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BIOART COVEN, 2021-present
Bioart Coven is an international collective of over 75 artists, makers, and activists; witches, witchcraft enthusiasts, and feminists; technophiles, hackers, scientists, and healthcare workers; women, transgender, and nonbinary individuals; students, researchers, and open-minded thinkers—all of whom have gathered around a powerful, niche set of sociopolitical interests. These interests are best encapsulated as a promiscuous interchange between witchcraft and technofeminism, or technofemininst witchcraft. Bioart Coven first evolved from WhiteFeather's research and artistic practice, expanding through her offering of a five-week online course entitled, Bioart Coven: Surveying and creating at the intersection of contemporary witchcraft and biotechnologies, through the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe (Berlin, DE) in 2021 and 2022. The course explores alternative witchcraft histories—such as those presented by feminist social scientists, Silvia Federici and Donna Haraway—along with contemporary recontextualizations by artists whose practices are rooted in posthuman ecofeminism. Participants were also led in hands-on activities such as basic fermentation techniques, microbiology protocols and constructing DIY labware in kitchens or other domestic (non-lab) spaces. The course(s) culminated in collaboratively designed and co-performed closing rituals. The Bioart Coven name gives an appreciative nod to, and adapts of the title of the book, Bioart Kitchen; Art, Feminism and Technoscience by Lindsay Kelley (2016, IB Tauris). Bioart Kitchen was recommended reading for participants, as Kelley touches on the history of domestic labour and its role in sci-tech development, revisited through a feminist lens. However, important to note is that Kelley doesn’t mention or allude to witches, though so many of us have worked from our kitchens. The figure of the witch is intimately linked with the birth, development, and socioeconomic expansion of industrial technologies, including biotechnologies, and thus necessitates a chapter in the full story. Participants across all iterations of the course have engaged as a collective to co-author the Bioart Coven Manifesto, a living document shaped using an adapted ‘exquisite corpse’ exercise. This non-hierarchical approach mirrors principles of feminist community building, through what Marysia Zalewski describes as, ‘the production of a composite image through collective means,’ within the context of feminist international relations. The manifesto allows for the enduring development of a diverse, yet shared vision and call to action. Various iterations present snapshots in time—like tree rings, or the organic, autobiographical growth patterning of a living entity. The Bioart Coven Manifesto, in its first iteration, was published as part of OCCULT STUDIES, Vol. 2: Revolution by Snake Hair Press, US (Fall 2021) and is available as a limited edition risograph chapbook. Its second iteration is published in the Earthkeeper's Handbook by ecoartspace, New Mexico, US (Feb 2023) and will be available in print or as an online digital copy.
Bioart Coven members include:
WhiteFeather Hunter with Yris Apsit, Maren Becker, Bethan Burnside, Ellie Bush, Ana Sofía Camarga, Nadia Campo Woytuk, Claire Cassidy, Cherry Cheng, Giorgia Chiarion, Laura Cincera, Kelsey Chen, Klau Chinche, Elly Cho, Cristina Dezi, Kasey Edgerton, Stephanie Farah, Isabel Farina, Frog the Parhelia, Cassidy Fuller, Juliet Gentile, John Girgis, Mara Goldwyn, Dorota Grajewska, Tanja Hernandez, Su Kim, Eleonore Khuen-Belasi, Johanna Kleinen, Tessa Kugel, Gwen Liu, Becky Lyon, Josee Marchand, Giulia Mattera, Blanca Martinez, Kirstie McCallum, Molly McKinney, Ira Melkonyan, Nathalie Miebach, Phillip MM, Kaajal Modi, Mona Nasser, Kath O'Donnell, Michelle O’Higgins, Tess O’Leary, Siryne Loued, Tiffany Otto, Carol Padberg, Liz Pagett, Hanna (Xyana) Paniutsich, Tara Pattenden, Iman Person, Laura Pföhler, Cathryn Ploehn, Ella Raetzer, Juliet Rania, Nadja Reifer, Babsi Riegler, Eliza Robertson, Kit Ondaatje Rolls, Natalia Sánchez Querubín, Marisa Satsia, Megan Scott, Miranda Shou, Leila Simonian, Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, Sabine Steiger, Serina Tarkhanian, Christale Terris, Giulia Tomasello, Matteo Uguzzoni, Rachel Uwa, Puck Verkade, Tanya Vlach, Beatrice Zaidenberg, and Laura Zittrain.
Bioart Coven wearable merchandise is available here.
Bioart Coven stickers are available here.
(more information/images to come)
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