Abstract: In this essay, we draw on multidisciplinary scholarship and artistic interventions that we consider to be instances of anti-systematic practice, wherein artists’ use of their own biological data and matter supports material research, and catalyzes alternative, embodied knowledge production of the self. While an anti-systematic practice builds on systematizing biomedical tools and practices, its primary aim is to integrate that general knowledge with complex, contextualized experiences for deeper collective self-understanding. The datafication of the self through wearable self-tracking technologies expands our capability to build bodily knowledge, but simultaneously entails pervasive (micro)biosurveillance and reproduces an internalized, isolating neoliberal ethos. Technological advances can constitute forms of (micro)biopower that dominate, control, classify, and govern our life on a molecular level. We consider theory and art practice that domesticates and demystifies biotechnology and citatresits or subverts forms of (micro)biopower, while engaging with medical knowledge and biotechnological capability for bodily observation. The works we describe invite participation in collective body projects and empower self-understanding that arises from collaborative conceptualization of alternate futures.
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