Assembling the animal : an exegesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the postgraduate degree of Master of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This practice-based research involves an exploration of the significance of the animal with a focus on moral obligations and environmental responsibilities within an artistic practice. It will explore how I can lessen the impact of my art on the natural world and how I can create works that give a voice to the billions of animals whose suffering goes unnoticed by humans. This analysis of these issues will provide a critical response to the treatment of both domestic and wild animals and will examine the modern-day complexities experienced by artists as they navigate producing ethical art in this fast-paced and consumeristic world. This exegesis consists of three parts: exploring the animal, the environmental impact of art, and the oneness of the natural world, and how these theories have informed my practice. The discussion will incorporate key concepts such as anthropomorphism, the merging of cuteness and inaesthetic traits, eco-materialism and where animal rights meet feminist philosophies. Ultimately, this exegesis works to piece together the broad and complicated aspects of human and non-human relationships and through the use of found material, assemblage-based sculpture, promote critical evaluation of the treatment of animals and the environment.
Figures are re-used with permission.