Project at Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. “Between Species,” Curated by Anneka Herre at Syracuse University, New York (Sponsored by Dr. Gregg Lambert Director of CNY Humanities Corridor | Humanities Centre).   http://www.urbanvideoproject.com/artists/between-species-maria-whiteman-touching-grizzly-far-from-your-home-loved-you-right-up-to-the-end/    “Touching Polar Bears,”  Howe, Cymene and Pandian, Anand. "Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website,  June 2017 .  https://culanth.org/fieldsights/1154-death    Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film  Title: "Polar Bear & Death," Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).     Whiteman will discuss her work as part of the related    indoor screening and talk   in conversation with theorist Cary Wolfe on March 26, 2016   in the Everson’s Hosmer Auditorium.      About the Work    Touching Grizzly (Far from your home)   2013  Total Run Time: 2:25     Loved you right up to the end   2015  Total Run Time: 2:57     Artist Statement   The  Touching  project was a turning point for me; it shifted my focus to video and performance art, which eventuated in a series of videos undertaken at the Natural History Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. I touched and caressed every animal held in storage there, hidden under plastic sheets, hung on hooks, stored in boxes and covered in blankets.  Touching  took about two years to finish, with the collaboration of Mark Edwards, the Curator of the Museum, and it aims to evoke a complex ecology of emotions about animals—not least of all, empathy and mourning. In this project, I was interested not just in the gap or absence of a connection between human and animal life that eventuates in these dead animals in a storeroom—all in the name of a greater knowledge of nature, of course—but more importantly in what produces empathy, mourning, and a sense of loss in relation to non-human life. Empathy and mourning are products of the complex temporality produced by the uncanny relationship between co-presence and absence at work in these images.  The temporality of the animal and our own comes together briefly, but fleetingly, incompletely. The animal bodies in these images will outlast our own, and yet we know nothing about them other than their brute physicality as objects, which serve as a kind of beguiling doorway into another reality. When did they live? Where did they live? How did they come here to inhabit this deadness that poignantly still lives insofar as we feel the urge to ask these questions, to reach out and touch the fur that belonged to the living animal and is somehow, strangely, still here. Can I only think the animal in its death and captivity, in its non-presence, even when I want to make it present by probing the assumptions that frame our ways of knowing non-human life—assumptions that have made possible the dead body I have before me, the “specimen” that confirms my rigorous knowledge of “nature.” Or as Donna Haraway has asked, “who and what do I touch when I touch my dog?” I go from the dead animal to the animal that remains alive (Max my dog) with whom I caress and repeat the question “who and what do I touch when I touch my dog?” It was only months after this video was made that Max got ill and died which made it very difficult for me to continue working on the piece. The time lapse between the death of Max to the present has given the work a different tone which is far more somber and poetic. Her absence made me realize how deeply present her existence was in my life and how long it took to accept that she was gone from my life. I repeat the word I learn most from my relationships with animals and it’s the word  compassion .
       
     
  Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film   Title: "Polar Bear & Death,"  Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).
       
     
       
     
       
     
IMG_2114.jpg
       
     
 Project at Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. “Between Species,” Curated by Anneka Herre at Syracuse University, New York (Sponsored by Dr. Gregg Lambert Director of CNY Humanities Corridor | Humanities Centre).   http://www.urbanvideoproject.com/artists/between-species-maria-whiteman-touching-grizzly-far-from-your-home-loved-you-right-up-to-the-end/    “Touching Polar Bears,”  Howe, Cymene and Pandian, Anand. "Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website,  June 2017 .  https://culanth.org/fieldsights/1154-death    Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film  Title: "Polar Bear & Death," Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).     Whiteman will discuss her work as part of the related    indoor screening and talk   in conversation with theorist Cary Wolfe on March 26, 2016   in the Everson’s Hosmer Auditorium.      About the Work    Touching Grizzly (Far from your home)   2013  Total Run Time: 2:25     Loved you right up to the end   2015  Total Run Time: 2:57     Artist Statement   The  Touching  project was a turning point for me; it shifted my focus to video and performance art, which eventuated in a series of videos undertaken at the Natural History Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. I touched and caressed every animal held in storage there, hidden under plastic sheets, hung on hooks, stored in boxes and covered in blankets.  Touching  took about two years to finish, with the collaboration of Mark Edwards, the Curator of the Museum, and it aims to evoke a complex ecology of emotions about animals—not least of all, empathy and mourning. In this project, I was interested not just in the gap or absence of a connection between human and animal life that eventuates in these dead animals in a storeroom—all in the name of a greater knowledge of nature, of course—but more importantly in what produces empathy, mourning, and a sense of loss in relation to non-human life. Empathy and mourning are products of the complex temporality produced by the uncanny relationship between co-presence and absence at work in these images.  The temporality of the animal and our own comes together briefly, but fleetingly, incompletely. The animal bodies in these images will outlast our own, and yet we know nothing about them other than their brute physicality as objects, which serve as a kind of beguiling doorway into another reality. When did they live? Where did they live? How did they come here to inhabit this deadness that poignantly still lives insofar as we feel the urge to ask these questions, to reach out and touch the fur that belonged to the living animal and is somehow, strangely, still here. Can I only think the animal in its death and captivity, in its non-presence, even when I want to make it present by probing the assumptions that frame our ways of knowing non-human life—assumptions that have made possible the dead body I have before me, the “specimen” that confirms my rigorous knowledge of “nature.” Or as Donna Haraway has asked, “who and what do I touch when I touch my dog?” I go from the dead animal to the animal that remains alive (Max my dog) with whom I caress and repeat the question “who and what do I touch when I touch my dog?” It was only months after this video was made that Max got ill and died which made it very difficult for me to continue working on the piece. The time lapse between the death of Max to the present has given the work a different tone which is far more somber and poetic. Her absence made me realize how deeply present her existence was in my life and how long it took to accept that she was gone from my life. I repeat the word I learn most from my relationships with animals and it’s the word  compassion .
       
