My life is your life

The only thing that’s being made clear in: Bansky’s http://thevillagepetstoreandcharcoalgrill.com is that animals are seen here as pathetic in their ‘Erscheinung’ and that it seems to be thrilling to ridicule their physics and their core existential problems. It seems that the primate used in that exhibition is made from a taxidermically preserved body or parts of an animal body. Right, as if the usage of nonhuman animals in arts wasn’t a form of commercial exploitation really, it’s a visual commercial exploitation of the plain fact that these animals, and animals overall, have been born into this world.

What difference does it make to state that such arts have an ethical or political impact, when the only impact really generated is a self-serving feel-good factor about being “human” or belonging to the human group that enjoys the privilege over these animals of not being specisitically ridiculed? Art likes to pretend that it has a moral weight, and it likes to misuse that moral weight it believes to purport.

The same usual necrophilia thing goes for http://www.pollymorgan.co.uk who is a taxidermcal artist and assures the visitors of her site that her art is motivated by some form of “love” for nonhuman animals.

The best of the worst I recently came across was yet another notorious example of the scientist + artist cross-overs: http://www.ravishingbeasts.com.

And to sum this all up and to branch it constructively out: Ever thought about the relation of taxidermy and why biology renders the world as nothing more than a scientifically dissectable blueprint? Whenever bodies or body parts have been preserved for an onlooker, disrespect and prejudice has been involved. If nonhuman animals were not robbed of their natural rights to live, and if their dignity was being respected, we would consider any taxidermical or other comparable displays of an animal’s dead body as shocking, just as we view the displayal of human body parts / dead bodies … like the bodyparts for example of the dead Saartjie Baartman: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saartjie_Baartman (whom her abusers called the “Hottentot Venus”) which were preserved and exhibited. Or, remember the necrophile bodypolitics of nazism that led to the unbelievable: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/medmurder.html [1]

… I found this interesting article about taxidermy:

“Second Skins: Semiotic Readings in Taxidermic Reconstruction”
Pauline Wakeham

It would be apologetic to explain why I take this position, but nevertheless I must say that many people hold a homocetric view, and that to them it is perfectly ok if animals are being used or degraded, but to me as a anti-homocentric animal rights person, the world is a place that isn’t selecting humans as their choice species that can, without any moral consequence, just rob everybody else who is either different from them or holds a different view, of their rights. Rights exist on a basis of a plural truth and ideally on a social and also on an “inter-species” balance. Rights aren’t a simple matter of decree.

[1] Several important and insightful links regarding dead humans that were used by the Nazis for their racial studies are:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/110572586/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0, http://www.adl.org/Braun/dim_13_1_med_murder.asp, http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/perspectives_in_biology_and_medicine/v043/43.3seidelman.html, „Dr. Hirt. The doctor was steeped in Nazi philosophy and his idee fixe was naturally the racial question. He conceived the plan of forming at Strasbourg a collection of skeletons and skulls of Jews“, see http://www.maebrussell.com/Articles%20and%20Notes/Gestapo.html,
http://www.mazal.org/archive/nmt/01/NMT01-T744.htm, “To me, that table stands for all the horrors of the entire place: this is where many victims of the ill-famed professor Hirt came from. He wanted to set up an ‘important anatomical collection’ at the University of the German Reich in Straßburg”, see http://www.real-photography.de/photos_gallery_changing_1.htm

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