some attributes of nature, animals, society, etc. It represents the variation tendency in response to volatility, randomness, pressure, etc.

Dance is the art of flow, body is the channel for people to get through new evolution, and experience unique relationships with the world. Are you curious about how Anthropocene redefines what a body is? What happens when the physical presence body is transformed into digital space and time?

Anthropocene could mean, within a certain period of time in physical/virtual space, maximum freedom for research and creation. Designing/performing agency is a collective map, for people to cross over extended reality. Future performance needs to be redefined by art practice. When experimental concepts are embodied, people's perception of time will relatively change due to the attitude, method and form, groping toward a new age.

Zelia ZZ Tan is a young Asian dance artist crossing over to film and technology. A professional dancer with City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong now, she has performed and studied in 14 countries. She was invited to perform her solos at Helsinki Festival, Finland. She graduated with First-class Honors from Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Lately she has been researching on motion capture and virtual dance.As an experimental dance film director, she explores human body, mind and multiple identities. Among the 5 short films she has directed, "Over Here?" and "Moon Paradox I" were presented in 15 international dance film festivals.

Decomposing Matters

10:00-11:30, Monday September 6

Stream C – The Chapel

Moderator: Robert Stock (Humboldt University Berlin)

“Sharing With, Becoming With: Non-Human Perspectives in the Practices of Zai Tang, Lêna Bùi, and Syaiful Garibaldi”

Joella Kiu (Singapore Art Museum)

Plants and fungi are sources of ancient knowledge, spiritual nourishment, and bodily sustenance. Despite their prominence within art historical canons, they often play second fiddle to the figure of the artist, functioning as mere tools, frameworks, analogies, or points of reference within discourse about art or art making.

Based on conversations with artists based in Southeast Asia that were conducted over the course of November 2020 to January 2021, this paper is interested in how a perspective that is rooted in the non-human might resituate our understanding of how art is made and our surrounding environments or cosmologies.

The artistic practices that this paper will examine include those of Zai Tang (Singapore, Singapore), Lêna Bùi (Saigon, Vietnam), and Syaiful Garibaldi (Bandung, Indonesia). Beyond their affinities in terms of situational specificity, these three artists are bound together by their interests in plant sentience, organicity and indigenous botanical knowledge.

In drawing upon the praxis of Object-Oriented Ontology, this paper thinks through the practices of these artists as to how we might centre the non-human as interlocutors, bearers of knowledge, and co-conspirators.

Joella Kiu is a curator, editor, and art historian whose practice examines contemporary art making processes and ecologies in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Joella is currently Assistant Curator at the Singapore Art Museum, and Editor of Object Lessons Space. She is also the host of Mushroomed, a visual arts podcast produced by Singapore Community Radio. Joella holds an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA from the University of York.


Diana Lengua and Irene Pipicelli (Goldsmiths, University of London / University of Turin)

In a landscape of environmental wasteland, where media never die (Parikka 2014) we are assisting to the the phenomenon of NFTs. The non-fungible reality is invading the ruins of our world tries to “manage the contradictions of digital scarcity by limiting the illimitable” (Steyerl 2019). This movement also extends to the digitisation of living things, e.g. alternative means of conserving and funding wildlife in which wildlife can be 'cloned' with all its unique characteristics, and stored on the blockchain (Mofokeng et ali. 2018).

Our critical aesthetic will no longer seek to create worlds but to secure them. In this context, waste is the value of what escapes the logic of privatisation and thus becomes a tool for criticism and the generation of knowledge capable of evading the logic of the market. Using the work of Shu Lea Cheang “Composting the City | Composting the Net”, we will discuss the alternatives developed by the generativity of waste, understood as an ontology that escapes the dynamics of encrypted privatisation. Besides, on the basis of this critical openness, we will also propose a dialogue between the horizon of waste – both material and immaterial – and the problematic status of NFTs' pervasiveness and use.

Diana Lengua and Irene Pipicelli are two PhD researchers with a fascination for waste. Diana works on VR technologies and embodiment at Goldsmiths University, and Irene works on performativity and archive at the University of Turin. They are both co-founders of CONTRA/DIZIONI and members of its scientific committee. CONTRA is a research seminar focused on the relationship between feminism/queer theory/transfeminism and philosophy, supported by the Department of Philosophy of University of Milan.

“Pazugoo, Demonic Personification of Nuclear Waste”

Andy Weir (Fine Arts University Bournemouth)

In this presentation, Andy Weir discusses his Pazugoo art project (ongoing from 2016 to today), a constellation of 3d-printed figures proposed as demonic personification of nuclear waste. The figures are collectively modified in workshops from museum artefact digital object scans, printed and buried at sites around the planet as material and mythic connector of sites of toxicity. Copies are collected and exhibited in museums and exhibitions as an archive or ‘index’ of the buried figures.

The work emerges from research into deep geological repositories for long-term storage of nuclear waste, and the project of ‘marking’ sites for future generations. Through work on collaborations and residencies, Weir presents a challenge to proposed fixed site monuments by focusing on the material agency of the radioactive waste itself. Drawing on the drifting contagious materiality (Hecht) and mythologies (Negarestani) of Uranium dust, Pazugoo is both digital object and embodied material in nuclear waste landscapes.

Through the method of burying multiple objects, referenced in exhibitions, the work aims to make perceivable connections that normally remain hidden. – waste storage sites in the Global North with abandoned Uranium mines forming part of the waste production cycle, for example.

The figures draw on myths of demonic flight as navigational passage between realms (De Loughrey), proposing a speculative flight to ends of deep time and back to cognition in present. From this work, distributed digitally and rooted in Earth, sampling deep time materiality as ‘geo-fiction’, Weir makes more general claims, proposing this navigation between sensual experience and more-than-human scales of deep time as possibility for art knowledge within the Anthropocene.


De Loughrey, E. (2019) Allegories of the Anthropocene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Hecht, G. (2012) Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press.  

Negarestani, R. (2014) Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials. Melbourne: re-press.  

Povinelli, E. (2016) Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

See also Weir’s installation of Pazugoo at DRHA 2021.

Andy Weir is an artist and writer based in London. His work explores politics, agencies and subjectivities within deep time, focusing in particular on nuclear toxicity. Recent work has been exhibited in Perpetual Uncertainty, Malmo Art Museum; Splitting the Atom, Vilnius Art Centre, published in Realism Materialism Art and Journal for Curatorial Studies. He completed his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London and is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Arts University Bournemouth, UK.

The Politics of Social Media

10:00-11:30, Monday September 6

Stream D – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderator: Torsten Jost (Freie Universität-Berlin)

“What Does it ‘Meme?’: : The coded bodily communications in Hong Kong and beyond”

Hsiu-Ju Stacy Lo (National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University)

2019 shall be marked as the year of “manifestations” as well as the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. What the Chinese Communist Party called the “political virus” originating in Hong Kong spawned a profusion of what I call “mimed memes”—embodied communications and coded expressions—developed in an environment of increased digital surveillance and censorship. Demonstrators from the pro-independence rallies in Catalonia, the milk tea alliance in Myanmar and Thailand, and to Extinction Rebellion everywhere were taking lessons from the decentralised, networked and leaderless anti-government protests in Hong Kong, widely known as the “Be Water” Movement. Inspired by a quote from the homegrown action hero Bruce Lee: “Water can flow or it can crash,” the protest movement—ignited by the city government’s attempt to pass a bill to allow extradition to mainland China—mobilised the protesters in extraordinary ways. Mobilisation under the increasingly tense circumstances required a customised language and bespoke toolbox to navigate the rapidly changing scene. As such, the everyday practices and innovations grown out of the protest movement carry implications for a digitally altered consciousness of body and language (in the broadest sense of the term to include visual and verbal). The virtually spread “memes”, defined by the updated Oxford English dictionary as “an image, video, pieces of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations” propel physical developments in the real world forward. From cyberspace to the streets, a meme aesthetic has been co-created to embolden the movement followers and to make the average person part of the protesting crowd.

The evolving methods, tactics, and the expressions invented in the so-called “Be Water” Movement bear witness to a turbulent global context where human actions and communications have increasingly come under digital surveillance, commercially or politically. The 2019-2020 protests in Hong Kong demonstrated not only collective creativity, but also tactical fluidity in response to the ever-shifting conditions on the streets and in cyberspace. Appropriation of these tactical technologies has since furnished other playbooks, benign or malevolent. Examples include the “infodemic” amid the coronavirus pandemic, US Capitol riots and the “meme stock” trading mania surrounding GameStop and Dogecoin. By investigating a myriad of “waterways” that the protesters and other inspired individuals have adopted in the resistance movements and the everyday life, this paper examines the sensorial interconnectedness of artificial intelligence, the human body, and expression, and to critically consider the “meme” aesthetic against a backdrop of heightened surveillance and censorship.

“Reframing the Ordinary: YouTube Videos by East Asian Home Vloggers”

Shweta Khilnani (University of Delhi)

Theories of the Anthropocene have centred around the challenges in portraying the interaction between human agency and the ways in which it impacts the workings of the world. For instance, Amitav Ghosh argues that the very narrative model of the modern novel works towards concealing the exceptional instead of embracing it, thereby making it challenging for seemingly extraordinary events of climate change to find any meaningful representation in what he terms ‘serious fiction’. However, it is equally noteworthy that forms of engagement with the ordinary and the mundane have also been revamped due to affordances of digital media. This presentation will study a collection of YouTube videos created by video bloggers from East Asian countries including China, Japan and South Korea . These videos are largely located in the domestic space of the home and show women performing seemingly mundane, everyday activities like chopping vegetables, folding laundry, cleaning the house etc. What sets them apart is the aestheticization of the ordinary – they are coloured in hues of soothing pastels and there is soft, hypnotic music playing in the background (sometimes, the creators eschew any background music and encourage the viewers to appreciate the sounds of everyday life). The videos have minimal or no dialogue and the creators communicate through captions which are sometimes humorous but mostly therapeutic in nature. Significantly, the faces of the creators are never shown in the video and the camera focuses on the activities they perform.

By studying these scenes of ordinariness which turn dreary and humdrum domestic chores into an enjoyable and uplifting activity, the presentation will look at the ways in which the ordinary itself is reframed within digital media. In theoretical terms, the aesthetics of the ordinary have been difficult to define. Yuriko Saito writes that the everyday should be defined in terms of the attitude that people take towards what they are experiencing (2). Saito further argues that seemingly trivial everyday aesthetics can wield considerable power on “humanity’s ongoing project of world-making” (4). Ben Highmore, in his book titled Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday makes a compelling case for the political potential inherent in everyday experiences. He writes that the sensorial transformation of the ordinary can redefine habits and eventually encourage imaginative acts which can prefigure alternative possibilities (171). Within this theoretical framework, the presentation will study the potential of reframing the content of the ordinary and the everyday within the domestic space of the home and the production of new modes of experience and enjoyment, made possible by digital media.

Works Cited:

Ghosh, Amitav. “Where is the Fiction About Climate Change?” The Guardian, 28 October 2016,

Highmore, Ben. Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday. Routledge, 2011.

Saito, Yuriko. Aesthetics of the Familiar: Everyday Life and World-Making. Oxford University Press, 2017.

“The “network”-ed Anthropocene: Corona virus, Facebook and Indian politics”

Rimi Nandi (Adamas University)

The centrality of human beings has become a matter of great significance since the birth of the Renaissance. The concept of the anthropocene further emphasizes the role of humans in altering the vast world around them. However the duality of the human and the non-human as two distinct entities, with the human serving as the controlling agent becomes redundant in the present time and age. The word “network” becomes essential in opposing the age of the anthropocene. Though the term “network” is increasingly used in the context of social media, it signifies links and connections in the social space. It is not restricted to technological networks alone. According to Latour Actor-Network Theory “does not wish to add social networks to social theory but to rebuild social theory out of networks” . This paper proposes to ‘study the representation of political sentiments on Facebook with reference to the Indian context. This work will study the spread of the coronavirus as a major determining factor in changing the interactive network within the space of Facebook. The rising death toll, unavailability of vaccines, the increasing fear among the Indians have evolved the Facebook platform as a space where the virus and the human interact through their interconnectivity. The coronavirus, a non-human agent has led to a massive change in the social fabric as a whole. This paper will refer to the actor-network theory and posthuman critical perspective to analyse the evolving space of Facebook in the context of Indian political scenario and the perception and expression through Facebook posts, shares and comments, further connecting it to the link between the virus and humans.

Rimi Nandy is presently Pursuing PhD from School of Media Communication and Culture, Jadavpur University. She completed M. A. in English from Jadavpur University and has a PG Diploma in Digital Humanities and Cultural Informatics. She is currently working as the Head of the Department and Assistant Professor at Adamas University, Kolkata. Her research interest includes Social Media narratives, Posthumanism, Digital Humanities and Japanese Studies.

Indigenous Knowledges & Immersive Technologies

12:00-13:00, Monday September 6

Stream D – Lecture Hall / Hörsaal 202

Moderator: Olu Taiwo (Winchester University)

“Indigenous Futures”

Chiara Minestrelli and Matteo Dutto (London College of Communication / Monash University)

Since the early 1970s Indigenous cultural producers across Australia have experimented with multimodal and transmedia storytelling practices to represent Country as a living entity, a complex and active site of historical, sacred, and social knowledge, where stories are inscribed and meant to be experienced. As Indigenous sovereign Nations across Australia are being affected more and more by climate change and by catastrophic events, digital modes of engagement with Country are explored by Indigenous media producers not only to preserve natural heritage and Indigenous knowledges, but also to assert new Indigenous futures, claiming back territory, and creating new spaces of transcultural engagement through future-oriented digital creative processes.

By providing an overview of various digital projects, from the VR experiences Future Dreaming (2019) and Virtual Dreaming (2015) to the Digital Land Rights Project and the Kurdiji 1.0 application, just to name a few, in this paper we aim to reflect on the notion of Country as living archive, a space for knowledge creation and a trope for radical hope (Lear, 2006). Primarily, we will be investigating the generative power of Country as a palimpsest for rewriting Indigenous futures against the backdrop of the (altered) realities introduced by the age of the Anthropos (Haraway, 2016) and the age of the digital. We will do so through an approach that combines multimodal textual analysis (Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996) with ethnographic methods of data collection, as well as a historical analysis of the networks of circulation and distribution through which these works are experienced. In doing so, this paper further problematises the use of digital tools by focusing on new ways of reading —or re-reading— the Country (Benterrak, Muecke and Roe, 1984; Muecke, 2020), highlighting opportunities and limitations of digital projects that seek to engage with the lived experience of Indigeneity across past, present, and future.

“Narratives of the Future: Digital Stories / Indigenous Routes”

Elizabeth Swift (University of Gloucestershire)

The way in which we tell our stories shapes our vision of the past, present and importantly, our future. This paper explores how our relationship with contemporary technologies influences the way we create and engage with narratives. It argues that while new modes of engagement prompted by emergent spatial story environments in the digital world appear novel, they actually resemble ancient narrative practices – such as those of indigenous populations.

I am exploring the ways in which participatory and immersive technologies, as used in virtual reality and intermedial performance, produce changes in practices of narrative production and reception. I propose that there is a significant synergy between Aboriginal story systems and contemporary digital modes, which can lead to insights into the evolution of cultural praxis.

A prime example of the significance of past imaginations to contemporary digital narratives is apparent through research into modes of storytelling seen in indigenous Australian culture, which suggest common ground with practices facilitated by new developments in technology (See Barrett (2009),Glowczewski (1987) et al). Both ancient narratives and contemporary digital practices require the participant/audience to engage with data/physical space in a specific manner in order for the story to be realised. Furthermore, both bestow creative responsibility on the user, through whose action the story is manifested. Digital narrative and indigenous story models are similarly characterised by a lack of centrality and a use networks organised around narrative hubs – relating to place, character, or ritual – which allow the emergence of stories as original autonomous flows.

New forms of narrative challenge assumptions about how information is generated, processed, and passed on, and the power structures involved in such exchanges. My research explores how non-traditional narrative practices can assist the debate about the future of storytelling.

