Georg Dickmann: “Sich an C19H28O2 anschließen” – Onto-epistemologie und ästhetische Praxis in Paul B. Preciados “Testo Junkie”
Lecture at the interdisciplinary conference “Konstellationen – Wissensansprüche zwischen Kunst, Philosophie und Politik” at the University of Tübingen
Within the relation between subject and object, thinking has the tendency to eradicate the object in favor of an authorial subject by means of reflexive loops. In recent years, this subject-centered reduction has been opposed, in particular, by New Materialist approaches in that they attempted to speculatively overcome both Kant’s epistemology and the hypostatization of the language of discourse analysis. The lecture proposes the initial thesis that Paul B. Preciado’s theory fiction Testo Junkie. Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era (2013) is an example of how speculative critique can take the form of an aesthetic practice. By transgressing the boundaries of theory and aesthetics, Spanish philosopher and queer theorist Preciado attempts to re-examine the epistemic relation between philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. The intoxication protocol to his testosterone self-experiment, an experiment which lasted over one year, as well as the social philosophy and queer discourse history of the hormone are, as proposed in the lecture’s thesis, an experimental, subject-critical, and constellating writing style which not only constitutes a new genre, but also, as proposed in Karen Barad’s theorem of Onto-epistemology, does not define global contexts as the entirety of entities interacting and conveyed by the subject, but rather as a process-like, sensual and powerful materialization in which the relata do not precede the relations.
By mutually drawing from both Barad and Preciado, the lecture attempts to trace the circumstance that neither the text nor the chemical artifacts that stream through the body are simply given or juxtaposed. In aesthetic practice, they rather become a shared and metafictional framework in which the main focus lies not on the experience of intoxication which is subsequently recorded, but on that which only forms in a writing that is both situated (Haraway) and intraactive (Barad). Therefore, the aesthetic practice in Preciado’s theory experiment is not only the subject of analysis, it also questions the theory itself. Based on this, the lecture asks the following leading questions: How do theory and art intertwine in Preciado’s work? On what conditions does the possibility of situated and embodied knowledge arise, and how do these relate to Preciado’s writing practice?
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The philosopher and literary scholar Georg Dickmann is a research associate in the project Style. Past and Present.