I have included my MA Dissertation for the RCA here to give a wider picture of my views on speciesism in art.

You can see more of my art here

 

Speciesism in Art

I would like to explore the subject of speciesism and the ethical implications of using animals in art. I will look at some examples where artwork, including my own, has involved living or dead animals or parts of animals and consider these works against the background of animal-issue theory and within the dominant continental philosophy tradition of art institutions. The term speciesism was first used by the psychologist Richard Ryder in the early 1970s to denote a prejudice against non-humans based on morally irrelevant physical differences.

I have just visited an exhibition at The Curve gallery at the Barbican featuring the work of artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.[1] The show features a flock of zebra finches sharing the gallery space with electric guitars placed horizontally and face-up on stands. The birds fly around and perch on the guitar strings causing the sound to be amplified around the gallery. When I visited the exhibition I noticed that high up at the far end of the gallery the flat ledges over the rear exit were proving attractive to the finches. These ledges could have been used as a resting place for the birds, providing a safe height and vantage point over the visitors below. However, the ledges had been temporarily altered by the gallery, formed into a makeshift sloping arrangement to make it impossible for the birds to perch on them. Well almost impossible, a couple of birds were trying to cling on but after a few seconds would slide off, particularly if they moved at all. This sloping device and the covering of the ceiling lights and pipes with netting seemed a deliberate move to make sure that the birds provided the maximum entertainment for the viewers.

With the ledges and ceilings impossible to use, this left just a series of small nesting boxes attached to the gallery walls for the birds to nest in. Again with sloping roofs, these boxes did not provide enough nesting or perching space for all the finches in the gallery, resulting in the birds having to descend to the only other horizontal levels, the flat guitars. The pathetic attempts of the birds trying to build nests on a hard solid surface by intertwining blades of grass between the metal strings is presented here as art. This act was broadcast on YouTube with the Barbican’s website[2] telling us that it is “One of YouTube’s most watched clips of the month – Over 600,000 hits in just 4 weeks”. Other quotes on the Barbican website include:

“This gateway installation is as uplifting as it is entertaining.” – Time Out****

“A 5* aviary… a nice place for a small bird to be.” – Kirsty Lang, BBC Radio 4

“An immersive exploration of nature, music and the haphazard.” – Spoonfed

“It turns out these birds can rock – one even goes all Jimmy Page with a twig” – Guitarist

We are told on the exhibition handout that: “The zebra finches in this exhibition have been provided by a specialist in the supply of animals for artistic projects. The welfare of the birds has been carefully reviewed by the relevant authorities.” I find it interesting here that the word ‘welfare’ has no bearing on whether the ethical issues have been reviewed, whether the birds are considered as beings with interests. If they are, then surely it is wrong to place them “away from their natural habitat and coerce them to make art for somebody else”. This is a quote from an Internet blog I came across that was otherwise disinterested in either art or animal issues. I found it impossible to disagree with the blogger’s succinct comments and unable to say anything more profound about the artwork. It seemed that once you agreed that these birds were out of their natural habitat and being put to work for the spectator’s enjoyment then any other critique or comments on the artistic value of the work could only be of secondary interest.

So when can animals be used in art, if at all? Are they always being coerced into making someone’s art? Is this wrong? Why? Is it always wrong to place an animal outside its natural environment for the sake of art?

Figure 1, Spitting Buddha

Some years ago I witnessed a schoolboy spitting on a pigeon in the street. I found the act strangely shocking and obscene. The boy was walking along the street and confidently spat on the pigeons without looking around to see if anyone was watching. It was as if anything could be done to them without consequence, as if they had no standing or rights. Once an animal, human or nonhuman, is seen to have no status then anything can be done to it. The only requirement is for the animal to be seen as different, whether in religion, race, sex or species.

Throughout history this attitude has been applied to particular groups in order to subjugate or exploit. Theodor Adorno the German Jewish professor who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s said: ‘Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: They’re only animals.’[3] In 2003 PETA used Holocaust imagery in its ‘Holocaust on your Plate’[4] campaign, which took the form of an exhibition showing images of the Holocaust alongside images of factory-farmed animals and was funded by an anonymous Jewish philanthropist.[5] This comparison with the Holocaust has also been made in literature by Isaac Bashevis Singer who wrote in ‘The Letter Writer’: “in relation to (animals) all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka” and in ‘The Penitent’: “when it comes to animals, every man is a Nazi.”[6] J.M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize winner for literature, writes: “factory farming must be called to the slaughterhouse.”[7]

The philosopher Giorgio Agamben describes a human being who has lost their human rights due to the fact that they have lost their civil rights. He uses the Latin term ‘Homo Sacer’, taken from Roman law to denote a person who may be lawfully killed by anybody. Agamben says Homo Sacer has ‘bare life’ meaning a biological life without human rights or ethical standing and he points to the Jews in concentration camps or the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay as examples. Slavoj Žižek also uses the term Homo Sacer, in ‘The Prospects of Radical Politics Today. From Human Rights to Animal Rights’[8] but neither Agamben nor Žižek include nonhumans within the term.

Italian philosopher, Paola Cavalieri, asks “But what is it about being a member of the species Homo sapiens that makes it worse to be reduced to ‘bare life’ than it is for a nonhuman animal at a similar mental level to be similarly reduced?”[9] Agamben uses the phrase ‘the anthropological machine’ to describe the historical process of humans becoming separated from their animality. Throughout ‘The Open’[10] Agamben describes a series of historical examples of the human/nonhuman relationship within culture including examples from scripture, literature, philosophy and the history of science. However, he is not concerned with animal ethics or the effects on nonhuman animal life, only with how human beings are affected by the ‘anthropological machine’. He is anthropocentric even when writing about the anthropological machine. Matthew Carlarco raises this point in ‘Jamming the Anthropological Machine’ (draft copy):

‘The point that I wish to make here is that, were sufficient attention given to the question of the animal by Agamben, his arguments aimed at the limitations of the logic of sovereignty and our current political and juridical models would become significantly more powerful and persuasive. That Agamben chooses to avoid this approach is indicative of what could be called a “performative anthropocentrism” in his texts. In the following section, I argue that if Agamben and other post-humanist approaches to politics are unable overcome this kind of anthropocentrism, the logic of the anthropological machine will reassert itself in places where we least expect it.

