current research, 2016-ongoing, in collaboration with Paul Walde (University of Victoria), and birds

The problems of anthropocentric views and their resultant harms—ecological degradation, animal exploitation, industrial farming, over-fishing and other sufferings experienced by humans and nonhumans like—have been examined recently within philosophy, critical animal studies, eco-feminism, biology and ecology. This research has traced the anthropocentrisms in contemporary culture to historic roots founded on ideologies of human exceptionalism with regards to language, creativity, culture, reason and agency, that have produced assumptions of descending hierarchies of worth for other beings, leading to exploitive and un-ecological tendencies. Methodologies propose a counter to these anthropocentrisms by re-situating the human alongside all of Earth’s inhabitants, through respectful forms of sensing-feeling-thinking with more-than-human being.

The research/creation Symbiophony proposes an expansion of post-anthropocentric aesthetics by contributing investigations into care-full interspecies relationality for potential methods that combine nonhierarchical sensing-feeling-thinking with symbiotic creative-making. Methodologies from the fields above, combined with methods in new media art and acoustic ecology, inform the conceptual-ethical starting point for Symbiophony. The project explores the potential for interspecies makings; symbiotic sonic and visual forms. New technologies provide novel means to collect data from other beings, and assist in the data analysis with the goal to expand on ecologically enhanced attention. The investigation asks: Can explorations into interspecies relationality, combined with ethics of care, generate novel methods as reciprocal respectful co-creatings with other beings? Symbiophony investigates these potentials through two situated field research stations— in Vancouver and in Victoria—to collect visual, sonic, gestural, and social data from birds visiting the stations. The goal is to learn about the local communities of birds, their cultures and communications, and find ways to reciprocally engage through cross-cultural forms, such as sound-making.

supported by: 

ECU Internal Research Fund, Emily Carr University of Art + Design;
Department of Visual Arts, University of Victoria