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Call for presentations, A Light Footprint in the Cosmos, 24–27 June 2022

Call for scholarly and artistic presentations at A Light Footprint in the Cosmos, School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, 24–27 June 2022

The Substantial Motion Research Network (SMRN) is an international research network founded in 2017 by Azadeh Emadi and Laura U. Marks for scholars and practitioners interested in cross-cultural exploration of digital media and philosophy and, in particular, the interconnected themes of non-Western inspirations for new media technologies; the global circulation of ideas and technologies; and theories of circulation and connectivity. We adopted our name from 17th–century Persian process philosopher Sadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī to characterize the way each SMRN member’s practice contributes to the development of other members’ research and individuates in response to their input. We are also inspired by the material and environmentalist turn in media studies. Some of our works, research databases, and podcasts are available to the public at and Our collective research methods include researching the histories of media in world cultures, tracing paths of transmission and exchange, seeking models for media in world philosophies, studying vernacular practices, cultivating cultural openness and developing hunches, and, when historical links cannot be identified, building imaginative and fabulative connections.

Celebrating the substantial motion of thought and/as creative practice, SMRN will hold the four-day symposium “A Light Footprint in the Cosmos” at the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, 24-28 June 2022, accompanied by workshops, exhibitions, performances, and curated screenings. We are delighted to extend an invitation to scholars and artists to take part in the symposium. We are looking for scholarly papers and performative artistic presentations that resonate with the network's core interests and interrogate one (or more) of the following themes:

  • grounding new media in traditional and vernacular technologies whose operative logic is capable of accounting for forms and processes of contemporary algorithmic media. We are interested into inquiries that problematise the unilateral, globalised and extractivist "meta" character of modern technology, demonstrating multiple ways in which media can be different and untimely, where the past is a creative potentiality. To quote Amiri Baraka, "the future is always here in the past."
  • non-Western media archaeologies. We are interested in the diverse cultural origins of media technologies, especially their Islamic, South and East Asian, African, and global indigenous “roots.” We are interested in how these alternative genealogies can partake in the project of decolonization as modes of resistance. Taking a de-Westernized and post-European perspective is crucial given the role of Western imperialism in the acceleration of climate change and environmental destruction, theorised as the Anthropocene.
  • travelling cultures. We are interested in inquiries that investigate how culture transforms as it circulates geographically, whereby the transfer of practices and objects, such as textiles, across time and space draws alternative cartographies that exploding nationalistic, reactionary, and identitarian modes of thinking art and culture.
  • media ecologies and cosmologies. We are interested in how contemporary artistic practices are grounded in the unground of different cosmologies, and how local cosmologies partake in an extended ecological system where an object or a practice mediates between the body and the cosmos. We are also interested in how contemporary artworks can function as cosmological diagrams that guide the viewer’s perception and imagination. We are interested in practices that draw on cosmologies to promote sustainability.
  • healing media: interventions that reinvent the contemporary media landscape as opportunities for individual and communal healing. We are interested in inquiries into appropriate technologies that use less electricity and generate a social renewable energy for communities of practice; practices that are intensive rather than extensive, connecting to the viewer materially, affectively, and socially.

Please send your abstract of up to 300 words with a short bio to by January 31, 2022

Questions? Contact Radek Przedpełski, manager, A Light Footprint in the Cosmos: