Dr João Florêncio

Research interests

My interdisciplinary research explores the ways in which categories of non-/sub-/in-human are articulated and troubled in contemporary visual culture, and how those articulations might help us rethink embodiment, subjectivity, and new ethical frameworks of coexistence beyond age-old Western divides of "human"/"nonhuman", "life/nonlife", and "nature"/"culture". It draws from art practices, visual culture, performance studies, posthumanism and medical humanities to probe the permeability of the boundaries between the "human" and its others, at two different scales:

  • one investigating the poetics and politics of the encounter between "human" and "more-than-human" bodies on a macroscopic level: interspecies relations, climate change, and the enmeshment of bio- and geo-logics in the context of the "Anthropocene";


  • the other, continuing that same investigation but at a microscopic level, looking at the strange multitude that makes up the inner ecology of the "human" body: "human" cells, viruses, bacteria, recreational and/or prescription drugs, hormones, proteins, and the theatrics of their encounter and dwelling-together, in a shared more-than-human habitat.

Research collaborations

Rock/Body: Performative Interfaces Between the Geologic and the Body

in 2016-17 I was the Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Research Network "Rock/Body: Performative Interfaces Between the Geologic and the Body" with Professor Nigel Clark (Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University) as my Co-Investigator and the British Geological Survey as project partner.

Rock/Body brought together researchers from the arts and humanities, social sciences, earth sciences, health, and artists to investigate the the human body as an interfacial zone between bio- and geo-logics. It aimed to question the nature/culture divide geologically, by taking performing human bodies as both expressions of geological matter and forces, and prime sites of exposure and response to future changes in the dynamics of earth systems. 

The networking activities were centred around a series of three research seminars taking place in 2016 involving a total of 23 participants amongst scientists, humanities scholars, and creative practitioners. Each seminar had a different composite theme aimed at foregrounding continuities and tensions between human bodies and geological formations and processes: 1: "Flesh/Minerality;" 2: "Extraction/Exhaustion"; 3: "Time/Duration".

Ultimately, the aim of the network was to generate new avenues for international research collaboration between the Arts and Humanities and the Sciences on the broad topic of the Anthropocene and its (bio)political, philosophical, aesthetic, and ecological implications.