Outskirts online journal

Kim Toffoletti

Further information

About the author

Kim Toffoletti was awarded her PhD in 2003, and is an associate lecturer in Women's Studies at Deakin University. Her research interests include feminism and technology, new media arts and the posthuman.

Publication details

Volume 11, November 2003

Imagining the Posthuman: Patricia Piccinini and the Art of Simulation

In an age of biotechnologies, society is awash with multiple and competing narratives that simultaneously reproduce and undermine the authority of scientific discourse. The representation of technoscience, particularly in relation to posthuman technologies such as biotechnology, genetic engineering and cloning, has figured largely in feminist writings on science (Fox Keller 1995a; Haraway 1991, 1997; Hartouni 1997; Marchessault and Sawchuk 2000). Much of this debate has focused upon the question of difference and the role of representation in legitimating and perpetuating social inequality. Vandana Shiva and Ingunn Moser articulate this trend toward revisionist narratives in feminist projects, aiming to recast modern biotechnological narratives within a history of 'people being controlled or removed, natures and ecologies exploited, and cultures degraded and reduced to nature' (1995: 9).

A retrospective of the work of Australian visual artist Patricia Piccinini showing in early 2003 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Australia, prompted me to revisit such debates to seek out alternative engagements between feminism and technoscientific representations that move beyond ontological configurations of identity and difference. Piccinini's posthuman imaginings resist formulations of the subject couched in terms of origins, essentialisms or the natural, in favor of alternative embodiments and new formulations of the subject. This paper focuses in particular on the Protein Lattice series of 1997, (https://patriciapiccinini.net/) arguing that it functions as a site of unstable signification that disrupts a value system through which the world is understood as either good or bad, real or illusionary, natural or artificial. Using the writings of Jean Baudrillard and Donna Haraway, I assess the modes by which a challenge to signification functions as an enabling strategy for feminism to negotiate technoscientific imagery in terms of the possibilities and potentialities created for the subject. By foregrounding the role of simulation in undermining myths of the natural and originary, Protein Lattice encourages new ways of configuring the relationship between reality, representation and technoscience.

The photography and video series Protein Lattice centres upon a mutant rodent forged from an amalgam of a human ear and laboratory mouse. Piccinini's inspiration for the project derived from photographs of a then recent biotechnological experiment, published in Time and Arena magazines. Speaking of this incident, Piccinini states:

For a moment in late 1995 an image appeared in the world media that has stayed in my mind and in the minds of a huge number of other people who saw it. Perhaps it does not float on the surface, but if questioned most of the people I know would be able to recall the mouse with the human ear on its back. For a media second we saw the future and it was a sorry little rodent weighed down by an ear vastly out of scale with its emaciated body (Piccinini 1997).

In Piccinini's version, the viewer is presented with a red-eyed, pink and hairless digital image of a rat with a human ear attached to its back. One image from the series is particularly arresting. The rodent rests atop the manicured fingers of an exotic female model. Her sultry features are digitally enhanced -- the face of her skin airbrushed into a seamless plastic mask. The model is made freakish in her absolute perfection. Artifice is revealed by facial features that are too large, too sculpted, too glossy and glowing, to pass as natural. The rat too, is a construct. Once-separate biological systems of rodent and human are rendered as effortlessly fused. No markers of differentiation such as skin grafts mar the surface topography of the rat. Rather than maintaining what were once distinct categories of rat and human, Piccinini's rodent appears to seamlessly articulate a fusion of self and Other. The interconnected biological systems of the human and animal species are made possible by both the tools of technoscience and the malleable qualities of digital image making.

In the article 'Patricia Piccinini: Plastic Realist', Peter Hennessey observes that 'Biotechnology forms the focus of much of Piccinini's work, because in many ways, biotechnology crystallises the particular moment where the artificial and the natural -- the organic and the technological -- begin to dissolve into each other' (1999: 250). Piccinini's work finds a theoretical equivalent in the writings of Donna Haraway, who since her germinal cyborg manifesto of 1985, has challenged the myth of original unity and its associations with the categories of nature and woman. To this day, the cyborg retains currency as a key feminist figuration that allows for imaginings of alternative female subjectivities in a technologically-mediated world.

