Microscopic Life Conference 15th March

“Microscopic Life in 20th- and 21st-Century Performance”

La vie microscopique dans les arts vivants des XXe et XXIe siècles


Fondation Maison des Sciences de L’Homme, 54 bd Raspail – Le Comptoir (1er étage)

9.00                 Welcome: Gisèle Séginger, director of the Biohumanities programme

9.15-10.15      Panel 1

– Violaine Heyraud (Sorbonne Nouvelle) : « Le microbe dans les intrigues du théâtre de Grand-Guignol (1905-1930) : agent ou instrument ? »

– Daniel Ibrahim Abdalla (University of Liverpool), “‘A Strange and Secret Thing’: Staging Heredity in the Harlem Renaissance”

10.15-10.45    Coffee Break

10.45-12.00    Panel 2

– Patrick Armstrong (Cambridge University), “Samuel Beckett’s Magnifiers”

– Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr (University of Oxford), “Medicine Show (1940) and ‘the Unseen Enemy’” 

– Elisabeth Darrobers (Sorbonne Université) and Wallerand Bazin (University of Oxford), “Screening the probiotic: Jumping microbial and geomorphic scales on stage”

12.00-13.30    Lunch

13.30-14.30    Panel 3

– Martin Grünfeld (University of Copenhagen), “Notes from a museum underground: on the troubled curation of metabolic wizardry”

– Diya Mehta and Claire Nettleton (Benton Museum of Art, Pomona College), “Microculture: Microbial Performances at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College”

14.30-14.45    Short Break

14.45-16.00    Panel 4

– Marcela Moura (Sorbonne Nouvelle and UNIRIO), « Analyse systémique des interactions au sein de la performance ‘From plankton to human bodies : the dance of interacting types’ »

– Lois Oppenheim (Montclair State University), “Interoception and Reception: Performing and Viewing the Language of Gaga in ‘Naharin’s Virus’”

– Rosa Postlethwaite (Coventry University and Aarhus University), ““Solos” with Sourdough: Dramaturgy with other-than-human species”

16.00-16.30    Coffee Break

16.30-17.45    Panel 5

– Amandine Mercier (Université d’Artois), « Mise en scène, incarnation et dramaturgie de la vie microscopique : projections des gamètes mâles sur les scènes du théâtre de Romeo Castellucci »

– Alison Humphrey (York University), “Embodying the Uncanny in Shadowpox: The Cytokine Storm

– Tarsh Bates (Umeå University), “Microbial sense-ability: olfactory art, metabolism and queer microperformativity”

Organisers: Liliane Campos (Sorbonne Nouvelle), François-Joseph Lapointe (Université de Montréal) and Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr (Oxford University)

This events is part of the BioCriticism project (https://biocriticism.hypotheses.org/), supported by the Sorbonne Nouvelle, the Institut Universitaire de France and the FMSH “Biohumanities” programme.

BIOCRITICISM webinar – 8th of March -“Tiny New World : French Visual Culture and the Microbial Imaginary since the Early Twentieth Century”

“Tiny New World : French Visual Culture and the Microbial Imaginary since the Early Twentieth Century”

8th of March 2024, 2 pm CET

Speaker: Dr. Fleur Hopkins-Loféron (CNRS and THALIM laboratory, Sorbonne Nouvelle University)

Respondent: Prof. Kirsten Shepherd-Barr (University of Oxford)


Meeting ID: 840 5671 1478
Passcode: 529273

Abstract: From the beginning of the 20th century, the French media imagination was struck by what was called the “microbial fury”, in the wake of Louis Pasteur. Microbes were everywhere, in the form of “love microbes” or “jealousy microbes” in vaudeville plays, as the main character in novels of scientific imagination or as a decorative element in Art Nouveau wallpapers. By presenting the rich multiform imaginary of the microbe in the twentieth century, in the visual and intellectual culture of the time (invader, tiny beauty, miniature world, chimera, monster, etc.), this talk intends to question the metamorphosis that this mysterious being has undergone over time (ally, individual, source of life, etc.). Particular emphasis will be placed on the visual cultures of the sublime, miniaturisation and the infinitely small.

Fleur Hopkins-Loféron is a postdoctoral researcher at the CNRS (UMR THALIM). Her work focuses on the points of contact between scientific imagination, history of science and technology, and the occult. Her thesis focused on early French science fiction, and in particular the merveilleux-scientifique movement (Voir l’invisible. Histoire visuelle du mouvement merveilleux-scientifique (1909-1930), Champ Vallon, 2023). Her most recent research studies the success of a form of fakirism à la française in Paris in the 1930s (Fakir. De l’Homme de Douleur au gourou, PUF, 2024). She is also the editor of the “Fantascope” collection, published by L’Arbre Vengeur, which is dedicated to the re-publication of tales of the scientific imagination. A regular contributor to La Septième Obsession and Les Cahiers de la BD, as well as artistic adviser to Le Dessous des images on Arte, she explores popular culture in all its forms (Mercredi. Icône gothique, Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2023). 

Kirsten E Shepherd-Barr is Professor of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Oxford.  Her books include Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (2015), Science on Stage:  From Dr Faustus to Copenhagen (2006), and theCambridge Companion to Theatre and Science (2020). She is also co-author, with Hannah Simpson, of two recent articles on theatrical engagements with climate change.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search