Elizabeth Swift is a UK writer and director of intermedial performance. She lectures in Drama at Gloucestershire University and studied at Lancaster and Exeter Universities. Recent publications include articles in The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media and a chapter in the Palgrave Macmillan publication, Framing Immersive Theatre and Performance. In 2019 Liz  was selected to represent the UK at the British Academy’s international forum on the Future of Storytelling in Australia.

Mixed Reality Theatres

15:30-17:00, Monday September 6

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Ramona Mosse (Freie Universität Berlin)

“Performing Samuel Beckett in the Post-Anthropocene Age: Beyond the Virtual towards a Quantum World”

Annette Balaam (Bristol University)

“‘Virtual’ is derived from the Medieval Latin virtualis, itself derived from virtus, meaning strength or power. In scholastic philosophy the virtual is that which has potential rather than actual existence.”

(Lévy 1998: 23)

“‘Exist’ is derived from the Latin sistere, to cause to stand or place, and ex, outside of. Does existence therefore mean being in a place or leaving it?”

(Ibid: 28-29)

“‘I can, therefore I am: life as a transspatial emergence … ‘neither here, nor here, nor here”’.

(Merleau-Ponty 1959: VI 313/260).

Samuel Beckett’s death occurred at the inauguration of the digital age in 1989 activating certain latent tendencies within Beckett’s work and de-activating others, provoking this papers investigation into how Beckett pre-figured our experience in the digital and virtual world, pointing forward to a Quantum human and world in a post-Anthropocene Age.

Two lines of enquiry will be opened that draw on Beckett’s, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s, and Pierre Lévy’s questions regarding the nature of how we bring a world into being, and the process of virtualization. The second part compares the texts genesis with post-Beckett performance.

Initially I explore how Beckett pre-figures our experience in the digital and virtual world, where our sense of being oscillates in-between and communicates with a multitude of people, places and times simultaneously, and equally with the only certain materiality of the singular ‘I’ body. I simultaneously function on Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email, Game, Google, text and talk and yet I only have one material body. I examine the consequences of this intrinsically symbiotic relationship between self, other and world on any concept of individual human agency or power, through performance.

Applying these principles to a post-Beckett mixed reality performance of The Lost Ones, UNMAKEABLELOVE (2008), and Pan Pan’s virtual theatre Before Endgame (2020), touching on Beckett’s ‘Grey Archive’ of The Lost Ones, can identify the lineage of the ontological genealogy of the digital and virtual human, pointing forward to a Quantum human and world.

I consider a non-catastrophic point of view for the Digital or future Quantum human, redefining what it means to be human, creating a quotidian re-realization that we are responsible for bringing our worlds into being, offering a simultaneity of ontological states that brings into being Beckett’s ‘Third way’ of being in the world where ‘We and the world are one’ (Schopenhauer).

“MR Ulysses: Addressing the disappointment of cancelled site-specific re-enactments of Joycean literature on Bloomsday”

Neill O'Dwyer, Gareth Young, Paul O'Hanrahan, Matthew Moynihan and Aljosa Smolic (V-SENSE, Trinity College Dublin)

MRUlysses is a cross-reality (virtual and augmented reality) reimagining of James Joyce’s literary masterpiece, Ulysses (1922). It is one of the world’s most highly celebrated works of fiction because of its masterful, innovative use of literary techniques, including realism, internal monologue, dramatic expressionism and stream-of-consciousness.

“Bloomsday”, an annual literary tourist pilgrimage celebrating the book’s site-specificity, is a cultural attraction that extends an imaginative literary world into the real-world communities of Dublin city. The tradition involves dressing up in the fashion of the day and visiting many of the sites mentioned in Ulysses – eating, drinking and re-enacting scenes. Through the inclusion of the city’s citizens and communities, Bloomsday is pivotal to the way this cultural heritage artefact is presented, transmitted and understood. Every year this special celebration attracts Joycean devotees from all over the world and represents a crucial form of civic and cultural engagement, contributing to social cohesion. In 2020, the restrictions on world travel and social gatherings imposed by the pandemic meant Bloomsday was cancelled for the first time since its inauguration (1954), causing widespread disappointment and highlighting the need to scaffold alternative, innovative and accessible ways for communities to experience literature.

Our MR application facilitates an experience of the Bloomsday event through a tailor-made, novel AR/VR experience that harnesses volumetric video and photogrammetry to recreate scenes from the novel, normally on the itinerary. Thought in terms of Bernard Stiegler’s theory of the Neganthropocene (Stiegler 2018), MRUlysses represents a ‘bifurcation’ (in terms of systems theory) that can contribute to the positive transformation of the entropic topology the performing arts in the aftermath of a pandemic; that is, our MR model demonstrates how a small avant-garde gesture can offer a therapeutics for the wounded live performance cultural sector.

Matthew Moynihan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the V-SENSE project at Trinity College Dublin. His research involves the development and refinement of Volumetric Video and Performance Capture systems. Specifically, this research aims to leverage temporal information to improve the quality and efficiency of volumetric sequences. Matthew also holds a BSc in Physics and an MEng in Electronic Systems from Dublin City University (2011-2017), where both degrees had a focus on Computer Vision. Having worked on industry-focused applications prior to his Ph.D., Matthew hopes to continue extending his research into more creative fields.

Néill O’Dwyer is a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow based in the V-SENSE project, in the Department of Computer Science, at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). He is an adjunct lecturer and research fellow of the School of Creative Arts, where he teaches Performance and Technology. He is an awardee of the prestigious Irish Research Council (IRC) Government of Ireland Research Fellowship (2017 – 2019). He is the sole author of Digital Scenography: 30 years of experimentation and innovation in performance and interactive media (2021) and a co-editor of The Performing Subject in the Space of Technology: Through the Virtual, Towards the Real (2015). Néill specialises in practice-based research in the field of scenography and design-led performance with a specific focus on digital media, computer vision, human–computer interaction, prosthesis, symbiosis, agency, performativity and the impact of technology on artistic processes.

Dr. Paul O’Hanrahan, artistic director of Balloonatics Theatre Company, is an award-winning actor and director who specialises in the in-situ performance of Irish writers, particularly James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. He is particularly interested in place and memory studies and has a doctorate combining German and Contemporary Literature Studies from the University of Liverpool. He has Edinburgh Fringe First Awards for productions based on Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. In 2014 he devised the inaugural Beckett Walk for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council and has led this guided tour for the last eight years.

Gareth W. Young is a postdoctoral research fellow on the V-SENSE project at Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on the evaluation of creative uses for extended-reality technology. This examination includes studying the design and use of XR technology in creative practices, focusing on the interface between users and the XR platform. Before joining V-SENSE, Gareth worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Building City Dashboards project in the National Center for Geocomputation (NCG) at Maynooth University. In this role, he was responsible for assessing the design effectiveness of city dashboard tools and examining emergent platforms.

Gaming and the Sensorium

15:30-17:00, Monday September 6

Stream B – Seminar Room 125

Moderator: Susan Broadhurst (Brunel University)

“Who Hacks the Hackers?: Modding Interventions in Cyberpunk 2077”

Nathan Bitgood (Texas A&M University)

Besides referring to a genre of fiction, the word cyberpunk is used by scholars of the Anthropocene to describe any confluence of technological and cultural formations that initiate new futurisms. A more recent event that has brought the term into public parlance is the release of Cyberpunk 2077, a title which promised, like many mid-century retro-futurisms, to herald a golden age of video games. However, when it was released last December, The New York Times called it “one of the most visible disasters in the history of video games.” Many players found the game so bugged as to be unplayable, leading its developer, CD Projekt, to pull it from online vendors. One group of players, however, took the problem of making the game playable upon themselves.

The PC modding community created tools like Cyber Engine Tweaks by yamashi which allowed players with some computer literacy to run new scripts through the game’s engine fixing some of its many bugs and, in some cases, changing its narrative experience. In this paper, I will explore the ways in which these interventions conform to and upend various scholarly definitions of the word cyberpunk. I am particularly interested in the idea that cyberpunk communities, both those hackers who exploit hostile systems and the consumers of cyberpunk art, are “full of young guys with no social lives, no sex lives, and no hope of ever moving out of their mothers' basements” as Bruce Bethke claims. To this end, I will discuss the mod Romanceable Judy for Male V by Zialar which allows a female character originally intended as a lesbian love interest for players with female avatars to be romanced by heterosexual male avatars. In doing so, I hope to complicate and contextualize the hostility of non-human systems against which cyberpunk has been figured as a symbol of subversion. My preferred format for presentation is digital.

Nathan Bitgood is a fourth-year PhD candidate at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas where he is currently writing a dissertation on the depictions and practice of Mesmerism in Romantic fiction and poetry. His research interests include transnational Romanticism in Britain and the United States, the Gothic novel, and Gothic legacies in new media.

“Multimedia and interactive installations as scenic devices: new paths towards total work”

Lino Strangis (C.A.R.M.A. / Accademia Albertina di belle arti di Torino)

This digital media provocation is a hybrid intervention that proceeds from the presentation of some hypotheses of research, concerning possible applications of audiovisual technologies and digital interactivity in contemporary art, some of which would be already in practice, but with possibly others in the future. I envisage these as a way to look for new frames and ways of conceptualising the Total Work, that is, a multimedia work which aims at a unified effect. A series of such works would be presented (with their precise aesthetic status and signification) which will be offered as interactive devices in real time, for the public, but also for professional performers, who, by relating to them, can develop a performative dimension that still offers space for further exploration. The multimedia work, as a ‘sensitive’ (i.e. highly interactive) environment, would be installed in a space that becomes a ‘scene’ by virtue of layering processes, in which human gestures participate in the generation of visual and sound phenomena of various types.

The type of devices in question are adaptations of an alternative use of the technologies employed for the creation of 3D videogames, and others also involve the critical redeployment of artificial intelligence. I give a particular space to the scenic use of immersive virtual reality headsets (in sensitive worlds specially created by the author/speaker). These typically individual experiences are transformed into public ones through the projection (as a large sensitive backdrop) of the user experience. Some of these devices would be presented in their theoretical aspects and shown in their live functioning during the intervention by myself, as artist/speaker, and then be offered to be tried out by the audience.

It must be stressed that these are not ‘simple’ software tools for interactive performances, but ‘open-ended’ works of art, that are available for scenic interaction, whose final states remain indeterminate. Here the live ‘performing art’ is superadded, and therefore dialogues with the work, in a joint search for new ways of finding ways, unique to each occasion, of presenting aesthetic totality.

Lino Strangis is a multimedia artist (video art, experimental animation (2 and 3D), video installations and video sculptures, 3D virtual reality and 360 ° video, multimedia performances, 3D sculptures, video-sceno-graphies, scenic devices, interactive installations, sound art and plus) experimental musician and director (video and theater) born in Lamezia Terme on 19/01/1981, lives and works between Rome and Turin. Since 2005 he has participated in numerous festivals, exhibitions and international historical reviews in Italy and abroad.

“VR Dance Adventure Game”

John Toenjes (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

In Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal presents staggering statistics about game play in contemporary life. Three billion hours per week were spent gaming, world-wide, in 2011:

“Games, in the twenty-first century, will be a primary platform for enabling the future…[our] neurological and physiological systems—our attention systems, our reward center, our motivations systems, our emotion and memory centers—are fully activated by gameplay.”

With a focus on contemporary modes of expression and transmission, I am working to incorporate game structures into dance performance. Together with my team at the Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies, we are developing a VR dance “adventure game” to promote deeper involvement, understanding and appreciation of contemporary dance through immersive, embodied experience. We hope to provide a way for artists and researchers to investigate dance as a vehicle for understanding and engaging social issues.

Currently an untitled prototype, this VR dance adventure is envisioned as both a finished game and as an open-source template for choreographers and designers to input their own content. We are working towards a platform for individual “Audience-Participants” (AP) to engage in a game that provides them agency to affect the performance and simultaneously acquire more understanding of contemporary dance expression. It will also provide a space for APs to share their understanding of dance in multiple ways through visual recognition, verbal responses, movement capture and for creators and humanities researchers to be able to mine this data to understand the impact dance art has on a larger community.

This session will showcase this work-in-progress and open the floor to discussion about some of its basic tenets. Engaging DRHA artists’ and scholars’ perspectives would be extremely helpful in developing this project.

John Toenjes, 2018-19 Fiddler Innovation Fellow, is Professor, Music Director, and Co-Director of Undergraduate Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Department of Dance, and past President of the International Guild of Musicians in Dance. John accompanies dance technique classes at UIUC and teaches courses in Music Theory for Dance and Dance Technology. Publications include “Composing for Interactive Dance: Paradigms for Perception” (Perspectives of New Music Winter 2007), a chapter in Musical Improvisation: Art, Education and Society (Univ of Illinois Press 2009), and “Dancing with Mobile Devices: the LAIT Application System in Performance and Educational Settings” (Journal of Dance Education 2016).  He has written more than 30 dance scores for choreographers including Lucas Hoving, Joe Goode, Luc Vanier, and Todd Williams. Since 2004, he has focused on producing computer-assisted interactive dances such as Inventions Suite (2008 Cleveland Ingenuity Festival), telematic dances such Timings: An Internet Dance with dancers in Tokyo connected to live avatars, and smartphone-enhanced works such as Kama Begata Nihilum which featured dancers carrying networked iPads and an audience AR app. In 2014 he established the Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies (LAIT), which has designed an app system for live performance called “Mosho.” His dances that integrate Mosho include Public Figure (2015), Critical Mass (2017), and Alternate Reality (2018), all with choreographer Chad Michael Hall and programmer Tony Reimer. He is now researching game structures for contemporary dance in immersive video and virtual reality while creating a new VR dance adventure game. For more information on LAIT, visit For a complete CV and description of works, visit

Water As Medium

15:30-17:00, Monday September 6

Stream C – The Chapel

Moderator: Sara Ehrentraut (EXC 2020, FU-Berlin)

“Performing Water in Digital Environments”

Anna Street and Kamila Mamadnazarbekova (Le Mans Université / Université Paris Sorbonne IV)

In our joint presentation, we would like to explore the question of agency by examining how the material element of water can be welcomed as an acting force in theater and performance, acknowledging the radically shifting hierarchies of the Anthropocene. Confronted with the pandemic, performance artists developed diverse forms of presence from streamed tutorials to extremely complex reconstructions of lost and dangerous waterscapes. After briefly presenting our digital research platform Performing Water, we will illustrate the project by analyzing instances of water’s presence in digital performances, such as Marina Abramovic’s Rising (2018), in which VR participants are given agency to virtually drown the artist, and Sarah Sze’s first AR work Night into Day (2021) in which she transforms the Cartier Foundation building in Paris into a giant aquarium that mirrors her sculptured representations of the globe.

On theatre stages, XR installations call for action, contributing to a conceptual revolution in scenography that reverses the relations of subjectivity. Water’s affinities with the digital are myriad, particularly as regards immersive environments and sound wave diffraction. Drawing upon these affinities, we will point out intriguing overlaps with philosophy’s performative turn that beckons us towards a distinctive water ethic. Comparing Latour’s actor-network theory with Barad’s theories of intra-action and diffraction, for example, we will show how the relation between materiality and meaning is radically evolving in ways that invite new conceptual perspectives for uniting ecology and digital performance, acknowledging water’s role as a main character in this environmental drama.

Anna Street is Lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies in the English Department of Le Mans Université, France. She holds a double-doctorate from the University of Paris – Sorbonne in Theater Studies and from the University of Kent in Comparative Literature, as well as a Masters in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. Core-convener of the Performance Philosophy  network,  she  is  co-editor  of Inter  Views  in  Performance  Philosophy  and  is particularly  devoted  to  the  promotion  of  intercultural  and  interdisciplinary  exchanges between philosophical reflection and performance.  

Kamila Mamadnazarbekova is a PhD student in Theater Studies at Sorbonne Universities and  Le  Mans  University,  focusing  on  landscape  theatre  in  ultra-contemporary  British performances.  She  also  works  as  a  journalist  in  collaboration  with  various  media  in Russian,  English,  French  and  Italian  and  has  been  part  of  Moscow’s  Teatr.  magazine’s editorial team (Журнал «Театр.») since 2011. She is currently translating Catherine Malabou’s  latest  work,  Le  Plaisir  effacé.  Clitoris  et  pensée,  into Russian.  She  holds  a Masters  degree  from  Le  Mans  University  with  a  thesis  dedicated  to  Philippe  Quesne’s theatre and his scenography of the Anthropocene.

