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PhD defence

Bodies within Affect: On Practicing Contaminating Matters through Bioart

Tuesday 13 November 2018
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

Our view of the body as passive biological matter has been tested in the face of gene editing, stem cell research and tissue engineering. Now biotechnological research tells us that bodies may be dead and alive; they may be human and non-human; multiple and yet one. The way we think about bodies, and the way we practice them, marks a particular tension in the way biotechnology treats our bodies. This book explores the conditions of thinking and practicing bodies within affect.

In order to grasp the continuity of thought and practice of bodies, I focus on the concept of affect at work in Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy, in particular, in his reading of Baruch Spinoza and Jakob von Uexküll. The notion of affect is used to understand the relational, contaminating materialities of our bodies, and the term “affect” confronts us with the actual implications of its practicing. I argue that affect, as a transformative relationality, is induced by bioartists and biodesigners who work with living bodies as an artistic medium. Therefore, looking closely at how artists use the relational capacities of bodies in their work, I search for the conditions for practicing bodies within affect.


  • Prof. R. Zwijnenberg


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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