...Splan explores the once-rigid frontiers of the scientific and the artistic, and thus mattertextualises the microbe world through her bio-art. Reinventing the modes of being, knowing, and doing in a postqualitative research mindset, mattertext becomes an embedded and embodied form of practice in the work of Laura Splan. The artist...opens up new possibilities of looking into the details of what is within and around us in everyday encounters, rather than looking past them as we often tend to do when we are immersed in our so-called unquestionable subjecthood...
by Başak Ağın
Spread the word: mattertext as bio-art
by Başak Ağın
European Journal of English Studies: Going Viral: Chronotopes of Disaster in Film and Visual Media
Vol. 26, Issue 3
The recent material turn in the posthumanities has foregrounded the idea that agency is not unique to humans but is a shared capacity of all bodily natures of the planet. With this convolution – or rather the deconstruction – of the conventional ways of producing knowledge, the research methodologies at hand have experienced a turn towards a postqualitative mindset, which revolves around the idea of diffraction rather than reflection, and becoming-with the object of analysis, thus necessitating the involvement of the so-called knowing subject into their own research. Bridging the ontological gap between the observer and the observed, the posthumanist/new materialist theories underline the inextricable links between nature and culture, human and nonhuman, and matter and text. Built on these premises, this article presents two vignettes enmeshed with the theoretical concepts from the posthumanities and thereby diffractively reads Laura Splan’s bio-artistic practices on SARS-CoV-2 as embodiments of what the author calls “mattertextuality.” Splan’s work creates conversations between the artistic and the scholarly, while the artist’s engagement with her own work enhances further dialogues with the author’s academic research on her coined term, “mattertext.”
Başak Ağın is Associate Professor of English Literature at TED University, Ankara, Turkey. She is the author of Posthümanizm: Kavram, Kuram, Bilim-Kurgu [Posthumanism: Concept, Theory, Science Fiction] (2020). She edited M. Sibel Dinçel’s Turkish translation of Simon Estok’s The Ecophobia Hypothesis, which came out as Ekofobi Hipotezi in 2021. She also co-edited Posthuman Pathogenesis: Contagion in Literature, Media, and Arts with Şafak Horzum (2022). Her scholarly articles appeared in journals such as CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, Ecozon@, Translation Review, and Neohelicon.