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Publication: Uncertainty in the City

This book is the first publication by Storey Gallery. It was produced in collaboration with Green Box, Berlin. It is the result and documentation of the three-year project which we commissioned from artists Snaebjornsdottir/Wilson.

ISBN 978-3-941644-18-2

by Suzy Jones
Programme Manager
Storey Gallery

Toward late summer 2007 Sam and I were preparing for a much-needed short break in a very large and beautiful house on the south coast. Our newly purchased, very small, first home was something of a ‘project’. We needed time away from the plaster dust, rotting doors and strange smelling kitchen, to live in comfortable surroundings without the worry of a leaky roof. Simultaneously, the artists I was working with at the time, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson, were searching for suitable headquarters from which to begin their research for a project Storey Gallery had commissioned in August that year. I kindly offered our dilapidated, strangely smelling, and damp house... "Ideal!" replied Mark "Is it ok to bring our two dogs?" 

You might think that wouldn’t be an issue. For the past four months we had been living with fungus, so why would dogs in our house - especially during our absence - cause us any concern? But it was a big deal, aside from the fact Sam is allergic to dogs, we felt oddly paranoid about a lingering doggyness, which would somehow permeate the fabric of the house. The dogs seemed so big and animal like, they were an unfamiliar and an unusual addition to our home. In the end we decided it would be fine, and of course it had absolutely no impact on us whatsoever, but our initial reaction had unsettled us. Why had the presence of animals in our house made us feel so uncomfortable? I thought we liked animals. But what we actually liked were animals where we thought they should be, outside, in the wild .... in their place.

Our animal related dilemma marked the beginning of a three-year project by Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson, observing the variety of relationships humans develop with their non-human animal counterparts – particularly when those animals encroach on personal boundaries. The project, Uncertainty in the City, was commissioned by Storey Gallery, whilst the organisation was working offsite, during the refurbishment of their building. Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson’s cross-disciplinary approach and their sensitive involvement of various individuals mirrored the aims of the Gallery as it navigated a new era.

This publication is the result and documentation of the three-year project, from the initial conversations, to the Radio Animal road trip, and a gallery-based exhibition of new work in the newly refurbished Storey Gallery. With contributions from specialists in the field of animal studies, alongside an essay by the artists themselves, this book is a contribution to an ongoing conversation about a subject which affects us all.