Johanna Bruckner

Along Tissue, a Leap, Passing, Voice

Voice to the video installation

Along Tissue, a Leap, Passing, 2022

With words by Johanna Bruckner, Michelle Murphy and Rita Wong.


Cesano is a small town located in the volcanic region

of the Sibillini mountains, near Rome.

In 1975 Enel discovered a geothermal fluid in the roots of this land

that is particularly interesting for two characteristics:

high temperature,

therefore useful to produce energy,

and high salinity rate with the presence of lithium.

Fluids like these have not been exploited

because historically geothermal energy

has always been seen only as a source of energy, 

Andrea Dini, CNR researcher and expert in mineral deposits, explains.

Geothermal plants where the water was very rich in salts

were generally discarded

because the high salinity gave problems to the plants

and the separation systems.


We are bodies of salty fluids,

with hands that shook arms, legs, toes and breath,

with nerves all plugged up,

muddied by salt in every synapse,

as seeping bodies

with a salty, metal cunt

anaesthetised, amputated, torn,

barely walking


bodies dismembered:

dormant bodies

reciting their legal rights.


all that salt from their stream.


In the midst of the Poikilohydrics

resurrection plants,

we are withstanding drought for months

by drifting into a dormant state

tolerating prolonged conditions of almost total protoplast desiccation

and revive upon rehydration.

We slow down the rate of water loss.


Water networks are hidden from view,

only perceptible as a minor smelly unruliness:

sea wage wafts up

escaping from indifferent pipe grid, pipe grind

miles underneath our feet

pipe down, pipe plastic, pipe slime, pipe time.

The presence of an otter,

recalls the pivotal role of the elements trade:

perched on a paddle wheeler,

puppy-eyed sleek river otter silently glides.

Together otter and I witness raw logs floating down

to export to empires south & east of us.


We are bodies of vast archives of toxic substances,

political, social, and medical conflicts,

We are xenobiotic substances,

chemical compounds,

and have deviant agencies

which are discharged into the lakes, rivers, and seas,

and alter the metabolism of human and more than human bodies.

Alien agencies like synthetic chemicals transit through our vulnerable bodies,

becoming a toxic agent.

Synthetic forms of human hubris

display an agentic capacity due to their active powers.


Our body parts have never been biological

or parts of a larger whole but retain their sociality

and ability to produce relationship.

Our bodies have always been xenoprostheses.

I want to know about my own body.

A pigs` inside looks the same as human.

I’ve had pigs my entire life.

I don’t know about my body.

We are bodies of xenotransplantation,

animal–human compounds.

Having lost our humanity after transplanting animal tissues.

Our implants are ecological and not artificial.

The xenoprosthesis worked silently.

When he slept in their bed with his wife,

the previous mechanical valve had ticked

loudly, making him feel uneasy.


In the fresh morning

hexavalent chromium

I dip my hands into you


tentatively thankful to camp on your shores


amidst mosquitoes, mud & grass


knowing you hold airborne toxins


from the tar sands



While our skin gives the illusion of impermeability,

water flows constantly in and out of bodies:

Cell wall, bellies, breasts, bladders, intestines,

vagina’s confusion,

eyes float in moist sockets

while the body sweats porously

in the experiment of corporate and state pollution.

Atrazine in your armpits,

Pcbs in your pelvic core,

Furans in your feet,

Dioxins in your diaphragm.

Changing animal and human hormone levels.


Itchy lymph

fluids that come from

swallowed water

that come from

a river that come from a lake

that come from a glacier

receding from industrial glare

how long will it take to learn?

Convenience not worth cancer’s long soft leak.

We refuse to relocate

for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.

Whose orange tree

whose window

whose bedroom

whose hearth

submerged beneath

acquiring the languages

to interpret the sea’s rising voice

in a cosmos of relations

intimately related to the sun,

earth and water.

Plankton provides half our oxygen

as kindred water.

Life on Earth is a hypersea,

composed of webs of physical intimacy and fluid exchange.

We receive multiple gifts from the clouds,

rain replenishes as withdrawals accelerate.


