The practice of taxidermy traditionally served as a means of remembering. Taxidermied animals were displayed as trophies to memorialize human-animal encounters and, in particular, the successful slaying of the beast. More recently, the art of taxidermy has been used to investigate the matter of memory itself, and the different ways that traumatic wounds are written upon or stored within flesh and fur. This is especially true of the taxidermied horses created by Belgian artist, Berlinde de Bruyckere, and visible in her collaboration with the author, J.M. Coetzee. My talk will focus on their collaboration entitled, “We Are All Flesh,” and the questions they raise about creaturely memory, forgetting and healing, evoked through their evocative interplay of words and skins.
Kari Weil is Professor of Letters at Wesleyan University. She has authored several books and essays on androgyny, literary representations of gender, animal otherness and human-animal relations. Her current book project, Horses and their Humans in Nineteenth-Century France: Mobility, Magnetism, Meat, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago.
❖ Thursday, November 8th, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Schapiro Hall, 141