Animalities and implantations
in The ecological eye
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This chapter takes a nonhierarchical reading through the art history of flesh (widely conceived across animal and vegetable) rather than ‘inanimate’ matter. This is an important extension of ‘the political’ and the ‘environmental’ that takes us beyond the human, into the territory of the ‘other-than-human’. This kind of work can be understood as part of a larger, flattening ontological set of studies nested within the wider humanities discourse on ecology. It offers alternatives to conventional art historical approaches to animals (iconographic or social-historical perspectives which maintain and reinforce a value-laden, hierarchical system of understanding art). One important exception within contemporary art history is the work of Steve Baker. Critical animal studies is discussed, specifically in relation to its potential for eroding normative, hierarchical value systems in undertaking ecologically orientated, ‘green’ art history (such as Haraway, Wolfe, etc.). Such human-animal-biopolitical theory has a long history as part of the fight for rights of other-than-humans on the planet. Therefore, the discussion is extended to the growing work done in relation to plants, such as that of Marder. This chapter builds a case for a more formal and grounded nonhierarchical art history of the other-than-human.

The ecological eye

Assembling an ecocritical art history

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