speaking meat project

I’ve just realised I’ve never posted the images of the speaking meat artworks that were used in the exhibition Why Listen to Animals?  So here they are.  These fleshlumps each housed a bluetooth speaker – so they could ‘speak’ as they were handed around the audience (imagine a butchers shop dialogue between meats).

In this performance there were three different ‘voices’ and characters for the meat lumps:

  • baby meat (aka veal) – voiced by Bruce  (baby meat is animal becoming subject becoming object – (mooing then me-ing, then meat-ing, he is sweet and naive and knows nothing different, he is veal, $17.99 a kilo, light and juicy)
  • old diary cow  – voiced by me (daisy is angry and hysterical in the Lacanian sense- she rejects the master narrative, she knows she is a someone not a something, but doesn’t have a lot of alternatives to frame herself within)
  • grumpy steak – voiced by Bruce (grumpy steak is going off, he is the voice of the master narrative, and he’s happy he’s a steak (top of the ladder meat) and wants to ‘rest’ (like meat does), he calls daisy dog food, and tells them to shut up – he’s the heavy breather.

Animals & Society Institute Residency

I have been accepted into the inaugural Animals & Society Institute Summer Program, hosted by the University of Illinois for the project speaking meat – following on from the work I produced with Bruce Mowson for ‘Why Listen to Animals?’ for Liquid Architecture, presented at Westspace in 2016.

speaking meat: the possibilities and issues of strategic anthropomorphism in creative practice

The project/problem I will be addressing in this institute is what are the possibilities and issues related to using ‘strategic anthropomorphism’ in creative practices? Does strategic anthropomorphism simply flatten out the alterity that ethical empathic engagements with non-human animals should illicit. This project aims to explore, investigate and play with the possibilities of strategic anthropomorphism in giving voice to animal bodies, and in particular the meaty remains of animal bodies. Anthropomorphism is viewed critically within the visual arts and often, if not always, elided with anthropocentrism, but has recently found support in a range of other disciplines from the animal sciences to literary studies.

Why listen to Animals?

mOwson&M0wson performance for Liquid Architecture @ Westspace

Introductory talk discussing listening to animals, followed by handing out the moo’ing and speaking fleshlumps, featuring ‘baby veal’, ‘dairy cow’ and ‘grumpy old steak’.

Fantastic documentation by photographer Kellan O’Hehir, some of which are shown here.

fleshlumps – inanimate bodies

Just finished up the final piece for our m0wson&MOwson work at Why Listen to Animals?,   This fleshlump will ‘voice’ the grumpy meat.

at Liquid Architecture, Westspace, 7pm Thursday 20th October 2016

inanimate bodies – three sculptural fleshlumps performed, as if awakening in a butchers shop in the middle of the night. The fleshlumps were passed around through the audience to hold, caress, avoid, squirm away from and most importantly listen to. The three lumps voiced: a baby veal calf, an old dairy cow and a rotting steak. These works were developed as an act of creative madness and strategic anthropomorphism – futile attempts to make meat speak.

Making flesh lumps speak

‘Butchering’ an old work from beautiful little dead things to make some new [hopefully speaking] fleshlumps for ‘Why Listen to Animals’ Liquid Architecture/Westspace, 20 October 2016.

A little bit of strategic anthropomorphism at play here – channeling diary cows …

Why Listen to Animals?

I’m involved in this new Liquid Architecture project at West Space beginning soon.  Working collaboratively with Bruce to respond to this question.

LA2016: Why Listen To Animals?
The possibilities of meaning when we listen to animals and they listen to us.

THU 29 Sep – SAT 22 Oct 2016
West Space
Level 1/225 Bourke St, Melbourne

Artists: Bunna Lawrie, Cecilia Vicuña, Camila Marambio, Bryan Phillips, Kim Satchell, Honey Anthony Magen, Mel Deerson with Georgina Criddle, Rob Thorne, Eric Avery, Tamsen Hopkinson and Julia McFarlane and Max Kohane, Will Foster and Sabrina D’Angelo, Undine Sellbach, Tessa Laird, Lynn V Mowson and Bruce Mowson, Catherine Clover and Peter Knight, Sally Ann McIntyre, RMIT sound students.

This experimental project by Liquid Architecture reframes English writer and artist John Berger’s classic 1980 essay ‘Why Look at Animals?’ through the prism of sound and listening. We gather together artists, musicians, scientists and historians to investigate human-animal sound via the dynamics of power, knowledge and value in the pursuit of a new question: ‘Why Listen to Animals?’