“Sounding out the Anthropocene Ocean. The materiality of digital sound worlds in underwater bioacoustics, smart materials and the arts”

Sebastian Schwesinger and Robert Stock (Humboldt University)

This paper together with a (planned) subsequent roundtable with artists, acoustic engineers or bio-acousticians aims to connect different ways of conceptualizing the Anthropocene Ocean from a perspective of noise and sound (Duarte 2021; Thomson 2020). The ocean has become a zone of increasing interest both as an economic resource and as a means for political action in the age of digital globalization. Its vulnerability is more and more recognized. According to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) noise is considered a crucial variable which hints towards the centrality of the oceans’ acoustic dimension when scrutinizing vast underwater areas as a multi-faceted operational space, which is produced, processed and translated through data, models, audio-visual as well as virtual reality productions. For discussing this complex phenomenon, we suggest the following topics: First, we explore the shift in acoustic underwater surveillance systems from military purposes to research on biodiversity (Camprubí/Hui2020). Second, we question the emergent phenomenon of digital materials – such as sharkskin-inspired acoustic metamaterials in submarine research (Lee2020) for ‘sonic camouflage’ – and speculate about their potential implications for reduction of anthropogenic noise emissions affecting underwater habitats. Third, we are interested in how these questions are taken up by sound artists like Jana Winderer, Mark Lyken and others problematizing the contemporary relations of global shipping noise, seismic testing and protected ocean reserves. While hydrophones and surround sound technologies prove essential for capturing data of sentient landscapes out of sight, the possibilities of real-time rendering 3D sound for VR applications (Delikaris-Manias2018) will have a significant impact on how digital underwater matter can be processed for ever increasing digital worlds. With this approach we like to discuss how the technological framework of the Anthropocene might be turned into a productive means to generate not only critical knowledge and awareness but also serve for counter cultural speculation.

Sebastian  Schwesinger  is  a  Doctoral  Researcher  and  Lecturer  in  Media  and  Cultural  History  at Humboldt-Universität  zu  Berlin,  Germany.  He studied Cultural History and Theory, Musicology,

Philosophy, and Microeconomics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and FOM University of Applied Sciences. His research focuses on sonic media cultures and the history of acoustics. He is a co-founder of the Berlin research network on sonic thinking. Selected publications: Simulating the Ancient World. Pitfalls and Opportunities of Using Game Engines for Archaeological and Historical Research (2020, coauthor), Navigating Noise (2017, co-editor).

Robert Stock is Assistant Professor for Cultures of Knowledge at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt University Berlin. He holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Giessen, Germany. From 2015 to 2021, he coordinated the DFG research unit “Media and Participation. Between Demand and Entitlement”, University of Konstanz. Main research interests are digital media and dis/abilities, cultures of knowledge and the materiality of epistemic practices.


Followed by a Roundtable with special guest Jana Hoffman of the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin.

Zoom Theatres

9:30-11:30, Tuesday September 7

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Ann-Christine Simke (University of Bern)


Marcel Kieslich (Mozarteum University)

The Anthropocene has dramatically shifted our attention towards the phenomena atmosphere. We are affected by and affect various (material or digital) spheres we live in. A reciprocal process of (subliminal) designing and being simultaneously influenced by such ephemeral, nonhierarchical and nonlinear spheres which are complicated to grasp. Nevertheless, several strategies in design and performing arts have been developed in order to produce specific (material) atmospheres – even though full control seems impossible. Especially the constitutive (anthropocentric) co-presence in performative practices unfolds its energy and intensity from interactions within resonance spaces. Being in contact with digital technologies, and the performativity of digital technologies itself, questions the constitutive characteristics of performance art and our everyday life in the near future.

My presentation will analyze the theatre production Die Parallelwelt (Berlin/Dortmund, 2018) and discuss the digital transformation of performances. It will further suggest to which degree (material) phenomena, such as energies and atmospheres, emerge when audiovisual telecommunication technologies are used in a scenic manner. The analysis of various phenomena in the context of this production has the potential to gain fundamental knowledge about theatrical and performative events, and beyond in the age of digitization. The physical co-presence is separated into analog and virtual. This, in turn, enables conclusions to be drawn about the respective resonance relationship in the various resonance spaces, such as material and digital spheres. In addition to this, information is also given in regards to the different qualities and intensities of resonance experiences. As a result of this analysis, Erika Fischer-Lichte's 'autopoietic feedback loop' is expanded and contextualized to the sympoietic atmosphere as an analysis category. In the end, various perspectives on the agency of digital technologies within sympoietic atmospheres will raise ethical questions in an anthropocenic context.

Marcel Kieslich finished his bachelor’s degree in Theatre Studies and Philosophy. After his time as an assistant  director  at  the  Schaubühne  in  Berlin  he  received  a  master’s  degree  at  the  Department  of Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna. Currently he is a PhD-Candidate and part of the research project Spot on MozART® at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg. His work focuses on the performativity of digital technologies within aesthetic constellations.

“The Travesty of Performance: A Zoom Artist Residency in the Pandemic Era”

Maria Combatti, Nicoletta Damioli and Lucina Koudelka (Columbia University / University Paris 8)

“Our perception ends in objects, and the object, once constituted, appears as the reason for all the experiences of it that we have had or that we could have.” Stemming from this statement of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Landes, 2012, 67), our proposal considers the encounters between digital (zoom) and embodied materialities (human body, clothes, natural entities, and objects) through the act of dressing. Using as a source of inspiration one of the most famous dressing scenes in Greek tragedy – namely, the dressing of Pentheus in women’s clothes in Euripides’ Bacchae, we focus on the bodily experience of dressing up for zoom interactions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Building a transdisciplinary conversation between classical philology, art performance, and design, in this talk, we will present our zoom performance, which comes out from a virtual artist residency during last year lockdown in Paris. Zoom thus becomes a space that embraces and materializes in digital form the process of our artistic creation and research collaboration. After an introduction about the realization of our project, we will show our zoom video performance. It will display three windows, which stand for three performers digitally and materially embodied by three different body’s parts: face, body, and feet, respectively adorned with make-up, dresses, and shoes. These theatrically hybrid creatures become the material agents of the performance, expressing the sense of individual alienation and vulnerability as well as the impossibility to communicate with the real world, which we have experienced during the pandemic. By exploring the interrelationships between the digital and material worlds, we highlight a form of performative travesty, through which humans and nonhumans (the human body, the computer, natural entities from the external world and objects in the house) are entangled in a mutual constitution of agencies that shapes the human lived experience.

Maria Combatti is a philologist in Classics with interests in environmental and gender studies. She has completed her PhD in Classics at Columbia University in 2020. In her dissertation, she has explored the interrelations between bodies, landscapes, and objects in Euripides’ tragedies. By using an ecocritical approach including posthuman, new materialist, and ecofeminist theories, her current project investigates the intersections between gender and the environment in Greek tragedy.

Nicoletta Damioli is an art performer and curator. She is doing a Master in the International Cultural Artistic Project at the University of Paris 8 and is collaborating in the Performing Knowledge research program held by Marion Boudier and Chloé Déchery in Paris. She works as an organizer and performer for the Italian group WOWomen. In 2012 she began working as a performer in the NikaoArt group, a duo that explores stories through sculpture dresses.

Lucina Hartley Koudelka is an object designer and visual artist. She studied at the school of Decorative Arts in Paris. She founded with architect Vincenzo Iovino Paralleloa, a transdisciplinary studio combining design, architecture, art and craftsmanship. Together they aspire to create visual and spatial vocabularies which inspire sensitive and meaningful conversations between people and the tangible world that surrounds them. In addition to this collaboration, Lucina works on documentary films, drawings and paintings.

“Pandemic Dramaturgy. Co-Designing the Performance Dying Together/Futures Against the Background of Covid-19”

Alice Breemen (University of Amsterdam)

Philosopher Rosi Braidotti states that the coronavirus pandemic “[h]as proved a powerful catalyst in revealing often concealed or hidden degrees of social inequality” (Braidotti 2020, 27). Judith Butler has argued that the pandemic confronts us with dying and demands for sharing acts of mourning what is lost in the pandemic and in particular how is dealt with issues of vulnerability (Butler & Yancy 2020). Yet, Braidotti and Butler agree that this connection to others is not only limited to the human species, but requires also integrating non-human actors in the formation of new assemblages (Braidotti 2020, 26). Braidotti argues that we need a “shift of perspective” to find a new middle ground where we can do this (Braidotti 2020, 26).

In this paper I explore how the performance Dying Together/Futures (2020) by Dutch theatre collective Building Conversation can be considered as such a new middle-ground. I argue that the dramaturgy of Dying Together/Futures and the integration of the coronavirus itself as nonhuman participant initiate the formation of new assemblages both on visible and invisible levels, and also on conscious and unconscious levels.

The central lens I use in my analysis of the dramaturgy is the concept theatricality. Two aspects of this concept make it particularly fit for the analysis of a pandemic dramaturgy. These are theatricality as an epistemological tool (Röttger 2012, 43) and the ontology of theatricality as medium (Lavery 2020, Weber 2004). Their combination positions theatricality as both a shift in perspective that can extend to knowledge and insights on how we live and die together in the epoch that is called the Anthropocene, and at the same time as the medium of the here-and-now, connecting live bodies in the current moment.

“A New Audience Contract: Negotiating Liveness in Online Theatre during the Pandemic”

Lin Chen (University of Exeter)

In the Covid-19 pandemic, many theatres are using online platforms such as video-conferencing software and streaming services, endeavouring to continue presenting live theatre experience to their audiences. What strategies and aesthetics do these performances adopt to recreate ‘liveness’ in digital media? This paper attempts to examine this question with the example of Telephone, written and performed via Zoom by Tassos Stevens from the theatre company Coney, premiered in April 2020 amidst the first lockdown in England. Interweaving the history of the telephone with related personal stories contributed both by the performer and audience members, this piece recycles conventional framing devices including prologue, curtains, opening music, bar and drinks, audience interaction, and so forth. These devices not only set up the theatrical frame as Erving Goffman describes, which is founded on a performer-audience agreement allowing a fictive world to be conjured up onstage, but also are used in an attempt to negotiate a new contract, that is, to persuade the audience to accept and imagine a live theatre event being presented in virtual media. In this regard, this paper argues that such online theatre productions as Telephone ask us to set aside the ontological debate of liveness, and to see it instead as a negotiable agreement between theatre-makers and spectators, analogous to the conventional audience contract that is key to the theatrical experience.

Lin Chen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Drama at University of Exeter. Her research examines the interplay between the theatrical frame and digital media in online performances made during Covid-19. She holds an MA in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies from University of Warwick.

Sonic Environments

9:30-11:30, Tuesday September 7

Stream B – Seminar Room 125

Moderator: Susan Broadhurst (University of Bristol)

“Walking into History: Digital and Environmental Encounters through Heritage Audio Experiences”

Holly Maples (University of Essex)

Between 2020-2021 I created a series of seven audio dramatized experiences for medieval and early modern heritage sites in Norfolk. With an emphasis on the intersection between place, memory and performance, my Paston Footprints audio walks investigate how sites of the past can be reimagined through immersive audio storytelling, and what affect such sensorial experience has on intergenerational contemporary audiences. Launchng in the summer of 2021, I will conduct extensive research into the user experience of the audio walks to question how the public’s understandings of landscape/site/space shift/transform through their engagement with the Paston Footprints audio heritage walk experiences.

Audio work and headphone theatre has had a renaissance in the new world of the pandemic. Many theatre makers consulted during a UKRI study into COVID-19s impact on UK freelance theatre workers found podcasts, audio walking tours, and headphone theatre a useful way to reconnect with audiences in a time of Zoom fatigue. Commissions for audio work have expanded both the genre and number of creatives moving into this area for the summer of 2021 with the aim for artistic storytelling to enhance local community and further individual wellbeing in times of pandemic isolation and social distancing, however research is needed to explore both the artistic techniques to facilitate these claims, and the public’s reaction to them.

This paper investigates immersive audio technology's potential to create sensorial, embodied experiences of history for the heritage industry. Many of the sites of the walks are no longer present, due to environmental erosion and the changes of time. How does the fusion of the living landscape with digital explorations of the environment’s history transform the public’s engagement between “real” and “imagined” worlds. Through the integration of academic, artistic, and industry partnerships, our mission is to further innovations in immersive audio product design, as well as provide a robust study of audio storytelling’s potential impact on public engagement within the heritage industry. This research interrogates claims of audio experiences’ impact on mental health, wellbeing, and community development, particularly in the midst of uncertainty for public gatherings due to the global pandemic.

“The Virtual is Material: Music Improvisation in Post-Digital Ecologies”

Adam Pultz Melbye, Paul Stapleton and John Bowers (Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Queen's University, Belfast)

In this paper, we describe the development of an online sonic performance ecology through an autoethnographical account of work developed during the COVID19-pandemic by the trio 3BP (The Three-Body Problem), situated in three different countries.

A starting point was to explore the precarious properties of online audio transfer and, rather than trying to hide or manage compression artefacts, latency and, audio dropouts, the trio take these phenomena as sonic actors in a distributed and decentralised environment and explore their consequences for collectively improvised music-making.

By routing audio signals between the three performers’ bespoke instruments, local domestic studio spaces, and signal processing algorithms, a global feedback network emerges, in which resonant frequencies are shaped by the fluctuating character of the internet and the heterogenous materials as much as any human action. As such, the transduction of sound and human agency through multiple material and virtual circuits calls for a closer look at virtual/material, analogue/digital, human/technology, and agency/machine – couplings which are often taken as ontologically discrete and pre-given.

We argue that Karen Barad’s theory of intra-action is useful in understanding how a networked performance ecology can emerge as a material-discursive questioning of fixed boundaries. Rather than attempting to recreate the physical intimacy of the traditional pre-COVID19 concert situation, the trio regard boundary fixing and unfixing (making ‘agential cuts’ in Barad’s terms) as part of their improvisational work. Rather than a flat ontology, this is a bumpy and resistant materiality, where discourse is marked, not by anthropocentric linguistic processes, but by matter itself, be it fiber-optic cables, a double bass, a modular synthesizer, or an internet server. By connecting these nodes in feedback networks, the virtual reveals itself as material, engaging in boundary-making and intra-active processes that disrupt and reform human agency.

“Performing Agency for the Anthropocene: The Narratives, Rituals and Performance in the Chinese Theater of Cai Lun”

Hongliang Zhou (Zhejiang University)

The Anthropocene can be dated from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, such as the Eastern Han Dynasty of Ancient China (25 AD – 220 AD). The Great Eunuch Cai Lun cut down the forests and creatively transformed trees into paper. Therefore, Cai, as the inventor of paper and the modern papermaking process, is highly praised and appreciated by both the Chinese government and its people. The mainstream and official narrative regarded Cai as a patriotic hero, a pioneering scientist, and a symbol of Chinese traditional culture. Cai and his paper boosted cultural communication and reproduction within and outside the national border. Thanks to Cai’s efforts, knowledge and literacy are no longer the privileges that internally recycled and enjoyed by the aristocrats and the wealthy in ancient China. But the invention of paper also caused many side effects to the earth, such as deforestation and pollution, since it needs a huge number of trees as the raw materials. My research will use the theater Cai Lun as the case study, analyze the rituals and performance on stage. I will try to answer the following questions: who is Cai Lun? How is he represented and reshaped on stage by the famous Peking Opera actor? What are the narratives of this theater? What are the sonic environments and the environmental politics of listening in this theater? Why and how did he invent the paper? Why the paper matter, in the viewpoint of the Anthropocene? What is the after story and outcomes of the invention of paper?

Zhou Hongliang is a Ph.D. candidate in Zhejiang University and a Visiting Scholar in Ohio State University. His research interests include: Theater and Performance Theories, Early  Modern  Spanish Comedias,  Chinese  Operas  and  Eastern  Asian Literature. Hongliang is also an award-winning writer, a multilingual translator, a creative artist and a dreamer.

