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Marzena Adamiak

(Re)configuring violence. Karen Barad's metaphysics of entanglement and the issue of exclusion

Abstract Karen Barad, while reflecting on the philosophical threads present in Niels Bohr's physical theory, formulates metaphysics, whose founding category does not rely on existence or even being, but rather on a certain fundamental type of a relationship: entanglement. This gesture is to lead to deep (re)configuration of all terms involved in philosophical thinking or thinking per se. There is a transformation in the understanding of such categories as: substance, matter, existence, thing, discourse and discourse practices, as well as the term of metaphysics itself. The consequence of (re)configuration of meaning of these terms is a modification in their mutual arrangement, which aims at freeing thinking from the discussion on multiple stalemate theoretical situations such as: essentialism or anti-essentialism, determinism or constructivism, nature or culture. What is particularly important to me personally is whether the said (re)configuration secures against a return to the ontological hierarchization that is implicated in the violence connected with exclusion? In other words, whether the original character of the relationship exterts a significant impact in connection with the critical blame of metaphysics for violence? As, if truth be told, such a (re)configuration would need to deal with the constitutiveness of exclusion, i.e. with the mechanism of differentiation at the very basic level of thinking, addressing the issue of theoretical responsibility for oppression. By posing the above questions I want to take a close look at the category which is particularly vital in Barad's reasoning, as well as fundamental for the discussed issue, namely the category of agential cut. First of all, I wish to reflect on the difference between the agential cut and Cartesian censorship between the object and the subject, which according to Barad constitutes its exact reversal.

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology Polish Academy of Sciences

Maria del Mar Alonso-Almeida

Exploring New Materialism Politics and Economics Materialization

Abstract Regarding material culture new materialism is post-humanist and non representationalist. Thus, material thighs lose importance in the current complex and volatile environment where they are considered as simply objects to be used as not an objective in life. Thus, this vision claims that new materialism provide a way to rethinking the nature of realities under a new paradigm. A response to the power that has dominated the world during the past decades. Likewise new economics, politics and feminist systems are emerged as part of this response. These systems are changing the game´s rules with not clear consequences yet. This paper is an attempt to put on the table what these systems are and how they are contributing to build new materialism realities.

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Annette Arlander

Performing (with) Lichen as Situated Practice

Abstract Prompted by the invitation to revisit Donna Haraway's Situated Knowledges from 1988, this presentation will focus particularly on her claim that the object of knowledge be pictured as an actor and agent, not as a screen or a ground or a resource (Haraway 1988, 592). The presentation suggests that her notion 'material-semiotic actor', the object of knowledge as a meaning-generating part of the apparatus of bodily production (Haraway 1988, 595), which is related to the material-discursive practices discussed by Barad (2007), could be useful in terms of aesthetic production. Two attempts at performing landscape on the northern shore of Bornholm during Easter 2016, "Lichen at Allinge 1 and 2" will serve as examples of experimenting with alternating the focus between various contributing actors, like the position of the human figure and the colonies of lichen inhabiting the rocks. Moreover, by looking at the mode of production used and the entanglements involved in these two video works in relation to previous experiments further north, the question of transposing or translating methods used in one location and situation into another, for instance from a familiar site to an unfamiliar one, will be discussed. At previous conferences I have explored ideas by Teresa Brennan, Jane Bennett, Laura U. Marks, and especially Karen Barad, in relation to the practice of performing landscape. Now, with the help of Haraway, I will approach the notions of site and situation, with their strong legacy within contemporary art, through a situated practice of artistic research.

University of the Arts Helsinki

Petra Bakos

The situated knowledges of Anzaldúa’s borderlands

Abstract Borderlands literature mostly engages with narratives of people who, because of their citizenship, ethnicity, gender, race and/or sexuality are hardly scraping by in the economic and legal grey zone at the periphery of society. The conflation of women and other minorities with nature relegates them to a lower ontological status, which then serves as a justification for their, and their environment’s, maltreatment. Still, in spite of these theoretical recognitions, the Cartesian detachment of the human agentic 'self' from inactively conceived matter as well as from a reified natural world was present as a quiescent certitude in most approaches to literatures of the borderlands. In this paper through a close, slow reading of Gloria Anzaldúa’s seminal Borderlands/La Frontera I explore the connections between knowledge production and local(ized) practice. Anzaldúa not only speaks to the material effects of race and gender, to the illnesses brought on the body by the miseries of subaltern life, but according to her the borderlands is a space and consciousness continuously effected by “racial, ideological, cultural and biological cross-pollinization” (99), in other words: created via material-discursive entanglements between the human and non-human environment. My question is: what kind of methodological insights can be gained from the way Anzaldúa produced situated knowledges rooted both in her artistic practice as well as in the very materiality of the land she co-evolved with?

CEU Budapest

Brigitte Bargetz and Sandrine Sanos

"The Quantum is Queer": Diffraction, Materialism and (Feminist) Critique

Abstract In a talk some years ago in Berlin, Karen Barad adopted a decidedly hopeful and almost triumphant tone when she declared that, “The Quantum is queer.” Barad’s invocation pointed to the genealogy of feminist and queer theory that revisit the question of matter and being in order to offer a different feminist epistemology. Her declaration was symptomatic of the material turn in feminist theory, where scholars have voiced their desire for a turn away from critique, paranoid readings, deconstruction, and ideology critique. They have urged us to leave language behind and turn to matter, embrace reparative or surface readings, in the hope for an ultimately more positive engagement that promises to lead us out of our current political impasse. While we are sympathetic with these aspirations, we also suggest that the turn away from critique to a more positive and constructive political ethos embodies a potentially troubling remapping organized around certain kinds of repression and amnesia whose aftereffects yield a politics without politics. We argue that this move requires a forgetting of the powerful genealogy of critique that has infused feminist scholarship over the last decades, now deemed too paranoid, sterile, and circular. It is a forgetting that risks a disavowal of the operation of power in the constitution of the intelligibility of the social. In our paper, we will not reject new materialists’ desires and aspirations but engage with its premises, preconditions, and implications and the manner in which these suggest an abandonment of some earlier archives of (feminist) critique. Against this proclaimed disarticulation we do not consider these models of feminist critique—namely post-structuralism, deconstruction, and ideology critique—exhausted. Taking up new materialisms’ claim for diffracting knowledge we argue for re-visiting what has been left out, thus showing how the remembering of such critical feminist genealogies may help better understand the material conditions of our historical present.

University of Vienna; Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi

Shanee Barraclough

Mapping material-discursive ‘researcher-data-research’ entanglements with spoken word poems: reconfiguring the possibilities for researcher and counsellor-in-training bodies-in-the-making

Abstract This paper will present some of the entangled material-discursive practices of one researcher’s ethico-onto-epistemological (Barad, 2007) becoming in relation to the process of conducting PhD research. In it I will draw on research data generated from individual interviews and collective biography groups which took place over the period of one year with a small group of counsellors-in-training in Christchurch, New Zealand. This research data was originally generated with feminist, post-structural aims of exploring and mapping the embodied encounters of counsellors-in-training as “subjects-in-relation, subjects-in-process” and of making visible the processes of subjection, (Davies, 2009), in order to think differently (to predominantly humanistic views) about counselling, counsellor education and pedagogy. The paper presented here maps an entangled and intra-active process of coming to think myself and my data with feminist posthumanist theory. In doing this I encounter and grapple with practices of vulnerability, respect, responsibility and accountability, generating, for example, questions such as ‘how can I enact practices of respect for my participants, for the moments told, and lived, and for the traces of their entangled selves they have left in trust to me?’ In line with Lenz Taguchi (2013), I ask how I can re-install myself into the data-researcher-research entanglement and ‘become thought’ rather than enacting the separate, autonomous, humanist thinker and knower. I ask questions such as these in order that I might produce knowledge differently and thus produce different, situated knowledges, which might enable richer and better accounts of, both researcher and counsellor-in-training, bodies-in-the-making (Haraway, 1988). Spoken word poems are offered as diffractive patterns of spacetimemattering, which enact situated knowledges generated throughout this researcher-data-research entanglement, and offer their own possibilities to be generative. Finally, ethico-political implications for rethinking pedagogy in counsellor education, and counselling as a material-discursive entanglement, are considered.

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Meredith Birrell

Disorientation and Mutation: A Critical Posthumanist Reading of Hydra Decapita and The Radiant by The Otolith Group

Abstract Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Group has stated that he and collaborator Anjalika Sagar are “interested in taking disorientation seriously” and “have a continuous interest in mutation.”[1] In their essay films, disorientation and mutation emerge as filmic tropes through the confusion of the historical with the imaginary, the adoption of fictional roles, the traversal through multiple temporalities and disparate locales, and an interest in the changing contours of the human within a posthuman paradigm. Far from being evasive or affected however, these approaches are politically grounded in their embodied and embedded selves as author-subjects. I aim to show how such an approach accords with feminist new materialist philosopher Rosi Braidotti’s description of a critical posthuman subject, one that is decentred, partial and nomadic, working within and across differences of both the human and the non-human, but remaining accountable for their position.[2] Analysing two Otolith Group works, Hydra Decapita (2010) and The Radiant (2012), I argue Eshun’s and Sagar’s authorship is invested in disorientation and mutation in order to complicate customary narratives around past and present catastrophes, and extend outwards from the self to collective experiences of loss and anxiety. In these two films, they oscillate between the self and the other, the here and the elsewhere, the evidential and the imaginative, the past and the future, the human and the non-human, and the scientific and the science-fictional.  In these continual shifts and displacements, they prioritise disorientation and mutation as key strategies in their project of challenging the limits of the self and the world and the narratives with which we constitute it.  


[1] Kodwo Eshun, ‘Interview with Kodwo Eshun of the Otolith Group’, by Patricia Maloney, transcript of podcast, ‘Bad at Sports’, published by Art Practical, 15/2/2012,

[2] Rosi Braidotti, Posthumanism, Cambridge, UK and Malden, MA, USA: Polity Press, 2013: 49.

University of New South Wales, Sydney

Nathalie Blanc

What matters: art, form, and environment

Abstract Over the past forty years, the relationship between “art” and “environment” has attracted growing attention, reminding us that the term “environment” had already emerged in the 1960’s on the Pop Art scene.  Via its embrace of recycled everyday objects or waste, artists such as Warhol, Oldenburg, Raushenberg, and Johns, Oppenheim, Polke, and the lesser known women artists like Lee Bontecou, Carolee Scheneemann[i], Nancy Rubins, or even Collette, would already in a very interesting way position the environment as both a resource tank or a treasure trove and as something which, much like an artwork, could be recreated, inhabited and transformed. 

In an echo to the not so well-known origins of the term, in a time of ecological crisis, the main question therefore reads as follows: how do current or in-the-making artists not only harness their skills to build representations of environments, their histories and their destructions in a mimetic way - but also engage more profoundly to help empower societies to reinvent themselves, and how do these involvements transform and reframe what is understood as being an artist and his or her positioning within a given society? How do the aesthetic dimensions of currently reorganizing micro-societies articulate themselves with what was known so far as “art”, and how does this renegotiate the frontiers, not only between varied understandings of art but between a diversity of aesthetic regimes?

Indeed, we are no longer talking of artistic representation, nor even one that is subversive, because art has moved beyond the “mimetic regime of art”, or a “representative regime of art”. This corresponds roughly with French “classicism,” known as the Belles Lettres and the Beaux Arts - where the question about the relationship between art and life is settled in advance by the idea that art is a representation - to establish what has been now theorized as an “aesthetic regime”. Displacing the focus on the interface where art and life mingle, this new regime is characterized by its directly producing new worlds of value, where artistic products in particular find themselves redefined by “a sensible mode of being” considered as specific to them (Rancière, 2013, p.18). 

While we undeniably find ourselves confronted here with a double-edged movement, with on the one end new collective aesthetic and artistic dimensions emerging in grassroots social experiments and on the other end transformed social and community missions and conditions of production for recognized artists, we chose to try and embrace this twofold dynamic while anchoring ourselves at one end of the spectrum, using the works of current artists as a basis for reflection as well as a stepping stone to get an understanding of the broader phenomenon.

[i]     Levin, Kim. “Where are all the Great Women Pop Artists?” ArtNews, 11/01/10.

Université Paris Diderot 7

Alan Boardman

Matter Theory Fiction: A DeLandian Approach to Art Practice

Abstract This paper will demonstrate expanded capacities for artistic research with a new materialist methodology termed 'Matter-Theory-Fiction'. This method facilitates the exploration of materiality through the combination of various practice based iterations, theoretical observations, and speculative fiction utterances to produce a spectrum of artistic knowledge. My paper takes up the challenge of following knowledge from and through matter itself as it is both revealed, inevitably transformed and consequently obscured into theoretical and fictional forms. While ‘matter-theory-fiction’ infers distinct categories of exploration, in application they are always entangled, always fluctuating, always in degrees of materiality, always transforming from matter itself, to theoretical explanation and fictional lines of flight. This approach acknowledges an inbuilt vulnerability in which access to such knowledge’s move in trajectories away from matter and towards theoretical and fictions accounts. I use Manuel DeLanda's Deleuzian new materialism, employing his three 'reasoning styles', population thinking (evolutionary theory), intensive thinking (thermodynamics) and topological (mathematical) thinking. Each reasoning style is reformulated from its particular scientific background and redeployed to track iterations of materiality, their theoretical intensities and fictional virtualities. I draw on my art practice and academic research to demonstrate how matter-theory-fiction is deployed in practical terms. My presentation will entail visual and written documentation, theoretical explorations of Delandian concepts such the ‘non-organic life’ and fictional speculations in a performative and experimental narrative.

Dieuwke Boersma (KOKO Lunar)

Mad for (a) Reason

Abstract I will show in an auto-ethnographic performance that to be accountable for the place where one comes from demands in academia a self-presence that shows in speaking the capacity of speaking. In that moment, such as now, I loose the world of complex feelings, which I – as anybody else - am part of. Here, we speak erratically, not because we do not understand our own subjugated identity, or are to weak to comprehend, but because speaking erratically gives form to the complexity and intensity of the feeling of life. In other words, I will speak about the trouble in which I might reconfigure within this prescriptive way of situating myself the means of subjectivity, but I inform again self-evidence and value to my own subjugated identity as knowable.1 I stick to that trouble and voice how for example a simultaneous expression of our complex feelings of hope and despair within the experience of fragility does not fit in a language that embodies the expression of sequential ideas.2 As a result, a subjective unity of a vulnerable experience becomes in the descriptive moment a simplification of an intense and complex feeling of being in this world. Moreover, I explain that making art is a necessity in pushing and rethinking “situating knowledges” because discursive language although it can point out the coordinates of the topos from which I speak, it cannot give form to my experience of madness. Therefore, I will render my “then and theres” into a “now and here” reality through a lecture performance.

Academy of Media Arts School, Cologne

Mateusz Borowski

Between Science and Fiction

Abstract The theory of wormholes, which has been widely discussed by cosmologists as a hypothetical account of interstellar travels, provides an excellent example of how a scientific knowledge is forged at the crossroads of science and fiction. The paper investigates two fictional accounts of that theory which have been co-created by scientists, who claimed that the insights they gained from the work on fiction largely contributed to their theoretical scientific work. The novel Contact (1985), written by a renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan, has established a paradigm of the fictional representation of wormholes and their possible application to travelling through space and time and was turned into a film by Robert Zemeckis in 1997. In 2014 Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar wormholes have found another materialisation due to the innovative cinematic and editing technology. The film’s co-producer and scientific consultant, theoretical astrophysicist Kip Thorne, collaborated on the screenplay and had a major role in production design. Moreover, he documented his work on the film in the book The Science of Interstellar (2014) in which he demonstrated the impact of the movie production on his work as a scientist. These two examples not only provide an opportunity to demonstrate how science and fiction cooperate to produce knowledge, but also show in what way the process of knowledge production is contingent upon specific historical context of the development of new media. Following the historians of science who analysed the mutual influences between modern astrophysics and the development of media (Adam Frank, Peter Galison), demonstrating that the scientific development was intertwined with other disciplines and discourses, I would like to demonstrate in what ways science-fictional genres provide significant materializations of theoretical hypothesis and thus partakes of the process of the production of situated knowledges.

Jagiellonian University

Vivienne Bozalek and Michalinos Zembylas

Diffractive Pedagogies in South African Higher Education: Pedagogical Encounters and the Production of New Collectivities

Abstract In this presentation, we theorize an interinstitutional collaborative course among three disciplines across two differently positioned universities and consider how this process might be an instance of developing ‘diffractive pedagogies’ (Hickey-Moody et al., 2016) in a southern context. In particular, we describe how we facilitated intra- action (in contrast to the usual’ interaction’ which presumes the prior existence of independent entities/agencies, see Barad, 2007) across forms of difference pertinent to the South African context. The process-oriented transdisciplinary course focused on exploring notions of ‘community, self and identity’ through drawings and intra-actions with critical literature on these topics. Students had the visceral, embodied experience of physically coming-together on each others’ campuses in workshops and working online together between the face-to- face meetings. Through using different arts-based pedagogical tools (Hickey-Moody & Page, 2016) such as participatory action and learning (PLA) techniques (e.g. community maps, the river of life) for self-expression and interweaving across disciplinary areas, we examine the potential to embody new forms of collectivity and the challenges that arise in the process. ‘Diffractive pedagogies’ then in this context are theorized as relational processes through which sociomaterial entanglements (students, drawings, discourses, comings-together) become important constituents of pedagogical encounters that could make a difference. The PLA techniques allowed for different productive forms of expression and affective engagement, where the inappropriate/d other (the social work students, who were mainly black and working class from the historically disadvantaged institution) became the knowing subject, thus contesting the ‘unmarked positions of Man and White, one of the many nasty tones of the word ‘objectivity’ to feminist ears in scientific and technological, militarized, racist, and male-dominated societies…’ such as South Africa (Haraway, 1988, p. 581). Through this vital and embodied work, some transformation began to arise affecting students’ ways of ‘becoming’ in higher education.

University of the Western Cape, South Africa; Open University of Cyprus

Vera Buehlmann


Abstract „From the darkness of times, out of the hollows of the underworld, from an abyss of pain, a report recurs that some thing will keep returning here—and all we do is talk about the man who keeps taking it away from there, we Narcisses’.“ (Michel Serres) My paper will relate Serres’ personification of Sisyphus to the naive and intuitive notion that the role of „information“ be a kind of „elementary patch“—not really an element and not really a particle either, more like a mixture of both, pieces of an enormous puzzle perhaps—patches which one can expect to fit together neatly and smoothly and with no need to apply force, if only enough care is invested in figuring out how the patches must be arranged so as to continue and complement each other. These patches of information are to show the way things fall into place „just as they ought to,“ naturally. It is the very vulnerability of this intuitive idea that Serres’ re-reading of Sisyphus is capable of appreciating. All existentialist praise of Sisyphus has neglected, Serres maintains, that there can be no reckoning about Sisyphus without his host; and his host, so Serres tells us, is the stone. The object that determines Sisyphus as a subject. Sisyphus is not the modern hero, a hero whitewashed, and emancipated, from power and ambition. He is not the hero who, stripped from the burden of ever effecting anything at all, exists face-to-face with pure necessity and can therefore guard, in the manner of a bureaucrat, a notion of righteousness that rests in the sheer repetition of routine. The myth’s character does not become a modern hero because he has been punished and corrected by the Gods for the cunning, ruse and mischief, with which Sisyphus had challenged them in ever new attempts to reconcile transcendence and immanence; he is not a post-Christian crucified, without resurrection, he is not a modern savior. To Serres, Sisyphus is the personification of someone who values the object as the reception of news, neither good nor corrupt, simply as the appearance of something extrinsic to the heretofore manifest wholeness of the web of relations. Sisyphus plays a central role in Serres’ novel humanism, because he renders novelty communicable. This communication is the contribution of the excluded third to the bipolar idea of communication between sender and receiver, between origin and destination, between source and reception.

ETH Zurich

Synne Tollerud Bull and Dragan Miletic

Processing Aerial Volumes: From Land Art to Earth Listening in the Age of the Anthropocene

Abstract The current proliferation of new aerial imaging technologies has prompted scholarly debate on the emergence of a new visual paradigm. By extending networked and remote sensing intelligence to the sky, these perception machines and memory technologies instantiate new forms of spatial relations. The aerial view operates on the principle of mapping and navigation, where patterns of recognition stratify dynamic singularities of space into metastable figurations. This presentation of paper and moving image art brings into question the entangled histories of moving images and spatial perception, while addressing the imaginative and emotional capacities increasingly colonized by remote sensing aerial technologies. Approaching this from the perspective of contemporary art, we first develop the concept of “the airborne volume image” in works by László Moholy-Nagy, Robert Smithson and Michelangelo Antonioni, before we move on to consider airborne volume images in more recent art practices, including our own. These works, we argue redirect our sense of space from areas into volumes and underscores the temporal and process- based ontology of perception. With recent theoretical concerns of deep time in media archeology and agential realism, we will examine both the technical operation and the bodily address of this immersive spatial practice foregrounding the affective state between perception and reaction. As the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon has noted, the ontological force of technology serves to set both the notion of the “human” and “nature” into motion. With this media ecological approach, we offer an alternative way to address the topic of aerial view, remote sensing, machine-vision and hence expand on and contribute to a more sophisticated understanding of the space and power currently concentrating in this field.

