Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art

Book Award Author
Ron Broglio, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University
Book Award Year

Broglio posited, “We live on the same earth as animals but inhabit different worlds. How can we meet across the divide of worlds?” In his book he answers this question using phenomenology and contemporary art as tools to better understand the encounters that exist between our world and the world of animals. This exploration enhances our ability as humans to recognize animals as beings.

Contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst, Marcus Coates, Carolee Schneemann, and Olly and Suzi, are instrumental to Broglio’s discussion on how animals are perceived as the Other by humans. These artists comment on and even attempt to break down the traditional gaze of humans upon animals. “Art provides material speculative negotiations at the edges of culture. It challenges culture to re-think the limits of what culture itself can mean,” Broglio continues, “In the case of artists working alongside animals, it is a leap into a nonhuman way of being.”