Deterritorialising Death: Queerfeminist Biophilosophy and Ecologies of the Non/Living in Contemporary Art

Australian Feminist Studies 35 (104) (2020)
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Abstract
In the contemporary context of environmental crises and the degradation of resources, certain habitats become unliveable, leading to the death of individuals and species extinction. Whilst bioscience emphasises interdependency and relationality as crucial characteristics of life shared by all organisms, Western cultural imaginaries tend to draw a thick dividing line between humans and nonhumans, particularly evident in the context of death. On the one hand, death appears as a process common to all forms of life; on the other, as an event that distinguishes human from other organisms. Against this background, this article explores how contemporary art—in particular, the series of works The Absence of Alice by Australian new-media and bioartist Svenja Kratz—challenges the normative and human-exceptionalist concept of death. By employing queerfeminist biophilosophy as a strategy that focuses on relations, processes and transformations instead of ‘essences’, the article examines the ways Kratz’s works deterritorialise the conventional concept of death. In this way, it hopes to attend to the intimacies between materialities of a human and nonhuman kind that form part of the processes of death and dying, and what follows, to reframe ethico-ontology of death as material and processual ecologies of the non/living.
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2020
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Archival date: 2021-06-23
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2020-08-27

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