For Love of the World: Inhuman Intimacies in Ecosexual Performance Art

Gendering in Research: Talk by Louis van der Hengel, Maastricht University

2017.11.30 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Thu 31 May
Time 11:00 13:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312, 8000 Aarhus C

“There is no love which does not begin with the revelation of a possible world as such, enwound in the other which expresses it” Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (1994, p. 261)

 

Abstract

 

Starting from the assumption that the very process of life, as creation and difference, is constituted by love, this paper explores, and affirms, the capacity of contemporary art to take love – and love studies – beyond the figure of the human and into the more-than-human material world. The main aim of the paper is twofold. First, it seeks to analyse how love for human and nonhuman worlds is enacted through specific art practices. Second, it aims to actualize the potential of these practices to contribute to the development of radical non-anthropocentric approaches to love within contemporary gender studies. Drawing, on the one hand, on current scholarship at the crossroads of neo-materialist environmentalism and posthuman feminism, and on the other, Gilles Deleuze´s scattered writings on love as an impersonal and inhuman force of differentiation, I will argue that the arts, as organized aesthetic activity and as what Karen Barad calls “active theory formation”, express the kind of conceptual creativity required to break away from established constructivist approaches to gender and love. To substantiate this argument, I will examine selected work of the American artist couple Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, who in recent years have pioneered “ecosexuality” – a combination of visual art, environmental activism, sex-positive feminism, and gender-queer performance – as an imaginative strategy to foster more loving and more substantial relationships between human and more-than-human life worlds. Specifically, I will demonstrate how their “ecosex weddings” to nature entities (including the Earth, the sea, the moon, snow, and the Appalachian Mountains) both enact and enable a process ontology of gender and love, or eros, as the ecology of life itself.   

Speaker: Louis van den Hengel, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at the Department of Literature and Art and the Centre for Gender and Diversity at Maastricht University 

 

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The Gendering in Research Network provides a platform for gender researchers and students at Aarhus University to discuss, collaborate, and exchange ideas. For further information about the Gendering in Research Network, please contact: Lea Skewes, IMC Theresa Ammann, IMC

The Gendering in Research Network provides a platform for gender researchers and students at Aarhus University to discuss, collaborate, and exchange ideas. For further information about the Gendering in Research Network, please contact:

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