WHY TALK TO ANIMALS.
A Trilogy by Mobile Academy Berlin


Part1: Conference
May 2015

Part2: The Shooting
September 2015

Part3: The Product
December 2015 / February 2016




Drawings: : Florian Stirnemann

<< back to the main index

>> 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
> Lecture Giovanni Aloi at youtube

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
> Lecture Olesya Turkina at youtube

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
> Lecture Steve Baker at youtube

 

Credits

Portraying Animals is a project of the Mobile Academy Berlin and the Goethe Institut Prague.

The conference is curated by Maximilian Haas and Hannah Hurtzig in collaboration with Marco Stella.

Production:
Stefan Aue, Monika Loderova and
Cristina Navarro

Address:
Prague, National Gallery / Veletržní palác,
Dukelských hrdinu 47,
170 00 Prague 7 - Holešovice

Contact:
Monika Loderova
monika.loderova@prag.goethe.org




WHY TALK TO ANIMALS.
A Trilogy by Mobile Academy Berlin for the First NatureCultural Capital of Europe Pilsen 2015

A project for the First NatureCultural Capital of Europe in Pilsen 2015

The initiative European Capital of Culture obviously relies on a categorical distinction between nature and culture that is historically worn out. We need another name, we need another attitude, we are looking for new friends. Therefore we declare: Pilsen is the first NatureCultural Capital of Europe. Please join us in a trilogy with experts, actors, and designers from different species!

PART 1:
Portraying Animals
On the Role of Animals in Pictorial Representations
Prague, National Gallery
May 15, 2015, 11am-7pm

Contemporary art loves the beast. Non-human animals are increasingly prominent in works of visual art, photography, film, sculpture, and performance. Why? Where does this need for new images of animals stem from? Perhaps because we currently do not exactly know what an animal actually is. Our notions are out of joint.

The one-day conference Portraying Animals explores the role of animals in contemporary art. The genre of the animal portrait is of particular importance here: the portrait does not simply show an animal, but always this one animal. Lending its motif both face and figure, an individual aura, the portrait invites the viewer to speculate about the subject’s biography, character, emotions, and passions. In short: the portrait lends the animal subjectivity.

Moreover, the animal portrait also poses questions: what role does the model play in its depiction? Wherein lies the practical contribution of the real animals, the creatures of flesh and blood, in how they are pictorially rendered? What influence do they have on the outcome? And consequently: are animals merely material for or rather active collaborators in the process of artistic work?

Six experts from different fields of science and culture will discuss these questions. The British art historian Steve Baker, author of influential books such as The Postmodern Animal, Picturing the Beast and Artist Animal, confronts the aesthetic and political demands regarding the portrayal of animals in contemporary art. His Italian colleague Giovanni Aloi, editor of Antennae – The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture and author of Art and Animals, discusses the relationship between photography and taxidermy (the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of animals for display), focusing on works by the American photographer and visual artist Roni Horn. Czech Anthropologist Marco Stella recounts the uncanny entanglement of legendary Giant Salamanders and Czech culture in the 20th century – both populating the basement of Prague’s Faculty of Science and the cultural imaginary as in Karel Capek's dystopic novel "War with the Newts" (1936). Cord Riechelmann, biologist and cultural theorist based in Berlin, will shift the focus to moving images and discuss the role of animals in selected art films. Riechelmann has written about the invasion of our cities by new settlers such as marten, beaver, jaybird, and owl, and the cultural history of crows. Jana Horáková from Brno is an expert in the philosophy of Donna Haraway, one of the key figures in Animal Studies. She discusses the fantastic, hyperreal, parahuman animal works of Patricia Piccinini, an Australian artist who has also inspired Haraway. The curator and writer Olesya Turkina form St. Petersburg turns towards popular culture and reflects on the ideological role and media presence of the Soviet space dogs who explored outer space way before their human cosmonaut colleagues.

The conference Portraying Animals is the first part of Why Talk to Animals, a trilogy on human-animal relations to be held in Prague and Pilsen, the European Capital of Culture 2015. It opens up the theoretic and discursive field. It will be followed by a live event in September in Pilsen: a casting and photo shooting for a second Noah´s Ark – this time with interspecies couples. The resulting portraits serve as motifs for a number of consumer items which will be on sale in different showrooms in Pilsen and Prague for the rest of the year.