›Fluid Drugs, Plastic Bodies‹
The molecules from which drugs and pharmaceuticals are made are not discovered but rather made and remade. As fluid substances, they are constantly evolving and adapting to their surroundings. These fluid substances are extracted, isolated and modified by researchers in laboratories. Yet they do not achieve their intended effects in controlled laboratory settings but rather within living bodies, before eventually leaching out into the environment. Emilia Sanabria’s talk proposes that it is necessary to think pharmaceutical consumptions alongside these ecological flows of pharmaceutical matter through human and animal bodies that do not end with the skin surface. Pharmaceuticals leak into the world. The intestines, the lungs, the skin and the metabolic system act as zones of exchange between the body and its environment, which is subject to regulatory, post-colonial and chemical influences. In her lecture, Sanabria illustrates with this particular reference to hormones as objects of exchange and knowledge in sexual and reproductive health practices in Brazil and global concerns around endocrine disruption.
Kaushik Sunder Rajan
›On the question of value in biomedicine‹
How is the term value defined in the field of biotechnology? Kaushik Sunder Rajan is Professor of Anthropology and Deputy Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. His current research covers the global interdependencies and changes in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, which he describes by the term ›bio-capital‹. He offers a conceptual interpretation of the meaning of value and argues from the standpoint of an empirical assessment of the life sciences and biomedicine, which have adapted themselves progressively to capitalist and entrepreneurial production methods since the late 20th century. Building on this thesis, he presents a new conceptualization of the concept of value, drawing on Marx’s concept of the »value-form« as constitutive for the dynamics of capital. Thus, he simultaneously reflects upon value in biocapital, and upon methods for its analysis. Sunder Rajan argues that a political approach to capital (and biocapital) must cope continuously with the problems that result from the mergings, contradictions and antinomies that emerge from the polysemous nature of value.
In the framework of: Blue Skies – Bodies in Trouble (10. – 14.07.2019)
The growing impact of technology on life as we know it brings changes to our bodies, our communities and the environment—what can we do? How can we understand and shape these changes collectively? ›Blue Skies‹ is a festival series conceived to run over several years that invites us to think together. The first edition took place at PACT from July 10 to July 14 under the title ›Bodies in Trouble‹ encompassing performances and contemporary art works, panels, discussions and workshops.