Monday, January 18, 2010

Eugenio Merino's 4 The Love of Go(l)d, Berlinde De Bruyckere's Marthe

On the topic of interspecies art, how can one forget Damien Hirst who uses animals as art materials in his factory. Eugenio Merino's 4 The Love of Go(l)d is a giant sculpture displayed in the type of glass case that Hirst likes to fill with formaldehyde and dead animals, of a Hirst figure pointing a gun at himself and blowing his own brains out. This piece is a response to Hirst's For the Love of God, which is derivative of the crystal-covered skull of his friend John LeKay and whom Hirst did not credit. The asking price of For the Love of God is £50,000,000 ($100 million or 75 million euros). "I thought that, given that he thinks so much about money, his next work could be that he shot himself," said Eugenio Merino. "Like that the value of his work would increase dramatically..." [UK Guardian:
'Suicide' sculpture of Damien Hirst causes controversy in Spain'
] Massimo Deganutti did a version of this with Damien Hirst in formaldehyde.

Related: The Great Contemporary Art Bubble movie

Berlinde De Bruyckere's Marthe (below) would make Francis Bacon proud and Damien Hirst envious. Another of her piece is at New Museum's After Nature show.

(Aziz+Cucher)'s Rick

Daniel Lee's Manimals, Tara Tucker

Image: Year of the Ox (1993)

Image: Year of the Cock (1993)

Future co-evolution... Tara Tucker's hybrid animals can make their own food.

Eugene Thacker at ATC on 04.26.2010

'Eugene Thacker is a writer and theorist whose works examine the philosophical aspects of science and technology. His most recent book is entitled 'After Life' and will be published by the University of Chicago Press. He is also the author of the books 'The Exploit: A Theory of Networks' (co-authored with Alexander Galloway), 'The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture,' and 'Biomedia.' Thacker is Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Communication & Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.' []

Some links/books related to art and genetics:
Data Made Flesh: Biotechnology & the Discourse of the Posthuman, Eugene Thacker. From Cultural Critique 53 (2003).
"Body Invasion & Resistant Cultural Practice", Critical Art Ensemble. From Art Journal 59:3.
Critical Art Ensemble <>
FutureNatural, ed. George Robertson, Melinda Mash, Lisa Tickner, Jon Bird, Barry Curtis, and Tim Putnam (1996).
Gene(sis) art show <>
Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond by Eduardo Kac. Leonardo Books
Eduardo Kac <>
Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience by Beatriz da Costa (Editor), Kavita Philip (Editor). Leonardo Books
The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future
Telepresence and Bio Art: Networking Humans, Rabbits and Robots by Eduardo Kac
Life Extreme: An Illustrated Guide to the New Life by Eduardo Kac & Avital Ronell
The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age by Suzanne Anker, Dorothy Nelkin
Art in the Age of Technoscience: Genetic Engineering, Robotics, and Artificial Life in Contemporary Art by Ingeborg Reichle, Gloria Custance, and Robert Zwijnenberg
Art Journal, Spring 1996, Vol. 55, No. 1: "Contemporary Art and the Genetic Code" by College Art Association (Jan 1, 1996)
"Manipulating genetic identities: the creation of chimeras, cyborgs and (cyber-)golems." from Parachute: Contemporary Art Magazine by Ernestine Daubner (Digital - Jul 29, 2005) - HTML
Paradise Now: Picturing The Genetic Revolution by Marvin Heiferman, Carole Kismaric, and Ian Berry (2001)
Perfecting Mankind: Eugenics and Photography
Foreign Body: Photography and the Prelude to Genetic Modification

Links to class readings:
Dale Carrico's Technoscience critical theory class.
Alenda Chang's Representing Nature: Ecocritical Approaches rhetoric class at Berkeley (reader available at Replica Copy). In case you're suffering from theory withdrawal, you can sit in lecture classes at Berkeley.
Joan Slonczewski's Biology in Science Fiction

Octavia E. Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy

I love this book. Octavia E. Butler is my new favorite fiction writer. (Read excerpts on amazon, wikipedia entry...) A question posed by Xenogenesis trilogy (now titled Lilith's Brood) is: Would you give up physical aspects of what you identify as being human if it makes you stronger (healthier), more intelligent (e.g. less violent as a society), and better-looking (I'm throwing this last factor in because it is the main reason for Lilith not wanting to trade genes with the non-human species).

