Grizedale Arts hosts the Radio Animal event ‘a lamb baste’ – Friday 13th November 2009

A Lamb Baste 13th November 200 7.30pm was a Radio Animal event by Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson.

Grizedale Arts hosted the meal at which a number of invited people, including artists, curators and arts facilitators, animal studies scholars, and local interested parties discussed the issue of ‘animal’, other-animal proximity and our mutual bordering.

more audio extracts to follow…

In advance of the event we published the following:–

“We want to approach issues of identity in relation to animals. Why are we culturally so ambivalent in respect of who we are and how we should behave in the presence of either the term ‘animal’ or indeed animals themselves. As human animals, culturally we tend to value those animals that are not ourselves or very, very like us, chiefly in relation to their effectiveness in fulfilling some human function or need, or conversely the threat we believe they might hold to challenge our will or comfort.

Awareness of self, a faculty we (human-animals) believe separates us from other species, has unexpectedly brought us a troubled relationship with non-human animals. Because of this it could be argued, that a necessary psychological distance has been established between us and those species over which we exercise the most control.

Because so much of what we are in adulthood is inherited, our subscription to this legacy, leads us to believe without question in the apparent cultural order of things. Such belief generally, is accepting of our dominion over others and an elevated evolutionary position in relation to other species and thus fails in turn to recognize an intrinsic interdependence between species. An acknowledgement of this, might well have helped us avoid many of the more difficult consequences we face today in respect of the environment and therefore paradoxically our own as well as everyone else’s survival.

The bottom line for such considerations is one concerning habitat – all species adapt well or less well, for better or for worse to different habitats and when those specialist habitats fail, an ability to move or to adapt quickly enough to survive, is tested. Uncertainty In The City (Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson’s project commissioned by Storey Gallery, Lancaster, UK) is a speculative, artists’ exploration into the relationship between humans and the animals that nudge at and breach the borders of our homes. At the heart of this enquiry is the membrane that is breached, whether this is a material ‘skin’ of bricks and mortar, fences and land, or a linguistic contrivance.

Radio Animal has been on the road since early summer 2009, asking questions of people regarding their proximity with other species, and discussing their experiences with others in the home, hidden in the fabric of their home, in the garden and otherwise as they go about their daily business.

At a time when environmental peril is discussed as a global issue and overheard in some form by us on a daily basis, leaving us often with a sense of impotence in the face of the inevitable, artists Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson are examining what ‘environment’ might mean in a more intimate and domestic sense – where consideration of this term might trigger a more meaningful and evocative recognition for individuals and where the sharing of space between species and its consequences might resonate more powerfully, allowing some chance of new understanding (and even, new behaviour).”


Illustrator Meg Falconer, farmer John Atkinson, Guest Room artist Maria Benjamin, poet Jack Maynard, writer and critic Rikke Hansen, tech fiend Dorian Moore, Grizedale Arts Director Adam Sutherland, artist Karen Guthrie, Alistair Hudson and Radio Animal artists Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson.


2 Responses to “Grizedale Arts hosts the Radio Animal event ‘a lamb baste’ – Friday 13th November 2009”

  1. ian jobson says:

    I’d like to tell you the story of when I found a rat in a can of paint. The outhouse was always dark and smelt of paraffin – there was a big old 50 gallon drum that sat on its side and always looked dangerous. I’d been asked to find a can of white emulsion out there amongst a stack of old tins, some old, some unopened, some big, some small. They were all a jumble so I was trying to find something that looked white with a bit of weight about it taking can after can from a pile on the left to a pile on the right. Suddenly I noticed a movement in an open tin (of white as it happens) and startled, I looked in and saw the curled up form of a young rat. I jumped back (rats were as dangerous as 50 gallon drums of paraffin as far as I was concerned) and at the same time saw the rat leap out and across the piles of cans and into the darkness under the big stone bench. I’d always been nervous about this outbuilding – in it spiders and earwigs were in profusion and now all of my worst fears were underlined. The speed with which the rat escaped, coupled with the memory of my alarm at finding it there henceforth made me defer, procrastinate, avoid all further invitations or directives to grope around in its unfathomable darkness…

  2. Toni Taylor says:

    re: Naming the House Mouse Tom Pinch – When I was 19 my husband and I had to leave the flat we had lived in for 2 years because we were invaded by rats displaced from the nearby canal by building works. The rats were huge. They constantly ran in the cavity between the walls, occasionally scratching a hole through the brickwork to our flat. They ran over us in bed at night and got everywhere – inside the cupboards, even inside the cooker. I regularly had to chase them from the kitchen with a broom. It was about a month before we could afford to move into another flat and it was a very unpleasant time.

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