Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art (Posthumanities)
Publish Date: 2011-10-28
Author: Ron Broglio
What it is like to be an animal? Ron Broglio wants to know from the inside, from underneath the fur and feathers. In examining this question, he bypasses the perspectives of biology or natural history to explore how one can construct an animal phenomenology, to think and feel as an animal otheror any other.
Until now phenomenology has grappled with how humans are embedded in their world. According to philosophical tradition, animals do not practice the self-reflexive thought that provides humans with depth of being. Without human interiority, philosophers have believed, animals live on the surface of things. But, Broglio argues, the surface can be a site of productive engagement with the world of animals, and as such he turns to humans who work with surfaces: contemporary artists.
Taking on the negative claim of animals living only on the surface and turning the premise into a positive set of possibilities for humananimal engagement, Broglio considers artistsincluding Damien Hirst, Carolee Schneemann, Olly and Suzi, and Marcus Coateswho take seriously the world of the animal on its own terms. In doing so, these artists develop languages of interspecies expression that both challenge philosophy and fashion new concepts for animal studies.