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The Bentway Announces Eight Micro-Residencies as Part of the Digital and/as Public Space Initiative

We are pleased to announce eight micro-residencies, investigating the convergence of digital and physical space as part of our Digital and/as Public Space initiative.

Residents will be drawing from their own work (past and current projects) to inform their research. Each resident will explore hybrid public realms that embrace elements from both physical spaces and digital spaces. Together with The Bentway and From Later, they will investigate how hybrid spaces are defined, created, and maintained. Residents have proposed their own approach and will work over the next two months to uncover and reimagine aspects of publicness such as navigation, accessibility, community participation, and identity. Residents include:

  • Mitchell Akiyama
    Mitchell Akiyama is a Toronto-based scholar, composer, and artist. His eclectic body of work includes writings about sound, metaphors, animals, and media technologies; scores for film and dance; and objects and installations that trouble received ideas about history, perception, and sensory experience. He holds a PhD in communications from McGill University and an MFA from Concordia University and is Assistant Professor of Visual Studies in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto.
  • Sady Ducros and Richard Thomas (The Foresight Studio)
    The Foresight Studio is a Strategic Foresight advisory group working to increase the quality and variety of strategic options available to clients. Sady Ducros works globally across industries in Experience Design Futures and Strategic Foresight. Richard Thomas is a future-forward strategist driven by the balance of art and rigour. He’s worked globally exploring frameworks for the Future of Artificial Intelligence and Human Experience. Currently The Foresight Studio is developing a real-time system enhancing situational awareness for Disaster Risk Reduction. 
  • Garry Ing and Dawn Walker (Hypha Worker Co-operative)
    Garry Ing is a designer and researcher residing in Toronto. He is a sessional faculty at OCAD University teaching interactive media. He is a co-organizer of Our Networks, a conference on building distributed network infrastructures, and A-B-Z-TXT, an autonomous school for art, design and computation in Toronto and Montréal. Dawn Walker is a design researcher and PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the possibilities for social transformation through the design of alternative infrastructures. She is also a co-organizer of the Our Networks conference.
  • Melissa Johns
    Melissa Johns is a new media artist and educator from a mixed Mohawk/French Canadian background, currently based in Tkaronto, ON. Melissa’s visual practice uses interdisciplinary methods to collect, preserve, and transform fragments of the stories around her, investigating the narrative potential of emergent channels. Melissa is pursuing a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Art from OCAD University and is also the Digital + Interactive Coordinator at imagineNATIVE, where she is passionate about exploring intersections of tradition and technology, and empowering the next generation of Indigenous voices in new media.
  • Ashley Jane Lewis
    Ashley Jane Lewis is a creative technologist, educator, and new media artist with a focus on Afrofuturism, bio-art, social justice, and speculative design. Her artistic practice explores black cultures of the past, present, and future through computational and analog mediums including coding and machine learning, data weaving, microorganisms, and live performance. Listed in the 2016 top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, her award-winning work on empowered futures for marginalized groups has exhibited in both Canada and the US, most notably featured on the White House website during the Obama presidency.
  • Nathan Schnieder
    Nathan Schneider is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he leads the Media Enterprise Design Lab. He is the author of Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy, published by Nation Books, and two previous books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, both published by University of California Press. He has lectured at universities including Columbia, Fordham, Harvard, MIT, NYU, the University of Bologna, and Yale.
  • Raad Seraj
    Raad Seraj is a Bangladeshi-Canadian technologist, cultural producer, activist, and advocate for psychedelic medicines. Raad’s work incorporates science, art, and technology to interrogate assumptions embedded in systems and to create new ways to embody possibilities. His expertise draws from a career in biotechnology, cleantech, and economic development, as well as work in media and entertainment. Raad is the co-founder of Anda Residency, a NFP that hosts artist residencies in transitional spaces (like a house slated for demolition). By day, Raad works with Benevity, an enterprise SAAS company and global leader in workplace giving and corporate philanthropy.
  • virtual care lab
    virtual care lab creates opportunities for genuine presence, purposeful online/offline connection and collaboration, and digital well-being. Their projects have included many unconventional virtual gatherings, focused discussions, collective performances, creative activities, and collaborative online spaces, and are all available to the public. An exercise in mutual governance, virtual care lab is co-founded by Alice Yuan Zhang and Sara Suárez, operating in fluid collaboration with Lea Rose Sebastianis and other community members, and organized in partnership with NAVEL, a non-profit cultural organization and community space in Los Angeles.

Research findings will be incorporated into The Bentway’s Field Guide to the Digital Real (to be published May 2021). The Field Guide will be a public resource that provides insights, case studies, provocations, and speculations on how hybrid approaches are shaping and reshaping public space.

To learn more about the residents and their practice, follow @thebentway on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Curious about the Digitial and/as Public Space initiative? Click here to learn more with From Later.