maandag 20 maart 2023

Hiroshi Yoshioka. “Cultural Parasitology: Art in it's Sociopolitical Complexity.”

“Enlarging the discourse on art was one of the most important ideas when I started the critical journal Diatxt. In 2000. In the sixth volume of the journal title "Parasite Paradise", I interviewed Dr. Koichiro Fujita. Dr. Fujita was then a professor at the graduate department of Environmental Parasitology at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, since 1987. His speciality is parasitology and infection immunology. Besides his academic achievements, he has written many books for general readers. There he argues for a better relationship between humans and parasites, and humans and pets. He has warned of the dangers of people obsessed with cleaniness in Japan, an obsession driven by a wide range of industries. “ 


Before modern times, there was a deep symbiotic relation between roundworms and people in Japan. In the Edo period, people thought it normal to be infected by parasites, no matter what the authorities might think. Leyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun of the Edo Period, promoted the immigration of seventy hundred thousand people to the region that is today’s Tokyo, and he tried to establish a self-sufficient food production system. But the land was not fertile enough to supply food to such a large population. So the Shogun decided to fertilize the soil by using excrement. Thus, in the Edo period, waste from the human body became one of the most important items of distribution. It was even called “Kim-p” (gold manure). Naturally, in this system, roundworms infected many people. They tried to reduce the chance of infection by keeping excreta in receptables. During the natural process of fermentation, the heat produced kills eggs of roudworms. There were many other methods, but none of them led to complete extermination. People at that time allowed parasites to enter their body, thinking, “well, it’s OK, if its not too many”.(..)

“In the globalizing industrial society, art and culture are sometimes treated as less important, or even “parasitic” acitivities because they don’t directly contribute to prosperity. What has happened under the name of “university reformation” in Japan for the last two decades is the introduction of market principles into academic institutions. As the result, technology and business have been dramatically reinforced while humanities have been “restructured” in many universities. It is a pity. The most serious influence of this “reformation”, however, is the standardization of any kind of academic knowledge according to the productivity model of technology. That’s why we, those who work on art and culture, have to develop “parasitic” strategies, I think. There is nothing shamefull about being a parasite, as every life is more or less parasitic. “ 

 Hiroshi Yoshioka  (in Interface Cultures: Artistic Aspects of Interaction 2008) 

In 2014 Hiroshi Yoshioka was also editor in chief of the semi official para-zine as part of "Parasophia" at the Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture :


 “Parasophia, the newspaper isn’t focused on advertising the exhibition. In that sense, Parazine is “semi-official,” and you could say that it’s basically a “parasite” living off of Parasophia. We help our host by spreading the word, and in return, we get to do what we want. Even though we don’t directly advertise the exhibition, the fact that they are allowing us this degree of freedom publicly demonstrates Parasophia’s open-mindedness, and I think that in the end this is the best publicity for Parasophia.”


#cultural_parasitology #synchronicity_of_parasites #synchronicityofparasite #parasite_zinelibrary #occidental_parasitology


maandag 29 augustus 2022

Sonbeek 20->24 Parasite-Radio Para-DAI

Thinking through the Para: beside, alongside parallel currents, paranormal paradigmes Sonsbeek20>24 COOP collective explores the para parasite on site from Performing Arts Forum with a live broadcast on ice on Thursday evening at 19:00 pm. Through this program we work with the para as a proximity and an entry point to various dubs in relation to the notion of ‘speaking nearby’ as coined by filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha. We invite you to paradoxically parachute your voices to our play of public sonic intimacy.