University of Oslo; Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Sionainn Byrnes

Embodied Eccentricity and Matters of Resistance: Magic(al) Realism as a Mode of Reading

Abstract Embodied Eccentricity and Matters of Resistance: Magic(al) Realism as a Mode of Reading Sionainn Byrnes University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand Sionainn Byrnes is a doctoral student in English Literature at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She is a socialist-feminist activist and poet, and her formal research looks at magic(al) realism, historical materialism, and intergenerational memory. As an artistic and literary tradition, magic(al) realism has sought historically to defamiliarize and displace hegemonic structures of knowledge and power by making strange otherwise mundane matter. From the object-oriented experiments of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and 30s, to Latin American geopolitics and the development of a distinctly New World literary aesthetic in the 1940s and 50s, to contemporary postmodern fiction and film, magic(al) realist conventions have invariably been deployed in order to carve out imaginative spaces for new, vibrant ontologies and subjectivities – always liminal, partial, embodied, and situated. Through vocabularies of exile and eccentricity, magic(al) realism constructs material landscapes of resistance – extraordinary objects, architectures of otherness, and marvellous nonhuman natural environments – that simultaneously defy the parameters of realism, whilst reifying the experiences and existences of marginalized communities and cosmologies. As a literary practice, and as an epistemological framework, magic(al) realism exemplifies the types of knowledges produced and reworked dialogically by vulnerable bodies in precarious (semiotic) economies and geographies. In this paper, and with reference to magic(al) realist texts – Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum (1959), Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits (1982), and Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon (2014) – I intend to use literary magic(al) realism as a lens through which to explore and develop the concept of situated knowledges. In undertaking this comparative reading, I aim also to interrogate the discourses of utopianism that underpin magic(al) realist writing, which is itself fundamentally concerned with identifying points of intervention under and in existing material conditions. Focusing on the object-oriented dimensions of the magic(al) realist project, I intend, moreover, to discuss emerging forms of speculative realism, and to demonstrate the ways in which magic(al) realism, by redefining rather than rejecting realism entirely, opens up new possibilities for activism and emancipatory or radical democratic praxis.

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Nico Carpentier

Participatory theory and the discursive-material knot

Abstract While in the field of media and communication studies the notion of participation is still often used indiscriminately, there has simultaneously been a development towards a more refined theorisation of the concept, which in turn has fed the more theory-based research projects into these participatory processes. This paper aims to contribute to this latter development by linking the power-based definition of participation (where participation is defined as the equalisation of power relations between privileged and non-privileged actors in formal or informal decision-making processes) to the ongoing theoretical debate about the relationship between the discursive and the material. New materialist philosophies (De Landa, 1996; Barad, 2007; Dolphijn and van der Tuin, 2012) have gained a strong presence in academia, but have also provoked critiques for the lack of attention for the discursive component of social reality. This theoretical paper will first argue that the discursive and the material interact – or, in other words, that they form a discursive-material knot. Starting point will be a discourse theoretical position, which will then be enriched by materialist theories. More specifically, the paper will outline a theoretical framework that allows articulating participatory processes as engulfed in an assemblage of discourses and materialities. Starting from the discourse-theoretical perspective (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985; Carpentier and Spinoy, 2008), a series of structuring discourses and subject positions (the citizen, leader, owner and expert), crucial to participatory processes, will be discussed. This discourse-theoretical approach to participation will then be enriched by a (new) materialist approach, which scrutinizes the role of materiality at the level of access, interaction and participation.

Uppsala University

Mateusz Chaberski

Between Art and Lab

Abstract The aim of this paper is to discuss situated knowledges emerging at the intersection of contemporary artistic and scientific practices. For, such hybrid genres as bio art, techno art and digital art radically challenge the hitherto accepted binaries of nature/culture, human/non- human and virtual/material. This calls into question not only the 19 th century model of the objective researcher but also the model of the researcher as an engaged “participant-observer” deeply rooted in 20 th -century ethnography and anthropology. As an American performance scholar and artist Chris Salter points out, contemporary research practices should focus on organizing “conditions for experimental, performative assemblages to form and catalyze other ways of knowing and being in the world.” (2015: xiii) In order to investigate the research paradigm put forward by Salter, this paper discusses contemporary and historical science-fictional accounts of the laboratory as a site of knowledge production that is both experimental and experiential. My focus here is particularly on the laboratory of Robert Hooke as depicted in Neal Stephenson’s novel Quicksilver (2004) and parodied in Thomas Shadwell’s 1676 Restoration comedy Virtuoso. The former testifies to the multisensory and affective character of knowledge production. The latter indicates deep interrelations between research practice and broader socio-political and cultural contexts. From the perspective of the two examples, the paper discusses specific research problems I struggle with in my own performance scholar laboratory. In particular, I focus on the category of mimesis which becomes highly problematic in contemporary culture populated by simulants, avatars and automata. In this context, drawing on performance theory (Kara Reilly) and the theory of representation (Michael Hunter), I will attempt to show that both artistic and research practices are never about mirroring nature but rather about “changing a person’s way of knowing, and by extension their way of being” (Reilly 2011: 7).

Jagiellonian University, Kraków

Rebecca Coleman

Methods and Materials for Engaging Futures: Collaging Girls’ Presents and Futures

Abstract This paper sits at the intersection of three distinct but inter-related developments in the contemporary social sciences, arts and humanities: (i) the emergence of new materialist approaches to understand the entanglement of bodies and technologies; (ii); a proliferation of interest in temporality, and especially presents and futures; (iii) a revived focus on methodology and method that attends to the process of research, and that mobilises practice-research.  Its starting points are that one strand of the new materialisms is its emphasis on the openness of futurity, and that methodologies are required to be developed in order to examine the materials through which the future is and may be materialised. The paper discusses image-making exercises held in the UK in 2003 and 2016 where girls’ collaged experiences of their bodies in the present and future. It explores collaging as a means of assembling multiple, and potentially diverse, temporalities on one surface. It discusses collaging as methodology and method, focusing in particular on its accessibility as an artistic method, its approach of gathering together materials from different sources, and the potentiality for resources to be transformed. It then considers the materials that participate in collaging workshops, examining how, for example, paper drawn from different sources, scissors, and glue, and techniques including cutting, tearing, juxtaposing, moving and sticking, become methods for imagining the future. In this way, it seeks to examine how the future is and might be imagined, engaged and materialized through specific materials. The paper discusses some of the themes that emerge out of the collages/collaging, including how relationships between different temporalities (present, past and future) are established through images, and whether and how particular relationships with the future emerge through this research method. It also reflects on the methodological rationale for selecting this particular age of young women to be involved in collaging.

Goldsmiths, University of London

Felicity Colman

Privileging the hues of red, green, and ultraviolet”: Haraway’s Creative Code

Abstract Many commentators have sought to classify Donna Haraway’s work across and into a range of disciplinary fields. The political value of her work is claimed by feminist science studies interested in interdisciplinary methodologies for education (eg. Hughes & Lury 2013), by those working towards a multispecies feminist socialism (Grebowicz & Merrick 2013), and in new materialist feminist studies (Barad 2003). This paper begins with an Historical Marxist Feminist critique against Haraway’s position, which argues that her work “erases the very real material conditions of science and technology” (Ebert 1996). Mistaking Haraway’s semiotic-coding of Feminicity for what she derisively calls “the site of a recycled obviousness in ludic theory” (Ebert 1996), Teresa Ebert’s accusatory reading of Haraway’s “misreading,” in fact highlights the necessity for materialist positions (of all genealogies) to situate the context of Haraway’s creative and strategic use of an informatics aesthetic. The paper details what that aesthetic involves, and seeks to recover Haraway’s creative code as a framework for consideration of the active, coherent, and self-organising matter of the human condition. Key words: aesthetic, code, creativity, Haraway, Historical Materialism, informatics, Situated Knowledge References: Barad, K. 2003. “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter.” SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28 (30): 801–829. doi: 10.1086/345321 [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®] Ebert, T. L. 1996. Ludic Feminism and After: Postmodernism, Desire, and Labour in Late Capitalism. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. Grebowicz, M. and Merrick, H. 2013. Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway. New York: Columbia University Press. Haraway, D. 1988. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies 14 (3): 575–599. doi: 10.2307/3178066 [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®], [CSA] Haraway, D. [1987] 1990. “Gender for a Marxist Dictionary: The Sexual Politics of a Word”: 127- 148. In Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge. Hughes, C. and Lury, C. 2013. “Re-turning feminist methodologies: from a social to an ecological epistemology.” In Gender and Education, 25:6, 786-799, DOI:10.1080/09540253.2013.829910

Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Sheena Culley

Comfort, Bodies and Immune Systems: Emancipation and Vulnerability 


Abstract Writing about bodies, boundaries and the idea of comfort sits uncomfortably within the academic world. To incorporate experience and embodied thinking into academic writing seems to imply an element of vulnerability in itself, where situated knowledge occupies a space between the body as subject and body as object, and between personal narrative and theoretical thinking. This paper seeks to challenge the definition of comfort as a form of protection, arguing that scientific thinking around closed systems has contributed to defining comfort as passive and static, and argues that thinking around open systems can lead to re-defining the term as active and intensive. Examining the idea of immunity via Donna Haraway, Ed Cohen and Peter Sloterdijk, it acknowledges that the fringes and thresholds that constitute the semi-permeable body and self do not define comfort in terms of immunity as a form of ‘border war’; an inside protected by an outer boundary. Instead comfort contains ‘a window of vulnerability’ 1 as well as an element of security, and the comfort zone becomes a zone of vulnerability, incorporating the unknown as well as the familiar. In addition, immune systems, in Bruno Latour’s terms, tell a story of both attachment and emancipation. If comfort, informed by ideas from New Materialisms, can be defined in terms of both vulnerability and emancipation, what implications could this have for both New Materialisms and the idea of situated knowledge? How can vulnerability emancipate knowledge?

Independent scholar

Grzegorz Czemiel

Map-making as material world-building. Towards an ecological understanding of cartography in Speculative Realism

Abstract This paper aims to examine the expanded understanding of cartography emerging in the field of Speculative Realism, a new, robust movement in 21st-century philosophy. Taking cue from Quentin Meillassoux’s idea that we need to step beyond overly anthropocentric philosophies and restore the “Great Outdoors” as a serious subject in the humanities, Levi R. Bryant proposes to engage in a specifically understood “geophilosophy.” Adopting and transforming the term developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Bryant offers a vision of cartography as “a mapping of assemblages of machines or worlds.” This kind of map-making does not limit itself to topography, but also includes the production of genetic, vector and modal maps. This augmented concept of a map would thus facilitate a new kind of engagement with the world, one that involves a key idea developed by Deleuze, who “equates being with unlimited creativity.” Moreover, it resonates with the central tenets of ecopoetics: exercising imagination and, as Brenda Hillman claims, “coming into contact with the impossible oddness of everything.” In this light, cartography acquires an expanded meaning: by making imaginative, metaphor-based, speculative maps that are essentially poetic we become – as Bryant puts it – better equipped to “constructively intervene in worlds so as to produce better ecologies or assemblages.” Paradoxically, it is the fictitious, metaphoric dimension of cartography that allows it to be successful in charting a world that we can no longer claim to be “naturally given to us.” Ultimately, creative map-making becomes concurrent with world-building, or home-making, i.e. eco-poetics (from Greek “oikos” – home; “poiesis” – making). At the same time, however, this approach redresses excessive anthropocentrism and allows for a reconsideration of humanism and human agency in the era of the anthropocene.

Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin

Nevena Dakovic


Abstract The paper seeks to draw the new cartography of Film Studies - singled as the particular domain of knowledge - as focused on identifying points of influence of New Materialism. The remapping of the Film studies charts the line and territory of the (theoretical) resonance of the terms and currents of New Materialism – such as, post humanism, post feminism, vulnerability, theories of body and bodily, performance etc. - testifying about its global and dominant formative influence in the new millennium. The mapped out genealogy argues immanent inter-, trans-, cross- and multidisciplinary nature of Film Studies as densely intertwined with Media, Theatre or Literary Studies; as developing in the intersection of Film Art/Film practice and Film Theory; as encompassing histories of technology, but also related to philosophical and aesthetic concepts. (The same complex nature is the argument of the intrinsic vulnerability of Film Studies engaged in permanent fight for proving own sovereignty and authenticity). It traces both the dynamic conversion and diversion - from the point of bifurcation in the twenties to the fusion in the eighties – of the European and American “version” as well as the immersion of Film Theory and Film Studies into the advancing field of Cultural Studies. The side-line development in the countries “outside the North Atlantic Cultural space” follows the postcolonial and cultural imperial models when minor language and theories are subject to the implacable influence of both the dominant concepts of metropolis and of their “big doctrines”. The insights derived from the preliminary charted history is the basis for the key cartography of the development – as assimilation and rearticulation – of the ideas and the theories of New Materialism within the Film Studies justifying the metatheoretical and metahistorical character of the research. 

University of Belgrade

Fay Dennis

Habitual bodies: the injecting body-environment

Abstract This paper draws on my doctoral research with people who inject drugs, to think about injecting bodies as body-environments.  This research (conducted in London, UK) included interviews with people who inject heroin and/or crack cocaine, interviews with drug service providers and participant observation in a central drug service.  During the course of this research, the ‘injecting body’ and the drug environment became increasingly entangled and indivisible.  ‘The body’ began to make less sense as participants described the active role of multiple bodies, including drugs, in enacting the body as One.  Here, I consider this dynamic in terms of the injecting body-environment, and more specifically, think about the assemblages of bodies that were said to come together out of habit.

Drawing on participants’ accounts of injecting drug use as habitual, and using the work of Suzanne Fraser, who has recently proposed ‘habit’ as an otherwise to addiction, I push this proposition further, towards understanding particular arrangements of  injecting bodies as habitual modalities of becoming.  ‘Habit’ (rather than an essentialised ‘addicted injecting-body’, or even more reductively ‘the brain’) allows a greater awareness of drug use as collaborative – involving human and nonhuman bodies – which can include addiction (as one set of connections) but is not limited to it.  This perspective allows us to take seriously injecting habits as particular territorialisations of bodies, appreciating the restrictive qualities that people describe.  But unlike ‘addiction’, which suggests a fixed state, this assemblage is also open to change: as bodies come together they can also fall away or deterritorialise.  This suggests a more productive and flexible way of engaging with these practices. 

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Aleksandra Derra

Scientific Knowledge, Responsibility and Philosophical Hunger. New Feminist Materialism in the Context of Science and Technology Studies

Abstract Karen Barad’s ideas and theories can be taken as a paradigmatic example of the new feminist materialist approach which constructs the complicate body of philosophical views. To put it simply they can be described by the following categories: antiessentialism, antirelativism, antirepresentationalism, realism without representation, posthumanist views of performativity, dynamic relational ontology of phenomena which are constituted in intra-actions, indeterminacy of ontology, denial of social constructivism. I enthusiastically share the rejection of the social constructivism, the persistence in doing the research of material, situated, dynamic scientific practices and the defence of the properly understood realism. My theoretical purpose is to problematize the relation between feminism and biology (biological studies) in the context of Barad’s understanding of materiality, concentrating mainly on the problems of feminist philosophy of science and science and technology studies (STS). I take humanities to be a special form of the laboratory of thinking where we can experiment on new modes of grasping and conceptualizing the scientific knowledge in a philosophical and feminist way. Following Michel Foucault’s suggestion from his History of sexuality I deliberate if we can think about them differently than we think, perceive differently than we perceive in order to see and think again. Barad encourages us to use the potential of physics-philosophy of Niels Bohr with the metaphors which describe puzzling phenomena of quantum mechanics. Donna Haraway suggests that knowledge has to be situated, partial and contextual in a responsible way. I am going to ask to which extent we can successfully introduce the idea of (scientific) knowledge revised by the above feminist, new materialist and STS approach into contemporary commercialized and commoditised technoscience.

Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland; Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Jelena Djuric

Knowledge and Power: Empowering by Consciousness

Abstract The modern science paradigm identified knowledge and power in its strive to dominate over the Nature. Its mechanistic approach proved to be dangerous because it systematically depletes both natural and social environment. It produces a kind of knowledge incapable of embracing ecologically balanced values to the benefit of the wholeness of being in a perspective. During many decades, numerous scientific researches, in line with the historical experience of postmodernism, feminism and postcolonial studies, indicated the necessity for different philosophy of science that is critical to power-structured classifications and consequent negation of all sorts of otherness. Now, the old worldview is captured in a process of dialectical change in which the struggle for power relates to unconscious fear of weaknesses and vulnerability. On the other hand, in an ever changing world, being conscious of vulnerability could be empowering and helpful in realizing that far more subtle and complex relations and processes exist in the world, emerge and influence each other. That kind of conscious knowledge is needed in reaching the humility as a condition for changing the meaning of knowledge, which is required to avoid the issues produced by the supremacy of old approach. New perspectives in philosophy of science have risen on the ground of questioning the achievability of “objectivity" and "neutrality" imperatives in epistemology. Instead, they consider context and power as the traces that lead to the most needed parts of knowledge about knowledge. The epistemology paradigm change should include particular perspectives of the subject and add these perspectives to knowledge. This entails practicing “situated knowledge” which enables us to be more realistic in the process of acquiring and also employing the knowledge. The “realism” would comprise then our conscious responsibility for the participation in the “regime of truth” in which the knowledge is produced.

The Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

Pirjo Elovaara and Peter Giger

Temporary Islands and Liminal Spaces

Abstract In this paper we like to bring together our everyday practices from a university undergraduate program within the subject field of media technology together with threads from contemporary feminist technoscientific epistemologies, such as Donna Haraway´s situated knowledges and Lucy Suchman´s accountability. We will also find inspiration from Karen Barad´s agential realism. Initially we will tell a story from one of our courses from autumn semester 2015, a course situated in a realm somewhere between the ordinary, mundane and imaginatory. We move then to the second part of story where the students travel to different locations and things start to get messy and troublesome in the Harawayian meaning. How did we envision situated knowledges and accountability as intriguing possibilities for students to re-explore their understandings and practices of media technology? We are not keen on looking for final answers but hoping for temporary landings and visits in liminal spaces where only partial translations and messy mistakes are possible. Why and how invite the complexity provided by our epistemological guides into our work with students? How can creative education, in our case media technology, work from a perspective of somewhere, without falling in the trap of relativism (or subjectivity or...)? How can 2 map coordinates, 10 000 steps and 100 plywood panels work as material agents? How and why to travel from safe spaces to uncertainties? We will finish our paper by drawing an agora consisting of three circles of media technology as a figuration for futures in making/becoming. 

Blekinge Institute of Technology, Department of Technology and Aesthetics, Sweden

Martina Erlemann

The controversy on nanomaterials – a re-unfolding of situated knowledges

Abstract In the debates about potential health and environmental risks of nanomaterials which are built into various consumer products, a heterogeneous range of different political, scientific, media, citizen, industrial actors take up their stance and bring in their situated knowledges which are highly partial, incomplete and bound to their particular location. Being based on these situated knowledges, e.g. on different rationalities of arguing, on different epistemologies and ontological premises, the discourse converges into an intractable conflict of what a nanomaterial is or how it is to be defined and classified. An onto-epistemological re-reading and re-framing of this case could offer, firstly, a better understanding of this controversy and, secondly, a re-unfolding of the situatedness of knowledges. Based on the new materialist framework of agential realism and the notion of situated knowledges (Haraway 1988), the issue of risks of nanomaterials can be elaborated beyond a mere discourse-analytical account. Material-discursive practices of nanotechnologies, especially their re/configurings and enactments, their entanglements of materiality and discourses, can be grasped as congealing in the discourses on risks of nanomaterials as their actors, situated knowledges and materials. In the paper it will be explored in an agential realist perspective how nano-objects and their actors come into being through the phenomena of manufacturing, producing, defining, classifying and regulating them. It will be asked how the material-discoursive intra-actions of nano-objects, political bodies, media, citizens could be described. Last not least it will be discussed why some of these phenomena of coming-into-nano-objects seem to be more successful, more influential in the controversy than others and inasmuch this corresponds to particular situated knowledges.

Technical University Kaiserslautern

Waltraud Ernst

Re-positionings: New materialist cooperations

Abstract Haraway sets the ground for new feminist materialisms as developed from the older ones and feminist theory, informed by the movement(s) of women of colour. She developed the concept of ‘embodied objectivity’ in her famous paper “Situated Knowledges” (1988/1991). There she developed an understanding of bodies as objects of knowledge as material-semiotic knots, where boundaries are materialized in social interaction. Even more crucial, also subjects of knowledge are embodied in this account. This means, that knowledge claims are related to particular – material – positionings of those bringing them in. This results in the partiality of every viewpoint on the world and the necessity of an initiation of conversations with others in webs of connections. In contrast to positivist (rationalist or materialist) modernist Eurocentric, anthropocentric and androcentric accounts of epistemology, objectivity cannot be reached by a single researcher (or ‘everyone’) following a strict heuristic pattern, but is defined here as “the joining of partial views and halting voices into a collective subject position” (Haraway, 1988/1991, p. 196). This is interesting for a new materialist stance on epistemology as it points to the relevance of the material, yet possibly shifting, condition of knowledge production, whereas no position and viewpoint is either innocent or worthless, but open for discussion. Barad’s definition of objectivity thus connects clearly to Haraway’s notion of objective knowledge as situated knowledge. With the emphasis on the performative dimension of the research apparatus, agential realism goes one step further: scientific knowledge production is part of a constantly shifting performative constitution of reality – as one powerful reality producing agent among others. The paper asks how this grounding of new materialist feminist epistemologies can open future spaces to reflect one’s own politics of location as a researcher and invest in cooperation and collaboration beyond academia with NGOs to develop onto-epistemology as ethico-politics.

Johannes Kepler University Linz

Žilvinė Gaižutytė Filipavičienė

Embodied Memory of Historical Traumas: Practices and Deformations of Human Body

Abstract With reference to the new materialistic perspective this presentation deals with traumatic experience of body, bodily memory and embodiment of memory. Memory is the active reinvention of a self (Rosi Braidotti), memory is not a matter of the past, but recreates the past each time it is invoked (Karen Barad). Embodied habits (Marcel Mauss) or habitual patterns of behaviour can be defined as social habit-memory, which is inherently social performative and related to incorporating and inscribing bodily practices (Paul Connerton). Culturally specific postural performances provide us with mnemonics of body. As noted Rosi Braidotti, body is ultimately an embodied memory. Analysis of physical bodily or long lasting psychological trauma from cultural (embodied) memory perspective enables us to name trauma not only as condition of broken bodies (as body in pain) and shattered minds (as psychological distress), but also and primarily as a cultural object. It can be distinguished many categories of trauma. This presentation focuses on political traumas which are caused mostly by wars, occupations, genocides, forced migration etc. Long lasting living in the conditions of different political regimes can be named as slow traumas, caused by tension between everyday and the extreme, between individual identity and collective experience, between history and the present, between facts and memory. Presentation focuses on the aspects of trans-generational traumas, traumatic bodily memory and its materialization in contemporary art practices. Traumas caused by Nazism and Communism, that Central and Eastern European nations experienced in the 20 th century, are highly reflected in photography, video, and performance art as transformations, specific postures or practices of human body. Material storytelling – musealization and visual representation of traumatic experience – enables us to analyse deformations of body as a result of both – physical and psychological traumas. Demonstrating different examples analysis also reveals ethical and aesthetical aspects of trauma’s representations in media and art.

Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Vilnius, Lithuania

Elisa Fiore


Abstract Gentrification of big cities is gaining momentum in many European capitals as a result of rapid economic development. Such embourgeoisement is often directed at their multicultural areas, revealing a perception of multicultural society as dangerously unbridled and unregulated, or as a metaphor of the social decay that the ethnicized or racialized Other might cause to the established order. Regeneration processes are often put into practice through the suppression and control of the sensorial to conform to the dominant cultural order. This paper develops a multisensory ethnography of race and class in Rome’s “Banglatown,” a multicultural area that recently gained the reputation of ‘failed’ neighborhood in need of physical, commercial and demographic restructuration. Located at the intersection of sensory studies and feminist new materialism, the present paper constitutes an attempt to think about the urban sensorium as a sensuous archive of the sedimented historialities of colonialism and capitalism. By highlighting the contribution of the non-human to the materialization of identities with and through the senses, this paper proposes the notion of the sensuous archive to understand what forms of dialogue are established with the colonial and capitalist past, so as to understand how such historialities are iteratively reconfigured with and through materiality. In particular, the study case of kitchen odors in Rome’s “Banglatown” will be discussed. Taking as a starting point the unbridled-ness of smells, the paper shows how kitchen odors traveling across the boundary of the home co-participate in the racialization of the Bangladeshi body through their intra-action with the trope of the racialized/classed body as an unruly body.

Nijmegen University

Jessica Foley

Echo and Narcissus: re-conceptualising situated knowledges between art and engineering research

Abstract What happens when the work of art comes into dialogue with the work of science and technology? What material relations emerge? What situated knowledges begin to process? What concepts and myths become active, re-active and/or intra-active? These questions depend upon the specificity of context. With this in mind, this paper takes as its point of departure an instance of performative artistic research undertaken within the context of a telecommunications engineering research centre, CTVR/CONNECT between 2010-2015. The intention in this paper is to help manifest contemporary forms of collectivity and collaboration by telling the situated research story of a dialogic relationship between art and engineering. The paper is framed by the concepts of time and vulnerability, with a topical focus on translation, appropriation, collaboration, feminist community, and interruptive knowledges. This research story tells of an extended process of translation and interruption between an artist (the author) and an engineer (anonymous), as they worked together to produce an exhibit for a high-stakes technology research showcase. In the paper, the research story toggles between the making of the concrete exhibit Green-graphs & Iris and a queer translation of the mythological figures of Echo and Narcissus. The paper proposes Echo & Narcissus as an undercurrent yet potent mythology in contemporary socio-technological research life, and seeks to show how it is urgent that we re-conceptualise this mythology in order to establish conditions for re-thinking and enacting healthier material relations in inter-disciplinary research contexts.

Trinity College Dublin, CONNECT

Nick J. Fox and Pam Alldred

Situating sexualisation

Abstract  Contemporary responses to ‘sexualisation’ of children and teenagers provide an opportunity for a materialist and embodied re-assessment of the realist/constructionist divide noted by Haraway (1988: 576).  Access by young people to internet pornography and other media sexual content, and their consequent ‘precocious’ sexualisation has been the basis for an activist coalition between religious organisations, conservative parent groups and some feminists that shares a view of sexualisation as a social problem to be addressed by policy initiatives and/or activism.  By contrast, many academic analyses have argued that anxieties and activism around sexualisation of children (particularly girls) are underpinned by foundational, essentialist models of childhood and adulthood, and do not address sexism, racism, classism and homophobia in popular culture. 

Material analysis of body-environments supplies a means to cut across this debate, and establish a situated perspective on sexualisation.  Based on empirical research, we suggest that sexualisation is a relational process involving multiple physical, psychological, social and cultural affects and materialities.  Young people’s capacities to do, think and feel emerge and recede according to the mix at any one moment in time and space.  Rather than being singularly pervasive and corrosive influences, media and pornography are relations in a much broader, fluctuating affect-economy of bodies, things and ideas. This assemblage produces a multiplicity of sexual and non-sexual capacities in young people, and not the monstrous ‘sexualised’ teenager of some contemporary accounts.  One conclusion of such a materialist and situated analysis is that rather than regarding pornography as good for some (consenting adults) and bad for others (children), it is part of an environment-body that has circumscribed what is culturally understood as ‘sexual’.  This affects us all – adults as well as children. 

University of Sheffield; Brunel University London, UK

Elizabeth de Freitas (presenting author), Anna Palmer, Nina Arwidson

Mobility, Directionality and Threshold: The water-children of Stockholm

Abstract Water is all intensity. All flow and fluidity, continuously morphing between solid, liquid and gaseous state. In this presentation, we explore water as an urban medium, a highly supple matter that circulates throughout the city and through the lives of urban dwellers. We focus on its potentiality and shape-shifting capacity, studying its elastic malleability and fluid engagement with/in the built environment. We focus on how water saturates the city of Stockholm and destabilizes the ‘frozen’ static image of the built environment. We draw on Deleuze (1994) and Delanda (2002, 2011) to theorize water in terms of gradients and differentials, as mobile sections of an actualized duration (Bergson, 1994), tapping the virtual dynamism inherent in all matter, while being, at the human scale, imbibed and absorbed and visibly circulated in sewers and sinks. This paper examines how children in Stockholm learn with water and how they develop theories about fluidity and flow. Learning in this case entails a knowledge that is ‘situated’ in dynamism and flow. We discuss children’s encounters with water using video data from an ongoing research project called ‘Children’s relations to the city’, which follows fifteen children, age 2-3 years, and two preschool teachers from a communal pre-school in Stockholm. The videos document children exploring the perplexity of water’s capacities for change, both in direction of flow and in actual metamorphosis of state. For these young children, water is vibrant formless matter. Water can be hard (frozen beneath a bridge), or still with depth (puddles that are potential holes in the built environment) or it can be muscular (under pressure) or disorienting (as mist), in each case mutating what it means to be a body. These encounters with water raise the question: When is embodied movement intensive rather than extensive? Water is the first and perhaps most forceful lesson regarding the unknown capacity of a body, injecting affect into the learning event. These children show us how the movement of water in the city taps into the humour and affect circulating invisibly in the built environment.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Wiktoria Furrer

«Micropractice. Re-counting the Rice»

Abstract The pharmacological perspective as it appears in lines of thought that reach from Platon through Derrida and Stiegler to Fuest along with the figure of «situated knowledge» invited me to think about practices, especially knowledge practices as «entangled». Entangled practices are shaped by pharmacological tonalities of synchronous poisoning-curing-intoxicating and express their inherent potential for change as well as contingency. Starting from the experience of Abramovics «Counting the Rice» Workshop in Geneva in May 2014 and building on the concept of artwork as instruments, as proposed by Sam Skinner in this Panel, I will explore the dimension of measuring time. In contrast to routines of the everyday the setting of the workshop allowed altered ways of sensing time and thinking-feeling temporality to emerge. By re-counting the rice, that I will perform in advance to the conference, I would like to investigate further not only the specific temporalities of the procedure but also its «affective infrastructure», understood as a relational field in/through material constellations that forms processes of subjectivation. The term «affective infrastructure» will be developed also in its reference to the alchemist notion of matter with its transmutational force. At the same time the practice of re-ing, sounding difference through repetition – anew and again – is clue to my artistic, theoretic and existential work in progress on micropractice, that was developed together with Sebastian Dieterich.

Institute for Critical Theory, Zurich University of the Arts

Emma Garnett

Visualising ‘health’ through the modification of environment-body relations in scientific practice

Abstract This paper is based on ethnographic research of data practices in an environmental health project on the relationship between air pollution and health.  I considered data practices as informational and material processes that enact air pollution and health in multiple ways. Following data in this way provided a means to foreground the messy and entangled nature of environment-bodies in everyday scientific practice. 

I pay particular attention here to the role of visualised data as agential forms which contribute to the construction, manipulation and reconfiguration of environments-bodies – specifically as graphical mappings of air pollution data (of air pollution concentrations) and health data (hospital statistics of mortality).  Rather than differentiating an essential ‘human body’ and a ‘physical environment’, the graphs became sites where the mutual constitution of each were articulated, ‘played with’ and re-imagined.  As several scientists explained, it is difficult to measure the health effects of air pollution on humans. ‘Air’ became a productive heuristic for considering overflow and containment, as moments where the world ‘kicks back’: there are no ‘insides’ or ‘outsides’ to air-bodies, because air is constitutive of bodies whilst being external to them, thereby transgressing any Cartesian sense of surface-boundaries. 

I end by reflecting on digital practices and data visualisation as opportunities to interrogate these often taken for granted dualisms, where the relational and vibrant entanglements of emergent scientific forms are sustained rather than cut away.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Magdalena Górska

Corpo-Affective Politics of Vulnerability

Abstract Breathing isn’t usually associated with politics, nor are anxieties and panic attacks. The mere possibility of engagement in most conventional forms of political protests can be, however, restricted by vulnerability of the breath. Fighting for breath and for breathable lives is, therefore, a matter of not only acts of and aspirations for change but also recognition of differential forms of political practices. Focusing on the corpomaterial agentiality of breathing and vulnerable becoming it enacts in moments of panic attacks and durations of anxiety, the paper argues for a necessity to understand quotidian bodily and affective actions as political.

Utrecht University

Dorota Hall

The academic knowledge production through an engaged ethnographic research: reflections on fieldwork among LGBT Christians in Poland

Abstract The paper focuses on my interactions with those researched within my project on LGBT Christians in Poland (2011-2014). It shows situatedness as a specific self-reflexive circumstance embedded in my field research and informed by both my theoretical (methodological, epistemological) assumptions and my specific position within the research field, resulting from my age, gender, religious (non-)affiliation, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Thus, the paper discusses the mutual relationship between situatedness and knowledge production within my ethnographic research. On the one hand, it refers to self-reflexive approach as a necessary component of research on sexualities inspired by queer studies. On the other hand, it shows how the reflection on my interactions with those researched and my position within the researched field resulted in putting emphases on specific aspects of the social reality within the analysis of the fieldwork data. For instance, my socio-economic status converged with the socio-economic status of the majority of my interviewees, which produced specific silences in the interviews; these silences became visible in the context of interviews with those whose status differed from mine; the difference in the dynamics of interviews that I noticed resulted in organizing research findings in line with the intersectional approach. Furthermore, in various contexts of the research, the difference between me and the research participants as regards to the religious affiliation or the declared sexual orientation was activated and made visible; this triggered my sensitivity to various forms of exclusion exercised within the group of LGBT Christians; at the level of analysis, this resulted in my critique of identity politics employed by the group, a critique supported by intersectional and queer studies.

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Nanna Hlín Halldórsdóttir

Feeling vulnerable in the job interview

Abstract In recent years the notion of (ethics of) vulnerability has gained momentum in feminist philosophy. In Judith Butler's more recent work vulnerability (along with precarity) plays a prominent role in thinking about the relationship between ethics and politics. This paper will explore this "turn" to vulnerability as a response to the hyper-individuality of the neoliberal period and as a desire to realize a space for difference and multiple subjectivities in social terms. However, why is it not happening? What is it that makes is it so difficult to present us as vulnerable, to acknowledge vulnerability? In this paper it will be argued that any account of (ethics of) vulnerability would profit from understanding how the need to exchange (and keep exchanging) one's labour-power – to promise an employer that one is an able worker – affects one's possibilities of being vulnerable. By complimenting Butler's analysis of vulnerability and political ontology with a Marxist analyst of labour-power, the aim is to historize her account of vulnerability. You cannot "come out" as a person with chronic illness in a job interview. Even in the case where an employer is likely to hire you, you would not take the risk of exposing such vulnerability, decreasing the likelihood of getting a job. 'Feeling like shit in a job-interview' will thus be presented as an illustrative example of this present-day dilemma of being vulnerable, being "different" but presenting oneself as a desirable and able worker.

University of Iceland

Lieke Hettinga

Vulnerable Aesthetics: Queering the Onto-epistemologies of Peripheral Embodiment


Abstract In this presentation I explore the relationship between Donna Haraway’s conceptualization of “situated knowledges” and the concept of vulnerability. In particular, I engage with Peta Hinton’s critique of Haraway’s article on situated knowledges, in which she exposes a tension between a localizable situatedness and an abstract universality, arguing that Haraway left the status of the universal intact. I build on Hinton’s analysis using Judith Butler’s notion of vulnerability. Butler is careful in suggesting that vulnerability can form the basis of politics and instead proposes to use the concept to rethink individual sovereignty, potentially compounding the tension between a universal apparatus of corporeal vulnerability and the situatedness of individual bodies.

In order to dissect how we might leave behind the binary between situated subjects and universality, I turn to Wu Tsang’s video performance “The Shape of a Right Statement”, in which she mimetically re-performs the statement “In My Language” of autism activist Amanda Baggs. Through analyzing Tsang’s work, I ask: how do these aesthetics of peripheral embodiment shed light on how insights from situated knowledges can travel, and what kind of politics of collectivity can we imagine based on this?

Central European University

Peta Hinton and Xin Liu

Situated Abandonment: The Paradoxical and Murderous Desire of Vulnerability

Abstract How might we understand situated knowledge as situated abandonment? What might abandonment in these terms entail? In this paper we consider this configuration of situated knowledge as abandonment via the notion of vulnerability that Donna Haraway claims is at the heart of location. The partial perspective, promising objective vision that is at once contingent,  disturbs  the ‘whole’ or totality of the objectifying gaze and, at the same time, the coherence of a located subject. So where, or what, or whom, or when, then, is location, or rather,  vulnerability? How might vulnerability be recast not to resist, but to affirm and reconfigure those ideas of whole and origin that partial vision calls into question? Drawing upon upon our earlier work on the dynamics of abandonment, we engage with Haraway’s assertion that “location is about vulnerability” (1988: 590) through the desire and demand of situated abandonment in a new materialist vein. Complicating the whole/part distinction that undergirds Haraway’s theorisation of vulnerability, we examine the ways in which which the figure of coyote - the non-innocent and resistant world as nodes of intersection – performs the uncalculated intentionality of “mother/matter/mutter” (596). Raising questions about the directionality of an eco-logics and the possibility of sustainability in these terms, we build upon Haraway’s observation of our “permanently mortal” (596) condition to consider the paradoxical and murderous desire of vulnerability as situated abandonment that poses challenges for  a  modality of politics which, to paraphrase Linda Zerilli (2005), is overwhelmingly  defined by a hope for the betterment of life. 

Utrecht University; Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Ingrid Hoelzl

Posthuman Vision

Abstract This paper makes two claims regarding what I call the ‘postimage’. First, since the image (and the forced convergence of vision and representation) is at the core of the humanist ideology, its dissolution in machine vision can only be addressed in the frame of posthuman(ist) theory: If the photographic image has been a central element in the consolidation of the humanist episteme of ‛Man’ as the center and operator of the world, the algorithmic image plays an important role in the posthumanist episteme where humans, technologies, and nature are no longer seen as separate (or even antagonistic) but as co-evolving and collaborating. Second, the development of autonomous robots towards collaboration leads us towards the hypothesis that the postimage is not an objective (photographic) or subjective (human-centred) image, but a collaborative image that is not the result but the very process of a collaborative vision across species: the gathering, processing and exchange of (visual and non-visual) data between humans/animals, and, increasingly, autonomous machines.

City University of Hong Kong

Magdalena Hoły-Łuczaj

Vulnerability and Moral Patiency of Artifacts

Abstract Posthumanists are right in claiming that denying agency of artifacts supports human sense of superiority, which results in treating beings other than humans in arrogant way. To reject this scheme posthumanists emphasize the ability of artifacts to act and affect other beings, which justifies ascribing them moral status as moral agents. Yet, at the same time, posthumanism neglects the perspective of moral patiency (the capacity to be a target of right or wrong) of artifacts, which seems equally important for building nonanthropcentric ethics. The aim of my paper is to present possible grounds for this approach. The starting point of my inquiry will be the discussion with environmental philosophy which holds that artifacts do not deserve moral considerability due to their anthropocentric and anthropogenic character (being created by humans to satisfy human needs). I will show that the fact that artifacts are (mass) produced doesn’t change that they are a full-fledged concrete individuals (singular entities with material identity) and as such they are vulnerable (susceptible to be damaged which eventually may lead to loss of integral identity), what includes them in the ethical domain. The key phenomenon, which I will analyze in this regard, is using. It is using that causes deterioration of the condition of the thing. Yet, on the other hand, using creates opportunities for the thing to realize itself or, speaking Heideggerian, to reveal itself. This fundamental tension also concerns relations between beings: on the one hand, a thing is used (up) by other beings, but on the other thanks to them the thing can fulfill its potential. A comprehensive analysis of this phenomenon will make it possible to revise a problem of (non-)instrumentality in the context of the network nature of reality and it will allow rethinking the status of material beings. The fundamental issue here is whether we can determine the conditions of balance between enabling things to fulfill their potential and to protect them from decay.

Jagiellonian University, Krakow

Victoria Hunter

Body, Bricks, Slate and Lime: Site-Dance and the Performance of (Un) Situated Knowledge

Abstract Through considerations of corporeal porosity, auto/biographies and situated knowledge this paper explores material histories, embodied memories and the materials of ‘home’ in the development of the author’s site-specific dance work ‘The Abbots Dances’(2014). Performed at the 400 year-old George Abbot Almshouse hospital in Guildford, Surrey, by five dancers and two Almshouse residents, it explored individual place associations and memories, the site’s history, materials and architecture, wove together historical site details and personal narratives, and celebrated the stories and associations of those who live there. Informed by an interdisciplinary theoretical framework from Human Geography (Massey, Tuan,) New Materialism (Bennet, Barad) Phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty, Tilley) and Spatial and Archival theory (Perec, Millar) the paper considers how the dance work articulated embodiments of memory, sentiment and material processes incorporated within the residents’ acts of dwelling in the site. Responding to the conference themes, these auto/biographical processes are explored through reflections on how material elements (i.e. bricks, slate, lime and tunnels) activated historical and personal narratives of both the physical construction of the building and associated themes of home, belonging, presence and dwelling. The paper draws on Laura Millar’s (2006) conception of archival materials as ‘touchstones to memory’ through which the potentiality of materials and objects to invoke specific embodied recollections of ‘home’ and ‘dwelling’ emerges. Through this approach the significance of the materialities of ‘home’ comprising elements of touch, taste, smell and texture and the archival / material resonance of geological and scenic features expressed by the Almshouse residents in interviews and discussions are revealed. Drawing on corporeal and visceral experiences the paper articulates processes of knowing-through-the-body and questions where this knowledge might be situated in relation to the ‘minded-body’ subject (Fraleigh 1987) and how this form of embodied knowledge becomes activated and mobilised through human-material-world ‘conversations’ (Haraway 1988). The notion of a bounded ‘body-self’ in this context is problematized and alternatively conceived as a plurality – a temporally and materially unbounded and fractalized construction encompassing body as remembered, as contemporaneously experienced and as a projected, future self. Thereby positioning notions of corporeal vulnerability as prodigious and liberating, as the unbounded body-self ‘seeps forth’ (Longhurst 1997) into and with the material world in a process of enmeshment and engagement.

University of Chichester, West Sussex, UK

Sari Irni

Situating Medical Knowledges of Risk: A Trans/Feminist Assessment of Hormone Treatments

Abstract Hormone treatment is conventionally understood to consist of matters such as pills, patches or injections that have chemical effects in bodies. From this perspective, the materiality of risk is regarded as confined to potential adverse effects of pharmaceuticals within individual bodies. By discussing Finnish trans persons’ experiences of hormone treatments this paper contributes to a rethinking of both the materiality of risk and how gender figures as part of the effects and risks of hormone treatments. The majority of this study’s trans participants perceived the risks of hormone treatment as related to the healthcare system rather than to the pharmaceuticals’ effects per se. Based on this result, and drawing from trans/feminist studies and material feminisms, this paper argues that hormone treatment risks can be seen as phenomena that materialise contextually within particular “treatment apparatuses” and the power relations that saturate them – and that seeing adverse effects merely as chemical effects within individual bodies amounts to an “agential cut” (Barad 2007) that effaces from medical risk assessments the knowledges of those who wish to use hormone products for body transformation.

University of Turku

Nevena Ivanova

Intra-Species Molecular Vulnerability Reveals Micro-Scale Ontological Indeterminacy

Abstract 'So well established was the cliché which connected TB and creativity that at the end of the century one critic suggested that it was the progressive disappearance of TB which accounted for the current decline of literature and the arts’. (S. Sontag, 'Illness As Metaphor' (1978), 32-33) Some biochemical evidence does indeed invite a hypothesis that M. tuberculosis originally joined the human holobiont as a brain evolution-enhancing endosymbiont, thus possibly contributing towards the development of human consciousness and creative potential. Exploring the complexity of mycobacteria’s entanglements within human corporeality leads us to questions that challenge anthropocentric conceptions of creativity in a twofold manner. As noted above, the tubercle bacillus forms machinic assemblages and operates as an endosymbiont with human bio-systems. It is possible that these endosymbiotic assemblages contribute towards human creativity and destabilize simple notions of its origin. In a double reflection, the concept of creativity itself could be revisited along alternative lines: it can no longer be considered only as the production of human cultural artefacts and experiences, but rather it can be understood as ubiquitous activity performed by heterogeneous highly dynamic machinic assemblages (comprising of human, animal, computational, social, molecular, bacterial, viral and other processes), which lead to the production of novel modes of existence.

