Qualifications: MSc (Biological Art) 2012
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.
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
We have never been Homo sapiens: CandidaHomo naturecultures, NeoLife, SLSA Rest of the World, Perth: SymbioticA, UWA, 1-3 October 2015
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
2013HumanThrush Entanglements: Homo sapiens as a multispecies ecology, Emergences and Convergences Postgraduate Research Conference, Sydney: School of Humanities and Languages, UNSW, 31 October 2013
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
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
Timing Transformations, Winter School, Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Centre for Integrative Bee Research The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia