Beyond Zoocentricism :  An Interview with Giovanni Aloi

Ariane De Blois
Actively involved in the academic field of human-animal studies for the past fifteen years, Giovanni Aloi has challenged the representational tropes that relentlessly objectify animals in art. His thought-provoking first book, Art & Animals, considers the moral and ethical implications of using animals, dead or alive, in contemporary art practices. Aloi is a lecturer in visual culture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the subject of nature in contemporary art.

Ariane De Blois : Art has historically been conceived as a highly cultural activity that distinguishes human beings from other living creatures — a conception that reinforces the notion of human exceptionalism. Similarly, visual representations have traditionally tried to emphasize the dichotomies between the natural and the human-made. Your journal, Antennae, specifically seeks contributions that go beyond the nature-culture opposition and debunk those old assertions. Can you explain how contemporary theories and artworks critically challenge the “great divide” between humans and non-humans?

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This article also appears in the issue 87 – The Living - The Living

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