Researchers working on Mind the Gut are leading a stream on bacteria at the 10th European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Conference (SLSA EU) in Stockholm next summer (June 14-17, 2016).

Mind the Gut researchers Adam Bencard and Jens Hauser are organizing a stream for the SLSA conference in 2016 related to the philosophical and artistic issues raised by the recent research on the bacteria within and in-between organism. The overall theme for the conference is control, and the deadline for submission is December 14th.

The stream is focusing on the issues raised by modern research into the bacteria ‘within’ and ‘in-between’ organisms, and explores the philosophical and artistic consequences of these symbiotic connections. The call for the stream is below (it can also be read online, along with general info about the conference):

In the past decade, we have become increasingly aware of our close entanglement and symbiosis with the trillions of bacteria inside us, on us and around us; humans can be seen less as individual organisms autonomously interacting with their environments and more as symbiotic super-individuals or multi-species ecologies, living vicariously on a bacterial planet. The growing scientific understanding of this symbiosis challenges traditional concepts of control in the natural sciences, in philosophy and in the arts: Who is controlling whom? Who controls the environment, and where does environment begin and end? While in the last decades cells, tissues, and genetic sequences were considered to microscopically ‘embody’ or ‘encode’ individual organisms for which they stood in pars pro toto, attention has recently shifted toward bacteria as prolific ‘in-between’ organisms. Bacteria consequently unfold as a crucial media for post-anthropocentric philosophy and art practices. For this broadly interdisciplinary stream we invite theoretical, literary, and artistic engagements with the relationship between humans and the microbial world. Papers might ask what a micro-biopolitics would look like; what kinds of literary and artistic subject might arise in the bacterial in-between; what eco-philosophy and ecological thinking means in a microbial world; or what are the consequences of integrating microbes into our understanding of what it is to be (post)human.

The stream at SLSA on bacteria will be exploring themes related to the exhibition Mind the Gut. They share a common interest in issues posed by modern research of the microbiome, and how this research is questioning some of the fundamental concepts and understanding of the being a human. We will be following the stream carefully, and we are looking forward to see the outcome.

The deadline for submitting abstracts for streams is December 14th, read more on SLSA EU’s website.

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