Erfan Ghiasi is a multi-disciplinary artist and researcher based in Tehran working in different mediums such as documentary photography, performance, installation, and social practices to bring to light that which is unseen and hidden.
The dualism caused by cartesian subjectivism has shaped our understanding of the world. Rene Descartes, the father of modernity, argued that mind and matter are two ontologically different substances mediated by God. This argument becomes the stepping stone of this philosophical movement. Such approach has created a rift between the two notions of Culture- which belongs to human beings- and Nature- which belongs to non-humans and objects- for they are also treated as two substantially different domains. As a consequence, the ontological rift has been created and broken the world into two different realms such as mind and matter, thought and the world, Subject, and Object, Culture and Nature. Regarding this ontological rift, Tim Morton points out to the issue of racism and its relation to ecology and asks this question. "Which comes first, racism or anti-environmentalism? This question has to do with a deep philosophical issue: which subtends the other, racism or speciesism? Does racism exist because we discriminate between humans and every other lifeform? Or does speciesism exist because we hold racist beliefs about people who do not look exactly like us?" My M.F.A thesis, Abject Objects, was my attempt to find an answer to this question and find how racism, ecology, post-humanism, and post-colonial ideas are intertwined problems. I studied Agamben’s Homo Sacer thru the lens of OOO. Inspired by the non-modern and realist approach of Object-Oriented Ontology in continental philosophy and Giorgio Agamben’s book Homo Sacer, Abject Objects explored the consequential result of the taxonomic split between Culture(bios) and Nature(zoē) as two different realms in contemporary societies. Non-modern thinkers such as Bruno Latour and Graham Harman date this split back to the Cartesian dualism. The Onto-Taxonomy between Culture and Nature is tidily linked with modernity as they are also treated as two different realms. One belongs to human beings and the other one belongs to non-humans and objects. Modern philosophy gave rise to taxonomic distinctions between mind and matter, thought and the world, Subject, and Object, Culture and Nature. Further, Agamben argues that “The fundamental categorial pair of Western politics is not that of friend/enemy but that of bare life/political existence, zoē/bios, exclusion/inclusion. There is politics because man is the living being who, in language [logos], separates and opposes himself to his own bare life and, at the same time, maintains himself in relation to the bare life in an inclusive exclusion.” Advancing my ideas presented in my M.F.A thesis, objectives for Posthuman Research Artist Residents will be to delve into ideas that I have worked on such as post-humanism, Anthropocentrism, and Post-colonialism with the emphasize on the Middle East and create links between OOO and Graham Harman’s idea of Real Object with Anthropos and post-humanism. The purpose of my research is to find relations between racism, ecology, and post-colonial ideas and examine the mechanisms by which the ontological status of certain group of human beings reduces to the level of objects.