In the novel, a non-human species has arrived on earth, after humans have almost destroyed themselves and the Earth, to rescue humans and trade genes. This species has a third gender, the ooloi, who have the ability to manipulate genetics, and are biological traders, driven to share genes with other intelligent species, changing both parties: "We do what you would call genetic engineering. We know you had begun to do it yourselves a little, but it's foreign to you. We do it naturally. We must do it. It renews us, enables us to survive as an evolving species instead of specializing ourselves into extinction or stagnation. ... It is part of our reproduction, but it's much more deliberate than what any mated pair of humans have managed so far. ... We acquire new life--seek it, investigate it, manipulate it, sort it, use it. We carry the drive to do this in a minuscule cell within a cell, a tiny organelle within every cell of our bodies. ... Because of that organelle, the ooloi can perceive DNA and manipulate it precisely." (Chapter 4, Book 1—Dawn)


Bdelloid rotifers reproduce asexually, with genetic variation introduced by scavenging DNA.
The New Mexico whiptail lizard is an all-female species whose offspring gets genetic duplicates of its mother but is not a clone (parthenogenesis reproduction), its genetic information conserved by gene duplication.
Fantastic Planet (animated film)

Critical Art Ensemble's Cult of the New Eve

Cult of the New Eve appropriates 'Christian promissory rhetoric' for 'the promises of miracle cures, abundance and immortality by industry and scientific specialists to persuade the public of the utopian nature of new biotechnology', and also moved this rhetoric from the context of the Church to the context of the cult.

The Gentle Seduction by Marc Stiegler (a techno-utopian transhumanist short story)

Eduardo Kac's GFP Bunny, Genpets

[From] 'Alba, the green fluorescent bunny, is an albino rabbit. She only glows when illuminated with blue light. She was created with EGFP, an enhanced version of the original wild-type green fluorescent gene found in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria. EGFP gives about two orders of magnitude greater fluorescence in mammalian cells (including human cells) than the original jellyfish gene.'

[From] 'Genpets are pre-packaged, bioengineered pets... They are living, breathing genetic animals. We use a process called "Zygote Micro Injection" which is quickly becoming a favourable method to combine DNA, or to insert certain proteins from different species. Most notably it was used in 1997 to splice mice with bioluminescent jellyfish (link) and has since been used to create glowing rabbits, pigs, fish, and monkeys (link). Since then, human DNA has been injected into rabbits, chimpanzees, spider DNA into sheep, and now, Genpets...'

Adam Brandejs, creator of Genpets, also made this animatronic flesh shoe. [From Adam's website] 'The shoe is stitched together with multiple pieces of latex rubber cast out of molds made from my own skin. The shoe's toe and heel raise and lower as it occasionally vibrates/pulsates, and twitches on the floor as if it were still alive.'

Brandon Ballengée malamp


'In 1995, a group of Minnesota school children on a biology field trip were shocked by finding dozens of misshapen Northern Leopard frogs, Rana pipiens. ... [T]he Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the federal Environmental Protection Agency began a statewide survey. Early results exhibited a malformation rate as high as 80% in some ponds and lakes.' (read more at greenmuseum)

Brian Conley's Crocodylus/Salmo

[From Becoming Animal] 'In Crocodylus/Salmo (2002), a proposal for a massive public-art installation, Conley developed the idea for an inflatable sculpture, to be anchored seaside, whose biomorphic bulges suggest marine life but without specific reference. The shape is derived from an anatomical model of the brain of a crocodile grafted onto that of a salmon. This exaggerated entity ... grew out of Conley's thinking about biomedical technologies that allow cloning, gene-splicing, and cross-species organ-grafting.'

