An exhibition curated by University of Cincinnati Associate Professor of Art History, Dr. Kim Paice. The show featured prints, sculptures, video, sound works, and books, ranging from the 19th century to today, and which address issues of ethology, ethnography, romance, observations on observation, crossings, and interspecies communiqués.
Building on the work of philosophers such as Donna Haraway, the works in “Animal Magnetism” explored contact zones where species meet, calling for respect for all species. The show’s title refered to a 19th-century pseudoscience and healing technique of Franz Anton Mesmer that explored attraction between bodies. Here, attraction connects dissimilar works of art to the poetics of bodily attraction (biotic and abiotic, celestial and earthly), literary notions of desire (including the work of Edgar Allen Poe), and to the joy and love of anti-literary poetics that were championed by the Surrealists with magnetic fields. Thus, “animal magnetism” opened onto the overwhelming attraction to all things animal, today.
The show served as a site in which contact zones created by scientists and artists - addressing issues such as species extinction, captivity, and the study of behavior in multispecies interactions are explored—thereby challenging human/animal binaries and the ethical implications of such separations. The space of the show itself served as a kind of “contact zone,” where human exceptionalism is upended and conversations about how life may flourish through attentiveness and respect for species are strongly encouraged. Artist Loraine Wible will perform hypnosis on attendees during the opening reception.
Contributing artists include: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzdilla, André Alves, Laurie Anderson, Margaret Atwood, James Audubon, Rachel Berwick, Gustave Doré, Llewelyn Fletcher, Simon Leung, Future Retrieval, J.J. Grandville, Hope Ginsburg, Francisco Goya, Erin Johnson, Roger S. Payne, Carolee Schneemann’s cat, Mark-the-Shark, Mark Jesus Quemada