Corporeal Epistemics (in four parts)

Simon Ellis (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchDigital or Visual Media

Abstract

_The background:_ 
In 2017 _The Economist_ declared that the "world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data".[^1] We are unwitting pawns in a silent data war, and the algorithms of Google and Facebook are winning. This is the age of _surveillance capitalism_, founded on "extractive operations in which our personal experiences are scraped and packaged as the means to others’ ends".[^2] Dance and the performing arts are likewise beholden to the datafication of experience: the online archive, digital documentation, virtual reality ... After all, like moths to a flame, we follow the money in order to survive.
_The foreground:_ 
In the European summer of 2019 the choreographer-dancer Shaun McLeod (Australia) and I worked for four weeks in a studio in London. We worked with simple materials: Authentic Movement, a camera and each other. We did not produce a work or outcome to be seen, but rather ended up exploring the nature of things that cannot be described. If the key epistemic question is "who, when, why is constructing knowledges?"[^3] then in this presentation I will attempt to discuss the epistemic _why_ of experiences that are unable to be discussed. They are experiences of politics and humility that underpin the radically analogue nature of the human body; they are experiences that exceed "algorithmic description";[^4] perhaps they are even experiences or _acts_ of "epistemic disobedience".[^5]

## Endnotes
[^1]: The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data [WWW Document], 2017. The Economist. URL <https://www.economist.com/leaders/2017/05/06/the-worlds-most-valuable-resource-is-no-longer-oil-but-data> (accessed 12.12.19).

[^2]: Zuboff, S., 2019. _The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: the Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power_. Profile Books, London.

[^3]: Mignolo, W.D., 2009. _Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom_. Theory, Culture & Society 26, 159–181, p.160

[^4]: Odell, J., 2019. _How to do nothing: resisting the attention economy_. Melville House, Brooklyn, NY, p.xvi

[^5]: Mignolo, W.D., 2009. _Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom_. Theory, Culture & Society 26, 159–181, p.160
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • dance
  • epistemology
  • practice-as-research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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