New Cartographies, Nomadic Methodologies

Contemporary Arts, Culture and Politics in Ireland

by Anne Goarzin (Volume editor) Maria Parsons (Volume editor)
©2020 Monographs X, 192 Pages
Series: Reimagining Ireland, Volume 96


This volume embraces the critical turn of new materialism in order to address how creative and social practices allow for the definition of alternative subject positions and to examine how power relations operate at an embodied, relatable level: it proposes to think global but act local. The contributions by scholars and artists offer new ways of engaging and understanding Ireland’s contemporary political, activist and artistic landscape. They open up onto epistemological ways of considering not only the inventions of creative and scholarly research and practice, but also invention and experimentation itself. The volume provides a space for conversation and brings out the potential of non-linear thinking by bringing together artists and scholars to consider the materiality of identity and place through the body, migrancy, ecology and digital technologies. The contributors draw new maps, making new connections, diffracting Irish social imaginaries. This multidisciplinary collection proposes strategies and methods to ethically respond to and engage with the complex situations and urgent challenges that preoccupy our contemporary present. There is something in this book for both the specialist and non-specialist alike and it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in new methodologies in Irish studies.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Figures
  • Introduction: New Materialist Encounters (Anne Goarzin and Maria Parsons)
  • Part I Artistic Intra-actions
  • Siobhán McDonald: Force of Nature: Earth Stories (a Conversation with Lisa FitzGerald)
  • Sinéad McDonald: Diffractive Practice: Supercollisions in Art and Science (a Conversation with Maria Parsons)
  • CONTAGION (Rachel Gallagher, Jack Hogan and Moira Tierney)
  • Clodagh Emoe: The Plurality of Existence in the Infinite Expanse of Space and Time
  • Part II Bodies, Performance, Memory
  • Anne Karhio: ‘Dirty matter’: New Material Terrains in Irish Poetry
  • Lisa FitzGerald: Material Bodies: Three Performance-Based Interventions in the Irish Landscape
  • Fiona McCann: ‘Choreographies of becoming’ in Mia Gallagher’s Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland (2016)
  • Part III Shared Places and Diffracted Voices
  • Eva Urban-Devereux: Fractured Liminality in Kabosh’s Green and Blue and Lives in Translation
  • Marie Mianowski: Narrative 4 Story Exchanges: Fostering Empathy
  • Fabrice Mourlon: Performing Jazz and Sharing Creative Spaces: An Interview with David Lyttle
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series Index


Figure 1.1. What Remains (2019)

Figure 1.2. At the Edge of Visibility (2016)

Figure 1.3. Crystalline (2017)

Figure 2.1. Guzman Box (2015)

Figure 2.2. Self-portrait at my Son’s Grave on His Birthday, from the series Uchronia (2016)

Figure 2.3. Cradle, from the series Pellet (2012)

Figure 2.4. Self-Portrait Once Removed, from the series Uchronia (2016)

Figure 3.1. Jack Hogan, ‘brains in pleasure hold water’ (detail); acrylic on wood (2019)

Figure 3.2. Jack Hogan, to drawing in the forever-wet cement of good worlds to come. Finger in pavement (2019)

Figure 3.3. Moira Tierney, film still from Are We There Yet? (2010). 16 mm loop installation. Colour Super 8 mm blown up to 16 mm; 16 mm projector and loop machine; translucent hanging screen; speakers

Figure 3.4. Moira Tierney, 32 Photographs from the Leitrim-Fermanagh Border. Mobile phone photographs, print dimensions variable, colour (2010)

Figure 3.5. Rachel Gallagher, Bus stop on the way to a plant nursery, Antigua (2019)

Figure 4.1. Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora corm found in the garden of Spirasi (2016). Photo: Sean Breithaupt

Figure 4.2. Jean-Marie Rukundo Phillemon and Peter Rukundo, IADT recording studio (2016). Photo: Clodagh Emoe

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Figure 4.3. Marie-Claire and Peter Rukundo at VISUAL Carlow (2016)

Figure 4.4. Jean-Marie Rukundo Phillemon, Marie Claire Mundi, Njong, Siniša Končić, Clodagh Emoe and Peter Rukundo, River Barrow, Co. Carlow (2016)

Figure 10.1. David Lyttle and his Cadillac

Figure 10.2. Tom Harrison (sax) and David Lyttle (drums)

Figure 10.3. David Lyttle in China, 2018

Figure 10.4. Bennigan’s jazz club Derry/Londonderry, 16 August 2016. David Lyttle, Fabrice Mourlon, John Leighton, Conor Murray, Will Anderson, Michael Murray

Anne Goarzin and Maria Parsons

Introduction: New Materialist Encounters

This volume of essays offers new ways of understanding and engaging with Ireland’s contemporary cultural, political, activist and artistic landscape. It emerged out of an international research group on ‘New Materialism’. The group was made up of a cross-section of academics from literature and the visual arts. They became ‘fugitive knowers’,1 ‘nomadic intellectuals’. As a conceptual methodology and practice conceived by the feminist philospher Rosi Braidotti, nomadism is central to this book. Braidotti writes that philosophical nomadism is:

