Animals in environmental art: relationship and aesthetic regard
Author: Brady, Emily
Source: Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 9, Number 1, 1 December 2010 , pp. 47-58(12)
Abstract:Earth, wood, stone, water, plants, light and other organic and inorganic natural matter and processes have provided the material for works falling into the amorphous range of contemporary art forms described as land, environmental, land and ecological art. Insects and other tiny non-human creatures have often played some role in these works, either intentionally or only incidentally. Larger non-human creatures amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals have played a much smaller role. In this article, I outline the different ways animals (broadly understood) have featured in these art forms and what sorts of humannonhuman relationships these interventions with nature express or embody. Given these relationships, I critically explore just how we might square such interventions with attitudes of care and respect for nature. Introducing animals into artistic practice brings with it a set of worries and tensions. Alongside encouraging engagement and intimacy with creatures other than ourselves, problems of aestheticizing, sentimentalizing, trivializing, manipulating and just plain interfering trouble our artistic interactions with animals. How do artistic expressions and interests regard and show regard for animals? These questions are addressed through a range of artists and works, including art and ecological restoration/species reclamation; trans-species art; activist/performance art in environments; and art in wildlife conservation.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2010-12-01
- The domain of visual art hosts a multitude of artistic forms and practices. The Journal of Visual Art Practice supports research across the entire range of this varied field. The journal engages with the progressive nature of the subject, reflecting upon the changing terrain of art in recent years.
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