Affect as Contamination Embodiment in Bioart and Biotechnology, Agnieszka Wolodzko, Bloomsbury Publishing Marilena Pateraki
Bringing the concept of contamination into dialogue with affect theory and bioart, Agnieszka Wolodzko urges us to rethink our relationship with ourselves, each other and other organisms. Thinking through the lens of contamination, this book provides an innovative approach to understanding the leaky, porous and visceral nature of our bodies and their endless interrelationships and, in doing so, uncovers new ways for thinking about embodiment.
Affect theory has long been interested in transmission or contagion but, inspired by Spinoza and Deleuze, Affect as Contamination goes further, as contamination is concerned with the materiality of bodies and their affective encounter with other matter. This brings urgency to the notion of affect, not only for bioart that works with risky bodies but also for understanding how to practise our bodies in the age of biotechnological manipulation and governance.
Using challenging and transgressive bioart projects as provocative case studies for rethinking affect and bodily practice, Wolodzko follows various ‘contaminants’ from blood, hormones and viruses – including COVID-19 – to food, glitter and plants. This takes the form of both personal accounts of encounters with the contaminations of bioart and critical analyses of aesthetic, material and technical objects, with each one highlighting in different ways the risky and uncertain nature of contamination.