Mutter Museum: The Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (comprehensive catalog)
Mutter Museum Historic Medical Photographs (photo show of exhibits)
Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body by Armand Marie Leroi. Viking, 2003.
Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom by Sean B. Carroll. W. W. Norton and Company, 2005.
Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution by Mark S. Blumberg. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Museum of Jurassic Technology [wikipedia]

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nina Katchadourian's Natural Car Alarms

[From] 'Natural Car Alarms is a project consisting of three cars rigged with modified car alarms whose typical six-tone siren has been replaced with a similar one made only of bird calls. Some of the bird sounds are shockingly electronic in character; others are very bird-like in the quality of their sound, but very alarm-like in their patterning.' Hear an excerpt here:

Shark safe sticker

While walking around SOMA last Sat, I saw this sticker at the entrance to a Chinese restaurant (Fang). Needless to say this restaurant is now the one to take parents and relatives.

Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, Organic certification

Update 04.21.2011: A better certification than both 'Certified Humane' and 'Organic' is 'Animal Welfare Approved'. For example, while both 'Certified Humane' and 'Organic' allow debeaking of chickens and forced molting through starvation to maximize egg production, 'Animal Welfare Approved' doesn't. Here's a chart comparing the different certifications for eggs: Here's another one which addresses forced molting: Comparison charts for all animals:

To find places in your area which are Animal Welfare Approved, just type in your zip code on this page:

Previous 01.15.2010: The Certified Humane Raised & Handled® program is a farm animal welfare and food labeling program in the U.S. dedicated to improving the welfare of farm animals in food production and include all stages of the animal's life including handling and slaughter. Humane Farm Animal Care's Animal Care Standards require that animals have ample space, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress. Here’s a list of products that are certified humane products. In San Francisco, there are many stores that carry certified humane products: Prather Ranch Meat Company (at the Ferry Building), Andronico’s, Bi-Rite, Buffalo Whole Foods, Good Life Grocery, Harvest Ranch Market, Mollie Stone’s, Nature’s Stop, Other Avenues, Rainbow Grocery, Real Foods, Tower Market, Valencia Natural Foods, and Whole Foods. Most of them have only dairy, none have eggs, a few have meat and deli items. Delica (in the Ferry Building) gets some of its meat from Prather Ranch. Incanto is a certified humane restaurant in San Francisco.

Temple Grandin (2010) is a biopic of Temple Grandin (played by Claire Danes), an autistic woman who became one of the top scientists in humane farm animal handling.

Favorite vegan dishes in San Francisco —
Hijiki-soybean salad at Delica (vegetarian-friendly)
Papaya salad at Out the Door (vegetarian-friendly)
Bean curd rolls, bittermelon-tomato, 'seabass'-eggplant at Enjoy (vegetarian)
Anything at Millenium (vegan)

Marlene McCarty's Group 3


'Humans nurse baby apes, and humans and gorillas communicate in sign language. ... drawings are visible underneath the final version, suggesting that each narrative has a potential for multiple interpretations. You may discover an outline of a gorilla behind the figure of a man, a faint moustache on a woman's face and many hermaphroditic figures.'

