From airplanes to medical technologies to the containers that surround food shipped from across the world to our phones and computers, so many of the intimate objects of our contemporary lives are made of plastic. This material is so ubiquitous that it belies its recent creation. As many critics have argued, we are now living in the age of plastic. Indeed, it has become the material substrate of advanced capitalism, the medium through which our dependency on oil permeates into the fabric of our everyday lives, surrounding and enveloping us with its smooth touch. In her presentation, Toxic Progeny: The Plastisphere and Other Queer Futures, Heather Davis will address the historical emergence of plastic and how, through the medium of plastic, we can understand globalization and our relationship with oil.
Davis will be part of the faculty of r.a.d’s Summer Intensive. Her course “Queer Ecologies: Life and Art in a State of General Warfare” will consider what may be learned from queer theory, disability studies, and theoretical approaches to the notion of toxicity in times when we can no long take for granted that the atmospheres and ecosystems we live in are good.
Heather Davis is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her doctorate from Concordia University in Montréal and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University. She is the author of numerous articles and the editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environment and Epistemology (forthcoming 2015, Open Humanities Press) and Desire/Change: Contemporary Canadian Feminist Art (forthcoming 2017, MAWA). Her writing can be found at: heathermdavis.com.