Opening: 27 May, 2016, 8PM
Artists talk: 29 May, 2016, 3PM
runs: 28 May– 17 July, 2016, Fri-Sun 2-6PM and by appointment.
June open until 9PM)
exhibition On Animals. Cognition, Senses, Play
investigates two groups of animals that are closest to us. Primates,
our nearest 'relatives', have a complex cognitive proximity to
humans, but also differ radically in certain areas. While dogs,
with whom we have made a symbiotic contract., have evolved alongside
us over the last 30,000 years. The works in this exhibition share
Donna Haraway's concept of "cooperative actions": overcoming
conventional dichotomies of nature/culture, human/animal or subject/object
is all about joint action. The artists, Maja Smrekar and
Rachel Mayeri, make use of certain narrative strategies
and the phenomenon of immersion, to approach the perspective of
a nonhuman counterpart. The works of both artists place the instinct
and the senses of the nonhuman at the centre of artistic research,
while aiming to translate the nonhuman cognitive ability by means
of the performance, film and art/science collaboration.
Smrekar's performance I Hunt Nature and Culture Hunts Me,
created during a research residency, investigates the phylogenetics
of the wolf, the wolf-dog-human relationship and animal ethics.
The implied risk and intimacy of Smrekar's performance with hybrid
wolfdogs is contrasted by the reading of cultural texts from Joseph
Beuys, Oleg Kulik and Smrekar. A documentary film also explores
the complex evolutionary story of the canine.
her work Ecce Canis she explores the metabolic pathway
processes that trigger emotional motifs which bind humans and
dogs and let them successfully coexist together. The installation
contains serotonin from both the artist and her Scottish border
collie Byron, which has been transformed by chemical protocols
into an odour - the chemical essence of their human-canine relationship.
films of Rachel Mayeri are the result of years of collaboration
with primatologists. In her series Primate Cinema, Mayeri
has made films for (and about) chimpanzees and other primates.
In Apes as Family we watch a drama based on a tale of both
chimpanzee social customs and domestication. While, as humans,
we find the plot emotionally compelling, we also become caught
up with watching the reactions of a chimpanzee audience watching
the same film on a large TV. Indeed the film is both an example
of 'Primate Cinema', that is a film made for nonhuman primates,
and the complexities of cross-species understanding. Mayeri's
film Baboons as Friends juxtaposes footage of baboons with
a film noir reenactment by human actors, who translate a tale
of lust, jealousy and deceit from the animal to the human.
Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)
More information: http://artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/eng-exh-archive.htm