WRITING & RESEARCH
FLUID MATERIALISMS: CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE HYDRACENE
Fluid Materialisms: Contemporary Art in the Hydracene charts uses and representations of water in art since 1960. I term the period since 1960 the “hydracene,” indicating a convergence of the liquid effects of climate change (melting glaciers, sea-level rise, water contamination) with a global artistic context in which water emerges as a recurring subject matter and medium. In the context of the hydracene, liquid water’s fluid materiality has offered artists a material and philosophical tool for reimagining the boundaries between humans, nonhumans, and their shared environments. I link artistic interest in fluid materiality with the rise of time-based art and moving image art in particular, developing concepts like “hydracinema” and “fluid media” to describe this connection.
Sourcing inspiration from my article “Fluid Histories: Luce Irigaray, Michel Serres, and the Ages of Water,” published in philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, my global approach to contemporary art history connects artists across time and geography. I place artists in dynamic conversation to open up fluid modes of ecological thought, bisecting issues of colonialism, capitalism, and gender morphology. Offering an alternative to geological metaphors that undergird dominant theoretical models in the Humanities, my theorizations of “fluid materialisms,” “the aquatic sublime,” “hydracinema,” “fluid media,” and “fluid histories” offer new concepts to current debates on posthumanism, ecology, and materiality.
AUTOFICTION AND THE MOVING IMAGE
Autofiction and the Moving Image borrows the term “autofiction” from literature, adapting it to describe moving image works which explore how images are lived and become operable in everyday life. I describe three modes of moving image autofiction, including scripted auto-performance, visual self-mediation, and new media autofiction. Across sub-genres, I analyze works that broach topics like mental illness, intergenerational trauma, and disability. That said, autofiction is not a primarily therapeutic genre. Rather, autofiction allows makers to strategically situate the self within the world, so that they can take up a critical relationship to the norms that set the stage for the self’s very formation. Autofictions ultimately stage the self to expose the uninhabitable nature of existing social, economic, and political structures.