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Cultivating Arts of Attention Unconference

All Bard Faculty & Staff Welcome!

Please register by March 11, 2019

The unconference is free and open to all Bard faculty and staff, and includes coffee, lunch, and childcare. However, please register in advance to help us prepare for the day. The brief form that follows will include opportunities for you to sign up for lunch; provide information about accommodation and childcare needs; propose a topic, event, or session; and describe your interest in the topic of attention.

Register Here


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Attention is at the crux of all sorts of current interdisciplinary debates, and the subject of much public discourse in our age of social media and mobile tech. This event will place special emphasis on how attention works (and when it doesn't) in the context of the contemporary academy, but will also create space for broader conversations about presence, distraction, and technology now and in previous epochs. This "unconference" is distinct from a traditional conference in that all attendees have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary discussions, take part in skills-building workshops, and enjoy an array of activities all dedicated to the subject of attention.

The keynote will feature Jason Farman (University of Maryland), who will speak on his book Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World (Yale UP, 2018). Bard's own Marina van Zuylen, author of The Plenitude of Distraction (Sequence/MIT Press, 2018) will serve as respondent.

The keynote will be at 1:00PM in RKC 103 and is open to students as well.



Jason Farman

Jason Farman is the Director of the Design Cultures & Creativity Program, an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies, and a faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is author of the book Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media (Routledge, 2012 — winner of the 2012 Book of the Year Award from the Association of Internet Researchers), which focuses on how the worldwide adoption of mobile technologies is causing a reexamination of the core ideas about what it means to live our everyday lives: the practice of embodied space. Farman has been a contributing author for The Atlantic, Atlas Obscura, Real Life, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also been interviewed on NPR, ABC News, the Associated Press, the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, the Denver Post, among others. He received his Ph.D. in Performance Studies and Digital Media from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Learn More


Marina van Zuylen

Marina van Zuylen is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Bard College. She was educated in France before receiving a B.A. in Russian Literature and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard. She is the author of Difficulty as an Aesthetic Principle, Monomania, and The Plenitude of Distraction (Sequence/MIT Press). She has published articles in praise of some of the most beleaguered maladies of modernity—boredom, fatigue, idleness—and written about snobbery, dissociative disorders, and obsessive compulsive aesthetics. She has contributed to a number of collections about the work of Jacques Rancière and has written for MoMA and other art-related publications. She has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and the university of Paris VII. She is the national academic director of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a free college course for underserved adults, and accepted on its behalf a National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2014. She is presently writing Good Enough, a book about the unsung virtues of classical and modern mediocrity.

Schedule Overview

Saturday, April 13, 2019

7-8:00am Optional early morning session (Nature Walk & Birding)

8:30-9am: Coffee and registration

9-9:30am: Welcome and introductions

9:30-10:45am: Opening discussions about attention in the digital age

10:45-11am: Break

11-12pm: Workshops, exhibitions and parallel sessions

12-1pm: Lunch

1-2:15pm: Keynote by Jason Farman, response by Marina van Zuylen. Open to students and the public.

2:15-2:30pm: Break

2:30-4pm: Workshops, exhibitions and parallel sessions

4-4:30pm: Closing

There will be exhibits and events in RKC throughout the day

Full Schedule

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Early Morning Session (optional)

Bruce Robertson

Nature Walk & Birding

Knowing the names of the plants and animals around us provides a unique and rooting sense of place in the world, but we first must notice them. In this nature walk, you will learn to focus your ears and eyes on noticing the birds, plants, and other life that you live with every day.

Bruce Robertson is a conservation ecologist. His research focuses on questions that address important conservation issues, but that also provide fundamental insights into ecological theory. Broadly speaking, he investigates the direct and indirect impacts of human activities on biodiversity, species persistence and species interactions with special emphasis on how rapidly changing environments may disrupt evolved relationships and trigger maladaptation. He is especially interested in cases in which novel environments trigger animals to actually prefer to make inappropriate, detrimental and often dangerous decisions. These scenarios are known as evolutionary traps. Traps are an emerging conservation problem that can contribute population declines in species of concern. He collaborates extensively on a variety of projects including a study of the impact of new forms of pollution (polarized light pollution) on aquatic insects, and research investigating how to grow next generation bioenergy crops that facilitate the conservation of biodiversity. Trained as an ornithologist, Bruce increasingly uses arthropods, mammals and plants as study organisms.

