Monday, July 21, 2014 at 6:00-8:00pm
Open Source Cancer: Hackers
and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing
in conversation with Eric Cazdyn, Irene Healey, Justin Pahara,
and Dolores Steinman
Moderated by Roberta Buiani
Presented by Letters & Handshakes and ArtSci Salon
Sponsored by the Dean of Arts Office, Faculty of Arts, Wilfrid
Laurier University and supported by the Fields Institute for
Research in Mathematical Sciences
The Fields Institute
University of Toronto
222 College St.
Free and open to the public
Please join us for a conversation exploring the politics of
cure at the intersection of open science, network culture,
clinical practice, and biocapitalism. A presentation by Alessandro
Delfanti on the concept of a biodigital ritual of sharing
will be followed by talks by theorist Eric Cazdyn and medical
artist Irene Healey, with responses from researcher Dolores
Steinman and biohacker Justin Pahara.
Alessandro Delfanti | Open Source Cancer: Hackers
and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing
Through the website La Cura (the cure), the Italian designer
and hacker Salvatore Iaconesi open sourced his cancer. He
shared medical data and information related to his brain
tumor and received hundreds of thousands of cures from patients,
physicians, activists, artists, designers, and other peers.
His condition was turned into a global performance of de-medicalization.
In order to do this, he had to hack his medical records
and convert them into open formats, to make data easily
readable and shareable, as well as to construct an inclusive
understanding of the word cure. Beginning from
the case of La Cura, in this presentation, Delfanti will
propose the concept of a biodigital ritual of sharing,
a protocol or script, dense with meaning, that is adapted
from hacker cultures public practices: hack into data
owned by institutions, share them in the open, and build
a community which can make unpredictable use of the data.
While in the context of medical institutions data represented
an objectification of the body, their reinscription through
the ritual helped constitute a body politic that could interpret
them as a symbol for a reconfiguration of the experience
of cancer. Against techno-determinist utopias of distributed
innovation, Delfanti analyzes the biopolitical side of open
source. Following feminist theory, he suggests that, when
facing illness and disability, digital cultures imagine
and perform technologies as social and relational rather
than bodily prosthesis.
Eric Cazdyn | Cure as Form
Irene Healey | (Re)membering: Observations on the
Desire for Restoration After an Altered Identity
Discussants | Justin Pahara and Dolores Steinman
Alessandro Delfanti is a postdoctoral fellow at the
research hub Media@McGill at McGill University, where he works
on the role of participatory media in biomedicine and teaches
a seminar on Online Cooperation. Before moving to Quebec he
obtained a PhD in Science and Society and then taught Sociology
of New Media at the University of Milan. In Fall 2014, he
will begin a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University
of California, Davis, where he will work on the evolution
of scholarly communication. As a journalist he writes about
science politics and digital cultures for several Italian
newspapers and magazines. His first book is titled Biohackers:
The Politics of Open Science (Pluto Press 2013).
Eric Cazdyn is Distinguished Professor of Aesthetics
and Politics at the University of Toronto. He teaches courses
on critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, Marxism,
film and video, architecture, illness, literature, and Japan.
He has written the following books: The Already Dead, After
Globalization (with Imre Szeman), and The Flash of Capital;
and is editor of Trespasses and Disastrous Consequences. Cazdyns
newest book, Nothing (with Marcus Boon and Timothy Morton),
is an attempt to reclaim for our present moment three desires
that are regularly laughed out of polite conversation: Enlightenment,
Cure, and Revolution. Cazdyn is also
a filmmaker. His films have been screened and performed in
Japan, Canada, the US, Europe and, most recently, in the UK
as part of a two-week residency at The Cube Microcinema (Bristol)
with Eric Chenaux.
Irene Healey is a practising visual artist and a medical
artist who maintains an independent clinical practise seeing
individuals for custom made external body prostheses. She
combines her knowledge of art and science with medicine and
technology. She is a graduate of the Art as Applied to Medicine
program in the College of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Justin Pahara is the cofounder of Synbiota Inc., a
leader in the emerging science 2.0 movement. He has more than
a decade of bioengineering experience as well as extensive
knowledge of synthetic biology tech, markets, and work-flows.
Justin learned stuff at the University of Cambridge (PhD,
MoTI in JBS), Singularity University (GSP-10, Google Fellow),
iGEM (2007, 2008), the University of Alberta (B.Sc., M.Sc.),
and of course, the Internet.
Dolores Steinman was trained as a Paediatrician and,
upon relocating to Canada, obtained her PhD in Cell Biology.
Currently she is a Research Associate in the Department of
Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto and a
volunteer Docent at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In her research
she observes the rapport and the connection between medical
imagery and its non-scientific counterparts. Her pursuit is
driven by her keen interest in placing increasingly technology-based
medical research in the larger context of the humanities.