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Animal ethics and contemporary art: an exploration of the intersections between ethics and aesthetics, humans and animals, human and animal injustices

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Lipeng Jin
Publication date2016
Number of pages182
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This research provides artistic interventions into the question of institutionalised violence against animals. With a relational and holistic vision in mind, this artistic enquiry explores the intersections between ethics and aesthetics, humans and animals, human and animal injustices. It is dualistic and anthropocentric thinking that underlies both human and animal oppression. A Derridean approach invites us to think about the shared vulnerability among all beings through the presence of the animal other, calling our infinite responsibility towards the animal and dismantling entwined dualisms. With regard and respect, we are encouraged to appreciate the animal as a singular, specific, valuable being, rather than a predetermined, dualistic category.

Formally and conceptually informed by contemporary art addressing both human and animal oppression, this enquiry critically reflects on the invisibility of violence towards animals which contributes collective ignorance and indifference to animal suffering. Translating the testimony of animal’s plight into poetic representation, I propose three pieces of large-scale, mixed-media installation works, combining aesthetic elements such as paintings, feathers, fabrics, lights, spaces, and audience experiences to confront the viewer with this question. In so doing, I believe that the poetics of art has the potential of transforming public consciousness of thinking about animals in non-binary and non-instrumental terms.