Ruby de Vos | University of Groningen | Living with Toxicity: Mapping the Toxic in Contemporary Culture | Supervisors: Vera Alexander, Pablo Valdivia
Toxicity is an urgent concern in today’s world, affecting bodies and environments (Alaimo 2010). At the same time, it presents ambivalent challenges in the context of cultures and the arts as it exerts a complex fascination on artists, writers and the general public, and spans a wide range of contradictory images and narratives (Buell 1998, Nixon 2011, Chen 2012). Indeed, toxicity can be defined as a cultural-material hybrid: it manifests itself materially, in its effects on bodies and environments, as well as culturally and discursively. By mapping the engagement of contemporary memoirs, documentaries, and visual art concerned with the effects of chemical and nuclear toxicity on bodies and environments, Living with Toxicity aims at a critical analysis of the aesthetic, relational, and material interactions that emerge due to toxicity, and contributes to the theorization of the relationship between toxicity and art.