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.
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Number of pages: 176
Dimensions: 203 x 152 x 20 mm
"Surface Encounters is an insightful consideration of the problematics of animal phenomenology." -Kari Weil, Wesleyan University
"Learned and intellectually courageous, Surface Encounters brims with counter-intuitive arguments about what it means to tarry thoughtfully with non-human life. This is nothing less than a scholarly manifesto: compact, lively, and pressing, as much a rousing call for future imaginings as it is a sober analysis in its own right." -David Clark, McMaster University