I use film, sound and sculpture to rethink ‘becoming-animal’ and animality, and consider what new forms of multispecies kinships might be possible.
I explore the paradoxical spaces between the wild and domestic inhabited by nonhumans; and reimagine new spaces for interspecies co-existence to create a greater awareness of the importance of tackling biodiversity loss in the context of the ongoing ecological crisis.
‘Becoming-animal’ (1980), a concept devised by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, presents a mode of escape from dualistic thinking. It may be thought of as an event that replaces subjectivity - a kind of un-doing of the human. It’s transformative and rhizomatic nature has a capacity to both create and dismantle fixed ideas and identities.
As an artist, I engage with ‘becoming-animal’ for its fluidity and horizontality. It places humans and nonhumans in a non-hierarchical continuum. This power shift puts us humans in a different relation to the Darwinian hierarchy. An intention for my work is to overcome that human-nonhuman power relation - to destabilise fixed ideas and shift awareness of how we experience ourselves in relation to the planet and its co-inhabitants.
As well as an art practitioner, I volunteer as a Lookerer (a kind of assistant shepherd), working with sheep on down land sites around the edges of Brighton. Here, sheep and ponies graze on a number of important conservation and ancient chalk land, as part of a rewilding programme run by the Council. I situate myself in close proximity to animals utilizing these and other similar spaces as a kind of residency or studio - a place for encounter and alliance with nonhumans.
I find a position of sameness with animals. I step into their world to explore it not from a separate human position but from a position of animality, as an art practitioner. It’s a transformative process of undoing and shape shifting, a kind of shedding of humanness. I enter these lived entanglements using both a playful and serious intent to create interconnecting spaces between the real and the imagined.
‘Becoming-animal’ is my starting point from which to move in different directions. It’s nebulous movement, always in flight rather than settled, allows for unexpected connections and relations to emerge, opening up new possibilities to reveal interconnecting spaces and places. I hold open a space of ambiguity and position myself in that space with the animal. And, the use of technology is key to this articulation.