CALL FOR PARTICIPATION OPEN
ISEA2020: WHY SENTIENCE?
Montreal, Canada, May 19-24, 2020
For 2020, ISEA Montreal turns towards the theme of Sentience. Sentience describes the ability to feel or perceive. To be sentient is thus to be “capable of feeling,” from the Latin sentientem (nominative sentiens) while “feeling,” the present participle of sentire “to feel,” refers to “being conscious” of something. To feel or perceive something at first seems to suggest that sentience is a uniquely human trait. Yet, sentience implies sensing the world and acting on it across all entities—animal, plant, mineral, environment or machine—rather than cutting things into binaries: human/non-human, animate/inanimate, alive/dead, human/machine, nature/technology.
ISEA2020 will be fully dedicated to examining the resurgence of sentience—feeling-sensing-making sense—in recent art and design, media studies, science and technology studies, philosophy, anthropology, history of science and the natural scientific realm—notably biology, neuroscience and computing. We ask: why sentience? Why and how does sentience matter? Why have artists and scholars become interested in sensing and feeling beyond, with and around our strictly human bodies and selves? Why has this notion been brought to the fore in an array of disciplines in the 21st century?