GIFTS/PRESENTS/PRESENCE Meanings and Materialities

The main aim of the project is to analyse how recent changes and challenges in technology, genetics, politics, and bioethics have affected our existing ideas of gift-giving and gift exchange, and how they invite us to rethink the gift.

(The figure on the right: W 0.2 Non/living artwork featuring the artist’s vaginal epithelial cells, slug ova cell, custom incubator, silicon tube, custom borosilicate glassware. © Margherita Pevere, 2018-2019, from the series Wombs. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Photography: Sanjin Kaštelan.)

Disrupting gift theory

Our project, which brings together sociology, philosophy/bioscience, literary studies, and art, aims to challenge existing knowledge about the ubiquitous social phenomenon of the gift. We believe that the latest social challenges including the digitalization of our everyday life, recent genetic discoveries, and refugee crisis require a radical reconsideration of the gift as both a concept and social practice. In our transdisciplinary project that unites internationally recognized experts in the field and a multimedia artist and curator, we aim to reconfigure existing theories of the gift to develop a novel understanding of the gift in relation to the changing social, technological, and ethical paradigms of the new millennium.

Funded by the Kone Foundation