With regard to rethinking animal life, the task is fraught with far more severe difficulties, if only for the simple fact that most of the theorists and philosophers working in this area have paid scant attention to the question of the animal. As I argued above, Agamben’s writings are no exception here, as they focus entirely and exclusively on the effects of the anthropological machine on human beings, and never explore the impact the machine has on various forms of animal life. Surely the latter type of analysis is needed if we are to begin to develop another mode of relation and community with non-human life.’[11]

Back to the boy spitting on a pigeon, a scene that inspired me to make an artwork featuring an ornamental porcelain figure on a plinth. Inside the plinth was a mechanism rigged up to periodically squirt water through the porcelain figure’s mouth, across the room and onto some fake pigeons on the floor. I bought the pigeons online from a firm in America called Lamplight, Fly and Feather. They were very lifelike and in photos convincingly passed for real pigeons (see figure 1 ‘Spitting Buddha’).

The pigeons were made of polystyrene bird shapes covered with feathers. It was quite a while before somebody told me that the feathers on the fake pigeons were real feathers and probably obtained by a cruel process from whatever bird they came from. Of course this was true. How else would they have obtained them? I had made an artwork to raise questions about the act I witnessed: a boy spitting on a pigeon as if it were morally insignificant, but in doing so I had used parts of an animal’s body, moreover parts that had been obtained by cruel methods.

This provokes another question: is it wrong to use animals’ bodies in art as well as live animals, even if that art is intended for the benefit of animals?

I recently visited the Milton Keynes Gallery to see the exhibition, ‘Psychopomp’ by Marcus Coates,[12] an artist I find interesting and unique in his approach. Trained as a shaman he travels the world to seek answers to specific questions put to him by various groups or individuals. These questions may be about people’s everyday worries or they may be grander metaphysical problems. In order to answer these questions Marcus Coates enters into the spirit world of animals via a shamanistic trance and interprets the actions of the creatures that he sees. As part of his shamanistic ritual he dresses in animal skins. Most notably he will wear a taxidermy head and skins over his own head or have a taxidermy rabbit sticking out of his clothing. The performances tell us much about the human desire to access meaningful answers and I find his work interesting, unique and artistically important.

However, I am brought back to the question of using animal parts in an artwork. In this case I find the presence of animals’ bodies not as immediately offensive as some other artworks also using animals’ bodies. It could be because there is sensitivity in his approach to nature and a respect for the animals’ bodies that is important in establishing the shaman experience. After all, it is the animal spirits that provide him with answers. However, from an animal’s point of view this is of no interest at all. In his book ‘Animal Rights and the Politics of Literary Representation’[13], John Simons talks about a photograph by Cindy Sherman, ‘Untitled No 140 (1985)’, that shows her head in profile wearing a (fake) pig’s snout. He contends, “a pig has died (or it is imagined that a pig has died) and in it a human is using the broken body of a pig in order to do something or become something.” The image therefore depends on the speciesist assumption that the pig’s body is there for us to use. He speculates that if a pig could make anything at all of the photograph, “what it would see would be the death of a pig. Perhaps that is what we should see too.”

If the shamanist experience is speciesist then I do not believe it can be defended on the grounds of its perceived therapeutic benefit or for cultural reasons, whatever its psychological or social function. Surely something is either true or it isn’t. It cannot be true only within a particular culture or cultural practice. I think Richard Dawkins puts it well when he says,

‘Show me a cultural relativist at 30,000 feet and I’ll show you a hypocrite… If you are flying to an international congress of anthropologists or literary critics, the reason you will probably get there – the reason you don’t plummet into a ploughed field – is that a lot of Western scientifically trained engineers have got their sums right.’[14]

It is interesting here for me to juggle the trio of cultural relativism, continental philosophy and science. Continental philosophy is required reading in European and American Art colleges and I believe this is partially the reason why work such as the finches at the Barbican and the familiar taxidermy animals are regularly produced. The postmodernism that is reproduced by continental philosophy calls into question our belief in ‘truth’ or ‘science’ and effectively makes it difficult to determine a separate independent ethical position. This is because we need science in order to know truth and facts about the animal experience of the world, including their suffering. I think this is an underestimated problematic side issue relating to continental philosophy. Harlan B. Miller writes about the one frequent difference between analytic and continental philosophy:

‘… the view of the relation between philosophy and the empirical sciences. As a rule, analytic types see philosophy as continuous with the sciences. Philosophy is a colleague of science, a partner in the enterprise of construction of a unified and coherent picture of the universe and all its contents. The partnership is not an equal one, and only the old or old-fashioned of the analytic think philosophy the senior. In particular, what science (and ordinary observation) tells us about the world and about sentient beings is generally taken as clearly relevant to ethical discussion. In contrast, many continentals directly oppose, and not just rhetorically, philosophy and its enemy, science.’

He continues on the next page:

‘The determination of moral status is finally scientific, in that science (in the broadest sense) tells us what sorts of things have morally relevant characteristics.’[15]

Sokal and Bricmont cite the British historian Eric Hobsbawm as showing:

‘… how rigorous historical work can refute the fictions propounded by reactionary nationalists in India, Israel, the Balkans and elsewhere, and how the postmodernist attitude disarms us in the face of the threats.’[16]

A rational view of the world they say, is the principle defence against “superstitions, obscurantism and nationalist and religious fanaticism…”[17] The existence of an independent truth, checked verified or brought about by science is necessary to understand the atrocities of history. Scientific evidence tells us that evolution, for example, is a fact and is true. I find it fascinating that “the evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eye witnesses to the Holocaust…”[18]

Paola Cavalieri often mentions the value of science and analytic philosophy to ethics in her writing, for example: “Scientists have explained to us that whale societies display complex and stable vocal and behavioural cultures previously suggested only for humans.”[19]

Bernard Russell writes,

‘The concept of ‘truth’ as something dependent upon facts largely outside human control has been one of the ways in which philosophy has inculcated the necessary element of humility. When this check upon pride is removed, a further step is taken on the road towards a certain kind of madness –the intoxication of power…’[20]

Continental philosophy is characteristically concerned with ‘the human’: the human moral agent, human autonomy and freedom. When continental philosophers speak of nonhuman animals it is traditionally in relation to exploring the status of the human animal.

