SymbioticA

Tarsh Bates

Tarsh Candida

Tarsh Bates

Qualifications: MSc (Biological Art) 2012

Tarsh Bates completed a Master of Science (Biological Arts) in 2012. She has worked variously as a pizza delivery driver, a fruit and vegetable stacker, a toilet paper packer, a researcher in compost science and waste management, a honeybee ejaculator, an art gallery invigilator, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model. Tarsh is currently a candidate for a PhD (Biological Arts) at SymbioticA UWA where her current research is concerned with gentleness, the aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a multispecies ecology. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.

Project Description


HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology

Human bodies are a mammal/fungi/bacteria/insect/viral ecology which we rarely acknowledge: a normal human body is said to be composed of over 1 trillion cells, of which only about 10% are animal. This creative PhD project explores what it means to be human when we recognise our bodies as a multi-species ecology. I focus on the intimate and fraught contact zones of biology, aesthetics, culture and care between Homo sapiens and Candida albicans, the single celled opportunistic fungal pathogen commonly known as thrush. Candida is one of the viral/bacterial/fungal/insect species that contributes to the complex ecosystem that is the human body. It has a unique and particularly evocative cultural valency for humans, especially women. Donna Haraway’s companion species, Karen Barad’s queer performativity and Luce Irigaray’s eros are used to reflect upon the entanglement of Homo & Candida.

Most reflections on Candida are scientific and from the human perspective: the effects on a human body and emotions during an infection. In this project a more-than-human fleshiness is activated through considerations of the aesthetic experiences of Candida during its encounters with the human body, arising from my current artistic research. This unique creative research uses scientific, contemporary art and cultural theory methodologies to explore Candida/Homo entanglements. This project draws on microbiology, performance, new media, aesthetics and cultural studies, positioning humans and Candida as co-evolved companion species involved in a biopolitical entanglement that is gendered, sexual and often ruthless. A conversation is instigated between scientific and artistic onto-epistemologies and posthuman phenomenology, focusing on the entangled bodies of humans and Candida.

Artworks generated from this research were exhibited in The Unsettling Eros of Contact Zones, and other stories, at Gallery Central, Perth, 1-7 October 2015.

This project is co-supervised by SymbioticA’s academic co-ordinator Assistant Professor Ionat Zurr, Assistant Professor Kate Hammer, School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UWA, Dr Kirsten Hudson, Curtin University, and Dr Tess Williams, School of Social & Cultural Studies, UWA.

Supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and a UWA Safety-Net Top-Up Scholarship.

tarshbates.com


 

Journal Articles


Bates, T. (2015) 'We Have Never Been Homo sapiens: CandidaHomo naturecultures', Platform: Journal of Media and Communication, 6(2), 16-32.
Wilson, L., & Bates, T. (2015). Threats of Life: A Review of Post Biopolitical Art. Anthropology Now, 7(2), 128-138.

T Bates (2015) ‘Cutting together-apart the mould,’ Antennae, 32: 44-66 FULL ARTICLE

T Bates (2014) ‘Performance, bioscience, care: Exploring interspecies alterity,’ International Journal of Performance and Digital Media, 10(2): 216-231, doi: 10.1080/14794713.2014.946288.

T Bates (2013) HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology, Philosophy Activism Nature, 10. Pan Journal Issue 10

Conferences/Presentations


2016
“On being a microbioartist: making art in a microbiology laboratory,” ISEA2016 Hong Kong, 16-22 May 2016
 “Cum panis: the biopolitics of self, fermentation and revulsion,” ISEA2016 Hong Kong, 16-22 May 2016
On Being a Microbioartist: working in a microbiological laboratory, Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, 28 April 2016
 “We have never been human: HumanThrush entanglements,” The International Science Festival Gothenburg, Sweden, 14 April 2016
“Posthuman desire,” The International Science Festival Gothenburg, Sweden, 14 April 2016
“The unsettling eros of contact zones, and other stories: On being with Candida albicans,” Seed Box Visiting Scholar talk, Linköping University, Sweden, 12 April 2016

2015
We have never been Homo sapiens: CandidaHomo naturecultures, NeoLife, SLSA Rest of the World, Perth: SymbioticA, UWA, 1-3 October 2015

2014

to be one is always to become with many: the posthuman phenomenology of Candida albicans, Fifth Meeting of the Organisation of Phenomenological Organisations [http://opo-v.herokuapp.com/], Perth: Murdoch University, 8-12 December 2014
to be one is always to become with many: the posthuman phenomenology of Candida albicans, Cultural Studies Association of Australia [http://lha.uow.edu.au/hsi/csaa2014/index.html], Wollongong: University of Wollongong, 3-5 December 2014

2013

HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology, Emergences and Convergences Postgraduate Research Conference, Sydney: School of Humanities and Languages, UNSW, 31 October 2013
HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology, The Posthuman: Differences, Embodiments, Performativity, Rome: Beyond Humanism, 11-14 September 2013
HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology, SymbioticA Friday Seminar, 13 July 2013
HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology, Life in the Anthropocene, Sydney: Australian Animal Studies Group, 8-10 July 2013 (Awarded AASG Postgraduate Presentation Prize)
Candida as companion species: exploring the performativity of interspecies care, ISEA2013, Sydney: ISEA, 11-13 June 2013
Biological Art Master class, ZHdK Zurich, 25 May 2013
Exploring interspecies temporality, with Sue Hauri-Downing, Power, Time and Agency, Temporal Belongings Workshop, Manchester: CRESC, University of Manchester, 12-13 January 2013

2012

Candida as Companion Species: exploring the performativity of interspecies care, Nonhuman, Milwaukee: SLSA, 27-30 September 2012
Taking the non-human Other seriously: exploring alterity through the aesthetics of care, School of Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology Postgraduate Student Expo, 26 July 2012
Taking the non-human Other seriously: exploring alterity through the aesthetics of care, SymbioticA Friday Seminar, 13 July 2012
I Lay My Ear to Furious Latin: Listening for Bees in Urban Environments, co-presented with Susan Hauri-Downing, Imaging Nature II, Hobart: University of Tasmania, 20–22 June 2012
I Lay My Ear to Furious Latin: Listening for Bees in Urban Environments, co-presented with Susan Hauri-Downing, SymbioticA Friday Seminar, 8th June 2012

Exhibitions


Femel_Fissions, with Trish Adams, Gina Czarnecki, Svenja Kratz, Rachel Mayeri, Helen Pynor, Jill Scott, The Block, Brisbane, 19 July – 19 August 2016
Animaladies, Group exhibition, Interlude Gallery, Sydney, 11 – 20 July 2016
Emergent Ecologies NYC Emergence, Group exhibition, Kilroy Metal Ceiling, New York, 30 April – 18 June 2016
The Other Selves. On the Phenomenon of the Microbiome, with Joana Ricou, Francois-Joseph Lapointe & Saša Spačal, Art Laboratory Berlin, 26 February – 30 April 2016

Didactic Tools, with Sam Fox, Kynan Tan, Keg de Souza & Jake Oorloff, Fremantle Art Centre, 21 November 2015 – 24 January 2016

Busied and bruised with looking…, with Audrey Appudurai, Emily Parsons-Lord & Devon Ward, Perth Centre for Photography, 19 September – 11 October 2015

Residencies/Workshops


2016
Biofilmzentrum, Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin, 17 February – 6 May 2016

2013
Field_Notes-Deep Time, Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Lapland, Finland: Finnish Society of Bioart, 15-24 September 2013

Timing Transformations, Winter School, Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

2012
Centre for Integrative Bee Research The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia