Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art by Ron BroglioSurface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art by Ron Broglio

Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art

byRon Broglio

Paperback | October 28, 2011

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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.

Ron Broglio is assistant professor of English and senior scholar of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.
Title:Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and ArtFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 8 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:October 28, 2011Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816672970

ISBN - 13:9780816672974

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Staying on the Surface

1. Meat Matters: Distance in Damien Hirst
2. Body of Thought: Immanence and Carolee Schneemann
3. Making Space for Animal Dwelling: Worlding with Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson
4. Contact Zones and Living Flesh: Touch after Olly and Suzi
5. A Minor Art: Becoming-Animal of Marcus Coates
Coda: Human, Animal, and Matthew Barney


Editorial Reviews

"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