We’re all vermin: Tactical predation, interspecies media arts and perspectivism

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2021 Number 104 & 105

We’re all vermin: Tactical predation, interspecies media arts and perspectivism
Bogna Konior, pages 15-29
DOI: 10.3898/neWF:104-105.01.2021

Abstract

This article considers ‘perspectivism’ as described by Viveiros de Castro and Willerslev as a lens for discussing interspecies media arts. In what way could we think about ‘personhood’ in order for the proposition of ‘nonhuman persons’ to make sense, while escaping the determinism of colloquial anthropomorphism, where humans simply project some idea of themselves onto others? How could this in turn inform our interpretation of interspecies art in urban spaces? The ethically controversial art of Japanese collective Chim?Pom, who break into Fukushima ‘no-go’ zones, capture and kill rats, and lure flock of scavenger crows out of their hiding spots, creates situations where humans and animals relate to each other within a predatory loop of damage and toxicity; a perspectivism for the era of urban waste. The article further raises questions about the historical context of these artworks: post-nuclear spaces, alien and invasive species, and ‘the Anthropocene.’ Unlike stereotypical ‘green art,’ Chim?Pom’s work grasps human-animal relationships through the lens of animosity, where personalisation and ethics are rooted in conflict. Reading their art through an unusual parallel with animist hunting practices that form the basis of ‘traditional’ perspectivism, the article reflects on these asymmetrically related but proximate frameworks and the current revival of scholarly interest in animism.

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To cite this article
Bogna Konior (2021) We’re all vermin: Tactical predation, interspecies media arts and perspectivism, New Formations, 2021(104 & 105 ), 15-29. https://doi.org/10.3898/neWF:104-105.01.2021

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