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Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art (PostHumanities)by Ron Broglio
Synopses & Reviews
What it is like to be an animal? Ron Broglio wants to know from the inside, from underneath the fur and feathers. In examining this question, he 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.
Until now phenomenology has grappled with how humans are embedded in their world. According to philosophical tradition, animals do not practice the self-reflexive thought that provides humans with depth of being. Without human interiority, philosophers have believed, animals live on the surface of things. But, Broglio argues, the surface can be a site of productive engagement with the world of animals, and as such he turns to humans who work with surfaces: contemporary artists.
Taking on the negative claim of animals living only on the surface and turning the premise into a positive set of possibilities for human–animal engagement, Broglio considers artists—including Damien Hirst, Carolee Schneemann, Olly and Suzi, and Marcus Coates—who take seriously the world of the animal on its own terms. In doing so, these artists develop languages of interspecies expression that both challenge philosophy and fashion new concepts for animal studies.
Book News Annotation:
Broglio (English and sustainability, Arizona State U.) ponders what it is to be an animal, not as observed from outside, but as the animal itself. The question of embodying another is one of the most persistent in philosophy, he says. His topics include meat matters: distance in Damien Hirst, making space for animal dwelling: worlding with Snæbjönsdóttir/Wilson, and a minor art: becoming-animal of Marcus Coates. Annotation Â©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Developing a phenomenology of the animal other through contemporary art
About the Author
Ron Broglio is assistant professor of English and senior scholar of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Staying on the Surface
1. Meat Matters: Distance in Damien Hirst
2. Body of Thought: Immanence and Carolee Schneemann
3. Making Space for Animal Dwelling: Worlding with Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson
4. Contact Zones and Living Flesh: Touch after Olly and Suzi
5. A Minor Art: Becoming-Animal of Marcus Coates
Coda: Human, Animal, and Matthew Barney
What Our Readers Are Saying
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