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20 Jan 2009

Cornerhouse Launches Interspecies Tour

Kira O'Reilly and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, 2008 Photo: Kristian Buus.



Sat 23 January - Sun 22 March 2009

Galleries open:
Tue-Sat 11.00am - 6.00pm
Thu until 8.00pm
Sun 2.00pm - 6.00pm
Closed Mon

FREE Entry

+44 (0)161 228 7621

70 Oxford Street
M1 5NH

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Artists: Beatriz da Costa, Antony Hall, Ruth Maclennan, Rachel Mayeri, Kira O'Reilly, Nicolas Primat

Can artists work with animals as equals?

It has recently been discovered that humans are closer to the higher primates than was previously thought. This exhibition, hosted at Cornerhouse and organised by The Arts Catalyst on the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, brings together a group of artists who actively question the sovereignty of the human species over the all other animal species.

Four artists have been commissioned to develop projects with non-human animals:

Kira O'Reilly, one of the most experimental and controversial performance artists in the UK, presents Falling Asleep with a Pig, a special performance at Cornerhouse only, featuring herself and a female pig. The work focuses on her ongoing sleep and dream research with humans and pigs and addresses the ethics of human and non-human animal interaction. An installation and documentation from the performance will remain for the duration of the exhibition.

Nicolas Primat is working with primatologists and zoos to make a new work in which higher apes are taught video skills. The apes make the creative decisions, with humans simply providing guidance and training. Primat's work explores how the animals' 'natural' communication skills can be extended into the realm of human/ape creative collaboration.

Antony Hall encourages the public to directly communicate with a live electric fish in the gallery, through mild electrical impulses (both tactile and visual). The artist's motivation for this project relates to his long term interest in aquariums. Typically installed as calming objects, on closer inspection they are revealed as contained environments of both aggressive conflict and submissive tolerance.

The Department of Eagles (Ruth Maclennan) is producing a participatory project, examining the communications between falconers and falcons which will feature in Northumberland. For Cornerhouse, she presents The Hawk and the Tower, a project that looks at people, architecture, the city and the landscape from the perspective of a 'hawk-camera.'

Two existing works will also be shown: Rachel Mayeri's, Primate Cinema, which casts human actors in the roles of mating non-human primates, and Beatriz da Costa's PigeonBlog, which investigates the military use of homing pigeons.

A series of talks and debates between the artists, writers, scientists and animal welfare experts will accompany the exhibition.

For further details, visit

This is an Arts Catalyst exhibition, touring during the Darwin 200 celebrations in 2009 to London, Edinburgh and Northumberland.

Exhibition funded by: Arts Council England
Exhibition supported by: Darwin 200 and Atrium Apartments by BridgeStreet Worldwide