Pests, Monsters and Biotechnology Chimeras PDF Drucken

Pau Alsina, Raquel Rennó


Nature, power relations and technoscience are articulating a dense woven fabric composed of multiple relational actors. We understand then that biology is a narrative, not the living world itself, and therefore organisms also emerge from a discursive process resulting from both human and nonhuman elements, following a set of material-semiotic actors that become active builders of natural scientific objects. Today, talking about life is to talk about different narratives through which life is defined, as is this narrative that gives meaning and allows its thinking and organizing.


The differentiation between the different practices in biotechnology and bioart must be a crucial element that allows us to tell when the political activism associated with biotechnology becomes moral conservatism, reversal or reduction of the problem and is associated with essentialist conceptions of life implicitly inscribed in moral discourses that should be made explicit.


We are facing a biological warfare with a long tradition and different levels, such as biological sabotage, and, looking into the history of epidemics, we see how often they appear to us associated with wars or military conflicts. For example, we find the first evidence of biological sabotage in the stories of Thucydides on the Peloponnesian War, where he said that the wells were poisoned intentionally. The plagues, epidemics, fear of contagion and infections are fears "beyond than biological" to become social, cultural and political, historical elements.


On the other side of the plagues and epidemics are the monsters that represent the abnormality, and are exempt from classification due to its lack of position, although it is precisely through the monster that we are shown the underside of the norm, the hidden face of the order as a mirror of humanity. The monster pursues as a world connector, relates the real and imaginary, the normal and abnormal, what is permitted and forbidden, what is visible and invisible.
Every age has created its monsters and therefore the monstrous now emerge in the course of this tour, which aims to transform nature to make it only in a material submitted to the servility of the market. Nowadays, the monster has become commonplace, becoming a consumer good between fascination and fear, that leads to the techno-scientific chimera, the product of a rationality that continues to cause disorder. A kind of disorder that allow us understand and investigate what we are told through that monstrosity.


Plagues, epidemics, monsters and chimeras have historically represented the reverse of the norm, the "other" to remove and bury the earth in the hell of the impossible. But today, in the territory of a life increasingly “biotechnologised”, they live with us naturally, producing a new nature non-exempt of a specific biopolitics that regulates and standardize life itself, but in fact life always escapes through the intricacies of future, chance and absolute uncertainty.