Being inspired by the concept of ‘becoming’, I set out to explore human non-human intra-action creating a durational site-specific performative situation in the countryside of Denmark. Barad’s concept of intra-action (2003) is a particularly interesting thinking tool in my artistic practice, challenging a dualist understanding of subjectivity, materiality and agency. Becoming Sheep (2015) intended to explore the apparatuses producing ‘humans’ and ‘non-humans’, that is the embodied and embedded mattering processes and practices producing these very phenomena.
Posthuman in my art practice is not to be understood in terms of the cyborg inspired body art Australian artist Stelarc (www.stelarc.org) or French artist ORLAN (www.orlan.eu) being occupied with the radical changes to the human species made possible by biotechnology (Gomoll, 2011).
My art practice investigates the potential and paradoxes of a posthumanist analytical perspective on performative situations. This posthumanist approach is called more conceptual and a forerunner for the posthuman/transhuman cyborg universe (Lippert-Rasmussen et al, 2012).
‘The posthuman’ is not A phenomena but a pletphora of conceptual and material figurations de-centering Man, the former measure of all things, as Braidotti (2013:2) puts it. ‘Man’ both seen as the human animal, but also as a certain gendered version of the human animal.
Becoming Sheep (2015) thus can be seen as performing a posthumanist methodology concerned with re-configuring or de-stabilizing dominant socio-material categories and practices.
‘Becoming’ is here understood as a Haraway species-specific notion of ‘becoming-with’ stating that we have never been human (echoing Latours We have never been modern, 1991), but we are always already queer naturecultures.
Barad, K. (2003): Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. In Signs. Journal of Women in Culture and Society
Barad, K. (2012): Nature’s Queer Performativity. In Kvinder, Køn og Forskning 12
Braidotti, R. (2013): The Posthuman. Polity Press
Gomoll, L. (2011): POSTHUMAN PERFORMANCE. A Feminist Intervention. In TOTAL ART Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1
Lippert-Rasmussen, K., Thomsen, M. R. and Wamberg, J. (2012): The Posthuman Condition. Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics of Biotechnological Challenges. Aarhus Universitetsforlag
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4 Comments on "Posthumanist methodology – a matter of de-mattering?"
Hi Laura – as I understand the concept of intra-action, bodies, phenomenas and other worldly formations become what they are AS they intra-act. As you say it is a way to understand the mattering process itself – and its effects and affects. I really find these kinds of posthumanist conceptual figurations rewarding as thinking tools in my art practice. Bodies become what they ‘are’, as they intra-act. They become matter that matter.