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Presenter:  Emma Schuberg Barnes

Date: Sep 12, 2017

Time: 10:00am to 11:00am

Contact person:  LEBA Research
T: 08 8946 6156

Location:  Yellow 1.2.48 Savanna Room

BODYTANK: The experience of human embodiment and our shared futures”

The proposed qualitative study explores what is alive, thriving or dying in the phenomena between human bodies, technologies and digital networks, in the locale of Darwin Harbour. Are the experiences of human embodiment and knowledges being transformed through the use of technology and digital networks? Indications are the pace and forces of these transformations challenge human agency. Individual agency is a key to shared futures, but local realities and ethical performances might be obscured by policy-making and corporate agendas (Bourdieu, 1972; Butler, 2015; Carter, 2015; Lea, 2015; Urry, 2005 & 2016; Whatmore, 2002 & 2006). Social and cultural geography literature identifies gaps in understanding the complexities of what is being produced in terms of human/nonhuman relations, particularly in work, production and consumption (Bissell & Del Casino, 2017).
This interdisciplinary study draws together numerous dimensions of human body realities, technologies and digital networks and conceives of them as performances in the theatre of Darwin Harbour, in the remote context of Northern Australia. An emergent, performance ethnography approach will explore ways of understanding and communicating complex evolving relationships between bodies and technologies (Hamera, 2011; Hynes, 2016; Suchman, 1985 & 2011). How can we make sense of these complexities? ‘Making sense’ might be performed through a model of practice and theory (Dervin, 1998; Seely Brown, 2017). The researcher proposes a model, provisionally titled BODYTANK—an interdisciplinary pursuit to make sense of the transformations in the experience of human embodiment.
Experiences of work, leisure and traditions on Darwin Harbour will be recorded with local participants, through in-depth interviews and audio-visual observations. Findings will inform a re-embodying of the data, such as in the form of a pilot performance art work. In this form, the research is offered back to the community, body to body: an embodied report of what might otherwise be invisible data. Materialities, relational dynamics, social aesthetics and activisms will be critically curated to make visible sense of the impacts on contemporary human embodiment.

Emma Schuberg Barnes is an artist and educator, holding a Bachelor of Art Education (Hons) from the University of New South Wales. She has interests in contemporary art forms and public sociology. Her interdisciplinary PhD research pursues understanding and communicating complex, evolving relationships between bodies and digital technologies. This project is concerned with making sense of the experience of human embodiment. Emma’s recent work in tertiary education as a research assistant is with projects inquiring into teacher resilience. Her professional roles focus on enhancing critical judgment and embodied learning, such as through curating public performance art, managing transcultural creative projects, and teaching high school visual arts. Prior to training as a teacher, Emma worked in communication and marketing roles. She has cultivated dynamic understandings of corporate, government, pedagogical and faith communities. Emma is a past Executive Member of the NSW Visual Arts and Design Educators Association (VADEA).

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