Embracing Animals

Description: In this lecture / seminar the bio-art work of Kathy High “Embracing Animals” is presented through the lens of new media art and theory. The question of hospitality in contemporary bio-art is being raised through notions of care and its form. I show how High’s art project ‘‘Embracing Animals’’ challenges us to think about aesthetics of hospitality as far as the animal is concerned. I will argue that Kathy High’s work, when read through the lens of the concept of hospitality, provides us with an opportunity to interrogate what hosting the animal in art might be and the limits and limitations of such hosting in new media art, especially as related to new biotechnologies. My final part will be about cultural foundations of human-animal relation in new media art, using most recent examples from the EU policy papers on plants and Jain philosophy of non-harm. Readings and Materials:

1. Aristarkhova, Irina “Hosting the Animal in the Work of Kathy High,” in Institutional Critique to Hospitality: Bio Art Practice Now. A critical anthology, edited and with an introduction by Assimina Kaniari, Publications Grigori, 2016, downloadable at:
2. Kathy High website:
3. Derrida, Jacque “Hostipitality,” Angelaki, available at:
4. The Dignity of Living Beings with Regards to Plants: Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology, available at:
5. The Aesthetics of Care? The artistic, social and scientific implications of the use of biological/medical technologies for artistic purposes. SymbioticA: The Art and Science Collaborative Research Laboratory & The Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia. Available at:

Seminars' Instructors
Irina Aristarkhova

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