Film Screening

Jacqueline Goss

The Observers

Jacqueline Goss makes movies about scientific systems and how they change the ways we think about ourselves. Her two most recent works are “The Observers” --a feature-ish length portrait of a weather observatory on the windiest mountain in the world and “The Measures” – an essay film and artist’s book made with artist Jenny Perlin about the history of the metric system and “invention” of the meter. A native of New Hampshire, Goss is a 2008 Tribeca Film Institute Media Arts Fellow and the 2007 recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in Film and Video.

Morning Sessions

​Juliana Machado

Yoga & Meditation

​“An hour to tune in and recharge,” this session is inspired by yoga tools and self exploration and aims to set the tone for the day by unwiring and connecting within. Suitable to all levels of experience and all body types, the session will offer breathing exercises, and movements based on yoga that supports self awareness. Beyond exercising the practice of observance, shifting the attention within, grants the ability to diminish the velocity of our thoughts and creates space for our intelligence to flow with more freedom and space. A limited number of yoga mats will be provided. Please bring your own if possible.

Juliana Machado is the founder of Yoga Path for Healing. A native from Brazil, she moved to the Hudson Valley in 2000 where she continued her studies of awareness through the movement. "Dancing and practicing yoga bring me vastness, quietude and freedom" she says. Juliana calls yoga the house of no judgment, and invites you to experience her classes within this space of freedom and acceptance. She has taken 4 Yoga Teacher Trainings since in the US: Ashtanga Yoga (2001), Forrest Yoga (2006), "Life of a Yogi" 500 hours with Sri Dharma Mittra (2012), and "Life of a Yogi" 800 hours with Sri Dharma Mittra (2015). Juliana has been teaching for the past 19 years and now she moved to Catskill, NY to bring more yoga to this artistic village of amazing people.

Gabriel Perron

Fermentation and Hot Sauce

This workshop will give participants the opportunity to learn about and try their hand at basic fermentation principles as they prepare their own custom-mixed hot sauces. Bringing attention to the time and transformation necessary to produce many of our favorite foods, Professor Perron will talk participants through the scientific processes that turn fresh peppers into the base ingredients for the tangy, spicy sauces we love. All participants will leave with their own finished hot sauce and a jar of prepared peppers to ferment and make into hot sauce at home.

Afternoon Sessions

Rebecca Yoshino and Katrina Light

From Seed to Seed and Everything in between

Rebecca along with Katrina Light and Gabriel Perron bring their enthusiasm for slow foods, gardening, seed saving and appetites to this workshop “From Seed to Seed and Everything in between: An exploration of the San Marzano"

Rebecca Yoshino, Bard’s newly hired Farm Coodinator is a Hudson Valley Native, growing up on Hawthorne Valley Farm in Columbia County, NY. Over the last decade she has been actively involved as an organic grower, farm manager and organizer working within the sustainable food sovereignty movement in Minnesota. It was during this time, as director of Wozupi Tribal Gardens, a certified organic farm and education center owned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community that her interest in seed keeping took hold. Rebecca managed a small heritage garden, where a growing collection of culturally significant seeds to tribes of the Upper Midwest were grown out each year.

Katrina Light is the Supervisor of Food and Agricultural Programs and works to advance local food growing, sustainable purchasing and overall agricultural efforts at Bard College. Before joining Bard's Office of Sustainability, she worked for Chartwells Dining Services as their Food Sustainability Director. Katrina was raised on a farm and has taught food and agriculture focused classes at the University of Vermont, the Putney School, and currently teaches Bard's Food Systems Practicum. Katrina is passionate about hands-on learning through farming, composting and culinary education. She encourages everyone to dig a little deeper into understanding  the complex factors that go into growing food from the treatment of workers and animals, to land and energy use. She hopes more individuals and institutions will join the good food movement.
Jason Farman

Technology, Attention, and Embodied Learning

“For how we spend the brutally limited resource of our attention will determine [our] lives…when we reach the end of our days, our life experience will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default.” – Tim Wu, The Attention Merchants Mobile technologies and other emerging media have presented interesting challenges and opportunities for the educational environment. How we incorporate, ban, or ignore these technologies will directly impact the embodied learning that takes place in the classroom. Exploring the pull of attention of mobile media and the ways we as educators can utilize these media for course content, this workshop presents a range of ideas as well as hands-on explorations that can be incorporated into a variety of academic settings. Participants explore issues around multitasking, focus, and layered experiences through platforms such as social media in the class, expanding the classroom through mapping movement, site-specific campus experiences, and audio production. Participants should come to the workshop with a mobile device with headphones.