Medien|Denken – Katrin Pahl – Vegetal Self-Documents (Audio)

10.12.2019 | KATRIN PAHL (Baltimore / USA)

Vegetal Self-Documents – Otobong Nkanga


Via an analysis of two works by multi-media and performance artist Otobong Nkanga, the talk theorizes what it might mean to speak of mineral self-documents. Nkanga’s art draws on the documentary genre (in a highly formalized way) when she traces the socio-ecological context of exploitative extraction for materials of everyday as well as aesthetic use. I will consider her practice as a form of self-documentation, extending the meaning of “self” to include mineral as well as human-mineral aggregates sharing ‘ore/ourstory’ through Nkanga’s art. I conceptualize such making kin with rock as a mode of queer procreation and emphasize the decolonial need for a new culture of affect.

Biographical Note

Katrin Pahl is Associate Professor of German and Co-Director of the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the Johns Hopkins University. She received her PhD from the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. The arc of her research is situated in the field of affect and emotion studies with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. Her publications include Tropes of Transport: Hegel and Emotion (Northwestern, 2012) and Sex Changes with Kleist (Northwestern, 2019). With a senior fellowship at the IKKM in Weimar in SS 2019 she began her current research project on the interrelation of sexualized, racialized and ecological violence in contemporary theater and multi-media art practice developing the sensorium for queer procreation or new, unseen, and unheard-of forms of queer life.

IfM – Institut für Medienwissenschaft
Medien|Denken – Katrin Pahl – Vegetal Self-Documents

Sonja Kirschall