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The Wrong Material / Posthumanism and New Materialities

The wrong 2017


The Wrong Material / Posthumanism and New Materialities.
Ongoing decentering of the human both in Theory and the Arts since the first decade of 21st. century has allowed the flourishing of diverse approaches on animal, vegetal and mineral modes of existence, as well as aesthetics in which organic and inorganic materialities come together in innovative ways. Art matter is no longer a medium that can “turn visible the invisible”, neither the site of an alchemic metamorphosis of inert and formless matter into the sublimed Idea by means of a representation. At present, when the human and the inhuman have entered a zone of mixture and non-hierarchical undetermination, matter is neither the substrate of the work of art nor part of a higher message that transcends it: it is that which transcends the anthropological agency that puts pressure to transform it into an “auto-expressive resource”. From 20th. century conceptualisms onward, art has embodied as its own material not only community bonds, but inter alia a global determination of the living, animal modes of existence, techno-biological experimentation and virtual objects. Nevertheless, expanding available matter for imaginary “moulding” is not enough: we should go beyond not only alleged human agency exceptionality, but also toward a philosophy of what it is capable of decentering “life” itself. Thus, matter might cease to appear as “resource” (natural resource: vegetal, animal, mineral or human) and be acknowledged instead as the agent of its own metamorphosis.

The curatorial project we propose implies to work with matter (and not on it, neither to inform it, give it sense nor metaphorize it): it implies becoming a hybrid machine with matter, a seismograph that registers and empowers the tremors of encounters. We encourage to focus on a non-inert materiality and on an ontology of bodies constructed, connected and extended without teleological criteria. Perhaps we might as well be promoting the fantasy of some sort of (non-romantic, non-symbolic) re-enchantment of the world that could share out sensibility and responsiveness throughout existence, interrupting “human” hierarchies. Expressions anthropocentrism are not to be found exclusively in representations of the human, but primarily in the being-for-the-man orientation of everything that exists, either in terms of social, community or affective connections, or to condemn threats to human life. We would like to take a chance on matter literalness rather than on its metaphors.

Hence, we invite to map the existent in its vibrations and modulations, regardless of human determination, namely before the arbitrary though interested division between form and content. This involves reorientation of definitions and connections between (animal, vegetal, mineral) “kingdoms” in pursuit of a non-anthropocentric practice. Throughout the last decades, thanks to ecocritical studies, the call to denaturalize the relationship between the existents have received serious attention, something which contributed to the emergence of ontologies and aesthetics based on connections growth and multiplication (networks that we are used to detect in techno-digital terms), where “nature” is no longer oppressed, defended, or dominated, but considered a textured extension in which art makes up a sensitive mesh that works as an interphase and catalyse new links.

In contrast with matter regarded as a media, that is, matched with a symbolic end, we expect the artist to engage in a joint trip/research/movement with the pure material media, whence the inhuman is expected to emerge/come out/ flourish.
The aim is to focus on matter literalness, moving from the traditional task of settling a human essence toward the (un)working of the sensitive and affective possibilities that extend between inter-species and inter-kingdoms material connections. Thus, we call forth artistic interventions that may allow this “matter” to manifest itself as capable of intertwining organic and inorganic modes of existence, taking into account their indeterminacy and instability, interdependency, and contamination.

Areas of work open to exploration:
Innovative approaches to matter agency and its connection with sensitivity, thought and responsiveness, taking into account vegetal, mineral and animal logics of existence; vegetal issues in the arts, such as non-conscient intentionality, symbiosis and interdependence of the living; alternative perceptive worlds and inter-species encounters; political scope of “memorial” artistic practices from an inhuman perspective (which instead of dealing with a representative image of past times, constitute embodied registers of past experience); new posthuman politics of matter as specific approaches to a negative conception of “nature” (agriculture exploitation, pollution and disappearance of water, biotic and mineral extractivism); biology, technology and art intersections which may question nature and technics opposition; inorganic/without organs/disorganized modes of saying and doing; geology of memory, art, and politics.

Format and references of the proposals

There is no fixed format for proposals. Selection criteria will be focused on the perspective offered of matter agency and inter-agency, organic or inorganic, virtual or actual. We will accept finished works, processes, actions, installations, interventions, etc.
The following art works provide references are intended to clarify the curatorial proposal: interdisciplinary project The Multispecies Salon (2008) ‒where artists as Patricia Piccinini, Praba Pilar and Caitlin Berrigan, among others, worked with anthropologists and thinkers on issues as the overlapping of natural and cultural worlds, the consequences of integral inclusion of ecosystems in biotechnology and biocapitalist schemes, and the possibilities of “biocultural hope”); Latin-American soil (mineral, vegetal and animal) as problematic horizon, from Grippo potatoes to Ximena Garrido-Lecca copper in the installation “Estados nativos” (2017); those interventions that question the anthropocentric (and also specist and racist) perspective on american genocide, such as Patricio Guzmán films or Sebastián Hacher and Mariana Corral embroideries on photographies of Mapuche community in XIX century (Restitución, 2017); avant-garde works of art that explore matter plasticity and imaginary, from Malevich to french spectralism (Grisey and Murail); several cartographies which map what exists, from urban situationist experiences of GAC or Iconoclasistas to the works developed by the independent research and activism group of M7red (as the “Assembly of humans and not-humans in the Matanza-Riachuelo basin” (2009) and the “Flood archive 2016”); work in progress “Grow” of Erica Seccombe, where 4D images used for mapping a seed growth lead to a disturbing parallelism with human embryos; Seed Boards (2013) y Ecological dispersal (2012) of Christine Mackey, which elaborate artistically the concepts of “seed agency” and “seed bank”, and explore the encounters between aesthetics and ambient activism through the mapping of vegetable and human narratives; works on animal issues from a non-symbolic non-specist perspective, as the ironic installations of Mark Dion which discuss hierarchical taxonomies of science and philosophy (Taxonomy of Non Endangered Species de 1990) or “literal” illustrations of Olly and Suzi (Raw de 1998); film imagery of spectrality and animal sensibility, from the strange distopy of Peter Greenaway The falls to the delicate heterotopy of Laura Citarella’s and Verónica Llinás’, La mujer de los perros (2015).

Colectiva Materia

Call for proposals: September 1st– September 30th
Selection results: October 10th

Inauguration: Thursday 9/11 18,00 hs
9 al 21 de November - 14 a 21 hs
Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 679 - La Boca

Free admission.

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