Peter Singer,[21] the utilitarian philosopher and writer of the 1975 book ‘Animal Liberation’ sees this anthropocentricism as inherent within continental philosophy and makes a comparison with Anglo-American or analytic philosophy:

‘How much of this philosophical impetus that gave rise to a practical challenge to the way we think about nonhuman animals came from writers in the philosophical traditions of Continental Europe, from such thinkers as Heidegger, Foucault, Levinas, and Deleuze, or those who take the work of these thinkers as setting a framework for their own thought? The answer is, as far as I can judge, none… why such an extensive body of thought has failed to grapple with the issue of how we treat animals. What does this failure say about the much-vaunted critical stance that these thinkers are said to take to prevailing assumptions and social institutions?’[22]

Matthew Calarco and Peter Atterton, in their book ‘Animal Philosophy’ look at a series of continental philosophers: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Bataille, Levinas, Foucault, Deleuze & Guattari, Derrida, Ferry, Cixous, Irigaray, where they have specifically written about animal issues and have concluded that:

‘For the most part continental philosophy has spoken about human beings – and little else… Continental philosophy has lagged behind its Anglo-American neighbor on precisely these issues (the animal issue), despite its tendency to see itself in many ways as the more avant-garde, more radical, more politically engaged, and less philosophically naïve of the two.’   (My words in brackets)

They continue:

‘The mistreatment of animals could perhaps be viewed as a necessary consequence of a humanism that has always sought to elevate the human at the expense of animals…’[23]

Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer writing about Žižek on animals compare Anglo-American philosophy to Continental philosophy:

‘…Continental philosophy, where the requirements of rigour and consistency are not always mandatory. Slavoj Žižek is no exception to this. When he speaks of nonhuman animals, he is not really concerned with their moral status – with their exclusion from, or inclusion in, the category of beings that should have their interests protected, nor with the degree of such protection. His real interest, as repeatedly stated elsewhere, remains strictly focused on the human moral agent, on the domain of ‘radical autonomy’, on the problem of human autonomy and freedom in the strict sense… of the ability to break the constraints of nature’ (Žižek and Daly, 2004:131-32)[24]

Harlan B. Miller writes about continental philosophers’ aesthetic objection to animal suffering rather than a moral objection, ‘Derrida …laments the “industrial, scientific, technical violence” of animal agriculture, and Heidegger’s criticisms of animal agriculture also focus on the technology… the objection is to technology and science displacing the genuine and truly human.’[25]

I believe that the postmodernism generated by continental philosophy offers no way into improving the situation for animals. Its uneasy relationship with science, the equal value of all narratives, the question of ‘truth’ make it impossible to sustain a case for animals. As Sokal and Bricmont say, “If all discourses are merely ‘stories’ or ‘narratives’, and none is more objective or truthful than another, then one must concede that the worst sexist or racist prejudices and the most reactionary socioeconomic theories are ‘equally valid.’’[26]

I also believe that only a scientific approach and a belief in seeking an independent truth can bring about an ethical position on animals. It is science that can prove that animals suffer and that there are no spirits to contact for answers. Of course Marcus Coates’ animals may not have suffered in their life or death.

If it is always wrong to use animals in art just as say, selling fur is wrong, then we must reconsider our value judgements of artwork, in particular the recent trend of using taxidermy or ‘botched taxidermy’.[27] Steve Baker in ‘Killing Animals’[28] looks at the following artists: Angela Singer (animal activist), Jordan Baseman, Chloe Brown and Thomas Grünfeld. In order to investigate this problem and think about what it means to look at a speciesist artwork, e.g. one that uses animal parts, let us look at a parallel with racism and sexism.

In 1975 Peter Singer wrote the seminal book ‘Animal Liberation’. Central to his utilitarian argument was the parallel he made between racism, sexism and speciesism. His point was that if we accepted it was wrong to discriminate against another person because of their race or colour or sex then it followed that it was wrong to discriminate against another animal simply because they were of another species. The important factor was that another being can feel pain and suffer, and that makes them beings with interests.

I find it particularly interesting and telling to look at an area where two or more separate ethical issues are simultaneously present within an image and to observe how such work is read. Which is the dominant ethical consideration for the viewer? Perhaps it is the only consideration? To find examples of overlapping ethical positions we can look to activists who are concentrating on one particular struggle or ethical position and their relationship with animals, such as a black libertarian group or a feminist artist’s work, whether it be in terms of food or clothing or more politically specific such as an emblem or mascot.

I have made art to investigate these double standards of ethical reasoning. One of my earliest pieces was a street poster showing an African elephant – taking up nearly the entire sheet – with the words “Africa, Animals are Starving Too”. See figure 2.

Figure 2, Africa, Animals Are Starving Too

The work was based on the short essay, ‘Gaps in the Mind’ by Richard Dawkins.[29] In the book Dawkins provokes the question, “What is so special about humans? How many gorillas are worth the life of a single human? All of them?”

Figure 3, Poor Animals

‘Poor Animals’ (figure 3) highlights the position of a particular religion. Some years ago I visited Leighton House in Kensington. In the Arab hall amongst the ancient patterned tiles I noticed two tiles depicting a bird. On closer inspection I saw that each bird had the ceramic chipped away where the animal’s throat was. I later became aware that this was because a Sura in the Koran forbade the depiction of a living creature and that anyone making such a depiction would be asked by Allah on judgement day to bring the animal to life, with dire consequences if he or she could not. I found it fascinating that the image of an animal could be made ‘dead’ in this way. I wanted to further examine this process and made an artwork called ‘Poor Animals’. I bought around one hundred ceramic tiles, each with an image of an animal on it. I then chipped away and ‘cut the throat’ of each animal rendering the animal ‘dead’ in order to draw attention to the Sura in question.  This is a very direct approach to tackling the issue of animals and ethics and could be criticized for being heavy handed or even perhaps erroneously interpreted as racist. It is certainly a less subtle approach than that taken by the artist duo Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson or by Watson Ford whom I shall mention shortly.

