LASER Talk at Vienna: The Afterlife of Foreskins

On November 18 the next LASER Talk will take place as part of the programme of the Vienna Art Week. The up-coming LASER at the Medical University of Vienna Center for Public Health will not focus on humanist aspects of circumcision but rather interpret the immaterial work of the foreskin cells from the perspective of posthumanism, new materialism and the bioarts to foreground transmaterial aspects and transversal subjectivities. Today, liberal conceptions of the body allow the transformation of bodily material and wastes into technical tools, biological resources and artworks. A complex mix of data information and biological material, the latter of no intrinsic meaning, circulates and is exchanged. It will explain the conditions under which detached foreskin cells survive and what specific potential they have. It interprets these transformations as representing new forms of life that are part of a community, with new relationships opening up new possibilities for thinking about space, territory and the public domain. To critically reframe such immaterial labour of the foreskin, the talk will differentiate necropolitics from a thanatopolitical context, as well as will drawing on bioartists’ work with mammalian tissue. To show the contrariness of conserved life a performative session with living foreskin cells will be held during the LASER talk.

CHAIRS: Klaus Spiess and Ingeborg Reichle

Contributions (10 minutes each):

Commoning Foreskin Cells as Transmaterial Subjectivities, Klaus Spiess (AT), directs the Art&Science program at the Center of Public Health, Medical University Vienna. His work focuses on biopolitics of bodily fluids and microbe-language relations.

Immortalized Foreskin Cells as Collaborators, Wolfgang Mildner (AT), is an Assoc. Professor and dermatologist at the Vienna Medical University. He works with foreskin cells concerning their potentialities in research on aging, programmed cell death and enzyme production.

More Human than Human? – Life as Death, Marina Grzinic (SI), is a Full Professor of Conceptual Art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.  Her work focuses on the difference between necropolitics and thanatopolitics.

Being a Good Host – Caring-Tending-Nurturing Foreskins, Johannes Zipperle (AT), is a researcher on tissue regeneration at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatalogy, Vienna. (Nutritional Performance).

Heavy Make-Up, Roland Rauschmeier (DE), is an artist and performer. His works focus on ‘toxic masculinity’, an issue which appears in his performances on the ‘Cannibal of Rothenburg’ and recently on ‘Timon of Athens’. (Art Performance).

Bare Life in the Bioarts, Ingeborg Reichle (DE), is a Full Professor and the Chair of the Dept. of Media Theory at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. Her work focuses on bioartistic media.

In-Potentia, Guy-Ben Ary (AUS), is an artist at SymbioticA, University of Western Australia, Perth. In his work ‘In Potentia’ he has differentiated stem cells from human foreskin cells to brain cells (Video Presentation and Artist Skype talk).

LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) Talks is Leonardo’s international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations. LASER Talks were founded in 2008 by Bay Area LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi and are in over 30 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website.

The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

Date: November 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Kinderspitalgasse 15
Medical University of Vienna Center for Public Health, Seminar Room 3 „Bianca von Bienenfeld“
1090 Vienna