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Can an Artist Help Captive Elephants Win Legal Personhood?

JULIA COOKE: ‘Colleen Plumb’s artwork, according to her website, explores “the way animals in captivity function as symbols of persistent colonial thinking,” the normalization of the idea that humans should strive to dominate nature, and the way consumption has replaced curiosity. This focus places it within a particularly rowdy stream of contemporary art.

Rather than using animals a la Damien Hirst, who preferred his sharks and sheep dead and pickled, or Joseph Beuys, who lectured to a dead rabbit and locked himself for three days in a gallery room with a live coyote, these more recent pieces pull viewers toward the condition of captivity itself in lush, immersive conceptual works…

On an artistic level, the empathetic tease of nonhuman animals, the barrier between us and them, has inspired human mark-making since humans first drew symbols on the walls of caves. Humans are animal and we are other. We possess knowledge that other creatures do not but lack their instincts. Humans make computers and airplanes; many nonhuman animals can sense an earthquake long before it occurs’. SOURCE…

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