Research Output per year
Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher interested in the aesthetics of interspecies relationships and the human as a queer ecology. She has a PhD in Biological Art and is currently a research associate at SymbioticA, UWA and The Seed Box, Linköping University. She has worked variously as a pizza delivery driver, a fruit and vegetable stacker, a toilet paper packer, a researcher in compost science and waste management, a honeybee ejaculator, an art gallery invigilator, a raspberry picker, a lecturer/tutor in art/science, art history, gender & technology, posthumanism, counter realism and popular culture, an editor, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.
Roles and responsibilities
Postdoctoral Research Associate, SymbioticA and The Seed Box, Linköping University, Sweden
Visual Art Co-Chair Gender Diversity in Music and Art 16-19 July 2019
Co-Convenor Quite Frankly: Its a Monster Conference 18-19 October 2018
Curator This Mess We're In 13 October - 2 November 2018 Unhallowed Arts Festival 2018
Unnatural evolution and microbiopolitics in the CandidaHomo ecology
A SymbioticA and The Seed Box research project, in association with the Hammer laboratory UWA and SynthSys University of Edinburgh
A practice-led exploration of yeast, synthetic biology, microbiopolitics and queer ecologies.
The health industry has been turned on its head by the discovery of the importance of the human microbiome. What is the role of our microbiome in our health? Can we enhance our “good” bacteria and eliminate the “bad”? Probiotic yoghurts and fermented drinks are all the rage. “Poop in a pill” is set to become the newest treatment for those afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue and other gastro-intestinal disorders. Synthetic biology research is starting to look to the potential for engineering a healthier human ecology. The biological and cultural implications of this research are rarely considered. Our micro-ecologies are more complex than we ever imagined and are engaged in minute feedback loops with our metabolisms and immune systems. Microorganisms tend to interact and evolve in unanticipated directions and rapidly develop anti-biotic resistance. The composition of a healthy human ecology is far from defined. Synthetic biology may offer possibilities for eliminating disease and improving health. However, it may also stimulate new eugenics based on our microbial fingerprints. Some children are already prevented from receiving public education because their parents do not support vaccination.
Artistic research about contemporary biotechnologies and biosciences provides unique methods for exploring the cultural implications of manipulating life in the twenty first century. Art prompts emotional responses that generate considerations of the ethical, political and social implications of incorporating these technologies in our lives. Some of the questions that need to be asked about the development of genetically engineered health include: What are the consequences of eliminating “bad” organisms whose presence actually stops “good” bacteria from turning “bad”? How might this affect brain development or mental health? What opportunities might we miss by ignoring the adaptations made by people with disease? Who would have access to these new technologies? What might feminist, queer, race or “crip” considerations of synthesising human health reveal? How might these technologies affect the microbes themselves?
This project is hosted by SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia and funded by The Seed Box, Linköping University, Sweden. It is conducted in association with the Hammer lab, The University of Western Australia, the Engineering Life research group, University of Edinburgh and the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology. It comprises three subprojects: DISCARD, Crossing Kingdoms and Olfactories.
- queer ecologies
- Candida albicans
- biological art
- queer and feminist theory
- interspecies aesthetics
- queer evolutionary theory
- trans* theory
Research output: Thesis › Doctoral Thesis
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Research output: Contribution to conference › Conference presentation/ephemera
Activities per year
Activity: Memberships › Membership of committee