Two years ago I began creating photographs illustrating dreams that were recounted to me, all of which centered on an animal. As I worked I realized I had little interest in psychoanalytic interpretations of the animal as metaphor. I did, however, begin to see a connection between an animal conjured in a dream and a fetus inhabiting a mother’s body. Both are part of us, and are yet ‘other’ from us. I have come to realize that this correlation extends to the ‘animal’ in the human-animal, and that it is with this unknowable part of ourselves that we can commune with non-human compatriots. In the exhibition, ANIMA, the relationship between the dreamt animal, the fetus and what Derrida called “the animal in me and the animal at unease with itself […] a yet undetermined animal”, has heavily informed my work.
I believe art, because it parallels the non-literal, communicative possibilities of animal language, offers a way around our constant demands to understand animality through the language-based mind. Through art we create a space where what we cannot put words to is valued. I endeavor, through sculpture, photo and writing, to offer entry points to other modes of relatedness.
Donna Haraway wrote "[Fiction is] liable to showing something we do not yet know to be true, but will know". Through the sculptures and photographs in ANIMA I am attempting this act of showing. "Living with animals, inhabiting their/our stories, trying to tell the truth about our relationship, co-habiting an active history: that is the work of companion species”.
I work intuitively, but not mindlessly and in this practice I see a symbiosis with relating to animal beings. This production is rooted in knowledge gained from years of communicating visually and corporally as an artist. But perhaps more importantly, this work unfolds from the legacy of embodied knowledge gained from living among companion species. In my practice, and particularly in ANIMA, I endeavor to stretch open the anthropocentric, normative definition of language to include the intuitive, visual, gestural and affective.