Everyone is watched, but not everyone is monitored in the same way. Surveillance crops up in many features of life through cameras, the internet, and cellular phones. That is to say, surveillance is acquiesced in privacy contracts on mainstream websites, yet there are more pernicious modes of monitoring that have constricted people especially in their ability to travel across political borders. Artists such as Laura Poitras and historian of science Peter Galison have shown how surveillance is intimately tied to militarization and censorship, respectively. Technological tools, albeit drones or spyware, are part and parcel of monitoring and circumscribing people’s everyday actions—including people’s movements, thoughts, and plans. Beyond that, surveillance produces racial subjectivities that are often intertwined with disease and medicine. Within the Mediterranean Sea, African and Arabs have been targets of surveillance, though for different reasons, under policing systems and military occupation. This collaborative project with visual artist, Vanessa Gravenor, considers the ways that surveillance and technology function within this history and current iterations of medicine.
Rebecca Beinart, British artist, educator and curator based in Nottingham, UK conducted a guest workshop for my course, “The History of Medicine for the Global Subaltern,” on herbal and medicinal plants. Beinart used archival and plant materials to engage with the history of therapeutics.
Primary resident artist Rebecca Beinart has been at ZK/U Centre for Art and Urbanistics (Berlin) undertaking a two-part residency to develop her project ‘Urban Antibodies’. Urban Antibodies is a long-term research project that imagines the city as a living organism, looking at sites of toxicity and vulnerability, healing and care – with a focus on plant knowledge and medicine. The project explores specific sites to investigate histories of industrial pharmaceutical companies in relation to plant knowledge, colonialism, and the role of women in the development of scientific knowledge.
Performative Evening Symposium
👉With: Luiza Prado, Edna Bonhomme, Rebecca Beinart, Tereza Silon and others
👉 Curated by: Zuzana Jakalová, Hana Janečková and Display
Microsoft remote birth control implants tested in Africa, animal typologies and biometrics, South American and African herbalism entwined in the histories of pharmaceutic hormones—these are some of concerns of A Topography of Excesses, a performative evening of discussion accompanied by shared food made with medicinal plants.
👏In this conversation Edna Bonhomme, Luiza Prado, Tereza Silon and Rebecca Beinart, will explore technologies of the body and birth control, through exploring everyday objects to unravel the colonial structures of power produced and reproduced through their existence. With an emphasis on feminist pedagogy, the evening will reflect on the emergence and continuation of radical forms of care as decolonising responses to western patriarchal science.
The discussion will be accompanied by a dinner made by Luiza Prado.
The evening is a part of Multilogues on the Now: Technologies exploring our bodies as spaces of interaction between gender, technology, race and power structures. It questions the limits and barriers of bodily autonomy, produced and maintained through those conditions, while opening up discussion around radical approaches to care and intergenerational solidarity.