I wanted to focus on the space between sheep and humans – a paradoxically domestic space where lives and matter are bound-up, entangled and in a constant flow of becoming. I approached this in a non-prescriptive and playful way, using only natural materials, film and sound.
I volunteer as a ‘lookerer’, a kind of assistant shepherd, working with sheep on Downland sites around the edges of Brighton and Hove. Here, sheep graze on a number of important conservation and ancient chalklands as part of a rewilding project. I utilize these and other similar paradoxical spaces as residencies – places for encounter and alliance with nonhumans and ecologies. I ease myself into the environment, in close proximity to the flock – a transformative process of undoing and shape-shifting; a kind of shedding of humanness.
I use ‘becoming-animal’ as a starting point from which to jump in other directions and ways of thinking. This is a concept devised by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari*, which offers a mode of escape from binary thinking. It is always in flight; it destabilises and dislodges, allowing for unexpected connections and relations to emerge and to open up new possibilities and perceptions.Karen Piddington, SHEEPOLOGY, September 2022
Materials: Film and sound projection. Wool, clay, grass, cordyline leaves, papier
Karen Piddington is a Brighton based artist and PhD researcher at Chelsea College of Art (UAL). Her practice-based approach uses sound, film, and sculpture as a form of speculative enquiry into notions of ‘becoming-animal’ and animality. Karen’s work focuses on the paradoxical spaces inhabited by molluscs and insects, and explores how the artwork might enable a reimagining of new multispecies relationships to create a greater awareness of the ecological importance of these animals.
Portfolio and Contact: https://www.karenpiddington.co.uk
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