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Title: Species of wonder : human-animal relations in contemporary art and visual culture
Author: Wade, S. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 4134
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates wonder in contemporary art and visual culture, which interrogates human-animal relations and aims to raise awareness about various plights facing wildlife. Recognising the ethical and political potential ascribed to wonder by various theorists, it examines the role wonder plays in promoting respect and responsible behaviour towards wildlife through artistic practice at this time of ecological fragility. Various species of wonder are identified that have human-animal relations at their heart. These are explored through three case studies, drawing on theoretical work from the fields of art history, visual culture studies, human-animal studies, anthropology and philosophy. Chapter one examines how wonder arises and what forms it takes in relation to Art Orienté Objet’s exhibition at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. Here, wonder’s potential to contribute to the cultivation of an ethical sensibility and elicit compassion towards wildlife is discussed. Next, the limits and possibilities of wonder in this regard are addressed through Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno films, which focus on the problems facing marine wildlife. Finally, the work Marcus Coates and Tania Kovats made during the Gulbenkian Galápagos Artists’ Residency Programme is discussed in terms of what wonder might do and where it might lead in the context of the fragile ecologies on these Enchanted Isles as well as closer to home. These artists are argued to be working in ways commensurate with their awareness of the plights facing wildlife today and their desire to treat nonhuman animals with respect. Accordingly, their representations of wildlife often avoid the use of live animals or animal derived materials. Instead, wildlife is fabricated from surrogate or more ethical materials, and even performed by the artists themselves. Such playful and poignant artistic strategies are shown to be ripe for wonder, responding to the call of Donna Haraway’s Chthulucene.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available