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More-than-human worlds, Virtual Reality for animals

Date:

07/13/2022


More-than-human worlds, Virtual Reality for animals

An online conversation with Michela de Mattei, Andrew Straw and Amanda Masha Caminals. 

Curated by Translocalia

The seventh event in the series Human, post-human, machine is a conversation that unfolds at the intersection of science, technology and contemporary art.


More-than-human worlds, Virtual Reality for animals expands on Michela de Mattei’s artistic research about the histories of non-humans and Andrew Straw’s scientific research on Virtual Reality for animals.

For the past decade, Michela de Mattei has been developing a research on animal narratives and interspecies communication that is currently crystallising in her last video: Estée Lauder, the VR experience, the fifth and final film of a series which unfold the artist’s 5-years Skype relationship with Estée Lauder, a Gloucester-based Indian Mynah bird. Together with Translocalia, the artist is working on a publication to accompany the film, collecting the research materials that led to the video and exploring the question of animal language as well as the idea of potential forms of animal resistance.

On the occasion of Humans, Post-humans, Machine at the IIC, we delve into de Mattei's upcoming film. Could we share a fictional world with non-human animals through virtual reality? Through this provocative speculation and departing from her interest in the therapeutic uses of VR and its uses to study other species behaviours, she started a series of conversations with Professor Andrew Straw and his lab. By developing advanced technical systems such as virtual reality arenas, the Straw Lab investigates the mechanistic basis of visual behaviours of animals such as navigation in Drosophila.

Translocalia is a translocal network that connects practitioners and institutions from different disciplines and fields of action, such as art, design, activism, science and architecture. Its aim is to discuss, share and plan for an inclusive and sustainable future through art.

Michela de Mattei (Rome, 1984) currently lives in Milan. She graduated in Philosophy from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. She is a research based-artist, who works both with moving image and different kinds of materials to create fictional scenarios and unusual associations that explore different forms of authority and control. Her interests include the animal world, the use of current technologies and the shifting dynamics of communications systems.

Andrew Straw is a professor of biology at the University of Freiburg. His research asks the question of how insects see and use visual memories to navigate their world. To do so, his lab also develops novel technologies such as virtual reality for freely moving animals. Using experimental arenas inspired by the holodeck and the Matrix, his lab studies how computations are implemented in the tiny brain of flies and collaborates with others on collective behaviour in groups of animals. Ultimately, such work will lead to a better understanding of helpful and harmful insects such as bees and mosquitoes in addition to providing inspiration for the limits of autonomous vehicles.

Amanda Masha Caminals is co-founder of Translocalia and co-director and curator of the Mutant Institute of Environmental Narratives (IMNA), the artistic laboratory for climate action of the City of Madrid. Based at the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre of the Technic University of Madrid (itdUPM), IMNA fosters artistic practices in connection with journalism, science and technology as a response to the challenges of the environmental crisis. Masha Caminals is also Advisor to the European Commission S+T+ARTS Prize, an initiative to foster alliances between science, technology and the arts.

An attendee link will be available soon. 

Information

Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Time: From 6:00 pm To 7:00 pm

Entrance : Free


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