 Parasite Radio explores the (digital) ether as a possible exhibition space, situating sound and oral cultures, across histories, languages and geographies. Sonsbeek presents radio as a methodology that searches, listens, travels, guests, and hosts from different sites, both online and offline, in Arnhem, Europe, and the world. Connected to sonsbeek20→24’s main topic of concern, Parasite Radio looks into, narrates and documents the different layers and entangled relations between labor and the sonic, in the past, present and future. Parasite Radio is of young and old, migrant, undocumented, retired, non workers and workers of all métiers alike. During these exceptional times, with many people cut off from social life and ideas of communality, Radio Parasite aims to “step into the complicated maze of experience that renders “ordinary” folks so extraordinarily multifaceted, diverse, and complicated”. sonsbeek20→24  kick off in Arnhem: we invite you to listen, speak, gossip, jam and hang out with us at WALTER books, on the air, online and offline.

zaterdag 11 december 2021

a parasite from outer space

A Parasite from Outer Space: How Sergei Kurekhin Proved That Lenin Was a Mushroom
alexei yurchak (2011)
(Kurekhin) infiltrated the
system’s internal structure like a parasite, faithfully reproducing the forms
of its political rhetoric (..) and,
in so doing, presented the absurd core of this system that its own reforms
had inadvertently unclothed. In truth, the authentic, uncorrupted foundation
of the Soviet system, to which the party claimed it was necessary to return,
could not really be known and was, therefore, open to any interpretation,
including the interpretation that it had been a mushroom.(..)

What I do is something different—it is a form
of parasitising on an existing archetype. This is precisely what I do—
parasitising. I am a parasite. And also a bastard, a cretin, and a piece of
shit.” These last words were added with a chuckle, to distance himself
from didactic seriousness, but his analysis was anything but a joke. Kure-
khin added: “I would like to introduce the word parasite as a new term.”
Indeed, this term proves remarkably precise in describing the politics
of his aesthetic method. Kurekhin explained: “A parasite is ambivalent.
Being a parasite vis-à-vis a system means, on the one hand, possessing a
structure that is completely independent of the system, but, on the other
hand, being part of the system, feeding off it. . . . Parasitizing is like looking
deep into things—not negating, ridiculing, or judging them, but mak-
ing visible their internal criteria.” Kurekhin suggested that the relation
of the parasite to the organism, or system, that it inhabits goes beyond
the binary opposition between being a part of something and being an
external intruder. Instead, their relationship is symbiotic: the parasite
forces the system to change in order to accommodate or expel it. 

maandag 29 november 2021

The parasite (barber’s pole worm) in the first image is caught up in a fungus parasiting the parasite. The second image (wizards net) is a one year parasite that grows on other plants
I got caught up with these images because they mapped seemingly effortless onto some internal representation of the contemporary liberal subject caught in a web of datasystems evolving towards some increasingly intelligent, self-observing colonizing meta-system (or immobilized by a global pandemic). This getting caught up by images that have a tight fit within some internal neurological constellation is almost inevitable when your eyes are 24-7 exposed to an enless variety of millions of images.
Entanglement is one thing, being caught-up into something is another.
What are the options for the parasitic worm to gain some kind of agency when it finds its self taken-over by the fungus? The entanglement is not just a knot to be unravelled some eco-bondage experiment. In both images there is also a crossing of the physical boundary, a penetration of the body of one parasite by another. This caught-up self may still exercise voluntary muscular movement, but this does no longer result in the habitual walk towards a self-determined goal. It is a pushing and pulling within the tight grip of the fungus that now not only constitutes the environment but is directly facing the self within.
One thing that made parasites parasites is their ability to progressively adapt by simplification. For example by losing limbs and eyesight in the case of intestinal worms. Or by exaptation. An extreme example maybe how mitochondria may have been parasites caught up in cells and now have become a kind of energy plants within the cell. Depending on ones standpoint, the mitochondria have been imprisoned and enslaved by a larger system or the body maybe an extension of the mitochondria cunningly manipulated to believing it is taking the necessary for its own survival while it is actually guaranteeing that of the parasite. The drawing imagines two possible -somewhat megalomaniac- storylines in which a fictional group of worms caught up in some parasitic system adapt by simplification to regain some form of self-determination:

1.give up individual goal directed movement and focus on collective coordinated movement by exaptating the web into a collective body.
2.give up individual as well as collective movement and reverse agency by coercive reprogramming from within the infected self

woensdag 24 november 2021

the intellectual as a parasite


original image

“the journalistic policy of the new paper…be that of advocate and special pleader of the poor classes as against the whole plutocratic and aristocratic combinations, political, economic, and social.” (Spokane press 1909 spokane press)

The parasitic in the 1909 cartoon in the Spokane Press (by Johnny Gruelle?) is represented by the smooth talking intellectual who is an uninvited guest cheating himself into a seat at the table of the privileged, while the poor and the working class are the victimized guests, positioned behind  the table to fight for the leftovers.

