WHY TALK TO ANIMALS.
A Trilogy by Mobile Academy Berlin




Drawings: : Florian Stirnemann

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>> Context

May 2015
>> PART1: CONFERENCE
>>
EXPERTS
>> ABSTRACTS

September 2015
>> PART2: THE SHOOTING
>> LINE UP IN THE ARENA
>> COUPLES IN THE ARENA
>> SCIENTISTS IN THE LABORATORY
>> FILM & RADIO
>> VIDEO DOCUMENTATION (excerpt)

December 2015 / February 2016
>> Part3: The Product

 

 

Lectures (á 45min.)

11:00am
Welcome by Adam Budak (National Gallery Prague), Jakob Racek (Goethe Institut Prague) and Maximilian Haas and Hannah Hurtzig

11:30am
Giovanni Aloi: Roni Horn: Taxidermy, Photography and Ontological Mobility

12:30am
Marco Stella: The Meaning of the Salamander. Andrias scheuchzeri in Czech science and culture in the 20th century

2:30pm
Olesya Turkina: Portraying Ideology. About images of Soviet Space Dogs

3:30pm
Jana Horáková : Into the ZOO with Patricia Piccinini

5:00pm
Cord Riechelmann: Could we portray an animal without mythological or shakespearean subtexts? Remarks on three animal short film portrays from Romuald Karmakar, Ken Wardrop and Chen Sheinberg

6:00pm
Steve Baker: The contemporary animal



WHY TALK TO ANIMALS.

ABSTRACTS:


Steve Baker
The contemporary animal
What makes contemporary art about animals “contemporary”? How easy is it to maintain a cutting edge, a critical engagement with the forms of current art practice, at the same time as attending to the condition of nonhuman animals? The stakes are high, because contemporary animal imagery that fails to signal its contemporaneity will struggle to reach beyond a small audience already engaged by its subject matter but largely oblivious to its form – its work – as art. And does the all-too-human genre of portraiture really have any useful role in that portrayal?


Giovanni Aloi
Roni Horn: Taxidermy, Photography and Ontological Mobility
What roles does taxidermy play in our relationship with live animals today? How does it operate as a signifier in contemporary representation? The paper discusses the photographic work of internationally renowned artist Roni Horn, paying particular attention to her work Dead Owl (1997) and the series Bird (1998-2007) both of which involve taxidermy. In relation to these works, I will argue that in opposition to the predominantly negative connotations taxidermy has acquired in human-animal studies discourses, Horn’s approach to taxidermy and the photographic idiom alike constitute a productive problematizer of animal representation.


Jana Horáková
Into the ZOO with Patricia Piccinini
The Australian artist Patricia Piccinini creates fantastic hyperreal creatures that escape the systematic taxonomy of species ‘as we know them’. She introduces the gallery visitors with hyperreal models of non-existent but probable creatures of fantastic zoology, that can be situated on the scale between two poles – humans (as we know them) and animals (as far as we know them). Donna Haraway calls the artist her fallow in the searching for the appropriate language that enable us to give names to the hybrid spaces and species of the complex techno-nature-culture interactions within currant societies and their environments.


Marco Stella
The Meaning of the Salamander. Andrias scheuchzeri in Czech science and culture in the 20th century
A most improbable and surprisingly strong material and semiotic connection exists between Czech lands and creatures as distant both geographically and biologically as Giant Salamanders (genus Andrias). These largest living amphibians from Asia became mighty symbols of both identity and otherness in Czech culture and science. From Capek's dystopic novel "War with the Newts" (1936) to giant salamanders living in the basement of the Faculty of Science, these almost impossible creatures populate space and minds in large numbers. The paper will try to map their presence and explain the strange mutual devotion of people and amphibians.


Olesya Turkina
Portraying Ideology. About images of Soviet Space Dogs

The lecture is dedicated to the dogs who were crucial to the success of the early Soviet space programme. All of them formerly homeless on the Moscow streets, they fitted the necessary profile: small, robust, placid and able to withstand the punishing preparations for space flight. They were also photogenic. On 3 November 1957, Laika was the first Earth-born creature into outer space, giving her instant global fame. Her death a few hours after launching was used to transform her into a symbol of patriotic sacrifice. The lecture reflects on the ideological implications of the popular portraits of the Soviet Space Dogs.


Cord Riechelmann
Could we portray an animal without mythological or shakespearean subtexts? Remarks on three animal short film portrays from Romuald Karmakar, Ken Wardrop and Chen Sheinberg.
Animals in film suffer from a semantic overload. The fact that even great documentary filmmakers like Sir David Attenborough cannot avoid to stage the fight between fiddler crabs at the beach as an ancient tragedy, shows in how far animals in films are overdetermined by mythology, literature, and philosophy. Nevertheless, the symbolic association machines in these films can break down just because the animal is also there – as animal. This reduction of associations towards the actual animal shall be discussed in regard to three short film portraits.