Some Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers about Animal Sentience


Presentation Title:

  • Some Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers about Animal Sentience



  • Artists at the art/biology, human/animal interfaces have embraced evolving technologies, particularly over the past half-decade, producing works that explore sentience and non-human subjectivity; cognition and perception; animal welfare; and interspecies communication. This panel will discuss a selection of works that engages technology to explore the territories of human/nonhuman sentience, agency, interactivity and collectivity. This panel will also consider DIY biology and a host of exhibitions over the past decade in which polarizing debates concerning animal welfare, censorship, and the claim of racist culturalism have emerged.

    Those whose works we reference include: philosopher and social theorist Brian Massumi, who views the body and media as cultural formations that operate on multiple registers of sensation and who also claims that through animality, humans can ascend to an ethic that is creative, expansive and vital; art historian, curator, and critic, Caroline Jones and her critical writing on the mediated sensorium; Professor of Comparative Literature Daniel Heller-Roazen and his theories on the archeology of sensation; and ornithologist Richard Prum whose research on birds substantiates the role of avian and human songs and their impact on gesture and language, social memory, the social ecologies of songs, and the conditions that make cultural transmission possible.