Sense Lab

antennae teneral
twittering, twitching
who is out there
in our midst?
twin flittering
free floating frivolous
through the soapy urban bitter.
see, say, sense
intensified, untenable
glittering, switching
who is out there
in our mist?

* * *

(department of biological flow: imago — a play in three acts, toronto, april 28, 2011)

Exaggerating the Fold

Mecha Butterfly Soundsystem (in progress)

mecha butterfly soundsystem

Perhaps more than any other species in the animal kingdom the butterfly exists as both surface and volume, flat planes of splotchy mathematics and colour taking wing in the gestures and complex trajectories of relational movement. Both painting and kinetic sculpture, the artful butterfly exists in the fold between two and three dimensions, depending on its contingent affinities with any passing observer.

We move to gritty urban corridors and the domain of mecha butterflies. Frenzied, intensified, we peer through an emergent flux of glass windows and make connections with those on the other side of the pane: pizzeria, automobile, hair salon, coffee shop. Only the closed circuit televisions dotting the landscape from above do not allow such moments of biunivocal recognizance through the looking glass.

The effect is even more pronounced on this side of the glaze, as we lift off the screens of everyday walking in the city to decompress our data in a becoming-flesh. What is this strange curiosity? There are double takes, minor gestures of surprise, subtle responses of warmth or suspicion that vary in their quality of affective tone. Relation is briefly renegotiated. The moment is gone.

Can we suggest that this intermezzo was a movement in between the two-dimensional surface of spectacle and the three-dimensional curves and arcs of volumetric embodiment?

Perhaps. We are each already emerging from this fold in experience, never simply positioned as inert gases in a Euclidean container but rather weaving past and future into an expressive now. The mecha butterflies simply exaggerate this folding with their micropolitics of gaited flight — an experiment in strange attraction and its non-integer dimensionality.

* * *

(department of biological flow: imago — a play in three acts, toronto, april 28, 2011)

Slow Parabolic Surface

Slow Parabola

dulcet tones
of a breakbeat bodyfelt
babeling ambient
brook in pastels
peoples, dilated
sleek suffocated
sweet intoxicated
by the sheer
by the sheen
orchestrated by the
machine, buy the machine
but softly and thereafter

not so warm here after all,
not too much sun, the UV glide-on
roll-on is on

and we move on . . .

* * *

(department of biological flow: imago — a play in three acts, toronto, april 28, 2011)



The Department of Biological Flow cordially invites you to:


A play in three acts.

April 28, 2011

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

In biology, the imago is the last stage of development of an insect, after the last ecdysis of an incomplete metamorphosis, or after emergence from the pupa where the metamorphosis is complete. As this is the only stage during which the insect is sexually mature and, if it is a winged species, has functional wings, the imago is often referred to as the adult stage.

Imago is Latin for "image".

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Act One. "Kino-Butterfly"
   emergent from "The Butterfly Project"
   a public performance work with Tara Ostiguy and Cara Spooner
   @ Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

Intermezzo. "Gait Surfing III"

Act Two. "Someone Might Be Listening"
   @ 'Techosapien' - OCADU Wearable Technologies student exhibition

Act Three. "Lorenz Security Ltd."
   @ 'Fashion/Unfashion' - Toronto Alternative Arts + Fashion Week

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Attire for the evening will be faux kino-gait.

spring thaw

gait surfing

the suicide king
of the s,word of the
(joker, shapeshifting)
queen of the Hiv
that killer of
unsayable colonies

recombinant code

spring time

in springtime the
blank white pagerank
terror comes welcome

spring thaw

footsteps footsteps
wings flitting

cold and uncertain


Feminist University

(abstract submitted to the "precarious spaces: (dis-)locating gender" conference, hosted by the susan b. anthony institute at university of rochester)

Holey Space (Notebook Study)

Writing the Body: Technics, Gender and the Society of Control

Sean Smith
European Graduate School
Department of Biological Flow

Ingrid Tatyanova
Fine Arts College of Kowloon


The notion of writing the body has a lengthy history in feminist scholarship, seen for example with such diverse writers as Cixous, Hayles and hooks. In their own unique ways we might suggest each describes practices of writing intensively — that is, of capturing affective thought in as urgent a fashion as possible so that thinking and feeling are no longer easily understood as discrete concepts. In contrast with the book "proper," which is most often understood as the culmination of a long process, the notebook, on the other hand, is usually the beginning of a process — the incipient moment of poiesis when thought emerges from the foldings of flesh relation to find expression in gesture and inscription. One captures thought through writing while it is still felt in the body, challenging any possible understanding of mind-body dualism in the act of recording or making memory prosthetic.

pages stick together at the holes

Increasingly, however, we might also understand the notebook as a site of politics and resistance in the contemporary society of control, with all the precarity that implies. It may offer dramatically different conditions of possibility precisely in how its embodiment enters into movements with other bodies — normative or otherwise — to create space, time and memory. We might describe these gendered technics through the lens of Fornssler's affective cyborgism — not a preconstituted body as such, but rather an always emergent part-subject that becomes individuated as it enters into contingent networks of relation and technique. This paper explores these gendered technics and their affective underpinnings in a performative autoethnography of writing practices, engaging a body of thought that also includes Ettinger, Deleuze, Guattari, Serres and Derrida.


Sean Smith

_____________ _ _ _

Burn Notebook

[do we have holey space yet, smith asks?]