Is the parasite taking a position at the expense of the excluded? Will its removal open up the table for all? What responsibilities come with this parasitic position? What choices does such a position offer? Does it require a special kind of ethical code?

In the Dutch cultural system, where only a very limited number of artists are able to live of their work, many full-time artists, if not already positioned with the mistreated guests behind the table, will inevitably find themselves in one or other parasitic position at the table.

Part of this parasite project entails thinking about what it would mean to state that the responsibility of the parasite at the table, in regard to its cultural heritage, is not to impose as a master, but instead to be transparent about its parasitism while maintaining its position at the table.

What parasitic strategies are used, and what are the affective constellations necessary to deal with the cognitive dissonance that comes with maintaining this position whilst having knowledge about the injustice. (without cognitive dissonance this position, that cannot be blind to the proces of exclusion (by the very nature of its para/inbetweenness), would also be a sociopathic position)

The ambiguity of a transparent parasitic position at the table would bring with it a necessity for an active and ongoing questioning and shaping of a parasite ethics. As well as a continuous effort to weaken the paranoia associated with the parasitic, so neither master nor guests fall into the trap of thinking that -instead of identifying with the parasite- the permanent removal of parasites will bring some kind of final resolution.




dinsdag 28 september 2021

Post-Colonial parasites


“after 1900 bacteria and parasites routinely were differentiated. Bacteria were generally contagious, whereas strict parasites, needing to pass through a vector or intermediate host were not. (..)bacteria could thus be cosmopolitan, whereas parasites depended on the geographical dispersion of insects and other hosts. That the bacterial diseases should be cosmopolitan is easily understood, the germ passes from host to host without metamorphosis, and practically uninfluenced by the usual media of transmission Such germs were not geographically limited and therefore not the substance of tropical medicine. The study of bacteria and parasites thus became institutionally segregated, with parasitology confined to tropical medicine, a segment of public health and agriculture"

Warwick Anderson is an Australian medical doctor, poet, and historian. His paper ‘Postcolonial Ecologies of Parasite and Host’ traces the history of ecological thinking in Australian Epidemiology by mapping the intellectual environment of virologist F.M.Burnet in the early 20th century. 

Anderson describes how colonial settlers encountering a –for them- hostile environment, were forced to abandon generalized anglo-european theories on the the spread of virusses and bacteriological infection and think instead in terms of locally situated parasite-host relations which then became an important base for thinking in terms of ecosystems. He then takes this concepts and – in lline with post-colonial thinking- turns it upon the position of the settlers themselves, thus making an argument for a parasite-host or ecological worldview:

“I am calling for a more historical realism in the history of biology, recognition of other places, the places of others, as locales of knowledge making, and not just as sites of resource extraction and passive intellectual reception. In order to understand how parasites became cosmopolitan in disease ecology, we too, as historians, need to become cosmopolitan – to rescue other histories from the violence of exclusion (..)

The paper reminded me of a paper by Hongkong zinesters Elaine W.Ho and Ming Lin that is already part of the parasite zinelibrary and that takes the parasite-host relation to make an argument for a post-colonial standpoint on the spread of anglo-european views on zineculture in asia:

“observing that the term zine has been in recent years co-opted to apply to nearly anything- cute, small, nicely printed, not entirely mainstream- our research led to the proposal of a new definition, one borne of conditions specific to this part of the world’s socio-political ecology. By exposing fluid streams of influence and proposing other possible routes for the formation of zine-culture in Asia, we may begin to depart from western-dominated narrative and to rethink and refine what zines and independent publishig culture can be.”

The text then redefines the zine as a ‘semi-autonomous zine’ (S.A.Z.)

