An [Interrupted] Bestiary is an expanded publication1 project by Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca and collaborators.
It comprises an artist’s book, exhibition and the animated short film, Done Dying.
An [Interrupted] Bestiary was developed through a process of ‘thinking alongside’ the US-based performance company, Every house has a door, during their process of creating the performance, Broken Aquarium (2019-2022).
Broken Aquarium is one act of the company’s large-scale, multi-year project The Carnival of the Animals: a 14-movement work engaging the titles from Camille Saint-Saëns’s 1885 musical suite for children, but with a concentration on endangered and extinct underwater creatures.
Echoing the medieval bestiaries, the artist’s book element of An [Interrupted] Bestiary is structured as a series of quires and folios with writing and images dedicated to a series of endangered underwater creatures personified by the performers in the company’s work: The Eyelash Seaweed, The Lesser Electric Ray, The Red Pencil, The Devil’s Hole Pupfish.
Created in the period leading up to and following the death of Laura’s father, the outbreak and unfolding Covid 19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the growth of Black Lives Matter movement, An [Interrupted] Bestiary reflects on themes of bewilderment, vulnerability, extinction and grief and the complex entanglement of speciesism and racism.
The work haunts, ghosts and speculates within the creative process of Broken Aquarium – carrying traces of parts of the performance that no longer exist, summoning missing performers, materializing the imaginative work of the spectator and envisioning future alternative versions that may be yet to come.
1-With thanks to Tommaso Campagna and Andy Dockett for the term “expanded publication”
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