Finissage: Holobiont. Life is Other

Freitag, 20. Januar 2023 - 17:00 Uhr

Universität für angewandte Kunst
Ort: AIL – Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab / Café Exchange

Part of Green Hydra by Thomas Feuerstein Part of Green Hydra by Thomas Feuerstein
Finissage und Buchpräsentation

For the finissage of Holobiont. Life is Other the contributions by international authors of the special volume of the journal Performance Research 25 (3), ‘On Microperformativity’ will be presented and discussed.
In the context of the exhibition, a multimedia wall newspaper presented artistic and theoretical contributions on the potential of microscopic physiological, chemical or biotechnological processes, taken from the journal.

The aim of this issue is to explore both the epistemological and aesthetic potential of the notion of microperformativity.

The term microperformativity denotes a current trend in theories of performativity and performative artistic practices to destabilize human scales (both spatial and temporal) as the dominant plane of reference and to emphasize biological and technological micro-aspects that relate the invisibility of the microscopic to the intangibility of the macroscopic. Investigations into microperformativity redefine what art, philosophy, and the technosciences now consider ‘body’ at a time when performance art is moving toward a generalized and ubiquitous performativity in art.

Microperformative positions ask how artistic methods can critically engage with technologies that manipulate life at the microscopic and molecular levels, merging around bio- and digital media.
This issue includes contributions on biotechnological performances, physiological processes and microgestures, traditional rituals and craft techniques, microperformativity from the perspective of the natural sciences, and artistic engagements with algorithmic finance and high frequency trading.

David Berry, Thomas Feuerstein, Karmen Franinović, Jens Hauser, Roman Kirschner, Gerald Nestler, Klaus Spiess, Maja Smrekar, Lucie Strecker and K.T. Zakravsky discuss the significance of microperformativity in their artistic practices.

The concept oscillates with the title of the exhibition Holobiont as a pioneering approach by biologist Lynn Margulis: We are all holobionts – organisms entirely permeated by the biosphere, symbiotically interconnected with other organisms. This concept calls into question the self-understanding of individual life and the division into subject and object: Life is Other!

Orginaly published in 2020 during the Covid pandemic, the special volume ‘On Microperformativity’ has been reissued for the exhibition and will be presented and discussed publicly for the first time.

Get together and exhibition tour with Thomas Feuerstein, Jens Hauser and Lucie Strecker

Panel discussion and journal presentation with contributors, artists and researchers David Berry, Thomas Feuerstein, Karmen Franinović, Jens Hauser, Roman Kirschner, Gerald Nestler, Klaus Spiess, Maja Smrekar, Lucie Strecker and K.T. Zakravsky

About the exhibition:
We humans are colonized by bacteria, fungi and viruses, just as we colonize homes, cities and environments. We also serve as hosts to ideologies, media and technologies.

The concept of the holobiont, introduced in 1991 by biologist Lynn Margulis, describes us humans as a total living being permeated by the biosphere.

It explores the self-conception of individual life, links us symbiotically with other organisms via our microbiome, disturbs the division into subject and object and offends our usual concept of ego. Understanding the world as a holobiont reminds us: Life is other!

The social and psychological transformations of the pandemic and the consequences of the climate and energy crises have brought to the forefront that life is first and foremost that of agencies other than human. Simple demarcations no longer stand up to this dynamic.

‘We’ experience ‘us’ as transitory beings drifting between digital and molecular worlds and sense the twisting of boundaries within us as the possibility of a new language beyond a symbolic distance from the world. With the exhibition Holobiont. Life is Other, the Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab presents bodies, environments, texts, media, machines and biological organisms condensed into pictorial spaces – each of which represents a narrative about another life and about the lives of others.


hAmSteR Events
Tour, Panel, Journal, Präsentation, Gruppenausstellung, Organismen, Umwelten
Freitag, 20.01. 17:00
Universität für angewandte Kunst

AIL – Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab / Café Exchange
Georg-Coch-Platz 2
1010 Wien
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