Meet Author Irina Aristarkhova (Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture)

Jan 19 2013 3:30 pm
Irina Aristarkhova was born in Moscow in 1969. She writes on and lectures in comparative feminist theory and contemporary aesthetics. She joined the School of Art & Design faculty as an Associate Professor in 2012. She has held faculty positions at the Pennsylvania State University (University Park), National University of Singapore (where she directed Cyberarts Research Initiative, 2001-2005), and Lasalle College of the Arts.

Aristarkhova’s book Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture(2012) is available from Columbia University Press. More recent articles, "Hospitality and the Maternal" and "Though Shall Not Harm All Living Beings: Feminism, Jainism and Animals," are published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy (27.1 and 27.3, 2012). Ana Prvacki collaborated with Irina Aristarkhova on an art book in 2011. Their "100 Notes – 100 Thoughts No. 043: The Greeting Committee Reports..." is part ofDocumenta 13 publication series, and can be ordered from Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Aristarkhova studied philosophy and sociology at Moscow State University, and did her Master's Degree at the University of Warwick, UK. She completed her PhD in Contemporary French Psychoanalytic Theory at the Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences. She edited and contributed to a volume "Woman Does Not Exist: Contemporary Studies of Sexual Difference" (1999), and the Russian translation of Luce Irigaray's "An Ethics of Sexual Difference" (2005).

Her net-art work "Virtual Chora" was selected and developed for Cyberarts Exhibition, part of NOKIA / Singapore Art festival, and exhibited at Singapore Art Museum in 2001. Ideas that formed this work later became a part of her writing on hospitality, space, matrix and new media, specifically in the text "Hospitality-Chora-Matrix-Cyberspace" (Fisozofski Vestnik XXIII, 2-2002, special editor: Marina Grzinic Mauhler). In 2002 Irina Aristarkhova, together with Faith Wilding, Coco Fusco and Maria Fernandez, started "Undercurrents" - an online discussion list about how cyberfeminism, new technologies, postcoloniality and globalization are interrelated (more  The fundamental relation between technology and difference (aesthetic, cultural, sexual, political, inter-disciplinarity, etc.) remains one of her main areas of interest, and was the topic of a special issue of Leonardo Electronic Almanac under her editorship - "Technology and Difference",  

Her numerous other publications include "Ectogenesis and Mother (as) Machine" (Body and Society, 11:3), and a chapter in the volume "Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination After 1945" (ed. Stimson and Sholette, Minnesota University Press, 2007).


ISBN-13: 9780231159296
Availability: Special Order - Price and Availability Subject to Change
Published: Columbia University Press, 7/2012
The question "Where do we come from?" has fascinated philosophers, scientists, and artists for generations. This book reorients the question of the matrix as a place where everything comes from ( "chora," womb, incubator) by recasting it in terms of acts of "matrixial/maternal hospitality" producing space and matter of and for the other. Irina Aristarkhova theorizes such hospitality with the potential to go beyond tolerance in understanding self/other relations. Building on and critically evaluating a wide range of historical and contemporary scholarship, she applies this theoretical framework to the science, technology, and art of ectogenesis (artificial womb, neonatal incubators, and other types of generation outside of the maternal body) and proves the question "Can the machine nurse?" is critical when approaching and understanding the functional capacities and failures of incubating technologies, such as artificial placenta. Aristarkhova concludes with the science and art of male pregnancy, positioning the condition as a question of the hospitable man and newly defined fatherhood and its challenge to the conception of masculinity as unable to welcome the other.

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