Patricia PiccininiThe Young Family, 2002Silicone, polyurethane, leather, plywood, human hair, 80 x 150 x 110 cm© Patricia Piccinini, courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

The Power Institute and the Ian Potter Museum of Art are pleased to invite you to a talk by Barbara Creed to mark the launch of her book ‘Stray: Human–Animal Ethics in the Anthropocene’

Barbara Creed’s timely polemic explores the relationship between human and animal in the context of the stray. To celebrate the launch of this new publication, Creed, with respondent Dr lynn mowson, Vice Chair of the Australasian Animal Studies Association, will discuss the concept of the stray through the visual arts, film and literature, introducing the concept of the anthropogenic stray and exploring the contradictions it embodies. Following the talk, Stray will be officially launched by curator Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art.

A stray, to stray, the act of straying. The stray is the outsider, other, exile, refugee—the one who lives apart from the mainstream or isolated in foreign lands. The idea of straying offers an unusual but rich concept with which to think about the shared animal–human condition and the possible fate of the earth and all species in the Anthropocene. Why do societies label certain animals as strays? How do human animals become strays? Julia Kristeva sees the stray, human and animal, as abject. Yet, she says: ‘I stray in order to be’. Hélène Cixous argues that women living in a patriarchal world are exiles or strays in that they are without a language of their own. Is there something life-affirming about being/becoming a stray? This paper will explore the concept of the stray from earliest times to the present with particular reference to the visual arts, literature and film.

Creed argues that in the age of the Anthropocene, a new kind of stray has emerged, that is, an anthropogenic stray threatened by new destructive forces such as global warming, the extinction of species and what Derrida describes as the ‘sacrificial war against the animal’. In the Anthropocene, all species are in danger of becoming homeless, that is, cut off from their homeland, forest, nest, riverbed and place of belonging. Creed proposes that we might think in terms of a ‘stray’ ethics, that is, an empathic moral perspective that rejects anthropocentrism and looks first to the plight of the most marginalised in all societies.

Date: Friday 26 May, 2017 | 6–8pm
Venue: Ian Potter Centre, Melbourne

Free but RSVP required

Lecture by Barbara Creed,with response from Lynn Mowson, 6–7.00pm

Book to be officially launched by Victoria Lynn 7–8.00pm

Barbara Creed is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne and an Honorary Professorial Fellow. She is the author of five books on feminism, sexuality, film and media including: the feminist classic, The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Routledge); Media Matrix: Sexing the New Reality (Allen & Unwin), Phallic Panic: Film, Horror and the Primal Uncanny and Darwin’s Screens: Evolutionary Aesthetics, Time and Sexual Display in the Cinema (both MUP). Creed’s recent research is on animal studies, the inhuman and social justice issues; her articles have appeared in international collections and journals and have been translated into a range of foreign languages. She is presently on the editorial advisory boards of Cultural Studies Review, eTropic and the Animal Studies Journal and on the boards of the international book series, Anthem and Animal Publics. In 2006 She was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities and is currently the director of the Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network (HRAE) at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Lynn Mowson is a sculptor whose practice is driven by the entangled relationships between human and non-human animals, in particular agricultural animals. Her sculptural research was featured in the book The Art of the Animal, Lantern Press, 2015, and the exhibition SPOM: Sexual Politics of Meat at The Animal Museum, LA, in 2017. Her forthcoming publications include a chapter in the book Animaladies and a keynote for Dear Dairy, The University of Canterbury, NZ, as well as exhibitions nationally and internationally. Lynn is a Research Assistant for the Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network [HRAE], University of Melbourne, and is on the Committee for HRAE and is Vice-Chair of the Australasian Animals Studies Association.