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still, Path Infinitum. Orangutan, Paris, France (Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes)

still, Path Infinitum. Beaver, Chicago and Polar Bear, Memphis

locations:

Giraffe: Bronx, NYC
Alligator: Amsterdam
, Netherlands
Elephants: Syracuse, NY; Oklahoma City, OK; Greenville, S.C.
Dragonfish: Bronx, NYC
Polar bear pacing: Brookfield, IL
Pony ride: chicago street fair
Amur Langur: Bronx, NY
Tiger: Chicago
Grass: Victor, Idaho
Elephant circling: Portland, OR
Anana, polar bear swimming circles: Chicago
Elephant Skin: Syracuse, NY
Jaguar: Chicago
Vulture- amputated right wing: Detroit, MI
Macaw: Central Park, NYC
Polar Bear scratching: Memphis, TN
Beaver: Chicago
Elephants:  Peru, IN; Indianapolis, IN; Topeka, KS
Polar bear with iceberg: Louisville, KY
Performing Elephants and Camels: Wauwatosa, WI
Orangutan: Paris, France (Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes)
Tiger in snow: Brookfield, IL
Glass tank: Brookfield, IL

Bird-waterfall: Central Park
Bats: Bronx NYC
Lion: Chicago
Distant mountains: Northern Utah
Pygymy Hippopotomus: Illinois
Elephants: Tulsa, OK; St. Louis, MO; Milwaukee, WI; Coal Valley, IL; Little Rock, AK; Berlin, Germany
Elephant: San Andreas, CA
Dolphins: Brookfield, IL
Swan: Hallstatt, Vienna
Alligator: Paris, France
Manatee: Berlin, Germany
rain: Indianapolis, IN
Snow leopard: Brookfield, IL
Water: Santa Monica, CA
Gorilla: Miami, FLA
Stingray: Florida
Wolf: Detroit, MI
Seal: Toledo, OH
Silverback Gorilla: Chicago

 

 

Path Infinitum

Path Infinitum, 2017 (24 min, color video) is a large-scale video that will be installed at The Photography Show presented by AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers) in its new location this year at Pier 94 in New York. The video will be projected across the entire 16x22 foot glass entrance, ongoing for the duration of the event. 

This installation is part of the Special Exhibitions at AIPAD:
March 29 - April 2, 2017
Pier 94
711 12th Ave at 54th St
New York City

Path Infinitum explores the complexities and contradictions of keeping wild animals in captivity and raises questions about what it means to participate as a spectator. Kept on display in the center of cities, outside of their natural habitats, animals can be seen pacing, circling, and rocking to cope with the stress of living in an unnatural environment. Signaling power imbalance and consumption disguised as curiosity, Path Infinitum displays a range of captive animals exhibiting abnormal behaviors, along with moments of awareness of spectators reflected in the glass that divides the species. The impulse to connect with or observe wild animals is surely rooted in admiration and fascination, but yields a feast of contradiction.  

I’ve been able to consider the architecture of the Pier’s glass entry, engage with those that enter, and offer an expansive gesture to anyone outside. Aware of the tremendous need to protect wild places and those that live there, I hope this project contributes to the idea that sentient beings are not meant for spectacle in any form; instead we aim to walk a path that is progressive and humane.

Many species right now are extremely vulnerable due to human consumption as well as habitat loss caused by climate change. Is captivity an answer to the imminent loss? Or can threatened species survive and be effectively protected so that they live and thrive in their natural habitats? Experts agree that likely no enclosure is sufficient for the widest-ranging animals. Do we take animals for granted if we are able to see them so easily in captivity, and when they exhibit unnatural behaviors in captivity (as is most often the case), do we accept this as normal? Existing models of captivity and display are ultimately not meant to serve the animals but rather the humans that watch them. There are powerful myths surrounding animals, and these nostalgic or sacred connections seem to be driving humans to devour them to their very disappearance. 

Path Infinitum has grown out of my ongoing project, Thirty Times a Minute, which explores elephants in captivity. I’ve installed over seventy public video projections of Thirty Times a Minute (12 min, color, sound) since 2014 in Chicago, Portland, Detroit, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Upper Peninsula Michigan, New York, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. In the video dozens of captive elephants are caught in unending cycles of movement, bearing the weight of an unnatural existence in their small enclosures. Traveling to over sixty zoos in the US and Europe, I filmed animals exhibiting what biologists refer to as stereotypy, a behavior only seen in captive animals, which includes rhythmic rocking, swaying, head bobbing, stepping back and forth and pacing. Path Infinitum looks at elephants along with many other animals exhibiting stereotypy or despondence due to lack of adequate mental stimulation or an inability to engage in natural activities.