Digital Mapping

9:30-11:30, Tuesday September 7

Stream C – The Chapel

Moderator: Francesca Morini (Urban Complexity Lab, University of Potsdam)

“Tracing Hyperobjects: Digital Deep Mapping in the Anthropocene”

Oliver Dawkins, Duncan Hay and James Smith (University College London/ University College Cork)

Agency in the Anthropocene is premised on knowledge of a situation which challenges human comprehension through its complexity and exceeds the spatio-temporal limits of individual, human-scale experience. It hints at a scale and entanglement of factors that likewise defy conventional mapping and spatial methods. Timothy Morton offers the hyperobject as a description of such objects, and proposed new speculative and phenomenological strategies for their exploration. This raises a complex and daunting question: how can challenges of perceiving–and mapping–the forces at work at more-than-human scale be effectively addressed?

In this paper, we propose a digitally-expanded notion of ‘Deep Mapping’ as a potential methodology for sensing the contours of the hyperobject: a tracing or palpation of objects of knowledge which exceed the individual. In previous cultural moments, strategies such as Fredric Jameson’s ‘cognitive mapping’ have offered pathways for agency through spatial exploration and ordering of complex situations, though often at the expense of temporality. Deep Mapping, conversely, temporalises the act of mapping through narrativisation, but is typically localised and deliberately limited in scale.

We argue that the use of digital strategies to augment the Deep Map can transcend individual and local experience, and provides access to an understanding of the object by opening cognition to its many hidden dimensions, at spatial and temporal scales both above and below those available to human perception. If narrative can be used to reveal the psychological and cultural depths hidden in geographical space, then digital methods such as GIS and data visualisation can be used to demonstrate the way these depths are themselves part of higher-order temporal and spatial patterns. By combining the two, it is possible to ameliorate the deficiencies of other approaches to mapping the multiplicity of agencies at play in environmental perception while simultaneously accepting the finitude of knowledge possible of a hyperobject.

Oliver Dawkins is a Research Assistant at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London. His work focuses on the use of digital technologies in sensing and representing urban environments. He also draws on a background in philosophy and critical methodologies.

Duncan Hay is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, and the Department for English and Creative Writing, Lancaster University. His current research draws on critical theory and digital humanities methodologies to explore the relationship culture and space.

James L. Smith is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of English and Digital Humanities at University College Cork, working on the 2019-23 Ports, Past and Present project. His work is at the intersection of the blue, environmental, spatial and digital humanities.

“Visual models for social media image analysis: Engagement, rank, trend, and groupings. Mapping the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires”

Gabriele Colombo, Liliana Bounegru and Jonathan Gray (Politecnico Milano / King’s College London)

With social media image analysis, one collects and interprets online images en group (Colombo, 2018). The analytical undertaking requires formats for displaying collections of images that enable their inspection. We present four visual models for social media image analysis: treemap, grid, plot, and clusters. Each is taken in turn, together with how they facilitate analytical questions about image engagement, image ranks, image trends, and image groupings. We do so by taking as a case study the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires, one of the most globally mediatised forest fires of the recent past. By analysing images from digital platforms (including Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube), we take an approach that aims to repurpose the methods of the medium (Rogers, 2013; Rogers, 2019), seeking to understand visual narratives and forms of engagement, participation, and experience that emerge around this event.

Firstly, we discuss features of social media images to make a case for studying them in groups (rather than individually): circulation, multiplicity, remixability, platform specificity, image as data, and algorithmic visibility. In all, they both offer reasons and means for an approach to social media image research that privileges the collection of images as its analytical object.

Secondly, we present four visual models to undertake such an approach to visual research attuned to the nature of online visual materials. Each displays images in spatial arrangements that privilege particular ways of seeing (Berger, 2008) and enable a specific type of knowledge (Drucker, 2014), building on a peculiar conception of space: space as area (treemap), space as a container (grid), space as a coordinate system (plot), and complex space (clusters). Each visual model offers a particular view on the visual cultures around the 2019 Amazon fires: dominant images and their engagement (treemaps), image rankings per platform (grid), image trends over time (plot), thematic image groupings (clusters).

Our exploratory research indicates how the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires have surfaced many different kinds of relations between forests and various societal actors, issues, practices, politics, cultures, and processes – from bots to boycotts, agriculture to eco-activism, scientists to pop stars, indigenous communities to international concerns.

We conclude by discussing how visual models for interpreting online images en group enable enquiries into different kinds of visual ‘issuefication’ (Marres & Rogers, 2005) of ‘more-than-human’ (Tsing, 2013) assemblages such as the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires.

PhD in Design, Politecnico di Milano, Gabriele Colombo is affiliated with DensityDesign, a research lab at the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano, and with the Department of Architecture and Arts of the Università IUAV di Venezia. Since 2019 he has been Adjunct Professor at Politecnico di Milano, where he teaches ‘Digital Methods and Communication Design’ in the Communication Design Master Degree. He is part of the Visual Methodologies Collective at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and he is a member of the Public Data Lab. His research and teaching activities focus on the design of novel strategies for the communication, exploration, analysis and valorisation of collections of images and videos.

Liliana Bounegru is Lecturer in Digital Methods at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. Previously she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford). Since 2013 she has been a researcher at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam), where she also acted as Managing Director between 2014 and 2016. She obtained her double PhD degree (cum laude) from the University of Groningen and Ghent University. Prior to that she studied at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Bucharest. She co-founded the Public Data Lab, a network of research labs which seeks to facilitate research, democratic engagement and public debate around the future of the data society.

Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.


Raquel Caerols-Mateo and Francisco Cabezuelo-Lorenzo

This research paper focuses on the study and reflection on the exhibition Art, neuroscience and artificial intelligence, that took place at the prestigious Laboral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial (Workers Centre of Arts and Industrial Creations) in the city of Gijón, Northern Spain. It was curated by Karin Ohlenschläger and in the inauguration was invited one of the most relevant neuroscientists of our contemporaneity, Rafael Yuste, father of The Brain Project. Yuste showed and explained all the advances of his studies and research, whose main objective is to obtain the complete map of our brain activity, like the one we have from DNA.

Yuste talks about getting the full "movie", not just a few pixels of that brain activity. Therefore, the fundamental means to achieve this challenge is the use of imaging technologies, so the developments around these technologies are fundamental and must go in parallel to achieve what is intended.

The group of artists that brought together this exhibition: Guy Ben-Ary, Clara Boj & Diego Díaz, Daniel Canogar, María Castellanos & Alberto Valverde, Ursula Damm, Marco Donnarumma, Justine Emard, Emanuel Gollob, Mario Klingemann, Lancel/Maat, Laramascoto, Lisa Park, Miguel Ángel Rego, Birk Schmithüsen, propose and exploration of our brain activity in different parts of our brain / hardward through different visualizations in the exhibited installations.

Therefore, this proposal focuses on taking a tour of the different works exhibited by the artists, including interviews with some of them to motivate a debate about the role that artists can play in the challenges of 21st century neuroscience. Neuroscientists will surely help us to know how our hardware works, but won't the contribution of artists be essential for the development of the software/mind?

Raquel Caerols-Mateo (Madrid, 1978) is an expert in Contemporary Art and Digital Creation, especially in Sound Art. She is a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Journalism and New Media at the School of Mass Media and Communication Studies at the prestigious Complutense University, in Madrid, the largest public university in Spain. She has enjoyed international stages in Italy, United Kingdom and Latin America. Email:

Francisco Cabezuelo-Lorenzo, PhD (Madrid, 1977) is a full-time lecturer and researcher at the School of Mass Media and Communication Studies at  the prestigious Complutense University, in Madrid, the largest public university in Spain. He is an expert of Cultural Studies and Art History. He is fluent in English, Italian and Spanish. His academic career includes international  activities in Belgium, Canada, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal UK, USA, and Latin America. Email:

“Digital Worldbuilding and Exoplanetary Affects in the Anthropocene”

Rachel Hill (University College London)

In 2018 NASA launched its Exoplanet Travel Bureau website, a virtual platform through which visitors can ‘explore’ various exoplanets in 360°, from planetary scales to on-the-ground views. These simulated panoramas are highly speculative maps whose navigation relies upon users' literacy with similar cartographic programs such as GoogleMaps. Each of these visualisations are prefixed with the disclaimer: “you are viewing an artist’s impression of what an exoplanet surface might look like, based on limited data. No actual images of this planet exist.” And yet, due to the verisimilitude between actually mapped terrains and speculatively imagined vistas, these digital representations dovetail the measurable with the hypothetical, making delineations between real and imagined increasingly difficult to parse. These images are less than real but more than illustrative.

Exoplanetary visualisations and landscapes metabolise solar systemic and digital mapping practices, (such as found in interplanetary space probe photography), as analogues through which to sculpt simulations of other worlds. Poised between scientific data and speculative extrapolation, exoplanetary visualisations build upon what anthropologist Lisa Messeri has termed “planetary imaginaries.” These images and their imaginaries format the unknowns of alien worlds into intelligible places, concordant with human scales and contiguous with pre-established parameters of the world, whilst also playing a central role in contemporary conceptualisations of outer space.

What does it mean to experience digital renderings of interstellar distances during anthropocenic decline?This paper will consider how exoplanetary visualisations fold the microlevels of individual digital experience into macrolevel astronomical simulations, forging new affects and modes of embodiment. It will tease out how contemporary forms of world-building, premised upon scientific discovery, modulate how we experience, narrate and interact with the notion of world. Finally, this paper will use exoplanetary visualisations of alien expressions of nature as an axis from which to think through emerging understandings of the environment.

Rachel Hill will begin her PhD studies in the Science and Technology department of University College London in October 2021, with a fully funded studentship from the London Arts and Humanities platform (LAHP). She recently completed her Ma in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she wrote her dissertation on the contemporary Sociotechnical imaginaries of outer space. She is a co-director of the London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC) and explores the radical potential of speculative fiction as a member of the feminist research collective Beyond Gender. She regularly speaks in various conferences and workshops on the intersection of astronomy, sociotechnical imaginaries and contemporary visualities.

Performance in the Pandemic

14:30-16:30, Tuesday, September 7

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Ramona Mosse (Freie Universität Berlin)

“Going to the Theatre in Pandemic Times – From 'Zurüstung' to Digital Foyers”

Ann-Christine Simke (University of Bern), Sascha Förster (Theatermuseum Düsseldorf) and Raimund Rosarius (LMU München)

The quite uncommon German word ‘Zurüstung’ translates to 'setting up' or 'preparation'. The term derives from armor; thus, ‘Zurüstung’ is a process of arming oneself, highlighting a process of an active theatrical preparation of the audience. That routine of arming oneself grounds in a repetition of specific patterns. Both occasional and regular theatre goers will have their own individual process of getting ready. That 'Zurüstung' allows them to turn themselves into a spectator, ready to experience performing arts. Theatre scholar Robin Nelson proposes the term “experiencer” to describe “a more immersive engagement in which the principles of composition of the piece create an environment designed to elicit a broadly visceral, sensual encounter” (Nelson 2010: 45). He regards the ‘experiencer’ as a specific audience in immersive and intermedial performance. Contrary to his argument that it is the mode of performance that turns a person either into a spectator or into an ‘experiencer’, we argue that it can be the audience members who turn themselves into ‘experiencers.’ And they achieve that by following a process of ‘Zurüstung’ that enables them to not just sit back but to make themselves ready to become part of an experience.

However, theatre in pandemic times has turned virtual and our trusted ways of preparation for a night (or day) out at the theatre had to change. The homepage usually is the first and sometimes last encounter with a performance. Theatre websites serve a myriad of functions from establishing the corporate design to displaying information about productions, the institution, its employees, current productions, its history, sponsorship, press material., etc. Additionally, theatres have started to play around with offering audiences virtual foyer experiences, letting them choose avatars to explore digital representations of familiar theatre buildings or creating opportunities to meet fellow (but often random) audience members via spontaneous audio-visual encounters.

In our presentation, we offer three individual 10-minute provocations on the theme of ‘Zurüstung’: in physical locations (pre-pandemic), through the portal of websites and through the relatively new format of digital foyers. We will ask: How have our rituals of getting ready changed and what new forms of relationality and engagement have emerged?


Nelson, R. (2010) Mapping Intermediality in Performance. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Sascha Förster is Head of the Theatre Museum in Düsseldorf. His research interests include theatre in the Weimar Republic; theatre architecture; Fundus and repertoire; theatre workshops; theatre historiography; memory, history and theatre.

Raimund Rosarius is research fellow in Theatre Studies in Munich and also teaches in Dance Studies in Salzburg. In his research he plays on the overlaps of embodied research with performance and technology studies.

Ann-Christine Simke is postdoctoral researcher at the Theatre Studies Institute at University of Bern. Her research interests encompass institutional dramaturgy, intersectional approaches to theatre studies and the digital turn in the performing arts.

* This presentation will take the form of a three-way exchange.

“Dance of Silence: COVID-19, lockdown and new forms of liveness in italian digital performance”

Vincenzo del Gaudio (Università di Salerno)

On April 18, 2020, while Italy is in full lockdown, the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini in an interview with Radio 3, commenting on the artistic ferment, especially produced by artists of the live entertainment sector on social networks, proposes the government to take charge of a portal, that he himself defines as "Netflix of culture". Never before do theater and performing arts find themselves facing an unprecedented crisis: the impossibility of leaving home, the prohibitions on gathering, the use of masks are all provisions that undermine the peculiarities of the live show throwing it into an endless night. But theater does not give up and this is precisely the finding, a bit paradoxical to tell the truth, of Minister Franceschini. The vitality of theater artists during the lockdown is such a clear element as to lead the minister to hypothesize a container for these new performance models with all the ensuing debate. Our intervention intends to investigate some of the media logics of production and consumption of live entertainment that underlie new forms of hybrid liveness to propose a first theoretical systematization. The growing mediatization of society (Couldry Hepp 2106) highlights its potential and limitations in the performative device. On the one hand, in fact, we found ourselves facing with simulation models of performative liveness linked to a vanish liveness (Del Gaudio 2021), which was also based on the revival of archive shows (Many of the stable theaters and the #indifferita project of the company Frosini / Timpano), on the other hand the artists experienced the possibilities of an online liveness (Auslander 2012; Gemini 2016) which exploited the live communication models of the different media forms: Theater on the phone (Caspirago, Cuocolo-Bosetti); forms of radio-dramatic remedies (Radio India, Francesca Fini, CinquiNa), up to real online performances that show the duplicity of space and time in digital performances (Stage genome). The closed theaters have therefore produced new models of theatrical fruition and production, which represented for the artists a sort of cry in the silence, a sort of accusatory: “I exist”. What remains of this experience during the lockdown? Can these new models be conceived as part of a future evolution of digital performances (Kattenbelt 2008, Del Gaudio 2021)? Now that theaters are slowly reopening with all the distancing rules that undermine the sustainability of an entire sector, what remains of the digital performance models produced during the lockdown and what role do they play for the relaunch of the live show.

Dancing Beyond the Human

14:30-16:30, Tuesday, September 7

Stream B – Seminar Room 125

Moderator: Alexander H. Schwan (Freie Universität Berlin)

“Somatechnics and Dis/ability ”

Johannes Birringer (Brunel University)

This film/presentation explores movement and challenges to movement, raising questions about re-embodiment/de-distancing and dis/abilities in our inter-pandemic. The primary focus is on techno-choreography and the somatechnical predicaments we face in contemporary practices of movement, dance, and social choreographies, in an era of uncertainty and new challenges in the face of the socio-political, cultural and economic fall-out from virological pandemics. “Techno-choreography” suggests a playful and queering approach to the “virtual” and the “prosthetic,” not as variations of physical embodiment but as a necessary “augmented” reality, to account for mislocalized sensations or different forms of affect and “handlings” – tactile perceptions of exterior and interior kinetics.

The film is based on performances and workshops conducted in late 2020 and the spring of 2021 involving mixed abled participants who explored both a ritual approach to shared work as well as disability-tech ideas to foster shared environments of deep listening and slow assemblage, reorienting nondisabled performers and adjusting cultural and ontological viewpoints.