Interspecies communication: Koko, a talking gorilla


Chimp gets peanut out of tube
Chimp is better than humans at game
Nature: Koko. PBS, 2004.
Koko: A Talking Gorilla directed by Barbet Schroeder. Criterion, 1978. (On youtube.)
Our Inner Ape by Franz de Waal. Riverhead, 2005.
Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science by Donna Haraway. Routlege, reprinted 1990.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Diana Thater's gorillagorillagorilla


Diana Thater created a touching piece, a video installation 'gorillagorillagorilla'. '[It] is placed opposite a diagonal that cuts across the Jerwood Gallery. Thater’s silent moving image installation intervenes in and deconstructs the existing nineteenth century terracotta architecture. The viewer becomes part of the work, her or his shadow disturbing and contributing to the scaled narrative of the gorillas filmed in the rainforest of the Mefou Sanctuary in Cameroon. The installation creates a recurrent experience, allowing the spectator to revisit the moving imagery as he or she weaves in and out of the individual rooms. In Thater’s work, nature becomes larger and wider than we can fathom. "I create sculptures with images of nature in space,’ says Diana Thater, describing her monumental video installations that analyse complexities of the natural world, and their relationship with the human being."' This work was a co-commission by the London Natural History Museum and Kunsthaus Graz and was created with the support of Bristol Zo Gardens and the Mefou Sanctuary in Cameroon.

Becoming Animal: Patricia Piccinini, Motohiko Odani

Image: Patricia Piccinini's life-like sculpture

Images: Video stills from Motohiko Odani's Rompers

'In Becoming Animal, 12 internationally known artists investigate the shifting boundaries between animal and human. ... The works included in Becoming Animal—which accompanies an exhibit at MASS MoCA—range from the aviary and cabinet of curiosities of Mark Dion to the gun-toting bird collages of Michael Oatman. Nicolas Lampert's machine-animal collages and Jane Alexander's corpse-like humanoids suggest a new landscape of alienation. Rachel Berwick's investigation of the last Galapagos tortoise from the island of Pinto and Brian Conley's humanized mating call of the Tungara frog question the divide between human and animal communication. Patricia Piccinini imagines a bodyguard for a bird on the edge of extinction and Ann-Sofi Siden recreates the bedroom—and paranoia—of psychologist Alice Fabian. Natalie Jeremijenko presents another installment in her ongoing Ooz, reverse-engineering the zoo, and Kathy High's installation of "trans-animals" remembers lab rats who have given their lives for science. Sam Easterson's videos allow us to see from the viewpoint of an aardvark, a tarantula, a tumbleweed; Motohiko Odani's films show a surrealistic genetically modified bestiary. Becoming Animal documents these works with eye-popping full-color images, taking us on a visual journey through an unknown world.'

Nato Thompson, editor. Becoming Animal (catalog to Mass MOCA exhibit). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005. <>

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mark Menjivar's fridge photos

Above: The refrigerator of a midwife and middle-school science teacher from San Antonio, shot the week after deciding to eat locally grown produce. Below: the refrigerator of a San Antonio bartender.

[From Mark Menjivar's statement] 'You Are What You Eat is a series of portraits made by examining the interiors of refrigerators in homes across the United States. For three years I traveled around the country exploring food issues. ... Each fridge is photographed "as is." Nothing added, nothing taken away. These are portraits of the rich and the poor. Vegetarians, Republicans, members of the NRA, those left out, the under appreciated, former soldiers in Hitler’s SS, dreamers, ... My hope is that we will think deeply about how we care. How we care for our bodies. How we care for others. And how we care for the land.' [Via Eyeteeth blog]


It's important for women who are vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian to get enough iron. Iron is the backbone nutrient for enhancing the building of oxygenated blood. Vitamin B12 is also needed to make healthy blood. Iron is a key nutrient in cells that enables thyroid/zinc gene signals to function in metabolic pathways. Non-heme iron can be hard to absorb. Eat iron-rich food (e.g. pumpkin seeds — raw pepitas from Trader Joe's) and iron supplements together with food that enhance the absorption of iron (vitamin C-rich food, brocolli). Foods that inhibit the absorption of iron include coffee and spinach.

Iron Rich Foods containing Non-Heme Iron

Beans (lentils are a great source)
Pumpkin seeds
Blackstrap molasses
Baked potato with skin
Canned asparagus

Iron Absorption Enhancers

Fruits: orange, orange juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit etc
Vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potato, green & red peppers
White wine

Iron Absorption Inhibitors
Red wine, coffee & tea
Vegetables: spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb and sweet potato
Whole grains and bran
Soy products

Other good iron sources include kelp (algae and spirulina, chlorella, dulse, sea lettuce) and red beet root.

