WRITING & RESEARCH

FLUID MATERIALISMS: CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE HYDRACENE

Supported by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, the ACLS with the Henry Luce foundation, and the Terra Foundation, Fluid Materialisms: Contemporary and the Hydracene examines cinematic uses and representations of water. I use the term “fluid materialisms” to describe these time-based engagements with liquid materiality. I argue that since the sixties, a period I refer to as the “hydracene,” water has offered artists a material and thematic tool for reimagining the boundaries between humans, nonhumans, and their shared environments. From the work of John Akomfrah to Ana Mendieta, from Nancy Holt to Roni Horn, and from Fujiko Nakaya to Hito Steyerl, these artists use water to open up salient modes of ecological thought, which bisect issues of colonialism, capitalism, and gender. This fluid approach to historiography takes inspiration from my article “Fluid Histories: Luce Irigaray, Michel Serres, and the Ages of Water,” and provides an alternative to geological metaphors that undergird dominant historiographical models in the humanities.

THE POOL IS A MIRROR: REFLECTIONS AT VATNASAFN/LIBRARY OF WATER

This book combines art criticism, fluid philosophy, and personal essay. Charting water’s relationship to climate change, art, mortality, and grief, the personal and the environmental intertwine in this story of my stay at artist Roni Horn’s site-specific long-term project The Library of Water in Iceland, just days after my aunt suddenly passed away. Personal mourning fuses with environmental mourning, as I contemplate water’s relationship to a shifting present and an uncertain future.

AUTOFICTION AND THE MOVING IMAGE

Autofiction and the Moving Image: Self-Mediation in the Age of the Internet draws from my interest in new media art and documentary studies to explore how moving images mediate everyday life and figure in the articulation of selfhood. From scripted self-narrations to more expanded forms of self-fabulation, this project explores how the visual mediation of selfhood plays out in the global context of the Internet. Through engagement with queer, feminist theory, and Black studies, I am ultimately interested in how autofictions expose the uninhabitable nature of existing social, economic, and political structures.