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Uncertainty in the City



An exhibition in which the artists Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson explore our complex feelings towards our ‘animal others’.


In 2007 Storey Gallery commissioned the artist team Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson to develop a project investigating the various and complex relationships between human and non-human animals in shared and contested spaces.

Working primarily in the city of Lancaster and the surrounding area, with a variety of individuals, businesses and organisations, the artists burrowed around the ever-shifting margins of tolerance, gathering anecdotes and stories of human/animal cohabitation, encroachment and symbiotic partnerships. In addition, they toured around the UK with a mobile radio unit, visiting people’s homes, country fairs, and town centres, documenting the multiplicity of people’s feelings towards animals-in-proximity. The conversations were recorded and aired live on Radio Animal, an online radio station created by Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson, dedicated to their discourse around human/animal relations. 

For millennia, humans have been making divisions between themselves and other animals. By building settlements, towns and cities, they created shelter and insulation from wild animals. However, animals have always been attracted to concentrations of human population because of the opportunities these provide for habitat and food. For some humans, the presence of these creatures – pigeons, starlings, rats, mice, foxes, and all manner of insects - constitutes a threat, a kind of leakage. It highlights the fragility of our insulation from the ‘wild’, its unpredictability, and the seeming chaos of ‘nature’.

The exhibition Uncertainty in the City: Pests, Pets, and Prey explores this animal infringement through the use of sound, sculpture, text, video, and photography. It builds a picture of human ambivalence towards animals – of tolerance and intolerance, of fear and loathing, of affection, conflict, and admiration - and at the same time it explores more broadly our own duplicity in relation to ideas of the ‘other’.

Uncertainty in the City: Pests, Pets, and Prey will be accompanied by three extended Talks on Art events. These Talks on Art will take place on the following Saturday afternoons and will explore a different theme within the context of the exhibition:

Sat 16 October - Animals in proximity and the broken skin: mice, rats, moles, bats and bugs
Sat 30 October - The wild and the cultivated and schisms in paradise-imaging: raptors, pigeons, the real and the fancied
Sat 13 November - The desirable neighbour and the threat of the new: red squirrel, grey squirrel and Pandora’s box

All 2pm - 4:30pm


This project resulted in the first Storey Gallery publication.


Dates: 21 September – 27 November 2010