More recently, Haraway has identified the transgenic Oncomouse as a figuration that typifies the transgression of boundaries in biotechnological research. The crossover of the species brought about by the fusion of human and rat components puts Piccinini's rodent in good company with the Oncomouse. Like Piccinini's mutant rodent, the transgenic Oncomouse confuses the boundaries between nature and artifice. A transgenic organism, as explained by Haraway, 'contains genes transplanted from one strain or species ... to another' (1997: 60). Inserted into the Oncomouse is a human gene to promote the growth of cancerous breast tumors. In this regard, it differs somewhat from Protein Lattice, where the distinction between the species dissolves as the cells of the human ear and the rat conjoin in the process of tissue engineering. Nonetheless, both tissue engineering and transgenics question the status of the natural when human intervention, by way of technology, becomes the norm. Accordingly, Haraway interprets the insertion of genes from one species into another as a transgressive border-crossing that transforms nature into culture by the process of human intervention (1997: 60).

In her essay 'Otherworldly Conversations, Terran Topics, Local Terms', Haraway asserts that the process of characterizing nature as Other is conventionally configured as a project of policing borders and boundaries; of constructing a materialized and inert fiction of the natural that is locatable and originary (1995: 70). Yet efforts to maintain nature as Other, as Haraway points out, are ultimately untenable; ruptured in everyday instances of boundary displacement, such as the phenomenon of the Oncomouse. Haraway instead argues that the concept of nature within the popular psyche cannot and does not function as an essential reality in opposition to an equally inert and locatable notion of culture. Rather, she suggests that nature functions both as topos and trope; a rhetorical, artificial, constructed and all-pervasive 'common place'. She states:

nature is not a physical place to which one can go, nor a treasure to fence in or bank, nor an essence to be saved or violated. Nature is not hidden and so does not need to be unveiled. Nature is not a text to be read in the codes of mathematics and biomedicine. It is not the 'other' who offers origin, replenishment and service. Neither mother, nurse, lover nor slave, nature is not a matrix, resource, mirror, nor tool for the reproduction of that odd ethnocentric, phallogocentric, putatively universal being called Man. Nor for his euphemistically named surrogate, 'the human' (Haraway 1995: 70).

By posing nature as topos and trope, instead of as the Other of binary thought, Haraway's critique exposes nature as a construct and displacement, which does not exist outside of the culture that names it. Rather, nature functions as a 'common-place', to use Haraway's terminology, which allows us to further understand the workings of culture. Moreover, Haraway claims that returning to the notion of an intrinsic nature fails as a strategy in the critique of transgenics. Upholding the natural in the face of the unnatural, in this instance biotechnological engineering, risks reasserting the themes of racial purity and natural type that underpin racist fears of the Other, the alien and the mixed (Haraway 1997: 60-63).

Boundary transgression in the practice of biotechnology is, however, not an unproblematic concept for Haraway. In this regard, she aligns herself with the revisionist project undertaken by feminist critiques of science. Such critiques provide one instance of interventionist strategies to reconsider the kinds of relations established between practices of representation, scientific knowledge and subject constitution. Understandably, feminism has expressed uneasiness at the relationship between knowledge and power in the realm of science. This concern stems from the recognition that men's experiences and perspectives traditionally inform the production of scientific knowledges, and these, in turn, produce reality. Moreover, the masculinist bias of scientific inquiry and observation is masked by the construction of science as a form of empirical or objective study that purports to present a world-view, unaffected by societal factors such as the gender and race of the knowledge-maker.

As a counter to this claim of objective neutrality, feminist scholars of science have made the important assertion that biological science is not an empirical account of the world, but a form of constructed knowledge that is intimately tied to social control and power-effects (Grosz and de Lepervanche 1988, Harding 1986, Hubbard 1990, Haraway 1991, Fox Keller 1995b). These critiques recognize the gendering of science in accordance with traditional binary dualisms, whereby science is a rational and empirical project, coded masculine, contra the natural and the feminine. In this schema, woman is positioned as object, but never the subject or knowledge-maker of scientific inquiry. Clearly, the traditional power/knowledge relationship is a vital point of concern for a feminist critique of knowledge construction. For women's experiences of lived reality are negated by the construction of science as a neutral endeavor that transcends social and cultural contexts. In an attempt to remedy this misconception of the scientific project, Ruth Hubbard has called for a feminist methodology in science to challenge the scientific myth of objectivity that masks an implicit gender bias (1990: 29).

