Friday Seminar Series

Subscribe button

The ethos of SymbioticA is that ideas are discussed and shared openly and the Friday Seminar Series is designed to allow an open forum to disseminate artistic, scientific, ethical and philosophical research and practice of resident researchers, visiting artists and scholars. Our Friday Seminar Series are held salon style, in our studio space and commence at 3:00pm on Fridays. These seminars are open to the public.

Death and the Dividual: Towards a Theory of Death as an Assemblage

Date: 30 August 2019
Time: 3:00pm
Location: SymbioticA
Speaker: Benn Van Den Ende

The concept of the dividual has existed in anthropological literature since Strathern’s (1988) studies into the concept of personhood that existed amongst the Melanesian people of eastern Oceania. As Budja (2010), Bruck (2001) and Chapman (2000) note, the concept of the dividual is also important when examining funerary rites and rituals, the disposal, and the memorialization of the dead in certain cultures. The concept of the dividual also appears in the later writings of Gilles Deleuze in his postscript on the societies of control (1990), where he contrasts it with the production of the individual in Foucault’s disciplinary societies. In this presentation I hope to make these two uses of the dividual meet in the context of death via the concept of the assemblage. Specifically, I wish to work towards an assemblage theory of death, where death is viewed as a process with varying components, and where the material artefacts of the dead can be understood as acting, in a Latourian sense (2005), construing the dead self as a dividuated entity.

Benn is currently a PhD candidate at UWA with an interest in the following research areas: New technology, governmentality, biopolitics, the political and social aspects and meaning of death and dying, as well as critical theory and the philosophy of science and technology more generally. Benn's doctoral thesis focuses on the affects of new technologies on governance with a focus on the concepts of governmentality and the dividual. He has a keen interest in interdisciplinary studies and collaboration.