June 30, 2021, 6:30pm UTC+2

John MacCallum and Teoma Naccarato (HfMT)

In this talk composer John MacCallum and choreographer Teoma Naccarato interweave questions related to politics, identity, and representation in multimedia performance. The basic premise of the talk is that representation does not exist, and yet illusions of causality and interaction between bodies, movement, and media persist and have very real effects in the world, thus warranting deep consideration on an aesthetic and ethical level. Drawing on feminist and process philosophies, they probe shifting distributions of agency and intelligibility within and between differentiated "things" – gestures, sounds, bodies, identities, disciplines. Moving fluidly between examples from dance, music, interaction design, machine learning and artificial intelligence, they foreground concerns related to inscribed bias and systemic inequality in the design and use of technologies in art and life, as well as the ways in which mediums of representation are always already entangled within situated understandings of what it means to be human.

John MacCallum and Teoma Naccarato

Teoma Naccarato and John MacCallum have been collaborating since they met in 2013. Their collective work draws on their backgrounds in music composition, choreography, computer science, and creative writing, as well as their deep interest in performance art and philosophy. Together they have created numerous video and performance works which take as their starting point the materiality and temporality of the heart. With the use of stethoscopes and electrocardiograms they enliven sonic and haptic installations, and generate variable metronomes to introduce calculated unpredictability into the unfolding of live events. In addition to sensing the heart by way of technology, many of their performances and videos incorporate a dissected heart. Held between them, the flesh of the heart shapes the context of their shared touch, breath, and interaction, and invites questions related to mediation and representation of bodies in performance.

Recent performance works include III: Once Removed, III: Tangente, Synchronism, and Portraits, presented at venues in Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Phoenix, London, Hamburg, and Berlin. In addition, they have been awarded artist residencies at research centres such as IRCAM (Paris), Djerassi (California), CLOUD/Danslab (The Hague) and Lake Studios (Berlin). Since 2016 they have published a series of articles together in journals focussed on dance and somatics, music and composition, movement and computing, and performance philosophy, reflecting the trans-disciplinary breadth of their artistic and scholarly interests.

Teoma holds a PhD from the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University in the UK, and did her MFA at the Ohio State University, and her BFA at Concordia University in Montreal, all in dance/choreography. John did his PhD at UC Berkeley, his MM at McGill University in Montreal, and his BM at the University of the Pacific in California, all in music composition. They have each held a variety of research and teaching positions over the years in the US and Europe, and currently live in Berlin with their cat.