Accepted Paper:

How to not be a stuffed animal: turning museums of natural history upside down, multispecies-wise  


Susanne Schmitt
Laurie Young

Paper short abstract:

Museums of Natural History are populated with dead animal bodies: taxidermy specimens used to evoke lively connections. As a dancer and an ethnographer, we create immersive audio walks that revive those species as multi species commons by exploring its potential for new forms of conviviality.

Paper long abstract:

What do Natural History Museums and Zoological Collections look and feel like if we de-center Human experience, and explore alternative ways of sensing and making sense of them? How can we rebuild museums by activating them from a multi species perspective?

In our arts and science project "How to Not be a Stuffed Animal", a mixed team puts multispecies ethnography, choreography, situationist practice and much more to use to create immersive audiowalks for visitors that help them think museums as spaces not only for humans. The audio walks are choreographic scores which invite the visitor to experience the museum space by embodying material artifacts.

In our contribution, we offer samples of those currently emerging walks as creative forms of living together by showing what a shift of horizon, sensorium, and narration can do to re-configure the museum as a dwelling site in a more inclusive sense.

Panel Mat04
Shared spaces: perspectives on animal architecture