This podcast is part of the Witchcraft made Science series, a collaboration with curator Lieke Wouters. In this podcast, we approach the witch as a stereotype as well as a new feminist icon. Making space for the spiritual, the scientific and the sceptical aspects of witchcraft, all seen from an artistic lens. In this episode, we welcome artist and researcher Emily Pelstring.

Emily Pelstring is an artist and filmmaker, and is faculty in the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Emily’s artistic research comes out of a desire to challenge normative ways of thinking about technological development by bringing antique media into contact with contemporary images. Her work takes interest in the material contingency of the cinematic spectacle, the evolution and cultural perception of various media forms, and the intersections of science and magic. These inquiries have been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council, and the results have been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries, DIY spaces, and festivals. She has directed many music videos and short experimental films, specializing in animation techniques for 16mm film and vintage analog video. In addition to her solo work, Emily is engaged in ongoing artistic collaborations with Jessica Mensch and Katherine Kline, her “sister-crones” in the trio The Powers. Their most recent collaboration, Sistership TV, was a web-based variety show that gathered numerous collaborators and guests to explore themes like human-animal communication, telepresence, hysteria, and witchcraft. Emily was also a core organizer of an international symposium called The Witch Institute at Queen’s University, which brought together scholars, artists, and practitioners to explore the meaning and impact of current media representations of the witch. (source: Emily Pelstring)

About the hosts:

Lieke Wouters (she/her) is an art historian and curator, mainly focusing on art on the intersections with digital technologies, utopias in current and speculative societies and intersectional feminism. She is currently the business director of the platform for contemporary art POST and makes programs on art and technology for Oddstream.

Reon (she/her) is a professional future summoner and Master in Media, Art, Design & Technology at Frank Mohr Institute. Born in a desert and raised in subtropical highlands, she is mystery-bounded. Experienced lecturer, multidisciplinary design, fashion and overall pseudo-sciences aficionado.

Edit: Reon Cordova


00:00:00 Introduction / 00:01:00 Idea of the Witch / 00:03:00 Intersection of science and magic / 00:06:00 Witches, Midwives and Nurses and modern medicine / 00:09:00 Delegitimization and femicide and the figure of the witch/ 00:15:00 The Powers and sistership TV / 00:19:00 Blob and Nature’s Queer Performativity / 00:23:00 The Witch Institute / 00:29:00 Heretic movement / 00:31:00 Outro


Music: Chapter I and Chapter II bY The Powers, on the courtesy of Emily Pelstring, Jessica Mensch and Katherine Kline.

Further reading and links:

Emily Pelstring

Sistership TV

Witches, Midwives and Nurses Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English

Caliban and the Witch,Women, The Body And Primitive Accumualation by Silvia Federici

Nature’s Queer Performativity by Karen Barad

Ursula K. Le Guin

Donna Haraway

The Witch Institute

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