Johannes Birringer is a choreographer and media artist; he co-directs the Design and Performance-Lab at Brunel University London where he is a Professor of Performance Technologies in the School of Arts.  He has created numerous dance-theatre works, video installations and digital projects in collaboration with artists in Europe, the Americas, China, and Japan. DAP-Lab’s new immersive dance installations, metakimospheres, began touring in Europe in 2015-19. His books include Media and Performance (1998), Performance on the Edge (2000), Performance, Technology, and Science (2009), & Kinetic Atmospheres (2021). Website:

“Deep Flow: a return to bodily experience”

Jeannette Ginslov and Daniel Spikol (London South Bank University / University of Copenhagen)

How to change modes of "looking outwardly" to "looking inwardly"? This performance provocation presents an Embodied dance practice Deep Flow, to disrupt ecologies of attention, produced by the Anthropocene, in which neoliberal subjects increasingly find themselves measured and shaped by numbers, through interactions with online and self-tracking technologies, the Attention Economy. These ocularcentric interactions require one to look outwardly to validate human experience. However, this neglects the vast storehouse of felt and bodily experience that online and self-tracking technologies, used instrumentally, cannot capture.

This performance provocation challenges "looking outwardly" by exploring strategies of "looking inwardly", proposing an Embodied dance practice, that uses a heart rate monitor to illuminate the neglected experiential aspects of bodily experience, changing ecologies of attention to ones of experiencing. By reorienting visual mastery over things in the world, we may become more dependent on our felt-sense and embodied experience rather than gazing into a digital-Other, a smart mobile phone or social media, in which we constantly inscribe ourselves to create self-identity and shareable recognition.

To explore this strategy, Deep Flow, uses a practice as research methodology, and phenomenological methods to; explore whole body experiences; investigate bodily and experiential interactions with technology; and to explore human relations with non-human materials. By "looking inwardly", within an ecology of lived experience, biometric data, tangible and intangible materials, Deep Flow collapses binary notions of inside and outside, subject and object. It proposes; a return to bodily experience and sense perception, through states of flow, relational embodiment and embodied materiality, to construct knowledge from a first-person perspective, and to expand an understanding of our bodily experiences in relation to technology, human and nonhuman materials.

Jeannette Ginslov is an artist, researcher, and freelance lecturer of Screendance, embodied dance and technologies. She is a final year PhD candidate at London South Bank University exploring: Deep Flow: a tentacular worlding of dance, biosensor technology, lived experience, and embodied materials of the human and non-humankind. She has an MSc in Screendance (Distinction) from Dundee University, and an MA in Choreography, Rhodes University. Ginslov is also a Screendance maker, producer, workshop facilitator and director of Screendance Africa (Pty) Ltd. She collaborates with Susan Kozel, Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir, Keith Lim and Daniel Spikol on Screendance and AR projects: AffeXity (2010-2014), Somatic Archiving (2017), Conspiracy Archives (2018), and Bodily Interfaces (2021-ongoing).

Daniel Spikol is Associate Professor of Computational Thinking at the Center for Digital Education, Departments of Computer Science and Science Education at the University of Copenhagen. His research investigates how people collaborate with multimodal learning analytics (inspired by social signal processing ambient computing). He develops technologies that support learning, play, and reflection. His current work uses physical computing to inspire learners for computational tinkering and thinking.


Julia Abs (University of São Paulo) and Lucas Lacaz

For the last ten years, Lucas Lacaz Ruiz (Brazilian) has been creating new forms of agency – within both human and non-human forms of life – to match the changing reality of soil. In São José dos Campos (one hour and a half from São Paulo), Lucas is recycling the surplus food from street markets and transforming them into compost. He is posing a number of questions to the reality in which he lives, examining the political, educational, cultural, ethical and ecological actions that form this reality, highlighting the pressing issues of climate change and the current ecological crisis: How do we sustain ourselves? How are we dealing with excess and waste? How can we solve a problem that the government is ignoring? By making the entire process of food production visible and perceptible, from the soil to the market, the photographer is critically reflecting on scarcity and waste by means of the organic composting process. The new product – compost – reveals renegotiation of the dynamics in the intra/inter-actions of all those who work with food production and waste, and demonstrates their entangled relationship with things, objects, other animals, living beings, organisms, physical forces, spiritual entities, and humans. Allegorically composting also depicts notions of alchemy, purification, mineralization, ritualization as ethical and political values that will lead our futures and post-pandemic transformations of artistic practices.

Lacaz’s composting is the object of choreographic research by Júlia Abs (Brazilian), who explores its process as a choreographic piece. We are working on a choreographic analysis of the composting process – applying the web-based software system Piecemaker and Mosys from Motion Bank (Germany, 2010 – ongoing) in the field of dance digital annotation – using documented video material, from which we will produce a digital score. In dance, score is commonly understood to be a document that provides instructions for actions and can be translated into a performance. Our aim is to perform the score Composing Choreographic Compost in the context of the conference Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts 2021 as a mixture of live and digital performances, presenting ways to think about epochs to come that can reestablish basic care within food production activities, composting, wasting, planting, growing, considering new ethics of existence through the agency of soil.

Júlia Abs is a PhD student at the University of São Paulo and a guest researcher at the Institut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft from the Justus Liebig Universität Gießen. Her research interests comprise performance studies and methodology in the field of contemporary performing arts, history and art philosophy, and interdisciplinary processes of academic and artistic research. She works as a choreographer and performer in her own projects and collaborates with artists in Brazil and abroad. Currently she is researching the subjects of body-archive, digital annotation in dance, and its transmission, documentation, and communication in web-based systems in Germany.

“Shifting perspectives: A kinesthetic dialogue about Synthetic Biology in a more-than-human world”

Sarah Pini & Jestin George (University of Southern Denmark /University of Technology Sydney)

Sara Pini (University of Southern Denmark) and Jestin George (University of Technology Sydney) will explore their dance project “Shifting Perspectives” (created together with Melissa Ramos from Dance Cinema) that brings together synthetic biology with dance and digital movement practices. Our aim with this work is to open a multivocal interdisciplinary dialogue across screendance, performance and synthetic biology. Synthetic biology and the redesigning of biological systems could offer an alternative option, a living, growing, biological technology. Such an alternative would be capable of disrupting many fossil-fuels based industries and reshaping technology as we know it. Moreover, design can help us access incredible aspects of biology; from animal-free meat and biofuels to plastic-degrading bacteria and cures for diseases. As we try to move towards a future based on a bio-economy, how do we align with the possibilities of designing with life? And can we make space for the non-human life we aim to become so heavily reliant upon?

**Please note: You can see their dance film “Shifting Perspectives” as part of  the DRHA Installation.

Sarah Pini is assistant professor of dance and performance at the University of Southern Denmark. Sarah works across the fields of anthropology, cognitive science, visual arts, dance and cognition in skilled performance. Her artistic practice captures the interconnections of movement, emotion and environment and how their dynamic entanglements shape storytelling and sense making. Her work received several acknowledgements including the 2019 Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) Australia Student Prize and won the 2018 Visual and Creative Ethnography Competition by Australian Anthropological Society (AAS). Her research has been published in academic journals including Performance Research; JER, The Journal of Embodied Research; Frontiers in Psychology; and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet, among others.

Jestin George is a biotechnologist and biodesign lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), working with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to make microalgae better cell factories, as well as a freelance artist. Jestin’s research has spanned plant, mammalian cell, and microalgal biotech systems across universities in South Africa, the UK, and Australia. Jestin sees a vital gap between the types of exciting technologies being developed in life sciences research and the creatives who could be designing with them. She aims to use non-conventional platforms to contribute towards two-way knowledge sharing to improve biotechnology and biodesign.

Fragments, Time & Futurisms

14:30-16:30, Tuesday, September 7

Stream C – The Chapel

Moderator: Nina Tolksdorf (EXC 2020 / Freie Universität Berlin)

“Hybrid specimens: Fragments I + II”

Maria Kyrou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Exploring the intersection of digital and embodied materialities, my presentation is focused on two sculptural artefacts, which were originally created during my studies in computational design.

The creation of these objects was a part of a broader material research, whose objective was to define a stand towards Modern architecture. In response, these artefacts aimed to form a calm provocation. They are based on the idea that ‘Modernity lies,’ by presenting matter in platonic forms and by hiding its intricacy under pure, white plaster. In order to reveal and re-enact this material complexity, two stone fragments were scavenged from a dilapidated Modern building : a composite material -cement- and a natural one -marble.

Through intuitive co-relations, each fragments’ material specificity (form, transparency, texture) inspired their sculptural development. Two classic processes of parametric design – ‘array’ and ‘blend’ – were re-created on the fragments’ bodies in a purely analogue way and through intense physical craftmanship. The resulting artefacts are fusions, not only of matter, but also of two completely different strands of design mentality and process (digital vs analogue).

The resulting forms evoke organic impressions, which however remain consciously undefined and open to interpretation. In an interplay of scale and perception, the artefacts could both be the specimens and/or the landscapes themselves.

The presentation form aims to take this interplay further by digitizing the artefacts through photogrammetry and presenting them in a video animation. Through this process, a fine level of formal detail and texture is retained, which however refrains from the photorealistic quality of a render. In the final result the physical texture of the objects and the resolution of their digital avatar are allowed to intertwine. A poetic monologue, recorded as 3D audio, intimately accompanies the video – at the same time addressing the objects and taking place within them.

Maria Kyrou (Dipl. Eng., M.Arch. ) is a Berlin-based architect with a focus on transdisciplinary research. She studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). Parallel to her studies, she participated to LABattoir project, a 2-year initiative focused on art for social change. In 2020 she was shortlisted for the fellowship program 4A_Lab of the Max Planck Society. Currently, she contributes to the intercultural project Peripher_ies, led by the Hyperwerk Institute of Post-industrial Design (Basel).

“Found shells and reimagining the locative experience: reflections on Geomedia art project”

Camila Mangueira, Fabrício Fava and Miguel Carvalhais

In the current cultural and social contexts, increasingly mediated by digital media and online networks, software and mobile technologies seem to be re-ordering the everyday life experiences by controlling the mobilities within places in real-time. Through the digital device and amidst visions shared by software interfaces and the physical world, we face a hybrid performance of techno and biological entities in the constitution of the sense of passage and landscape. Given this, how can we reflect on chance, memory, and exploration of spaces in the development of locative narratives? What are the impacts of technoculture on the production of city imaginaries and their environmental characteristics? This article aims to discuss sensory processes and affective experiences of expanding our relations with urban spaces through the presentation and discussion of the Geomedia art project. Started in 2019, this ongoing project came from the perception of the presence of shells inserted in the urban pavements of Porto, Portugal, a very touristic city. As small fossils, these shells preserve information of its track as well as of the city’s building. Hence, they can be seen as media and reflect the tendency of nature to save and retain information, which is also a quality of the photographic gesture. The understanding of those geological materials as contemporary and media, as an act of fossilization of time, provokes a shift of vision about technology and environmental effects. In the light of this, we will present alternative ways of experience building from the perspective of discovered artefacts, such as photographic content, digital mapping, and visualization devices (artisanal cameras, monocles, and stereoscopes). The article presents ways to an ecological media awareness through a multidisciplinary practice in design and the arts not only centred on humans.

Camila Mangueira is an artist, designer and, currently, an invited assistant

professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. Camila holds a Ph.D. in communication and semiotics focused on photographic thinking.

She is interested in the visual intelligence phenomena and has been dedicating her research to the complex representations of digital images and

bio-technological vision from a semiotic perspective.

Fabrício Fava is a designer and integrated researcher at i2ADS (Research Institute in Art, Design and Society) based at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication and Semiotics focused on the multidisciplinary relations of design, creativity, games and learning from a systemic perspective. He is interested in ludic approaches based on speculative and playful design.

Miguel Carvalhais is a designer, musician and assistant professor with habilitation at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. He studies creative practices with computational systems, having written the book Artificial Aesthetics on the topic. His research and practice explore how computational and procedural systems are read by humans, and how procedural discovery and interpretation are paramount for the creation of meaning and the aesthetic experience. His artistic practice spans computer music, sound art, live performance, audio-visuals and sound installations.

“The Army as the Anthropocene: Redrawing Histories in Malik Sajad’s A Boy in Kashmir”

Jaya Yadav (University of Delhi)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has blurred the lines between lived reality and representations of dystopia, and various genres of literature. One may argue that the binaries between ‘dystopia’ and ‘reality’ have been undone during the second wave of Covid, especially in India, where millions of people are grappling with systemic failures resulting in a catastrophic tragedy. Amidst such traumatic everyday life, one must also interrogate paradigms of systemic inequality that has widened during the crisis. The ongoing implications of the anthropocene have been heightened during this time, and find expression in literature, especially in readings of dystopian fiction emerging from South Asia. The evolution of dystopian fiction, namely through graphic novels of the region can be read through Malik Sajad’s Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir, which delineates a personal and political history of Kashmir through the eyes of a young boy, Munnu, whose own kunstlerroman esque journey shapes his perspectives on the conflict surrounding him. The central motif of the half human, half endangered hangul highlights the role of the State and Army on the natural environment The altering landscape of the homes of Kashmiris, now almost unrecognizable with the arrival of the army is noticeable through this act of creating textual evidence in the form of the graphic novel, capturing the human violence committed upon natural resources as well as human relations. The inflections of the anthropocene, intertwined represented through the medium of the graphic novel capture the violence and its ripple effects on the environment, articulating the psychological trauma on both Kashmirs and their land, as well as resources. The army exploits and threatens the existence of both the people and thwarts their symbiotic relationship with the environment. Sajad’s historiographical approach to redraw and inscribe history through the graphic exemplifies the tensions between the text and image in the novel. He raises important questions of how the anthropocene can be reimagined in a digital world, where ironically the army is portrayed as humans, and not the Kashmiris, who have been stripped of their rights.

Accelerating Spectrality in Contemporary China

Ella Raidel (NTU Singapore)

In the Anthropocene epoch, human beings are not only homeless with regard to the environment, but also to themselves. The sense of homelessness, as the result of rapid global urbanization, is well documented by film practices. The individuation, depicted through the protagonists in contemporary Chinese films, is a hauntology of human existence, which shows roaming and drifting specters that cannot take root as they lack a connection to the past and the foreseeable future. Contemporary Chinese cinemas show this radical negativity of living, the spectrality, referring to Derrida’s wordplay in Specters of Marx, that ontology can become a hauntology. The changing of human labor and existence into a commodity is the spectralization of being. Cao Fei’s film Haze and Fog (2013), Zhao Liangs Behemoth (2016), Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still (2018) and Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White (2018) show the alienation in China’s urbanscapes in the technical progress of capitalism. Cinema in that sense becomes the pathological expression of the urban transformation by creating dystopian images of a world increasingly populated by different spectralities — phantoms, ghosts, and zombies– in twisting the dimension of the living and the dead for an apt description of the hostile planet.

**Please also see Raidel’s video work Ghost Hits Wall (2021) in our Installation Space.

Ella Raidel is a filmmaker, artist and researcher. She is an Assistant Professor at NTU Singapore at the ADM School of Art, Design and Media and the WKWSCI School of Communication and Information. In her interdisciplinary work – films, videos, writings – she focuses on the socio-cultural impact of globalization with a focus on urbanization and Asian Cinema.

Visualising Data in Artistic Practice

17:00-18:30, Tuesday, September 7

Stream A – Seminar Room 22

Moderator: Jan-Erik Stange (EXC 2020 / Freie Universität-Berlin)

“Covid Distancing and the Creation of Data Art”

Christian Riegel and Katherine Robinson (University of Regina)

This presentation grows out of the interdisciplinary research program in the IMPACT (Interactive Media, Poetics, Aesthetics, Cognition, and Technology) Lab at the University of Regina. A key stream of our work has been the collaboration between cognitive psychologist Robinson and literary studies and health humanities scholar Riegel. We challenge research epistemologies in our work by using eye tracking technology to examine how people interact with literary texts and visual art. We conduct conventional cognitive research studies and write custom software code to capture the data streams generated by the eye trackers to produce aesthetic objects. We are interested in how the technology, which is designed for research and other purposes (such as gaming or marketing studies), and its processes can be used for art creation.

