New Criticals

Happily, these feminist writers are increasingly recognized across the academy for their groundbreaking achievements in understanding human-nonhuman relations. As an art historian, however, I find myself wondering why artistic production doesn’t play a more prominent role in these critical conversations. My new book, A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art, addresses this lacuna. I demonstrate how contemporary new media installation artists, like their feminist scholar peers, draw attention to our encounters with contemporary sciences, technologies, and other forms of matter, often in forceful and unexpected ways. Through case studies of new media installations by internationally renowned artists Pipilotti Rist, Patricia Piccinini, and Mariko Mori, the book argues that these artists share the animating ethical-political concerns of the scholarly feminist theoretical materialisms. Like their feminist scholar peers, Rist, Piccinini, and Mori explore the mechanisms by which bodies and matter become meaningful through technological interfaces. Artists may even go one better, at least by some reckonings, because they theorize not just with words, but in space, with technologies, and through bodies.