Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Can artists work with animals as equals? Interspecies uses artistic strategies to stimulate dialogue about the way we view the relationship between human and non-human animals, in the year of celebrations of Darwin's birth 200 years ago.

Private view 6pm, Friday 23 January 2009
at Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK
70 Oxford Street, M1 5NH
Exhibition open
24 January - 29 March 2009, Tue - Sun


comprises new works by four artists - Nicolas Primat, Kira O'Reilly, Antony Hall and Ruth Maclennan, and existing pieces by Rachel Mayeri, Beatriz Da Costa and Kathy High. All the artists in Interspecies question the one-sided manipulation of non-human life forms for art. They instead try to absorb the animal's point of view as a fundamental part of their work and practice.

Kira O'Reilly presents an action/installed performance featuring herself and a sleeping female pig, Delilah, Falling Asleep With A Pig, taking place at the private view on Friday 23 January, and on Saturday 24 January. The work addresses the ethics of human and non-human animal interaction, acknowledging the implicit ambivalence in the appropriation of animals as a resource. The artist will inhabit a gallery redesigned for the comfort and welfare of a pig. At some point the pig and/or the artist will sleep. Documentation of the event will be shown in the exhibition.

Nicolas Primat is the only artist in the world that specialises in working with monkeys and apes in collaboration with primatologists. He will show video works resulting from his residencies at the Primatology station, CNRS, Marseille, working with baboons, at the Pasteur Institute, Cayenne, Guyana, working with Saimiris (squirrel monkeys) and at the Animal Park of Apenheul, Holland, working with Bonobo apes.

Anthony Hall's work ENKI allows electric fish and humans to commune on the same level, avoiding the use of language as such; instead stimulating a shared empathy through physical connection. The project explores the possibilities of cross species communication and human to fish relationships, in particular the electric fish. Is it possible that a symbiotic relationship between human and electronic fish can be effected through passive and active electronic media?

Ruth Maclennan’s work for Interspecies explores the relationship between a bird of prey and the human being who trains it. Like eagles and falcons, the symbolic life of the hawk exceeds its ‘natural’ life, which is itself encouraged by human intervention—in breeding, nesting and the habitat. This is the latest stage in a project that looks at people, architecture, the city, and landscape, from the perspective of a cyborg ‘hawk-camera’.

Two existing works will also be shown in the touring exhibition: Rachel Mayeri's Primate Cinema, which casts human actors in the role of non-human primates seeking mates, and Beatriz Da Costa's PigeonBlog which provides an alternative way to participate environmental air pollution data gathering, equipping urban homing pigeons with GPS-enabled electronic air pollution sensing devices.

INTERSPECIES Events at Cornerhouse

Sat 24 January, 2 – 4pm
Artists’ Open Forum
Nicolas Primat, Antony Hall, Ruth Maclennan, Rachel Mayeri and Beatriz da Costa
Join us for this open forum, a unique opportunity to meet the artists and discover more about the ideas behind Interspecies.

Sun 25 January, 4pm
Kira O’Reilly in Conversation
Join performance artist Kira O’Reilly and curator Rob La Frenais, as they discuss Kira’s exhibition piece in relation to her work on sleep and dream research with humans and pigs.

Mon 26 January, 6 - 8pm
Wed 28 January, 2 - 4pm
Workshop: Primate Cinema – How to act like an animal
Participate in a performance workshops led by Interspecies artist Rachel Mayeri, exploring how primates communicate. Through discussion and video clips, learn about animal behaviour in the wild and in cinema and find out about primatology. You will get the chance to engage in physical theatre techniques and learn how to improvise movement and social interactions as non-human primates.

Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5HN
Box office: 0161 200 1500
Opening hours: Tues – Sat: 11.00 – 18.00 Thurs until 20.00
Sun 14.00-18.00
e: info@cornerhouse.org


The Arts Catalyst
Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6LS
e admin@artscatalyst.org

The Arts Catalyst commissions art that experimentally and critically engages with science. We bring together people across the art/science divide and beyond to explore science in its wider social, political and cultural contexts. We produce provocative, playful, risk-taking projects to spark dynamic conversations about our changing world.

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