Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
In this thesis, my photography deals with the long history of objectification of animals in Western culture and philosophy. Aristotle started this objectification because he considered animals were born for human consumption. Later, Descartes finalized this objectification by separating humans from animals. This objectification is still central to the global capitalist system, which consumes animals as an industrial product. Through presenting a documentary of dead or dying animal bodies with black and white photography, I challenge the legitimacy of using animals as products and present the injustice treatment of animal bodies under this objectification. Furthermore, this objectification allows humans to use the animal bodies as a product in industrial and cultural contexts without guilt, so I use photographs to explore the boundary between the human imagination of animals and real animals. The interaction between toy animals and real animals in my images shows how animals lose their voice in our human culture. I want to use my photography to critique a perspective of Anthropocentrism that was defined by Descartes’ distinction of animals. I think humans have placed themselves above animals under Descartes’ distinction, but they have also disconnected themselves from nature. My images become a window to resume the connection through a shared physical and psychological space. My audiences can understand the wildness of animals in this space. Finally, I will advance my project more in the future with a posthuman ideology that will strengthen this connection.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Pan, Gaoyuan, "From Disconnect to Connect: How to Critique the Objectification of Animals through My Photography" (2021). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 147.