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Junk art: The art that needs to be understood – Autoethnographic perspective

Published onJun 29, 2022

Karolina Żyniewicz is an artist (2009 graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, Department of Visual Arts), researcher and Ph.D. student (nature–culture transdisciplinary Ph.D. programme at Artes Liberales Faculty, University of Warsaw). Working in a laboratory (mostly at the Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw) locates
her works in the field of bio art, although she tries to avoid using this term. She sees her liminal activity as situated knowledge production. She is mostly focused on life in its broad understanding. Her projects have a mostly conceptual, critical character. The main point of her Ph.D. research interest is multilevel relations emerging during the realization of liminal projects. She tries to put her observations, in the context of science and technology studies (STS) and the Actor-Network Theory by Bruno Latour and feminist humanities.

For Technoetic Arts 18.2-3 , special issue “Taboo–Transgression–Transcendence in Art & Science”, Karolina Żyniewicz wrote Junk art: The art that needs to be understood – Autoethnographic perspective (pp. 113–124 ):

“Thierry Bardini, in his book titled Junkware, proposed that the apt name for contemporary art would be junk art. He stressed the significant change taking place in art: that the narration and explanatory discourse run by an artist is more important than the visual outcome of the project. According to the knowledge from STS (especially Bruno Latour’s writing), knowledge production is based on multilevel translations. Art based on science can be seen as a kind of translation as well. The production of biological knowledge and bio art creation looks pretty similar, being based on the same laboratory protocols. However, something interesting is happening regarding bio art’s presentations in galleries or museums. The audience is usually unfamiliar with the laboratory work process, which results in something akin to getting just one layer of that translation cake. What is the role of an institution in making junk art readable? What does being lost in translation mean in this context? To work on the questions, I use my autoethnographic notes from the performative killing of my cells (immortalized B lymphocytes), which took place at the opening of an exhibition titled Beyond Borders: Processed Body – Expanded Brain – Distributed Agency at Gallery Łaźnia in Gdańsk (18 December 2019).”

Żyniewicz, Karolina ([2020] 2022), ‘Junk art: The art that needs to be understood – Autoethnographic perspective’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, 18:2&3, pp. 113–24,

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Volume 18 Numbers 2 & 3,, © 2020 Intellect Ltd.

||| Founding Editor: Roy Ascott Issue 18.2-3 Editor: Dalila Honorato Editorial Organism: Tom Ascott, John Bardakos, Dalila Honorato, Hu Yong, Claudia Jacques, Claudia Westermann Production Manager: Faith Newcombe

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