Carol J. Adams's 'An Animal Manifesto'

Excerpts from an interview with Carol J. Adams by Tom Tyler, "An Animal Manifesto: Gender, Identity, and Vegan-Feminism in the Twenty-First Century", on topics such as Haraway's companion animals, and the question of animals rights in a postmodern age:

'TT: Donna Haraway has, of course, written two manifestos already: for cyborgs and for companion animals. I know you have reservations about the latter: what are its limitations from the perspective of a vegan-feminist manifesto?

CJA: I think she is attempting something more profoundly personal here. But I found the final product, her small pamphlet, extremely disturbing. It feels uneven, as though it were cobbled together. And her voice is not so much ambiguous as inconsistent. Sometimes it feels downright petulant. It’s the lacunae in Haraway that disturb. Reading it against and with Derrida make what is left unsaid so damning. Derrida’s feels to be a manifesto in all but name; Haraway’s a manifesto only in name, more an apologia. Discussing circuses, Derrida paints a picture of ‘an animal trainer having his sad subjects, bent low, file past.’ Haraway, through a reference to Vicki Hearne’s beliefs, defends ‘circus trainers,’ referring to animals in the circus as ‘the animals they work with’. At this point, with all the information about circuses, why would someone alert to how words work, choose the euphemism ‘work with’? Derrida, as you point out, does not shy away from engaging the issue of the Holocaust and genocide when talking about what is happening to animals, while Haraway pauses to condemn ‘the outrageous equating of the killing of the Jews in Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, with the butcheries of the animal-industrial complex’.

Regarding animal rights, Haraway is dismissive, calling us the ‘rights besotted’. Derrida, more generously, acknowledges ‘In response to the irresistible but unacknowledged unleashing and the organized disavowal of this torture, voices are raised – minority, weak, marginal voices, little assured of their discourse, of their right to discourse and the enchantment of their discourse within the law, as a declaration of rights – in order to protect, in order to appeal (we’ll return to this) to what is still presented in such a problematic way as animal rights, in order to awaken us to our responsibilities and our obligations with respect to the living in general, and precisely to this fundamental compassion that, were we to take it seriously, would have to change even the very basis (and the basis is what I wish to discuss today) of the philosophical problematic of the animal’.

Haraway’s embrace of Vicki Hearne’s position, a position left fixed by her death, results in an impatient, and I would argue, dated, dismissal of ‘animal rights’. Haraway’s aversion to animal rights doesn’t seem to have mutated or adapted since Hearne’s 1991 article against animal rights. I wish I could understand the categorical disparagement of animal rights that, with a broad sweep, includes even those animal advocates who challenge ‘rights language’, a large majority of whom are women. For which companion species can we safely advocate if we wish to avoid her derision? Only dogs? I do not comprehend why a feminist concerned with relations between species decidedly ignores the many feminist scholars who have been writing and talking about this issue, some for at least twenty years. Haraway is interested in finding the ‘relational model of training’, making her disinterestedness in a relational model for veganism and other relationships with animals more shocking. Derrida says ‘no one can deny the unprecedented proportions of this subjection of the animal […] No one can deny seriously, or for very long, that men do all they can in order to dissimulate this cruelty or to hide it from themselves, in order to organize on a global scale the forgetting or misunderstanding of this violence that some would compare to the worst cases of genocide (there are also animal genocides: the number of species endangered because of man takes one’s breath away)’. Yet Haraway seems to.

And what of dogs? She is interested in ‘naturecultures’ - the naturecultures of humans and canines, for instance, and ‘ethical relating, within or between species’. She condemns ‘impulse buyers’ of special breeds of dogs who then dump their dogs, but the breeders for whom the ‘whole dog’ is both a kind and an individual (perhaps the beginning of the problem), and who continue to produce these ‘purebreds,’ escape her critique in this part of the manifesto. Where do the impulse buyers get their dogs?

