This workshop will consider colonial and decolonial bodily encounters with micro-life, which we define as life forms, materials, or communities ranging from the microscopic to the microcosmic that are disputed, variously rendered, and alternately experienced within the frameworks of medicine, artistic practice, food/agriculture, sex/sexuality, and more. Examples of micro-life include but are not limited to micro-organisms, bodily fluids, chemical matter, and animal life. How does micro-life trouble our understandings of the human-self as an autonomous subject, and what possibilities does this open for more sustainable, just, and livable ways of self- and world-making? What are we to make of utopic thinking and artistic creations articulated around micro-life that may be dangerous, trans-boundary, and possibly lethal?
At Convergence, we are interested in archiving practices and events that enact intimate gestures of connection with human and nonhuman “others” and construct imaginative spaces of belonging that transcend the possessive subject of (neo)liberalism. Through writing, discussion, and movement, participants will be asked to consider how difficult to categorize life forms might unsettle the human and human encounters but also might reaffirm the human’s coherence.
Before we meet, participants will be asked to read some primary and secondary texts and to offer a short response paper or a sample of documentation from a performance (video or images). Each meeting at Convergence will begin with performative thought-experiments with improvised movement and other artistic explorations of “cellular awareness.” As a concluding event, we will visit Toronto’s Centre Island to meet with artists and activists at Artscape Gibraltar Point to help us think through the history of human and nonhuman inhabitants in this unsettled territory.