[-empyre-] living bodies differently

Tarsh Bates tarshbates at gmail.com
Wed Mar 1 13:44:24 AEDT 2017

Thanks for the intro Renate and thanks to Paul, Lindsay, Byron and Kathy 
for your fascinating discussions.

I am currently working on my PhD in biological art at SymbioticA. My 
research is focused on the human body as an ecology. This project has 
raised quite a few physical, metaphysical, aesthetic and ethical 
questions, such as: how do we think of the self if we are multiple, do 
we treat our bodies differently if we think of ourselves as hosts, can 
thinking of ourselves as ecologies change how we treat our external 
ecologies, how do the participants in the human ecology perceive their 
ecology/environment, can we understand "what it might be like to be a 
[member of this ecology]", can we understand bodies differently . I work 
with /Candida albicans, /which is one of the species of this ecology and 
usually much maligned as "thrush" or "yeast infection". I make artworks 
with this yeast, using scientific and artistic experimental tools and 
methods, for human consumption.

Although I am interested in the philosophical aesthetic tradition, such 
as Kant and Nietzsche, I am much more interested in materialist 
aesthetic experiences, in the sensuality and eros of encounters as a 
more-than-human. Phenomenology doesnt work well for CandidaHomo 
entanglements, as consciousness is irrelevant. Sarah Ahmed's 
"orientation" and Karen Barad's queer performativity are more 
interesting here. The two main questions I am working with are 1. how to 
understand the other that is self - Barad's intra-active phenomena have 
been helpful here where there is no ontological difference; and 2. how 
to understand the "self-other" who doesnt have a face, who is not 
similar. Empathy based on similarity or vision doesnt apply to 
CandidaHomo relations. Bodies are all.

So here is the main point of my work, I guess: If bodies sometimes 
irritate or kill their hosts, what, if any, response-ability (to borrow 
from Astrid Schrader) does that host have to those bodies? If we cant 
get rid of them, how do we live with them? Can we live our bodies 

Tarsh Bates

PhD (Biological Art) Candidate SymbioticA, The University of Western 

w: tarshbates.com <http://tarshbates.com/>

On 28/02/2017 10:29 AM, Renate Terese Ferro wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thank you Paul for your incredibly thoughtful response which really helped me to understand specifically what your meant by ethics.  I’m going to let you also respond to Erin, but I hope you won’t mind that I introduce our last three guests just a bit early.  I thought it might be interesting to bring in Tarsh Bates, Antoinette LaFarge, and Margherita Pevere who will join you Paul and hopefully anyone else out there (Erin, Kathy, Byron) who also might want to join Paul on this thread of ethics.  Just a note that we will keep this discussion open through Sunday.  Welcome and thanks.
> Biographies:
> Tarsh Bates (AU) Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher/educator interested in how knowledge and experience form and transfer through the relationships between material, bodies, environment and
> culture. She completed a Master of Science (Biological Arts) in 2012 and has worked variously as a pizza delivery driver, a fruit and vegetable stacker, a toilet paper packer, a researcher in compost science and waste management, a honeybee ejaculator, an art gallery invigilator, a raspberry picker, a lecturer/tutor in art/science, art history, gender & technology, posthumanism, counter realism and pop culture, an editor, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model. She is currently a candidate for a PhD (Biological Arts) at SymbioticA UWA where her research is concerned the
> aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a multispecies ecology. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.
> Antoinette LaFarge is an artist and writer whose beat is virtuality and its discontents. She has a special interest in avatarism, expanded narrative, and feminist techno-arts. Recent publications include “Pseudo Space: Experiments with Avatarism and Telematic Performance in Social Media” (MIT Press, 2016) and “Social Proxies and Real-World Avatars: Impersonation as a Mode of Capitalist Production” (Art Journal, 2014. Recent new media performance and installation projects include Far-Flung follows function (2013), Galileo in America (2012), and Hangmen
> Also Die (2010). She is currently working on projects centered on resurfacing work by women innovators and botanical artists of the late 19th century. She is on the faculty of the Art Department at UC Irvine. Deeply fascinated by biological processes,
> Margherita Pevere (DE/FI) is a visual artist and researcher investigating decay and transformation as they are common destiny of human and non-human matter. Her practice features a unique combination of organic and technological materials: she grows bacterial cultures, manipulates paper and photographic film, collects organic relics and plans to store a digitized collection of memories on bacterial genome. Pevere holds a degree in Political Sciences and Arts and New Media and is PhD candidate at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design at Architecture in Helsinki. In Berlin she actively collaborates with the DIYbio group BioTinkering e.V. and Art Laboratory Berlin. Most recent exhibitions include the Article Biennial, Stavanger (NO), curated by Hege Tapio and Nora
> Vaage; the Dutch Design Week – BioArt Laboratories, Eindhoven (NL), curated by Jalila Essaidi; State – Festival for Open Science, Berlin, curated by Daniela
> Silvestrin.
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

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