Haraway too wholeheartedly endorses such an approach. Indeed, it forms the foundation of much of her scholarship. The intimate association between transnational corporate capitalism and scientific funding and research is a consistent theme of Haraway's inquiry (1997). Although the role of power in knowledge-production is vital to an interrogation of the effects of biotechnologies, Haraway refrains from a simplistic critique of such technologies in terms of either resistance or complicity. Rather, an ethics of the transgenic organism is for her, 'about the manner in which we are responsible for these worlds' (2000: 146). She states:

The tendency by the political "left" ... to collapse molecular genetics, biotechnology, profit and exploitation into one undifferentiated mass is at least as much of a mistake as the mirror-image reduction by the "right" of biological -- or informational -- complexity to the gene and its avatars, including the dollar (Haraway 1997: 62).

Haraway's response to biotechnological boundary transgressions thus circumvents an approach to scientific study and its products as irrevocably 'bad' for women. Rather, she considers who it is that might benefit from the creations of technoscience, and acknowledges the kinship women have with transgenic creature such as the Oncomouse.

Similarly, Protein Lattice provides fertile ground upon which to consider possible dialogues between feminist thinking and technoscience. Piccinini's images question the ethical implications of biotechnological engineering, yet stop short of judging the value of creatures such as the mutant rodent. Instead, the viewer is encouraged to consider the kinds of subject positions afforded by representations of technoscience within the contexts of contemporary media, biological and information technologies. Locating the production of biotechnological narratives at the intersections of science and simulation culture offers a strategy through which the myth of origins as naturalized by science is undermined. Moreover, at this site of instability posthuman figurations such as the mutant rat open up possibilities and potentialities for alternative understanding of bodies, subjectivity and gender in a technologically-mediated society.

Like Haraway, Piccinini avoids a technological determinism that decrees the non-natural a threat to human existence. I suggest that the threat of technology as a means of controlling the human is allayed by this hybrid mutant of the information age. By emerging from the site at which natural and technological, real and illusion collapse, Protein Lattice disrupts the myth of a monolithic, dystopic technology that controls an equally immutable nature. Piccinini's depiction of the mutant rat shares Haraway's ambivalence toward the products of technoscience. This ambivalence arises from a culture where value systems of good or bad are too simplistic to understand the complex negotiations that constitute society.

Piccinini's work plays upon the aesthetics of popular media culture and advertising. She has spoken of working from a compromised space that acknowledges the appeal of popular media culture, 'a desire for the shiny stuff that consumer culture has to offer (Plastic, TV, sneakers, the FACE) although I know that they are not good for me' (Piccinini 1996). The luxurious sheen of Piccinini's forms and her formal use of contrasting light and dark areas create an image that is, like much advertising, seductive and aesthetically appealing. In her book No Logo, Naomi Klein maintains that advertising has saturated the preserve of the arts, culture and media, resulting in an inability to differentiate between once-distinct visual realms (2000: 29-44). Klein is preoccupied with advertising's encroachment upon non-commercial cultural space through a process of corrupting and infecting other forms of image culture. There is nothing novel, however, in this position. Indeed, the erosion between art and popular media and high and low culture, is typical of the postmodern cultural condition (Jameson 1983: 112).

Piccinini questions the idea that the colonization of non-commercial space by advertising is a one-way process. In 1999 an image from the Protein Lattice series was displayed like a giant advertising billboard on the Republic Apartment Tower in Melbourne's Central Business District. This gesture indicates that art too may inhabit the spaces of consumption and popular media. By emulating the production and placement strategies of advertising, Piccinini disrupts the division between cultural forms; artistic commercial and scientific. Indeed, it is the construction of science as a commercial enterprise to be marketed and made appealing that Protein Lattice highlights. While Klein argues that the breakdown of boundaries between high and low culture allows for the violation of public space by advertising, Piccinini prefers to interpret this cultural collapse as precipitating a dialogue or exchange between forms. Mica Nava reveals this interconnection between art and commercial images to be shaped in part by young people's tendency to 'consume commercials independently of the product that is being marketed' (1992: 174). Her study contests the dominant view of advertising as directly tied to consumption and interrogates the belief that visual texts are consumed differently (Nava 1992: 181).

