Artist Talk: Mary Maggic (Boston, USA)

Mary “Maggic” Tsang, Open Source Estrogen (2015)The artist Mary “Maggic” Tsang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Lab) will give a talk about her project on Open Source Estrogen on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 4:15–6 pm at Vordere Zollamtsstraße 3, Lecture Hall 14 (3rd floor). In her artist talk “Molecular Queering in Speculative Design” Mary Maggic will provide insights into her encounter with amateur science, biohacking and speculative design to excoriate mainstream ways of hormone production.

Mary Maggic will outline her project Open Source Estrogen, a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project that combines biohacking and speculative design to demonstrate the entrenched ways in which estrogen is a biomolecule with institutional biopower. It is a form of biotechnical civil disobedience, seeking to subvert dominant biopolitical agents of hormonal management, knowledge production, and anthropogenic toxicity. The project begins with a speculative question: what if it was possible to make estrogen in the kitchen? From this seed more fundamental questions arise about who is producing hormones, whose bodies are affected, and how environmental hormones already exist as a state of toxicity. While issues of body and gender sovereignty are deeply at stake, endocrine disruptors termed ‘xenoestrogens’ pervade our environments due to petrochemical, agro-industrial and pharmaceutical forces. These xeno-molecules queer the morphology of our bodies and bodies of non-human species, evidencing a malleability inherent to nature but alien to our prescribed notions of eco-hetero-normalcy. In response to the “molecular queering” performed by estrogen and facilitated by dominant hegemonic forces, the project initiates a public dialogue through DIY/DIWO (do-it-yourself/do-it-with-others) biohacking and artistic intervention, hacking the systems of hormonal colonization.

Mary “Maggic” Tsang is an artist working at the intersection of biotechnology, cultural discourse, and civil disobedience. Her investigations challenge the role of creator and creation, the ethics of the postnatural product, and the neoliberal promises of science and technology. This pursuit has led her through many modes of exploration: from tropical rainforest research to documentary films that capture the motivations and philosophies of biotinkerers such as herself. Maggic’s most recent project generates DIY protocols for hacking estrogen, demonstrating its biopolitical ubiquity and potential for mutagenesis, i.e. gender-hacking. Maggic has participated in a number of interdisciplinary residencies including HackteriaLab2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Ars Bioarctica Residency in Finland, and Interactivos?’16: Possible Worlds in Madrid and has exhibited for Ars Electronica and Transmediale. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Art (BSA) in Biological Sciences and Art from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently pursuing her masters in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT Media Lab, Design Fiction research group.

The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s seminar about the contamination of media theory through the rise of biomedia is an informative and stimulating opportunity to hear from distinguished artists about what’s going on in the emerging fields of bioart and biodesign and will help our students build their network of contacts. Our guest lectures are open to all.

Date and time: Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 4:15–6 pm.
Venue: Vordere Zollamtsstraße 3, Lecture Hall 14 (3rd floor)

[themify_icon icon=”fa-file-pdf-o” link=””] Download Guest Lecture Mary Maggic .pdf