On Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 7pm, Plug In ICA presented “Nonhuman Futures,” a lecture by Kite aka Suzanne Kite as part of Labour of Love: On Digital Economies in the Arts, a series of lectures, screenings, and workshops. Referring to the protocols Kite has developed through her artistic practice, she investigates our current and future relationships to nonhumans, especially to technology and artificial intelligence. 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 for communication 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 that seem human, the first steps are to acknowledge, understand, and know that the nonhuman are ‘beings’ in the first place. Indigenous ontologies already exist to understand forms of ‘being’, which are outside of humanity.
Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, and composer raised in Southern California, with a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice highlight contemporary Lakota epistemologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Her performances, compositions, sculptures and sound installations showcase the use of experimentation in new media and digital technologies that touch on issues such as nonhuman and human intelligence, the ethics of augmented reality, and software design. Recently, Kite has been developing a body interface for movement performances, carbon fibre sculptures, immersive video and sound installations, as well as co-running the experimental electronic imprint, Unheard Records. For the inaugural 2019 Toronto Art Biennial, Kite, with Althea Thauberger, produced an installation, Call to Arms, which features audio and video recordings of their rehearsals with Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) York, which also consisted of a live performance with the conch shell sextet, who played the four musical scores composed by Kite. Kite has also published extensively in several journals and magazines, including in The Journal of Design and Science (MIT Press), where the award winning article, “Making Kin with Machines,” co-authored with Jason Lewis, Noelani Arista, and Archer Pechawis, was featured. Currently, she is a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Research Assistant for the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.
Labour of Love or LOL takes the “public course” as a platform for engagement. LOL highlights the various ways in which the digital is interrogated, explored, celebrated, pushed to its limit, reworked, re-invented by artists, scholars, curators, writers and others. The course encompasses a full array of events, delving into such topics as coding, circuit bending, VR, AI and AR, gaming, scanning, and 3D printing. Divided into two streams, a lecture and screening series, and workshops, Labour of Love at its most general examines the relationship between the economics of labour and the digital arts as it contends with the conditions of racial capitalism. As a research platform, we aim to build an understanding of the digital by presenting artists who invent new trajectories through various technologies.
This program is made possible through the Digital Strategy Fund: Digital and Intelligence by the Canada Council for the Arts.