Simon(e) van Saarloos: Science Without Man: Future Ghosts in a(n) rAtioNAL Space


Advisor/tutor: Antonia Majaca

August 2020


Using my own, possibly fake origin story as the child of a physicist and a classical languages teacher—a child bound between the binary of mom/Dad, soft/Hard, female/Male, black/White, chaos/Order, loss/Gain, lies/Truth—I reflect on a three-month artistic residency at a nanoscience institute. Following Black feminist philosophy, I examine the categories of understanding in the white, masculine, rational realm of the scientific institute (The Institute) and how these categories of understanding and differentiation produce naturalized, societal inequalities. Through the narration of experiential and emotional stories of my presence at The Institute, I attempt to imagine a science that begins from story—the unstable, shimmering, nonsensical kind. This thesis counters the traditional narratives of scarcity and accumulation as freedom, binary structures, the naturally selected and the naturally dysselected. “Science Without Man” centralizes absence as a potential space of knowledge, instead of it signifying a lack as a minus in opposition to a plus. Inspired by quantum entanglement, non-locality, uncertainty, sensorial mapping, abundance and chaos, Denise Ferreira Da Silva, Black Quantum Futurism, and Sylvia Wynter, this thesis hopes to both show and hide glimpses of knowing otherwise.