On Non-human Futures, Instruments, and Stories

ECU and OCAD U present a series of thematic explorations around the responsible conduct of art and design research.




On Non-human Futures, Instruments, and Stories: a conversation between Suzanne Kite and Michelle Lee Brown.

Nonhuman Futures
In this talk, Suzanne Kite will investigate our current and future relationships to nonhumans, especially to technology and artificial intelligence, as well as developing protocols through her artistic practice. Humans are already surrounded by objects which are not understood to be intelligent or even alive, and seen as unworthy of relations. How can humanity create a future with relations between technology or artificial intelligence and humans without an ethical-ontological orientation with which to understand what is worthy of relation and what is not? In order to create relations with any nonhuman entity, not just entities which seem human, the first steps are to acknowledge, understand, and know that the nonhuman are ‘being’ in the first place. Indigenous ontologies already exist to understand forms of ‘being’ which are outside of humanity

Discomfortingly Consensual SF: The Txitxardin Project’s Unsettling Genealogies of Intimacy
There are well over a thousand years of history between Euskaldunak (Basque people) and eels – relations that have been disrupted by settler colonialism and participation in colonization projects elsewhere. Txitxardin is an older name for the young silver eel stages of what is currently called the “European Eel.” Changed to “angula” as txitxardin was deemed too difficult to pronounce for marketing them, this naming shift embodied patriarchal ruptures away from our relational practices to focus on overharvesting, financial gain, and (over)consumption as a marker of belonging. The Txitxardin Project is an attempt to (re)code these relations through art and research. It has 3 components/phases: There is a “wriggle-through” research essay that situates project and denotes these histories/relations; a collection of stories and illustrations (Ancestral Descendants) offering moments in the (r)evolution of AI-eel and Euskaldunak human relations; and the Eel Elder VR experience.

This presentation takes up unsettling and discomforting moments from the Txitxardin Project, ones that offer what I term unsettling futurity: stripping away hetero- and homonormative ideas around intimacy, consent, and family to reveal pasts and futures of slyly-reproductive possibility. The presentation concludes with examples of how this project and approach informs Michelle Lee Brown’s teaching, research, and media lab plans.

The event is finished.


Nov 22 2021


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

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