Justyna Stępień

In her 1988 “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” Donna Haraway suggests that new metaphors should be forged to respond to “ an earthwide network of connections” (580) and thus see the object of knowledge as a full spectrum of agencies of the world. Also Felix Guattari recognizes, as indicated in his The Three Ecologies, the need to map whole range of heterogenous perspectives (social, mental and environmental vectors) to refrain from the failures and limitations of western models of knowledge production. Both standpoints  support cross-disciplinary practice-based research, that embrace relations to  times, material, political territories and our more-than-human entanglements. Drawing on that perspectives, the presentation explores the question how artistic practices contribute to the revisions of knowledge production and thus enable us, referring to Donna Haraway’s statement, “to become more answerable for what we learn how to see”  in the Anthropocene. (583)? While unfolding in situations, planes of composition as well as institutional frameworks, the analyzed practices merge scientific, philosophical, artistic with activist research.

I will examine individual research-based artistic projects which take us on an immersive and cross-disciplinary journey through the anthropocentric conceptualization of nonhuman agents to activate us to take responsibility for the accepted status quo in the Anthropocene. As I will indicate, the (re)situation of more-than-human knowledge in the practices enables us to acknowledge both the peripheries and the depths of our wordily entanglements with the intensive dynamics of the nonhuman world and thus eradicate inequalities we all share. In this sense, the artistic process is seen as the reconfiguration of  knowledge through material practices of engagement that requires from us, in the idiom of Karen Barad, ethico-onto-epistem-ological approach thanks to which we become responsible, capable to respond, and accountable for “the lively relationalities of becoming, of which we are a part” (69).

Justyna Stępień is an Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies in the Department of British Literature and Culture of University of Lodz, where she received her doctorate in 2012. In the years 2012-2019, she worked as an Assistant Professor at the English Institute of University of Szczecin. She is an author of British Pop Art and Postmodernism (2015), an editor of Redefining Kitsch and Camp in Literature and Culture (2014) and co-editor of a special issue of Open Cultural Studies Journal Transmediating Culture(s)? (2017). She is currently working on her book devoted to posthumanist artistic practices. She belongs to an international research group/ collective  The Posthuman Art and Research Group (aka. Dori.O) that consists of artists and researchers from all over Europe.


Hi Justyna!

Wonderful presentation! It was great to hear about the artist’s project.

I think the new materialist perspective (Haraway-Braidotti-Barad) works really well as a way of approaching her practice. I was wondering if you see any potential risks in the project of restoring agency to nonhuman entities. Can this run the risk of doing so on human terms and speaking for the extinct other?

Also, I would be interested to learn more the imperial and colonial context of the institution.

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