Can a manifesto compromise? Shouldn’t a manifesto leap to the place where compromise, or half responses, are seen as what they are, a bargain with the established order against which your manifesto is standing? Like a manifesto for companion animals that uses purebreds as the referents? Why breed animals? Why claim for history more value than contemporary situations?

While Haraway acknowledges the ‘scandal of the meat-producing “animal industrial complex”’, she only finds historical irony in the introduction of ‘Basque Pyrenean mountain dogs, who were nurtured in the purebred dog fancy, onto the ranches of the US west to protect Anglo ranchers’ xenobiological cattle and sheep’. Surely there is more than irony here. She seems so hesitant to address herself to the species with whom humans have the least ethical relation - the animals that people eat - indeed, referring to a stop at Burger King to get ‘burgers, coke, and fries’. Her book was published after Burger King started selling veggie burgers, but she fails to tell us what sort of burger she bought.

Haraway protects the dominance that ontologises animals as edible just as the sheepdogs she celebrates protect the ontologised ‘livestock’. She renders unto the renderers the bodies of animals. ‘Livestock’ become the untouchable natureculture intersection and not because of the prions from rendered ‘mad’ cows that cannot be destroyed, but because she cannot or will not acknowledge the possibility that livestock might also be companion species.

I know Haraway is not alone in viewing ‘animal rights’ discourse as proscriptive and ideological, that some people believe a certain possibility of becoming is denied when one tells another what not to do, that we deprive another when we speak or make demands, that activists are dictating to others. But in any evolving natureculture, we should stipulate that flesh eating, unlike debates about it, involves more than human beings. Humans consume animal beings. In human-oriented arguments, the fact that others are dictating to animals by eating them disappears. If we agree to one of the points I propose in the vegan-feminist manifesto, that at least three beings are involved in a discourse about flesh eating (the speaker, the hearer and the animal being eaten), then we see that there is an a priori deprivation within these critiques that needs to be acknowledged: the death of the animal.

TT: Your most recent paper, ‘Post-meateating’, considers animal rights as a modern movement in a postmodern age.

CJA: This may offer another explanation for the dismissal of animal rights discourses. In The Sexual Politics of Meat, I proposed that nonhumans used for meat were absent referents. In ‘Post-meateating’ I explore the implications of Frederic Jameson’s insight that in general we have passed from the modern period with nature still a referent, to a postmodern period with culture as the referent. His insight suggests that in a postmodern time the animals have been loosed completely from their status as absent referent — instead the referent will have a cultural context only.

When postmodernism supplanted the idea of the individual, autonomous subject with the idea of multiple selves and a fluid subject, Tom Regan’s scholarly attempt to claim consciousness and biography for animals, The Case for Animal Rights,27 seemed to lose its relevance. (But why not attribute such multiple selves to other animals too?) The animal rights movement that traces itself to Regan or Peter Singer has the misfortune of articulating a modernist claim just as postmodernism absorbs and displaces modernist thinking. It appears dated, announcing in its activism (boycotts/placards/lobbying) its own supposed anachronism. It appears absolutist and serious in a time when irony and self-deprecation prevail. It is seen as too literal, too preachy. Trying to get culture to get back to the referent ‘animal’ is seen as too boring, not playful.

This appears to be what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) knows. They often deploy visual images but with cultural referents. They use supermodels. They use actors. They take any cultural idea that is circulating and appropriate it. Rather than producing for general consumption the ‘bleeding Jesus’ pictures, as one Catholic friend calls them, of damaged, injured animals, PETA puts on Mickey Mouse masks to protest animal experimentation. They’re ironic.

