Ben Denham An Ethics of Diversity

An Ethics of Diversity: Art, Ayahuasca and Microbial life

Ben Denham presenting his seminar

Abstract: "It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties."  Donna Haraway's statement of what matters - which she in turn attributes to social anthropologist Marilyn Strathern - will serve as a point of departure for thinking about the relationship between the matter of art, ayahuasca and Lyn Margulis' account of microbial evolution. The premise is that the matter of each of these realms might help us to think the thoughts of the others. I suggest that each of these realms has analogous sets of productive problems and that material thinking between these realms of art, microbes and the psychedelic experience might help us to articulate an ethics of cultural and biological diversity.

Bio: Dr Ben Denham is a visual artist and writer who grew up in the Blue Mountains and studied visual arts at Western Sydney University. He works with performance video and makes machines that engage different parts of the body in the process drawing and writing. In 2002–03 he spent a year and a half in Mexico with the assistance of the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship. He maintains strong connections to Mexican art and activist culture. He completed his doctorate in 2009. His thesis considered the relationship between art and neuroscience, with a particular focus on gesture and linguistic embodiment. In 2014 he was the recipient of a new work grant (mid-career) from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Audio: Listen to Part 1 of Ben's paper (right click and "save link as" to download),

Listen to part 2 of Ben's paper

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