Uncertainty in the city

Snaebjornsdottir, Bryndis and Wilson, Mark (2009) Uncertainty in the city. In: Minding Animals, 13-18 July 2009, Newcastle University, Australia. (Unpublished) Full text not available from this repository.

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Abstract

The division afforded by cities, between ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ has proved increasingly porous as more and more animals and birds consider concentrations of human population an attraction rather than a deterrent because of the opportunities such culture provides in terms of habitat and feeding. For some, the presence of these creatures – pigeons, starlings, rats, mice, foxes, and all manner of insects is a threat of some kind, a kind of leakage and therefore a representation of the fragility of our insulation from the ‘wild’, the unpredictability and ‘chaos’ of ‘nature’. The late anthropologist Mary Douglas coined the term "…dirt is matter out of place" to indicate how societies distinguish between that which is acceptable and desirable and that which is unacceptable and offensive – the difference between what is ‘pure’ and ‘polluted’. So, ‘Pests’, like ‘Dirt’ are thought to be so when and where they are encountered ‘out of place’ – the issue of just what is in and what is out of place, seems to be a matter of variable opinion, both between cultures and within those cultures. This art project, which has its first public manifestation, Radio Animal in June 2009, explores specific perceptions and limits of tolerance and ‘animal infringement’ in the city of Lancaster and its surroundings. During our research we’ve observed territorial ambivalence and contradictory vested interests in relation to a wide range of species. Most significant to us is this mixture of responses, the paradoxical nature of human attitudes towards agents of ‘the wild’ and the implicit cohesion-in-tension of the human/nature paradigm.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Departments: Fine Arts
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2012 14:57
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2019 14:07
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1312

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