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FACT puts animal voices centre stage

FACT’s delayed 2020 season dedicated to The Living Planet has kicked off in earnest with the launch of its new exhibition And Say the Animal Responded?

The free show, being staged in the Wood Street venue’s ground and first-floor galleries, was due to open on March 20 – until the Coronavirus lockdown saw the art centre’s doors close.

It will now run until December 13.

The Living Planet’s programme hopes to reflect mankind's impact on the natural world and its inhabitants. FACT will collaborate with artists working at the cutting edge of film, art and creative technology to explore pressing environmental and ecological issues.

And Say the Animal Responded? is curated by FACT’s new director and chief executive Nicola Triscott and considers what we could learn if we listened to what the animal kingdom had to say to us.

The show brings together the work of six international artists - Ariel Guzik (Mexico), Amalia Pica (Argentina/UK) with Rafael Ortega (Mexico), Kuai Shen (Ecuador), Demelza Kooij (Netherlands/UK - Liverpool) and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (UK) - presenting visitors with face-to-face encounters with the sounds and behaviours of animals from around the world.

Above: gallery of images from the new exhibition

Top: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg's The Substitute

A colony of leafcutter ants turn DJ in Ecuadorian artist and ant scholar Kuai Shen's living artwork Oh!m1gas, a reactive sound installation in which the ants control the movement of two turntables.

Video and sound installations allow visitors to immerse themselves in animals’ sonic lives, from an ocean choir of whales and dolphins recorded by hydrophone to the quiet interactions between wolves captured by drone camera and a natural dawn chorus which is taken over by artificial birds.

Meanwhile Ginsberg’s The Substitute is a digital artificial intelligence resurrection of the recently extinct northern white rhino.

Nicola Triscott said: “At a time when we need to rethink our relationship with the planet, its timely to consider the nature and rights of animals.

“The exhibition brings visitors into close encounters with ‘non-human’ animal intelligence and communication, prompting questions about whether humans are truly distinct from other animals and our responsibilities towards them.”

And Say the Animal Responded? is at FACT until December 13 and is free.

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