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Material Witness: The Autobiographical Animal
Material Witness: The Autobiographical Animal

Collaborative performance project with sculptor Rachel Frank, @ Samson Projects in Boston and Franklin Park in Jamaica Plain, MA as part of the Art Grove public art initiative

Using Frank's donkey head masks (inspired by the satirical-grotesque work of Francisco Goya), as a point of departure, our site-specific collaboration explored the topic of spectatorship, or 'witnessing', as it relates to labor, exploitation, violence and subjectivity. Over the course of two days, we performed several tableaus, some solo, some as a group, in which we compelled the audience to consider their relationship to our actions of real and symbolic struggle, as we stumbled through thickets of bush and bramble, often carrying sizable loads in low visibility and significant heat.

"What the human may see in the eye of the animal is not the answer to the question of being, but rather a blind and steadily dilating abyss staring back into the heart of the human."

"Animal, in other words, is one of the ways we say Other."

"Animals, then, are slaves and sacrificial offerings to our need for ritual symbolic confirmation of our peculiar self-understanding."

- from Animal Philosophy, edited by Matthew Calarco & Peter Atterton