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The Non-Human Animal - Negotiating Bio-relations - exhibition at Uppsala Art Museum

The Non-Human Animal – Negotiating Bio-relations
September 28 – November 24, 2019

Rebecca Digby (Sweden), Lars Brunström (Sweden), Saara Ekström (Finland), Maureen Gruben (Canada, North West Territoriers), Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir (Iceland/Germany), Eva Klasson (Sweden), Lenore Malen (USA), Fredrik Strid (Sweden)

Curator: Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson, Uppsala Art Museum

Eight artists working internationally present sculptures, videos, installations and photographs which in a variety of ways seek to renegotiate the relationship between human beings and other species. The exhibition offers scope for play, empathy and the expression of animalistic emotions, alongside reflections on how the divide between human being and animal is in a constant state of flux. The cultural shift that is emerging in the wake of climate change, and which is already resulting in species extinction and enforced migration, is urging us to enter into genuine ecological interplay.

The project is being in run in association with Zennström professorship in climate change leadership at Uppsala university and researchers specialising in animal studies and biodiversity, along with other participants at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. It is followed by a series of activities.

This exhibition, The Non-Human Animal – Negotiating Bio-Relations, explores the boundaries between the human animal and the non-human animal, how these positions are shifted in natural sciences and philosophy. The dominant anthropocentric world view is being increasingly challenged. One contributing factor is the knowledge that the genetic code of different species is remarkably similar, whereas the conditions for life are crucially different. What separates the emotional and communicative expressions of primates and human beings, and is it possible to speak of intelligence in biological life forms other than our own?

The concept of the anthropocene denotes a geological era in which the human hunger for profit and civilisation have dramatically altered conditions for our climate and the earth’s geological and cological composition. We are living in an unsustainable system, with conflicting descriptions of reality. Or, in the words of Bruno Latour: “In practice, we are all counter-revolutionaries, trying to minimise the consequences of a revolution that has taken place without us, against us, and, at the same time, through us.” (Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climate Regime, 2017) The exhibition The Non-Human Animal – Negotiating Bio-Relations can be seen as a re-negotiation of the roles given to us in cultural history, in the search for new forms of coexistence between humans and other species. The eight participating artists work in the northern hemisphere, in the Nordic countries and North America, including the Arctic. Using primarily three-dimensional art and moving images, they offer various aesthetic and conceptual approaches  to the theme. The exhibition is also part of a larger framework of discussions, dialogues and events created in collaboration with Keri Facer, Zennström professor of Climate Change Leadership at Uppsala University, and a group of researchers in Animal Studies and Biodiversity at Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The problem area is complex, and the best way to approach the concept of The Non-Human Animal is perhaps through performative examination, trying out sensual perspectives such as play, aggression and empathy in dialogue with the cultural taboos that surround us. Here, it also becomes clear that the animal-human boundary also runs through ourselves, accompanied by ethical principles and norms.


Saturday September 28

14.00–15.00 Opening: The Non-Human Animal – Negotiating Bio-relations.
Inauguration Speeches: Ian Snowball, Professor in Quaternary Geology and Director of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. Presentations of the artists.

15.00–15.30 Performance: Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir, Borderline Human – Milk River Valley

Sunday September 29, 13.00–16.30
Bio-relations in Uppsala. Researchers walks, mass public art making and talks.

Thursday, October 3, 18.00–19.00
Migrants or Co-Habitors? – Animals in the Era of Climate Change
Panel talk: Fredrik Strid, Erika von Essen, Håkan Tunón, Marie Kvarnström

Thursday, October 17, 18.00–19.00
Learning from Animism – To visualise Significant Otherness. Animals as choreographers, sole mates or decorative props? Panel talk: Jacob Bull, Rebecca Digby, Lars Brunström och Terje Østigård.

Sunday, November 10, 14.00–15.00
Curators guided tour: Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson, Uppsala Art Museum

Saturday November 23
Council of beings, River Fyris with Earth Rights activist Pella Thiel.
Send an e-mail to for further information and participation.

For further information, please contact:

Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson, Curator Uppsala Art Museum, +46 18 727 24 84


  • Konst, antikviteter, auktioner

Uppsala konstmuseum är ett av Uppsala kommuns museer och har sina lokaler i Uppsala slott sedan 1995. På museets tre utställningsplan visas svensk och internationell samtida och historisk konst och konst ur samlingarna. Museibutik och kafé. Fri entré.


Eva Björkman

Presskontakt Kommunikatör / pressansvarig Uppsala konstmuseum 018-727 24 80

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