     

Project at Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. “Between Species,” Curated by Anneka Herre at Syracuse University, New York (Sponsored by Dr. Gregg Lambert Director of CNY Humanities Corridor | Humanities Centre).

http://www.urbanvideoproject.com/artists/between-species-maria-whiteman-touching-grizzly-far-from-your-home-loved-you-right-up-to-the-end/

“Touching Polar Bears,” Howe, Cymene and Pandian, Anand. "Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, June 2017. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/1154-death

Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film Title: "Polar Bear & Death," Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).

Whiteman will discuss her work as part of the related indoor screening and talkin conversation with theorist Cary Wolfe on March 26, 2016 in the Everson’s Hosmer Auditorium.

About the Work

Touching Grizzly (Far from your home)

2013

Total Run Time: 2:25

Loved you right up to the end

2015

Total Run Time: 2:57

Artist Statement

The Touching project was a turning point for me; it shifted my focus to video and performance art, which eventuated in a series of videos undertaken at the Natural History Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. I touched and caressed every animal held in storage there, hidden under plastic sheets, hung on hooks, stored in boxes and covered in blankets. Touching took about two years to finish, with the collaboration of Mark Edwards, the Curator of the Museum, and it aims to evoke a complex ecology of emotions about animals—not least of all, empathy and mourning. In this project, I was interested not just in the gap or absence of a connection between human and animal life that eventuates in these dead animals in a storeroom—all in the name of a greater knowledge of nature, of course—but more importantly in what produces empathy, mourning, and a sense of loss in relation to non-human life. Empathy and mourning are products of the complex temporality produced by the uncanny relationship between co-presence and absence at work in these images.

The temporality of the animal and our own comes together briefly, but fleetingly, incompletely. The animal bodies in these images will outlast our own, and yet we know nothing about them other than their brute physicality as objects, which serve as a kind of beguiling doorway into another reality. When did they live? Where did they live? How did they come here to inhabit this deadness that poignantly still lives insofar as we feel the urge to ask these questions, to reach out and touch the fur that belonged to the living animal and is somehow, strangely, still here. Can I only think the animal in its death and captivity, in its non-presence, even when I want to make it present by probing the assumptions that frame our ways of knowing non-human life—assumptions that have made possible the dead body I have before me, the “specimen” that confirms my rigorous knowledge of “nature.” Or as Donna Haraway has asked, “who and what do I touch when I touch my dog?” I go from the dead animal to the animal that remains alive (Max my dog) with whom I caress and repeat the question “who and what do I touch when I touch my dog?” It was only months after this video was made that Max got ill and died which made it very difficult for me to continue working on the piece. The time lapse between the death of Max to the present has given the work a different tone which is far more somber and poetic. Her absence made me realize how deeply present her existence was in my life and how long it took to accept that she was gone from my life. I repeat the word I learn most from my relationships with animals and it’s the word compassion.

  Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film   Title: "Polar Bear & Death,"  Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).
       
     

Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film Title: "Polar Bear & Death,"  Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).

       
     

Project at Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY. “Between Species,” Curated by Anneka Herre at Syracuse University, New York (Sponsored by Dr. Gregg Lambert Director of CNY Humanities Corridor | Humanities Centre). http://everson.org/connect/film/between-species

“Touching Polar Bears,” Howe, Cymene and Pandian, Anand. "Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, June 2017.  https://culanth.org/fieldsights/1154-death

Video (2 min) and Photographs 32" x 40" printed on film Title: "Polar Bear & Death,"  Exhibition at Butler College Studio 34, Curated by Eben Kirksey, Princeton University, NJ. and Brooklyn Gallery, NY, (March-April 2016).

       
     

Medium: Videos (2-4 mins) and Photographs,  Title: "Moose,"  

IMG_2114.jpg