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A new ‘dance of agency’: an embodied engagement with material agency in artistic practice.

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My current body of work explores, and is rooted in, the issues and challenges surrounding posthuman performativity as part of the New Materialisms. These theories claim to offer a new way of making/knowing/being that is not anthropocentric. From this framework, I approach understandings of material agency that seek to go beyond human agency and “chasten my fantasies of human mastery”1. My objective is to investigate my ‘dance of agency’2 through a posthumanist lens, as I engage in an inter-epistemic dialogue, which seeks to undermine the traditional boundaries between the human, the animal, and the inanimate. This dialogue positions itself on the boundaries of many disciplines, namely physics, biological systems theory, psychology and chemistry, in an attempt to apply a posthumanist theory to the Visual Arts. Using my art practice and the exhibition, ‘Material Agency in the Anthropocene’, from my practice-led research, I explore my own, and society's vulnerability in a manner that pays attention to the powerful ‘being’ of nonhuman forces and materials and their inherent entropic ‘messiness’. Given the scope and scale of current non-human agencies, such as viral, biological and climate change factors, I suggest that this area of research into a new 'dance of agency' between the human and the non-human could be of contemporary value.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.