As noted earlier, Piccinini's inspiration for Protein Lattice derived from other media images. This tendency toward citing, revision and reworking of cultural artifacts is indicative of a postmodern experience that Jean Baudrillard observes is primarily of the order of the visual. In the context of cultural production increasingly shaped by the digital, Piccinini's rat emerges as a figuration that demands a particular understanding at the level of the representational economy in which it is produced and circulated. It is within the context of simulation culture that we might begin to understand the relation between representation and reality as no longer irrevocably opposed. Within a logic of simulation, the real no longer constitutes the referential point for representation; it has been substituted by the sign. And in turn, it is the experience of hyperreality as a mode of signification that creates the possibility for understanding images of technoscience beyond fixed interpretations.

The digitally constructed forms of Protein Lattice are emblematic of a contemporary experience of the visual that severs the link between an original object and its reproduction. Piccinini collapses the real and its representational equivalent by digitally recreating this mutant rodent. In doing so, she plays with the boundaries between human and animal, virtual and real, so that the purpose of the image is not to offer the viewer a copy of an original, nor to mirror the products of technoscience, but to complicate the idea of origins. Piccinini does not aim to depict reality. Indeed, it is the very notion of reality, within a context of simulation, that I argue collapses in her work. Rather than representing an approaching dystopic reality, Piccinini favors a process of becoming that is unable to be fixed within signifying practice. Neither do I believe that Piccinini advocates an unproblematic, utopian ideal of what the future will be. Her images circulate as potentialities, possibilities or processes beyond a dichotomy of what is real and what is illusion. What Piccinini constructs is a space from which to contemplate the complexity of contemporary culture, a site where the absolutisms of a dichotomous value system are replaced by a compromised vision. In a context where the distinctions between material and virtual worlds collapse, Piccinini favors imaginings that reside beyond the codes of signification and their enactment.

Protein Lattice occupies a site between reality and virtuality, fact and fantasy. In this world, cultural and biological categories are confused, alongside a dissolution of the differences between art, science and popular media. The viewer questions whether what they see is reality or artifice. I suggest it is neither. Rather, Protein Lattice can be understood in terms of simulation, whereby reality and representation collapse into each other, opening up a condition of possibility to refigure our understanding of the natural as it is transformed by its encounter with technology. As digital images, Piccinini's imaginings can never refer back to a reality. Yet at the same time, Protein Lattice resonates as something more than simply science fiction fantasy. Baudrillard observes that science fiction as a genre has become redundant as humanity becomes the fictive narratives that once served to speculate upon its own future. A currency of signs and images abolishes the gap between the real and the imaginary, and along with it, the genre of science fiction founded upon a utopian imaginary (Baudrillard 1994: 212). And it is the proliferation of digital information and media in contemporary life that precipitates the implosion of once-distinct spheres such as art, science, advertising and politics.

According to Baudrillard, the imaginary of science fiction corresponds to a second order of simulacra, whereby the order of signs is founded upon a system of serial production materialized through mechanical and technical means (Baudrillard 1993: 55). I suggest that the creature of Protein Lattice emerges as 'something else', that cannot be locatable as analogy, that is, in relation to the natural world, or equivalence, the indefinite reproduction of an original. Rather, Piccinini's rodent occupies a mode of signification that is founded upon simulation. Simulation functions as an enabling strategy for feminist engagements with representations of a posthuman future, such as Protein Lattice, by emerging as a site for potential rupture or instability which threatens the coherence of a value system that understands the fictions of technology as good or bad, utopian or dystopic.

In Baudrillard's terms, an understanding of the subject is no longer determined by its status as originary source, but is instead characterized by the operational configuration of the ' precession of the model ' (1994: 16, italics in text). As a digitally generated image, the rodent performs the function of the model, whereby '(o)nly affiliation to the model has any meaning, since nothing proceeds in accordance with its end anymore, but issues instead from the model, the "signifier of reference", functioning as a foregone, and the only credible, conclusion' (Baudrillard 1993: 56). The significance of this concept for reassessing the relationship between reality and representation is made apparent throughout Protein Lattice, as the mouse figuration is endlessly repeated, doubled and re-cited.

