• MA in Visual & Critical Studies

  • Henry Witecki

  • Marisa Pushee - CCA Graduate Thesis Events

    Marisa Pushee


    Thesis Abstract

    This project investigates the role of anthropocentrism in visual representations of nonhuman animals with attention to the work of contemporary German photographer Britta Jaschinski, illustrator Sue Coe and the 1978 October cover of National Geographic featuring a photograph of Koko, the gorilla. Recognition of the otherness of nonhuman animals, the idea that they are not less than human but entities for whom we have no access to a unified “truth,” becomes crucial in constructing interspecies relations based on accountability. Within this postmodern and posthuman framework, unlearning usurps systemization. I explore how select images, with attention to the role of agency, both critique our relationships with nonhuman animals and remain complicit in upholding the binaries that we rely on in order to determine what it means to be human. Accounting for the nonhuman animal’s mode of being as something intangible to the human becomes critical in order for us, human animals, to embrace the unknown and enter into relationships founded on mutual respect with other species.