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A Light Footprint in the Cosmos

A Light Footprint in the Cosmos is a celebration of research methods and intercultural dialogue elaborated by the Substantial Motion Research Network (SMRN). More info can be found here.

Inspired by 17th–century Persian process philosopher Sadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī, Azadeh Emadi and Laura U. Marks founded SMRN in 2018 for scholars and practitioners interested in cross-cultural exploration of digital media, art and philosophy. Sadra famously stated that  each individual is "a multiplicity of continuous forms, unified by the essential movement itself," which describes how SMRN’s members inform each other’s practice and how those practices weave across artistic and scholarly work. Our collective method unfolds hidden connections: researching histories of media in world cultures, tracing paths of transmission, seeking models for media in world philosophies, studying vernacular practices, cultivating cultural openness, developing hunches, building imaginative and fabulative connections, and diagramming the processes of unfolding and enfolding. We fold South, Central, and East Asian, Persian, Arab, North and sub-Saharan African and African diaspora, Eastern European, and global Indigenous practices into contemporary media and thought. Our light footprint lies in seeking appropriate technological solutions, often from non-Western and traditional practices, to contemporary overbuilt digital infrastructures.

Celebrating the substantial motion of thought and/as creative practice, A Light Footprint in the Cosmos will feature presentations by 60 scholars and artists, delivered both online and in person, at the acoustically sophisticated performance venue Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre. We’ll kick off the symposium with a roundtable, The SMRN Method. Our through-provoking thematic threads include Grounding New Media in Traditional and Vernacular Technologies, Media Archaeologies, Travelling Cultures, Points-clés/Portals, Talismanic Media, Collective Imagination and the Imaginal, Cosmological Diagrams, I Ching as Method, Vibration and Breath, Body and Breath, Sensory Archaeologies, Healing Media, Algorithmic Media Disrupt Figurative Thought Patterns, and Three Ecologies.

The exhibitions, performances, and curated film screenings are integral to the event. We are delighted to present exhibitions of works of 17 artists, curated by Nina Czegledy and hosted by Vancouver contemporary art venues SFU, Or Gallery and Centre A. The artworks explore, via a wide variety of analogue and digital media, the global circulation and connectivity of theories and technologies, addressing both historical inspirations and contemporary issues. They illuminate hidden connections and reveal diverse yet complementary concepts and practices. The musical performances and literally draw breath from deep cultural sources. SMRN’s methods extend into the curated screenings Cinema of Prāna and A Tender Shock of Fabulation.

A Light Footprint in the Cosmos affirms the substantial movement of thought and practice by seeking to stage dialogues, provoke discussion and spark new collaborations in order to decolonize media studies, art history and aesthetics.

Artists and presenters

Bahar Akgün, Julieta Aranda, Evan Barba, Steve Baris, Mansoor Behnam, Natalia Bell, Brahim Benbouazza, Carol Bier, Joff P.N. Bradley, Ciğdem Borucu, Juan Castrillón, Millie Chen, Delinda Collier, Nina Czegledy, Henry Daniel, Garry Doherty, Stephanie Dossou, Siying Duan, Ron Eglash, Waèl El Allouche, Tarek Elhaik, Walid El Khachab, Mena El Shazly, Azadeh Emadi, Nezih Erdogan, Paul Goodfellow, Jan Hendrickse, Julian Henriques, Masayuki Iwase, Sunčica Pasuljević Kandić, Bharati Kapadia, Pantea Karimi, Farshid Kazemi, Jessika Kenney, Javad Khajavi, Asad Khan, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Somayeh Khakshoor, Michelle S. Kim, Lynn Marie Kirby, Keisha Knight, Olga F. Koroleva, Katie Kotler, Laura U. Marks, Nancy Mauro-Flude, Darija Medić, Narjis Mirza, Minoo Moallem, Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh, Katya Nosyreva, Mahmoud Nuri, J.R. Osborn, Arzu Ozkal, Sheila Petty, Manuel Baldoquin Pina, Radek Przedpełski, Bettina Schuelke, Kalpana Subramanian, Yvan Tina, Alexandra Tsay, Juan Urbina, Wolfgang Weileder

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.     

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