LASER 7 Differential climate changes

Co-Chairs Nina Czegledy and Gisèle Trudel
MARCH 12 2019, 7PM

Liz Miller (Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University)
Dan Kneeshaw (Biological sciences, UQAM)
Alexandre Castonguay (École des arts visuels et médiatiques, UQAM)

Biological Sciences Pavillon (SB)
141, avenue du Président-Kennedy
4th Floor, Room SB-4105

Climate change brings new challenges both locally and globally. Climates are dependent on alterations to the atmosphere that store greenhouse gases resulting from human activities which contribute to increased temperatures. Between 1948 and 2014, the average annual temperature in Canada has warmed by 1.6 °C , nearly the double of the global average (Climate change Canada).

In this situation, how is it possible to think and create with differential changes in climates with regard to drought in forests, rising sea levels and variations in temperatures ?

The Shore Line Interactive and Interdisciplinary Encounters

Liz Miller will discuss her interactive documentary, The Shore Line and how the project has fostered interdisciplinary encounters. This collaborative initiative involved students and directors from around the world and uses videos, data visualizations and educational resources to address the combined threats of rising sea levels and unchecked development along global coasts.

When drought is beneficial for forests and other lessons from climate change research

Dan Kneeshaw will discuss his research programme about the influence of climate change on forest growth, which monitors sites across Canada in order to provide continuous real-time measurements. The use of large tree-ring data bases act as proxies of past stresses. Tree-ring cores show that drought stress causes growth reductions in southern regions but in the north where soils are cold and wet, warming and drying can lead to increased growth.

Food for Thought
Alexandre Castonguay will discuss three projects which unravel his approach of « quiet activism » whereby « augmented » dinners are special occasions for guests to share a meal together. Vegan delicacies are served on porcelain plates with tesselated shapes that trace global changes in temperature over the last 150 years. These quasi-objects highlight the offerings while rendering ingestion problematic.


Elizabeth (Liz) Miller is a documentary maker and professor who uses collaboration and interactivity as a way to connect personal stories to larger timely social issues. Her documentary projects on timely issues such as water privatization (The Water Front) gender & environmental justice (Hands On), climate and resilience (The Shore Line) have won international awards, been integrated into educational curricula and influenced decision makers. Her newest project, SwampScapes ( is a multi-platform 360 documentary about the Everglades. Liz is a Hexagram member, full professor in Communications Studies at Concordia University and the co-author of Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice (2017).

Daniel Kneeshaw (Centre for forest research, UQAM) is a researcher in forest ecology interested by the influence of natural disturbances (insect oubreaks, fires, windthrows) and climate change (warming and drying) on the growth and survival of forests. He is currently leading a project to instrument monitoring sites across Canada as well as teams studying the effects of droughts and insect outbreaks on forest dynamics. His work is done in the goal of improving and making more resilient forest management techniques.

Darkness designer and príncipe descolonizador, Alexandre Castonguay approaches different artistic forms suggesting modes of exchange and interaction inspired by the relational dynamics of information flows. He is a professor at the École des arts visuels et médiatiques, UQAM and a member of the Hexagram network. His creations have circulated, amongst other places, at Piksel (Norway), the 11th Transmediale (Berlin), the Festival International d’Art Vidéo de Casablanca and Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

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