Kate Mondloch


A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2018)




In A Capsule Aesthetic, Kate Mondloch examines how new media installation art intervenes in the fields of technoscience and new materialism, showing how three diverse artists—Pipilotti Rist, Patricia Piccinini, and Mariko Mori—contribute to the urgent conversation about everyday technology and the ways it constructs our bodies.

A Capsule Aesthetic establishes the unique insights that feminist theory offers to new media art and new materialisms, offering a fuller picture of human/nonhuman relations. In-depth readings of works by Rist, Piccinini, and Mori explore such questions as the role of the contemporary art museum in our experience of media art, how the human is conceived of by biotechnologies, and how installation art can complicate and enrich contemporary science’s understanding of the brain. With vivid, first-hand descriptions of the artworks, Mondloch takes the reader inside immersive installation pieces, showing how they allow us to inhabit challenging theoretical concepts and nonanthropomorphic perspectives.

Striving to think beyond the anthropocentric and fully consider the material world, A Capsule Aesthetic brings new approaches to questions surrounding our technology-saturated culture and its proliferation of human-to-nonhuman interfaces.


Chapter 1. Eye Desire: New Media Art and New Materialisms after Feminism

Chapter 2. Thinking through Feminism: The Critical Legacy of 1970s and 1980s Feminist Media Art and Theory

Chapter 3. Critical Proximity: Pipilotti Rist’s Exhibited Interfaces and the Contemporary Art Museum

Chapter 4. Unbecoming Human: Patricia Piccinini’s Bioart and Postanthropocentric Posthumanism

Chapter 5. Mind over Matter: Mariko Mori, Art History, and the Neuroscientific Turn

See also multimedia companion publication.

Selected Book Reviews

“[Mondloch] discusses art as a model for creating co-constitutive relations with the non-human and for embodied encounters with the material world. These are extraordinarily ambitious undertakings and define hers as a holistic approach to the many social upheavals and technological developments that are occurring today.” –Ellen Levy, Women’s Art Journal

“Usher[s] in a new line of thinking about the subjective forms of aesthetic experience to which the new media give access.” –Aline Guillermet, Critique d’art

“[A Capsule Aesthethic] models proximal and embodied, yet critically productive engagements with artworks and the conceptual-material practices they present. And it offers new modes of spectatorship-based thinking and theorization – for both viewers and artists alike. … Read it not only as knowledge to be gained, but as a model for critical material practices moving forward.” –Nathaniel Stern, Theory & Event

See also complete list of reviews.