FLUID MATERIALISMS: CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE HYDRACENE (book manuscript)
Fluid Materialisms: Contemporary Art in the Hydracene charts a media theory of fluid materiality through the analysis of uses and representations of water in art since 1960. This manuscript uses the phrase “fluid materialisms” to describe how artists have used water to formulate fluid visions of the material world in the context of contemporary art. Through close analysis of art and artist writings, Fluid Materialisms argues that water in contemporary art has functioned as media for the articulation of this largely overlooked ontological perspective premised on fluid qualities like “process” and “porosity.” Drawing on a media theoretical tradition that defines “media” as physical or conceptual tools, the manuscript examines the particular ways in which fluid materiality has been taken up in the context of contemporary art. In dialogue with fluid thought from a range of fields like feminist philosophy, Black Studies, and Indigenous Studies, the project interprets the work of both well known and less theorized artists–from Ana Mendieta to Betty Beaumont and John Akomfrah–to consider the ethical formulations of this fluid ontological perspective and its stakes in the current moment. To do so, Fluid Materialisms develops a “fluid” method for navigating contemporary art history and conceptualizing historical time. While focused on art, each chapter develops on a specific term broadly applicable to fields across the humanities, including “the hydracene,” “fluid histories,” “the aquatic sublime,” “fluid media,” and “hydracinema.”
AUTOFICTION AND THE MOVING IMAGE (article manuscript)
Borrowing the term “autofiction” from literature, I adapt it to describe moving image art that inhabits the intersection of autobiography and fiction. I describe three modes of moving image autofiction, including scripted self-performance, visual self-mediation, and new media autofiction. Across sub-genres, I analyze moving image works that broach topics like mental illness, intergenerational trauma, and disability. While critics often presume autobiographical filmmaking to be a form of self-therapy, this tends to efface the mediating role of representation, leaving few tools to grapple with self-reflexive strategies that complicate the relationship between maker and representation. To remedy this, I instead argue that autofiction performs a critical function in relation to the norms that set the stage for the self’s very formation, allowing makers to strategically situate the self within the world to question the fictions through which identity emerges.