Small Room with Animals and Humans at MARS brings together local and international visual and performing artists, architects, philosophers, writers and scientists interested in exploring questions of biodiversity, sustainability and the aesthetic and ethical engagement with animals and with each other.

The animal realm is so often opposed to the human realm. This exhibition asks the audience to rethink this opposition. It explores a range of questions. How can we bring about a new regard for all living beings and the various and diverse manifestations of life that inhabit the earth? What are the distinctions between animals and humans and what happens when those distinctions are blurred? What are the possibilities for giving new representations to animals who have been the subject of art since pre-historic times? Given the environmental challenges, how can we sustain biological diversity when the earth itself now seems to have only “small room” for living. And finally, in the wider community, who is inclusively creating hospitality in their own ‘small rooms’ for animals and humans, and what do these spaces look like? Throughout the duration of this exhibition and its related performances, talks and events, we will explore these questions from a variety of perspectives.

Participating artists include: Sam Burke and Domenico de Clario, Xiao Yu Bai, Erin Tappe, Grant Cowan, John Scurry, Martin King, Geoffrey Ricardo, Jessica Emily-Price, Lotte and Toots, Kerrie Poliness, David Shea and Lateral Movement, Alexis Beckett, Mark Minchinton, Georgia Anson, Veronica Kent, Gregory Burgess, Meg Williams, Lisa Roet, Janno, Lin Onus and The Donkey’s Tail.

Small Room with Animals and Humans is part of The Centre for Ideas, VCA, symposia series “In Flesh and Blood: Animals in Art and Philosophy” led by philosophers including Peter Singer (3 April), Raimond Gaita (24 April) and Andrew Benjamin (11 May), exploring the philosophical limits between animals and humans. See http://vca.unimelb.edu.au/cfi

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