Goldsmiths - University of London

Touching Animals

Reckitt, Helena. 2010. Touching Animals. C Magazine, 107, pp. 34-39. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

While operating largely outside linguistic registers, the practice of mutual grooming sheds light on the role played by gossip in forming social cohesion. Helena Reckitt reflects on the nature of human and animal interdependencies, that are both biological and affective, and on the human desire to pursue the formation of these affectionate bonds. By discussing the work of artists who observe or take part in human / creaturely relations, Reckitt considers this fascination with otherness. She suggests that mimicking animal behaviour allows humans the possibility to "rid ourselves of consciousness and responsibility" and return to less overtly and oppressively "civilised" forms of behaviour. Reckitt also discusses shame and the withholding of the mutual gaze as reactions to the queerness and discomfort entailed in acknowledging interspecies relations.

Item Type: Article

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The full text is used with publisher permission.


grooming, language, cleaning rituals, interspecies relations, communication, human / creaturely relations, haptic, mutual gaze, artists and animal relations

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1 October 2010Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Mar 2017 14:36

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 16:01

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/20108

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