Guest Talk – María Antonia González Valerio, México City

Foto: Paulina Garcia Hubard

On May 29, 2018 Mexican Philosopher María Antonia González Valerio, based at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), will give a lecture about Reframing the Question of Animality from an Ontological-aesthetic Perspective. The question about the animal has been eagerly addressed in the past decades from a philosophical perspective. One of the main concerns has been to provide an immanent theoretical framework for an ontology that does not rely only or account only for the human subject.

Thus, the animal appears to be an ontological artifact that enhances the limit from which the human, the non-human and the world can be think about and bring about.

But the idea of the animal is still too wide in the discourse; sometimes it could even be considered as a universal, e.g., the non-human animal as the absolute distinction from which the idea of the human has been constructed through western history.

From the animal-becoming of Deleuze and Guattari, to the cat of Derrida, to the tick taken from Uexküll narrative by Agamben, to the corals of the sensible materialism of Haraway; the animal is seen as an organic force or as a model that at least acts in two ways: as something that our epistemologies and ontologies should be responsible for (and therefore, our ethics), and as a different concept/level/reality from which ontology is thought.

But, what is an animal? There is no animal as such. There are places in which the animal occurs. For example, discourses, practices, habitats. The animal occurs in the ontological discourse, in the practice of being eaten, in the habitat of the city. None of these spaces could refer to the same “animal”.

And then, why the animal? In what moment the animality has become so important for philosophy? It has something to do with the emergence of the question about life in the XIX century, the beginning of biology and the slow narrowing of the general idea of life to that of a special kind of organism. Also, there was a shift from the question about being to the one about life, and from there to the mode of life that is the one in which our very existence, our very corporality is interrogated, i.e., the animal.

We should also reflect upon the biological model that is at stake when humanities incorporate a mode of life (intersected from within the life sciences), from the central dogma and the modern synthesis in terms of genetics, to the new hype of epigenetics.

The biological models, the question about life, the space in which the animal occurs and the ontological artifact are the subjects of the present talk, which are to be debated in the light of current act practices that work with biomedia, from the incorporation of CRISPR-Cas 9 to the art practices, to the presence of living-dead animals in artworks/art processes.

María Antonia González Valerio (PhD) works within the research line of ontology-aesthetics and the interdisciplinary line of arts, sciences and humanities, specifically in the field of art that uses bio-media. She has PhD in Philosophy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with postdoctoral studies in the area of aesthetics. Full-time professor of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature and of the postgraduate programs in Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Art History and Fine Arts UNAM.

She is the head of the research groupArte+Ciencia (Art+Science) which gathers artists, scholars and scientists in an interdisciplinary work that produces education at an under and postgraduate level, specialized theoretical research, artistic creation and exhibitions.

She has published several books, recently Cabe los límites. Escritos sobre filosofía natural desde la ontología estética (México: UNAM/Herder, 2016). She has also edited, coordinated and contributed to various publications, and led research projects, such as Complexity and natural philosophy at the intersection of art and science, linked to the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature UNAM.

The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s lecture Speculative Biologies: New Directions in Art & Biotechnology is an informative and stimulating opportunity to hear from distinguished artists about what’s going on in the emerging fields of bioart, biodesign and speculative biology and also helps our students to build their network of contacts. Speculating about how “life” and “nature” could be in the near future is an apposite cross-disciplinary approach to collectively rethink how we want our future to be and what kind of aspirations will be possible or even probable under the auspices of turbo capitalism and mass consumerism.

Our guest lectures are open to all.

Public Lecture
Date and time: Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 1:45–3:15 pm.
Venue: University of Applied Arts Vienna
Oskar Kokoschka Platz 2
1010 Vienna
Lecture Hall 1 (ground floor)