Life in the Age of Biotechnology

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

by Eben Kirksey, Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn & Dorion Sagan

Life has become a multispecies spectacle in the age of biotechnology. Artists engaged in spectacular warfare at the Multispecies Salon, pitting the logic of the spectacle against itself, exposing and interrupting scientific regimes for managing and producing life. Images purloined from biological laboratories were displayed alongside creatures that had been created by humans and were needy of care. The gallery became an ethnographic para-site where artists, biologists and anthropologists explored accountability and responsibility in the entanglement of knowing and being. Moderately empowered intellectuals gathered together at Salon events to think through the changing conditions of life in the age of biotechnology.

Bioartists offered us conceptual, technical and ethical resources for thinking through our obligations to the emergent forms of life in the age of biotechnology. Our own lives and well-being has become dependent on transgenic rats with inflammatory diseases, mutant fruit flies, and rabbits with immunological entanglements connecting them to multiple species. Humans have created creatures that are needy of care, that have been made to share our suffering and our vulnerabilities.

Read Chapter Five: Life in the Age of Biotechnology on Google Books.

Eben Kirksey catalyzed dialog at the Multispecies Salon as a curator, an artist, an ethnographer, and editor. Exploring the interplay of ideas about hope and collaboration has led Eben to cross conventional disciplinary divides and contribute to theoretical conversations in the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts. Freedom in Entangled Worlds, his first book, blends ethnographic research with indigenous parables to explore how indigenous activists from West Papua negotiate complex interdependencies (Duke U Press, 2012). Following the movements of multiple species across the fragmented landscapes of the Americas, his latest book is a study of Emergent Ecologies that have been transformed by chance encounters, historical accidents, and parasitic invasions (Duke U Press, under review). Currently he holds an Australian Research Council fellowship in the Environmental Humanities program at UNSW.

Eben Kirksey: Official Blog

Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn holds a doctorate from the Science and Technology Studies Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Using multisited ethnographic methods, he examined how “experimental media ecologies” might be designed to address the challenges of communicating politically and scientifically complex environmental issues. He is involved in a number of collaborative endeavors, including an ethnographic project called The Asthma Files, and an initiative to track US Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers with Nicholas Shapiro.

Brandon Costelloe-Kuehn: Official Website

Dorion Sagan is an author, theorist, editor, and book developer who has written and co-authored twenty-four books that have been translated into thirteen languages. His most recent writings include Cosmic Apprentice: Dispatches from the Edges of Science (2013), a book of philosophical-scientific essays; and “Umwelt after Uexküll,” the introduction to the recent retranslation of A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans (2010).

Dorion Sagan: Official Website
Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

a companion to the book