Dear Dairy: The True Cost of Milk

NZ speakers

Speakers at Dear Dairy: The True Cost of Milk.  Friday 21st July 2017
hosted by the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, University of Canterbury
Organisers Kirsty Dunn and Annie Potts
(from left to right: Alison Loveridge, Yamini Narayanan, Lynley Tulloch, Kathryn Stringer, Rowan Taylor, Iselin Gambert, lynn mowson, Tobias Linné, Andrew Knight, Jasmijn DeBoo, Prabha Mallya (graphic illustrator for the conference), Philip Armstrong.

 

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The Animal Museum

The Animal Museum is opening in December 2016, I’ll be heading over in February 2017 to be part of the Art of the Animal: Sexual Politics of Meat exhibition – which I see they’ve abbreviated to SPOM! – and I’m also looking forward to viewing their permanent exhibit of the history of animal advocacy in the US.

Info about the exhibition as it becomes available: http://theanimalmuseum.com/exhibits/the-sexual-politics-of-meat/

 

thoughts on boobscapes

How can the use of traumatic knowledge drive the development of new visual languages of empathy and testimony?  My recent sculptural series boobscape draws upon knowledges of the lives and deaths of dairy cattle. The madness and somewhat garbled hysteria of the witness, the repetitive compulsion to share and reveal, the necessity to communicate to another, and the inability or struggle to find shared language can also be the productive and generative force of animalady.

Skinning days. The bodies are taken down from their hanging position, and rubbed with talc, rubbing into the crevices, the pits, the groin. A sharp scalpel makes a cut through the skin, and then the process of skinning commences, pulling and rubbing down, pulling, stretching, releasing, it is an ugly task, on par with creating meat lumps from skulls. I’m sometimes callous with my little objects. Sometimes their grip on me is too strong, their tenderness fragility and exposure is too painful to bear. I become meat worker, butcher, in order to do this work, and I make amends [regrettably useless] with small objects. I counterbalance the butchering with the endless work of reparation.

Trauma and empathic witnessing erupt into the creative production processes, creating a divergence of methodologies and materialities, such as; tenderness, care, violence, damage and reparation. These contradictory methods are born not only from the witnessing but the trauma of bearing witness, and the maddening frustration of being positioned as the radical vegan freak, the out-there irrational-nutty-screw-loose-mushy-softy-weirdo-bunny-hugger-animal-lover.

Sometimes I stand at the edge of butchers shops, normally I rush by them, their smell envelops me, covers me in a layer of flesh and fatty tissue, the thick smell of cold death. I wonder at how normal this all seems to people, these lumps of bodies laid out, creatures whose lives were given and taken from them for a meal. How invisible yet visible the atrocity is.

boobscape alludes to milking machines, multi-breasted goddesses, boundary crossings and infringements between human and non-human animals, the abject and transgressive possibilities of milk and motherhood. boobscape is a monstrous amalgamation of paradoxical mammaries; breasts and udders, teats and nipples, droopy, full and empty. The pieces grow together on the wall like mold. They linger discordantly between beauty and horror, between empathy and erasure, in doing so they develop the abject languages of empathic relations with our nonhuman fellow creatures.

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Coming up: Creaturely Feeling, The Dax Centre Melbourne

Opening on Monday 13th July – Creaturely Feeling at the Dax Centre.  Curated by Caroline Wallace, this exhibition is part of the Animal Publics: Emotions, Empathy and Activism conference at Melbourne University.  The exhibition will feature a few of my ‘flesh lumps’ series, and I’ll be talking about these little sculptures in my presentation at the conference on the same day.

The exhibition also features works by Trish Adams, Andre Brodyk, Catherine Clover, Kate James, Susie Marcroft and Elizabeth Presa.

Flesh Lumps, Installation, Photo: Kerry Leonard

Flesh Lumps, Installation, Photo: Kerry Leonard

The Art of the Animal to be launched at AASA Conference in Australia

artanimal_frontcover

On Monday 13th July The Art of the Animal will be launched at the AASA Animal Publics: Emotions, Empathy and Activism conference by Melissa Boyde Chair of the AASA.  Fellow artist/academic Yvette Watt will also say a few words.

People who supported the book will be getting their copy in the mail soon and it’s also available for purchase at Amazon or Lantern Books soon.  I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

A couple of photos from the launch:

Melissa Boyde launching art of the animal    1 Yvette Launching Art of the Animal

Left: Melissa Boyde Launching Art of the Animal
Right: Artist / Contributor – Yvette Watt saying a few words at the launch

Photos: Fiona Probyn-Rapsey