Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Video documentation: Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory - 5th panel

Human as Nonhuman. Microbiome and holobiome
#human microbiome #holobiont #redefining ourselves
Moderator: Marta de Menezes


Tarsh Bates (Artist, SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia, Perth)  
On Being a Microbioartist: Making art in a microbiology laboratory 

I explore the physical, emotional and political relationships between humans and Candida albicans(an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans). These relationships span immunology and ecology, sexuality (both human and microbial) and evolutionary biology, public health and body discipline, institutional frameworks and kinship. I examine the biopolitical implications of the recent revolution in our understanding of the human body as being at least half non-human. In addition to the challenges of working with pathogens, the rapid simplification of genetic engineering technologies and increasing commodification of human microbes raises complex questions about whether these organisms have ethical standing: are they living or merely machines? This presentation asks the audience to consider the perspective of the microbe, of the pathogen, as a creature that is more-than-human, through a series of artworks developed in a microbiological laboratory.  

Fran├žois-Joseph Lapointe (Artist and microbiologist, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Montreal)
Performative Microbiome Experiments
  

We inhabit the microbial world. Microbes live on us, around us, and inside of us. Every single orifice of our bodies is populated by millions of microbes. We eat microbes, digest microbes, and defecate microbes. Whereas the human genome defines what we are as a species, the human microbiome now redefines the concept of self. As a scientist, I study the microbiome to detect novel types of interactions among bacterial communities. As a performance artist, I use my body as a canvas, tracking the evolution of my microbiome self. What if I become vegetarian? What if I travel to a different country? What if I practice celibacy for a month? Those are the kinds of artistic endeavours that can be directly translated into scientific data. In this talk, I will present my latest experimental performances with the microbiome as a way of questioning the aesthetics of the self.


Regine Rapp (Art Theory, Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)
Nonhuman Subjectivities. Artistic Strategies towards a Multispecies Performativity


There are different moments in current artistic processes that leave behind the humanist idea of the solo artistic genius and explore complex collaborations across disciplines and more provocatively across species and kingdoms. What does it mean when nonhuman agents perform in a 21st century artwork? While not proposing the nonhuman as artist, certainly the performative process of art production can be a vehicle for the nonhuman agent as well as multispecies entanglements. A short overview of the dynamic aesthetic field of making-kin shows various artistic methods, embracing the matter as such, a direct material engagement with the world (Barad). A new artistic paradigm proves to have overcome the nature/culture divide by implementing worldly terrains for multispecies encounter, intra-action and performativity in a postanthropocentric era.

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