As I said earlier, the work of black and feminist artists is particularly interesting to me in locating this (double-ethical) position. One example I would like to give is the Muslim, feminist artist and blogger Sarah Maple[30]. I got into a short conversation on her blog site. She accused the animal rights group PETA of being sexist because they objectified women, using images of naked female bodies in order to get their message across that we should treat animals ethically and not use fur. Sarah Maple said that it was ridiculous for PETA to be against animal exploitation and then make a hugely sexist statement like women are fair game. Elsewhere in her blog she speaks of her enjoyment of dairy ice cream and latte, which is unethical to animals because the dairy industry is incredibly cruel. To me, she was doing exactly the same thing as PETA only the other way around: it seemed ridiculous of her to be against sexism and then to make a hugely speciesist statement like animals are fair game. I admire Sarah Maple’s work and believe in what she is doing, so why do I choose to question her on her animal beliefs rather than any one of the millions of other people in the world that don’t give animals a second thought? I find it all the more important to question activists working in other fields for three reasons. Firstly they are likely to be intelligent and logical people who I can learn something from. Secondly I’m genuinely interested in the opinions of these people because I already respect them. Thirdly, I feel that our struggles will all come to nothing if we continue to be fragmented, without being aware that other battles are being fought that rely on the same logical premise and yet are battles that we somehow have dismissed without any further thought. Amnesty International is an example that comes to mind with their slogan ‘Protect the Human’. I appreciate that every charity has to focus their attentions and they are not necessarily saying ‘don’t protect gorillas’ but when I read that slogan I still have a residual feeling of anthropocentrism. Humans, and only humans, are the particular branch of great apes that Amnesty International are interested in protecting. In 2008 the Great Ape Project campaigned for, and convinced, the Spanish parliament to extend rights to all great apes.[31] For the first time in human history, there was a part of the world where apes could, in theory, live without torture and death from humans. Amnesty International representative Delia Padron responded by saying she was “surprised” by moves to recognize the “human rights” of apes when many humans still lacked those rights.[32]

The Icelandic and English artist duo Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson and American artist Walton Ford are examples of artists I admire who make subtle and positive work about the animal issue. I recently visited the Walton Ford exhibition ‘Bestiarium’ in Berlin.[33] The exhibition comprised of a large number of life-sized watercolours of animals. Within each painting the animals are acting out a scene based on a historical account, myth or allegory that is described in text next to the painting. The effect of the writing and paintings taken together is to make a commentary on our relationship with animals and the environment, human oppression and exploitation. The work is extremely powerful and yet has an aesthetic beauty and lightness of touch.

The imagery gets a message across to an art going public in a way that was different from my street art posters. Seeing Watson Ford’s exhibition made me think of revisiting an earlier work of mine that I felt had got lost in its own struggle to communicate. I realised that an artwork may appear less literal and didactic if the formal aspects are more beautiful and the production value is higher. The piece that I am talking about (and currently unfinished) referred to various political groups and their animal mascots (see figure 4, Animal Mascots). I want to consider the boundaries and dynamics of this specific relationship between humans and nonhumans and I plan to depict each animal in question attacking its political keeper. It will feature the Black Panthers (Panther), Tamil Tigers (Tiger) and Mustafa Kemal (Grey Wolf). I want to somehow separate the animal from its intrinsic political link via its symbolic human meaning. I want to liberate the image of the animal, just as an animal activist group would literally liberate an animal from a factory or farm.

In my youth I spent a few years as an animal activist with the Hunt Saboteurs Association. We were once joined by a photographer who was sympathetic to animal rights issues and wanted to document our activities. I remember thinking how pathetic ‘political art’ was compared to actual political action. Now, however, I believe that consciousness-raising makes a real change in peoples lives and actions. Richard Dawkins said, ‘It was the feminists who raised my consciousness of the power of consciousness-raising’.[34] Political art and critical writing can raise people’s consciousness and brings an awareness of the consequences of their actions even if they refuse to change. This makes me think that political art actually has an important and worthy function.

Figure 4, Animal Mascots

Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir & Mark Wilson have made a work that I greatly admire called (a) fly/ (a) fly in my soup. The work involves photographing the areas in various Icelandic homes that pet animals occupy. The animals are not present, only their denoted spaces such as a dog bed or a particular corner where the cat chooses to sit. It is the absence of the pet animal that makes the work so compelling and it is the relationship between the animal’s left over space in the human’s home that makes the animal’s place central to the photograph.

Bearing this in mind I cannot so easily decide about the use of taxidermy animals in ‘nanoq: flat out and bluesome’, another work of theirs where they display every taxidermy polar bear that they could locate in England. I do not know if it is always wrong to use the bodies of animals in art or if this is a rare exception where it is acceptable since the animals were already on display somewhere else and just gathered together for this exhibition. The work appears to be sensitive to nature and animal issues.

I think part of the problem comes from the fact that, unlike feminism or postcolonial critique, there is no ‘first degree’ injured party to stand up and say how they feel. Although we all suffer in a sexist or racist society, including white men, it has a secondary effect on me and in some areas I may even have a conflict of interests. Therefore, to help make gains in the field of animal ethics, I choose to look at how, for example, women decide about feminist issues or how black people decide about race issues. However, this immediately presents another problem in that those struggles are made up of individuals who all have separate and different opinions on every matter. Still, I think some headway can be made; for example everyone agrees that they want to be represented in a positive light and that stereotypes should be avoided, particularly negative stereotypes.

If I apply this analysis to art involving animals I would have to extend my critique beyond the use of animal’s bodies to include depictions of animals. By this rationale, surely it is ethically wrong to paint, draw, photograph, sculpt, fabricate, animate, imitate or otherwise depict animals in a negative way. Along with insinuate or to speak in such a way. This would be a major shift in our thinking about art and animals.

