How do we speak about art about animals?

Conference item


Baker, Steve 2014. How do we speak about art about animals?
AuthorsBaker, Steve
Abstract

‘How do we speak about art about animals?’, my closing plenary address at the Warsaw conference Animals and their People: The Fall of the Anthropocentric Paradigm?, was the first international paper in which I included discussion of work in my Scapeland series.
In part, the abstract read as follows:
‘“De l’animal peut-on parler?,” Jacques Derrida famously asked in relation to philosophy’s tendency to overlook nonhuman animals, and to have little idea of how to speak about their relation to humans in meaningful terms. … Drawing on a range of contemporary examples, including a few of the pieces on show in the Ecce Animalia exhibition in Orońsko, this talk will consider the distinctive “voice” of the artist … The focus will be on artists who engage directly with questions of animal life,. … Conventional distinctions (human versus animal; ethics versus aesthetics) have no useful place here. Instead, to borrow Foucault’s words from a slightly different context, what these artists can sometimes offer are images, experiences and structures “within which we both recognize and lose ourselves’.”
Immediately after this talk tje conference delegates were taken on an evening visit to the Ecce Animalia exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, which had been planned to coincide with the conference and which included an installation of early pieces from my Scapeland series.
A welcome outcome after the conference was a request from the organizers to translate an essay of mine for the first Polish edited collection of writings on animal stidies. This appeared in 2015 as: ‘Sztuka wspolczesna i prawa zwierzat’, in Zwierzeta i ich ludzie. Zmierzch antropocentrycznego paradygmatu, eds A. Barcz and D. Lagodzka (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Instytutu Badań Literackich PAN), 2015, pp. 65-87. ISBN 978-83-64703-27-0. (A Polish translation of my essay ‘Contemporary art and animal rights’.)

Year2014
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/624357
hdl:10545/624357
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Publication dates2014
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Deposited08 Jan 2020, 09:53
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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