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Flat Daddy

Hirst at r/site of 'work'
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Beauty in the Mind of Someone Living (1992)

This tradition in conceptual art seems to have begun with Rober Robert Rauschenberg:
Robert Rauchenberg, Monogram (1955-59)


Rober Rauschenberg, Canyon (1959)

Tar and Feathers
Mark Dion, Tar and Feathers (1961)

Herman Nitsch, Aktion (1964)

How To Expain Pictures to A Dead Hare

Joseph Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965)

The Ballad of Trotsky

Maurizio Cattelan, Novicento (1997)



John Isaacs, Other people’s Lives (scapegoat) (2003)

John Isaacs, Untitled (Monkey) (1995)

Maurizio Cattelan, Bidibidobidoboo (1996):

Note: John Isaacs uses areoplastic, not taxadermy.


The experience of looking at the same thing from a different angle, and seeing an entirely different image, works as a useful metaphor for the experience that many people have when engaging with the relationship between human and animal. If an image appears distorted from one angle, but clear and distinct from another, it is said to be “anamorphic”.

As opposed to conversion, or metamorphosis, which occurs within a single body, anamorphosis requires the observer to change before the transformation in the other becomes perceptible.

This example, unlike Holbein, does not require an actual movement of the body, but rather a transition within the eyes:

One of the things that frustrates me about recent cinematographic efforts currently used to advocate for animals is that they fail to fully anticipate the hyper-critical, already well practiced defenses that non-sympathizers are likely to have at their disposal in today’s age of relentless commercial and political media bombardment. Animal advocacy  films tend to employ a whole host of rhetorical devises and dramaturgical effects, such as voice-over, labeling, music, etc. These layers of argument, though well meaning, do a disservice to our movement because they provide easy and ample material for constructing the types of abstractions that allow people to keep their emotional distance from the visual and auditory portrayals of the daily happenings many viewers have likely never witnessed before.

I found a montage of such footage (for advocates to both use and improve) with as little mediation as possible. It’s seven minutes and forty-two seconds long, a time signature which encodes backward (like Hamlet’s crab) the all encompassing temporality that aptly describes the relative frequency with which the violent events portrayed in the sequence occur in today’s world:

Another piece I found, in a kind of parody of hyper-mediated rhetoric, takes this layering to a new extreme via a disorienting use of superimposition: Footage taken of over a 1939 animated version of “The Ugly Duckling.”