In this paper, we discuss a study in which we created artwork from eye movements while art was viewed. Our study arises out of the constraints of conducting research requiring human interaction during the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants entered our lab and engaged a laptop computer and an AIX-60 eye tracker. As we could not be in proximity with participants, all interactions were conducted via a remote Zoom session on a second screen. Participants viewed various art works, and the eye tracker generated data streams that measure eye movements, and our custom software created aesthetic visualizations of the data streams. Our study is interested in how the context itself reflects the dehumanized nature of human interactions during the pandemic where the emphasis has largely been on digital interactions. How can the process of engaging solely with technology result in artwork that reflects its creation? We used a questionnaire to measure reactions to the dehumanized experience, contextualizing the digital art, which we incorporate into our discussion in this paper.

Katherine M. Robinson is Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina. Her research focuses on mathematical cognition and on eye tracking, art creation, and disability. She has previously presented at DRHA (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019). Amongst her works are Mathematical Learning and Cognition in Early Childhood, and she is completing work on two further books on mathematical cognition.

Christian Riegel is Professor of English Literature and Director of the Health and Medical Humanities program at the University of Regina. His research focuses on death, dying, and loss in literary culture, as well as on how eye trackers can be used for art creation purposes. He has previously presented at DRHA (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019). Amongst his works are Response to Death: The Literary Work of Mourning and From the Trenches: Health Humanities in Application (forthcoming).

“Exploring the Visualization of Scientific Data for Artistic Practice: starting from an art collection”

Toni Sant and Enrique Tabone

Digital Curation Lab Director Toni Sant and the artist Enrique Tabone are collaborating on a research project exploring the visualization of specific datasets from Wikidata for artistic practice. The research stems from a digital curation project conducted by Tabone on the women artists whose works are in the University of Salford’s Art Collection. This art collection was established in c.1968 and now contains works by about 700 artists. Only about 70 of these works are attributed to women. The gender balance has improved through recent acquisitions. Nevertheless, only 35% of works acquired since 2013 are by women artists.

Through data analysis, employing Wikidata tools, this project reveals how works by women and non-binary artists can be given greater public visibility. It also suggests ways for addressing the gender gap. Wikidata is an open structured data repository that enables information to be organized in useful ways. Employing data visualization tools on the wiki platform, this research project aims to develop a creative workflow model for processing essential information about the University of Salford's Art Collection current holdings and new acquisitions. It also aims to eventually apply this model beyond this collection.

The project has two outputs. Initial findings enable the collection managers to get a better picture of the gender gap and plan data-based ways to present works in the collection. All this is useful for the potential revision of acquisition priorities, not only for new works but also in terms of balancing gender representation through historical acquisitions. Furthermore, the artist is using the same tools and dataset to initiate an artistic exploration involving the visualizing of the scientific data from this art collection, with special attention to the aesthetic qualities afforded by this technological engagement.

Toni Sant is the Director of the University of Salford’s Digital Curation Lab at MediaCityUK. His writings about media archaeology and digital curation have appeared in various books and academic journals. He is also an associate editor of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. More at

Enrique Tabone is a UK-based artist and designer, whose works have been exhibited in the UK, Malta, Germany, China, and Turkey. She also produces collections of wearable art through the QUEstijl brand, of which she is the founder. She recently completed a postgraduate course in Digital Curation at the University of Salford in the UK. More at

“Visualising the Festival Network of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia”

Sarah Thomasson (Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington)

International arts festivals are predicated on the global mobility of artists, performances, and material goods (such as sets and costumes). As performance and mobilities scholar Fiona Wilkie has persuasively argued, ‘[t]he circulation and production of contemporary arts practices have an intrinsic mobility that is worth conceiving as such’ (Wilkie 2015: 9). I argue that the festivals of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, as both presenting bodies and co-producers of new work, facilitate the flows of theatrical production into and out of the region. In doing so, they act as conduits to connect the region with broader global circulations of artistic practice. Responding to Alexandra Portmann’s call for a new historiography to analyse new modes of cultural production across festival sites, I propose shifting the scale of analysis from individual performances to their global transmission (Portmann 2020: 36; 51).

In this paper, I use digital humanities methodologies to visualise and analyse the movement of theatrical performance within the festival network of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Aided by AusStage, the Australian live performing arts database, I map transnational festival data over time. Analysis of this dataset will reveal the frequency of movement between these two countries with close geographical, historical, and diplomatic ties via the festival network. Visualising data of artistic practice, moreover, will reveal patterns and touring circuits that point to collaborations among festival organising bodies. With the global health pandemic threatening the future of place-based festivals, the need to forge new interdisciplinary methods that can make perceivable the invisible dimensions of festival mobility, and its concomitant social, economic, and environmental impacts is even more urgent.

Sarah Thomasson is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at Te Herenga Waka –Victoria University of Wellington. She writes on contemporary theatre and performance practices with a focus on international arts festivals and their fringes. Her monograph, The Festival Cities of Edinburgh and Adelaide, is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan.

Artificial Becomings

17:00-18:30, Tuesday, September 7

Stream B – Seminar Room 125

Moderator: Susanne Lettow (Freie Universität-Berlin)

“Living with AI – Revisiting Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Agent Ruby (2002)”

Gabriella Giannachi (University of Exeter)

In 2002 US Bay Area artist Lynn Hershman Leeson developed the interactive multiuser work Agent Ruby from the expanded cinema project Teknolust (2002). Ruby consists of an artificially intelligent Web agent with a female persona and a female face with shifting expressions who could chat with users and search the internet for information so as to increase her ‘body’ of knowledge. Agent Ruby, which explores our changing identity and our relatability to post-human and non-human entities, is capable of remembering the questions and voice of the person she encounters, develop mood and emotions. The work was acquired by SFMOMA in 2008 and subsequently exhibited in 2013 at the SFMOMA exhibition Lynn Hershman Leeson: The Agent Ruby Files in which audience records covering 12 years of the work were also exhibited. These were based on specific topics including economy, dreams, feminism, human, jokes, philosophy, politics, sexuality and technology, with each topic being filed in a binder for the exhibition. Agent Ruby was subsequently migrated so that her domain name reflects that she is now part of the SFMOMA collection. This paper presents the history of Agent Ruby and analyses the artist vision for the work and how Agent Ruby has interacted with audiences over the years. The paper also looks into the challenges involved in the conservation of the work, both as a piece of art and a document, ultimately reflecting on what it might mean to live with AI.

Gabriella Giannachi, FRSA, MAE, is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technologies at the University of Exeter, which promotes advanced interdisciplinary research in creative technologies by facilitating collaborations between academics from a range of disciplines with cultural and creative organisations.

Her publications include: On Directing, ed. with Mary Luckhurst (Methuen 1999); Staging the Post-avantgarde, co-authored with Nick Kaye (Peter Lang 2002); Virtual Theatres: an Introduction (Routledge 2004); Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, ed. with Nigel Stewart (Peter Lang 2005); The Politics of New Media Theatre (Routledge 2007); Performing Presence: Between the Live and the Simulated, co-authored with Nick Kaye (MUP 2011), nominated in Theatre Library Association 44th Annual Book Awards (2012); Performing Mixed Reality, co-authored with Steve Benford (MIT Press 2011); Archaeologies of Presence, co-edited with Nick Kaye and Michael Shanks (Routledge 2012); Archive Everything: Mapping the Everyday (MIT Press 2016) and Histories of Performance Documentation: Museum, Artistic and Scholarly Practices, co-edited with Jonah Westerman (Routledge 2017). She is currently working on a monograph researching technologies for self-portraiture for Routeldge and, in collaboration with Annet Dekker, she is working on an edited collection in the field of digital art documentation.

“Models for Environmental Literacy”

Tivon Rice (University of Washington – DXARTS)

In the face of climate change, large-scale computer-controlled systems are being deployed to understand terrestrial systems. Artificial intelligence is used on a planetary scale to detect, analyze and manage landscapes. In the West, there is a great belief in ‘intelligent’ technology as a lifesaver. However, practice shows that the dominant AI systems lack the fundamental insights to act in an inclusive manner towards the complexity of ecological, social, and environmental issues. This, while the imaginative and artistic possibilities for the creation of non-human perspectives are often overlooked.

With the long-term research project and experimental films ‘Models for Environmental Literacy’, the artist Tivon Rice explores in a speculative manner how A.I.s could have alternative perceptions of an environment. Three distinct A.I.s were trained for the screenplay: the SCIENTIST, the PHILOSOPHER, and the AUTHOR. The A.I.s each have their own personalities and are trained in literary work – from science fiction and eco-philosophy, to current intergovernmental reports on climate change. Rice brings them together for a series of conversations while they inhabit scenes from scanned natural environments. These virtual landscapes have been captured on several field trips that Rice undertook with FIBER(Amsterdam) and BioArt Society (Helsinki) over the past two years. ‘Models for Environmental Literacy’ invites the viewer to rethink the nature and application of artificial intelligence in the context of the environment.

Tivon Rice is an artist and educator working across visual culture and technology. Based in Seattle (US), his work critically explores representation and communication in the context of digital culture and asks: how do we see, inhabit, feel, and talk about these new forms of exchange? How do we approach creativity within the digital? What are the poetics, narratives, and visual languages inherent in new information technologies? And what are the social and environmental impacts of these systems?

“Binary Selves, Endless Becomings: Datafication and Emancipation in 'AI – When a Robot Writes a Play'”

Çağdaş Duman with Imke van Heerden and Anil Bas (Boğaziçi University / Koç University / Marmara University)

'AI: When a Robot Writes a Play' was developed as part of the THEaiTRE project to celebrate the centenary of Karel Čapek’s influential play 'R.U.R,' in which the word “robot” first appeared. The play consists of a series of machine-generated dialogues to which minor adjustments were made. Performed in Czech, it premiered on 26 February 2021 and was live-streamed with English subtitles. It is claimed to be the first AI-written play and tells the story of Troy, a robot, who explores his “binary self” in an absurdly incapacitated human society. Within this desolate and unlivable landscape, subjects have been inured to their state as dividual (in the Deleuzian sense) non-entities. Datafied, and thus codified, the human subjects act as if they are accustomed to this reduced reality. Control, in the play, is their quotidian aspiration, to which these subjects are drawn by design and inept at reacting. Unable to explore their selves anymore, these dividuals rely on Troy to upend their crises. Seeking to offer insight into the question of the self in a digital context, we find the text rife with resistant possibilities and explore the emancipatory facets of the body as a contiguous and converging site of multiplicities. We ultimately argue that the play’s recurrent theme of “binary selves” could be considered as an attempt at re-individualisation, one which is not necessarily codifiable, and thus impervious to the interpellation of datafication. Thus, the production can be read as a critique of the Anthropos, offering a glimpse from the Post-Anthropocentric future. The paper discusses the likelihood of escaping from the entrapment and isolation of the body as a datafiable and codifiable locus of inscription. Of course, all of these prospects are activated by theatrical spatio-temporality, given posthuman potentialities that exceed the supposed domain of the human – the theatrical stage.

Çağdaş Duman is a PhD student in English Literature at Boğaziçi University’s Department of Western Languages and Literatures. He is a researcher on the interdisciplinary project AI as Author, led by Dr. Imke van Heerden and Dr. Anil Bas, and supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. His article on early Black HIV/AIDS Drama will appear in a forthcoming issue of Modern Drama. His research interests include twentieth-century literature, critical theory, philosophy, theater and performance studies, and film studies.

Imke van Heerden is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Comparative Literature, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Anil Bas is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Engineering, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey.  

Reframing Immersion

17:00-18:30, Tuesday, September 7

Stream C – The Chapel

Moderator: Anastasios Maragiannis (University of Greenwich)

“An Argument for Reflexive Hypermediacy in Virtual Ecologies of Play”

James Harper (De Montfort University)

As immersive modes of performance have proliferated, artists and audiences have shown increased curiosity in using virtual reality technologies to enhance participatory experiences. Discussions of immersion in live and digitally mediated performance commonly emphasise an immediacy in space and time that offers participants a gratifying feeling of ‘presence’ within the work (Machon 2013, Calleja 2011). This paper offers a critical appraisal of immersive strategies in participatory performance, proposing that spatio-temporal immediacy can undermine participants’ capacities to exercise critical reflexivity by limiting perception to the ‘here and now’ (Ash 2015, Heinrich 2014).

In contrast with the aesthetics of immersive immediacy, this research emphasises the value of reflexive hypermediacy (Grusin 2015) in participatory performance. In much the same way that theatrical performers distinguish reality and fiction (McConachie 2011), participants, or players, must be able to make a distinction between play and non-play in order to understand that their actions mean something different in the play/performance space as opposed to the ‘real world’ (Bateson 1987 [1972]). This paper subsequently considers how digital performance technologies might be repurposed through non-immersive aesthetics of defamiliarization to heighten participants’ conscious awareness of the virtual and real-world ecologies of which they are part.

The proposition of reflexive hypermediacy in the play of participatory performance is underpinned by Spinoza’s theory of affects. Spinoza asserts that although beings are most strongly affected by stimuli in the immediacy of the spatio-temporal present, the capacity of human reason is strengthened by an expansive spatiality that diversifies the affects that the body can receive, and a perspective on time that combines considerations of past, present, and future (Spinoza 1992 [1677]). In other words, a reflexive hypermediacy that shifts perception beyond immersion in the primary affects of the immediate present is conducive to virtual ecologies of play that support human agency and future-oriented imagination.

Jamie Harper is a UK-based performance researcher and game designer. Game/performance projects include Green Gold, a role-playing board game about European forest policy for the environmental think-tank, Fern, and Nudge, a mixed-media game about online ‘social credit’ systems which was runner-up for Headlong Theatre’s Digital Artist Award. He has completed a practice-led PhD in performance at Newcastle University and works as Senior Research Fellow in Participatory Arts at De Montfort University.

“The Veil”

Ethan Edwards (Nokia Bell Labs)

The Veil is a simple piece which brings the classic philosophical thought experiment “The Veil of Ignorance” towards practical reality. Using standard and widely available data sources, the Veil generates a “person,” a composite of geographical, age, and class markers which play such a large part in defining us, and encourages the user to think of this person, critically assess how their own actions might affect them, and question the power of these categories to determine a life.

Rather than leaning on the immersive power of generative graphics or sound, The Veil maintains a minimalist aesthetic, preferring the critical and moral value of abstract thought over raw emotions. While relying on the user to empathize with someone outside of their normal experience, The Veil comes from a position highly skeptical of recent “empathy art” which attempts to use VR or cinema to encourage empathy towards more sensational crises. Because the piece leaves the research and imagining up to the user, they must apply their own thinking and learn about the circumstances of the world rather than emotionally accepting a prewritten narrative. Because the system is based entirely on real-data, the user is just as likely to have to reckon with the life of a middle class Chinese bank employee, a poor urban Argentinian food-service worker, a Cambodian rice farmer, a Nigerian politician, or a Romanian ship’s captain. The goal of the piece is to serve as a tool for greater moral understanding of the world and its problems, and to point towards a questioning stance towards pre-baked narratives, including its own.

Ethan Edwards is a programmer and artist currently based in New York City. His work explores traditional aesthetic themes through interactive and generative structures.

“Warping the Unthinkable: The Posthuman Agent in Under the Skin”

Anne Dion (Ryerson University)

Humanist ideology since the Enlightenment has posited the individual human subject as the ultimate unit of agency: manipulator of tools, environment, and of other beings. Posthumanism seeks to dismantle the hierarchical essentialism that places humanity at the centre of reality, and the presumed independence of our rationality at the centre of humanity. How, then, do we experience and represent agency in the face of such incomprehensibly complex systems as capitalism, when the subject who would perform the agency is themselves no longer discernible? Jonathan Glazer’s 2013 experimental film, Under the Skin, gestures at an agency for the present and future, preferring abstractness and affect over narrative. The film models a posthuman subject whose humanity is both affirmed and othered, and whose agency exists despite and because of their identity. Holding contradictory truths together, the film illustrates the logic of Haraway’s cyborg, refusing any myth of original unity. It grounds all experience, including alienation, in embodiment, the “net result,” as Katherine Hayles argues, “of thousands of years of sedimented evolutionary history,” one which we must assume affects “human behaviours at every level of thought and action.” By tampering with our notions of embodiment, Under the Skin inverts and warps some of the large-scale systems of oppression that paralyze the contemporary subject. Ultimately, Glazer’s film quietly and succinctly represents the loneliness and powerlessness of the would-be agent in 2021, one who, with humanist hubris seeks to face systemic power independently of the collective.


