In his 1998 book “My Name is Red,” Orhan Pamuk exclaimed that “dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” After microbes, dogs are the closest species to humans. We lament the lack of a shared language and think that if we could understand them, speak to them, listen to them, we could reach a superior natural harmony, but our relationship with dogs is defined by a deeper power binary.
Dogs are treated as companions, pets, guides, workers, members of the human society, and, for many, also as an oppressed class of beings to whom basic rights are denied. In this salon, we will talk about dogs as a way to discuss otherness in a largely anthropocentric and unbalanced world. Considering forms of symbiosis as well as dominance, we will explore how and if humans can engage in a deconstructive process and design a better existence for and with others.
Join a nuanced conversation in this MoMA R&D Salon hosted by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture & Design and Director of Research & Development at MoMA, with speakers (in alphabetical order):
Bénédicte Boisseron: an Associate Professor of Afroamerican & African Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question.
Jack Halberstam: a Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English at Columbia University. He is currently working on a book titled Wild Thing.
Alexandra Horowitz: a Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches seminars in canine cognition, creative nonfiction writing, and audio storytelling.
Will Rawls: a choreographer, performance artist, curator and writer. His work explores the relationship between dance and language through the prisms of blackness, abstraction, and opacity.
Henrik Werdelin: an entrepreneur, author and the co-founder of BARK, America’s fastest growing pet company which creates products and experiences that foster the health and happiness of dogs.
Young Woo: a real estate developer, founder and principal of Youngwoo & Associates. Young is currently designing a complex of dog friendly apartments in Chelsea, New York City.
The presentations are accompanied by a series of 1-minute videos cut specifically for Salon 35.
MoMA Research & Development provides information and critical tools to identify and explore new directions and opportunities for MoMA and the broader museum field. Learn more: http://momarnd.moma.org/salons/.
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The comments and opinions expressed in this video are those of the speakers alone, and do not represent the views of The Museum of Modern Art, its personnel, or any artist.
Image: “Man And Dog 1980” by Jamel Shabazz. Photo Courtesy of the Artist
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