Para-site-seeing: : Working with deadly mobilities in art and science.

Southern, Jen and Dillon, Rod (2021) Para-site-seeing: : Working with deadly mobilities in art and science. In: Im|mobile lives in turbulent times, 2021-07-08 - 2021-07-09.

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Para-site-seeing is an art-science collaboration by the authors that uses the deadly Leishmania parasite as a guide to multispecies travel. The art work was initially a travel-blogging portal narrated from the parasites perspective, and then became Para-Site-Seeing: Departure Lounge in which the same narratives were embedded into an airport installation. This paper discusses the global mobilities of Leishmania, and the ethical considerations of anthropomorphising a deadly parasite in a multi-species travel narrative. The parasites mobility ranges from micro-movements through the sand fly gut, to historical and global migrations within the bodies of humans and other mammals, and travel between labs as elite research colonies. Through the work we generated playful narratives from the parasite’s perspective, but we also produced a problem. How could it be ethical to make work that anthropomorphises a deadly human parasite? Is it possible to proceed with care for both the parasite and the humans it affects? We suggest that by layering complex stories in an accessible way we can explore the multiplicity involved in producing the scientific work. Through caring both for and about the mobilities of Leishmania the work revealed the parasite in all its contaminated diversity, at large in the world as well as the laboratory. By thinking through art, mobilities and scientific research together, we can approach deadliness with care.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
Im|mobile lives in turbulent times : Methods and Practices of Mobilities Research
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Deposited On:
05 Aug 2021 15:00
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 01:28