In one image from the Protein Lattice series a female model sits on the floor among a teeming mass of digitally-recreated rats. The naked woman wraps her left arm around her chest. Her right arm is outstretched, her hand touching the floor. With knees demurely drawn up toward her torso and downcast eyes, the model appears contemplative, yet not fearful. The configuration of rats and model does not function to polarize the artifice of biotechnology against the natural woman. Rather, an equivalence is constructed between the two forms to suggest that both are unreal products of a consumer culture driven by desire and aesthetics. Both the rats and model are naked, hairless and exposed; illuminated by the harsh gaze of the media spotlight so they appear vulnerable. By juxtaposing the rodents with the woman, Piccinini insinuates that gender is also a simulated construct. The smooth, plastic-looking skin of the model assures us that she is no more real than her hybrid friends. Just as the rat is a digitally-generated image, so too is the woman. In her artist's statement, Piccinini regards the association between rats and models as one of sympathy for these objectified constructions of a phallogocentric symbolic order. Both the rat and model are, in her opinion, 'organic vessels destined to contain the desires of those who utilise them...both are used interchangeably, without any regard to their specific personality. There will always be another one' (Piccinini 1997).

By re-citing and repeating the image of the rodent, Piccinini ruptures conventional modes of signification based upon a fixed point of origin. She instead enacts Baudrillard's assertion that '(a)t the end of this process of reproducibility, the real is not only that which can be reproduced, but that which is always already reproduced : the hyperreal' (1993: 73, italics in text). The proliferation of rats suggests that no origin or referent exists to precede the model, but that the model itself becomes what we understand to be reality, fracturing the dualisms of real/representation, origin/replica, upon which difference is structured. Signification is broken up by the act of replication, preventing the possibility of a unified, originary, or fixed meaning to occupy the text. By this I am not implying that reality is made meaningless in the free play of signification, rather reality becomes a contested zone.

Not only is the model that which bears no relation to reality, but the operation of simulation ensures that social exchange occurs according to a model that is already mapped out as an anticipated response. How might feminism engage with a simulation that abolishes definitive meaning and reduces all political and social events to pre-conceived models? The answer, I believe, resides in the status of the image as digital. The mutant rodents of Protein Lattice are ' conceived according to their very reproducibility' (Baudrillard 1993: 56, italics in text). Their digital constructedness confuses origins and reality. To suggest that the anticipation of the model reduces or limits our engagements with the social world would be a misinterpretation of Baudrillard's political project. Rather, the infinite replication of the model causes a short-circuit in established modes of meaning based upon dialectical thought, opening up a potentiality of meaning and interpretation (Baudrillard 1994: 16-17). Just as there is no original rat, only the digital information referred to as 'the mutant rodent', the myth of the originary or natural is exposed as an effect produced by simulation models.

By existing as digital constructs, the mutant rats disrupt the status of the scientific image as origin story or truth account, as evidenced in popular discourse. Baudrillard's theory of simulation reminds us that there is no longer any real, only coded information that simulates a real. The organic is an effect produced by the virtual, rather than existing in opposition to the virtual. The digital image exists purely as information or data. As Baudrillard attests, the simulacra can never function as image. Freed from a referential signifier, simulation can only operate as pure information (Baudrillard 1994: 5). Similarly, the genetically engineered organism Dolly the sheep is no longer a reality, but a virtuality. She exists as genetic information named 'sheep', which cannot be differentiated from what are considered to be real or natural sheep. As a simulation model of a model, itself without origins, the mutant rodent of Protein Lattice ruptures the formal relation between representation and its reality. This disruption of meaning undermines the legitimacy of scientific rhetoric to perpetuate the myth of human origins.

As digitally generated images, the works in the Protein Lattice series confuse the binary distinctions informing the construction of the organic and the machinic, rupturing the seamlessness of these Cartesian categories. The model of the rat becomes our reality, undifferentiated from the scientific experiment upon which Piccinini's rat model is drawn. Piccinini's project illustrates how the media image of the mutant rat, and her own digitally recreated rodent, circulate as products of simulation. In each instance, the mouse becomes a sign of the real whose value is no longer anchored in its relation to reality, but instead evades the construction of meaning.

