On Non-Human Futures, Instruments, and Stories: A Conversation between Kite and Michelle Lee Brown

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CCR Nov 22
Chelsea Bell Eady

Nov 22, 2021 10:00am – 11:30am

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Monday, November 22, 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST

Kite “Nonhuman Futures”

In this talk, Kite will investigate our current and future relationships to nonhumans, especially to technology and artificial intelligence, as well as developing protocols through her artistic practice. 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 with relations 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 which seem human, the first steps are to acknowledge, understand, and know that the nonhuman are ‘being’ in the first place. Indigenous ontologies already exist to understand forms of ‘being’ which are outside of humanity.

Kite bio

Kite is an Oglala Lakota performance artist, visual artist, and composer, concerned with contemporary Lakota ontologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance practice.

Michelle Lee Brown “Discomfortingly Consensual SF: The Txitxardin Project’s Unsettling Genealogies of Intimacy”

There are well over a thousand years of history between Euskaldunak (Basque people) and eels – relations that have been disrupted by settler colonialism and participation in colonization projects elsewhere. Txitxardin is an older name for the young silver eel stages of what is currently called the “European Eel.” Changed to “angula” as txitxardin was deemed too difficult to pronounce for marketing them, this naming shift embodied patriarchal ruptures away from our relational practices to focus on overharvesting, financial gain, and (over)consumption as a marker of belonging.

The Txitxardin Project is an attempt to (re)code these relations through art and research. It has 3 components/phases: There is a “wriggle-through” research essay that situates project and denotes these histories/relations; a collection of stories and illustrations (Ancestral Descendants) offering moments in the (r)evolution of AI-eel and Euskaldunak human relations; and the Eel Elder VR experience.

This presentation takes up unsettling and discomforting moments from the Txitxardin Project, ones that offer what I term unsettling futurity: stripping away hetero- and homonormative ideas around intimacy, consent, and family to reveal pasts and futures of slyly-reproductive possibility. The presentation concludes with examples of how this project and approach informs my teaching, research, and media lab plans.

Michelle Lee Brown bio

Michelle Lee Brown centers relational commitments – as complex as they can be - to human and nonhuman kin and roots her teaching and research in BIPoC feminist theory and praxis. She is Euskalduna from Lapurdi, Euskal Herria, but grew up nourished by Mashpee Wampanoag lands and waters.

She is part of the Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Working Group, and the new Assistant Professor for Indigenous Knowledge, Data Sovereignty, and Decoloniation in the Digital Technology and Culture Program at Washington State University, part of a University system-wide cluster hire initiative in Racism and Social Inequality in the Americas. Her doctoral dissertation was successfully defended in September 2020 in the areas of Indigenous Politics and Futures Studies from the Political Science Department at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, titled (Re)Coding Survivance: Relation-Oriented Ontologies of Indigenous Digital Media.

Upcoming Event in this series:

Refuse, Relate, Return: Decolonial Practices in Process: a conversation between Vanessa Andreotti, Julie Bull, and Rita Wong. Friday, December 3 2021, 12:30 PM PST/ 3:30 PM EST