Evolved Photography: The Image-Sphere, The Terminal and Comprehending Closed System Ecologies

Pita Aerrola-Burns, Elliott Burns, Jason Isolini (Offsite Arts Project /Art Institute Chicago)

Seminar Room 23 (VR Gallery)

Centred on the recent project The Terminal: Human Shaped Whole, the authors present a study into how 360º photography destabilised the hierarchies inherent to single-lens reflex photography, creating immersive conditions psychologically more conducive towards comprehending the Anthropocene.

The authors argue that traditional photography, born and developed in parallel with the second (technological) industrial revolution, is inadequate to convey closed system ecologies, in particular energy paradigms that reorganise around economies of scale. Whereas, the ‘Image-Sphere,’ a spherical image depicting spatial depth engenders a cognitive realignment that centres both author and viewer in the image-as-environment. Forming a virtual habitat, a seamless image with geographic connotations the ‘Image-Sphere’ upends expected dynamics between photograph and spectator.

Accompanied by a screening of The Terminal, the presentation will investigate two principle inquires: firstly; how we define and differentiate the ‘Image-Sphere’ from VR experiences built within gaming software, establishing it as a unique photographic form; and secondly, as a provocation, where the application of this evolved form of photography can assist our cognitive understanding of global capitalism and the AI industrial revolution? To answer these questions, the authors will draw upon technical experience experimenting with the ‘Image-Sphere’ to explain the perceptual changes it triggers, whilst addressing the medium’s potential as a venue.

The Terminal: Human Shaped Whole is a cyclical 360º film directed and produced by Jason Isolini; curated by Off Site Project; and featuring the work of ten contemporary artists: Bob Bicknell-Knight, Ian Bruner, Joshua Citarella, Jessica Evans, James Irwin, Claire Jervert, Kakia Konstantinaki, Angeline Meitzler, Erin Mitchell and Neale Willis. Imagining the future work-life balance brought about by AI technologies, it was recently presented at Anonymous Gallery in New York City, and is understood to be the first instance of the medium being used as a venue for a group exhibition to exist within.

Virtual Play

Gareth Young, Aljosa Smolic, Nicholas Johnson (V-SENSE Project,

Trinity College Dublin)

Seminar Room 23 (VR Gallery) / Virtual Play Room

Virtual Play is a reimagining of Samuel Beckett’s theatrical text for Virtual Reality (VR). By making the user a key figure in how the story unfolds, the project explores the redefined relationship between author and audience, made possible by digital interactive technologies. In the story three characters and are doomed to repeat the sorry tale of their love triangle, into infinity.


The user is placed in the centre and is surrounded by the three urns, which are spaced far enough apart to allow the user to experience a natural sensation of movement, whilst exploring the three monologues. Six degrees of freedom is afforded by the ability to move around the virtual environment, and the experience is one of active immersion as opposed to passive observation.


Play was chosen because it specifically engages the questions of dialogue and interactivity. The sequence of the actors speaking is determined by a moving spotlight, which Beckett calls the ‘interrogator’; they speak when the light is on them, and fall silent when the light is off. So, Play is a game of interaction between the light operator and the actor, mediated by light technology. In the theatre, the audience passively observe the interaction; but, in our VR version we acknowledge the role of the user as active; we recognise new opportunities for narrative and give the power of activation over to the end user, whose gaze becomes the spotlight. The user thus embodies the ‘interrogator’ and is empowered to independently discover the story, merely by looking at the characters.


Virtual Play questions the essence of the performance spectacle in digital culture. The project aims to investigate how narrative, perception, communication, and embodiment have been altered through contemporary media, and asks how they might operate in the future.

Compost n.1

Selene Citron & Luca Lunardi (Citron/Lunardi)

Lecture Hall (Hörsaal 202) / Video Installations Room

Compost n.1 is a part of an artistic project that combine science, video art and digital sculpting and is inspired by the recent studies of Donna Haraway on the concept of Chtulucene: not a post human world but a human compost world characterized by a continuous process of composition and decomposition.

This change of perspective is urgent especially against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, it is necessary – to use Donna Haraway's words – “to stay with the trouble” in this infected time and deal with kinship systems among various species.

In particular, this video shows a panorama populated by symbiotic assemblages, infected surviving and migrant collaborative beings – artificial intelligences bio-fabricated – that wallow in a liminal environment between natural and artificial, between mineral and organic in which humanity ha reduced itself to a crystalline form.

Our contribution to the conference DRHA21 is a video installation and is an alternate creative intervention (4 min) in particular on the theme "Designing nature in the digital/virtual sphere".

Creating new forms of agency to match the altered realities of the Anthropocene: presence.

Darcy Gerbarg (DVI Ltd)

Entrance Hall & Courtyard / Video Installations Room

As humans evolve, we find new ways to harness the capabilities of our brains. Access to localities other than one’s own home, “other worlds”, was first physical through travel and visitors, oral histories and written documents. Analog voice and imaging devices followed, providing news and cultural content gleaned, produced and shared remotely. Marconi developed wireless communications and over the air communications and “other worldly” information and entertainment spread globally. The digital revolution we are all living in continues to enhance, broaden, and offer wholly new ways for connecting, sharing knowledge, feelings and experiencing “other worlds.”

VR and AR provide fundamentally new opportunities for people to meet, share, communicate and enjoy purely digital environments, Virtual Worlds, and digital objects, placed in “real world” settings.

It’s about “presence”, experiencing life, interacting with people, seeing, and enjoying art, in a Virtual Environment where one feels oneself there: present. Where the laws of physics as we experience them on Earth don’t apply. It’s about adding something without corporeal reality to one’s environment, where it occupies visual and perhaps auditory space, along with whatever already exists in its “real world” environment.

I not only create art in a Virtual World but I create new ways to view and enjoy my artworks, in Virtual Worlds and as AR objects.

My AltspaceVR, Painting and Sculpture Garden is open to on-site and remote participants and large, site specific AR artworks, at physical locations specified by the event organizers, indoors or outdoors, are viewable.

Darcy Gerbarg is a pioneer Digital Artist making art with computers since 1979, who continues to produce work using the latest digital technologies and traditional Fine Art techniques. She is a Techspressionist, an Abstract Expressionist painter, with traditional Art training who is currently painting with Colored Light in a 3DVR world, creating AR and VR Artworks and Interactive, Immersive Environments. She exhibits her work in Art Museums, Fairs and Galleries. Her work is available on canvas, paper, and ceramics.

yaGrid: Entering a Liminal Space In-Between Human and Non-Human Dancing Bodies

Irini Kalaitzidi (Goldsmiths)

Lecture Hall (Hörsaal 202) / Video Installations Room

yaGrid, standing for yet another grid, is one more digital lattice of windows in the cloud, somewhere in-between Zoom, Jitsi, and Google Meet. It is created to host a speculative dance coming-together of human and non-human participants with an intention to challenge the prevailing anthropocentric way of experiencing a dance encounter.

In this video/web artwork, a good few Kinect-mediated stick figures are brought in, as non-human agencies, to dance with humans. As beings of unparalleled neutrality and digital simplicity, the stick figures drain the body of excess information, thus sparking the imagination of those watching, inviting them to invent or discover things in this direction. What percentage of them is actual matter? What percentage is flesh or wave, sound or pixels?

A video conference call environment becomes a liminal space in-between the real and the imaginary, perfectly playing host to post-human beings in motion. Despite its grid-like structure, this digital platform with virtual windows blurs the boundaries between the participants. Where does one end and the other begin? How distinct are human beings from stick figures when they co-exist inside the same flat visual field?

Irini is herself inside the grid. She verbally guides the participants through a movement improvisation, in a tone that borders on the meditative. The emerging ecosystem of dancing beings is left to exist inside a chronological and spatial continuum, one with no beginning and no end, no polar extremes and no layers. What does exist is horizontal and elastic, slightly absurd and somewhat familiar.

Irini Kalaitzidi (b. 1991 Athens, Greece) is a dance artist who works with technology in order to generate poetic experiences of dance and shape spaces where mutually affective encounters of bodies emerge. Parallel to choreographing, she is exploring a techno-feminist practise of being in a choreo-milieu, i.e. in the in-between human and non-human, physical and digital, static and dynamic dancing agencies. Irini is intrigued by blending and layering materials, dimensions and moving behaviours for the purpose of creating fictional partly-familiar-partly-uncanny choreo-related events.

LUCHA Project

Brisa Mp (Biónica)

Lecture Hall (Hörsaal 202) / Video Installations Room

LUCHA is a research and creation project into artificial intelligence. LUCHA is a machine programmed in PYTHON on LINUX operating system, with collaboration of Iván Paz and the Creation Grant of the Culture Department of Catalonia 2020.

Lucha explores the possibility of cooperation between machines and humans, their role as an artist and their construction of identity as a political subject today and in the future.

LUCHA is a nickname that is used, especially in a number of Latin American countries, to refer to the female name LUISA. Luisa is my mother's name, and I wish to invoke matriarchy in order to empower women in technology.

LUCHA, then, has a double meaning; as well as the association I have mentioned, it also suggests a concept associated with the political context, the Spanish noun LUCHA, derived from the verb LUCHAR, fight, or struggle.

LUCHA suggests the role of matters are not, in the present day, and will ever be in future, only means of human expression and human creation, but they may one day enter into a de-hierarchical or even superior dialogue with the human race.

LUCHA could be any matter in this case, it is a computer

but above all… it is the voice as the intangible substance of its corporality.

BRISA MP ( is a Chilean artist based in Barcelona, Spain. Her research and creations are in the hybrid territory where the body and technology meet. Brisa explores the technology from critical points view, she manufactures and programs her devices with the free and low technologies. She have participated at meetings and residences in Latin America, Europe

and Oceania, such as: HANGAR (Barcelona), ZDB (Lisbon), eTOPIA (Saragossa), LUMOBodyhack (Oulu), ISEA (Sydney), CYNETART Metabody (Dresden). Brisa coordinates the BIONICA women, art, technology and society project at Canòdrom Digital, Innovation and Democracy space (Barcelona).

Shifting perspectives: A kinesthetic dialogue about Synthetic Biology in a more-than-human world

Sara Pini, Melissa Ramos, Jestin George (University of Southern Denmark / Dance Cinema/ University of Technology Sydney)

Lecture Hall (Hörsaal 202) / Video Installations Room

Interdisciplinary researcher and choreographer Sarah Pini in collaboration with Jestin George, biotechnologist and visual artist, and Melissa Ramos, visual artist and filmmaker, developed 'Shifting perspectives' during a Responsive Residency at Critical Path, Sydney, in April and May 2020. 'Shifting perspectives' is a short dance film inspired by a conversation between two leaders in the field of synthetic biology (Sarah Richardson and Tom Knight) and their divergent approaches to working with microbial life.

Grounded on a feminist post-humanist approach that recognizes a continuity between all living creatures, including plants, animals, microorganisms and humans (Haraway 1991), this project addresses how can we engage with these organisms from our situated and embodied experience? Through this work, we propose a reconsideration of the relationship with our lived environment and its inhabitants. By engaging our thinking through our body, this work suggests how an embodied perspective can challenge and transform our cultural assumptions, and how collaborating with plants and microorganisms can reshape our future in a more-than-human world.

Sarah Pini is assistant professor of dance and performance at the University of Southern Denmark. Sarah works across the fields of anthropology, cognitive science, visual arts, dance and cognition in skilled performance. Her artistic practice captures the interconnections of movement, emotion and environment and how their dynamic entanglements shape storytelling and sense making. Her work received several acknowledgements including the 2019 Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) Australia Student Prize and won the 2018 Visual and Creative Ethnography Competition by Australian Anthropological Society (AAS). Her research has been published in academic journals including Performance Research; JER, The Journal of Embodied Research; Frontiers in Psychology; and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet, among others.

Melissa Ramos is a visual artist and filmmaker born in Manila, who lives and works in Sydney. Melissa is the director of Dance Cinema, an online archive cinema that offers high quality screen dance works directed by artists whose production lies in-between contemporary art, dance and cinema. Melissa artistic practice derives from examining the conflicts between nature and culture, in particular the issues of nature imparted by colonialism and modernity. Melissa has collaborated with choreographers and dancers around the world; most recently with Sarah Pini for Critical Path, Sydney, and Swedish choreographer/dancer Carolina Bäckman for Copenhagen Stage. Melissa’s work has been exhibited widely; including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Gallery 4A, Sydney; ISEA, USA; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Japan; House of Dance Denmark, Copenhagen; Vargas Museum, Manila Philippines; National Gallery, Bangkok; National Gallery Kuala Lumpur, Singapore; Berlin Asian Film Festival; and the Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin.

Jestin George is a biotechnologist and biodesign lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), working with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to make microalgae better cell factories, as well as a freelance artist. Jestin’s research has spanned plant, mammalian cell, and microalgal biotech systems across universities in South Africa, the UK, and Australia. Jestin sees a vital gap between the types of exciting technologies being developed in life sciences research and the creatives who could be designing with them. She aims to use non-conventional platforms to contribute towards two-way knowledge sharing to improve biotechnology and biodesign.

Ghost Hits Wall (2021)

Ella Raidel (NTU Singapore)

Entrance Hall / Video Installations Room

In her ongoing art-based research projects, Ella Raidel investigates China's urban spaces in and through cinema. The subject investigated is how global capitalism is affecting and haunting the living conditions of our time. In exploring the line between documentary and fiction Ella Raidel develops a method of performative documentary to create a discursive space in which facts, commentaries, and references can be woven into one narrative. This research is not only to scrutinize the social reality but also to reflect on the convention of filmmaking and its representations.

Ella Raidel is a filmmaker, artist and researcher. She is an Assistant Professor at NTU Singapore at the ADM School of Art, Design and Media and the WKWSCI School of Communication and Information. In her interdisciplinary work – films, videos, writings – she focuses on the socio-cultural impact of globalization with a focus on urbanization and Asian Cinema.

See also Raidel’s presentation on Accelerating Spectrality in Contemporary China at DRHA in Fragments, Time, Futurism, 14:30-16:30, Tuesday, September 7.

The art of saving art: immersive storytelling for social change

António Báia Reis (University of Porto)

Lecture Hall (Hörsaal 202) / Video Installations Room & Lounge

Drawing on rapid ethnographic methods (Millen, 2000), this research was approached as a kind of analytical reportage, with the researchers acting as translators or cultural brokers between the culture under study and the reader (Anderson, 1992). This approach proved to be effective in obtaining a reasonable understanding of the aforementioned issue (Baía Reis, 2019) given the significant time pressures and limited time in the field (Millen, 2000). The analysis of the empirical work will reference key studies in the field such as studies on the feelings of immersion and presence (Heeter, 1992; Slater and Wilbur 1997; Kim and Biocca, 1997; Witmer and Singer, 1998), immersive media (De La Peña et al., 2010; Aronson-Rath et al., 2015; Owen, 2015; Speir, 2015; Jones, 2017; Baía Reis, 2018), social and cultural awareness (Quappe and Cantatore, 2005; Rakotonirainy et al., 2009), and 360-degree video and empathy (Bandura, 1997; Kumano et al., 2011; Jackson et al., 2015; Archer and Finger, 2015; Hill, 2016; Swant, 2016; Chirico et al., 2017). Dissecting this empirical case will take on two strands, looking at what the role is of immersive media (XR) in contributing to addressing taboo subjects in small communities, and what circumstances enable the use of XR to encourage positive attitude change and open dialog around taboo issues. Ultimately, we aim to demonstrate that the power of XR can enliven even the dullest experiences and excavate the most deeply buried scandal; a simple still photo of the storage space where the sculpture is being held would likely not have generated this level of reaction. Combined with the ability to explore the desolate space, coaxed on by a narrator’s voice, the public can be “seeded” with the questions we have around why this artwork continues to be concealed from the public. The artwork and attendant media coverage provide an occasion for the Madeiran public to discuss and air this dark chapter; we posit that it is this particular combination that provided this unique opportunity to reflect on the potential of using XR storytelling for pro-social attitude change.

António Baía Reis is a researcher, educator, and artist. His work is largely interdisciplinary, combining areas such as media and communication studies, social change, cultural & artistic studies, and new technologies. With a Ph.D. in Digital Media with a focus on immersive media, social change, and creativity, he has taught and developed scientific and creative activities in countries such as Spain, Germany, Norway, Albania, China, and the USA. He is currently a Researcher and Assistant Professor at the University of Porto, developing research on digital media, science communication, and the arts, and teaching creative thinking and communication practices.

Pazugoo, Demonic Personification of Nuclear Waste

Andy Weir (Goldsmiths)

Entrance Hall

These figures draw on myths of demonic flight as navigational passage between realms (De Loughrey), proposing a speculative flight to ends of deep time and back to cognition in present. From this work, distributed digitally and rooted in Earth, sampling deep time materiality as ‘geo-fiction’, Weir makes more general claims, proposing this navigation between sensual experience and more-than-human scales of deep time as a possibility for art knowledge within the Anthropocene.

See also Weir’s presentation of Pazugoo at DRHA in Decomposing Matters, 10:00-11:30, Monday September 6.

Moderator Bios


Susan Broadhurst is a performance art practitioner, writer and academic. She is Chair of DRHA and Professor Emerita of Performance and Technology, and Honorary Professor, at Brunel University London. Formerly, she was the Head of Research in the Department of Arts and Humanities and also led the Division of Production and Performance (Film and Television, Music and Theatre). She earned her Doctorate in 1996. Her research is focused on Experimental Drama. She was a founder of the Body, Space & Technology Research group at Brunel, now the Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance. Broadhurst is the author of two books, four edited collections, and academic papers on performance, with an emphasis on live art, dance, music, film, aesthetics, neuroesthetics, technology and bio-technology. Broadhurst is co-editor, with Barry Edwards, of the Body, Space & Technology Journal (Open Library of Humanities), and of the Palgrave Studies in Performance and Technology book series with Josephine Machon.

Lindsey Drury is a postdoctoral researcher at EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities” within Research Area 5, “Building Digital Communities”. She is an early modernist and dance historian and works to develop a data-rich critical colonial history of popular and scholarly-historical ideas about dance.

Sara Ehrentraut, M.A. studied Philosophy and Theatre Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She is a PhD candidate, currently working as academic coordinator at the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective at Freie Universität Berlin, curating collaborative formats at the intersection between research and cultural institutions. Her research focus on theories of the digital, postsignificant aesthetics, and the influence of digital media on contemporary performance art.

Assaf Gruber (Jerusalem, 1980) is a sculptor and filmmaker who lives and works in Berlin. The dialectical relationship between the individual and the establishment is at the center of his work, which explores how the political orientation of institutions impacts the lives of individuals and how institutions choose to represent and communicate scientific and historical facts. Gruber studied at Cooper Union New-York and is a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts (HISK) in Ghent.  He had solo exhibitions at the Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, The Berlinische Galerie and the Center for Contemporary Art U-jazdowski Castle, Warsaw among other institutions. His films have been featured in festivals, including the Berlinale Film Festival, FID Marseille and the International Short Film Festival of Oberhausen.

Torsten Jost is a researcher at the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures” at Freie Universität Berlin. After receiving his PhD in 2017, he joined the faculty of FU’s Department for Theater and Performance Studies, where he teaches in the bachelor’s and master’s degree program. In 2018, Jost was a guest lecturer at the Shanghai Theater Academy, China. Together with Erika Fischer-Lichte, he co-edited numerous books on theater and performance, including The Politics of Interweaving Performance Cultures: Beyond Postcolonialism (Routledge 2014), Theatrical Speech Acts: Performing Language (Routledge 2020) and Dramaturgies of Interweaving: Engaging Audiences in an Entangled World(Routledge 2021). 

Doris Kolesch is Professor of Theatre Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and Principal Investigator of “Extended Audiences” at EXC2020 Temporal Communities – Doing Literature in a Global Perspective. From 2011-2015 Doris Kolesch was Dean of the School of the Humanities at the FU Berlin. She studied comparative literature, romance languages, philosophy and journalism in Mainz and Paris. Her current research focuses on theories of affect/immersion, sound/voice studies, and audience research. Her most recent publications include the following edited book collections: Stimme. Annäherung an ein Phänomen  (Voice. Approaching a phenomenon) (Suhrkamp 2006), Strategies of Staging Spectators (Routledge 2019), and the forthcoming Public Emotions. Affective Collectivity in Audiences (Routledge 2021).

Susanne Lettow  is a senior researcher at the Margherita von Brentano Center for Gender Studies and teaches philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin. She has been a visiting professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Basel, University of Vienna and Freie Universität Berlin.  Her areas of specialization are: feminist philosophy and gender studies, environmental humanities, philosophy of technology, history of continental philosophy, history and philosophy of biopolitics.

Agata Lisiak is Associate Professor of Migration Studies at Bard College Berlin. Her research and teaching are formed at the intersections of migration studies, urban sociology, and cultural studies. She is particularly interested in everyday urban encounters and imaginaries, feminist theory and practice, and developing creative, multi-sensory, and collaborative methods in urban and migration research. Her current research project on migration, space, and power brings together the works of Rosa Luxemburg and Doreen Massey.

Anastasios Maragiannis is an international award-winning design-researcher and academic and Professor in Inclusive Design and Deputy Head School of Design at the University of Greenwich. He is an experienced senior academic with significant knowledge of Art and Design Higher Education and Creative industries with leadership both in the UK and overseas. His practice-research work outputs showcased in various places including the V&A Museum, London Design Festival and various academic journals and books.Anastasios is currently the Deputy Chair of the Digital Research in the Humanities and the Arts (DRHA) international organisation and External Examiner and advisor for various Institutions. He has also taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Kingston University, UEL, Goldsmiths, The University of London, University of Arts, London, and in various international institutions including Politecnico di Milano-Italy, Athens School of Fine Arts-Greece, Paris 8-France, FPT University-Vietnam.

Francesca Morini (she/her) is a research associate at the UCLAB and a PhD student in Media and Communication Studies at the School of Culture and Education at Södertörn University in Sweden. She recently completed a MA in Communication Design at the Politecnico di Milano, with a focus on interface design and data visualization. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the School of Culture and Education at Södertörn University in Sweden. Her research interests lie at exploring the intersection of information visualization and data journalism.

Ramona Mosse is a Lecturer in Theatre Studies and currently the PI of the Viral Theatres-Project, funded by the VolkswagenFoundation and based at the Excellence Cluster “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective” at the Freie Universität Berlin. She is a former fellow of the International Research Cluster Interweaving Performance Cultures at the FU Berlin and has taught also at Bard College Berlin, the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Barnard College and Columbia University, New York. Her research is focussed on the crossings between digital and environmental humanities in a theatre and performance context.

John Nyakutara studied Biology and Geography at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany. His PhD project was concerned with the evolution and functional morphology of vertebrates. As a postdoc, he studied the form-function relationship using examples of salamanders, lizards, birds, and primates. Routinely, he collaborated with paleontologists, biomechanists, roboticists, and scientific illustrators. In 2014 John started to lead a junior research group concerned with vertebrate functional morphology and additionally focused on historic and epistemological questions regarding the use of images in morphological research. In 2019 he became a visiting lecturer at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, Switzerland. He became full professor for Comparative Zoology at HU Berlin in 2020.

​​Alexander H. Schwan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Theater Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. In his current book project Theologies of Modern Dance, Alexander analyses theological implications in the works of modernist choreographers in Jewish and Christian perspectives. His scholarly interests also include the intersection of dance and visual studies and the connection of performance with continental philosophy and critical theory. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara and has held visiting fellowships at Princeton University and Harvard University.

Gauti Sigthorsson is Deputy Head (Media Practice) in the Department of Media, Culture and Language at the University of Roehampton. He holds degrees from the University of Iceland and the University of Minnesota, and has lived and worked in the UK since 2004. Prior to joining Roehampton, he served as portfolio lead for media and communications at the University of Greenwich.

Christian Stein is based at the Excellence Cluster “Matters of Activity: Image – Space – Material”, Humboldt University Berlin. As co-founder of, he explores gaming as a cultural technology and devises gaming prototypes and VR-applications for exhibition contexts. In the Excellence Cluster, he works on realizing forms of interactivity in which objects and humans have equal agency.

Olu Taiwo is Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at Winchester University. His background is in Fine Arts, physical theatre and martial arts. He has worked on identity and performance and is a well-established performer using digital technologies. He is engaged with critical debates around the interaction of body, technology and the environment. He is a member of the University's Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing.

Wolfgang Schäffner, a historian of science and media technologies, has been professor of the Cultural History of Knowledge at the Department of History and Theory of Culture at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2009. He has been Director of the Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Cultural Techniques since 2003 and Director of the Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung« at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin from 2012–2018. He has also been Permanent Guest Full Professor and Director of the Walter Gropius Program at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism at the Universidad de Buenos Aires since 2005 and head of the German-Argentinian Master-Program Open Design of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Universidad de Buenos Aires. Wolfgang Schäffner is Director of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« which he heads together with Horst Bredekamp, Peter Fratzl and Claudia Mareis.

Jan-Erik Stange is a data visualization and user experience design researcher in the Cluster of Excellence 2020 “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective” (FU Berlin). He holds a bachelor degree in industrial Design (Mutheisus Kunsthochschule Kiel) and a master degree in Interfacedesign (Fachhochschule Potsdam). His research interests lie in critical data visualization, visual storytelling and design epistemology.

Nina Tolksdorf is a postdoctoral researcher at EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities”. Her research focuses on digital constructions of authorship with a specific focus on the materiality of the digital and its rhetoric: On the one hand, hypertexts seem to be a realization of poststructuralist and deconstructive theories of authorship. On the other hand, contemporary literature is confronted with discourses that demand writers to be 'real' and 'authentic', by which they strengthen and reinvent concepts of authorship. For digital literature, one strategy to attest to its authenticity is by referring to the materiality of printed literature. Since questions of the materiality and the technology of writing are constitutive for the construction of authorship, her project analyses the rhetoric and visualization of these materialities in digital literature in order to re-evaluate the contradictory concepts of authorship.

Anita Traninger is Full Professor of Romance Literatures with a focus on rhetoric and co-director of the Cluster of Excellence 2020 “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective” at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focuses on the history, theory, and practice of rhetoric, on transcultural entanglements of literature and discourses of knowledge from the late Middle Ages to the 19th century, and on the history of books, media, and genres, especially with regard to the praxeology of reading and the archaeology of the digital.

Anita Traninger has lectured at universities in Europe, Asia, and the United States and has been a fellow in residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, a Global Humanities Senior Fellow at Harvard University, and most recently elected a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.

Index of Sessions

September 5 / September 6 / September 7


Lecture/Performance & Workshops

Stream A: Gestural Listening

Stream B: Unwhorld – a Hybrid Provocation

 Stream C: The Cults – Dani Ploeger

Research & Performance Panels

  • Session 2
  • Session 3
  • Session 5
  • Session 6
  • Session 8
  • Session 10
  • Session 12
  • Session 13

Index of Names


Eduardo Abrantes

Julia Abs

Kim Albrecht


Pita Arreola-Burns etal.

Eduardo Abrantes

Mary Anderson

Anil Bas

Mari Bastashevski

Johannes Birringer

Nathan Bitgood

Vítor Blanco-Fernandez

Elaine Bonavia

Liliana Bounegru

John Bowers

Benj Braman 

Alice Breemen

Susan Broadhurst

Jørgen Bruhn

Antje Budde

Elliot Burns


Krista Caballero

Raquel Caerols-Mateo

Francisco Cabezuelo-Lorenzo

Miguel Carvalhais

Annabel Castro

Genoveva Castro

Selene Citron

Lin Chen

Gabriele Colombo

Maria Combatti


Nicoletta Damioli

John D'Arcy

Oliver Dawkins

Clémentine Deliss

Karola Dierichs

Anne Dion

Çağdaş Duman

Clement Driessen

Lindsey Drury


Ethan Edwards

Sara Ehrentraut

Frank Ekeberg


Jessica Farmer

Fabricio Fava

Sascha Förster


Leonie Rae Gasson

Jestin George

Darcy Gerbarg

Gabriella Giannacchi

Jeanette Ginslov

Jonathan Gray

Assaf Gruber

Lily Hunter Green

Paula Guzzanti


Richard Haley

Jamie Harper

Lucina Hartley-Koudelka

Duncan Hay

Imke v. Heerden

Rachel Hill

Laura Hussey


Jason Isolini


Eva Maria Jägle

Nicholas Johnson


Irini Kalaitzidi

Marcel Kieslich

Joella Kiu

Doris Kolesch

Maria Kyrou


Daniel Larlham

Douny Laurence

Sam Lavigne

Siobhan Leddy

Annette Jael Lehmann

Diana Lengua

Susanne Lettow

Thomas Lilge

Hsiu-Ju Stacy Lo

Luca Lunardi


Nashin Mahtani

Kamila Mamadnazarbekova

Camila Mangueira

Claudia Mareis

Anastasios Maragiannis

Alexandre Mballa-Ekobena

Adam Pultz Melbye

John Mitchell

Chris Moffett

Francesca Morini

Ramona Mosse

Matthew Moynihan

Brisa Mp

Christoph Müller


Rimi Nandy

John Nyakatura


Anthony Obr

Neill O'Dwyer

Paul O'Hanrahan


Irene Pipicelli

Sara Pini

Dani Ploeger

Mattia Pretolani


Cordula Quint


Melissa Ramos

Ella Raidel

António Báia Reis

Tivon Rice

Christian Riegel

Catherine Robinson

Raimund Rosarius

Nikolai Rosenthal

Lucas Lacaz Ruiz


Niklas Salmose

Toni Sant

Wolfgang Schäffner

Ruth Schmidt

Sebastian Schwesinger

Ann-Christine Simke

Holly Smith

James Smith

Aljosa Smolic

Daniel Spikol

Paul Stapleton

Jan-Erik Stange

Christian Stein

Robert Stock

Mareike Stoll

Lino Strangis

Anna Street


Enrique Tabone

Zelia ZZ Tan 

Sarah Thomasson

Anita Traninger

Etienne Turpin


Andy Weir

Charlett Wenig


Jaya Yadav

Gareth Young


Hongliang Zhou

Joanna Zylinska

Thanks and Acknowledgements

This conference would not have been possible without the incredible support of the entire leadership and administrative team of EXC Matters of Activity as well as everyone at the Humboldt Innovation GmbH. They encouraged and supported us in taking the risk of running this conference as a hybrid event and making this practically possible. In particular, we would like to thank Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schäffner, Kathrin Bauer, Sandra Bauer at the EXC MoA and Milena Oswald and Christine Dehn at Humboldt Innovation.

We also owe great thanks to the leadership and administration of the EXC 2020 “Temporal Communities” at the Freie Universität Berlin, who was willing to join in the organization and cooperation of this conference when it was already deep in the making and provided invaluable logistical support throughout the various preparatory stages. In particular, we would like to thank Prof. Dr. Anita Traninger, Prof. Dr. Doris Kolesch, Katja Heinrich, Nina Tolksdorf, and Sara Ehrentraut at EXC 2020. We are also grateful for the VolkswagenFoundation for their generous funding of the Viral Theatres Research Project, which is another cooperation partner in the organization of DRHA 2021.

A massive round of thank yous goes to the entire DRHA Standing Committee, who believed in our vision of making the hybrid format of the conference possible in Berlin during the pandemic. Most of all, Susan Broadhurst and Anastasios Maragiannis were untiring in their support, as was everyone helping with the reading and selection process of the many fascinating abstracts we received. Likewise, we would like to thank all moderators for joining in with their research expertise and enthusiasm to make this conference happen.                                                

The real heroes of any conference, however, are the many volunteer colleagues and student assistants that help in creating the materials and in making this an enjoyable and smooth experience for everyone attending. Our thanks goes to: Felix Bouché, Hannah Faber, Timur Gonchar, Maxi Heusinger, Viktor Illmer, Judith König, Yensen LeBeau, Maxime Le Calve, Carlotta Mickeleit, Natalija Miodragovic, Sam Nimmrichter, Lisa Poggel, Teresa Schenk, Francesca Sciarmella, Jojo Shone, Phillip Staab, Sebastian Vellmer, Joël Verwimp.