Guest Lecture – Mary Maggic: Plastic Pollution and Queer Colonizations (December 13, 2017)

US-American artist Mary “Maggic” Tsang (MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) will give on December 13 a talk at CDS about her project on Open Source Estrogen. In her presentation on Plastic Pollution and Queer Colonizations Mary Maggic will provide insights into her encounter with amateur science, biohacking and speculative design to excoriate mainstream ways of hormone production. Her project Open Source Estrogen is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project that combines biohacking and speculative design to demonstrate the entrenched ways in which estrogen is a biomolecule with institutional biopower. It is a form of biotechnical civil disobedience, seeking to subvert dominant biopolitical agents of hormonal management, knowledge production, and anthropogenic toxicity. The project begins with a speculative question: what if it was possible to make estrogen in the kitchen? From this seed more fundamental questions arise about who is producing hormones, whose bodies are affected, and how environmental hormones already exist as a state of toxicity. While issues of body and gender sovereignty are deeply at stake, endocrine disruptors termed ‘xenoestrogens’ pervade our environments due to petrochemical, agro-industrial and pharmaceutical forces. These xeno-molecules queer the morphology of our bodies and bodies of non-human species, evidencing a malleability inherent to nature but alien to our prescribed notions of eco-hetero-normalcy. In response to the “molecular queering” performed by estrogen and facilitated by dominant hegemonic forces, the project initiates a public dialogue through DIY/DIWO (do-it-yourself/do-it-with-others) biohacking and artistic intervention, hacking the systems of hormonal colonization.

Mary “Maggic” Tsang is a young US-American artist working at the intersection of biotechnology, cultural discourse, and civil disobedience. Her investigations challenge the role of creator and creation, the ethics of the postnatural product, and the neoliberal promises of science and technology. This pursuit has led her through many modes of exploration: from tropical rainforest research to documentary films that capture the motivations and philosophies of biotinkerers such as herself.  Maggic’s most recent project generates DIY protocols for hacking estrogen, demonstrating its biopolitical ubiquity and potential for mutagenesis, i.e. gender-hacking. Maggic has participated in a number of interdisciplinary residencies including HackteriaLab2014 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Ars Bioarctica Residency in Finland, and Interactivos?’16: Possible Worlds in Madrid and has exhibited for Ars Electronica and Transmediale. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Art (BSA) in Biological Sciences and Art from Carnegie Mellon University and a MA in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT (MIT Media Lab, Design Fiction research group).

The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s lecture The World in Change: Introduction to Societal Transformation Processes opens up a comprehensive and wide-ranging perspective on global challenges our societies are facing today: In our rapidly changing world we are currently challenged by unprecedented dynamic processes on a global scale such as climate change, demographic change, mass migration, dwindling resources, violation of human rights, social inequality and poverty, mass unemployment and the redefinition of human work in the era of digitalization, artificial intelligence, and robotics. The lecture series is an informative and stimulating opportunity for students to hear from leading academics and experts in the fields of image theory, climate change, and cancer research/personalized medicine and will help our students build their network of contacts. Our guest lectures are open to all.

Public Lecture
13.12.2017, 16:00–17:00 Uhr
Abteilung Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
Hintere Zollamtsstraße 17
1030 Wien
Seminarraum, 4. Stock