Keynote Speakers

This year's CATR/ACRT: Performing the Anthropocene: Setting the Stage for the End of the World is delighted to feature two dynamic keynote speakers on Sunday, May 28 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. in The Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W).

Ayelen Liberona

Born in Toronto to Chilean political refugees, Ayelen began with a career in dance that has evolved toward radical explorations of movement and the moving image as powerful tools for change and social justice. Her dance theater creations have been performed to wide acclaim across 4 continents and can best be described as multidimensional cinematic experiences often occurring in site-specific spaces and provoking stories of ancestry, ritual and nature. Through her work she has collaborated with artists such as Rubin Kodheli, Harry Mavromichalis, Ballet Jörgen, Gabrielle Roth, Noemie Lafrance, Jenn Goodwin, Sylvie Bouchard, lal and Cirque du Soleil.

Ayelen’s obsession with the moving image led her to film and an evolving partnership with filmmaker Joseph Johnson-Cami. Their most recent film The Shift, starring Margie Gillis can be seen here. Since 2005 they have directed numerous experimental and documentary films among them BecomingKeepers of the Water and A Grain of Sand that have garnered awards such as CFC’s Best Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award (2009), the Miami International Short Film Festival’s Best Experimental Film Award (2009) and the Mark Haslam Award at the 2011 Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. Staging plant-people conspiracies alongside anthropologist Natasha Myers has been the fountainhead of Becoming Sensor, a research-creation project in High Park’s Oak Savannah. Ayelen is grateful for support from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for her film work and educational initiatives. As an educator she has developed numerous arts based programs aimed at empowering young people with the tools to express their own shaping ideas as a means of collaboration, conflict resolution and affecting change. In 2011 Ayelenwas nominated to TIFF’s Emerging Filmmaker Award and in 2012 she received the K.M. Hunter Award for Film & Video. Ayelen is currently artistic advisor to Corpus, director/producer for the Future of Storytelling’s theater presentations and resident production designer for Music in the Barns.

Natasha Myers

Natasha Myers is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University. Her ethnographic research examines forms of life in the contemporary arts and sciences. Her first book, Rendering Life Molecular (Duke University Press, August 2015, winner of the 2016 Robert K. Merton Book Prize from the American Sociological Association) is an ethnography of an interdisciplinary group of scientists who make living substance come to matter at the molecular scale. This book maps protein modeling techniques in the context of the ongoing molecularization of life in the biosciences. It explores how protein modelers’ multidimensional data forms are shifting the cusp of visibility, the contours of the biological imagination, and the nature of living substance. What, it asks, does life become in their hands? This book was the recipient of the 2016 Robert K. Merton Award from the Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. With support from an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Government and a SSHRC RDI Grant, she convened the Plant Studies Collaboratory in 2010 to serve as a node for collaborative interdisciplinary research on plant-based ecologies and economies. In new work, she is experimenting with ways to document the affective ecologies that take shape between plants and people, and among plants and their remarkably multi-species relations. One project looks at ways the phenomena of plant sensing and communication are galvanizing inquiry in both the arts and the sciences. Another project looks at the ways that human/plant relations are staged in botanical gardens and in ecological restoration sites in city parks. Professor Myers is the convenor of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, co-organizer of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon, and co-founder of the Write2Know Project. Links to her projects can be found on her website: