New Criticals

While much scholarship devoted to the feminist materialisms stays exclusively within the realm of theory, artists such as Rist, Piccinini, and Mori are exceptional in that they literally stage and enact scientific and technological interfaces; and they do this in relation to the embodied phenomenal experience of human actors. Their works of art do not merely represent posthuman subjectivity. Instead, their installations present post-anthropocentric selfhood itself as an experiential site of critical contemplation. Their museum-based environments allow us to inhabit, contemplate, and feel new articulations of posthuman selfhood. While these specialized art practices may initially appear to be disconnected from everyday life, I propose an alternate interpretation. In addition to their deep connections to practices within the visual arts, these new media installations offer novel experiential environments for exploring, inhabiting, and even critiquing our entanglements with science and technology in the 21st century, and they pose interesting questions about human-nonhuman interfaces in the process.