Waseda University, Japan

Vappu Jalonen

This Is For You, This Is Not For You

Abstract There you are with non-trembling hands, in the almost right place, almost perfectly fitting, the stage is almost for you. This Is For You, This Is Not For You is a text-based research performance about the fitting of things, bodies, spaces and words and the power relations embedded in this. The work tells fragmental and frictional stories of bodies and clothes, bodies and image sensors, giving a talk, being exhausted, walking with a knife in your pocket, and hurtful words and replying to them. The version of the performance is new. Different versions of the work have been previously presented in the conference Encountering Materiality: Science, Art, Language in Geneva in 2016 and Schloss Wiepersdorf Sommerfest in Germany, gallery Titanik in Turku, Finland (as part of the exhibition Hand Made Politics, curated by Katve-Kaisa Kontturi) and gallery Alkovi in Helsinki (as a solo exhibition), all in 2015.

Department of Art, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University

Malou Juelskjær and Monika Rogowska-Stangret

Becoming through speeds and slows – investigating living through temporal ontologies of the university

Abstract New materialisms are among other things “pushing dualisms to an extreme” (Dolphijn, van der Tuin 2012). Dualisms like body-mind, nature-culture, human-animal, organic-inorganic, theory-practice etc. are revisited to grasp the movement of differentiation, entanglements, and relationality instead of negativity, hierarchy, stasis, or isolation. New materialist scholarship engaged itself with capturing the beyond of dualisms. Is there anything left of oppositional approach? When reflecting about political aspects of life in academia today concerning the practices of academics, whether it is in relation to teaching and learning, doing theory, practicing thinking, discussing, engaging with theory, concepts, students, fellow researchers, selves, technology, environment, then a matter, that – to our perspective – demands reflection is the very matter of both openness/ opening and closeness/ closing: In regard to openings-closings something vital is going on in relation to living liveable (learn-able, teach-able, and response-able) academic lives in current political climates. Often ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ are viewed and practiced as dichotomies – with normativities attached: Openings are ‘good’, it is flow, it is where we want to be – as Deleuze frames it, it is ‘in the middle’, ‘where things pick up speed’ (Deleuze 2002 [1980]: 25). Where is the place for losing speed, slowing down, freezing? Massumi states that movement, passage, indeterminacy have ontological priority over stasis, they ‘constitute the field of emergence’ (Massumi 2002: 8). But could one conceptualize stasis, blockage, immobility without categorizing it as determined, as not-a-process, not-a-passage? Is it thinkable to push opening-closing to an extreme? To play with stability of process and processuality of stasis? Or to go beyond the conceptualization of opening as a goal, closing as an obstacle to overcome? It is paradoxical, as opening demands closing as it might otherwise lead to destruction and it may omit or ignore the rigidity of thought, standpoint, or behavior, being in fact closed to the points of knot, struggle, closeness, stuck places, false starts, dead ends, aporias, ‘stumbling’, ‘stuttering’. Infinite openness might mean exhaustion or even trauma. Perhaps these are the problematics that we face in the academia today?

Aarhus University; University of Warsaw

Agnieszka Kotwasińska

Negotiating/Negating/Embracing: Vulnerability in Horror Film Studies

Abstract The title refers to a series of overlapping movements, which actively shape my experience of working and living with/in horror and Gothic studies. I am negotiating and negating my own vulnerability as a Central European scholar captivated by the abject and the horrific in Western pop-culture. I am also negotiating and negating my own bodily responses to the gore, the violence, the trauma I perceive on the screen. There is no escaping the affects marked as shameful and reactionary, which underpin the very experience of watching a horror movie: disgust, terror, fear. However, by employing Deleuzian film theory (Kennedy 2002, Powell 2006) as well as theories of negative affects (Ahmed 2004, Probyn 2005), I hope to show that feminist new materialism might offer a (vulnerable) space for acknowledging these very affects in my research without the need to apologize for their presence. By definition, such space would be vulnerable, as it aspires to be immanent rather than transcendent, no longer attached to the orthodoxy of representation and the logic of the Self (whether unified or fragmented). In fact, vulnerability comes in many guises in horror. It materializes as the bodily and mental vulnerability of the victims – the subject matter of practically every horror or neo-gothic production. The vulnerability also envelopes viewers’ bodies: their skin (goosebumps, sweat), their cardiovascular system (quickened heart-beat, blood rushing to and fro their limbs), respiratory system (sudden gasps, long exhales); the bodies are enthralled, excited and entrapped by the materiality of a movie experience. However, even the most prominent analyses of the body in horror scholarship focus on the genre’s discursive rather than material entanglements. In this presentation I would like to expand such analyses by examining how the material and affective planes shape my experience of watching, reading and perceiving a recent American horror movie, Witch (2016).

University of Warsaw

Ágnes Kovács

Social ideologies in thermodynamic theory: Philosophies of matter, space, and time

Abstract The paper seeks to answer the question whether there are social ideologies to be found in the theories of the physical sciences and what form they might take. I analyze the fundamental concepts of chemical and general thermodynamics, as well as the causal and explanatory structures of Newtonian mechanics and thermodynamics as scientific paradigms. I claim that these theories of inanimate nature are based on philosophical (metaphysical) assumptions which in turn are expressive of social ideologies, i.e. conceptions of society projected onto nature. Thus the model of the ideal gas – the cornerstone of the theory of matter in chemical thermodynamics – is predicated on Platonic idealism (the postulation of an ideal type and its valorization over its actual manifestations), and on the negligence of interrelationships between parts and of their extension in space, i.e. of their embodiment. Further, key concepts in thermodynamic theory (energy, entropy, heat, and work) are conceived of in terms of hierarchical binary oppositions that map on the male/female code. Finally, while Newtonian mechanics presupposes a passive nature in which things are moved around by external forces they cannot control, thermodynamic theory works with an active – and therefore frightening – conception of (female) nature that changes over time in consequence of its ability of moving and organizing itself. I conclude with addressing the question of how representations of nature – such as the aforementioned models, theories, and paradigms – relate to truth and reality, and, more generally, the relationship between science, philosophy, and ideology. I argue that the philosophical content of modern empirically based science is also rooted in empirics (experience) acquired in a different context, i.e. philosophies are generalizations of all human experiences about the natural and the social worlds.

Central European University

Karolina Kucia

On Selfhood - and resistance to self-formation as a minor strategy of inhabiting body

Abstract This presentation is based on performance practice, focused in the event of slip and lapse and on the series of interviews with art and knowledge workers. In these interviews, I have investigated their strategies of self representing, the structures of production mechanisms and singular strategies for forming sense of self in working practices and in PR materials for art marketing or funding gathering. This presentation focuses on processes such as disintegration and reintegration of self in the individually delegated responsibilities in the model of precarious work within capitalist production. I will articulate a process of disintegration of self, based on Alain Ehrenberg describing of the depression, as the form of withdrawal and I contrast that with a productive model of self: omnivorous and multiculturally integrating otherness, based on study on negative personhood (gender and class representation in British Reality TV by Beverly Skeggs).

As an answer to the trouble of performing self I propose a practice of resistance to self-formation. I bring as examples collective practice of slips and faux pas is used in my artistic project on lapse in public space as tool for social and political organisation and another example of awkward gestures in software design by Open Source Publishers. This proposal introduces a minor strategy to inhabit and unlearn body. Furthermore it aims to enable the dissensual and inconsistent logic of performing in temporary community. Performance here is understood first of all as dislocation (from Richard Schechner); as reenactment of habit and further as an encounter in collective remembering of destabilised engaged body, rather than as a process of communication or miscommunication and identification. Proposed here performance practice does not function as representation of self-referential entity, neither as moment of reproduction of affects or sensibilities but as an entangled process of co-recognition of response-ability and as such challenges both models for art production, authorship and PR strategies.


Taru Leppänen

Always More than Two: Entanglements between fetus and mother in childbirth singing

Abstract In this paper, I will concentrate on the experiences of women who have deliberately used singing and vocalizing during their pregnancy and labour. My aim is to reconceptualize the relationship between mother and fetus by approaching this relationship from the viewpoints of music and sound. Childbirth singing creates complex entanglements between human and non-human bodies, vocalizing, sounds, music, pregnant and non-pregnant bodies, fetuses and babies. I suggest that sound, music and musicking focus our attention on assemblages between human and more than human bodies, mothers, fetuses, senses and vibrations and thus, they allow us to rethink the dyad between mother and fetus. I argue that there are always more than two bodies involved in the processes of pregnancy and childbirth.

University of Turku

Oren Lieberman

Diffracting performative sites through Haraway’s situatedness and Latour’s matters of concern

Abstract There is no concept in the production of architecture (whether in academic educational institutions or in the 'profession') which really comes close to Donna Haraway's situatedness. Perhaps 'context' attempts to offer some acknowledgement of an architectural project's assemblage of dimensions. With it, architects imagine that they are considering the fullness of what they add to their physical 'site': historical context, social context, cultural context, planning context, etc. Including these contexts is useful as a way to somehow situate the project in its complexity. However, context fails to capture the entanglements of figures and discourses, of things and processes, of "a critical practice for recognizing our own "semiotic technologies" for making meaning, and a no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a "real" world" that Haraway's term engages. Perhaps in part due to the well-worn (and very questionable) Cartesian notion of space as that which is always already present to receive other spatial things (like buildings), architects (like others) tend to understand contextual complexity in a rather Newtonian way, i.e., contexts are atomistically separable, they make up a pre-existent situation within which a building will find itself, and they are disengaged from the person and apparatuses which render them important for the 'architecture'. Whilst there are various onto-epistemological-ethical modes which question this view, this writing focuses on situating the problem as lying in what is typically a rather shallow understanding of 'site', and develops the position that a site comes to be and is in not just found lying about; it is part of our predilections, it is a complex entanglement of relations of a variety of participants (people, things, processes, institutions, discourses, etc.); it is made, not given. I will draw on Haraway's situatedness, Barad's further work along that trajectory on agential realism, and Latour's matters of concern to develop an engagement with site that, with Haraway, argues for politics and epistemologies of location, positioning, and situating, where partiality and not universality is the condition of being heard to make rational knowledge claims. I am arguing for the view from the body, always a complex, contradictory, structuring, and structured body, versus the view from above, from nowhere, from simplicity. Only the god trick is forbidden. (Haraway 1988: 589) Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599

University of Salford, UK

Dagmar Lorenz-Meyer, Natalie Drtinova, Jana Gabrielová, Lenka Weinbergerová

Facing infrastructure: snapshot photography as an apparatus of bodily production

Abstract This presentation revisits the seminal work of Donna Haraway on situated knowledges and the apparatus of bodily production in conjunction with new materialist scholarship on photography as a human and more-than-human assemblage (Zyslinka 2016) in order to explore the politics and poetics of snapshot photography as a new materialist research strategy. The paper traces Haraway’s differential conception of agential nature as an ‘conversant in a discourse where all the actors are not ‘us’’ and as a ‘compelling story teller’ in its own right, in relation to her own strategy of telling ‘real stories that are also speculative fabulations’ and materialising reconfigurations. The particular optics we think with are snapshot-images that were generated in community project where Roma women were given disposable analogue cameras to document aspects of place – a former Soviet military training area – that matter to them. Many of the images focus on parts of infrastructure such as uranium pumps, landfills, and photovoltaic power plants. The starting point for examination is the proposition that snapshot photography is at once an epistemic, material, ethical and political act – a ‘body-and-subject making apparatus’ in Haraway’s terms. We go on to explore how memory, ethics and vulnerability are not merely located in human bodies but distributed and embodied in bodies, landscapes and infrastructures; and how the embodiment of energy infrastructure in and as part of particular landscapes materialises also traces of constitutive exclusions: of labour, toxicity, and community. What modes of inheriting the past, kinship and response-ability are enacted in these images? How are we as collaborators and viewers implicated in ‘terran worldings’ and what are implications for new materialist research on energy infrastructures?

Charles University in Prague

Fiona MacDonald

Title of presentation Feral Practice: from a wood to a world

Abstract In 2012, after eighteen years living in London, I moved to a village in Kent just outside the M25 in the wooded chalk hills of the North Downs. My presentation explores the unplanned revolution that took place in my practice as an artist through coming to know this place. I look at the role of touch, intimacy and shared vulnerability in my experience of developing a ‘feral practice’, which seeks out intimate co-productions with local creatures, bodies, natural forces and milieus. My ‘meeting species’ comes through a process of ‘making-with’: this tree and me meet here on this paper. What is produced by our meeting is an artwork, but also a transformation of relationship. The paper draws on Haraway, Wolfe, Bennett and Plumwood to tease out the tangled affective and ethical questions that emerge as I press my fingers into the badger’s footprint, seek ways to make it speak. Tim Morton posits radical interconnection between all things, which constitute each other's environment and are co-dependent, but his connection is between ‘strange strangers’ and he validates ‘cooperation’ over ‘community’. Does this model leave ‘real’ bodies, creatures and places hanging, in favour of something more darkly, even self-centeredly, Romantic? I examine Julia Martin’s eco-critique of Tim Morton - “For all the art that is about place, very little is of place – made by artists within their own places." - to situate my position in regard to ‘unbearable intimacy’, ‘strange strangers’ and what is at stake in a practice that emphasizes duration and touch: literally rubbing up against a place and its inhabitants, long term.

University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury

Juliet MacDonald

Situating the maze in an art practice

Abstract This presentation proposes the use of art practice methods to study a scientific phenomenon, that of the-rat-in-the-maze. Maze experiments, and mass breeding of rats and mice for laboratories, began in the early 1900s as part of the emerging discipline of Comparative Psychology. Complex diagrams of mazes proliferated in early textbooks and journals. The maze as a device, and the bodies produced for it, soon became standard laboratory equipment. The sentience of animals was a component in the experimental set up and conceptions of the maze became increasingly computational (Tolman, 1939). Today, simplified versions of mazes are used in neurological and pharmaceutical testing. As an artist, I am developing sculptural and drawing methods to investigate this phenomenon. I view the diagrams and designs of mazes, and their disciplinary context, as curious artefacts. Karen Barad describes the ‘apparatuses’ of scientific practice as ‘material (re)configurings or discursive practices that produce (and are part of) material phenomena’ (2007). There is no outside boundary to an apparatus, so in order to study it, an ‘agential cut’ must be made by another apparatus, which also produces the phenomena it studies. Art practice is an alternative apparatus, which uses visual modes of enquiry and has its own blind spots and fixations. A visual metaphor will structure the presentation: that of the saccade. Saccades are ballistic movements of eyes from one point of focal attention to the next. They are sometimes regressive. Saccadic movements are a performance of ‘the eye of any ordinary primate like us’ (Haraway, 1988). The presentation will fixate on different points in time in which the spatial configuration of mazes appear in science and art. Attention will also rest on vulnerable bodies: those of animals used in maze experiments, and my own as one that might need the pharmaceutical products tested on them.

University of Huddersfield

Maggie MacLure

Seeing slowly: ‘disconcertion’ as event and ethics in qualitative research

Abstract  The paper explores the potential of moments of disconcertion in ethnographic research (Taussig 1993), seeing these as events that slow down the machinery of interpretation, which inevitably removes the researcher from ‘the presence of others’. I consider some instances of disconcertion arising during some recent research projects, understanding these as moments where interpretation is blocked by the untimely issue of affect and materiality. I suggest that it is necessary to dwell in, rather than flee from such events, not only to augment our capacity to see and sense what matters, but also out of an ethical obligation to relieve research participants of the banality and the burden of the ethnographic codes that hold them in place, at arm’s length (Stewart, 1996). In so doing, we might, as Bal (1999: 65) urges, resist ‘the fleeting pace that generates indifference’.

The difficulty in ‘seeing’ differently is partly a problem of the speed and scale of events. Disconcertion forces us beyond the threshold of visibility set by the categorizing gaze that already ‘knows’ what is and is not important. Mullarkey (2008) suggests that a kind of ‘patience’ is needed to see the events of others: ‘Our event, our time, needs the patience of others, just as their time, their event, needs our patience and respect’.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Natasha S. Mauthner

New materialist method/ologies for the social sciences

Abstract This paper engages with emerging new materialist philosophies to re-think social research methods (what they are and what they do), as part of a larger project seeking to develop a new materialist understanding and practice of social science (Mauthner, 2015, 2016a, 2016). New materialist philosophies challenge the foundational dualisms that have provided the material conditions of possibility for the constitution of social science as a humanist representationalist project. As such, new materialisms provide a means of shifting the dualisms at work in this metaphysical configuration of social science, whilst opening up the possibility of remaking new materialist social scientific practices and their objects of study. Central to this endeavor, and in need of further exploration, is the elaboration of new materialist methodologies (Benavente, Ramos and Nardini, 2014). This paper seeks to contribute to this project by developing a new materialist conceptualization and enactment of social research method/ologies. Drawing on the work of Karen Barad (2007), one of the most prominent contemporary new materialist philosophers, it seeks to conceptualise/enact new materialist social research method/ologies through the articulation of three proposed practices: ‘un/re-making dualist ontologies’, ‘diffractive genealogies’ and ‘meta/physical practices’ (Mauthner 2016a). These practices, I suggest, are examples of the ‘transversal’, ‘affirmative’ (Dolphijn and van der Tuin, 2012), ‘situated’ (Haraway, 1988) and ‘diffractive’ (Barad, 2007; Haraway, 1992, 1997) methodologies that new materialist philosophies call for. I illustrate these new materialist methods through an un/re-making of Lyn Brown and Carol Gilligan’s (1992) Listening Guide feminist method of narrative analysis, a method I have been engaged with for over two decades.

unds them.

University of Aberdeen

Joanna Mąkowska

“Begin, we said, with the material, with matter.” New materialist encounters with the “second-wave” women’s poetry

Abstract Feminist new materialisms performed a vital role in overcoming the essentialist/constructivist impasse and thinking matter and the body’s materiality anew. What also makes feminist materialisms “new” is not a radical shift away from feminist epistemologies of the past, but rather an attempt to relate to them through a practice defined by Iris van der Tuin as “jumping generations” (2014). By placing emphasis on how past and present theories might productively interact to transform the future, feminist new materialisms abandon the logic of conflict, and address fundamental questions about generational classifications and canon formation in feminist scholarship. This paper attempts to examine creative entanglements between new materialist philosophy and the writings of the “second-wave” poets, essayists and activists – Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde. Although regarded as representatives of radical feminism, both authors expressed harsh criticism of universalizing tendencies and Western self-centeredness of the women's liberation movement. In their work, grounded in the “politics of location,” they endeavored to develop a non-essentializing framework for thinking the body, understood as a site of potentiality. This affirmative approach anticipates the questions of whether the female body, subjugated by the repressive power (potestas), can be refigured as a space of productive power (potentia). Focusing on such concepts as corporeal materiality, difference and vulnerability, I intend to demonstrate that a neo-materialist take on the idiosyncratic poetics developed by Rich and Lorde might generate new insights into the complexity of the “second-wave” epistemology, and help to re-evaluate how new materialisms are situated in relation to their feminist past.

University of Warsaw

Callum McGregor and Jeremy Knox

New materialism and social justice: a space for productive entanglement, or a political cul-de-sac?

Abstract Recent developments in new materialist (NM) politics have surfaced the problem of what social justice might look like in the wake of the post-human. NM has produced its own situated knowledges, which have re-theorised the ‘social’. To an extent, these situated spaces have developed in isolation from established spaces of social justice scholarship. In NM, the ‘social’ is recuperated in a flat ontology, as a mere synonym for the ‘ecological’ (Bryant 2014, p. 192). In this context, one might be tempted to simply conclude that social justice be jettisoned as a normative concept in NM politics altogether. However, NM’s political roots in feminist praxis suggest otherwise. Therefore, this re-theorisation of the ‘social’ requires a re-theorisation of ‘social justice’ and its various dimensions – distributive, recognitive and participatory (Fraser 2005). NM claims that a ‘quasi-vitalist’ (e.g. Bennett 2010), ‘post-humanist’ (e.g. Braidotti 2013, Bryant 2014) or ‘alien phenomenological’ (Bogost 2012) sensibility provides a more productive intellectual framework for thinking through the seemingly intractable problems of our times, from climate change to techno-capitalism. This sensibility prompts reconsideration of who and what can be considered legitimate subjects, and indeed agents, of social (in)justice (Haraway 1988). With this in mind, we re-consider Fraser’s conceptualisation of social justice in the wake of NM. Specifically, a theory of distributed agency aims to call our attention to complex material entanglements of flesh, machine, culture and nature in order that we have better roadmaps for political intervention. But intervention to what end? NM scholarship has been critiqued as a process of ‘bolting on’ complexity theory to a tacit humanist politics (Cudworth and Hobdin 2014). This paper will clarify and critically interrogate the relationship between the analytical utility and normative commitments of NM in the context of social justice and show it to be largely under-theorised. Keywords: social justice; normativity; distributive justice, recognition, agency, politics References Bennett, J. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press Bogost, I. 2012. Alien Phenomenology, or What it’s Like to be a Thing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press Braidotti, R. 2013. The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bryant, L. 2015. Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press Cudworth, E. & Hobden, S., 2014. Liberation for Straw Dogs? Old Materialism, New Materialism, and the Challenge of an Emancipatory Posthumanism. Globalizations, 12(1), pp.134-148. Fraser, N. 2005. Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World. New Left Review, 36, pp. 69-88. Haraway, D., 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), pp.575–599.

