Sanem Güvenç-Salgırlı, “How to Familiar-ize Theory-Making”
Its life began for the second time in the muddy cosset of the Grand Union Canal and bit by bit, tentacle by tentacle, it started to compose itself. It plucked eyes off fishes and made them its own; broke their ribs and used them as legs. It made ears out of styrofoam cups, gloves out of coca cola cans, hair out of plastic bags, and hat out of halved footballs. It fought other monsters. It experimented with having feet out of coils and upgrading itself with body parts of mice. It met the person who threw itself to the canal, and did not care. Such has been the life of The Familiar, China Miéville’s abject monster, a tribute to Frankenstein in the lives and times of the posthuman; and this talk is a rejoinder. It’s composed of a series of speculative fragments formulated as responses to the found-discarded texts that I encounter and gather until the time of the workshop. The talk has no predefined telos as such (other than its designated destination), and dwelling in the void and the unknown it experiments with making theory with castaway material. It tries to concoct another brew for how theory and fiction could be infused together, but neither by fictionalizing theory nor by presenting theory in its fictional form. Instead, thinking with/through multiplicity of practices that could be associated with making, it makes theory.
Sanem Güvenç-Salgırlı is a Vancouver based independent scholar whose work stands at the crossroads where political theory meets science studies and are jointly inspired and informed by paradigmatic cases of art and architectural practices. In her emergent research she explores possibilities of political action under states of emergencies, environmental and political alike, and works with the concepts of void, indeterminacy, zone, and idiot. Her earlier research has been published in journals such as Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Social History of Medicine, New Perspectives on Turkey, and Journal of Philosophical Economics. She teaches Critical and Cultural Studies courses at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.