[ISEA2020] Artist Statement: Stephanie Rothenberg — Aquadisia

Artist Statement


Tags: Cyborg, Immersive Website, Participatory, Performance

Aquadisia explores the queering of biopolitical power in the quest to engineer nonhuman life for human survival. For ISEA 2020, the project manifests as an immersive website and participatory performance about a new species of cyborg oysters that can cure climate change. Merging fact and fiction, the narrative centers around the genetic modification of a new species of cyborg oysters that can convert toxic water into an aphrodisia-inducing fluid. Harvested in innovative aquaculture farms, the fluid is piped into municipal water sources. By simply turning on your kitchen faucet, you can pour a glass of this magical liquid and take part in a more-than-human experience.

Playing on the libidinal myth of the oyster, a hermaphroditic organism, the project explores aphrodisia as a more sentient state of being and empowerment. The sensations move beyond mere sexual connotations into an awakened state of “Aquadisia” – a Sentience 2.0. It questions the contradictions within new technological models of bioengineering that can often adversely affect nonhuman life, and how creating more sentient and perceptible “humans” might be another path to consider.

The immersive website offers a glimpse into how the science meets a new Sentience 2.0. To participate in the performance, participants must log-on to the website and connect to the Aquadisia Network. And be sure to have a glass of water ready! aquadisia.net

Performers: Lindsey Griffith, Annette Daniels Taylor & Felipe Shibuya
Website designer: Caco Peguero/United Futures

  • Stephanie Rothenberg’s interdisciplinary art draws from digital culture, science and economics to explore relationships between human designed systems and biological ecosystems. Moving between real and virtual spaces her work investigates the power dynamics of techno utopias, global economics and outsourced labor. She has exhibited throughout the US and internationally in venues including Eyebeam (US), Sundance Film Festival (US), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art / MASS MoCA (US), House of Electronic Arts / HeK (CH), LABoral (ES), Transmediale (DE), and ZKM Center for Art & Media (DE). She is a recipient of numerous awards, most recently from the Harpo Foundation and Creative Capital. Residencies include ZK/U Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin, TOKAS / Tokyo Art and Space, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, Eyebeam Art and Technology and the Santa Fe Art Institute. She is Associate Professor of Art at SUNY Buffalo, USA. stephanierothenberg.com