The Unsettling Eros of Contact Zones: Queering Evolution in the CandidaHomo ecology

Tarsh Bates

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


Candida albicans is a yeast; one species of the hundreds that thrive in the ecologies of the human body. Human bodies are complex and fluid ecologies: warm, moist viscosities and dry, exposed topographies, and hundreds of bacterial species. C. albicans has adapted to almost every ecological niche, inhabiting the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract, settling under foreskins, between toes, and (in)famously the vagina. We have co-evolved; Homo sapiens provides myriad ecological niches for C. albicans. We (Candida and Homo) are in relentless re-orientation, responding to changes in pH, temperature, moisture and nutrients, tentatively traversing the affordances of each other’s bodies. We are animated by chemical transmissions and constant reproduction, transfigured by sensation.

This interdisciplinary research project combines scientific experimentation, art–making, evolutionary ecology and queer theory to posit the human body as a queer ecology. The sexuality, performativity and community of C. albicans within this ecology are explored through the apparatuses of science, art and evolutionary and queer theories. Three aspects of queer being–in–the–world, i.e., sexuality, gender, and kinship, are woven through three aspects of evolutionary theory, i.e., sexual, natural and kin selection, to form heterotopic alliances and learn how to eat better together.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventFEM Meeting 2018 - Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 15 Jun 201818 Jun 2018


ConferenceFEM Meeting 2018
Internet address


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