University of Edinburgh

Ljiljana Rogač Mijatović

Envisioning Futures of Knowledge that Matters in the Study of Cultural Sustainability

Abstract The paper addresses the political conditions and consequences within the contemporary knowledge landscape in the study of culture and development, and cultural sustainability in particular - the ways it is created, disseminated and used. Acknowledging the multiple material-discursive processes of knowledge production, the paper puts into question the dominant normative knowledge orders in the discourse and practices of culture and development. The basic argument is laid upon re-thinking the hierarchy of oppositions of constitutive conceptual tools such as those between nature and culture.The idea of change of perspective is crucial for the study of cultural sustainability as it pertains to the new conception of knowledge. In the spirit of new materialisms, and by linking methodological multiperspectivity, this stand proposes that intersectionalities, such as those between disciplines, ‘old’ and ‘new’ forms of knowledge, and the experiences of all the multi-layered facets in life are constitutive of emergent knowledge practices. In this respect, this study of cultural sustainability attempts to open up new possibilities for thinking through the lenses of transdisciplinary knowledge towards the new creative interplays and knowledge ecologies.

Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, University of Arts

Łucja Sonia Milch

Reclaiming Eve’s Power. Towards Materialistic Mysticism

Abstract  The paper I would like to propose focuses on the well-known and greatly theorized Adam and Eve biblical myth. The thesis of the presentation is that Eve’s decision of biting the apple is the act of rejection of the divine patriarchal structures and a step toward knowledge understood as meeting the life, immersion in the immanent plane of zoe. The paper is an attempt to develop mystical trails occurring in new materialistic thought (due to the heritage of spinozian-deleuzian conception), it’s a part of greater academic and art work by me and Katarzyna Rowska concerning the idea of “materialistic mysticism” as an affirmative proposition of approach in sciences and arts.

Eve’s action results in the history of knowledge as a male dominated area and omnipotent-white-male-god perspective. It makes Adam obliged (by his own resentiment) to take back the control and redeem the ‘sin’ of Eve. Man starts now to build the apparatus of knowledge-power to fight the possibility of repetitions of Eve’s disobedience, which can lead to staying in the unhierarchical understanding of life itself. Woman is being deprived the right of knowledge and ‘ratio’ by condemnation of her emotionality and marking nature, body, zoe pejorative. 

Fortunately the new materialistic approach nowadays is reclaiming Eve’s approach to base the knowledge on unhierarchical desire and intimate relation. The meaning of the Hebrew word “ דַּעַת ” (da‛ath) used in the biblical name for The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil used to relate not only to the meaning of the English word ‘knowledge’. In Ancient Hebrew it used to denotate also “the desire to know sth”, “an intimate relationship”, “a relative”. 

In my paper I would like to present the new materialistic approach to ‘knowledge’ and Haraway’s strategy of ‘situated knowledges’ as an attempt to return to Eve’s affection with life. As disobedience and subversive move attacking the white-male knowledge privilege based on the patriarchal structures built by him. The Tree of Good and Evil is the Tree of Live Death the Tree of Zoe, where the death and life don’t relate to bios and thanatos but the vitality of immanent plane of zoe cut with births and deaths.

University of Warsaw

Veronica Mitchell

A precarious diffractive entanglement of students' reflective commentaries in Obstetrics

Abstract Reflective practice has become a key part of medical education. Reflective tasks are often unpopular with undergraduate medical students, as many individuals struggle to find value for their present and future professional practice. This lack of motivation for reflective engagement can undermine the possible benefits from the process. In this presentation I draw on Karen Barad’s philosophy of diffraction to take up an alternative approach that considers the material forces emerging from students' reflective commentaries. By moving away from the human-centred activity that prioritises assessment of the tasks, I describe what the commentaries can do, in and through Google Drive as a sharing platform. A case study with Year 4 students at the University of Cape Town demonstrates how shared reflective texts within student groups develop a material force that opens up new potentials. A folder of reflective commentaries shared foregrounds differences in experiences and insights. This offers opportunities that can shift students into new ways of thinking and acting, unlike individual reflections held secure and static between individuals and their educator. This presentation will illustrate how an ongoing research study entangled with teaching and learning productively captures the potential elicited by online commentaries where the content relates to students’ observations of professional disrespect as witnessed in their eight week Obstetrics rotation. The text of many commentaries demonstrates how environmental issues play a vital role in contributing to the abuse and neglect that students observe in public birthing facilities in the Western Cape. While the force of shared insights online is too intimidating for some students, the majority choose to share. Feedback indicates benefits gained by students from the exposure of their experiences and their thoughts. There is evidence that the affective intensity emerging from the texts of peers enhances students’ ability to be and to become advocates for change.

University of the Western Cape

Ana Mouraz

Scientific objects are changing due to hybrid ways of defining and producing them

Abstract The proposal uses a new materialist approach, both in a conceptual and in a methodological perspective and looks to an interdisciplinary research group as part of the apparatuses that produce matter. Proposal is a first presentation of findings of an on-going project that want to discuss the ways a multidisciplinary research group embodies itself with a new materialistic approach of its work and deal with the threshold concepts it uses. This is project’s novelty – it consists on discussing and rethinking the empirical with researchers that produce new materials and discussing and rethinking the transgressive ( onto-epistemological, ethical , political and interdisciplinary) nature of matter they create. The research design it is followed is a case study. The case is a multidisciplinary research group other researching brain imaging production to access brain acting. Research uses discourse analysis focused on research group publications, including imaging of new material produced by research group; deep interviews with research group members, foci group, and direct observation of research group work meetings. Having in mind the previous statements regarding methodological approach, work plan was designed in a way that relate inquiry process with onto-epistemological approaches research group develop. The project is on-going and we intend to present the first results on new-materialism conference.

University of Porto, Portugal

Karin Murris

#Rhodes Must Fall: A Posthumanist Orientation to Decolonising Higher Education Institutions

Abstract Critical posthumanism focuses on difference, rather than identity, and queers humanist philosophy that has its roots in western metaphysics, which has had a strong humanist articulation since Descartes. Humanism centres on the autonomous adult self as sole source of knowledge production, and instils binaries that marginalise, divide and dichotomise the ‘other’ in age, race, ethnicity, ability and sexuality. Postcolonial theorising interrogates these power-producing binaries, but tends to retain the dominant western ontological binary between language and reality, thereby assuming that knowledge production is always mediated through the discursive and represented in human-made languages, keeping the material world at a distance. The key question is ‘What is left out, forgotten or ignored by using the discursive apparatus of the social sciences only?’. Using Karen Barad’s reading of quantum physics I propose a radically different and positive philosophical orientation towards decolonisation and a ‘post’colonial future through a juxtaposition of a humanist and a posthumanist analysis of a series of photos I ‘made’ of the Cecil Rhodes’s statue before it was removed from the University of Cape Town’s campus. The question what it means to decolonise a university is not only epistemological, but also ontological and can remain radically open when we view meaning making as discursive and material, thereby doing justice to the agency of the nonhuman other.

University of Cape Town

Basia Nikiforova

European Borders as “Diffraction Pattern”

Abstract The presentation deals with the changing concept of European borders and tries to explain how borders “discourses come to matter” (Barad K.). We will use for analyses of European refugee crisis some new materialism definitions: the “past” which is open to changes, a possibility to “repair” the “now” situation exists; “diffraction patterns” which produces changes in public consciousness to the direction of “critical” one (Haraway D.). Starting here, we can make back to discuss the tendencies of the dialectical process of borders and identity again through opposite, reciprocal processes: borders disappearance, strengthening and nowadays tendency of border’ re-territorialization (Deleuze G., Guattari F.). The ongoing biggest European refugee crisis is an example of such kind of diffraction that produce a kind of “epistemological electroshock therapy”, following the game of contesting public truths (Haraway D.). Today we need our own “semiotic technologies” for making meaning, and a no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a “real” world. Borders and border regions are particularly revealing places for social research, especially in the present era of growing continent migration. Borders as a territory where “past” and “future” are permanently clashed. The new materialist approach and discourse to Derridian concept of “unconditional hospitality” will provide a possibility to describe new tendency of European identity deconstruction. Our study case is Lithuanian inside and outside views on European migration processes. Massive immigration is not typical of Lithuania at all. On the contrary, today the process of migration has a one-way ticket to Western Europe (more than 600.000 Lithuanians work and stay today outside of Lithuania). This situation produces a very specific view and emotions on ongoing European refugee crisis: as a subject of immigration – some kind of solidarity with refugees and immigrants, as an object of potential refugees place to stay in own country or terrorist acts in Europe – “fear and trembling”.

Lithuanian Culture Research Institute

Mirko Nikolic

we ❤ copper & copper ❤ us: for a posthuman politics of location

Abstract Metals are not ‘gifts of nature’, they are material-discursive folds of minerals, (human and earthly) labour, technologies, and subjectivities. To obtain copper, the main conductor of our electrically-driven civilization, an ore body must be ‘discovered’, extracted, crushed, pulverised, floated, roasted, smelted, cast, sold, resold, wasted, sometimes recycled, traded again, etc. These human-oriented supply chains are not based on conversation, they are segments of a violently asymmetrical affair. Yet copper is our ‘companion element’, one of the most long-standing ones... copper love takes time, deep time…. we ❤ copper ❤ us: mineralizacija (2016) was a site-specific performance of un mining that unfurled between an e-waste recycling facilities, laboratory, and a mining-smelter complex in Eastern Serbia. Starting from metal recycled from electronic devices, through a series of technological and labour process, the mineral was reborn and deposited back into the old mining pit. Instead of a criticism from without, the work was a collaborative practice situated within the industrial-scientific apparatuses, attempting to make them responsive/accountable to the earthly minorities. Starting from the recognition that i am an extraction-dependent subject as well, this was a molecular and transversal decolonisation of the subjectivities, social discourses, technologies, and environmental spaces and times occupied by extractive capitalism. The presentation will present the methodology of the project as an instance of a critical-creative new materialism: critically accountable and responsive to earth-others and humans, creatively collaborating with the differential agents to create ‘better’ conversations. By showing salient moments from the performance, i will seek to outline traits of posthuman politics of location. Can a politics of posthuman being/knowing materialise through representation or co-performativity, or perhaps a diffraction of the two? How is the practitioner with her/his gender, race, class location situated in the naturalcultural continuum? What kind of onto-epistemic ethics s/he puts to practice in regard to different agents/collaborators?

Arts & Media Practice at University of Westminster, London

Aislinn O'Donnell

Situated Thinking: Philosophy as Experimentation

Abstract This paper begins with a reflection on the ‘imaginary’ as developed by philosophers like Spinoza, Moira Gatens, Genevieve Lloyd and Michele Le Doeuff in order to reflect on the image that we have of philosophical thought and practice. It mobilises the ideas of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Jean Oury, authors who argue that the production of subjectivity and institutional life be re-figured and re-imagined through the lens of experimentation, taking up philosopher Pierre Hadot’s vision of philosophy as a way of life, but extending this to thinking about the cultivation of the pre-human and more-than-human dimensions of existence. The experience of teaching philosophy classes to people in prison and who are/were drug users, of collaborating with people who are HIV positive, and the development of a collaborative project ‘art and philosophy in the classroom’ inform the experimental methodologies and practices that I will elaborate here. In this respect, I flesh out the idea of ‘situated thinking’ by considering what it means to do philosophy in different sites, the ways in which these encounters inflect philosophical research and practice, and the potentials of new materialist approaches for developing situated thinking.

Maynooth University

Tara Page

The poetic and poietic of situated knowledges

Abstract Where are you from?' This question often refers to someone's birthplace, childhood home or a place that holds significance. The place that is offered in response to this question is more than a means of orientation, it is a lived place that has complex knowledges and meanings that identify and situate. The significance of 'place' and also of 'belonging' to our lives is often overlooked, something that is hidden, nuanced and changing yet it is key to understanding who we are, both individually and collectively. Using embodied and practice methodologies-methods, underpinned with the theories of new materialism, this ‘performance’ explores how our ways of making and learning place are entangled with our bodily engagements in and with the material world, and how these intra-actions of the who with the where emphasizes the complex materiality, and pedagogy of bodies immersed in social relations of power. Through the entanglement of poetic practices with new materialist scholarship this ‘performance’ is conceived as a mapping of the relationalities of learning and bodies- sensation and memory that can enable a deepened understanding of materialization and the power relations-politics of making senses of place and belonging, locally and globally.  Because in an ever-increasing globalised and homogenised world, we need to learn, understand and value the everyday individual and collective ways we make and learn situated knowledge and how it makes us. But this ‘performance-mapping’ is not conceived as fixed or stable it is poietic; flexible, dynamic and open, continually becoming and not a thing, object or outcome but a space between that has many possibilities and potential.

Goldsmiths University of London

Stanimir Panayotov

Against Disembodiment: Laruelle and Haraway

Abstract In this paper I offer an argument against disembodiment sustained in contemporary speculative philosophy: that we are finally approaching the ultimate release from sense data and embodied cognition by way of scientific advancement. This scientistic argument, often (but not always) associated with new realism, is the other extreme of the Neoplatonic argument, which hierarchized between the evil of bodies and the good of the soul-as-noesis. As its obverse, the scientistic argument for disembodiment erases afresh the situatedness of cognition within the human-machine interface and privileges the machine as the new vehicle towards disembodied scientific objectivity. Not surprisingly, in this move speculative philosophy often brackets the work of gender too. The more de-materialized and externalized the cognitive process, the less gendered and embodied it supposedly is. I will offer two readings that counter this argument: I will first present the non-philosophy of Laruelle, read in and through new/speculative realism (following Alexander Galloway and Jordana Rosenberg). Already in the 1980s Laruelle explained the Neoplatonist major category/vehicle of disembodiment – the One (to hen) – as embodied, via his reading of the Parmenides. He inverted the ideal of disembodiment in Neoplatonism by offering an “optimistic” theory of the embodied One. I will then present Haraway’s notion of “Vision” from “Situated Knowledges” which I claim performs a similar move, since she seems to ironize the poststructuralist ethos of textuality exactly as disembodied. It seems that already 30 years ago Haraway preeminently mounted a criticism against the ongoing argument for disembodiment by offering her notion of “vision” which I will compare with Plotinus’ notion of vision in order to better reveal Laruelle’s inversion of the disembodied One. By doing so I hope to reveal that in a co-terminous way, both Laruelle and Haraway worked on criticisms of the Neoplatonist legacy (willingly or not), a legacy that privileges disembodiment and disembodied cosmologies: while Laruelle took up the notion of the One (but also offered his notion Vision-in-One), Haraway engaged with the notion of Vision. I suggest reading these two together offers a sobering perspective in genealogizing about new materialism.

Central European University, Budapest

Alex Pearl


Abstract This paper will present recent video works made with, and by, a number of simple machines. Many of the machines carry cameras and are activated by motion sensors so that they film each other, their surroundings and the artist. This playful chaos destabilises the relationship between camera and subject. The videos display an open flow between human and machine as repeated breakdowns require repair and adaptation. These actions give what is normally seen as a highly mechanised process an organic, human, emotional feel. Drawing, in part, on Donna Haraway’s idea of the “wonderfully detailed, active, partial” and generative power of vision and her recognition that "the machine is us" the videos revel in the joy of uncertainty of breakdown and play. Using these videos as a starting point the paper will also draw on the concept of pedesis (leaping) to suggest how precarious artistic methodologies can be used to create narratives around human-machine relationships. These narratives will include personal experience of Functional Neurological Deficit and the mecane used to create gods in Greek Theatre.

Manchester Metropolitan University

The Posthumanism and Art Research Group

The Infinite Fold: A Posthuman Practice-Research Hub

Abstract If the humanities, as Braidotti (2013) claims are now ‘posthuman humanities’, how does artistic production respond and re-situate itself? How can new materialist methodologies intra-act with artistic ones to produce and perform situated material-discursive praxis? What new types of dialogue and co-construction are needed, and can digital technologies aid such networked approaches? Although Haraway’s conception of situated knowledge is our lead, we believe that the theory itself must be situated into the spacetime we inhabit. Haraway’s text was published in a time when the internet was a relatively safe place and capitalism was not as pervasive, immaterial, affective, or algorithmic as it is now. Furthermore, global warming was only a glimpse on the horizon. If we are to ground the idea of situated knowledge into reality, this requires taking knowledge as profoundly entangled with being (Barad 2007) words and material agencies. Accordingly, knowledge is situated immanently, having in mind that this situatedness proves to be mobile, trans-local and networked. Art with a posthuman commitment must account for its situatedness. Importantly, it cannot be a modernist individual inquiry, it is a ‘shared conversation’ where connections need to be transversally made and maintained. These emergent cartographies can only ‘come to matter’ by communal material-discursive effort. The contribution of the Posthumanism and Art Research Group therefore employs the format of a collaborative and interactive hub to catalyse an immanent and simultaneously emergent relationality. This methodology will offer a means to think with and through artworks about the key questions of the conference and enable the production of embedded, embodied and situated knowledge(s). This hybrid between art practices and theoretical discourses is for the group, in the idiom of Deleuze, an ‘infinite fold’ (1992). The hub will establish a cartography of practices that explore innovative combinations, ways of folding artistic worlds into new materialist thought, and philosophy into practice. It proposes a critical revaluation of cartographic method by diffracting three distinct vectors: artworks (deterritorialisation), mapping (reterritorialisation) and performance (an in-between machine).

The Posthumanism and Art Research Group:

Alice Colquhoun Roehampton University

Arendse Krabbe

Helena Hunter

Justyna Stępień University of Szczecin

k.g. Guttman Leiden University/ Royal Academy of Art in the Hague (KABK)

Mara-Johanna Kolmel | Leuphana University Luneburg

Margarida Mendes

Marie-Eve Levasseur, Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig, Germany

Milos Trakilovic

Mirko Nikolic

Leiden University Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague (NL); Leuphana University Lüneburg (D); Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (D); University of Szczecin, (PL); University of Westminster (UK);

Rumen Rachev

The Question Concerning Haraway’s Trouble: Re-Earthling of the Earth

Abstract The Question Concerning Haraway’s Trouble: Re-Earthling of the Earth Perhaps one of the most still used and popularized activist slogans of Donna Haraway’s writings is ‘staying with the trouble’. Since its early conceptualization, Haraway is persistent for sticking to the trouble, not running away from it or trying to go over it, but staying with and within the trouble, and striving to think with it, rather than away from it. It is a call not to look for permanent solutions out of the trouble, but to allow our human being to be troubled and to acknowledge the affordance of that trouble. In the manner of Haraway’s notion of worlding and world-making, I would like to investigate what the act of re-earthling of the earth might consist of. In my paper I engage with Haraway’s trouble, how this trouble is enunciated and approached, and do we still have to stick indeed to the trouble. Moreover, who is perpetuated in this trouble and what is actually troubling. In my trajectory of thinking I will try to re-imagine how re-earthling of the earth might be made possible through analyzing what troubles human subjectivity today and how to engage in troubling even further Haraway’s trouble. Key words: Re-earthling | Haraway’s trouble | Sticky ontologies | Anthropocene | References: Haraway, D. (2010). When Species Meet: Staying with the trouble. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28(1), 53-55. Haraway, H. (2015). Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin. Environmental Humanities, 6, 159-165. Thiele, K. (2014). Pushing Dualisms and Differences: From ‘Equality versus Difference’ to ‘Nonmimetic Sharing’ and ‘Staying with the Trouble’. Women: A Cultural Review, 25(1), 9-26. Panel Submission Re: Troubling Earthly Measurements: Sticking with Unfaithful Tools WiktoriaFurrer Micropractice. Re-counting the Rice Rumen Rachev The Question Concerning Haraway’s Trouble: Re-Earthling of the Earth Sam Skinner The Curious and Inescapable Observatory, and/or the Materiality of Measurement In the panel Re: Troubling Earthly Measurements: Sticking with Unfaithful Tools we would like to unpack how we can comprehend and analyze troubling measurements and tropes, how un/faithful are the tools we measure our troubles with, and to what degree should we stick with what troubles us? Furthermore, the panel seeks to engage with the process and compulsion of re-ing, of returning, refunctioning, reimagining, recalibrating, and resetting, that is such a ubiquitous feature of our times and which the conference engages in with its remembrance of Donna Haraway’s Situated Knowledges, a text that has stuck with us for some 30 revolutions round the sun.

ICON (Institute for Cultural Inquiry)

Maciej Rosiński

Two approaches towards the body in mathematics

Abstract Studies on mathematics as a material and bodily phenomenon have gained considerable momentum in the past 20 years with two approaches coming into the foreground. Proponents of Embodiment and Conceptual Metaphor Theory (Lakoff & Johnson 1999, Lakoff & Núñez 2000, Danesi 2014) focus their research on the bodily and perceptual grounding of mathematical concepts. The nature of mathematics and its development from this cognitive perspective is seen as driven by metaphorical extensions from a bodily basis. A more radical point of view is proposed by materialist didactitians as Wolff-Michel Roth (2011), Elizabeth de Freitas and Nathalie Sinclair (2014) who turn their attention to the re-creation of mathematical objects in classroom environment. The material nature of mathematical concepts becomes apparent in the entanglements and assemblages of students, teachers and classroom instruments. In my talk I will present the two aforementioned approaches, their similarities and differences, by using examples from a video interview. As a part of an on-going research project on the geometrical notions of Area, Symmetry and Angle, I have conducted an interview with two students of exact sciences. This interview was semi-structured and involved a number of tasks related to the three notions in question. The goal of the research was to investigate the emergence of concepts during the discourse event, whereas the structure of the experiment allowed for me to adopt a double perspective towards the collected data. In terms of Conceptual Metaphor Theory it was possible to look for dynamically enacted metaphors communicated in multiple modalities, i.e. speech, gesture, drawings. Taken as a material assemblage, the experiment could also serve as an example in re-creation of geometrical concepts in shared spaces of the virtual, where gestures and drawings not only enact objects but saturate them with meaning. References: Danesi, M. (2013). Discovery in mathematics: an interdisciplinary perspective. Muenchen: LINCOM Europa. de Freitas, E., & Sinclair, N. (2014). Mathematics and the body: material entanglements in the classroom. New York NY: Cambridge University Press. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to the western thought. New York: Basic Books. Lakoff, G., & Núñez, R. E. (2000). Where mathematics comes from: How the embodied mind brings mathematics into being. New York: Basic books. Roth, W.-M. (2011). Geometry as Objective Science in Elementary School Classrooms: Mathematics in the Flesh. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

University of Warsaw

Tamara Shefer

Embodied pedagogies in teaching and learning in higher education

Abstract Higher education in South Africa and globally is characterized by centuries of a humanist project pivoting about a Cartesian dualism, articulated through the privileging of the pursuit of ‘neutral’, scientific knowledge towards the reproduction of rational, disciplined subjects and knowledge that predominantly serves ruling social interests. Decades of feminist scholarship, built upon and taken forward in new materialist feminism, has foregrounded the exclusion and marginalisation of the body and subaltern knowledges, evident at multiple levels in spaces of higher education. In the South African context multiple forms of discursive, social and material difference and inequalities shape exclusionary and unequal practices. In 2015 there were multiple moments of student resistance from the #Rhodesmustfall movement, for example, to the more recent mobilisation around fees through #Feesmustfall. Student activism that also extended to academic staff and campus workers have poignantly flagged the significance of the material realm and how the geographies, spaces and decorations of higher education may be implicated in discomforting, alienating, exclusionary and marginalizing experiences and outcomes for many. This paper argues the importance of rethinking critical pedagogies that may facilitate possibilities for social justice in higher education, through acknowledging and centering the entanglements of body, affect and materiality with the academic project. The paper draws primarily on student generated texts, both visual and narrative, part of innovative educational practices in a women’s studies undergraduate classroom, that share experiences of being in higher education and on a university campus. As part of Barad’s call ‘to think the social and the natural together, to take account of how both factors matter (not simply to recognize that they both do matter)’ (2007, p. 30), the paper applies a diffractive lens, reading the performativity through the entanglements of the discursive and the material in texts, contexts, bodies, affect and the intellectual project.