A cartographic approach [that] fulfils the function of providing both exegetical tools and creative theoretical alternatives. [… Cartographies require] account[ing] for one’s location in terms both of space (geo-political or ecological dimension) and time (historical and gene[a];logical dimension), and […] provide alternative figurations or schemes of representation for these locations, in terms of power as restrictive (potestas) but also as empowering or affirmative (potentia).2

Nomadic thought and practice is about intellectual exploration and taking detours. It is ethical and affirmative, ‘tracing lines of flight and zigzagging patterns that undo dominant representations.’3 Or, as the feminist philosopher and physicist Karen Barad has argued, ‘Language has been granted too much power. The linguistic turn, the semiotic turn, the interpretative turn, the cultural turn: it seems that at every turn lately every “thing” – even materiality – is turned into a matter of language or some ←1 | 2→other form of cultural representation.’4 New materialism is a response to the limits of ‘representation’. As Braidotti notes, by the mid-1990s a ‘neo-materialism’ had emerged ‘as a method, a conceptual frame and a political stand, which [refused] the linguistic paradigm, stressing instead the concrete yet complex materiality of bodies immersed in social relations of power.’5 Or, the pivotal statement of Karen Barad, that ‘matter matters’,6 which came to stand as a catch-all for new materialist philosophies. For Barad, ‘Matter is neither fixed and given nor the mere end result of different processes. Matter is produced and productive, generated and generative. Matter is agentive, not a fixed essence or property of things.’7 For Jane Bennett, taking seriously the ‘vitality’ of nonhuman bodies bears political significance, and her seminal book proposes ‘to encourage more intelligent and sustainable engagements with vibrant matter and lively things’.8

New materialism is thus an attempt by a diverse range of theorists and scholars that include Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti, Elizabeth Grosz, Jane Bennett, Iris Van der Tuin, Felicity Colman, Rick Dolphijn, Manuel DeLanda, and others, to radically reappraise materiality and subjectivity. As Coole and Frost note, ‘[these] thinkers suggest a return to the most fundamental questions about the nature of matter and the place of embodied humans within a material world.’9

←2 | 3→

New materialism draws on combinations of feminist theory, science, environmental studies, queer theory, posthumanism, philosophy, cultural theory, biopolitics, critical race theory, and other approaches. It is research-based and inter- and transdisciplinary. As Iris Van der Tuin and Rick Dolphijn note:

New materialism does not intend to add yet another specialized epistemology to the tree of academic knowledge production (Deleuze and Guattari [1980] 1987, 5). As such, it is thus not necessarily opposed to the crude or Historical/Marxist materialist tradition. It is not necessarily different from any other materialist, pragmatic or monist tradition either, since it carefully ‘works through’ all these traditions in order to avoid, along with the trap of antagonism, the trap of anachronism (Lyotard [1988] 1991, 26–27) or of ‘a retrograde movement’ (Bergson [1934] 2007, 11). New materialism says ‘yes, and’ to all of these intellectual traditions, traversing them all, creating strings of thought that, in turn, create a remarkably powerful and fresh ‘rhythm’ in academia today (Simondon [1958] 1980).10

Deleuze and Guattari’s immanent-materialist philosophy informed by a Spinozist, or what they call a radical, or ‘minor’ materialist Enlightenment tradition, is central to new materialism as it opposes transcendental and humanist (dualist) traditions. This includes challenging and reconfiguring the Cartesian mind/body split and the division of nature and culture. ‘Rhizomes’, ‘becomings’, ‘intensities’, ‘lines of flight’, deterritorializations, ‘multiplicities’ and ‘affect’ are central concepts to new materialist methodologies.

New materialism also challenges classificatory epistemic trends and disciplines as pre-determined cutting across linear, teleological narratives of progression to allow for generative, vitalistic modes of desire and production. As van der Tuin and Dolphijn argue:


X, 192
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2020 (April)
Culture and Politics in Ireland Drama Environment Gender performativity Literature Marginality Migrancy New materialism Nomadic Methodologies Posthumanism Responsibility and ethics Visual arts Anne Goarzin Maria Parsons New Cartographies, Nomadic Methodologies Borders
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2020. X, 192 pp., 10 fig. col., 10 fig. b/w

Biographical notes

Anne Goarzin (Volume editor) Maria Parsons (Volume editor)

Maria Parsons is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire. Her research interests are in gender, the body, contemporary critical theory and popular and digital cultures. She has published in the fields of gothic and horror and queer studies. Anne Goarzin is Professor of Irish literature and culture at the University of Rennes 2 France and a member of the research group CRBC (EA 4451). Her research focuses on Irish literature and the visual arts and on contemporary critical theory. She is the chair of the French Society for Irish Studies (SOFEIR) and of GIS E.I.R.E, a research network for Irish studies.


Title: New Cartographies, Nomadic Methodologies
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204 pages