PETA seems to acknowledge that for many people the referent, animals, is gone. And they are trying to work with what is there, cultural consumption, by manipulating cultural images/issues. They are trying to get people to talk about veganism without having to address what has disappeared. It doesn’t matter who they piss off. In fact the more the better. Tastelessness is newsworthy; nonhuman farmed animals aren’t. The strongest reminder for me of this is that people continue to eat ‘beef’ after the news about mad cows.

One of the results when the cultural becomes the referent, is not only that we forget we are animal beings, but we are allowed to forget that other animals are animal beings, too! Karen Davis says the human hand is the cruelest thing a chicken will know. The non-ambivalent action the activist wants is to stop that hand.I think I still cling to words like ‘integrity’. What sort of referents are animals in scholarly discourse? Are they allowed to be embodied animal beings?'

[References at <>. First published in Parallax 38 (Jan-Mar 2006), p120-28. ]

Related books by Carol J. Adams:
The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory.
The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics: A Reader, edited with Josephine Donovan. Columbia University Press.
Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Handbook. Continuum, 2003. Chinese edition, 2005
How to Eat Like a Vegetarian More than 250 Shortcuts, Strategies, and Simple Solutions, Carol J. Adams, Patti Breitman
The Pornography of Meat. New York: Continuum International, 2003.
Ecofeminism and the Sacred, editor. New York: Continuum International, 1993.
Neither Man nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense of Animals. New York: Continuum International. 1994. (Pictured above)
Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations, an anthology edited with Josephine Donovan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995.

More resources

Carol J. Adams. The Sexual Politics of Meat. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999.
Steve Baker. Postmodern Animal. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Nigel Rothfels, editor. Representing Animals. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.
Jacques Derrida. The Animal That Therefore I Am. Fordham University Press, 2008.
Donna Haraway. Companion Species Manifesto. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Cary Wolfe. Zoontologies: The Question Of The Animal. University Of Minnesota Press, 2003.
Lorraine Daston, editor. Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism. Columbia University Press, 2006.
Matthew Calarco. Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida. Columbia University Press, 2008.
Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman, editors. Concrete Jungle. New York: Juno Books, 1997.
Meredith Tromble. "We Are/Are Not Animal". <>
Gene(sis) show at BAM <>

Mircea Cantor’s Deeparture

Image: still from video

Another piece which would add to the show. 'Cantor’s nearly three-hour Deeparture (2005) is as severely economical in its setup as it is intense in its poetic potential. It involves two unwitting players, a wolf and a deer, in perhaps the most unlikely and artificial environment in which they can find themselves—a white-cube gallery. The artist shot the animals in 16mm film with a seemingly unforgiving eye, structuring a series of taut close-ups from various angles into a seamlessly looping video. Confounding expectations, the “natural” predator-prey relationship does not play itself out here. Instead, both animals keep their distance from each other and appear in turn tense, confused, exhausted, and dejected, even oblivious. As viewers are gradually roped into emotional engagement with the ultimately unreadable animals, they’re led to wonder if these nonhuman players serve as a blank screen upon which human emotions and psychological attachments are projected.' []

Interspecies collaboration: William Wegman, Catherine Chalmers


These two works are not in the show but could enhance it. The first (functioning ironically) is Dog Biscuit in Glass Jar of William Wegman's puppy trying to extract a biscuit from a glass bottle. People who like dogs may be uncomfortable watching this video.


The second is Burning at the Stake by Catherine Chalmers (who has a different piece in the show). Even though nobody likes cockroaches, this is surprisingly not easy to watch. If you like this piece you may like Safari which is another video by Chalmers. Below is a list of resources from the show's website.


Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art <>
After Darwin <>
Animalkind <>
Becoming Animal <>
Hybridity: The Evolution of Species and Spaces in 21st-Century Art <>
Interspecies <>


Steve Baker. Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993.
John Berger. "Why Look at Animals" in About Looking. NY: Pantheon Books, 1980.
Donna Haraway. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
J.M. Coetzee. The Lives of Animals. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1999.
Linda and Amy Fitzgerald Kalof, editors. The Animals Reader. Oxford and New York: Berg Press, 2007.


