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Graphic by Mariah Meawasige (Makoose)

"What Viruses Know About Politics?" Filipa Ramos

Tue, Jan 26/21 – 5:30pm to 7:00pm


Basim Magdy, Blue Mountains, 2004.  Drawing on paper. Image courtesy the artist.

In 2014, social theorist Brian Massumi authored What Animals Teach Us About Politics?, "an extended thought experiment in what an animal politics can be". Seven years later, humanity's belonging to the natural realm has never been so asserted, as human-induced climate change renders the entanglement of causes and consequences even more visible and epidemics expose how intimate are the transactions that continuously take place across different life forms. If the logic of "us" [humans] learning from "them" [animals] needs to be questioned alongside other extractivist legitimisations, it may also be time to widen the reflection on other-than-human politics to understand what other politics and ethics can living and non-living beings shatter, inaugurate and reveal. In this talk, I will explore the possibilities and limits of viral political wisdom and discuss what they disclose of our present and near future.

Image: Basim Magdy, Blue Mountains, 2004.  Drawing on paper. Image courtesy the artist.
Graphic by Mariah Meawasign (Makoose).


Filipa Ramos is a Lisbon-born writer and lecturer based in London. She is interested in thinking with animals and beyond disciplines. She is Curator of Art Basel Film and co-curator of "Bodies of Water", the 13th Shanghai Biennale (2021). She co-founded and co-curates Vdrome, a programme of screenings of artists’ films. She is Lecturer at the MRes Art at Central Saint Martins, London, and the Master Programme of the Arts Institute, Basel. She was Editor in Chief of art-agenda, Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal and contributed for Documenta 13 (2012) and 14 (2017). She edited Animals (Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press, 2016) and curated the group exhibition “Animalesque” (Bildmuseet Umeå, Summer 2019 / BALTIC, Gateshead, Winter 2019/20). She curates the ongoing festival The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish with Lucia Pietroiusti for the Serpentine Galleries, London.

Other MVS Proseminar speakers this winter include: Irenosen Okojie (Feb 23), Rui Amaral (March 23) and a book launch of "Autofiction as a Feminist Practice" by Lauren Fournier in conversation with Pamila Matharu (Mar 16, in partnership with MIT Press and Type Books).


This presentation is part of the Master’s of Visual Studies Proseminar, in partnership with Mercer Union.