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?
Animality treats of the non-human and beyond human senses, of expanded notions of aliveness, panpsychism and hylozoism in species other than the humans of ISEA2020. A few non-humans are accepted at ISEA2020, just not as presenters.
The theme Ecosophic World proposes explorations of sentience understood within the entanglements of scientific, environmental, and multispecies ecologies, and their current crises. Case-studies of symbiotic and expanded ecosystems, both natural and human-made will be explored in 10 different sessions at ISEA2020.
Machinic Sense and Sensibility saw a great deal of proposals about the autonomy and agency, and even intentionality of robotic and digital creations. Presentations in this theme take on both the sentience of machines and sentience through machines.
Sentient Difference shines a light on ways of navigating the social, natural and materials worlds that go beyond or against normativity in regards to race, gender, queer and trans, and (dis)ability.
Matter’s Mattering brings forward the tangible, materials things of sentience: the bodies, circuits, infrastructures, matter, how they come to be and the place they take in modalities of engagement and sentience.
The Politics of Sentience was tackled by some of the most critical scholars who will present their takes on the post-truth, post-sense, sensorization, surveillance, racism, weaponization, control, inequality, re-bordering, capitalism, neo-liberalism, other isms and the institutions of knowledge creation and management of today.
The Planetary: few but worthwhile proposals rethink the global to reaffirm, through creation, the aesthetics of sharing in the global currents and streams of the natural elements, shared resources, beneath and above this planet’s surface.