The Animal Gaze <>
Eco-Centric Topics <>
Green Museum <>
Interspecies <>
Interspecies Collaboration <>

Catherine Chalmer's Safari


[From UCR Sweeney] 'A macroscopic lens follows the point of view of a cockroach on adventures in an apparent tropical paradise, encountering exotic insects that Chalmers collected for the film.' Below is a photo of a shrimp Peacock Mantis Shrimp (detail) by Joseph Napolitano.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Interspecies art: Nina Katchadourian's Continuum of Cute

Image: aluminum shelf, 100 individual aluminum mounted photographs, 200 inches

[From UCR Sweeney] 'Fascinated by a profusion of cute animal pictures found on the web, Nina Katchadourian collected one hundred passport-sized photos and arranged them in order of cuteness for Continuum of Cute. This "interspecies beauty contest" - though highly subjective - might have consequences for an animal's ultimate survival.'

Interspecies art: Jill Greenberg's Monkey Suit

Image: archival pigment print, 50x42 in.

I just saw the show Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art at UCR Sweeney, which explores human interaction with animals with the intention to challenge the anthropocentric (human-centric) perspective. The following are a few pieces from the show. Jill Greenberg's photos are life-size and she treats her nonhuman animal subjects in the same manner as her signature human-animal celebrity portraiture.

Lydia Millet's Love in Infant Monkeys

[Review by Kathryn Harrison in Bookforum] 'The more affecting, and serious, stories are spun around scientists rather than stars. “Thomas Edison and Vasil Golakov” uses the January 4, 1903, execution of Topsy, a Coney Island circus elephant, as a springboard. ... That she was executed rather than euthanized “assumes the animal is a moral agent, accountable to the law,” and invites Millet to take on human ingenuity, cruelty, and stupidity all at once. But the tale goes beyond satire. Millet conveys her relationship to her subject most simply in her choice of who rather than that as the pronoun appropriate to an elephant. Sentimentally, human beings elevate animals to our own level, which we simultaneously hold superior to theirs. We impose our feelings and intellectual conceits on animals, and when we find in them what we hate in ourselves, we destroy or abandon them.

Many, if not most, of Millet’s readers will go online to watch what she characterizes as one of the first snuff films, “a film that records the willful killing of an unwilling subject.” Some, like this fictional Edison, may be driven to watch it over and over. In fact, by 1903, the inventor had been staging public electrocutions of dogs and cats for years, ostensibly to demonstrate the danger of Nikola Tesla’s alternating-current electricity, owned by Westinghouse, in contrast to the direct current Edison intended to profit by. ... in all these stories, animals are the victims of human projection, not always passive but still recipients of our struggle to understand death, faith, and the divine. ...

Having killed the gods we’ve invented—their familiarity breeding our contempt—we still have animals, creatures that persist, godlike, in their inscrutability and mystery. For as long as their consciousnesses remain alien, even while their brains and behavior are probed by curious humans, beasts will, Millet suggests, suffer something worse than our contempt: our fear and our worship.'

Banksy's cheetah

Video documentation:

'A dimly lit room housed Banksy’s caged mechanical sculptures, some displayed last year in his storefront fake pet shop in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. A mother hen watched over her chicken-nugget little ones pecking away at a synthetic-looking sauce in a fast-food plastic container; encased raw sausages, salamis and hot dogs writhed and squirmed in a sickly sexual manner; what looked from the back like a cheetah curled in the branches of a tree was chillingly revealed to be a fur coat. ... Judging from the long queues spilling out of Bristol Museum every day and the great enthusiasm displayed by visitors, the artist’s decision to come indoors for a while was only good. The strength of Banksy’s work lies in the fact that, even in a museum environment, his messages are direct enough to reach anyone on the street.' []