In a recent work I showed at the RCA, I removed nine books from the college library shelves and placed them in the glass exhibition case to comprise the exhibition ‘Some Speciesist Books’ (see figure 5). The titles of the books were: ‘Animals & Men’, ‘Elephant Bill’, ‘The Face of the Tiger’, ‘Bantams And Miniature Fowl’, ‘Ducks, Bird-Keeping And Birdcages: A History’, ‘French Country Cooking’, ‘Blue Steel & Gunleather’ and ‘Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion’.

I labelled these books ‘speciesist’ after considering the position each author takes in relation to nonhuman animals. In all cases the authors exhibit an anthropocentrism by treating non-human animals as if they had less intrinsic value, fewer or no rights and showing prejudice towards them simply because they are of a different species. I am interested in the questions that are raised in the viewer when presented with books from the library that have been selected as speciesist and how these questions would differ if presented instead with ‘some racist books’ or ‘some sexist books’. The parallel here is that speciesism is as morally unjustified as sexism or racism.

The reaction I received from some students and a tutor was that they were not interested in this area and therefore they did not want to hear any more about it. It was boring to them, closed. I do not know if this is my failing in making the art or if I could justifiably say “well you should be interested in it”, just as someone would if it had been feminist art or postcolonial critique.

Figure 5, Some Speciesist Books

I have also tried to use animals in my work in more light-handed and entertaining ways.

‘The Race’ is a directly anti-anthropocentric two-channel video displayed on two monitors (see figure 6). The images show me training in preparation for a race against my cousin’s companion animal, a rescued greyhound. I perform a training montage, running every day and working out in the park with pull-ups and press-ups. Meanwhile, Sox goes about his daily business of relaxation, stretching out on the floor and doing nothing. Despite all my training, when the time comes, Sox of course easily wins the race. I was inspired to make this video because of something I read on the back cover of Giorgio Agamben’s The Open[35]: “What is man? How did he come on the scene? And how has he maintained his privileged place as the master of, or first among, the animals?” Humans have persistently held this anthropocentric attitude but I was still surprised to read it on the back cover of ‘The Open’ especially as it is here that Agamben introduces the concept of the ‘anthropological machine’. As an aside, I might also note here the sexist subtitle, ‘Man and Animal’, and although the book is about the separation of the human from the nonhuman I nevertheless also find it anthropocentric.

Figure 6, The Race (video still)

Another video I made featuring a dog is ‘Pets Abandoned in Lebanon Need Your Help’ which draws upon the meeting point of two struggles: anti-war sentiments and animal suffering (see figure 7). In this video I crawl across the street to a waiting ‘abandoned’ dog. When I get to him he jumps onto my back and I crawl back across the ‘war zone’ street, thereby rescuing the dog. Lebanese music is playing on the soundtrack. With these two works I felt it was unproblematic to use a companion animal since they are both having fun in the park or the street. The animals were being used to make my art, but also to raise awareness about animal suffering and anthropocentrism. We can raise people’s consciousness and maybe that’s all; they may, of course, still refuse to live ethically but now have to do so knowingly. As artists this is perhaps all we can do, but it is actually quite a lot.

Figure 7, Pets Abandoned in Lebanon Need Your Help (video still)

Contemporary art and our reaction to it is a part of the society that we all reproduce everyday and if our ethics were different then so would be our interpretation and criticism of art. During the time it has taken to arrive at my own ethics I have had to change the way I consumed the most familiar things around me, and not because I suddenly did not like them any more. How could such a shift in our ethical thinking take place in our relationship to art without it also taking place in other areas of our lives such as a vegan diet and not wearing animal skins? The position I have arrived at regarding speciesism in art and life is somewhat in alignment to the abolitionist approach of Gary Francione.[36] He believes we should abolish our ownership of nonhuman animals. The central tenet in his writing is that there is only one important right for animals and that is the right not to be owned. From this single right we can establish our ethical position in relation to nonhuman animals. His position is based on animal sentience and no other cognitive characteristics. All other individual instances of the use of animals can be seen in this light. In the case of pets or companion animals ownership has to continue until the pet industry is abolished.

………………………………………………………………………………………..

The writing above marked the end of the first draft of my dissertation.

After finishing the first draft, I was told by some readers that I tended towards a polemical way of writing and also that I should not dismiss major philosophers out of hand unless I was going to engage in some kind of discussion of their ideas. I was asked, ‘For example, what is it about Deleuze’s discussion of ‘the animal’ that you find counter productive?’

The first point, I have tried somewhat to address but in the process have also become aware of just how polemical my art is. I often make overtly political art and if I research, explore or investigate it is usually to find the best way – or most interesting way – to say what I already know. The second point, I find interesting in its own right and I want to look at whether I am in fact dismissing philosophers out of hand and if so, is this always unacceptable?

I want to start by trying to remember how I came to this position on animals; when did I first start thinking about animal rights? What was I reading and why did it persuade me? In my late teens I read an article in a music paper about ‘anarchism’ that included a section on animal rights and I immediately understood that I could reduce my contribution to the suffering of living sentient creatures by becoming vegan. I became politicised overnight so to speak, compelled by the ethics, reason and logic[37] of the argument I had read. I cannot imagine any other type of argument that could have persuaded me so readily to give up things I was previously enjoying. In my experience, an ethical, logical argument based on reason trumps an argument based on poetic discourse or religious scripture, or the habits of our upbringing. It exposes the fallacy that all narratives are equally valid. Now, whenever I consider any idea, philosophy or argument I judge its credence in terms of reason. “… we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason” writes Christopher Hitchens in the opening of ‘God is Not Great’[38]. I count myself within that ‘we’, lamenting the demise of reason. Within continental philosophy this demise of reason is nowhere better illustrated than in the book, ‘Intellectual Impostures’[39] where Sokal and Bricmont provide example after example of continental philosophers’ abuse of terms from physics and mathematics. Although these philosophers were not primarily writing about science or maths, the examples shown in the book were used not as metaphors or analogies but specifically as actual science or mathematics, drawn upon to support and add gravitas to postmodernist theory. Consider Lacan’s writing on the subject of topology, the mathematics relating to geometric objects and how he maintains that he is not using an analogy. On the subject of the Mobius strip, Lacan writes,

