October 2018, arsenal cinema

Vibrant Matter

OFELIA (CARMEN, INÉS), 2015

This series curated by Maria Morata takes place across four evenings and explores the idea of the body as material and as a covering of the self; material as a thinking and interwoven continuum of all biospecies and non-organic elements that is inhabited by a “vital materiality”, as Jane Bennett puts it in her essay “Vibrant Matter”. How can the human body and the female body in particular be re-conceived in the age of biotechnology, techno-science, and artificial intelligence? To what extent does its visual representation via digital image technologies require a new subjectivity which overcomes the dichotomy of culture and nature?

Vibrant Matter is inspired by Donna Haraway’s metaphor of the cyborg on the one hand, which as a plea for a new way of thinking politically about the body, science, technology, and feminism breaks through the rigid separation between human, animal, and machine. On the other hand, Rosi Braidotti’s interpretation of the post-humanistic condition forms another important theoretical foundation. In an age in which humans are losing their hegemonial position as the center of all thinking and knowledge in order to take on new, flexible, and multi-dimensional identities, Braidotti’s philosophy incorporates the feminine as an essential element of a new nomadic and non-individual subjectivity.

Vibrant Matter collects artistic positions that sound out new forms of female subject constructions via media interactions with plants, animals, mineral, machines, and possible depictions of organic and non-organic biomaterial. A dialogue between female body politics in the contemporary technology culture and the traditional feminist critique of body representation in the age of post-humanistic and non-anthropocentric thought.

Funded by the Female Artists’ Program of the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Cultural Foundation. (mm)
(4., 11., 18. & 25.10.)