In Between the Human and the Animal: Subjectivity and Authority in Ann-Sofi Sidén's Queen of Mud Project.

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In Between the Human and the Animal: Subjectivity and Authority in Ann-Sofi Sidén's Queen of Mud Project. / Liljefors, Max.

I: Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, Vol. 79, Nr. 4, 2010, s. 185-199.

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

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TY - JOUR

T1 - In Between the Human and the Animal: Subjectivity and Authority in Ann-Sofi Sidén's Queen of Mud Project.

AU - Liljefors, Max

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - This article explores the “question of the animal” in Swedish artist Ann-Sofi Sidén’s project Queen of Mud, executed between 1988 and 2004. Queen of Mud revolves around a naked female creature, smeared from top to toe in wet mud, which interferes in human affairs and challenges thereby common assumptions about the human/animal divide and the human-animal continuum. By reading Queen of Mud over against three disparate but critical moments in modern reflection on animality – the Rainer Maria Rilke/Martin Heidegger “controversy” over the animal and the concept of the Open; John Searle’s philosophy of social ontology; and the memoirs of the German judge Daniel Paul Schreber, composed during his period of paranoia – I argue that the figure of the animal in Sidén’s project simultaneously covers and manifests the incommensurability between bodily existence and societal mandate that defines the human subject. Throughout three distinct phases, the project gradually excavates the resistance of the body against being subsumed under societal determinations, and lays bare the emergence/emergency of corporeality as a fundamental threat against societal authority. While contested phenomena as xenotransplantation and cross-species genetic engineering may seem to cast the “question of the animal” today in purely biological terms, this article argues that it concerns just as much the demarcation that outlines a regulated sphere of societal inter-human relations. Animality is thus not understood as a threshold between the human being and other life forms, but as a divide within the human as a simultaneously corporeal and societal creature.

AB - This article explores the “question of the animal” in Swedish artist Ann-Sofi Sidén’s project Queen of Mud, executed between 1988 and 2004. Queen of Mud revolves around a naked female creature, smeared from top to toe in wet mud, which interferes in human affairs and challenges thereby common assumptions about the human/animal divide and the human-animal continuum. By reading Queen of Mud over against three disparate but critical moments in modern reflection on animality – the Rainer Maria Rilke/Martin Heidegger “controversy” over the animal and the concept of the Open; John Searle’s philosophy of social ontology; and the memoirs of the German judge Daniel Paul Schreber, composed during his period of paranoia – I argue that the figure of the animal in Sidén’s project simultaneously covers and manifests the incommensurability between bodily existence and societal mandate that defines the human subject. Throughout three distinct phases, the project gradually excavates the resistance of the body against being subsumed under societal determinations, and lays bare the emergence/emergency of corporeality as a fundamental threat against societal authority. While contested phenomena as xenotransplantation and cross-species genetic engineering may seem to cast the “question of the animal” today in purely biological terms, this article argues that it concerns just as much the demarcation that outlines a regulated sphere of societal inter-human relations. Animality is thus not understood as a threshold between the human being and other life forms, but as a divide within the human as a simultaneously corporeal and societal creature.

KW - Ann-Sofi Sidén

KW - Searle

KW - contemporary art

KW - social ontology

KW - animality

KW - Schreber

KW - archive

U2 - 10.1080/00233609.2010.529163

DO - 10.1080/00233609.2010.529163

M3 - Article

VL - 79

SP - 185

EP - 199

JO - Konsthistorisk Tidskrift

T2 - Konsthistorisk Tidskrift

JF - Konsthistorisk Tidskrift

SN - 0023-3609

IS - 4

ER -