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Ally Bisshop

Short Biography
Ally Bisshop is an Australian artist, writer and researcher living in Berlin. She draws on methods and concepts across multiple disciplines to think critically and creatively about the material, affective, ethical and relational thresholds between human and nonhuman. In 2018 Ally completed her practice-based Ph.D. in visual arts (UNSW National Institute for Experimental Arts) with an exploration of more-than-human techniques in processual artistic praxis. Previously, she studied art at UdK Berlin through Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Räumexperimente, and microbiology (B.Sc. Hons 1) at UQ Brisbane. Since 2017, she has been an associate researcher in Tomás Saraceno’s transdisciplinary interspecies Arachnophilia project. Since 2019, she has also collaborated with Lucy Powell in the artistic research project, Holobiosonics, which uses the format of the sonic essay to explore affective modes of symbiotic storytelling.

Panel Abstract
More Than Human Sensing as Relational Praxis: Propositions for Sensing-with, Sensing Otherwise

This contribution frames the concept of ‘more-than-human sensing’ as a provocation that asks: what else is given in experience? Exploring the implication of this question opens up as a creative task of making and sensing relations across thresholds of difference: self/other, human/nonhuman. In turn, to think through a speculative praxis of more-than-human sensing begets the ethicopolitical question of: to what end? What are the ethical implications of sensing otherwise, sensing-with the other; or rather, what can more-than-human sensing do?

As an address to the texture of these questions, this contribution situates more-than-human sensing as a praxis of relation to an outside; to that which escapes or elides the reifying habits of human perceptual schema, to that which is felt as an interval of difference, a lure for the becomings-other of sense. This relational praxis also proposes a reworking of the thresholds of sense and self, troubling the edges of an abstract and unitary (human) subject as the site of sensation and of knowing, troubling the thresholds between subjects and worlds. A praxis of more-than-human sensing therefore requires techniques, strategies and tools for rupturing the sedimented habits of sense and self, techniques which also work to open us to our entanglements with insensible realms.

It is here, in the creation of techniques for sensing-with and sensing-otherwise, that I claim a critical role for artistic and speculative methods. Creative attempts at more-than-human sensing work in parallel with scholarship in the environmental and post– humanities to imagine new and sympoietic modes of ecological relation that engage difference as a generative proposition. More-than-human sensing is thus understood as a vital corrective to the ongoing violence of human exceptionalism, wherein the ‘insensibility’ of broader ecological phenomena reinforce the material and ethical abstraction of the human subject from the worlds in which it is enmeshed.[1]

[1] See: Neimanis, Astrida, Cecilia Åsberg, and Johan Hedrén. 2015. “Four Problems, Four Directions for Environmental Humanities.” Ethics & the Environment 20 (1): 67–97.

Ally Bisshop speaks in Panel III: More-than-human Sensing by Kate Donovan and Christian Schwinghammer.