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Of Animacy Reading Group: Immunity and Contagion
Institute of Contemporary Arts
May 2022
Blood vessel in lung. Credit: David Gregory & Debbie Marshall. 

Of Animacy reconvenes to discuss Audronė Žukauskaitė’s critical take on the notions of biological and political identity.

In her essay ‘Immunity and Contagion as Two Modes of Biopolitics’, Žukauskaitė argues that in modern biopolitics, identity has been broadly discussed through the idea of negative immunity, in which selfhood is rooted in rejecting the non-self to remain intact and pure. Considering political theory in parallel with biomedical science, Žukauskaitė discusses the ability of our bodies to also accept non-self cells, introducing the idea of contagion as inclusion. She argues for viewing the body and identity as assemblages capable of fusional multiplicity that is constantly affecting and being affected. 

Under discussion:
Audronė Žukauskaitė, ‘Immunity and Contagion as Two Modes of Biopolitics’, Subjectivity, Vol. 10, Issue 3 (September 2017), pp. 243 – 257

For access to the text and further information on the reading group, please email

Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion.

Of Animacy meets every month at the ICA and is always open to all.
Led by curator Nella Aarne, Of Animacy thinks through feminist engagements with human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and science. The texts and discussions meander through a multiplicity of concepts and ways of thinking, developing into a vibrant web of ideas – the shape and character of which will organically unfold over time. Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought.
07:00 pm
Tue, 24 Sep 2019
Free, booking required.

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