Plastisphere: the Queer Futurity of Plastic

“Plastic is often thought of as a malleable material; its metaphorical connotation, plasticity, implies movement and shape shifting. However, plastic is actually one of the most durable compounds on earth and its presence is reshaping the ecosystems that it proliferates within. For many animals, chemical plasticisers – most infamously Bisphenol A (or BPA) – mimic natural hormones, rendering us less and less fertile. Plastic is also becoming the anthropogenic substrate of a whole new ecology of viruses and bacteria, termed the plastisphere. Plastic, and its associated plasticisers, are among the many anthropogenic compounds that are heralding-in an increasingly infertile future, or a future filled with strange new life forms. While this forecast is certainly horrific, what might queer theory, disability studies, and theoretical approaches to the notion of toxicity teach us? In other words, if instead of running from these toxic and infertile futures, as Mel Chen, Claire Colebrook and others suggest, what might we learn if we began to embrace the nonfilial progeny that plastic, and the plastisphere, might produce?”
-Heather Davis

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