‘A torus, a Klein bottle, a cross-cut surface are able to receive such a cut. And this diversity is very important as it explains many things about the structure of mental disease. If one can symbolize the subject by this fundamental cut, in the same way one can show that a cut on a torus corresponds to the neurotic subject, and on a cross-cut surface to another sort of mental disease.’ [40]

When asked if the arithmetic and topology are an analogy he replies, “Analogy to what?…Where is the analogon?…It is not an analogy. It is really in some part of the realities, this sort of torus. This torus really exists and it is exactly the structure of the neurotic. It is not an analogon; it is not even an abstraction…it is reality itself”[41]

Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, professors in physics at New York University and University of Louvain respectively, examine texts from dominant names in continental philosophy. Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Irigaray, Latour, Virilio, Deleuze and Guattari are shown to be wildly inaccurate in their use of science and mathematical terms, their words meaningless, gibberish nonsense masquerading as theory. In his review of Intellectual Impostures, Richard Dawkins writes:

‘Perhaps he (Lacan) is genuine when he speaks of non-scientific subjects? But a philosopher who is caught equating the erectile organ to the square root of minus one[42] has, for my money, blown his credentials when it comes to things that I don’t know anything about.’[43]

I agree, and for this reason alone I feel it is necessary for me to ultimately dismiss these authors, although I do not think it is in any way ‘out of hand’. However, this abuse of science is not the only reason continental philosophy is unsuitable for my purpose of investigating speciesism in art. The other reasons that I mentioned earlier: the questioning of an independent truth and the belief in the equal value of all narratives make it impossible to form an ethical position on the question of nonhuman animals (or humans, for that matter). Finally, the anthropocentrism found in much continental philosophy means that even when something is written about ‘the animal’, it is still unhelpful to me in forming an ethical position because it is nearly always done so in order to better understand or explain ‘the human’.

So what is it exactly about Deleuze’s discussion of the animal that I find counter productive? In looking at this question I hope I will gain more understanding of the problems I have with continental philosophy as well as those specifically relating to the animal. Within his solo writing as well as in partnership with Felix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze uses a vast range of scientific terms. Many of these are so specific to science that they have no other meaning in everyday usage and so it is difficult to see how they could be used metaphorically.

‘(Deleuze’s) texts touch on a great variety of subjects: Gödel’s theorem, the theory of transfinite cardinal…Riemannian geometry, quantum mechanics…[44] But the allusions are so brief and superficial that a reader who is not already an expert in these subjects will be unable to learn anything concrete. And a specialist reader will find their statements most often meaningless or sometimes acceptable but banal and confused.’[45]

Sokal and Bricmont acknowledge that Deleuze and Guattari are writing philosophy and not popularisation of science but still ask, “what philosophical function can be fulfilled by this avalanche of ill-digested scientific and (pseudo-scientific) jargon?”[46]

They conclude that these authors have a “vast but very superficial erudition, which they put on display in their writings.”[47]

Richard Dawkins comes to a similar conclusion:[48]

Suppose you are an intellectual impostor with nothing to say, but with strong ambitions to succeed in academic life, collect a coterie of reverent disciples and have students around the world anoint your pages with respectful yellow highlighter. What kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose your lack of content. The chances are that you would produce something like the following:

We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously.[49]

This quote is from Deleuze’s writing partner Felix Guattari’s book Chaosmosis and, according to Sokal and Bricmont, “contains the most brilliant melange of scientific, pseudo-scientific and philosophical jargon that we have ever encountered; only a genius could have written it.”[50]

The following passage is from Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘Difference and Repetition’, it is one of the shorter of the many reproduced and examined in Intellectual Impostures.

‘The respective independence of variables appears in mathematics when one of them is at a higher power than the first. That is why Hegel shows that variability in the function is not confined to values that can be changed (2/3 and 4/6) or are left undetermined (a=2b) but requires one of the variables to be at a higher power (y2/x=P). For it is then that a relation can be directly determined as differential relation dy/dx, in which the only determination of the value of the variables is that of disappearing or being born, even though it is wrestled from infinite speeds. A state of affairs or ‘derivative’ function depends on such a relation: an operation of depotentialization has been carried out that makes possible the comparison of distinct powers starting from which a thing of a body may well develop (integration). In general, a state of affairs does not actualize a chaotic virtual without taking from it a potential that is distributed in the system of coordinates. From the virtual that it actualizes it draws a potential that it appropriates.’                                 Deleuze and Guattari 1994, p.122[51] (italics in the original)

This passage appears unclear to me and I’m confused as to why Hegel needs to be explained by referring to maths. With regard to this passage Sokal and Bricmont say,

‘Here Deleuze and Guattari recycle, with a few additional inventions (infinite speeds, chaotic virtual), old ideas of Deleuze’s that originally appeared in…Difference and Repetition. At two places in the book, Deleuze discusses classical problems in the conceptual foundations of differential and integral calculus. Since the birth of this branch of mathematics in the seventeenth century through the works of Newton and Leibniz, cogent objections were raised against the use of infinitesimal quantities such as dx and dy. These problems were solved by the work of d’Alembert around 1760 and Cauchy around 1820, who introduced the rigorous notion of limit – a concept that has been taught in all calculus textbooks since the middle of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, Deleuze launches into a long and confused meditation on these problems…’[52]

It is against this background that I have to consider Deleuze’s writing on other subjects, such as the one I am presently concerned with, the ‘animal question’. I have singled out Deleuze here to choose one example, but a reading of Intellectual Impostures provides many examples of similar abuses of terms from mathematics and physics by other continental philosophers (Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Irigaray, Latour, Virilio).

