Guest Talk - María Antonia González Valerio, México City
philosopher María Antonia González Valerio, based at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), will give a lecture
titled Reframing the Question of Animality from an Ontological-aesthetic Perspective. The question of animality has been earnestly
addressed in the past decades from a philosophical perspective. One of the main concerns has been to provide an immanent theoretical
framework for an ontology that does not rely solely on or account only for the human subject.
animality appears to be an ontological artefact that enhances the limit from which the human, the non-human, and the world
can be thought about and brought about.
However, the notion of animality is still too broad in the discourse; sometimes
it could even be considered as a universal, for example, the non-human animal as the absolute distinction from which the idea
of the human has been constructed throughout Western history.
From the animal-becoming of Deleuze and Guattari, to the
cat of Derrida, to the tick taken from Uexküll’s narrative by Agamben, to the corals of the sensible materialism of Haraway;
the animal is seen as an organic force or as a model that acts in at least two ways: as something that our epistemologies
and ontologies should be responsible for (and therefore, our ethics), and as a different concept, level, or reality from which
ontology is thought.
But, what is a non-human animal? There is no animal per se. There are places in which the animal
occurs. For example, discourses, practices, and habitats. The animal occurs in the ontological discourse, in the practice
of being eaten, and in the habitat of the city. None of these spaces could refer to the same “animal”.
And then, why
the animal? At what moment did non-human animality become so important for philosophy? It has something to do with the emergence
of the question about life in the twenty-first century, the beginning of biology, and the gradual narrowing of the general
idea of life to that of a specific kind of organism. Also, there was a shift from the question about being to the question
about life, and from there to the mode of life that is the one in which our very existence, our very corporality, is interrogated,
that is, the animal.
We should also reflect upon the biological model that is at stake when humanities incorporate a
mode of life (intersected from within the life sciences) from the central dogma and the modern synthesis in terms of genetics,
to the new hype of epigenetics.
The biological models, the question about life, the space in which the non-human animal
occurs, and the ontological artifact are the subjects of this talk, which will be debated in the light of current art practices
that work with biomedia, from the incorporation of CRISPR-Cas 9 in art practices, to the presence of living or dead animals
in artworks and art processes.
María Antonia González Valerio works in the research field of ontology and aesthetics
and the interdisciplinary area of arts, sciences, and humanities, specifically in the field of art that uses biomedia. She
holds a PhD in philosophy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and pursued postdoctoral studies in the
area of aesthetics. She is a professor at UNAM, Faculty of Philosophy and Literature and the postgraduate programmes in philosophy,
philosophy of science, art history, and fine arts.
She heads the research group Arte+Ciencia (Art+Science) which gathers
artists, scholars, and scientists together in an interdisciplinary forum that produces under and postgraduate education, specialized
theoretical research, artistic productions, and exhibitions.
María Antonia González Valerio has published widely including
several books, the most recent being Cabe los límites. Escritos sobre filosofía natural desde la ontología estética
(México: UNAM and Herder, 2016). She has edited, coordinated, and contributed to various publications, and led research projects,
such as Complexity and Natural Philosophy at the Intersection of Art and Science, hosted at the UNAM Faculty of Philosophy
The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s lecture Speculative Biologies: New Directions
in Art & Biotechnology is an informative and stimulating opportunity to hear from distinguished artists about what’s
going on in the emerging fields of bioart, biodesign and speculative biology and also helps our students to build their network
of contacts. Speculating about how “life” and “nature” could be in the near future is an apposite cross-disciplinary approach
to collectively rethink how we want our future to be and what kind of aspirations will be possible or even probable under
the auspices of turbo capitalism and mass consumerism.
Our guest lectures are open to all.
10.04.2018, 13:45–15:15 Uhr
Oskar Kokoschka Platz 2, Hörsaal 1