Digitized Bodies -Virtual Spectacles Public Lectures

The public lectures were organized in collaboration with faculty members of four Toronto universities, and form an integral part of the digibodies concept of borderless interdisciplinary collaborations among scientists, artists, cultural theoreticians, communication experts, and students. The lectures illustrate how in the field of (media) art we are moving from presentation to communication, interconnections among organizations, and interdisciplinary experiments in science, art, and society.

These public lectures could not become a reality without the dedicated input and cooperation of Johanna Householder, Ron Shuebrook, Nell Tenhaaf, Luigi Bianchi, Ed Slopek, Ger Zielinsky, Felix Stalder, and Susan Aaron. I would also like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contribution of the speakers.

Nina Czegledy


Tuesday, November 7, 2000, noon-POSTPONED
*New date will be posted; please check back.
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University, Montreal
Harry Crowe Room, Atkinson Building
York University
4700 Keele St., Toronto

Virtual Anatomy: The Reconfiguration of the Body into Bits and Redistibution across the WWW

In this presentation, I will take you on a tour of some selected sites that offer the web explorer access to inner body space. At the centre of the discussion will be the paradox presented by these corporeal representations and their possible repercussions for us as social subjects. Subjectivity, our sense of who we are as human beings and of our capacity for agency and action in the world is marked in the twentieth century by the proliferation of biotechnological possibilities.

One significant aspect of the growth of scientific devices for imaging the interior of the body space, rendering the inside of the body into a landscape for imaginary travel of notable consequences, is the transformation of our corporeal sensibility. We have become “biotourists,” imaginary travellers sometimes moving along the surface of the skin, but also venturing into our own phantasmagoric inner recesses. As our bodies are mediated and surveyed by technologies that render them transparent and visible, the lived relationship of the body to the phenomenological world is transformed, giving rise to a nostalgic myth of contact and of presence with inner space.

Kim Sawchuk’s lecture is presented as part of The Brownbag Research Seminars, 2000-2001 Series and is sponsored by the School of Analytic Studies and Information Technology in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies.

Visit the Brownbag website www.yorku.ca/sasit/brownbag which includes the full schedule of the various lectures, as well as the abstracts, or contact Luigi Bianchi, Convener, at 416-736-5232 or <lbianchi@yorku.ca>.

Kim Sawchuk is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. She co-edited When Pain Strikes (University of Minnesota Press, 1999) and Wild Science: Reading Feminism,. Medicine and the Media (Routledge, 2000). She co-founded studioXX (located in Montreal), a feminist organization dedicated to questioning and promoting the use of digital technologies by women, and is currently on its board of directors. She is completing a book on C. Wright Mills’s political pamphlets and unpublished works, and her next (and solo) book project is tentatively titled Biotourism and Sublime Inner Space.

Monday, November 13, 2000, 7 p.m.
Jeanne Randolph, University of Toronto
New Media Program, Ryerson Polytechnic University
350 Victoria St., Eaton Auditorium, Toronto

Psychoanalysis and New Jargons

Has the relationship between object and subject been affected by new media, and if so, is psychoanalytic theory too old to add to the debate about effects of the digital revolution? Just how irrelevant is psychoanalytic thought at this juncture in the short history of new media? To find out, either dial 416-967-1111 or attend this lecture.

Jeanne Randolph is a psychoanalytically biased cultural theorist whose most recent book is Symbolization And Its Discontents (YYZ Books, 1997). She is an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry.

Tuesday, November 21, 2000, 7 p.m.
Round Table: Knowledge-by-Pattern-Recognition Brad Bass, Marcel Danesi, Peter Lewin, and Nick Woolridge, co-moderated by Susan Aaron and Jack Butler. Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
140 St. George St., Room 728, Toronto

Brad Bass is a Professor in the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto. His research interests include the role of complexity and non-linear processes in adaptation, ecological engineering adaptations to atmospheric change (including green roof and green wall infrastructure, living machines), and integrated modeling of climate impacts.

Marcel Danesi is the Director of the Semiotics Program at the University of Toronto who specializes in semiotics, and education, and has developed a systemic methodology of meaning using semiotics.

Peter K. Lewin is a Staff Physician at the Hospital for Sick Children and an Assistant Professor in Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. In addition to his clinical practice, he is working and publishing in medical research. Since 1966, he has been actively involved in medical archeology, having pioneered electron microscopy and the latest imaging technique in this field.

Nicholas Woolridge is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Biomedical Communications, Department of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. He conducts research in the development of digital media as instruments of biomedical research, teaching, and patient assistance.

Susan Aaron graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master’s degree in drama. She has done course work at McLuhan Program at UofT, has studied sociobiology, and has taken performance studies courses at the New York University. She has studied the effects of technology on performance and culture, and presented her work at the New England Complex Systems Institute, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, and the International Dance and Technology Conference 1999.

Jack Butler’s works bridge between the visual pleasure of art and the rational demands of science. He has exhibited installations, video projections, computer animations, and performance works internationally. His work is in private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. Butler has degrees in visual art and philosophy and is a published researcher in the field of human development. He has thirty years of experience as a medical model-builder.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000, 6 p.m.
Edward J. Sylvester, Author of The Healing Blade: A Tale of Neurosurgery
Jeremy Squire, Director of Cancer Cytogenetics,
The Toronto Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital
Ontario College of Art & Design
100 McCaul St., Room 137, Toronto

Edward J. Sylvester is a Professor at the Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University. He is the author of The Gene Age: Genetic Engineering and the Next Industrial Revolution and The Healing Blade: A Tale of Neurosurgery (updated edition, Beck Press, 1997).

Jeremy Squire is the Director of Cancer Cytogenetics at The Toronto Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. He has published close to 100 scientific and research papers, and has presented lectures on human genetic research and cancer nationally and internationally. His laboratory uses microscopic imaging techniques to visualize genes and chromosomes in normal and diseased conditions. Recent advances in the human genome project are revolutionizing how we view ourselves, our genetic constitution and our predisposition to disease.