Being and Slime: An Alluvial Introduction

Karin Sellberg & Kamillea Aghtan



‘Dirty’, ‘messy’, ‘grubby’, ‘perverse’ and ‘disorderly’ are the adjectives usually used in relation to secretion of body fluids. Even when spoken of in appreciatory terms, fluidity tends to be ‘otherised’; it is appreciated because it is messy, abject, strange or queer. The disturbing uncontainability of our body fluids force them either into the realm of the disgusting or the erotically tantalising. They are the perpetual opposites of our firm and graspable corporeality, its peculiar and erratic shadow. When it comes down to it, there are few things less strange than fluidity, however – and this special issue is not another attempt to perpetuate the titillating discourses of ‘grubbiness’ surrounding it. By focusing on specific fluids in isolation, as well as in patterns of discursive and material fluid exchange – and by problematising the very idea of fluidity in the first place – we hope to come one step closer to the as yet unfathomable ‘core’ of this elusive matter. We secrete sweat, saliva, urine, blood, seminal and fecal fluids (and so on) on a daily basis, and our entire physical apparatus is perpetuated (although never twice in materially identical forms) through continual internal and external exchanges of fluids.


Keywords: body fluids, seed, blood, milk, pus, saliva, fluid exchange, corporeality