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Since 2019, we have our own podcast channel: Radio ArtEZ. The podcast features personal stories and urgent research by ArtEZ students, staff and some of our guests and recordings of Studium Generale events. Listen to Radio ArtEZ here or via your favourite podcast app.

A conversation with Mijke van der Drift and Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko

About Affect as Contamination

dossier: Future Art School

How do artists engage living bodies as creative material? How do they engage our ideas and assumptions of what we consider a body to be and what a body can do? How do they challenge the principles of what life is and the relations we take for granted?

photo: Rana Ghavami

For this podcast, we invited philosopher, researcher and labour organizer Mijke van der Drift to engage with Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko, lecturer and researcher teaching contemporary philosophy and art-science at AKI Academy of Art and Design ArtEZ. Thinking through the lens of contamination, Agnieszka’s recently published book Affect as Contamination: Embodiment in Bioart and Biotechnology uses bioart projects as provocative case studies to rethink affect and bodily practices. Departing from her book, they reflect upon the desire for transformation and the need for its control in our daily infrastructures, ranging from biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to food production and healthcare.

What ethical frameworks are needed to organize and guide our actions when confronted with hard questions and uncomfortable situations that come up when engaging living matter as a creative material? How do we recognize what needs to change and for whom? Can ethics and art prompt us to become more joyful and accountable to transformative processes of justice?

We invite you to listen to this conversation and reflect upon the risks involved when artists experiment with bodies and living matter, and to think through which ‘anchors’ can orient us through the transformation that life inevitably begets.

Show notes

Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin, May the Horse live in me!,an%20injection%20of%20horse%27s%20blood.

The Center For Genomic Gastronomy, Smog Tasting: Smog Synthesizer

Adriana Knouf, Xenological Entanglements. 001a: Trying Plastic Variations

Be-wildering by Jennifer Willet & Kira O’Reilly, 2017, performance

Book Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Shizophrenia 1980

Bio artist Boo Chapple invited by Prof. Rob Zwijnenberg’s honours class Who owns Life? at Leiden University

Baruch Spinoza, Ethics

Špela Petrič, Confronting Vegetal Otherness: Skotopoiesis – semiotic triangle, 2015

Sandilands, Catriona (2017), ‘Vegetate’, in J. J. Cohen and L. Duckert (eds), Veer Ecology: A Companion for Environmental Thinking, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 16–29.

Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoît Mangin, May the Horse live in me!,an%20injection%20of%20horse%27s%20blood.

Donna Haraway, Response-ability in her book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books, 2016. See lecture:

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What Is Philosophy? Translated by Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson. London etc: Verso, 1994. See:

Jacques Ellul: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Michel Serres, Birth of Physics, clinamen press 2000

The Center For Genomic Gastronomy

Adriana Knouf, Xenological Entanglements. 001a: Trying Plastic Variations

Rossi Braidotti :

Lem, Stanisław (2012), Przekładaniec [Layer Cake]. Warszawa: Agora, e-book. Andrzej Wajda, (1968), Layer Cake,

Gilles Deleuze Difference and Repetition. Translated by Paul Patton. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. See:

Denise Ferreira da Silva, On difference without separability

Michel Foucault

Immanuel Kant

Paul B. Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. Translated by Bruce Benderson. New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2013

Dr Luciana Parisi

The Commons


Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko, is a lecturer and researcher teaching contemporary philosophy and art-science relations at AKI Academy of Art and Design ArtEZ since 2017. At AKI, Artez she has founded a biolab space where she runs a BIOMATTERs, an artistic research programme that explores how to work with living matters through hands on engagement, where difficult philosophical, ethical and ecocritical questions are not only discussed but also tangibly faced. Her research focusses on post-humanism, ecocriticism, affect theory and new materialism at the intersection of art, ethics and biotechnology.

Her book Affect as Contamination. Embodiment in Bioart and Biotechnology is thus a result not only of her PhD research, but also her work as an experimentative educator, where next to analytical discussion on embodiment she reveals personal, intimate and often difficult because risky implications of being a body outside the possibility of innocence. Contamination equally in her writing and work as an educator, becomes a way of thinking as well as a way of being that implies reimagination of not only what it means to be a body in the age of biotechnological manipulation, but also how to care and feel responsible when practicing embodiment.

Mijke van der Drift is a philosopher and educator working on ethics, trans studies, and anti-colonial philosophy. Mijke is a tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. Mijke’s work has appeared in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, the Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, in various independent publications as well as chapters in The Emergence of Trans (Routledge 2020), and The New Feminist Literary Studies Reader (Cambridge UP 2020). Van der Drift is founding member of the art collective Red Forest. They have made work for the Milano Triennale (2022), the Helsinki Biennale (2023) as part of their research into Extractivism, Fossil Fascism, and cultures of resistance. With Nat Raha, Mijke is writing Trans Femme Futures.