When considering Protein Lattice, Baudrillard's notion of simulation, in many respects, is complimentary to Haraway's critique of the natural. For both Baudrillard and Haraway, the system in which the status of the subject is reformulated belongs to the interfaces and interconnections of technological interaction. This rearticulation of the organism blurs the boundaries between virtual and real, exposing the paradox of scientific fact grounded upon non-origins. The conclusion of this paper examines the connections between Baudrillard and feminist engagements with science as a way of further promoting a dialogue between the two.

Haraway and Baudrillard share a commitment to reassessing the status of the natural, origins and the real as they are legitimated by processes of signification based in dualistic thought. Each theorist contests a model of binary difference that has informed and limited an understanding of representation. Both theorize difference in terms of degrees. For Haraway, difference is disturbed by challenging the definitions and boundaries structured by binary thought. She maintains a definitive semiotic relation between the production and circulation of signs, and their location in material reality. In Baudrillard's writings, the challenge to ontological presuppositions depends upon a free play of meaning beyond signification that interrogates notions of the real.

The most significant distinction to be made between Haraway and Baudrillard's understandings of science and culture is located at the site of 'material-semiotic practice'. A term invented and deployed by Haraway, 'material-semiotic practice' is a way of configuring the world associated with the collapse of the material and the metaphorical, and the reassertion of boundaries through which science is understood. For example, Haraway's transgenic mice 'inhabit an unfixed but not infinite material-semiotic field where possible lives are at stake' (Haraway 1997: 119). In making this claim, Haraway reiterates the need to recognize the relation between the material and the cultural, reality and its representation. The free play of signification that Baudrillard endorses is only partly acknowledged by Haraway, for whom materiality operates as a limit point to making sense of the world.

Both theorists acknowledge the shift in contemporary social operations from an industrial age typified by consumption and production to an emerging order of digitality, media and information. As those familiar with Haraway's writing would know, this shift is what she terms an 'informatics of domination' (1985: 80), in later works theorized as the 'New World Order, Inc.' (1997: 6-7). In the process of defining this new order of information culture, Haraway lists the transitions from industrial to information society. And while she names simulation as the mode of figuring reality that replaces representation, Haraway fails to acknowledge or engage with Baudrillard's argument for simulation as a new organizing principle of society. In another context, Haraway claims that a 'higher order structure' such as the genome 'is a figure of the "already written" future' (1997: 100). This echoes clearly Baudrillard's third order of the simulacra, in which the precession of the model already determines the mapping of the genome. Thus while Haraway is willing to deploy Baudrillardian concepts such as obsolescence, inertia, surface and simulation in her definition of a new cultural moment (1985: 80), she resists engaging with such terms as they are deployed by Baudrillard to contest the ontological grounding of traditional value systems. Instead, Haraway maintains a notion of the political located within the material and ideological.

Instead of interpreting technoscientific representations as simulations devoid of signifying power, Haraway asserts that figurations such as the transgenic Oncomouse signify a construction of biotechnology located at the intersections of materiality, cultural fiction, biology and politics. Indeed the strength of her argument resides in her recognition of the complex tensions between these domains, and the collapse of the distinctions between nature and culture, science and society, materiality and representation that define and determine the workings of culture. By upholding the primacy of signifying practice when reading and interpreting the products of science, Haraway fails to consider what constitutes reality, or how it might be understood within a context of simulation culture (a context she comfortably and uncritically adopts).

As the discourses of biotechnology and information technology reshape our understandings of what it means to be human, feminists are forced to critically consider the implications of representational practice that redefines the status of the body. For Haraway, there is always an embodied reality situated with a material context, despite her recognition of the numerous connections, affiliates and hybrid associations between the technological and the natural that usurp the fixity of such categories. Hers is a socialist feminism underpinned by an assumed relation between the image and the real, where representations shape meaning and make realities. These realities are located within, and impact upon, the social, political and cultural frameworks in which they circulate. In this regard, Haraway differs significantly from the position Baudrillard upholds with regard to representation and the body.

