23 AUGUST | 14:00–15:30

Sense and Absence

Elmira Zahra Jahanshah Rad, Camila Rosa, Kari Yli-Annala

Vacuum is a kind of absence that has different effects on sensing. Looking at different phenomena from a physicist’s point of view, absence is necessary to sense and, in some situations, there is no sense in absence! A good example of the former is scanning electron microscopy (SEM), which is only possible in a vacuum, and as an example of the latter, sound does not propagate in a vacuum. Vacuum, absence, void are never absolute. Even in a vacuum, there is bubbling (appearing and disappearing) of elementary particles at the quantum level. This bubbling at the quantum level has some similarity to the philosophical concept of “sombre precursor”, which is a kind of “pre-flash” of becoming into being, preceding all phenomena in the expanding universe. There is an improvisatory playfulness in the universe. We, too, bubble: a smell instantly reminds us of something, but we also suddenly forget a word; we have mixed-feelings; our certainties flicker… But the global space seems to be operating under different rules, not sensible to these bubblings. In this space, where the Other and I coexist, politics and economy seem sustained by the determinations of “their culture”, “your ethnic background”, “our origins”. What would the world look like if it were based on the playfulness of indetermination?  

Photo of Camila Rosa

Camila Rosa is a performance artist and doctoral researcher based in Tampere. Her research explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy, often focussing on collective practices of memory storying. She considers autobiographical memories as rich entry points to the entanglements between temporality and raciality, exploring the limits of what can be grasped through linear understandings of time. She creates performances examining relationality and participation, diving into our ability to sensibly perceive others, blurring borders between the individual and groups, private and collective. 

Photo of Kari Yli-Annala

Kari Yli-Annala is a Helsinki-based moving image artist, writer, lecturer, curator and doctoral researcher. His current project Kínimata is a research project on movement and time and “analogical” qualities and features in the cosmos, told by moving images, texts and sounds. He has graduated from The Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and is a founding member of the Finnish moving image artists’ cooperative FixC, established in 2007. He was the artistic director at the film & media art festival AAVE (Alternative Art Event) from 2010 to 2018. In 2017, he received the AVEK Award, the most significant accolade in the Finnish field of media arts. 

Photo of Zahra Elmira Jahanshah Rad

Zahra (Elmira) Jahanshah Rad is a doctoral researcher in Materials Science at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Turku. Her Ph.D. thesis is about improving the efficiency and working lifetime of electronic and photovoltaic devices, which are made of semiconductors – devices such as solar cells, smart phones, laptops, etc. She is a co-inventor in four patent families and co-author in 18 peer-reviewed articles. Besides physics, she is interested in philosophy, cognitive sciences, social sciences and environmental issues. Her best friend of 15 years is her dog Goopi, who has been with her since he was a puppy.

Each year before the main event, ABOAGORA organises a Pre-symposium retreat for young scholars and artists. The sessions ”Sense and Absence”, ”Charting the Void” and ”Regenerative Void, and What Floats to the Shores” are all produced by ABOAGORA Pre-symposium alumni. These collaborations delving into the theme of Void were sparked with the launch of a Pre-symposium alumni network in 2022, building on the connections made during the retreats.
”Sense and Absence” and ”Charting the Void” (~30 mins each) will be held back to back, followed by a joint discussion and Q&A. Please note the schedule change: This session will start at 14:00!

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