Apart from the question of the abuse of science there is also the accusation that continental philosophy has a tendency to focus on the human and is only able to address animal issues in so far as they are extensions of human issues. This is a view shared by other leading figures in contemporary philosophy, Peter Singer, Paola Cavalieri, Matthew Calarco and Peter Atterton. (See pages 13-15)

I have looked at ‘Becoming-Animal’[53] by Deleuze and Guattari for some contribution to the animal issue. In this text they are really considering the implications for the human being in becoming animal; we hear of instances from literature, of ‘wolf-man’ as well as ‘bear-men’, ‘wildcat-men’, ‘leopard-men’. “Virginia Woolf experiences herself as … a school of fish”[54]. Deleuze then touches on the natural world with, “We do not wish to say that certain animals live in packs”[55] Why not? Certain animals do. “What we are saying is that every animal is fundamentally a band, a pack”. This is not true in a literal zoological sense; perhaps it is meant to be a metaphor or poetry but in any case it contributes nothing to the animal issue. “A racehorse is more different from a workhorse than a workhorse is from an ox.” Again, genetically or scientifically this is untrue and only makes any kind of sense from the perspective of human culture. “We must distinguish three kinds of animals” Deleuze and Guattari tell us. However, each of the three kinds is characterised by a specific psychoanalytical relationship to the human. The text continues in a poetic and mythical fashion that I do not wish to criticise beyond saying that there is nothing contributed to the ‘animal question’ in a practical way or in a way that tells us something about the condition of the nonhuman animal instead of the human. As a general rule I have found that we are unlikely to learn anything (about the animal question) from any text that is anthropocentric to the extent that its title alludes to humans and animals but does not acknowledge that humans are animals: ‘Becoming Animal’, ‘The Open: Man and Animal’.

To conclude, I would say that in the main, the use and appearance of animals in contemporary art is speciesist. I believe that speciesism should be opposed, just as sexism or racism is, because there is no morally relevant characteristic difference between human and nonhuman animals. Speciesism is not generally challenged by contemporary art practice, which is often informed and described by continental philosophy. Continental philosophy does not and cannot approach the animal question in terms of nonhuman animal ethics for various reasons, including its focus on the human, its uneasy relationship with science and its embracing of cultural relativism.

[i]


[1] Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Barbican Curve Gallery, 27 February 2010 – 23 May 2010

[2] http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=9713 (30 August 2010)

[3] I have found this quote on the Internet attributed to Adorno, hundreds of times but there is no naming of the original source. Eg: http://thinkexist.com/quotation/auschwitz-begins-wherever-someone-looks-at-a/761233.html; http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/theory-frankfurt-school/2006m01/msg00021.htm; http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_4.2/patterson.htm (5 October 2010)

[4] PETA, People for the ethical treatment of animals http://www.peta.org.uk/ (28 September 2010)

[5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/mar/03/advertising.marketingandpr (4 October 2010)

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_rights_and_the_Holocaust 5 October 2010

[7] Coetzee, JM, ‘Exposing the Beast’: factory farming must be called to the slaughterhouse, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 22 2007

[8] Žižek, Slavoj, The Prospects of Radical Politics Today . From Human Rights to Animal Rights, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies ISSN: 1705-6411 Volume 5 Number 1 (January 2008)

[9] Cavalieri, Paola, Reply to Žižek, On Žižek and Animals, International Journal of Baudrillard Studies ISSN: 1705-6411Volume 6, Number 1 (January 2009)

[10] Agamben, Giorgio, The Open, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004

[11] Calarco, Matthew, Jamming the Anthropological Machine (Draft Copy), Forthcoming in Steven DeCaroli and Matthew Calarco (eds), Sovereignty and Life (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006) http://www.faculty.sbc.edu/mcalarco/JAMMINGTHEANTHROPOLOGICALMACHINE.htm (5 October 2010)

[12] Marcus Coates, Psychopomp, 15th January – 4th April 2010 Milton Keynes Gallery

[13] Simons, John, Animal Rights and the Politics of Literacy Representation, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave 2002 pp207, 181-2 as quoted in Baker, Steve, You Kill Things to Look at Them: Animal Death in Contemporary Art, in Killing Animals, edited by the Animal Studies Group, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2006

[14] Dawkins, Richard, River out of Eden, New York, Basic Books, 1995

[15] Miller, Harlan B, Distracting Difficulties pp111-116 in Cavalieri, Paola, The Death of an Animal, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009

[16] Hobsbawm, Eric, 1993, The new threat to history, New York Review of Books (16th December) pp 62-4 (Reprinted 1997 in Eric Hobsbawm, On History, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ch.1.) as quoted in Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003

[17] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, p 195

[18] First came to my attention in: Richard Dawkins ‘The Greatest Show in Earth’ Dawkins, Richard, The Greatest Show on Earth, Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2009

[19] Cavalieri, Paola, Given all we know of whales, why resume the slaughter? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/06/whale-hunting-moratorium-japan-iceland                  Article history accessed September 28 2010

[20] Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, 2nd edition, London: George Allen and Unwin 1961 p782 (reprinted 1991, London: Routledge.) as quoted in Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003 p193

[21] Peter Singer’s seminal book, ‘Animal Liberation’ is wildly regarded as the theoretical basis of the animal liberation movement, he is also the co-founder of the Great Ape Project (along with Paola Cavalieri). Wikipedia cites him as: the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), University of Melbourne. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer (28 September 2010)

[22] Singer, Peter, Preface to ‘Animal Philosophy’ Atterton, Peter and Calarco, Matthew (Editors), Animal Philosophy, London: Continuum 2008

[23] Atterton, Peter and Calarco, Matthew, ‘Editors’ Introduction: The Animal question in continental philosophy’ in Animal Philosophy, Edited by Peter Atterton and Matthew Calarco pp xv-xvi London 2008

[24] Cavalieri, Paola and Singer, Peter, Reply to Žižek, On Žižek and Animals in International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 6, No1, January 2009, ISSN 1705-6411. Within this quote Cavalieri and Singer reference Slavoj Žižek and Glyn Daly, ‘conversations with Žižek’. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004

[25] Miller, Harlan B., Distracting Difficulties, p116 in Cavalieri, Paola The Death of an Animal 2009 Columbia University Press 2009.

