Mediations of Sensation: Threshold / Saturation

DISPLACE (v 1.0)

Performative Sensory Environment

Chris Salter | TeZ | David Howes
+ Anke Burger, Shannon Collis, Natalie Doonan, Florencia Marchetti, David Szanto, Harry Smoak, Matt Tremblay

American Anthroplogical Association annual meeting

Montreal, Canada
November 16-20, 2011
15h-20h, except Thursday November 17 (15h-17h30 and 20h)

Displace is a performative environment which will be open to the general public and delegates to the American Anthropological Association (AAA) meetings in Montreal from 3:00 to 8:00 pm on Wednesday the 16th through Sunday the 20th of November, 2011. It is officially listed as an AAA ino-vent on the conference program.

Displace intermingles multiple sensory phenomena in order to heighten and transform our habitual modes of perception. Over a 45 minute period, groups of 6 visitors progress through a sequence of sensory-based environments. At first, these environments intermingle gustatory and haptic stimuli and then gradually convoke all the senses inside intense, almost hallucinatory spaces where flickering color, sound and tactile vibrations and fleeting tastes and scents merge to the point of saturation.

Come and have your senses rearranged. Discover worlds of sense!

Displace is one of series of experiments conducted within the context of a larger research project entitled “Mediations of Sensation” developed by artists Chris Salter and TeZ and anthropologist David Howes along with a team of researchers in design and anthropology. The aim of “Mediations” is to create a space between art and anthropology where contemporary art practice can be informed by advanced research in sensory anthropology, and vice versa. Sensory anthropology is dedicated to charting the varieties of sensory experience across cultures. Howes and his team have documented a wide array of ways in which the senses are distinguished, ranked, mixed and deployed and enjoyed in different cultures. Displace derives part of its inspiration from this archive. It mirrors the anthropological experience by offering a sensorially compelling, technologically augmented environment designed to open a crack in the conventional Western sensorium and transport the experiencer into a parallel sensory world.

In addition to the artistic outcomes of the project (of which Displace is the first), “Mediations” involves panel discussions and specific ethnographic research with the public in order to understand participant experiences, and evaluate the potential of performative environments of this kind to communicate anthropological knowledge in ways that are both more encompassing and more immediate than the standard means of transmission – namely, the ethnographic monograph, ethnographic film, and/or ethnographic museum display. Displace is an exhibition, but without any objects, without the mediation of celluloid, and without any words – only sensations.

The installation will run as a public prototype from Wednesday, 16 November through Sunday, 20 November 2011 at the Hexagram Concordia Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology inside the Hexagram Black Box research space from 15h-20h daily (except between 17h30 to 20h on Thursday. The location of the event is:

Hexagram Concordia Black Box
Level S3 (take the stairs or freight elevator to level S3 in the basement)
Engineering and Visual Arts Building
1515 St. Catherine Street West (Corner of Guy and St. Catherine)
Montreal, Quebec

Métro Guy-Concordia

A number of graduate students in sensory studies and the Concordia humanities doctoral program will be on hand to guide you into the exhibition space and make sense of the experience afterwards.

At 6:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, 2011 in a room adjacent to the Black Box, there will be a talk by Chris Salter and David Howes entitled “Between Art and Anthropology: Entangled Sensations.” The talk (and discussion) will be followed by a multisensory reception beginning shortly after 7:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.

For AAA conference delegates, we have set up a reservation system which will make it easy to accommodate to the conference schedule. We will accept reservations for up to 4 people every 45 minutes. This includes the installation as well as a short group talk back/interview session afterwards. There will typically be at least two spaces available for those who simply turn up, and experience the event standby. Other members of the public are also welcome to make reservations, however, given the limited amount of spaces, AAA delegates will be given priority from Wednesday-Saturday.

Admission: FREE
Open: DAILY FROM 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm (except Thursday, when it closes between 5:30-8:00 for the talk and reception)

For reservations, please see below.

Mediations of Sensation is a joint venture of LabXmodal and the Concordia Sensoria Research Team (CONSERT), both based at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.



Directions from the Palais des congrès to Concordia University:

View larger map or get directions for public transit.


Please refer to the following table to find available time slots that can accommodate you: