Artist's Statement

Artist's Statement

“Reality discloses itself to us only in the spirit’s more objective reconstructions of what the senses present to us” (Karsten Harries).

In creating images of animals, I have little interest in what the animal looks like; in the animal merely as observed object. Rather my interest is in the deeper reality of what the animal might possibly be.

Through these images, I am interested in exploring questions: How do I feel in relation to this animal? Can I relate to this animal as an individual rather than as a mere specimen of species? And, more interestingly, what could be the experience of being this animal?

To borrow: 'The wolf is not fundamentally a characteristic, or a certain number of characteristics: it is a wolfing' (Deleuze and Guattari).

In a world obsessed with 'fact' (itself a cultural artifact), documentation and a superficially observed reality, the animal has become enveloped in a false human-animal dichotomy and then further reduced to an object - a set of describable characteristics.

As a result, our thinking has become narrow, superficial and objectifying - the description of physical and behavioral characteristics in turgid language and so-called 'factual' imagery. We delude ourselves that, in merely observing and describing, we know and understand.

My aim is to use images – and texts - to break out of this superficial reductionism.

True knowledge comes not from mere observation but from thinking and feeling. We can try to re-define our view of, and relationship with, animals. By including the emotional, the sensuous, the mystical, the intellectual, we can construct a much richer reality about animals than can be had through the merely observational and utilitarian.

Ultimately, my interest is in exploring how images can affect cultural perceptions of animals. I would like to contribute to undermining the anthropocentric ‘human vs animal’ culture in which we live, focusing discussion instead on our deeper relationship with these 'unlike others'.

I believe that our relationship with those that are unlike us define what we are as human beings. It is how we define ourselves in relation to these others that will ultimately determine whether we continue to share this world with them or whether we will sweep them aside to make way for our ever-growing, useless consumption.

Joe Zammit-Lucia