Knotting the Humanimal Assemblage. Race, Animals, and Art in Post-socialist Belgrade



Palabras clave:

humanimal, assemblage, race, art, postsocialism


The aim of this article is to show how ontic difference between humans and animals is produced and maintained through weaving and knotting various bodies and flows of matter – the humanimal assemblage. Race and effects of capitalism play decisive roles in the formation of such differences and include humans, postsocialist condition, investment urbanism, state apparatus, non-human beings, artworks, etc. Those humans who are defined as non-white are socially produced as spatio-temporally closer to animals in the whole spectrum of material-semiotic registers. By close reading of the installation Gypsies and Dogs and the event of a death of a dog to which I was a witness, I show the ways in which art plays an important role in this humanimal assemblage, together with the institutions that surround it and enable its production. Using concepts created by Deleuze and Guattari together with Afropessimist thought, I show that humanimal assemblage produces ontological rigidity in the Roma people and their relation with the companion dogs, as well as ethnic Serbs and their dogs as pets. Each human-animal relation is an effect and constitutive part of humanimal assemblage that forcefully relates human and nonhuman animals and other bodies and flows of matter. By thinking transversally, we can see that racialization, postsocialist condition, nascent neoliberal capitalist order, and artworld function to capture flows of matter, singularities-in-constitution, and tie them together in a single assemblage. In conclusion, the knots of the humanimal assemblage need to be unraveled by critical attention to the moments of ontological heterogenesis, which is grounded neither in ontological plasticity nor ontological rigidity.

Biografía del autor/a

Andrija Filipović, Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade

Andrija Filipović is associate professor of Philosophy and Art & Media Theory at the Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University in Belgrade, Serbia. They are the author of Ars ahumana: Anthropocene ontographies in the 21st century art and culture (2022), Conditio ahumana: Immanence and the ahuman in the Anthropocene (2019), and monographs on Brian Massumi (2016) and Gilles Deleuze (2015). Their articles appeared in Sexualities, The Comparatist, Contemporary Social Science, Journal of Homosexuality, NORMA, and a number of edited volumes. Their research interests include environmental humanities, queer theory, and contemporary philosophy. They are Executive Editor of AM: Journal of Art and Media Studies.