Embodied & Embedded Empowerment

An archaeology of possible, accountable and diverse futures for the present human, learning from the past to imagine what comes after, through game design, film, HCI and cyborg interfaces.

Idun Isdrake, INDI PhD, interdisciplinary program in Fine Arts, Concordia University Tiohtià:ke/Montréal

Supervisors: Rilla Khaled, Bart Simon, Lynn Hughes

Main labs:
Milieux institute for arts, culture and technology
Technoculture, Art and Games lab

Other groups:
Solar Media
Hexagram interdisciplinary network for research creation in arts, cultures and technologies
Risk Logics
Digital Intimacy, Sexuality and Gender Lab

Concordia International Tuition Award of Excellence
INDI Entrance Fellowship

Preliminary thesis content

Based on 20 years of work and studies the following themes have taken shape and will be treated in my research. Underlined words link to previously accomplished projects that inspire the theme.

Dark matter, the Unknowns and Inbetweens
– Design fiction, technological development and games for change
DIY, hacker and maker cultures as drivers of change and accessible technologies
– Game culture, metaverses, avatars, movement and body presence
– Flesh and fury: politics of body modification, skin as voice
– Embodied, embedded and empowering technologies
– Move 37: AI systems, ethics and human creativity
Archaeologies of pasts and futures
– Exit strategies, (im)material culture and queer deaths

Possible separate guidelines to develop: Update of the declaration of human rights (and responsibilities), gender neutral language, advice for hospitals etc. regarding technoimplants and non verbal communication.

Research Creation focus areas 2021/22

Imperceptible Spaces & Systems

Examples of previous work that feeds into my current practice: The Collaboratory, Future City Lab, Design Fiction, Game & Film Development & Gallery, DIY, maker and hacker labs, Participatory Design, Hacking Politics & Culture. Current research builds on my cyborg features as non-verbal and inclusive interfaces for human and non-human expression, including links from my body to games, film and music. The research creation questions also involve aspects of sustainable powering of the technologies used, from a solarpunk perspective.

NFC implant music instrument & voice, collaborating with ice and studying AI systems and design of datasets.
Planetary Accountability
Nordic Landscapes Photo Series
Uranus & Neptune, image credit: NASA & JPL – Caltech
Yggdrasil – Animism – Space, Place and Time Perception
Counter Tactics

Levels of skin: skin modification, performance & fashion, surveillance & privacy, religious/political oppression (mark of the beast etc), forced binaries & time perception, architecture, transportation, movement, parkour, psychogeography. Use of non-mainstream transportation or movement style, and design of face scarification and tattoos that not only express identity, belonging, rites of passage, but also prevent face recognition software and other surveillance and automation technologies to read me as human.

Territorial Acknowledgement
Concordia University is located on unceded Indigenous lands, the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters, and Tiohtià:ke/Montréal is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. As much of my research is currently made as a visitor here, this is an important aspect of the Planetary Accountability work connected to it. (More info on Native Land). The same accountability is considered for my research and work conducted in my own native land where oppression is still going on, which I have personally experienced.
I am still learning about the local conditions on Turtle Island/Canada, but my current actions for accountability are mainly: attending the Pîkiskwêtân Learning Series at Concordia University, like the Territorial Acknowledgement workshop with Donna Goodleaf; writing in a gender and religion neutral language; respecting the land and customs; experiencing and properly referencing the work made by local researchers; removing any physical traces/waste of the technology I use when I leave this land.

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