Baudrillard's writings and Piccinini's images call into question the structural equation between reality and representation that informs the practices of reading and analyzing the products of scientific discourses. They contest the possibility of constructing an equivalence between the image and reality, as it is these very terms which can no longer be upheld in a system of signs that ensures the image has no definitive meaning. By tapping into the confused cultural space of simulation, Piccinini offers us a site of ambiguity, a transitional place where established dichotomies are no longer sustainable. I argue that the potency of Piccinini's posthuman figurations for feminist thinking lies in an engagement with contemporary simulation culture that functions to create new understandings and possibilities for what a subject might be in techno-culture. This is achieved by a digital practice that challenges limits and boundaries such as those of the species divide, as well as of signifying practice. By displacing the natural, and its associations with reality, humanness and origins, we may begin to articulate alternative feminist responses to the representation of biotechnological discourse.


Baudrillard, Jean. (1993). Symbolic Exchange and Death, (Iain Hamilton Grant, Trans.), London: Sage. (1976).

Baudrillard, Jean. (1994). Simulacra and Simulation, (Sheila Faria Glaser, Trans.), Michigan: University of Michigan Press. (1981).

Fox Keller, Evelyn. (1995a). Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth Century Biology, Colombia: Colombia University Press.

Fox Keller, Evelyn. (1995b). 'Fractured Images of Science, Language and Power: A Post-Modern Optic, or Just Bad Eyesight?', In Vandana Shiva and Ingunn Moser (Eds.), Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, London and New Jersey: Zed Books, 52-67.

Grosz, Elizabeth and de Lepervanche, Marie. (1988). 'Feminism and Science', In Barbara Caine, E.A Grosz and Marie de Lepervanche (Eds.), Crossing Boundaries: Feminism and the Critique of Knowledges, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 5-27.

Haraway, Donna J. (1985). 'A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s', Socialist Review 15(2), 65-107.

Haraway, Donna J. (1991). Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York and London: Routledge.

Haraway, Donna J. (1995). 'Otherworldly Conversations, Terran Topics, Local Terms', In Vandana Shiva and Ingunn Moser (Eds.), Biopolitics: A Feminist Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, London and New Jersey: Zed Books, 69-93.

Haraway, Donna J . (1997). Modest_Witness@Second_Millenium.FemaleMan©_Meets_Oncomouse (TM): Feminism and Technoscience, New York and London: Routledge.

Haraway, Donna J. (2000). How Like A Leaf. Donna J. Haraway: An Interview with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, New York and London: Routledge.

Harding, Sandra. (1986). The Science Question in Feminism, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

Hartouni, Valerie. (1997). Cultural Conceptions: On Reproductive Technologies and the Remaking of Life, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Hennessey, Peter. (1999). 'Patricia Piccinini: Plastic Realist', In Blair French (Ed.), Photo Files: An Australian Photography Reader, Sydney: Power Publishing and Australian Centre for Photography, 247-254.

Hubbard, Ruth. (1990). The Politics of Women's Biology, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Jameson, Fredric. (1983). 'Postmodernism and Consumer Society', In Hal Foster (Ed.), The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays in Postmodern Culture, Seattle: Bay Press, 111-125.

Klein, Naomi. (2000). No Logo, London: Flamingo.

Marchessault, Janine and Sawchuk, Kim (Eds.). (2000). Wild Science: Reading Feminism, Medicine and the Media, London and New York: Routledge.

Nava, Mica. (1992). 'Discriminating or Duped? Young People as Consumers of Advertising/Art', In Mica Nava, Changing Cultures: Feminism, Youth and Consumerism, London: Sage, 171-182.

Piccinini, Patricia. (1996). 'Artist's Statement for The Mutant Genome Project 1994-1995'. Retrieved 3 August 2001 from https://patriciapiccinini.net/pp/tmgp.htn

Piccinini, Patricia. (1997). 'Artist's Statement for Protein Lattice 1997'. Retrieved 3 August 2001 from https://patriciapiccinini.net/pp/plt.htn

Shiva, Vandana and Moser, Ingunn (Eds.). (1995). Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, London and New Jersey: Zed Books.

Back to top


Outskirts online journal

This Page

Last updated:
Tuesday, 13 September, 2011 12:10 PM