University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Sam Skinner

The Curious and Inescapable Observatory

Abstract My paper will engage with that peculiar object of objectivity, the observatory, via the prism of a project to re-invent the old Liverpool Observatory. Exploring processes of working at micro, meso, and macro scale, notions of planetary scale artwork, and how New Materialism and in particular Haraway’s critique of objectivity, flow through [my xy) artistic and curatorial (pr)axis. The Liverpool Observatory was established in 1845 to perform astronomical observations to keep accurate Greenwich Mean Time and enable the rating of chronometers, aiding navigation, trade, and imperialism. In the 20th century its activities shifted to tidal prediction, processing data for two thirds of the worlds major ports using early analogue computers that were operated principally by women. The Observatory closed at the end of the 20th century and now lays derelict awaiting conversion into luxury apartments. But those who worked there live on. My paper will present interviews with former observatory employees Sylvia Asquith and Valerie Doodson (who were known as ‘computers’) and my work-in-progress plans for an exhibition in 2017 at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, entitled The Observatory: Instruments of Reason, which will recalibrate the Observatory for the 21st century. I will introduce the curatorial concept of ‘artworks as instruments’ that is fundamental to the project and deeply indebted to New Materialist understandings of the agency of matter, and the materiality of inscription tied to the measurement of phenomena. Observatory artworks to be discussed include a nomadic weather station fortune telling device that predicts future climate conditions, an open-source distress signal technology for use by migrants crossing the Mediterranean, black flags installed at the North and South poles, and a telescope based on the Canary Island of La Palma, robotically controlled from Liverpool.

Manchester School of Art

Caer Smyth

Encountering New Forms of Knowledge: Describing the Strategies and Methods of New Materialist Ethnography

Abstract My paper seeks to address the following question: * Which research processes, strategies and choices are peculiar to new materialist qualitative research, specifically ethnography? My research aims to contribute to the growing field of new materialist empirical research. It will reflect on the strategies of new materialist qualitative research, focusing in particular on ethnographic research. Ethnographic research effectively captures the nuance of activity and connection between people and object, and between material and culture, making it particularly appropriate to new materialist research. This paper will put forward new materialist research methods for ethnographic research, considering how they might inform my doctoral research in the field of environmental justice. A short ethnographic study conducted as part of this research will provide an opportunity to test out potential strategies of new materialist ethnographic research, providing valuable practical grounding for this paper. The implications of new materialist research for the environment are prescient. As the threats facing our planet escalate, there is an ethical imperative for researchers to think differently about the world and about humankind's relationship to its co-habitants. Philosophies that argue for the vitality of non-humans and counteract the anthropocentricity of the social sciences move play an integral role in this process.

Cardiff University

Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman

Rocks: Archives of feeling and queer political imaginaries

Abstract Excavating what Jeffrey Cohen (2015) calls “lithic ecomateriality,” in this paper we illustrate how rocks have traditionally been conceptualized through three tropes: rocks as insensate; rocks as personified; and rocks as transformative. We take up the concept of the inhuman to challenge human-centric taxonomies of rocks and animacy. If rocks are not lifeless, or only considered as ‘resources’ or ‘threats,’ to humans, then thinking with rocks as vital extends our ethical and political response. In the final section of the paper, we consider archives, not as a logical form of organizing knowledge, but as material, vital, and affective. We argue that when stones and archives are examined as something more than stable things – as interfactual, transcorporeal, and transmaterial co-compositions – different ethical relatings to the inhuman world become possible.

University of Toronto

Whitney Stark

Quantum Bodies, Material Organizing: How to Use New Materialisms to Support and Transform Organizing Practices?

Abstract How can we utilize new materialist understandings to follow up with practices, conceptions and politics of situated knowledges? What practical tools for future forms of collectivity can we build from the conversations of feminist quantum physics and intersectionality? The paper part of this presentation aims to bring in conversation Baradian understandings of quantum physics with ideas of politically, spatially, historically and socially situated (cyborgian) bodies, knowledges, phenomena. Through taking a physical framework for all properties or bodies, whether considered metaphysical, social, historical, spatial, bodily, this paper aims at understanding the stickiness that Ahmed discusses at an explicitly material level, where the space that people and their social locations/connections take up can be recognized as palpable. It questions what strategies for political organizing can become possible if new materialist physics-based understandings were enacted through strategic, material and organizational policies, discusses how organizing practices and terminology long used by queer, feminist and anti-racism activists can be understood as bridging this divide between physical and metaphysical, mind and body, theory and practice, and proposes tangible ways in which this theory, that is always already material phenomena, can be utilized to build toward anti-oppressive organizing practices and spaces. Following this introduction, I hope to facilitate a discussion with those in the room about what types of practices we imagine as instituting new materialisms. What are the pitfalls of the proposed readings/strategies? How can new materialisms assist in accountability practices and distributions of labor/opportunity? What are the implications of spaces of seeming stagnation?

Utrecht University

Tereza Stockelova

Shared vulnerability: Bodily attachments in alternative medicine

Abstract Medical practice is centred round vulnerable, wounded and troubled bodies. In conventional biomedicine these are bodies of patients. In contrast to that physicians’ and other medical practitioners’ bodies with their vulnerabilities and afflictions are mostly absent (or more precisely absent present) from clinical settings and encounters. They are to be strong, detached or attached in a controlled, often high-technically mediated ways to patients’ bodies. In alternative and complementary medical practice my colleague and I have observed during our ongoing ethnographic research the bodily performance is different as practitioners’ vulnerable bodies play a vital role in relating to and working with people they care for. These practitioners don’t purify the messy therapeutic encounters and their embodied attachments with clients to an extent it normally happens in conventional biomedicine. They often talk - both in research interviews and publically - about coming to alternative medicine through their personal or close relatives’ embodied experience of medical troubles and weaknesses of biomedicine. They talk about their own bodies and their afflictions and routines during therapeutic sessions with clients. They practise themselves as experimental, evidence-producing subjects. Their bodies get “tuned” as diagnostic devices (e.g. in case of pulse diagnostic used in Chinese medicine). In the proposed paper these configurations and practices will be followed in empirical detail and explores them in the context of debates on situated knowledge production and on modalities and limits of “evidence-based medicine”. The paper draws upon a research project on “Multiple medicine: ethnography of the interfaces between biomedical and alternative therapeutic practices” started in 2015.

Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences

Małgorzata Sugiera

Between Archive and Whodunit

Abstract The paper will use Kate Summerscale’s 2008 book The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. The Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective as a case study of an emerging field of research practices untypical for academia that may be called art-influenced studies or research-based artworks. In her book, Summerscale thoroughly researched the life and professional activities of the eponymous Jonathan “Jack” Whicher, one of the eight first detectives of Scotland Yard and a prototype of Sherlock Holmes. She concentrated especially on the 1860 “Road Hill Murder” that not only engaged newspapers and public opinion on such a scale for the first time, but also became a topic of uncountable novels and, then, a true myth of Victorian family and its secrets. What is of utmost importance here, Summerscale has deliberately written her book in the form of a Victorian detective novel, using all typical narrative and graphic devices, reproducing bits of newspapers’ reports, readers’ letters, court’s excerpts, private documents etc. Thus she presented the results of her own “investigation” in various archives as a slowly progressing process of gathering traces and clues, guessing and looking for confirmation by different sources. Her art-influenced study forebodes the main thesis put forward by Luc Boltanski in Enigmes et complots: despite their formulaic character, the British and the French detective novels of that period and their model detectives, Sherlock Holmes and Jules Maigret, differ as much as the societies they represent. More importantly, The Suspicion of Mr. Whicher is a very good case in point to answer, firstly, the question about dynamic network of times and places that arise when traditional narrative forms are used to publish results of methodologically updated research, and secondly the question about new instances of legitimacy of these kinds of precarious hybrid practices of knowledges production.

Jagiellonian University, Krakow

Marianna Szczygielska

Aporias of the Animal Turn and the Politics of Academic Hoaxers, Killjoys, and Watchdogs

Abstract In December 2015 an article by Christine Schulte revealed a close relationship between German shepherd dogs patrolling the Berlin Wall and the totalitarian regime of the German Democratic Republic. The paper was published in the peer-reviewed journal Totalitarianism and Democracy, and presented at a conference at the Technical University of Berlin. Two months later a group of leftist academics calling themselves “Christine Schulte and friends” revealed that the article, its claims, the archival material it was based on, and the presenter herself were all part of an elaborate academic hoax aimed at ridiculing the “anti-humanist trend in academia.” In my presentation I analyze not only the politics of academic hoaxers, but also the performative creativity revealed in their critique of an academic trend that has gained substantial interest in various fields of scholarly inquiry. After the linguistic turn and cultural turn, social sciences and the humanities witnessed an animal turn (Ritvo, 2007). I map out the genealogy of this turn, along with the proliferation of its subfields (animal studies, critical animal studies, human-animal studies) and related disciplines (posthumanism, ANT, new materialism). By analyzing the arguments presented by “Christine Schulte and friends” in their post-hoax statement “Plea Against Academic Conformism,” I want to re-open the debate on whether animal studies can be modeled on other minority studies disciplines to further investigate which scholarly affinities this field has upheld, and which have been neglected. What are the challenges faced by a field which research objects cannot speak for themselves (Spivak, 1988)? What are the consequences of the animal turn taking place within the humanities, and why is the trajectory of interdisciplinary exchange usually one-directional – from humanities towards natural sciences? Following Kari Weil’s statement that “nonhuman animals have become a limit case for theories of difference, otherness, and power” (Weil, 2010, 3), I aim at testing the limits of the conditions for academic knowledge production to reveal more viable targets for future hoaxers and feminist killjoys.

Central European University, Budapest

Katarzyna Szopa

Narrating Feminist Theories: Reading (with) Luce Irigaray

Abstract The purpose of this talk is to discuss the question of reading feminist theories beyond dominant narrations that tend to classify and produce discontinuities between various generations of feminist theoreticians. I want to ask in what way can the second-wave feminist theories be read by young contemporary scholars in order to move beyond, to use Iris van der Tuin’s term, the strategy of classifixation? Using the anti-methodological strategy of reading proposed by van der Tuin in her essay "Jumping Generations", I want to take Luce Irigaray as an example, whose philosophy has been on the one hand canonized and on the other neglected by feminist theoreticians of younger generations. So far, many feminist scholars, focusing on the early stage of Irigaray’s thought in which she criticized the auto-monological culture of One Subject, ignored the later aspects of her work in which she develops affirmative notion of sexuate difference, whereas I argue that sexuate difference, and its both creative and generative potential, is a concept that binds together material and discursive entanglements, since it should not be understood as merely biological or cultural difference, but as a difference working at the level of relational identity. What I want to stress is that Irigaray’s philosophy, although permanently present within the twentieth-century theories, is still absent, and for this reason her work on sexuate difference needs to be revisited. With binding together Irigaray’s notion of both vertical and horizontal genealogy, and new materialists’ anti-methodologies, based on anti-classificatory and anti-generational assumptions, dominant dialectical narrations of feminist theories could be challenged. I believe that such a reading is, contrary to the poetics of idolatry or criticism, an alternative strategy of more affirmative narrating, which leads up to the practice of dialogue between various generations of feminist theoreticians, and creates new strategies of intercommunication between them.

University of Silesia in Katowice

Zuzana Štefková

On the Perishable: Maternal Art between Life and Death

Abstract One of the key consequences of the material turn is the new materialist concern with overturning humanist preoccupation with the Subject as above or different from nature. Nowhere else is the unstable nature of boundaries between the object and the Subject more tangible then in the moment of conception and death. Adopting the new materialist lenses, this paper seeks to explore the entanglement of matter and meaning surrounding the issues of conception, birth and death, using examples of art as its starting point. Dealing with the issues of conception, miscarriage, and stillbirth, the art examined in this paper reflects on the vulnerable bodies and the knowledge they produce. On a more general level, the paper discusses the porous boundaries between human and non-human and the possibilities of new materialist reinterpretations of subjectivity.

Charles University in Prague

Maria Tamboukou

Situated Memories: neo-materialist insights in the gendered memory of work

Abstract In this paper I chart material and spatial analytical trails in the gendered memory of work. Taking up the position that memory research should be situated and contextualised I chart a plane of consistency for women workers’ embodied and emplaced memories to be studied. The paper draws on archival work at the Bibliothèque Historique de la ville de Paris with Jean Bouvier’s fonds and at the New York Public Library with Rose Pesotta’s papers. Both women were labour organizers and prolific writers in the French and American garment industries in the first half of the twentieth century. What I argue is that women workers’ mnemonic practices have radically reconfigured the question of what memory is to what it does and how it works. Far from being localised and constrained within the realm of the mind, their memory work has been fleshed out as an assemblage of space/time/matter entanglements, wherein bodies, places and objects intra-act in the process of being symbolically transformed into words, meanings, ideas and stories. The women workers’ memories thus emerge in the world and from the world, marking their position within it and shaping their relation with the world and with others.

University of East London, UK

Kathrin Thiele

“But who, we?” – Continuations on the Post/human Conundrum

Abstract This paper builds on my presentation at last year’s New Materialism conference (Maribor 2015), in which I discussed the non-linear temporalities of new materialist/posthuman(ist) critical thinking and linked those to what I called the ‘post/human conundrum’ as ‘abandoning human exceptionalism without giving up specificity’. This year’s paper now continues this line of thought and engages concretely with the question of how the human then - as a dimension of the world’s differential becoming rather than a self-sufficient noun - can return, or can be re-turned (to) in contemporary cultural thinking and/as situated knowledges. Asking this question I take as an ethico-political task; it is essential for critical scholarship in order to live up to the onto-epistemologically entangled framework that inspires so much of new materialist/posthuman(ist) work. With recourse to Vicki Kirby’s ‘originary humanicity’ that transforms our view on human exceptionalism with/in a new materialist framework, and linking it to Sylvia Wynter’s claim of a ‘humanness as practice’ that allows to approach ‘the ends of man’ (Derrida), I aim at knotting new knots within the ‘post/human conundrum’. I argue for the affirmation of a much messier looking post/human(ist) paradigm that unworks the old (and new) illusions of self-sufficiency, independence and sameness.

Utrecht University, Graduate Gender Programme

Virpi Timonen

Educational leadership becoming in the research process

Abstract In this presentation I will look at how educational leadership emerges in the intra-action of humans and material contexts. Within the field of educational leadership, the majority of research has focused on the qualities and characteristics of an effective leader and the perspective of distributed/shared leadership. In my research, I am following the incentive of Eacott (2015) and Niesche (2011) to apply posthumanist theoretizing into educational leadership research. I am drawing from the work of Karen Barad (2003; 2007), who proposes an onto-epistem-ology in which different phenomena emerge in an intra-action of different agents, and the theoretizing of Deleuze (1966/1991) with the concept of becoming. Relations in /between beings do not only change them in their secondary qualitites; rather they are constitutive of those very beings. Thus, the focus is shifted from the individual leader into perceiving leadership as a phenomenon that emerges in the intra-actions of humans and material contexts. The research material consists of teacher and leader discussions, observations of school principals and my research journal, respectively. In working with the research material, I have read it with the theoretical concepts of intra-action and becoming, trying to challenge the traditional notions of coding and data in qualitative research. In researching leadership as intra-action, the researcher also has to acknowledge their own role in the becoming leadership(s) and in the research assemblage. This approach has urged me to perceive leadership(s) as becoming, not in linear time, but rather oscillating between past/present/future.

University of Oulu, Finland

Iris van der Tuin

Canonization is Measurement? Reading Meeting the Universe Halfway through the Humanities

Abstract The relation between Karen Barad’s 2007 monograph Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning and philosophy of humanities is immediately clear when we realize that the philosopher, Susanne K. Langer, has suggested that theorists of art try “to meet the artist halfway” (Langer 1953: 393). This paper will use Langer as springboard. The paper is based in the act of reading Meeting the Universe Halfway through the humanities. Philosophy of science, in general, is biased towards the sciences. Albeit that the impetus of Meeting the Universe Halfway is not to open up the category of philosophy of science, it does so effectively by diffracting quantum physics and feminist theory. This paper asks what happens when I bring in the humanities, that is, what happens when I read Meeting the Universe Halfway through exemplary practices of humanities research. The conceptual apparatus of Barad’s monograph (phenomena, apparatus, agency of observation, etc.) is employed so as to shed light on humanities research per se and on their reading engagements (in the sense of citation politics) in particular. I will conclude, quite simply, that canonization is measurement. This is a necessary step in order to develop a philosophy of humanities in a situated and diffractive key, that is, as an onto-epistemology of the humanities which comes to the fore both by reading canonization affirmatively and by doing justice to all that does not have itself confined to a Canon. 

Utrecht University

Marja Vehviläinen

Knowing naturecultures: gender, class, generations

Abstract The paper discusses ecology of everyday life by analysing how different generations produce and enact specific ways of knowing naturecultures as they write about environmental concerns in their everyday lives. The paper draws on feminist materialist approaches of knowing naturecultures as situated material-discursive practices, and affects as a further methodological tool. Nature and environment intra-act with technology, culture and society. The paper is based on 80 biographical/diary texts produced in a writing contest Climate change and environment in my life organised by the Finnish Literature Society, and it and finds three generations: 1) the ones born in in the 1920-1940s in a predominantly agrarian society and its practices of self-sufficient use and cultivation of nature for food, and having gone through austerity and war years; 2) those born in the 1950-1970s, in a period societal changes of urbanisation, expanding education and waged labour markets, and increasing pollution; and 3) the ones born roughly in the 1980s in the period of excellent educational opportunities, the three global crises of climate change, food insecurity and peak oil becoming increasingly evident in one’s childhood, and the emerging new waves of environmental and food movements making food and nature political in everyday level. The paper analyses how these three generations produce both changes and continuities in knowing naturecultures. As societies and environments have undergone major changes, there are generational differences, even significant breaks, in knowing naturecultures, and yet there are also continuities, for example, in self-sufficient food production. Furthermore, gendered division of labour as well as classed differences, for example, in the places of living, integrated with generations, play a role in knowing naturecultures. Although knowing naturecultures is often produced in daily practices of bringing food to table, it further involves particular ‘nature affects’ that generations and particularly men pass from one to another.

University of Tampere, Finland

Juhana Venäläinen

“Where the Internet lives” – Performing the material spaces of “immaterial” production

Abstract In 2007, Der Spiegel reported that one Google search consumes enough electricity to run an 11-watt light bulb for one hour. Even though this claim was soon to be debunked, the more general concern about the environmental impacts of the global ICT infrastructure has only been growing. While the internet and its economy was once portrayed as a gateway to a "weightless world" (Coyle 1997), its materialities now manifest themselves for example in the national and regional political interests of attracting data centers – "the factories of the 21st century”, as the French Minister for Digital Affairs Axelle Lemaire has put it. In this presentation, I will examine the discursive space where the underlying materialities of data centers are performed. Since large-scale data centers are typically not accessible to the public, images of what happens "under the hood" are mostly based on eyewitness accounts and photographs by few privileged visitors. These media-circulated performances where the materiality of data centers is being unfolded and articulated operate in a discursive space that popularizes and "operationalizes" some epistemological undertones of new materialist thought at the level of technology journalism. Strategies of expressing the materialities often invoke figures of grandeur: the enormous scale of technological structures, the incomprehensible amounts of data possessed, or the uncatchable speed of communications in the optical fibers. In the spirit of "Latour litanies" (Bogost 2012), these accounts make their case by listing and naming the various devices, structures and processes involved. The different performances of materiality have manifold ethico-political implications: they can do justice to the formidable agency of the technologies sustaining our digital landscape, but they might as well raise concerns of the deepening dependence of ICT on scarce natural resources. Thus, the inevitable partiality in how to textualize the materiality of the "immaterial" should be critically scrutinized.

