AffiliationUniversity of Lincoln
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AbstractBe Your Dog was a Live Art Development Agency DIY funded project that aimed to explore and analyse relationships beyond the hierarchies of pet and owner in response to Donna Haraway’s concept of two companions are necessary for a functional co-species cohabition. This is in response to scientific findings in animal behavioural studies that suggests hierarchy is unproductive in interspecies domestic cohabitation, and that non-human animals respond to other beings through emotional contagion and empathy. Palagi, Nicotra and Cordoni state in Rapid Mimicry and Emotional Contagion in Domestic Dogs “emotional contagion, a basic building block of empathy, occurs when a subject shares the same affective state of another,” which the project tests and explores with selected artists and their dogs. The project sees participants and their dogs attend workshops over two consecutive weekends to learn how to establish empathy, equality and connection. This included learning strategies for dog and human to be equals with each other, and with other pairs to test if it is possible to establish a non-hierarchical pack. Essentially, the project tests scientific findings through art practice, and concludes that it is possible to learn about, and relate to the cohabiting animals when empathy and equality is engaged instead of dominance. A concluding public event was staged at KARST (Plymouth) following the workshops on 6 November 2016 where all participants, human and dog, performed as collaborators. Analysis of Be Your Dog was presented as a video paper, ‘Collaborating Animals: Dog and Human Artists’ presented at Animal Intersections, at the 7th AASA Conference at University of Adelaide, 3-5 July 2017. Reworked video footage from the public event included in the conference’s accompanying exhibition at Peanut Gallery and Nexus Arts, Adelaide, 4-16 July 2017. Additionally, he paper, ‘Collaborative Animals: Dogs and Humans as Co-Working Artists, was presented at the conference ‘Living With Animals/Seeing with Animals, 22-26 March 2017 at Eastern Kentucky University. The project was housed by KARST, Plymouth, accompanying photographs by Dom Moore.
CitationBartram, A. (2017) 'Collaborative animals: Dogs and humans as co-working artists.', Presented at Living with Animals, Eastern Kentucky University, 22nd - 26th March.
PublisherEastern Kentucky University
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