“the S.A.Z. does not necessary aim to oppose “western Genealogies” , but allows for a more complex and more context focussed analysis”(..)”rather than being wholly independent from mainstream institutions or media, the S.A.Z. negotiates a parasitical relationship to dominant culture. In what is, then, and inevitably fraught relationship, print media are examined as strategy and social practice(..)”

the parasite zinelibrary collects scientific papers that evolve around parasite metaphors and converts these to zineformat. This 'ecological view' on self-publishing  on the one hand injects scientific method into zineculture and turns it into a medium for self-education, on the other it introduces the active network of zineculture to scientific publishing. We feel relatively free to do so because in our view any scientific paper using parasite metaphors cannot be too rigid about this kind of parasitic activity without contradicting itself. At the same time we do acknowledge the precariousness involved in parasitism. Our zines are not mass produced or spread randomly but intend to remain situated in our library and zine ecosystem.


donderdag 10 september 2020

Parasites Radiolab Podcast


Two bloodflukes spooning in your body for up to 40 years,
the relation between redneck- stereotypes and hookworms,
barefood dancing in African excrements as a cure for asthma
and how catlovers are dangerous drivers under parasite control.

with Carl Zimmer, Dickson Despommier and Rober Sapolski

zaterdag 2 mei 2020

the Feminist Parasite Institution

No More Fun and Games
Curated: Jesse Jones (2016)

"Setting as the target an ossified history of phallocentric art, Jesse Jones contemplates themes of empowerment and social renewal by interrogating how art has been misrepresented in museums through the in-cessant selection of male artists. She has established the Feminist Parasite Institution– an informal curatorial collective created through social connections and political affinities – for her exhibition of new work entitled No More Fun and Games. this parasite institution aims to use the gallery’s collection as material for raising feminist consciousness, putting into circulation a set of objects, actions and rumours, conceptually situated somewhere between separatist femi-nist theory and lucky strikes into the heart of the collection."(..)

 Act I: Curating the Canon
“Invading the gallery space, the Feminist Parasite Institution redeploys the suffragette tactic of comedy to reflect on the museum as a historical actor and an abstract site of performance and resonance. This improvisation in institutional critique feeds off the resources available, taking up physical space but existing in the live drama of coexistence. The ‘parasite’ intends to disrupt the canon of art history and interrupt gender-bias as the discriminating filter to the provenance of art history through a series of events, performances and tours. Collective writings will address and argue the question of gender equality in the construction and commemoration of history.”

donderdag 30 april 2020

PARA-SITE (New York 1989)

PARA-SITE Diller Scofidio + Renfro 

"The installation is modeled on Michel Serres’ three definitions of parasite: just as the biological parasite is physically opportunistic and feeds off its host organism, the installation steals its structural and electrical sustenance from its host site; just as the social parasite entertains its host to earn welcome at the dinner table, the installation offers the entertainment value of voyeurism to a public unwittingly drawn into an interrogation of vision; just as the technological parasite creates interference in an information network, the installation interrupts the systems of the museum to interrogate it. The installation electronically links the Projects Room with three remote sites of circulation in the museum, linking self–conscious and unsuspecting viewers in a reflection about looking—the primary activity in the museum."

The Socio-Parasitology Manifesto

"The Socio-Parasitology Manifesto, works towards social change. 
The manifesto works against the pejorative perspective, and biological predator-prey and parasite-host domination. 
There is a focus on the fluctuating of hierarchical levels – so to minimise the differences between parasite and host groups. 
Nothing is completed in isolation, all forms of contact are social. 
Materializing the positive aspects of a parasite, favours for catalysing social change. 
The focus is on the interruptive stage and the first act of contact made between a parasite and host coupling; as an activity which releases a productive change." (..)

"There is a sense of urgency and a need for the body, to be in contact with the environment.
There is a need for this parasite to form a connection with the external place, that the body is situated in. 
Physical contact forms multitudes of interruptions onto the host body and machine. 
There is nothing outside of the open system, all relations are parasitic, scenarios and hierarchical differences must be brought to the surface as inevitable and occuring without a meta position. CONTACT!"

