Mary Maggic (b. Los Angeles, 1991) is a non-binary Chinese-American artist currently based in Vienna, Austria. Their work spans amateur science, public workshopology, performance, installation, documentary film, and speculative fiction. Since 2015, Maggic’s research has centered on hormone biopolitics and environmental toxicity, and how the ethos and methodologies of biohacking can serve to demystify invisible lines of molecular (bio)power. Completing a Masters from MIT Media Lab (Design Fiction research group), their work has exhibited internationally including Philadelphia Museum of Art (US), Science Gallery London (UK), Migros Museum of Contemporary Art (CH), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE), Jeu de Paume (FR), MOCA Tuscon (US), Haus der elektronischen Kunst (CH), Institute of Contemporary Arts London (UK), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Jogja National Museum (ID), and Spring Workshop (HK). In 2017, their project “Open Source Estrogen” was awarded Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica Hybrid Arts, and in 2019 Maggic completed a 10-month Fulbright residency in Yogyakarta, Indonesia investigating the role of Javanese mysticism in the plastic pollution crisis. Maggic is a current member of the online network Hackteria: Open Source Biological Art and the laboratory theater collective Aliens in Green, as well as a recent contributor to the radical syllabus project Pirate Care.
My interdisciplinary practice is one of socio-political excavation, investigating the role of institutional science and biotechnology in the construction of somatic fictions and mass political imaginaries. Drawing upon the concept of public amateurism and Critical Art Ensemble’s notion of “fuzzy biological sabotage,” my practice manifests through public participatory workshops and biohacking as critical sites for knowledge production and collaborative queerings of the status quo. Through my hormone research of the last five years, I choose the molecular semiosphere and its micro-performativities as the starting point for culturally examining body and gender politics and the ever-increasing alienation of what we commonly believe (and mistake) to be eco-heteronormative. If these molecules are to be black boxes from which to be emancipated and demystified, biohacking and “freak science” protocols trigger the unearthing of the histories, origins and futures of our collective mutagenesis. As a product of this world that is permanently polluted and colonized by industrial toxicities and capitalist aims, I run with this urgency to figure new (xeno)feminist strategies that embody the radical porosity of human, non-human, and planetary. Cross-contaminations are indeed how we survive together. Purity is not an option!