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Surface Encounters

Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art

Ron Broglio
Series: Posthumanities
Volume: 17
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Surface Encounters
    Book Description:

    Ron Broglio bypasses the perspectives of biology or natural history to explore how one can construct an animal phenomenology, to think and feel as an animal other—or any other. Broglio considers contemporary artists who take seriously the world of the animal on its own terms, developing languages of interspecies expression that challenge philosophy and fashion new concepts for animal studies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7859-4
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction Staying on the Surface
    (pp. xv-xxxii)

    This book focuses on a singular problem: What is an animal phenomenology? What is it to be an animal, not as observed from an objective perspective of natural history, but from the fur of the beasts themselves? This does not mean asking what it is like to run like a cheetah. The concern in this problem is not likeness. It is not an issue of similarity; rather, what is running for the cheetah? What is swimming for the seal and slithering for the anaconda and bedding down for the cat—to name but a few animals that appear in this...

  5. 1 Meat Matters Distance in Damien Hirst
    (pp. 1-24)

    Meat is the moment when what remained hidden to us is opened up. The animal’s insides become outsides. Its depth of form becomes a surface, and its depth of being becomes the thin lifelessness of an object exposed. Meat makes the animal insides visible, and through sight the animal body becomes knowable. And while meat serves as a means for us to take in the animal visually and intellectually, it also marks the moment when the animal becomes physically consumable.

    In meat there is a transformation from living to dead, from hidden to revealed, and from indigestible to edible. As...

  6. 2 Body of Thought Immanence and Carolee Schneemann
    (pp. 25-56)

    Carolee Schneemann’s performance pieceMeat Joy(1964) functions as closely as possible to a modern artistic vision of a Dionysian ritual:

    Meat Joyhas the character of an erotic rite: excessive, indulgent, a celebration of flesh as material: raw fish, chickens, sausages, wet paint, transparent plastic, rope, brushes, paper scrap. Its propulsion is toward the ecstatic—shifting and turning between tenderness, wildness, precision, abandon: qualities which could at any moment be sensual, comic, joyous, repellent. Physical equivalences are enacted as a psychic and imagistic stream in which the layered elements mesh and gain intensity by the energy complement of the...

  7. 3 Making Space for Animal Dwelling Worlding with Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson
    (pp. 57-80)

    In the “Eighth Duino Elegy,” poet Rainer Maria Rilke describes the animal’s space that overlaps and haunts our own as a “nowhere without the no.”¹ We do not have access to this space, this nowhere, and yet it lingers in our presence “without the no.” Rilke points to the limit of knowing the animal and its world. His poem indicates a place without (human) knowing and yet not quite a nowhere. It is this same space that the artists Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson pursue in their collaborative artwork:

    In general we aim to use our work to create debates...

  8. 4 Contact Zones and Living Flesh Touch after Olly and Suzi
    (pp. 81-100)

    This chapter pursues the following premise: that which is most animal, including the biological element of theanimal rationale, lives on the surface of things, and the animal with its surfaces is an overlooked site of productive meaning. Animals are said to be poor in thought; they have little interior reflection and consequently little by way of selfhood and no means of attaining transcendental thought. Therefore, to take up the animal means valuing that from which we differentiate ourselves: the animal and its life on the surface. I am interested in imagining how the surface as a theoretical space occupied...

  9. 5 A Minor Art Becoming-Animal of Marcus Coates
    (pp. 101-126)

    Past chapters have traced a path from the satyr to animal worlds and the pidgin language that develops when these worlds mark and re/mark upon each other. Having gone thus far in meeting the animals and their worlds, it would seem folly to go further. Of course, it is exactly this folly against reason, as laid out in the opening chapters, which now legitimates an inquiry into becoming-animal. The human–animal hybrid of the satyr explored in chapter 2 seems to necessitate a becoming. The potency of becoming-animal is evident in chapter 4, where Diogenes—the Dog—and his performative...

  10. Coda Human, Animal, and Matthew Barney
    (pp. 127-134)

    It is perhaps fitting to end this book on animals and art with a coda on becoming: a tale and a tale of tails. Mathew Barney’sDrawing Restraint9 centers around a series of events on a Japanese whaling ship, theNisshin Maru. The activities that unfold in this video work and the figural forms established in the piece serve as a coda to this book, which is to say thatDrawing Restraint9 (2005) reveals and extends the concepts developed in other chapters. As a closing, this coda recaps figures and concepts, but it also opens new directions for...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 135-152)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 153-158)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 159-159)
  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 160-167)