University of Eastern Finland

Lindsay G. Weber

The Reassembling of Things: Labor, Financialization, & the Reproduction of Feminist Materialisms

Abstract Our current era of financial capitalism has undoubtedly transformed the production of critical theory within academia. Substantial tuition increases, departmental downsizing and reorganizations, and commercialization are the most visible material changes tied to the financialization of the university, while the affective dimensions of these transformations have fomented protests across the globe. Experiences of precarity, debt, and underemployment now pervade the academy, and are especially hard felt by those working in the humanities and inter-/trans-disciplines. Yet, simultaneous to the administrative uptake of financializing policies was the growth of new materialism(s) over the past two decades. Starting with these concurrent phenomena, this presentation inquires into the material and immaterial labor of new materialisms, mapping the particular effects and affects of financialization in universities in the global North. Through centering the labor of new materialism(s), the project mobilizes the entwined genealogies of Marxism and feminism, adapting existing analyses of reproductive and affective labor to the contemporary (re)production of new materialisms within the academy. Ultimately, I aim to show how Marxian critical theory – particularly materialist and Marxist feminist analysis – remains a productive and essential tool in new materialist theoretical production. Alongside the conceptual and methodological innovations of new materialism and affect theory, Marxist feminist analyses of labor hold promising and incisive interventions to the ever-encompassing forces of financialization. As academics and as intellectual workers, the conditions of our labor - of how we produce theory, of how we sustain/care for ourselves in academia, of how we create and maintain intellectual communities– always matter. Towards this, looking to the im/material labors that compose new materialist concepts, methods, and interpretations proves to be an invaluable and salient way to reflect on what it means to be ‘performing situated knowledges’ at a time when financial capitalism, the University, and the humanities are considered to be in ongoing crises.

Universiteit Utrecht/University of Minnesota

Zofia Zaliwska

Becoming companion species: Re-membering a living history

Abstract This paper will explore the temporal dimension of being in a companion-species relationship with my grandmother. Following Haraway (2003) this kinship of significant otherness is a matter of “trying to tell the truth about relationship, co-habiting an active history” (p. 20). Reflecting on our living archive project that documents us walking, card playing and cooking together, this paper is about learning to look back through our ontological choreography (Thompson 2005) as a material—semiotic means of relating. In re-membering our intra-actions, I re-inhabit the grandmother-granddaughter relationship as a partnership that does not precede our relating, but rather, is made through “co-constitutive naturalcultural dancing, holding in esteem, and regard open to those who look back reciprocally” (Haraway 2008, 27). This, I will argue, demands an immanent and differential re-understanding of time as a technique for the modulation of relational fields (Massumi 2011).

University of Toronto

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Confraternity of Neoflagellants: Norman Hogg and Neil Mulholland

Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.): Envisioning Future Premodern Materialisms

Abstract Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) is a frenetic 20 minute audio-visual encounter with future neomedieval materialisms. Neomedievalisms are cultural practices that breathe a bouquet of premoderns as permanent rehearsals of coming events. Neomedievalisms identify and develop possible ‘premodern futures’ through visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialisms. Given its nonmodern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the animism of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century. Since 2009, we have developed neomedieval materialisms with their own nonmodern lexicon, dense hypereconomic practices that combine production, transfer, consumption, humilitas and virtus. This A/V performance takes the form of a bestiary entry on the dog-head Muller Ltd., a more-than—human protagonist emerging from our theory-fiction thN Lng Folk 2 Go (Punctum: 2013). Muller Ltd. is a ‘junior solution aligner’ forever on a quest for a business model that will allow actants to become their own markets and, thus, achieve comprehensive stasis. Situated in a neomedieval passion park, New Forest Coven Mall, buried beneath the underground PATH network in downtown Toronto, the performance entwines a number of medieval sources (from the Bestiary of Philippe de Thaon to Foxe's Book of Martyrs) with the corpus of living and fictitious artists, knowledge-architects, Ponzi schemers, and philosophers. The bestiary accounts for Muller Ltd.’s virtual pilgrimage through the transtime of the New Forest Coven Mall in search of a vibrant probe-material that physically embodies heterogeneous trans-temporalities and sensoria thorough its ‘immortal’ reproductivity. We will perform the work live in a mixture of middle and modern Scots and middle American mall talk accompanied by Electronic Voice Phenomena recordings of the medieval dead (who serve as omnipotent narrators) and overclocked, hi-fi animations farmed in the ‘uncanny valley’.

Concordia University; University of Edinburgh

Tero Nauha

A speculation on a body and posture in performance art practice

Abstract In this performative presentation, the recording of a voice of the presenter has been pressed on a vinyl record before the presentation. The performance​ plays with the recorded voice and the actual voice of a presenter – it plays with the different kinds of relationships between voice and matter or the body and matter. The analogue nature of a vinyl record creates a performative play with the liveness and ‘livedness’, through interruptions such as sliding, stuttering, or scratching. In this presentation, a point of view is being articulated in the relation between a body and the non-standard thought, which has been presented by François Laruelle, Katerina Kolozova, and John Ó Maoilearca in the particular context of performance art practice. The particular focus is on the conjunctions between the voice, body, matter, and thought, where speculation on these conjunctions is being performed. In this way, this presentation will be an attempt to work towards ‘non-standard artistic research’. The presentation seeks to speculate performatively the conjunction between voice, body, matter, and thought and aims to focus on the implication of such concepts as ‘decision’, ‘posture’ and ‘sufficiency’ on artistic practice. The proposition is that performance is thinking without the sufficient reason of philosophy, alongside the real, as such. Performance art and artistic practice are mixing the material record of the real. Performance is a way of thinking and not an extension of philosophy.

Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki

Maciej Ożóg

Transient Body / Liminal Space. Interactive Audio-Visual Performance in Hybrid Space

Abstract  The project addresses the issue of relations between the internal, visceral physiological activity of the body and the surrounding invisible environment of electromagnetic waves, which are generated by the commonly used electronic devices. Through visualization and sonification I try to explore continuous modulations of the hybrid space where the invisible biological signals coexist, intermingle and interact with invisible technological environment. Performer's body, in this case, is both the source of signals and a sort of antenna, which responds to specific external electromagnetic impulses. Thus, the performance takes shape of an artistic experiment that reveals a complex system of relationships between the biological and the technological dimension of existence.

During the action the performer's body is being monitored by a system of sensors that respond to different electric and acoustic signals generated by the body at the biological level. I use sensors that allow for the amplification of acoustic signals such as muscle activity, blood circulation, heart rate that are supposed to indicate changes in emotional state of the performer.

At the same time electromagnetic waves, which fill the space in which the performance is carried, are being monitored by custom made “spying” – primarily microwaves of 1-5 GHz range, emitted by wireless communication systems, Bluetooth, and mobile phones. These signals are being captured and transformed into audio and visual information. They are also converted into electric impulses and then transmitted to the performer’s body. Thus a feedback loop between the inner activity of the body and external electromagnetic space is established and made possible to perceive to the audience.

Department of Media and Audiovisual Culture, University of Lodz, Poland

Hester Reeve

The Stoned Tongue

Abstract The Stoned Tongue is part spoken word, part body-based action and part ‘stone’ performance based upon extracting visceral sounds from Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra.’ My suggestion, in line with the conference questions, is that one interpretation of situated knowledge could be what happens when a ‘creator’ (my preferred word for certain thought-intensive philosophers, artists, writers, scientists etc.) pushes thought within their chosen medium to the degree that it becomes ‘vulnerable.’ To my mind, in ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra,’ Nietzsche pushes his thought to the degree that he allows non-human matter into the force of the pages. The vulnerability arises because, once this force is picked up upon, the writer and the reader are thrown into a reflexive paradox whereby the utter artifice of words in relationship to ‘isness’ can no longer be be avoided yet at the same moment one is struck with excitement by their ‘beauty.’ To some degree this is the mattering of matter, a making of a meaningful experience that is also a de-stabilising of our confidence to know matter in anyway at all (and this is the excitement, there is something ethically productive about this excitement). This vulnerability also refers back to the creator who on some levels ‘falls apart’ since their seat of reflexive being is situated in alphabetic language in the first place.

Sheffield Hallam University

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Olga Cielemęcka and Whitney Stark

Working Group 4

Reconfiguring Publishing: Help Us Imagine a Collective Writing, Reviewing, and Publishing Practice for an Academic Journal

Abstract  “Reconfiguring Publishing: Help Us Imagine a Collective Writing, Reviewing, and Publishing Practice for an Academic Journal” This workshop is organized by the "New Materialism Tackling Economical and Identity-Political Crises and Organizational Experiments" working group of the COST Action on New Materialisms. We aim to trouble and transform academic writing, publishing and reviewing practices, and a broader “publish or perish” imperative in contemporary academia, as we prepare a special issue for an academic journal. Our working group is attempting to structurally work differently in academia; in less hierarchical and more collaborative, consensus-based and situated practices, (re)working (with) genealogies of feminist thinking and action. In this effort, we wish to enable a collaborative, transparent process for writing and reviewing a journal issue. But how can we imagine such a process? How can we attempt creative, transformative, collective practices within some of the rigid guidelines of contemporary academic institutional bodies? How can we move away from competitive, liberal individualisms in our writing and hierarchical practices of review? We would like to take space in this conference to imagine this kind of process together and with others interested in being a part of an effort to re-caliber the publishing procedures through the ideas of e.g.: sharing (of ideas, time, criticism, feedback); gift as a metaphor capable of bringing us somewhere else; collaboration, cooperation and commoning; and affirmative critique (especially in the reviewing process). In search for new conceptualizations and praxes of publishing together, we’d like to open a path to start valuing in new ways the diffractive, always already collective practices in our writings' becomings and the, often invisibilized, reproductive care labor of review. Keywords: connectivity, feminist praxes, reviewing, situatedness, commoning, gift, care labor, collective processes, academic journals, publishing.

Linköping University; Utrecht University

Rebecca Coleman, Tara Page and Helen Palmer

Methodologies, Materials, Materialisations Workshop

Abstract This practice-based workshop explores the new materialisms through a focus on interdisciplinary and precarious research practices. Workshop leaders will facilitate translations of ideas across different media, and diffractions of new materialist thinking through materials, and material-discursive entanglements. Rather than offering separate papers, the workshop involves participants experimenting with creative practices including embodied mapping, creative writing, and collage. In the context of new materialist arguments that understand matter as a process of materialization, the workshop explores the question of how different materials materialise matter differently. To put this another way, different materials give life to different realities and actualize aspects of subjectivity, embodiment and human-world relation that are particular to their material qualities. Through our practice, we ask: What difference do the materials of these practices (including words, paper, pencils, paint, glue) and the specific practices through which these materials are articulated and transformed (including moving, marking, tracing, cutting, tearing, folding) make to the relations between bodies and worlds? What capacities to materialise matter do the different materials we work with have? What aspects of subjectivity and/or embodiment are actualized through engaging with these different media? We see the experiments we facilitate as constituting emerging methodologies for putting new materialist thinking to work. Further, we focus on the specificities of particular practices, materials and materialisations, attending to, in Haraway’s terms, the situatedness and partiality of knowledge production and worldings. The workshop is structured around participants working with each of the three practices. Each of these practices will be facilitated by one of the workshop leaders: embodied mapping (Page); creative writing (Palmer); and collage (Coleman). At the end of the workshop, participants will share at least one aspect of our work: for example, a movement, a collage, a painting or a poem or some words. Participants will need to wear comfortable clothes and bring a journal. Everything else is provided.

Goldsmiths University of London; Kingston University

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi and Kim Donaldson

Feminist colour-in, co-creating a vibrating archive

Abstract ‘Mindfulness’ is the practice of being in the moment and focusing on the subjective experience of the self. In recent times ‘mindfulness’ colouring books for adults have become very popular as ways to relieve stress and anxiety to create a greater sense of wellbeing. However, today mindfulness techniques are also frequently offered by corporate employers to keep their staff happy, efficient and hard working. What distinguishes the proposed workshop from these activities is that it combines ‘mindful’ colouring with a critical attitude focused on feminist politics, imagery and collective work. During this ‘colour-in’, participants will be offered an opportunity to colour both old and new designs by professional feminist and women artists across times, generations and geographical locations, some especially acquired for the workshop. For the Warsaw workshop, the curators of the event will work in collaboration with Polish curator Ewa Toniak and visual artist Karolina Kucia, who is also a COST WG3 member, to execute designs important for the local scene. Combining abstract and figurative aesthetics, the commissioned designs will mix the mindful, fantastic, utopian and informative with a thoughtful yet embodied practice of colouring-in. As the participants colour in their chosen designs, they learn about local and international feminist artists – themes, patterns and movements important for their practice. At the ‘colour-in’ colouring becomes a rhythmical and embodied way of not only producing knowledge but also materialising it and incorporating it into the participating bodies. Through the act of colouring the participants become part of a moving yet rooted feminist visual-material archive that they are co-creating – in new, vibrant colours. This practice re-visits the tradition of feminist consciousness-raising by proposing a quiet, relational, embodied mode of activism that speaks through its colours and pen lines. This workshop also offers an alternative mode of conferencing, critical of neoliberal academia focused on individual achievements and highly articulated selfexpression.

VCA, The University of Melbourne

Katarzyna Michalczak

Would I draw myself? Time, Space and Vulnerability in Comics Herstories

Abstract How to use drawings to tell my story/ her story? What can I tell with my comics: minority groups affinity, self-narrative vulnerability, sensual experience, precarious nature of time, space and body. What do I want to be silent about? Can drawing comics be political? How does my comics story produce knowledge and how can I use it in terms of political activism? During this 3 hours workshop we will try to find our own way of drawing stories that can give us a voice: from a feminist point of view, using a positioning perspective, telling our own story about body and time, and vulnerability of our position as belonging to any of repressed groups. There will be time for drawing and for a discussion. Every participant will have an opportunity to make her own hand-made strip comics and to write a plan on how to use comics technique to put her own point of view into practice.

Sigrid Schmitz, Bettina Papenburg and Liv Hausken

University of Graz; Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf; University of Oslo, Norway

Process of Imaging /Imaging of processes

Abstract This workshop is to be held in conjunction with work towards a special journal issue of Catalyst – Feminism, Theory, Technoscience (ed. by Bettina Papenburg, Liv Hausken, Ingvil Hellstrand, Sigrid Schmitz, together with Natasha Meyers from Catalyst). The special issue will present new-materialist interventions at the intersection of feminist studies, science and technology studies, and visual studies. It will contribute to basic research on imaging technologies and develop further theories and practices from a perspective of new materialism, including various approaches from feminist, queer and postcolonial studies, feminist STS, visual studies and media studies through an engagement with objects of analysis from science and everyday life. The larger aim is to develop a more reflective stance vis-à-vis natural, medical and engineering approaches. Based on three key concepts – imaging technologies, apparatus, and dynamism –, this special issue investigates the entanglement of imaging and imagination through interdisciplinary, in-depth studies of selected technological imaging practices in science, arts, media, and everyday life. It addressed the roles of imaging processes and technologies in shaping the optics of race, gender, sexuality, and ability; their foundations in colonial, capitalist, and military projects; as well as their appropriation for alternative, counter, or resistant ways of seeing. Contributors to the special issue will present their paper drafts in this workshop. The aim of the workshop is to facilitate discussion about work-in-progress among editors and authors of the special issue, to get fruitful feedback from the audience, and to further develop links and interconnections between papers. The workshop will be open to all interested conference participants.

The Process of Imaging /Imaging of processes - individual presentations:

Rowan Bailey

University of Huddersfield

Brain Imaging and Sculptural Plasticity

  • Abstract According to Sigrid Schmitz and Grit Höppner in ‘Neurofeminism and Feminist Neurosciences: A Critical Review of Contemporary Brain Research’ (2014): Brain images are snapshots of a certain moment of physical materiality, which is always connected to individual biographies. Results of brain scans can thus not provide information on the processes that led to these developments, neither from nature nor from culture. 1. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) measure brain changes through blood oxygenation or blood flow, but inadequately account for the complex phenomena of brain plasticity. The snapshot image provided by neuronal imaging technology is a photographic capture that holds the brain-as-organ in place. However, the philosopher Catherine Malabou has explored the ways in which neuroscientific discourse resorts to the imagery of sculptural making – processes of moulding, modelling, carving and shaping – to describe synaptic changes in the neuronal organisation and operations of the brain. This is a mode of thinking in, with and through formation as a complex and dynamic intra-play of neuronal excitations – both the life and death drives of the world. In What Should We Do with Our Brain she writes: The concept of plasticity has an aesthetic dimension (sculpture, malleability), just as much as an ethical one (solicitude, treatment, help, repair, rescue) and a political one (responsibility in the double movement of the receiving and giving of form). It is therefore inevitable that at the horizon of the objective descriptions of brain plasticity stand questions concerning social life and being together. 2. On the one hand, fMRI and PET technology images the brain as if it were the stony immobility of a statue – the site and mode of objectification – rather than imagine the entanglements of the brain with the world. This is an instancing of neuronal ideology, where form congeals and conceals the dynamics of plasticity as a material entanglement of brain and environment, in preference for the passive reception and imprinting of existing cultural formations. On the other hand, the use of sculptural modes of formation derived from restrictive historic and aesthetic determinants of sculpture relies upon an archaic figuration of the sculptor who systematically carves, models and shapes the world. This iteration of the making process equally detracts from other modes of formation at work in the brain, in particular, the world as the very mattering of entanglement that makes formation possible in the first place. If neuronal imaging technology is complicit in reinforcing fixed and static representations of cerebral functioning, then, at least for Malabou, ‘creating resistance to neuronal ideology is what our brain wants, and what we want for it’. 3. Working with and through the writings of Malabou – on the reception, production and annihilation of form – and Barad – on the iterative reconfigurings of spacetimemattering 4. – this paper will explore the diffractive patterns of exchange between the imaging of plasticity in the context of the phenomenon of the ‘brain-body-in-culture’: a double condition where the formations and transformations of human and non-human activity are in continuous intra-action. For Malabou, plasticity plays three major roles in the brain and they make up the material specificities of the brain-body-in-culture: developmental plasticity, modulational plasticity and reparative plasticity. She writes: […] there are not just one but many plasticities of cerebral functioning. The interaction of these plastic modalities sketches an organization that does not at all correspond to traditional representations of the brain as a machine without autonomy, without suppleness, without becoming – representations that today have become true “epistemological obstacles.” It is urgent that we affirm, against these representations, which no longer represent anything at all, that our brain is in part essentially what we do with it. Individual experience opens up, in the program itself, a dimension usually taken to be the very antithesis of the notion of a program: the historical dimension. 5. Taking on board Barad’s articulation of the diffraction of ‘spacetimemattering’, 6. the paper will reconsider the cutting-together-apart of brain imaging technology and sculptural formations in neuroscientific discourse, in and through a different kind of imaging, drawn from the world of art. Caroyln Christov-Bakargiev’s Brain of dOCUMENTA (13) addresses the intra-actions between human and non-human diffractions of spacetimemattering in curatorial form and materialises a contemporary formation of socio-political trauma. As a sculptural iteration of Malabou’s consideration of the process of ‘cerebral auto-affection’ – the ‘brain’s capacity to experience the altering character of contact with itself’ 7. – this site of suffering with the non-human is materialised through a diffracted mode of spectatorship. The Brain images in a very different way from the brain imaging technology of the neuroscientific world. According to Bakargiev, a ‘set of elements mark contradictory conditions and committed positions of being in and with the world – pitting ethics, desire, fear, love, hope, anger, outrage, and sadness against the conditions of hope, retreat, siege and stage’. 8. These elements establish relations between ‘the individual and troubled histories of these objects, and their shifting connotations’ 9. and as such, provide us with an opportunity to explore how a diffractive mode of spectatorship is a condition of and for the material entanglements shaped between the human and the non-human. The brain-body-in-culture is thus a necessary entanglement in, with and of the world. This is about the iterations of plastic experience – the confabulations of memory – made possible by synaptic gaps in the brain. Therefore, in the context of thinking about an ongoing reworking of neuronal morphology made possible by plastic potentialities, this paper invests in an imaging of the brain as the historic site of multiple temporalities and their narrative formations. A mode of diffractive reading that imagines the brain otherwise, beyond the limits of its own organicity, to its spacetimemattering, is a necessary critical resistance to the neuronal ideologies of imaging. The plastic potential of the brain enables the transition from the neuronal image towards a consideration of what we might do with our brains-as-bodies-in-culture. Contributor Details Dr Rowan Bailey is a Senior Lecturer in Historical and Theoretical Studies in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield. As a member for the Centre for Sculptural Thinking (CST), she is currently exploring different modes of thinking sculpturally in material, philosophical and scientific cultures. Her publications include: ‘Herder’s Sculptural Thinking’ (parallax, Vol. 17, Issue. 2, 2011) – an exploration of the sculptural concepts of Bildung and Einfuhlung in the writings of Hegel and Herder – and ‘Concrete Thinking for Sculpture’ (parallax, Vol. 21, Issue. 3, 2015) – an article on the varietal use of concrete as a concept and as a material in works of sculpture. In 2015-16, she curated an exhibition entitled Thought Positions in Sculpture (Huddersfield Art Gallery), a project which engaged with the site of the sculpture archive and contemporary artist responses. The writings for this exhibition are featured on the CST website: 1. Sigrid Schmitz and Grit Höppner, ‘Neurofeminism and Feminist Neurosciences: a critical review of contemporary brain research. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Vol. 8, 2014: 546. DOI: doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00546 2. Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain?, trans. Sebastian Rand. New York: Fordham University Press. 2008, p.30. 3. Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain, p.77. 4. See in particular, Karen Barad, ‘Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together-Apart’. parallax. 20:3, pp.168-187. 5. Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain, pp.29-30. 6. Catherine Malabou, The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage, trans. Steven Miller. New York: Fordham University Press. 2012, p.42. 7. I am proposing that this mode of spectatorship is analogous to diffractive reading. In an interview with Barad, and with reference to chapter two of Meeting the Universe Halfway, she explains: ‘I call a diffractive methodology, a method of diffractively reading insights through one another, building new insights, and attentively and carefully reading for differences that matter in their fine details, together with the recognition that there intrinsic to this analysis is an ethics that is not predicated on externality but rather entanglement. Diffractive readings bring inventive provocations; they are good to think with’. Karen Barad Interview. In. Rick Dolphijan and Iris Van der Tuin. New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies. Open Humanities Press. 2012: DOI: 8. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, ‘The Dance Was Very Frenetic, Lively, Rattling, Clanging, Rolling, Contorted, and Lasted for a Long Time’. In. Caroyln Christov-Bakargiev and Katrin Sauerländer. dOCTUMENTA (13) The Book of Books. Catalog 1/3. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz. 2012, p.35. 9. Caroyln Christov-Bakargiev, dOCUMENTA (13): The Guidebook. Catalog 3/3. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz. 2012, p.24. Contact Details Dr Rowan Bailey Creative Arts Building - CAAG/06 School of Art, Design and Architecture University of Huddersfield Huddersfield HD1 3DH UK Tel: 01484 471837


Veit Braun (LMU Munich) and Isabel Giesendorf

With magnetic eyes: encountering nano (with)

  • Abstract Drawing from a ethnography in nanomedicine, we explore different ways of imaging: while a short film festival on the topic fails to make its audience engage with nanomaterials, an experimental visualisation using magnetic nanoparticles in a laboratory excites the researchers who gather around the images. While there can be a difference between touching and seeing, we argue that vision, too, can have a touching effect - depending on how the visualised being is allowed to enter our world. The way in which imaging is done has implications for the (de-)politisation of nanotechnology: a sterile, all-too smooth vision of nano leaves the audience either unimpressed or scared, while the experimental visualisation may forge new associations between humans and nanomatters.


