First Foyer of the Cankarjev Dom Cultural and Congress Centre, 20 June – 25 August 2019.
The group exhibition Instinct represents the works of an international team of artists, who explore how the relationship between animals and humans is ideologically emphasized or concealed with images, and how the concept of instinct defines the process of photography and the photographic representation.
With the cultural marginalization of animals, as John Berger describes the relationship of humans towards animals that took place throughout the 20th century, animals have become consumer goods. The coexistence and the magical belief that shaped the human attitude towards animals has long ago moved aside, making way for the capitalistic production process. Today, humans need animals mainly as a source of food, use them as amusement and spoil them as pets. Our daily life is overflowing with animal imagery that shape our attitude towards them, from countless photographs of domestic and exotic animals on social media, to fashion accessories with animal patterns. We surround ourselves with anthropomorphic animal toys, we attribute human traits to animals (and vice versa), we accept them as equal members of the family, we identify with them. Animals drive our consumer habits and lifestyle choices and also represent national and ideological symbols.
Despite the fact that we use animal imagery either as goods for exchange, marketing tools, tools for scientific research, a sign of familiarity or as voiceless trophies from exotic places or zoos, all this represents a certain process of domestication of both, the sign and the signifier. In the Anthropocene epoch, humans prevailed as the most invasive species, which, through the process of domestication and cultivation of animals, shaped nature to its will and radically altered the meaning of instinctive and natural. This domination also brought disappointment and today, the superior attitude towards animals is giving way to the idea of post-speciesism (humans as one of the living species). The new ways of animal representation are a consequence of the altered relationship towards animals. In some way we are returning to our totemistic roots. With the ever-growing awareness regarding the alarming effects of humans on climate and the environment caused by interventions in natural environments and habitats, there is an ever-louder voice demanding a new type of responsibility, empathy and solidarity, intercultural and interspecies.
The artists thematize the different aspects of animal representation and address the complex attitude of humans towards animals, their coexistence and the significance of all of this from different points of view: from the conceptual treatment of pets and their respective mythologies (Alexandra Soldatova), the anthropomorphic representation of animals in popular culture and the phenomenon of interspecies subcultures (Anja Carr), the commercialization and aestheticization of animals, the wild and nature itself (Vanja Bučan), the technological modification of animal extracts in the pharmaceutical industry and the strategies for their advertising (Daniel Szalai), to taxidermy as a standard practice for the conservation of animal carcasses and their classification for the purpose of research and exhibition (Klaus Pichler).
Curator: Jasna Jernejšek /Aid with the conduction of the exhibition and the accompanying program: Ajda Auer, David Bordon, Regina Jakšič, Lucija Rosc, Karin Rošker, Lana Špiler, Leopold Štefanič, Neža Ternik, Lea Topolovec / Production: Membrana / Co-production: Cankarjev dom
The exhibition is accompanied by a discursive-educational program and the publication of the new issue of the Membrana magazine, which broadens the theme of instinct and the (photographic) representation of animals, linking it with other interdisciplinary fields.
Opening events: Thursday, 20 June 2019
17:00 // Conversation with Maja Smrekar, intermedia artist, prof. dr. Alenka Dovč, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate from the European College of Animal Welfare, and dr. Blaž Mazi, philosopher; moderated by Jasna Jernejšek, curator of the exhibition.
18:00 // Presentation of the new issue of the Membrana magazine with Jan Babnik and Ilija T. Tomanić, editors of the magazine.
18:30 // Guided exhibition with Jasna Jernejšek, curator of the exhibition, and Daniel Szalai, photographer.
19:00 // Opening of the exhibition
Workshops and guided exhibitions:
27 June 2019 // Interpretation of the photography workshop for seniors
4 July 2019 // Guided exhibition
11 July 2019 // Guided exhibition
18 July 2019 // Interpretation of the photography workshop for kids
The accompanying program is executed in conformity with the tender project work with the non-economic and non-profit sector – Innovative student projects for social benefit, which aims to include students from different fields of study in the organization and execution of a larger socially engaged cultural event, and their connection with both, large cultural institutions (Cankarjev dom) and smaller non-government organizations (Membrana Institute). The adjoining programme is co-founded by Republic of Slovenia and European Union through European Social Fund.
20 June – 25 August 2019
First Foyer of the Cankarjev Dom Cultural and Congress Centre
Prešernova cesta 10, 1000 Ljubljana
Artists: Vanja Bučan, Anja Carr, Klaus Pichler, Alexandra Soldatova, Daniel Szalai // Curator: Jasna Jernejšek // Associate professional: Emina Djukić // Accompanying text: Jasna Jernejšek // Exhibition layout: Emina Djukić, Jasna Jernejšek // Aid with the conduction of the exhibition and the accompanying program: Ajda Auer, David Bordon, Regina Jakšič, Lucija Rosc, Karin Rošker, Lana Špiler, Leopold Štefanič, Neža Ternik, Lea Topolovec // Production: Membrana // Co-production: Cankarjev Dom, Cultural and Congress Centre // The project was made possible by the: Department for Culture of the City of Ljubljana / Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia / Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia / European Social Fund / Balassi Institute // The adjoining programme is co-founded by Republic of Slovenia and European Union through European Social Fund.
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