‘Life Without Humankind’ – queer death/life, plastic pollution, and extinction in An Ecosystem of Excess
This article explores Pinar Yoldas’ An Ecosystem of Excess (EOE) (2014) as an example of the potential of eco-art projects to queer normative readings of death and life. Making use of feminist posthumanities and new materialism, the article addresses the artist’s affirmative way of tackling issue of plastic pollution, which is inspired by new scientific discoveries of life forms that can feed on plastics. Departing from my reading of the art project as depicting a future without humankind, I argue that the artwork presents what I refer to as ‘queer death/life’, given that it unsettles normative readings of death by embracing the deadly aspects of plastic pollution as generative of new modes of life. Moreover, I will offer a close analysis of the artwork by engaging with queer readings of plastics as ‘living dead’ matter that is indebted to the compressed bodies of dead ancient nonhuman beings – the petroleum. Finally, in the last section, I will discuss how the artwork space, which is reminiscent of a natural history museum, engages affirmatively with the future, enabling interesting connections between evolution, extinction, and the museum space, considering it as an institution dedicated to immortalising history.
Copyright: Kvinder, Køn & Forskning