Theorising Bioart encounters after Simondon – paper by Andy Lapworth

Alba the transgenic rabbit – bioart by Eduardo Kac

Andrew Lapworth, who recently finished a PhD in Geography at Bristol, has written a really interesting and accomplished article that has just come out as ‘Early Online‘ in Theory Culture & Society. I recommend reading it if you have any interest in the philosophy or sociological studies of science, technology and bioart. Sadly, its behind the paywall…

Here’s the abstract:

In recent years ‘bioart’ has been lauded in the social sciences for its creative engagements with the ontological stakes of new forms of biotechnical life in-the-making. In this paper I push further to explore the ontogenetic potentials of bioart-encounters to generate new capacities for thinking and perceiving the nonhuman agencies imbricated in the becoming of subjects. To explore this potential I stage an encounter with Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy of individuation, highlighting three implications for theorizations of the constitution and transformation of subjects. First, Simondon forces us to rethink the subject in terms of its transductive emergence from pre-individual processes, and its metastable susceptibility to ongoing transformations. Second, he substitutes voluntarist conceptions of thought with an involuntarist primacy of material encounters as the conditions for novel individuations. Finally, I argue that Simondon enables a thinking of the politics of the (bio)art-encounter in terms of its ontogenetic capacity to materially produce, rather than merely represent, new subjects and worlds.

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