Hannah Fitsch

TU Berlin

Rendering Bodies Imaginable

  • Abstract By exploring the preconditions of digital imaging from these two perspectives – firstly the for- mation of the material for the purposes of digital transformation and secondly the information- alization and algorithmization of the material – we will analyze different levels in processes involving the pre- and “re-materialization of digital images,” as Harun Farocki put it. By relating to feminist theory, we not only intend to shed light on the multifaceted relationships between the material, technological and epistemological conditions operative in digital imaging but also to open up a discourse about the free spaces that a person can occupy when undergoing digital imaging procedures, in particular in medicine.


Kathrin Friedrich

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Rendering Bodies Imaginable – Codifying Processes in Diagnostic and Experimental Settings using Medical Imaging (with Hannah Fitsch)

  • Abstract When you are looking for something or trying to orientate yourself, street maps are very helpful: the hostel is on 7th at the corner of 9th Street. The cinema is on 14th Street close to 20th. You’ll find me on 1st, at the corner of 13th Street. Geographical mapping towns and cities into consecutively numbered streets and blocks has great advantages; above all, it results in an idea of manageable and administrable municipalities. This idea of manageability implies that the individual is always from the outset part of a specific category or group, or from a specific block in a specific city. The foundation on which we base the imaging of our society is not individuals, but social patterns, which are translated into medical and/or mathematical groupings. In turn, these groupings determine the conditions for attributions that affect every individual. The above cartographies of cities – and this does not only apply to US cities – have their operational and analytical counterpart in the mapping and classifying of human bodies in medical imaging. Imaging processes are based on models of the human body, for instance as a representation of, and model for, that which clinical and laboratory practices conceptualize as biological or natural matter. With the introduction of advanced computing technologies, medical imaging is increasingly becoming a normalization process that creates, shapes and adjusts comparable variables extracted from living processes and processes of living. The idea of codifying living and hence continuous processes as discrete entities – and hence imaginable and computable ones – can be traced back to early experiments in physiology and related mathematical theories. In the 19th century, anatomists worked alongside physiologists who wanted to seek out the essence of the human being/humanity in a laboratory setting, but needed new forms of measuring that which was conceived as “living.” Physiologists began to measure (hidden) body processes such as blood flow, metabolism, reproduction processes, etc., on a molecular level. The combination of anatomical and physiological studies led to new forms of looking at the human body. The description of, and comparison between, physical objects in the form of mathematical equations was made possible by the mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier. In his Théorie analytique de la chaleur (1822), he developed the method of dimensional analysis, which enabled him to codify objects or natural phenomena by conceptually fragmenting them into different properties characterized by their wave lengths. The basic assumption underlying this method is that there exist a small number of invariable and simple natural laws and that, by considering objects as an assemblage of different properties, the object as a whole can be rendered accessible to measurement and computation. The current digital dissection of living human bodies for the purposes of medical imaging and diagnostics is based on a similar fundamental yet paradoxical prerequisite according to which the liveliness and mobility of the body must be framed and even almost frozen. With today’s digital imaging technologies, this prerequisite becomes a force with very practical consequences that acts upon the body. Even in the initial data acquisition phase, for example with a computed tomography scanner, the body is aligned to the affordances of the scanner. By following the protocols of positioning the patient inside the scanner ring, technical staff adjust the space of the body to the space of the Cartesian coordinate system, which determines the references for tomographic scanning. Some positioning procedures also entail rigidly immobilizing the patient, for example with the help of straps, in order to prevent motion artifacts in the later visualizations. In order to generate and process a contextually significant visualization, body and machine need to be materially and spatially related. To analyze how the tensions between different materialities (bodies and machines) and between materialities and epistemic programs (the digitalization and spatialization of processes) are integrated into daily routines in diagnostic imaging, it is crucial to explore the particular resources and procedures that are employed in relation to heterogeneous elements and processes. For analytical purposes, it is interesting to examine particular examples that are both practically and epistemically intended to bridge the gaps between living bodies and digital programs. These examples are a) techniques for positioning the patient in the scanner, b) scan protocols, and c) contrast media. To explore how digital imaging codifies the body and maps it to coordinates so as to render it visually and hence diagnostically intelligible, the first part of the paper will take these examples as a starting point to analyze the interplay between material and digital processes. In the second part, we want to take a closer look at the algorithms involved in the multiple transformation processes that translate the living body, particularly the brain, into visualizations in the field of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Mindful of the fact that there are a variety of non-visible algorithmic computational steps that must be taken to move from the human brain as a physical object to the visual phenomenon of brain images, we explore the underlying mathematical steps that are necessary to render the brain as visual data, including (but not limited to) those steps that involve categorizing different aspects of the physical brain. By seeking to understand the epistemic dimension of algorithms in brain imaging, we will explore what this means for the conception of the brain as such. By exploring the preconditions of digital imaging from these two perspectives – firstly the formation of the material for the purposes of digital transformation and secondly the informationalization and algorithmization of the material – we will analyze different levels in processes involving the pre- and “re-materialization of digital images,” as Harun Farocki put it. By relating to feminist theory, we not only intend to shed light on the multifaceted relationships between the material, technological and epistemological conditions operative in digital imaging but also to open up a discourse about the free spaces that a person can occupy when undergoing digital imaging procedures, in particular in medicine.



Trine Krigsvoll Haagensen

University of Bergen

Travelling in time – medieval perspectives on a contemporary picture

  • Abstract Travelling in time – medieval perspectives on a contemporary picture Planck all sky early image is an image constructed by the European Space Agency (ESA) in order to make visible and access the cosmic microwave background in the universe. The main purpose of the picture is to make accessible the earliest light waves in the universe, the oldest traces of the Big Bang. The picture is thus described by ESA as a time machine, a rendering that lets us travel back in time to deepen our understanding of “how our Universe came to be and how it works now” (ESA 2010). While the picture itself is immediately recognizable as a picture, its conceptual and technical-material dimensions expose and challenge a taken for granted experience and expectation towards pictures. The picture thus displays not only the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) in the universe, but also a need to develop and adjust our approaches to and understandings of pictures in general. In this article I will take a detour, another journey in time, back to medieval Europe, to utterly denaturalize our vision, and to investigate perspectives and practices of pictures and visual cultures in the 13th century. I will perform a refractional discussion of Planck all sky image, seen through the lenses of medieval theories, perspectives and practices of perception. Refraction of light has been thoroughly analyzed and investigated as an optical process since the second century (Lindberg 1976: 73). The term describes “[t]he fact or phenomenon of light, radio waves, etc. being deflected in passing obliquely through the interface between one medium and another or through a medium of varying density”, and “the act or process of refracting; specifically, the determination of the refractive errors of the eye and their correction with lenses”. In this article I will use the term to describe a strategic replacement of “filters”, “lenses” or perspectives, to see the given picture with a new gaze, and as a metaphor, to underline the interdependency of models of physical material processes of seeing, and discursive understandings of the visual.


Christine Hanke

University of Bayreuth

Measuring skulls for advocacy? Diffracting the ambivalent practices of identification

  • Abstract This paper discusses the Human Remains Project at Humboldt University, Berlin in relation to the approach of "Forensis" proposed by Eyal Weyzman and Thomas Keenan in the Forensic Architecture Project at Goldsmiths, University of London. The exhibition booklet of the exhibition "Forensis" at the HKW Berlin in 2014, that was co-curated by Anselm Kiefer and Eyal Weyzman, states with respect to the scientific/science politics of the new approach: "By returning to the wider concept of forensis, this exhibition seeks to unlock the potential of forensics as a political practice. Inverting the direction of the forensic gaze, it seeks to designate a field of action in which individuals and independent organizations can detect, represent, and confront abuses of power by states and corporations in situations that have a bearing upon political struggle, violent conflict, and climate change." (Weyzman 2014: 8f) This approach that, interestingly enough, is described as a visual motion of 'inverting the gaze', is practised within very different fields. Forensis is used in the visualization of environmental damage due to copper mining, in the reconstructions of drone attacks from remains of destroyed residential buildings, or in the Forensic Oceanography project that reconstructed the so-called “left-to-die boat” case, in which sixty-three migrants lost their lives while drifting for fourteen days within the NATO maritime surveillance area in the Mediterranean Sea. The effort in identifying the remains of Joseph Mengele in the late 1970ies, one of the last main perpetrators of NS atrocities who had not yet faced legal consequences, is positioned as the historical starting point of the forensis approach – that is, the use of "forensic anthropology in human rights discourse" (Keenan/Weyzman 2001: 63). It is through a re-enactment of categories of 'race' and 'sex' that anthropological identification procedures show their productivity in identifying an NS murderer. In this starting point for 'human rights forensis' new visualisation technologies (face-skull superimpositions using early TV technology) unfold new evidence effects in ID politics. The methods used in the forensis counter strategies involve metric-statistical procedures as well as extensive data visualisations in order to generate metric and visual evidence for anti-hegemonic political struggles. The stance of inverting a hegemonic technology may remind us of Laura Mulvey's feminist use of psychoanalytics as a weapon against the patriarchal structure of classic Hollywood cinema. But my paper will be concerned with a discomfort with the seemingly unproblematic status of the technologies themselves. The data and visual methods seem to be neutral instruments that can be appropriated for an alternative use. To reflect this implication of the forensis approach, I will ask: What historical and colonial load do these methods carry? If we try to appropriate these technologies we have to deal with the traces of their genealogy and of their epistemic promises. In my paper I will argue that a colonial 'unconscious' underlies these seemingly neutral methods. To situate the metric-statistical and data visualization technologies in a field of politics and power, I will take a look into the history and epistemology of measuring and data visualizing from an interdisciplinary perspective informed by science history, STS and media theory: As a result of the rise of "statistical thinking" (Porter 1986) that comes together with the emergence of "mechanical objectivity" and new visualization dispositives in 19th century (Daston/Galison 2007) metric-statistical technologies act as self-evident and neutral approaches to capture the world up to today. Historically these technologies have constitutively been used in favor of 'the power' and of governmental politics, their rise is closely linked to colonialist approaches of capturing and appropriating the world. In addition, I will discuss the epistemic logics of the measuring and data visualizing approach to the world: Data-Images can be characterized as a media technology intermingling numeric-metric approaches of capturing the world with the epistemic logics of the image, producing evidences and trying to eliminate indeterminacies and uncertainties. Going beyond a constructivist as well as a media ontology perspective, I will try to theorize the relation of data, image and the material world by drawing on media philosophy, materialism and non-representational theory. I will discuss these relations of materiality, data and images with respect to physical anthropology, in particular its approaches of determining characteristics of the skull and materializing them in (material and virtual) face reconstructions. In a historical perspective I will draw on German physical anthropology at the turn of the 19th to 20th century that is incessantly trying to determine 'races' and 'sexes', at the same time producing uncertainties and indeterminacies that subvert the anthropological identifications (Hanke 2007). Discussing three texts that aim at constructing and materializing faces based on skulls, I will show the intermingling of scientific and artistic practices in the transformations from flesh to data to racialized and sexed bodies. Before this background I will discuss the Human Remains Project at the Charité (2010-2013). In order to restitute human remains the project tried to identify the provenience of bones and skulls by using anthropological methods, that are disturbingly similar to those practiced in the colonial appropriation of data and human remains. Even more so the new identification procedures of measuring and scanning the skulls produce new data to deposit them in anthropological databanks that will proliferate (Westernized) anthropological research and enable the visualising of racialized and sexed bodies anew. Focusing on physical-anthropological practices of skull identifications I will describe the transformations of materiality and materials within the data realm, and on the other hand discuss the ways of materialization of data in face reconstructions - as a material and digital practice in turn that nowadays is popularized by TV series like Bones. While these practices especially in German speaking contexts try to avoid the racist notion of 'race' the "absent presence of race" (M'charek et al 2014) uncannily emerges. The paper aims at a critical reflection on the ambivalent knowledge and power effects of data visualisations by discussing the continuities of colonial anthropological practices as well as reflecting the differences in knowledge production in relation to bodies and data. Daston, Lorraine / Peter Galison: Objectivity. Cambridge, MA/London 2007. Hanke, Christine: Zwischen Auflösung und Fixierung. Zur Konstitution von 'Rasse' und 'Geschlecht' in der physischen Anthropologie um 1900. [Between Dissolution and Fixation: On the Constitution of 'Race' and 'Sex' in Physical Anthropology around 1900.] Bielefeld 2007. Keenan, Thomas / Eyal Weyzman: "Mengele's Skull". Cabinet, 43: Forensics, 2011: 61-67. M'charek, Amade / Katharina Schramm / David Skinner: "Technologies of Belonging: The Absent Presence of Race in Europe". Science, Technology & Human Values, Vol. 39(4) 2014: 459-467. Porter, Theodore M.: The Rise of Statistical Thinking. 1820-1900. New Jersey 1986. Stoecker, Holger / Thomas Schnalke / Andreas Winkelmann (Hg.): Sammeln, Erforschen, Zurückgeben? Menschliche Gebeine aus der Kolonialzeit in akademischen und musealen Sammlungen. [Collecting, Researching, Restituting? Human Remains from the Colonial Era in academic and museum collections.] Berlin 2013. Weizman, Eyal: "Introduction: Forensis". Forensis. The Architecture of Public Truth. (ed. Forensic Architecture) Berlin 2014: 9-32.


Karolina Kazimierczak

University of Aberdeen, UK

Seeing / touching / knowing: making bodies (visible) in clinical diagnostic practices

  • Abstract In this essay I want to draw attention to the ways in which vision and touch are inseparable in clinical diagnostic practices for two very different medical conditions: benign breast disorders and early stage localised prostate cancer. Drawing on ethnographic and auto-ethnographic data, I want to explore how these practices image and imagine particular bodily configurations as cancerous or non-cancerous. Reading Eva Hayward’s notion of fingeryeyes (2010, 2012), and Jackie Stacey and Mary Bryson’s interpretation of Laura Marks’ concept of haptic visuality (Stacey and Bryson 2012), through the concept of the apparatus of bodily production as developed in the work of Donna Haraway (1988) and Karen Barad (2007), I trace different ‘visualisation apparatuses’ involved in the diagnostic procedures: ultrasound machines, biopsy kits, histologic analyses, syringes, trained eyes and hands and fingers. Conceptualised as material-discursive, boundary-making practices, these apparatuses, I want to argue, help us problematize and rethink the relationship between seeing and touching as two distinct modes of knowing.


Tara Mehrabi

Linköping University

Molecularizing Alzheimer’s disease, performing death

  • Abstract Today, emergence of imaging technologies and novel molecular agents and dyes is a crucial part of molecularization processes within biosciences in general, but it is particularly a constitutive part of Alzheimer’s research. I did one year of participatory observation in a biochemistry laboratory in Sweden in which scientists were doing Alzheimer’s researches with transgenic fruit flies in order to replicate toxic protein-misfolding and processes of neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in human. During my field work, scientists hinted at the new power imbued into scientific imaging technologies, like antibodies and molecular agents that would bind to the mis-folding proteins and glow under the microscope. In my chapter, inspired by new materialisms, for instance the work of Karen Barad (2007) and Vicky Kirby (2008), and feminist technoscience studies of life itself, I discuss the relation between death and molecularization of AD. I ask, whether molecularization of AD is about practices of doing science and imaging molecular processes. I understand doing as something that is not an attribute of a human subject but a “posthuman performativity” (Barad 2007). I wonder, whether molecularization of AD and imaging mis-folding proteins are processes that are not only enacting life but also new modes of death and dying. In other words, I explore death as performed and performative through imaging practices. I argue that if one stays with practices of molecular imaging, one may realize that even in isolation, images of neuron’s death are always already naturecultural processes.



Felicity Amaya Schaeffer

UC Santa Cruz

Remote Identification: Criminalizing the ‘Hidden Intent’ of Migrant Embodiment

  • Abstract This article examines law and surveillance technologies in Arizona that usher novel governing strategies across borders or “hot spots.” I track the move away from identification strategies based on documents and narration to biometrics and ontology, or bio-criminality. Identity theft laws and surveillance re-constitute the status of the human from someone who has some degree of agency and will (intention) - someone with enough reason to be held accountable for their speech, motives, and actions - to an understanding of the human as bodily matter that “speaks” the unconscious truth of who we are and what we are capable of in the future. Through research conducted at the University of Arizona’s BORDERS center and the testing zone at Technology Park, I follow the trend in surveillance technologies that promise more accurate and efficient intelligence than humans, automating sovereign control of bodies and territories while boosting Tucson’s sagging economy. The tools for apprehension and punishment rely on a temporality of the future, a time not yet here, but immanent, squeezing from certain lives a security regime that contains, incarcerates and eradicates from national space those whose unconscious bodily movements code as racial threat.


Gertrud Schrader

University of Hannover

Orientierungen I und II

  • Abstract „Orientations I and II“, 2006, two luminous objects, Gertrud Schrader, Orientations I and II are two objects belonging together. They comprise two illuminated boxes with the dimensions of 150 x 240 cm. These aluminium boxes with a front section made of white acrylic glass are hanging at a height of about 50 cm. Rails which protrude above the boxes by 80 cm each on the right and left side are attached to the upper and the lower edge. Thus, the entire width of the works is 4 meters. The rails serve as holders for transparent photographs of visualized data from the internal structure of the human body, which are slidable in front of the illuminated areas. These photographs have a height of 150 cm and a width of 100 cm. Three such transparent photographs which can be positioned as required by the audiences, are mounted in front of each of the illuminated boxes. The transparent photographs in front of Orientations I are showing reproductions of images of DNA, a sonogram and an egg cell with sperm, which were taken from popular scientific publications. The transparent photographs in front of Orientations II are showing reproductions of images of a brain, brain function and of nerve cells, which were also taken from popular scientific publications. Using an Edding marker, I have marked the distinctive contour lines of the data visualized on the transparent photographs, on the acrylic glass panel of the illuminated boxes. In addition, texts which were written and spoken by myself can be listened to through headphones. I am talking between the poles of different (visual) vocabularies, different models of orientation, the techniques, the bodies and individual life. The work The drawings on the illuminated boxes show distinctive lines of the data from the internal structure of the body which are visualized on the transparent photographs. They form a non- interpretable presentation of the inner body and the non-identically repeatable trace of an action. This is about drawn attempts of an individual appropriation of the visualized data of the inner body. With regard to the visualizations of the data from the inner body, which can be seen on the transparent photographs and which are are constantly retrievable, the drawings constitute an area of conflict. By using the drawing, I employ a mode of appropriation which refers to another era and other conventions of perception and appropriation than the visualized data. The noninterpretable lines drawn on the illuminated boxes in conjunction with the transparent photographs and thus the visualized data, make this difference and the epistemically established difference of these noncompatible modes of appropriation evident. To some extent, the moveable transparent photographs can be made to coincide with the respective lines which I have drawn on the illuminated boxes by using an Edding marker. However, they can be repositioned. Here, the surfaces of the internal pictures turn into a superficial level of design, which make it possible to create more and more new visual effects in a playful way. The resulting body images are not, as suggested by science, definable and unambiguous. Moreover, the sum of the pictures does not result in a complete body image. The work plays with a conceptually generated resistance of the pictorial material. By moving of the transparent photographs, the receiving audience cannot create a body image. Here, the different models of the body and its visualizations underlying the different ways of representation deconstruct each other. Due to the interaction and thus the sliding of the transparent photographs, the receiving audience becomes a part of the work. They are acting subjects who represent a counterpart to the enlarged images of the inner body and the drawings which confront them equally. In everyday life, far reaching decisions are made on the basis of such images of the inner body. In contrast, these images are contemplated in the work itself. Audible layer of the work The texts below, which were written and spoken by myself, can be listened to through headphones in a loop. The audio track of Orientations I emphasizes an interweaving of scientific models underlying the visualized data, with perceptions of everyday life and with conceptions about itself. Here, the fact is addressed that both layers of reality (the imageries and the individual everyday life) shape each other and, in that sense, wield power over each other. In this regard, the text approaches a productive level of the imagery by naming the construction of a duality of somebody who is pregnant and a child coming into existence. This is about an impossibility to redeem the exemplary from the natural sciences and thus new there are new contradictions which arise in everyday life. This audible layer represents a kind of interweaving of scientific illustrative models and their visualizations with the perception of everyday life and the difficulties to make decisions and act, which result both normatively and logically from the paradoxies of scientific cognitive models. The text of Orientations II refers ironically to the paradox of self-reflexiveness regarding the model of insight from natural science and in this context it plays with the question relating to identity. Art as a form of insight When it comes to artistic works, discontinuities, areas of conflict and confrontations are developed on the basis of aesthetic methods and thus, the implications of the imageries such as societal norms and constructions of realities are made apparent. During these processes of development the work takes place both on the aesthetic level and from a distanced reflexive approach. Changing the level also means changing the perspective between the involved immersion into subjective perceptions and the distanced reflexive contemplation. Thus, in this sense, a process takes place which interweaves both creative practice and theoretical reflexion, as well as subjective perception and theoretical reflexion.

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