Temp Expert: Possible Variant Paths

Since my presentation, I’ve been exploring some ideas that had come out while during my research but hadn’t quite made it into the current project idea that I have.

I started by looking at inter-coral communication and the idea of plant subjectivity. My mind makes the connection to post-humanism, how those who are not white/western/hetero/male subjects are often made to feel dehumanized. What connections exist amongst the ignored coral and the people who most acutely feel the effects of their disappearance?

But I can’t help but think about my positionality and what my relationship is to these events. I’m not interested in using the narratives of others to construct a project, but I also want to be inclusive of them. As a young, white woman living in the global north – how can I talk about coral bleaching, the influence of colonial practices.

I’ve been reading about initiatives to increase the role of woman in fisheries and marine conservation efforts. There’s something here about gender equality and stewardship that I find really interesting and wonder how I can incorporate this as an aspect.

I’ve been reviewing all of my research and notes and hit on the themes that I want to communicate:

Non-human subjectivity
Post-human ideas of subjectivity – both who is traditionally excluded from the category “human” and thus denied rights and agency


visualizing/materializing the unseen and unconsidered

expanding out to greater ideas of whitewashing/anti-diversity == homogenization culturally/biologically // colonialism


I’m struggling with a lack of deep connection to my idea and am trying to figure out how I can take some of the more interesting concepts and translate them into a new project idea.

Some more thoughts:
[>> possibly moving more into the realm of performance] how to get past the distance
is it myself, acknowledging my position
what is my relationship to this subject
[thinking about that performance, with the lotion….hadn’t even really though of that] taking white sunscreen
engaging with people in other cultures
getting past this distance

So in actual words, I think I want to explore my position in relation to this situation or at least acknowledge it.

One thought that I’ve had recently is digging into this interesting idea that sunscreen contributes to coral degradation. It just sounds so sad, but is also so specific.

I started looking into Oxybenzone, a chemical has toxic effects on young coral that causes endocrine disruption, DNA damage and death of coral, among other the problems. Oxybenzone also exacerbates coral bleaching, a process by which coral reject symbiotic organisms and lose their color (http://time.com/4080985/sunscreen-coral-reefs/).

For me, the kicker is that sunscreen is (typically) used by those (like me) with fair skin. Those that travel to tropical, exotic locales. Tourists that visit coral reefs.

Interestingly enough, there’s been a re-awakening of people towards coral bleaching. I’ve seen several articles and videos posted online recently discussing the coming destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. Obviously this is distressing, but it is interesting how most mainstream, even global coverage of coral death focuses on the Caribbean and Australia, which I think further hits upon the pre-occupation with how this crisis affects particular areas of the world.

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29. March 2016 by zoe.bachman.itp
Categories: Temporary Expert | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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