Host-Guest; Madeleine Barrat (2019)
                         The purgative and cyclical nature of the way that the leeches and I interact calls into question the guest/host relationship.
Can a host body become something more than a vessel for a parasite to feed off and then discard?"

donderdag 23 april 2020

zine parasita

"Zine Parasita is not sold, but can be found hidden in other publications in bookstores, libraries and other randomly chosen places. It features contributions by designers, pho-tographers, artists, writers and illustrators from around the world.
Parasita has already been hidden in several cities in Brazil and other countries. The zine had special issues published on the occasion of fairs or exhibitions."

zondag 19 april 2020

Parasite New York 1997-1998

Parasite was formed as a support and discussion group for artists interested in a context specific art practice. It met regularly - initially in members apartments - to share projects and ideas. It went
on to piggyback (parasite) two local institutions - the PS1 Clock Tower and The Drawing Centre's Project Room, downtown NY, where it took on a more public character utilising the host institutions' infrastructure in exchange for content provision: organising public presentations and discussions as well as organising Andrea Fraser's Services exhibition (pdf) and re-staging Mel Bochner's "Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed As Art" from 1966.

"Taking over spaces to present what we're interested in is especially important in terms of the roles assigned to artists, curators and critics -- roles that tend to become hierarchized. It's a way of taking back some power. But it's also about considering how ideas can circulate and what that circulation means. Can they circulate without being mastered by someone who's claiming the right to own them? What we're trying to do is create a more open, discursive situation." 


vrijdag 3 april 2020

Parasitic University of London

The Parasitic University focusses on issues related to the access of academic resources in marginalised communities and the redistribution of cultural capital.

"Parasites are organism which attach themselves to host bodies and syphon nutrients from them. Parasites often contribute to the spread of viruses and immune deficiencies within their hosts, but there are many parasites which maintain reciprocal altruism with their hosts. Such as cleaner fish which live off the dead skin of sharks or primates which take turns grooming one another.
Serving the dual purpose of both removing potentially harmful insects and providing sustenance in the consumption of said insects.The Parasitic University act similarly within academic systems, through stealing educational resources and redistributing them with the embodied spirit of reciprocally altruistic parasites.
Through the theft of educational resources and the injection of divergent and alternative forms of knowledge and information will act as antibody, which can heal the system while providing essential nutrients to the parasitic learners(ie user/students)."

"Most major universities in London hold nightly open lectures on a wide range of subjects and disciplines. While this is a great resource, it is highly under promoted. Making these lecture “open” or “free” only to those already attending the universities where they are held.
The parasitic university attempts to broaden the access to these resources and creates curricula using the open lectures as classes within user developed
“academic programs”"

Abdullah Elias

donderdag 2 april 2020

Parasite School

Parasite School was initiated in 2010 by multidisciplinary artist Felipe Castelblanco, and takes place at the intersection between education and participatory art

Parasite School “infiltrates the university in a parasitical way and uses its resources, people and infrastructure to embrace & serve immigrants and artists-nomads excluded by official universities in the USA and Europe. This project explores education as artistic material and the university as a contested political arena.”

“By operating from inside the university in a parasitical way, the ParaSite School appropriates the university’s resources (faculty, classrooms, labs, equipment, researchers, etc) in order to create alternative opportunities for minorities, undocumented migrants and artists facing immigration issues to attend college and access higher education.

Meanwhile, The School itself serves as a platform for artists/educators to investigate forms of experimental pedagogy, participation and social interventions in the public sphere as a form of artistic practice and social action.”

"For an entire week, the group offered to paint people’s houses within the city of Portland, Oregon using local media and street advertisement. However, instead of painting the walls of the houses, artist and laborers created fine art paintings — on canvas — of the façades of the buildings, while engaging customers/audiences in a situation that re-imagined the act of exchange, service and labor. A temporary art studio (with easels, canvases and palettes) emerged on the streets as the group created the paintings.
WPH employed undocumented Latino Laborers and provided faire wages in the form of artists stipends, using funds from academic research grants and artistic fellowships granted by U.S. universities."
The intervention seeks to enable contentious encounters between locals and immigrants, workers and artists, while stimulating public debate about immigrant labor, class and misrepresentation.

