Michelle Detorie lives in Goleta, CA where she edits Hex Presse and Womb. Her pamphlet about humans and animals and seabird rescue, How Hate Got Hand, was recently published by eohippus labs. She is currently working on a series of synesthetically coded visual poems that investigate the question of women and animals and whether or not they are real. She blogs at ovariessequins.blogspot.com.
“…I hope to uncover, on the one hand, the destructive consequences of certain ethical assumptions and, on the other hand, visions of human nature that might help us find less harmful ways of being human in the midst of nonhuman nature.”
-Anna Lisa Perterson, Being Human: Ethics, Environment, and Our Place in the World
“The large cat is like a spirit animal, a white tiger perhaps. The woman, a young Chinese student in the United States, figures that which is human, the universal, the generic. The "woman of color," a very paraticular, problematic, recent collective identity, resonates with local and global conversations. In this paintinig, she embodies the still oxymoronic simultaneous statuses of woman, "Third World" person, human, organism, communications technology, mathematician, writer, worker, engineer, scientist, spiritual guide, lover of the earth. This is the kind of "symbolic action" transnational feminisms have made legible, S/he is not finished.”
-Donna Harraway, from “The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inapproriate/d Others”
“But art is not simply the expression, recognition or celebration of an animal past, a pre-historical allegiance with the forces that make one; it is not memorialization, the confirmation of a shared past, but above all the transformation of the materials from the past into resources for the future, the sensations not available now but to be unleashed in the future on a people now ready to perceive and be affected by them.”
“This happens over and over again, but the heterografts work on dogs – close up to a dog torso with a perfectly square patch of foreign dog hair growing and thriving, its edges sharp as astroturf. ‘Why, why, why does this work on dogs but not women,’ frets the scientist who tortures out of necessity, not evil. It’s hard on him, finding places to bury all the faceless women, and the dogs’ incessant howling is driving him crazy.” -Dodie Bellamy, “Dogs without a Face,” Academonia
BEDIENT: Do you play with the image of mules in your poem because of Mules and Men, a title re-echoed, in a warped way, in the title Muse and Drudge?
MULLEN: Yes. Who are the mules and who are the men? If you think about black and white, then the black people are the mules and the white people are men. If you think about the black community, then the women are the mules and the men are the men. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the grandmother says the black woman is the mule of the world. I changed that to muse of the world.
-Harryette Mullen and Calvin Bedient, from “THE SOLO MYSTERIOSO BLUES: An Interview with Harryette Mullen” Callaloo 19.3 (1996) 651-669
Figure 13 Bjork in her infamous swan dress, designed by Marjan Pejoski
“Anthropornography is the depiction of non-humans as prostitute-animals who desire to be eaten. From this month’s Vanity Fair with a dead chicken in high heels, to the ‘Turkey Hooker,’ animals’ suffering is made into sexualized fun. With anthropornography the inequality of species conveys the inequality of gender; desire hides dominance. While vegetarians, vegans and animal activists are accused of anthropomorphizing animals—of projecting human qualities onto nonhuman animals—it seems that really it is meat eaters and anthropornographers who do this. Animal activists know that animals are like human beings because human beings are animals. ‘Animorphs,’ through its sympathetic magic theme, suggests this truth too.”
-Carol J. Adams, interview
“To suggest that specters perturb hegemonic structures of power assumes that they appear out of some ghostly volition from within immanent fissures in architectures of presence. The rubric of rendering suggests, by contrast, that capitalism is biopolitically invested in producing animal life as a spectral body.”
Nicole Shukin Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times
“But who are we? We’re changing. I’m on a plane and every now and then I hear a cat meow. Meowup. It’s like a drink. An invitation. And we’re someone that that makes a little hot. I’ll have to get up at some point and find the cat and say hello. It will be a warm exchange undoubtedly because no matter what we look like our affirmation of the cat’s adorableness will be a gateway to ungendered space of almost musical affection between larger mammals. That would be my utopian ideal for gender and I go there first in writing before I anticipate it in the world, but I discover it in the world as a feeling I’d like to relocate someplace else.”
Loved the art! There is a definite link between women and animals. I addressed this in a sonnet on Beauty and the Beast, which begins "I disliked children even as a child...Animals, on the other hand, were mild/And tractable."
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