Spread the word: mattertext as bio-art

Ağın B.

European Journal of English Studies, vol.26, no.3, pp.439-461, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13825577.2022.2148403
  • Journal Name: European Journal of English Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Communication & Mass Media Index, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.439-461
  • Keywords: Bio-art, posthumanism, new materialisms, diffraction, storied matter, mattertext, Laura Splan
  • TED University Affiliated: No


The recent material turn in the posthumanities has foregrounded the idea that agency is not unique to humans but is a shared capacity of all bodily natures of the planet. With this convolution–or rather the deconstruction–of the conventional ways of producing knowledge, the research methodologies at hand have experienced a turn towards a postqualitative mindset, which revolves around the idea of diffraction rather than reflection, and becoming-with the object of analysis, thus necessitating the involvement of the so-called knowing subject into their own research. Bridging the ontological gap between the observer and the observed, the posthumanist/new materialist theories underline the inextricable links between nature and culture, human and nonhuman, and matter and text. Built on these premises, this article presents two vignettes enmeshed with the theoretical concepts from the posthumanities and thereby diffractively reads Laura Splan’s bio-artistic practices on SARS-CoV-2 as embodiments of what the author calls “mattertextuality.” Splan’s work creates conversations between the artistic and the scholarly, while the artist’s engagement with her own work enhances further dialogues with the author’s academic research on her coined term, “mattertext.”.