Keynote Speakers

Elaine Gan

Timing Change: Miracles, Monsters, and Machines

Green rice field

Rice is a flowering grass that has, in the last ten thousand years, become one of the world’s most important crops and beloved companion species. In this presentation, Elaine Gan shares her transdisciplinary research and methods for engaging with rice as an assemblage of multiple temporalities in order to trace how change unfolds differentially, creating miracles, monsters, and machines. 

Headshot of Elaine with black background

Elaine Gan works at the intersection of feminist science & technology studies, environmental/digital humanities, and visual arts to explore relations between people, plants, and machines. Gan is assistant professor of science & technology studies at Wesleyan University and directs the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab, a podcast about climate change from multispecies perspectives. Gan is co-editor of Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (Minnesota 2017) and is presently writing about the temporalities of crops. 

Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Caste and Tech: Terrains of Resistance and Resiliance

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American artist, community organizer, technologist, and theorist. Currently, Thenmozhi is the Executive Director of Equality Labs, which she co-founded. Equality Labs is the largest Dalit civil rights organization working to empower caste-oppressed people in the US and globally. Through her work at Equality Labs, Thenmozhi has mobilized South Asian Americans towards dismantling eons-long systems of oppression, with the goal of ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, white supremacy, and religious intolerance. Thenmozhi previously co-founded Third World Majority, an international media training organization and collective that supported people from disenfranchised groups in telling their own stories, in their own way. 

Her intersectional, cross-pollinating work—research, education, art, activism, and digital security—helps to create a more generous, global, expansive, and inclusive definition of South Asian identity, along with safe spaces from which to honor the stories of these communities. Thenmozhi’s work has been recognized by the U.S. Congress, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The Producers Guild of America Diversity Program, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Sorbonne, Source Magazine, Utne Reader, The National Center for the Humanities, The National Science Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She is a frequent contributor on issues related to South Asia, caste, gender, and racial Equity, as well interfaith issues and peace building, and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Guardian, ABC, and NBC news.  She was also an inaugural fellow of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist,  Atlantic Foundation for Racial Equity, and is a current fellow at Stanford Center for South Asian Studies.  You can order her new book The Trauma of Caste from North Atlantic Books to learn more about her work around caste equity, abolition, and healing.

Roopika Risam

Roopika Risam is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies and of Comparative Literature, Digital Humanities and Social Engagement Cluster, Dartmouth College. She is the author of New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy (Northwestern UP, 2018). She has co-edited the volumes Intersectionality in Digital Humanities (Arc Humanities Press, 2019), South Asian Digital Humanities (Routledge, 2020), and The Digital Black Atlantic (Debates in the Digital Humanities Series, University of Minnesota Press, 2021). She recently co-edited in the “Minimal Computing” special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly, serves as co-editor of Reviews in Digital Humanities, and is principal investigator on the Mellon Foundation-funded Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium.

João Beira

Merging the physical with the digital> A case study for the future of digital Art

This talk is a reflection on the future of digital art and how augmented reality and artificial intelligence will play a key role in this process. This conviction is based on my personal experience manipulating generative art and light in order to merge physical with virtual environments.  

This body of experimental work uses natural landscapes as canvas, such as trees and mountains, with projection mapping and sensors creating art installations and performances. Ultimately, these experiences are designed to raise awareness of natural elements and nature. 

João Beira is a visual artist, university professor and art director that explores the intersection between light and augmented reality through real time visualizations and generative design.  

He is the founder and creative director of Datagrama Visuals, a collective of international artists that performs live visuals and creates interactive light installations. His work in live visuals and projection mapping establishes his main activity as a visual artist, content creator and to perform live visuals. 

His work has been featured at exhibitions such as  Red Rock Amphitheater (Colorado), Chicago Art Museum (Chicago), SXSW (Austin), Burning Man (Nevada), Kings Theater (New York), Lollapalozza (Chicago), to name a few, He collaborated with artists such as Tipper, Thievery Corporation, Emika and Jade Cidada. He was also commissioned to create original work for clients such as National Geographic, Vimeo, Quixotic and Spark Cognition. He is also an art director for Boom Festival since 2016. 

He has a Ph.D from the University of Texas, Austin (2016) and an MFA in multimedia Arts at University of Porto (FEUP). Currently he is an assistant professor at Michigan State University from 2022. He has lectured in the past  at University of Porto (FEUP),  Escola Superior Arte e Design (ESMAD), Escola Superior Artística do Porto (ESAP) and Escola Superior da Gallaecia ESG.