/05 Animals

Colleen Plumb

Animals Are Outside Today

Animals Are Outside Today examines relationships between humans and animals, studying how animals are woven through the fabric of culture. Living and dead, real and fake, as displays or companions, these images investigate our ambivalence or perhaps multivalent attitudes towards animals, exposing both our kinship and disjuncture from other creatures of this Earth. Henry Beston stated regarding animals in The Outermost House in 1928: “They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Animals Are Outside Today is a journey examining underneath this net, offering us the chance to contemplate our intersections with animals. Contradictions define our relationships with animals. We love and admire them; we are entertained and fascinated by them; we take our children to watch and learn about them. Animals are embedded within core human history—evident in our stories, rituals and symbols. At the same time, we eat, wear and cage them with seeming indifference, consuming them in countless ways. Our connection to animals today is often developed through assimilation and appropriation; we absorb them into our lives, yet we no longer know of their origin. Most people are cut off from the steps involved in their processing or acquisition, shielded from witnessing their death or decay. This work moves within these contradictions, always questioning if the notion of sacred will survive alongside our evolution.

Colleen Plumb