Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta

The Wo/Man Without a Shadow
Event Hours: 29/09/2023 (12:45)
Location: Conference Room [C]
Irini Athanassakis, Dana Papachristou
Keywords: infertility, mass extinction, artificial reproductive technologies, narratives of infertility, images of infertility, world population control, composition, artist talk

About Being Infertile as New Norm(al)

Up to now the thesis: « there is no life without reproduction » seemed to hold. The necessity to reproduce used to be the reason for fertility in mythologies, rituals and religions, ideologies and most narratives. With the current realities of the mass extinction of species, the growing rate of infertility of humans and many other beings can be observed, too. Despite the growth ideologies transcending time and cultures, infertility has always been a reality for many men and women. "The Woman Without a Shadow" by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1919) transformed to an opera by Richard Strauss is one of the cultural testimonials of the strong feelings and social pressure encountered due to infertility. Today reproductive technologies are transgressing many boundaries of what used to be feasible and ethically acceptable. New forms of reproduction and maybe of life might evolve. This will question every single person wishing to procreate in one way or another.
Forecasts show exponential growth rates for infertility. Is infertility going to be the new « normal »? And is this a good thing?

The Image/Text/Sound Composition will be based on series of drawings and a short narrative using texts from different sources in literature, mythologies, religions and hand books about reproductive technologies. It will investigate images, language and sounds linked to infertility and its ambiguity.

Irini Athanassakis

Born in 1968, Irini Athanassakis lives and works as artist and author in the Paris Region, France and on Kea Island, Greece. Trained in Sculpture, Transmedia Arts (Magistra of the Arts) Transfer of Science, Art history and Philosphy (Doctor of Philosophy, University of Applied Arts, Vienna: Die Aktie als Bild, Edited by Springer, Vienna/New York) and economics, she has been working with and about milk and questions of in/fertility and questions of women’s bodies for over ten years. She uses and consideres milk as material and matter that matters and also reflects on milk as system of inclusive economics. She edited the book MILK. Gabe, Lust und Verlust with Passagen Editors, Vienna. The book won the Austrian Award fort he the most beautiful Art book in 2018. Currently she is questioning the concept of KORE, as female figure and her contemporary and future forms being a fellow at w+k interuniversitäre Einrichtung für Wissenschaft und Kunst in Salzburg.

Dana Papachristou

Dana Papachristou is an art theorist and sound artist focusing on the combination of arts with the use of new media and interactivity. Her studies include music, musicology, and media studies. She holds a PhD from Paris 8-Vincennes-St. Denis and the Ionian University on Aesthetics of New Media Arts. She has been involved in interdisciplinary research projects on contemporary music, sound composition and the relationship between sound and other artistic forms, and has participated in many visual, sound and geo-locative projects. She is a founding member of Akoo.o artistic team, in which she works on the composition of sound/audio walks using new geo-locative media technologies. She is also the director of the research centre To Aesthate, which operates as a platform for artistic production and creation. She is currently teaching in the dept. of Culture, Creative media and Industries at the University of Thessaly, and was a visiting scholar at the California Institute of Arts, CalArts in the academic year 2021-22. She is post doctoral researcher at the Ionian University, in the PEARL Research Lab, focusing on performance, body and machine interaction through motion sensors and live coding.


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