Resistance within the Museum Fauna
: Challenging Anthropocentrism through Counter Art Histories and Non-Human Narratives

  • EVAMARIE LINDAHL

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Resistance Within the Museum Fauna - Challenging Anthropocentrism through Counter Art Histories and Non-Human Narratives is a practice-based dissertation within visual art and critical animal studies that is engaged in decentring the human in art history in favour of non-human animals. The theory and practice of this dissertation is committed to finding ways of challenging an anthropocentric art world, and therefore the research approach is qualitative, meaning that it is not trying to measure, but rather re-think art historic narratives while concentrating its attention to the lives and histories of non-human animals on display at the museum walls.

The fauna of the art museum is not only the title of the thesis, but a term developed because of the necessity to hold space for a group of non-human animals whose commonality is that their habitat is the art museum, some are portrayed in paintings while others are grinded to become pigment, glue and paint. Moreover, one of the core strategies of this research is the refusal to view portrayed non-human animals as symbols for human affairs but instead recognize them as individuals with agency and relationships. To do this, anthropomorphism is used as a radical and empathic tool to envision and imagine new art history where non-human animals are at the centre.

The thesis is written from the firm and unwavering conviction of the rights of all living beings, and that the killing of non-human animals within the production system of visual art needs to end. Therefore, the dissertation ends with a toolkit of exercises written to be used when visiting the art museum. The toolkit hopes to create a feeling with another instead of looking at others, and the courage to engage in art works from a position of empathy towards all species.
Date of Award26 Sep 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorCLAIRE PARKINSON (Director of Studies) & ALEXANDER JUKES (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Arts-based methods
  • artwork
  • Critical Animal Studies
  • practice-based research
  • visual art
  • performance
  • art history
  • animal ethics
  • animal rights
  • non-human animal

Research Centres

  • Centre for Human Animal Studies

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