About the clusters

About the Body Cluster (Fall 2011)

What is the role of language in constituting a bodily subjectivity and how does language itself function in “embodied” ways? How do the tools of language and narrative map the human body into various erogenous zones? How does re-examining psychoanalysis (in particular, the work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan) through the lens of queer theory (Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick) expand or controvert our understanding of bodily subjectivity? How does “the body” figure in the era of the posthuman, ranging from G.W.F. Hegel’s master/slave dialectic to contemporary technofeminisms? And how does all of this get “translated” into bodies of art? The Body Cluster engages with these questions and more by bringing together a series of courses exploring the relationship between body and subjectivity as mapped out in philosophy, psychoanalysis, queer theory, and literature and literary pornography.

Some projects that we hope to realize during the semester:

Claire Phillips and Gail Swanlund will work on a cluster publication overseen by the faculty and designed and edited by students.

Arne De Boever and Maggie Nelson will host a lecture series and invite two scholars and/or artists who have contributed to contemporary debates on the cluster topic to campus. Invited speakers will be asked to contribute to the planned publication. These talks will be followed by a cluster dinner for faculty and cluster students.

Matias Viegener will coordinate a final, student-driven gallery exhibition that will include cluster-related visual and performance art.

About Bioart course cluster (Fall 2010)

Some of the most exciting work in critical theory and the arts today is taking place at the crossroads of biology, technology, and creative practice.

Bio artist EDUARDO KAC commissioned a French laboratory to create Alba, a rabbit implanted with a Green Fluorescent Protein gene from a type of jellyfish.

PHILIP ROSS built a teahouse out of fungus.

For his composition Nexus 1, DAVID DUNN took three trumpet players into the Grand Canyon and recorded the canyon’s reverberations.

Each of these examples raises the question of biological life’s relation to technology and the arts today. But what is biological life? Isn’t biological life in itself already technical? And what is technics, if not another word for art? This course cluster sets out to explore these questions and much more across the life sciences (biology), critical theory (biotechnics, biopolitics, and bioaesthetics), bio-art, and bio-musicology.

Please browse this blog to find out more about each of the courses constituting the course cluster.

Here is a list of the faculty participating in the cluster:

MICHAEL BRYANT, School of Critical Studies

Mike Bryant is a biologist and a statistician. His research has appeared in several scientific journals: Science, Nature, American Naturalist, Ecology, PLoS, Animal Behaviour and Environmental Biology Of Fishes. Mike’s research interests in biology include functional anatomy, animal behavior and life history evolution. One unexpected discovery was that female Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) have a prolonged post-reproductive lifespan (AKA: menopause).

ARNE DE BOEVER, School of Critical Studies

Arne De Boever did his doctoral studies at Columbia University in New York and teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies and the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics. He has published articles on literature, film, and critical theory and is one of the editors of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. His current research focuses on biopolitics, biotechnics, and the novel.

TOM LEESER, Center for Integrated Media

Tom Leeser is the Director of the Center for Integrated Media at CalArts and is a digital media artist based in Los Angeles. A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Tom has been involved with computer image making since the early 1980’s, pursuing an independent art career as well as working with pioneering computer animation production companies like Digital Effects Inc. and Rhythm & Hues. Tom’s work has been shown at MassMoca, Santa Monica Museum of Art, The Kitchen, The Millennium, The Knitting Factory, Tonic, CalArts, Siggraph and film and video festivals worldwide. Under Tom’s direction, The Center for Integrated Media co-hosted an online forum in 2002 called the (Re)Structured Screen with Eyebeam in New York. The forum explored creative and political issues surrounding the digital image.

MICHAEL PISARO, School of Music

Michael Pisaro is a composer and guitarist, and a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble. He has composed over 80 works for a great variety of instrumental combinations, including several pieces for variable instrumentation. A particularly large category of his works is solo works, notably a series of 36 pieces (grouped into 6 longer works) for the three-year, 156-concert series organized by Carlo Inderhees at the Zionskirche in Berlin-Mitte from 1997-1999. Another solo piece, pi (1-2594), was performed in installments by the composer on 15 selected days in February, 1999, in Evanston, Illinois, and in Düsseldorf in 2000-2001.

JAMES WILTGEN, School of Critical Studies

James Wiltgen received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in Latin American History from UCLA. Combining contemporary theory and historical analysis, he teaches courses on modernity and capitalism, megacities, Latin American film and video, music of the Americas, and border politics. Currently, his research interests include cultural production in Mexico City, the politics of Porto Alegre, and theoretical approaches to the developing world, with particular emphasis on subjectivities, technology, and biopower.

Click here to download the flyer containing all this information.

For questions about the events we are organizing, please contact the course cluster TA, Justine de Penning (MA candidate in Aesthetics and Politics).