Symposium and Exhibition

The aesthetics of animal politics. David Attenborough's cinematography. Speeches at Glastonbury. Instagram activism. From space, the chained night lights of our huge, interconnected cities burn and glow in a gigantic lock-in. Hockey-stick curve in human population growth across two centuries. Biodiversity in flatline. Vast oceanic pollution by plastics, fished-out waters of a scavenged seabed. Oil wars. Colossal gas by-product, trapping heat in the atmosphere to alter the planet's climates. Devastation of forests for fields, in whose acres insects and invertebrates are eliminated. More than 5 kilos of vegetable protein feed forever required for every kilo of meat. Hot land, hot water.

As every other animal looks on, each may sense now in its changed habitat slim pickings, shrinking horizons and poverty of scope. Taxed out, totalised. Narrow or isolated rescue strategies obtain for a lucky few. Reservation, meadow fringe, wildlife corridor, animal sanctuary and shelter - designed arks or roads as redoubts, last resorts along and among the edges of a desert world.

While humanism and bios may have waned to find a less privileged home in the new politics of nature (Latour, 1999), animality and zoĆ« (Braidotti, 2009) have risen in the scales. At the same time, art and architecture have long since expanded their fields, crossed disciplinary borders and made a play for a deeper and wider 'social' than before. In this new relation, how other animals see the human animal and we see them may now guide us in form, content, function and intention.

How might the animal gaze help to re-imagine and represent this shared space?

Following the success of the symposia The Animal Gaze (2008) and The Animal Gaze Returned (2011), London Metropolitan University presents The Animal Gaze Constructed (2020) - a conference on contemporary art, architecture and animal-human studies to take place 6-7 March 2020 at the university's Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture & Design in Aldgate, London (UK).