[26] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, p196

[27] The term ‘Botched taxidermy’ was coined by Steve Baker in The Postmodern Animal, it was used, “to characterize those instances of recent art practice where things…appear to have gone wrong with the animal as it were, but where it still holds together.” Steve Baker, The Postmodern Animal, London: Reaktion Books, 2000, p56

[28] Baker, Steve, “You Kill Things to Look at Them”: Animal Death in Contemporary Art, in Killing Animals, edited by the Animal Studies Group, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2006

[29] Dawkins, Richard, A Devil’s Chaplain, edited by Latha Menon, London: Phoenix, 2004, pp23-30

[30] http://www.sarahmaple.com/ (28 September 2010)

[31] http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL256586320080625 (28 September 2010)

[32] http://www.brusselsjournal.com/  (30 September 2010)

[33] Walton Ford, Bestiarium, 23 January – 24 May 2010, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof

[34] Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion, London: Bantam Press, 2006, pp115-6

[35] Hamacher, Werner, Editor of Giorgio Agamben, The Open, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004, back cover

[36] http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/ (28 September 2010)

[37] It is often desirable however, to suspend logical reasoning in order to generate new ideas in art or elsewhere. I like Marvin Minsky’s statement, “We search for ‘islands of consistency’ within which ordinary reasoning seems safe. We work also to find and mark the unsafe boundaries of those domains”. Minsky, Marvin 1986 The Society of Mind, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986,

[38] Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great, London: Atlantic Books, 2007, p5

[39] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003

[40] Lacan, Jacques, 1970, “Of Structure as an inmixing of an otherness prerequisite to any subject whatever.” In: The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man, pp186-200. Edited by Richard Macksey and Eugenio Donato. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. As quoted in, Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003

[41] Lacan, Jacques, 1970, “Of Structure as an inmixing of an otherness prerequisite to any subject whatever.” In: The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man, pp195-6. Edited by Richard Macksey and Eugenio Donato. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. As quoted in, Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003

[42]‘ Thus the erectile organ comes to symbolize the place of jouissance, not in itself, or even in the form of an image, but as a part lacking in the desired image: that is why it is equivalent to the √ -1 of the signification produced above, of the jouissance that it restores by the coefficient of its statement to the function of lack of signifier (√ -1).’ Lacan, Jacques, “The subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious”. In: Ecrits: A Selection pp292-325, New York, Norton 1977

[43] Richard Dawkins review of Intellectual Impostures in Dawkins, Richard, Postmodernism Disrobed in A Devil’s Chaplain, edited by Latha Menon, pp 55-62, London: Phoenix, 2004

[44] Gödel: Deleuze and Guattari (1994, pp.121, 137-9). Transfinite cardinals: Deleuze and Guattari (1994, pp.120-1). Riemannian geometry: Deleuze and Guattari (1987, pp.32, 373, 482-6, 556n); Deleuze and Guattari (1994, pp.124, 161, 217). Quantum mechanics: Deleuze and Guattari (1994, pp.129-30). These references are far from being exhaustive. Quoted in Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London, Profile Books, 2003 p146

[45] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, p146

[46] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, p147

[47] Ibid

[48] Dawkins, Richard, Postmodernism Disrobed in A Devil’s Chaplain, edited by Latha Menon, pp 55-62, London: Phoenix, 2004

[49] Guattari, Felix. Chaosmosis: an Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm, translated by Paul Bains and Julian Pefanis, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995, quoted in Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003

[50] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, p156

[51] Deleuze, Gilles, Difference and Repetition, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, as quoted in Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, pp150-1

[52] Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003, p151

[53] Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, Becoming-Animal in Animal Philosophy, edited by Peter Atterton and Matthew Calarco, London: Continuum, 2008

[54] Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, Becoming-Animal in Animal Philosophy, edited by Peter Atterton and Matthew Calarco, London: Continuum, 2008, pp89, 91

[55] Ibid p89


Bibliography

Books:

Agamben, Giorgio, The Open, Edited by Werner Hamacher, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004

Atterton, Peter and Calarco, Matthew (Editors) Animal Philosophy, London: Continuum 2008

Baker, Steve, You Kill Things to Look at Them: Animal Death in Contemporary Art, in Killing Animals, edited by the Animal Studies Group, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2006

Cavalieri, Paola, The Death of the Animal, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009

Cavalieri, Paola and Singer, Peter, Reply to Žižek: On Žižek and Animals in International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Volume 6, No1, January 2009, ISSN 1705-6411

Dawkins, Richard, The Greatest Show on Earth, London: Bantam Press, 2009

Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion, London: Bantam Press, 2006

Dawkins, Richard, River out of Eden, New York: Basic Books, 1995

Dawkins, Richard, A Devil’s Chaplain, edited by Latha Menon, London: Phoenix 2004

Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, Becoming-animal in Animal Philosophy, edited by Peter Atterton and Matthew Calarco pp xv-xxv London: Continuum 2008

Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great, London: Atlantic Books 2007

Minsky, Marvin, The Society of Mind, New York: Simon & Schuster 1986

Singer, Peter, Animal Liberation, London: Pimlico, 1995

Sokal, Alan and Bricmont, Jean, Intellectual Impostures, London: Profile Books, 2003

Exhibitions:

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Barbican Curve Gallery, 27 February 2010 – 23 May 2010

Marcus Coates, Psychopomp, Milton Keynes Gallery, 15 January – 4 April 2010

Walton Ford, Bestiarium, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, 23 January – 24 May 2010

 

Websites:

http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=9713 (30 August 2010)

http://www.peta.org.uk/ (28 September 2010)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/mar/03/advertising.marketingandpr (4 October 2010)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/06/whale-hunting-moratorium-japan-iceland (Article history accessed September 28 2010)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer (28 September 2010)

http://www.sarahmaple.com/ (28 September 2010)

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL256586320080625 (28 September 2010)

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/  (30 September 2010)

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/ (28 September 2010)