Presented as part of Feminist Climate Change: Beyond the Binary exhibition at Ars Electronica 2017, Urine Worship is a workshop by Mary Maggic and Byron Rich. Space is limited, please RSVP to feministclimatechange@gmai
Bodies queer in many ways, most actively through the molecular colonization of our planet. Thanks to petrochemical, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries (markers of our anthropogenic time), these queering molecules are hormonally active and biopolitically pervasive as a state of toxicity. Our bodies and bodies of non-human species are all undergoing a collective mutagenesis – our kind are both the intersex frogs as well as the gender-bending chemicals in their bloodstream. So what does it mean to identify with our chemically-induced world? To create discourse which turns toxic shame into toxic embrace? Am I not only inheriting the genomes of my parents but also the plastic molecules which my mother is exposed to as I incubate in her womb? The toxicities inevitably queer us, creating more otherness and (re)constructions of sex which defy what we perceive as normal and natural bodies – male and female. Therefore to accept molecular queering means to guard ourselves against the old notion of a stable body, and to use our alien becoming as an agent for resistance. It is with this queering power of xeno-bio-chemicals that the Molecular Queering workshop performs a urine hormone extraction and analysis, a DIY/DIWO recipe for gender-hacking. Bring your own urine!
Mary Maggic is an artist and biohacker working at the intersection of biotechnology and civil disobedience. Maggic’s most recent projects Open Source Estrogen and Estrofem! Lab generate DIY protocols for the extraction and detection of estrogen hormone from bodies and environments, demonstrating its micro-performativity and potential for mutagenesis, i.e. gender-hacking. It holds a BSA in Biological Sciences and Art from Carnegie Mellon University and a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from
MIT Media Lab.
Byron Rich is an artist, professor, and lecturer born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work exploring speculative design, biology futures, and tactical media ecology has been widely shown and spoken about internationally. He pursued a degree in New-Media at The University of Calgary before finding himself in Buffalo, New York where he obtained an MFA in Emerging Practices at The University at Buffalo. He now teaches Electronic Art & Intermedia at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
Financial support courtesy of Allegheny College. Special thanks to the Aliens in Green.