IAM Weekend 18 The Subversion of Paradoxes Parasite School:

donderdag 27 februari 2020

Parasite Games

 Hyper Parasite


"It’s the 80’s all over again. Only this time, the human race has more than an obnoxious pop culture to contend with.
With World War III nearing its demise, Earth only just begins to catch its breath when it is threatened by yet another menace. Unlike the preposterous mullets of its inhabitants however, this one’s invisible – a parasitic organism capable of making hosts of unsuspecting human beings, consuming what’s left of their souls and wreaking unfathomable havoc.
And it’s spreading. With a vengeance.
Martial laws have been declared to make way for a global hunt, battle-hardened law enforcers have made allies of the most degenerate of criminals, while the rest of the world is paralysed with paranoia; yet who can be trusted? Who can see it, let alone destroy it? That’s for them to worry about. For you are the enemy.
You are the organism with a mission. You are… HyperParasite."

Plague inc:

"Can you infect the world? Plague Inc. is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation with over 700 million games played!
Your pathogen has just infected 'Patient Zero'. Now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself."

"Strategy 1
1). Use any Genes that can help the parasite increase infection or add genes that help the Parasite in ways like increased transmission on planes.
2). Avoid Starting in a Rich Nation instead try to infect the poor countries with a high population density like India, Libya and Mexico
3). By evolving all three steps of its special ability before anything else, Severity plummets. Parasite is very stealthy and it's not difficult to infect the entire world without the cure even starting.
4). If a stealth approach was taken without alerting any of the countries then proceed to infect the world with lower tier symptoms such as Coughing, Sneezing, Nausea avoid using the sweat symptom if a headline pops up for it which can make curing and noticing the disease easier with said symptom.
5). If you have successfully infected the entire world without being detected then evolve Total Organ Failure but make sure all nations are infected before purchasing this symptom."

 tip: "If the Festival of Love event fires, pick up Nausea"


"Parasite is a metroidvania-style puzzle-platformer that places you in the role of an alien worm, desperate to rid your home planet of a recent human infestation.
As a simple worm creature, you only have a single weapon at your disposal: the ability to infect a host and control their actions. As you crawl through the labyrinthine corridors of the humans’ space station, you will find four earthlings you can place under your wormy control, each with their own unique powers. Using these power-ups, you’ll have to traverse four unique biomes to eventually sabotage the station’s eight modules, thus ensuring the demise of the human invaders".

Parasites Unleashed!

"Parasites Unleashed! is a simple and fast-paced non-collectible card game for 2-4 players ages 8 and up.
In Parasites Unleashed! you control a parasite, trying to complete your life cycle, mate, and lay eggs before your opponents. Do all the things real parasites do -- bore into vital organs, hide inside a blood cell, hitch a ride inside a mosquito, even take over your host's brain. However, opponents can add stages to your life cycle, and zap you with medicine."


 Be a Parasite!

"In this game the player controls a parasite. At first the parasite is located in the brain of a worm. This gives the player control over the worms actions. But a predator lurks just a few steps behind the worm. Once it catches on, the parasite reaches it's ghastly tentacles and turns the predator into a mere puppet. The parasite will not rest before it controls the biggest and baddest creature on earth.
Try to eat as many creatures as possible before being eaten. Repeat."


"My God, they're everywhere!
Or are they? An alien parasite has infected crew members of the ISS Fluffy Pink Cloud. Seeking comfort in each other's company, the crew members try to fight off the treacherous invader. Will Bartholomew Broadside and his trusty crewmen be in time to halt this spreading disease?

The players are crew members of the ISS Fluffy Pink Cloud. An alien infection is spreading through the ship and some players may already be infected when the game starts. It is not clear, however, who is infected and who isn't. Each turn, each player visits another player in his/her quarters, to protect the fellow crew member from infection (or, alternatively, to infect him).
On board are engineers (who can perform a body scan), a doctor (who can surgically remove an alien and perform a blood transfusion) and the doctor's assistant. Each turn, the players vote on who is going to perform which action and on whom, to clear the infection. However, among the voting crew memebers are those that are already infected and who want to infect the entire crew. Other players each have a special ability they can use to spread or to stop the infection. The end of the game (which has as much turns as players) is either a victory for the aliens or the humans."

Warhammer; Parasitic Infection