Theorizing Bioart Encounters after Gilbert Simondon

Andrew C Lapworth

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In recent years ‘bioart’ has been lauded in the social sciences for its creative engagements with the ontological stakes of new forms of biotechnical life in-the-making. In this paper I push further to explore the ontogenetic potentials of bioart-encounters to generate new capacities for thinking and perceiving the nonhuman agencies imbricated in the becoming of subjects. To explore this potential I stage an encounter with Gilbert Simondon’s philosophy of individuation, highlighting three implications for theorizations of the constitution and transformation of subjects. First, Simondon forces us to rethink the subject in terms of its transductive emergence from pre-individual processes, and its metastable susceptibility to ongoing transformations. Second, he substitutes voluntarist conceptions of thought with an involuntarist primacy of material encounters as the conditions for novel individuations. Finally, I argue that Simondon enables a thinking of the politics of the (bio)art-encounter in terms of its ontogenetic capacity to materially produce, rather than merely represent, new subjects and worlds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-150
Number of pages27
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number3
Early online date14 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • affect
  • bioart
  • individuation
  • ontogenetic
  • Simondon
  • subjectivity


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