Monika Bakke: Mineral Companionships of Evolving Environments


Minerals change and diversify when they come into contact with life; mineralogist Robert Hazen has called this response the “intimate interplay of life and rocks”. What we need now is not a belief in the solitude and indifference of minerals, but a celebration of their response-ability to life and creative elaborations on their diversity. Art can offer ways to articulate how minerals and life attract and seduce each other, and how minerals open up to life’s intimate strategies, the outcomes of which cannot be determined. The co-evolution of life and nonlife is a very dynamic process, and the list of known mineral species is open, not only because we have not yet discovered all of them, but also because some of them have yet to evolve. Each intimate encounter between life and minerals is not merely a synthesis of all their past connections; it offers a possibility for companionships and species diversity, which have not yet been envisioned or even dreamed of.

Monika Bakke

is associate professor in the Philosophy Department at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań/Poland. She writes on contemporary art and aesthetics with a particular interest in posthumanist, transspecies and gender perspectives. She is the author of Bio-transfigurations: Art and Aesthetics of Posthumanism (2010, in Polish) and Open Body (2000, in Polish) co-author of Pleroma: Art in Search of Fullness (1998), and editor of Australian Aboriginal Aesthetics (2004, in Polish), Going Aerial: Air, Art, Architecture (2006) and The Life of Air: Dwelling, Communicating, Manipulating (2011). From 2001 till 2017 she was working as an editor of the Polish cultural journal Czas Kultury [Time of Culture]. Her curatorial work includes the art exhibitions: Bio-Reminiscences (Poland), Seeing the Forrest Through the Trees (UK) and Boundless Objects (Portugal). Currently her research focuses on nonlife forces and new articulations of mineral presence in contemporary art and natural history museums.