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Karen Bondarchuk: Kith and Kin

October 17 – November 15, 2013

Netzorg and Kerr Permanent Collection Gallery


Bondarchuk's work has had common thematic elements of animals and language for the past several years, examining linguistic and physiological connections between animals and humans. Language also plays a central role in the human-animal divide, often serving as the singular distinguishing trait that elevates "us" above "them." While scientific perspective on the nature and magnitude of animal consciousness is in flux, the most recent research suggests that animals are capable of higher order reasoning than previously understood or imagined. Novelist J.M. Coetzee, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, philosopher and bioethicist Peter Singer and animal science expert Temple Grandin, among others, have contributed to ongoing discussions around animal consciousness with each advocating a rethinking of our traditional separation of (hu)man and beast. From these varied perspectives, Karen has been inspired to explore the fraught boundary between human sentience and what we assume—or guess—to be the limits of animal reasoning power, which entails communicative abilities as well.