We are bodies of distributed reproduction

born on the concept of “reproductive justice,”

as crafted by women-of-color feminists in the United States;

and the Comilla Declaration of 1989, written in Bangladesh,

which describes the engineering of life in both agriculture and in human bodies

as connected forms of the relations of reproduction.

We are not an embodied, forward-moving, generative process;

but born of a chemical infrastructure

the spatial and temporal distributions of industrially produced chemicals

as they are produced and consumed,

and as they become mobile in the atmosphere, settle into landscapes,

travel in water ways, leach from commodities, are regulated (or not) by states,

monitored by experts, engineered by industries, absorbed by bodies,

metabolized physiologically and medically, and as they bioaccumulate in food changes,

break down over time, or persist.


The perchlorate machine learning genetic algorithm

stimulates trading metabolites.

By exchanging dedicated molecular signals,

each species among us

responds to the presence of others in the consortium.


Latvian contains several terms describing corporeality:

miesa describes muscle mass or meat

and is attributed to humans in opposition to the spiritual.

Rumpis describes a body without head and extremities

and is attributed to humans;

and augums, which describes human stature

Incorporating social factors and nurture.


When natural science concepts were being introduced into Latvian,

none of the above-mentioned terms seemed suitable

to describe the concept of “body.”

Xenotransplantation allows all bodies to be seen as material substance.

It allows animal and human bodies to be seen as organisms,

indicating common substance.

A law on the Protection of the Dead Human Body

and the Medical Use of Human Tissue and Organ Material in Latvia,

requires the provision of anonymity to the donor and the recipient,

thus legally cutting the link between the organ

and the organism of the donor.


Latency is a synonym of lag,

the period of time between a stimulus and a response.

In technical terms, latency time in medicine is similar to an incubation period.

Latency time is the lag between infection and infectiousness,

waiting for an organ to be accepted,

the wait between chemical exposure and symptom.

To be latent is to be not yet, a past not yet felt.

The submerged chemicals of the past finally arrive in the present

to disrupt the reproduction of the same.

Through latency, the future is already altered.


Two of our tissue operations come out of one donor.

My transplanted uterus

has altered my body performance.

The relations between our bodies are created by multiple

surgical interventions.

Each surgery opens a new connection, making new kin.

The relationships to organs removed

are felt as relationships to persons

taken away and living in memories.

New bacteria in and outside our bodies

have evolved in order to eat the plastic in us —

whose kin making extends the human and more- than- human world,

as technobacterial becomings.


We, the marinobacter bodies, are able to break down harmful chemicals

into non-toxic compounds.

PCBs produce new human-non-human linkages,

binding us to each other,

to our environment and to the chemical infrastructure.


Our bodies are now molecularly bound to the chemical’s manufacturer,

our chemical kinship is born out of this intertwined deadly relation

bringing us into a ‘filial relation’ with the chemical giant.

This familial relation gives us the right to insist

that the company recognizes its obligations

and takes responsibility for its role in altering our bodies and our world.

They have entered our system, and

we, Petrolinium bodies,

have become molecularly altered by them.

When we breathe in PCBs we are not just breathing in a molecule,

we are breathing in the chemical infrastructure that produces and circulates them.


The  Genetic Algorithm is used to manipulate our environmental conditions

and drives our ecosystem in a desired direction,

to design mixed microbial consortia by determining

which isolated and marginalized social strains to combine.

The perchlorate bioremediation with the Genetic Algorithm application

engineers us, microbial communities as biofilms, to give us the

ability to degrade perchlorate, even in the presence of oxygen.

Our breakdown of compounds, as a result,

the chemical’s undecidability, death, and new emergence,

opens a recirculation,

releasing elements back into widely disrupted cycles;

contributing to elemental excess and atmospheric more-than-toxication.

The released substances are put in recirculation,

as a more-than-human collective healing.

Our community embraces degradation and corruption of matter.

In sight of multicoloured muck,

biosolids enhance soil fertility.

As a way of making feel

for the troubles of soils and waters.