Laura U. Marks (Simon Fraser University)
The video recording of this lecture is not yet available.
Soul-assemblages are gatherings of beings organic and inorganic, material and immaterial, that enter into coalitions healthy and unhealthy. I derive the soul-assemblage from Leibniz’s concept of the dominated monad, a monad that is bound into a larger monad by a skin-like vinculum. From G.W.F. Leibniz, Gilles Deleuze, Alfred North Whitehead, biosemiotics, and technology theory, I argue for the usefulness of the concept of soul, as a private place from which to synthesize and prepare action, and propose that (almost) anything has a soul. Drawing from assemblage theory I argue that souls, or monads, assemble into larger monads to accomplish certain functions. The soul-assemblage concept also has roots in the thought of Édouard Glissant, David Bohm, and Sadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī. All these process philosophies hold in common a conception of a universe that is both ever-changing and interconnected, in which all entities share a single folded surface.
Soul-assemblages exist at hyper-local, planetary, and cosmic scales. They can be healthy, toxic, or, most often, a mix of the two. I’ll show how the concept is useful in aesthetics, activism, and personal improvement. Media too are soul-assemblages, gathering together infrastructures, movies, and audiences. Thinking of media as soul-assemblages draws attention to the contributions of technologies, labor, electricity, and energy sources to a movie, as well as those of audiences and many other elements. I will describe the particularly intensive and salubrious soul-assembled gathered around a small-file movie of no more than 5 megabytes, of the sort we screen at the Small File Media Festival.
Workshop 14:00, same location
Laura U. Marks works on media art and philosophy with an intercultural focus and an emphasis on appropriate technologies. She is the author of four books and the forthcoming The Fold: From Your Body to the Cosmos with Duke University . Marks is co-founder, with Azadeh Emadi, of the Substantial Motion Research Network and led the research group Tackling the Carbon Footprint Streaming Media. Marks programs experimental media art for venues around the world and founded the Small File Media Festival in 2020. She teaches in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.