Not Quite Animal

by Patricia Piccinini (2008)

"Not Quite Animal (Transgenic Skull for The Young Family)" is a work that continues my exploration of the increasing permeability of a number of boundaries in the contemporary world. I am interested in the way that contemporary biotechnology and even philosophy erode the traditional boundaries between the artificial and the natural, as well as between species and even the basic distinctions between animal and human.

On one level, "Not Quite Animal (Transgenic Skull for The Young Family)" is an attempt to add bones to the flesh of the figurative silicone works. In this bronze sculpture I work back from the form of the existing sculpture "The Young Family" to produce an anatomically accurate representation of the creature's skull. The resulting cranium combines the skeletal traces of the same physiognomies that informed the original being, resulting in a form that, while definitely not human, is too close to human for comfort.

However, in choosing the venerable and heavily symbolic trope of the skull, the work is also self-consciously connecting to that history. The skull as a symbol of mortality and human vanity, has a particular resonance to my practice which in many ways presents these beings as essentially products of human hubris. There is a certain tragic quality to all of my creatures, which in many ways comes down to my feeling that, not matter how good our intentions, the results of our interventions into nature are unlikely to be what we expect. Human arrogance is that we could think that it might be otherwise, and my use of the skull gestures towards that hubris as much as it does towards the mortality of my creatures. In the "The Young Family", the being is presented as capable of autonomous reproduction, and as such at least potentially capable of self-determination. "Not Quite Animal (Transgenic Skull for The Young Family)" presents the other side of that autonomy; the inevitability of mortality.




Interview with The Condition Report by Patricia Piccinini and The Condition report

Just Because Something Is Bad, Doesn't Mean It Isn't Good by Basak Doga Temur

Patricia Piccinini interviewed by Jane Messenger by Jane Messenger

Speculative Fabulations for Technoculture's Generations by Donna Haraway

The Naturally Artificial World by Laura Fernandez Orgaz and Patricia Piccinini

Border Patrol by Stella Brennan

We Are Family: Patricia Piccinini at the 50th Biennale of Venice by Linda Michael

Patricia Piccinini's Offspring by Peter Hennessey

Fast forward: accelerated evolution by Rachel Kent

One Night Love by Nikos Papastergiadis

Autoerotic by Amanda Rowell

One Night Love by Linda Michael

Atmosphere by Juliana Engberg

Biopshere by Edward Colless

Patricia Piccinini: Ethical Aesthetics by Jacqueline Millner

Patricia Piccinini - Early Installations by Peter Hennessey

The NESS Project and the Birth of Truck Babies by Hiroo Yamagata

Some thoughts about Embryo by Patricia Piccinini

The Rookie by Patricia Piccinini

The Shadows Calling by Patricia Piccinini

Meditations on the continuum of vitality by Patricia Piccinini

Six observations about The Skywhale by Patricia Piccinini

Those Who Dream by Night by Patricia Piccinini

The Fitzroy Series by Patricia Piccinini

Eulogy by Patricia Piccinini

The Lovers by Patricia Piccinini

The Welcome Guest by Patricia Piccinini

The Observer by Patricia Piccinini

Aloft by Patricia Piccinini

Balasana by Patricia Piccinini

The Gathering by Patricia Piccinini

Perhaps the World is Fine Tonight by Patricia Piccinini

Bottom Feeder by Patricia Piccinini

Not Quite Animal by Patricia Piccinini

The Long Awaited by Patricia Piccinini

The Foundling by Patricia Piccinini

In Another Life by Patricia Piccinini

Big Mother by Patricia Piccinini

Bodyguard by Patricia Piccinini

Sandman by Patricia Piccinini

The Leather Landscape by Patricia Piccinini

The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini

Still Life With Stem Cells by Patricia Piccinini

Swell by Patricia Piccinini

The Breathing Room by Patricia Piccinini

Truck Babies by Patricia Piccinini