Carolee Schneemann Meat Joy , 1964
Photo : Al Giese © Carolee Schneemann, courtesy of the Estate of Carolee Schneemann, Galerie Lelong & Co., Hales Gallery & P•P•O•W, New York

Carolee ­Schneemann: Posthumanist Pioneer

Giovanni Aloi
“I’m blessed with muse-cats who have inspired and guided my work. The ­lessons include: improvisation in space with found materials; risk and self-confidence linked in physical action; unrestrained tenderness and demonstrative love and affection; they have instructed as to the transitions between visible and invisible; they have clarified the motion between domestic worlds and a scale of landscape inaccessible to humans; they have heightened my concentration, patience; taught me the ability to sit in total stillness and react instantaneously; they have enlarged and shifted my scale of perceptions, combined charming wit with psychological welfare and absorb anxiety and turn it into purring contentment; they have clarified the presence and power of the para-normal and have expressed inspired joyful devotion.” 1 1 - Carolee Schneemann, excerpt from unpublished manuscript, May 1981, in Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, “‘The Cat Is My Medium’: Notes on the Writing and Art of Carolee Schneemann,” Art Journal Open (July 29, 2015), — Carolee Schneemann

“Anyone who likes cats or dogs is a fool,” wrote Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus2 2 - Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (London: Continuum, 2004), 265. 294. [En italique dans le texte original]. In the view of these poststructuralist prophets, pets are the animals of psychoanalysis. They draw us “into a narcissistic contemplation” and are Oedipal in essence.3 3 - Ibid. But I like to think that Carolee Schneemann’s work could have changed Deleuze and Guattari’s minds.

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This article also appears in the issue 96 - Conflict

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