RWbNeOO - The Food and The Posthuman Body
RWbNeOO is an artistic research project that is speculating on the relationship between the food and the body in posthuman times. The project is a performative photography series and a conceptual text as a part of my ongoing artistic research on posthuman body as an interdisciplinary concept in contemporary art.
The intention of the project is to open up a discussion on the interconnections between food and posthuman body by means of the concepts such as empathy, co-existence and becoming(s). This call for discussion attitude of the project is supported in a conceptual frame referencing “becoming-animal/machine/earth” notion in The Posthuman (Braidotti, 2013), “uneaten-eater” notion in Food (Steel, 2018) and “human body clones for organ transplantation” notion in Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro, 2006).
The conceptual text starts with a posthuman grace (a prayer before/after eating) at the below that I wrote for this project which is highlighting an ethics discussion directly in the beginning. After this grace, the conceptual text continues this speculative tone as opening up the key concepts of the project.
“ Welcome to my posthuman sofra
I am partly a human, an animal, a plant and a robot.
Now tell me what you like to eat
Are you eating me or am i eating you?
Are you eating you or am i eating me? ”
In posthuman times, eating is (already) a matter of ethics. The decision regarding what you eat is an investigation of how you’re connected to the entire world. Are you at the top of the pyramid who has power to eat any living creature or are you just one of the steps in a food chain that builds the life cycle?
In “Posthuman Glossary”, Karl Steel wrote on food that “posthuman ethics of food would replace the concept of ‘food pyramid’ with a ‘food chain’ or, better yet, a ‘food web’ (Braidotti & Hlavajova, 2018). Not only a chicken eats the herb on earth, but also a cow eats it so both are animals and they can be eaten by a lion or even a lion can eat a human in natural power conditions. In his text, Steel mentions an “uneaten eater” and “a posthuman awareness of eating” that relates eating to death which is an unequal exchange between bodies.
This project, RWbNeOO, thinks about this awareness through the subjects/objects of eating and asks who/what can be an uneaten eater in posthuman encounters.
RWbNeOO is a posthuman body but not a singular, a multiple or plural bodies, in a way “more than one body”. Because a posthuman corporeality is beyond or independent of dualities of “subject&object”, “mind&body”, “nature&culture”, “man&machine or “human&animal”. This body is post-dualistic, in-between and also transitional. To be more than one body as a posthuman is a heterogenous amalgam in posthuman corporeality and you can’t divide it into clear sections of species. As in “The Posthuman” of Rosi Braidotti, the posthuman body is about becomings; “becoming-animal”, “becoming-machine” and “becoming-earth” (Braidotti, 2013). So it’s a fluidity between multiple bodily conditions which brings a transitivity of emphaties, maybe even beyond the duality of “self&other”.
RWbNeOO is animal/human/plant/machine body and is a speculation on who’s eating who or what’s eating what, in this such a more than one body. What is RWbNeOO or are you eating when it eats or serves its eggs or milk from its breast? Who or what decides who will be an uneaten eater in this such a hybrid body? Will an uneaten eater be a machine just because it’s not an organic body in this food web? What if this machine is a robot that has living cells, like a cyborg or an android in many sci-fi movies? Or what if this machine is a human clone that is produced for growing natural organs for organ transplant like in “Never let me go” novel (Ishiguro, 2006)?
This project asks these questions through the perspectives of “devotion” and “consent” because these ethical eating decisions between the bodies may require aggrements or negotiations in posthuman times.