A dog is a machine for loving

In 2015 I wrote Zoopoetics, a work for chamber ensemble and tape. The term was first employed by Jacques Derrida in his 1997 text, The Animal that Therefore I am, referring casually to “[Franz] Kafka’s vast zoopoetics”. A subsequent definition of the term by Aaron Moe, in his 2014 book on the subject, calls zoopoetics “the process of discovering innovative breakthroughs in form through an attentiveness to another species' bodily poiesis.” This work, for solo piano and tape, is an expansion of these new aesthetic forms from my recent explorations, as well as an artistic response to Donna Haraway’s writing on dogs.

The Companion Species Manifesto “is about the implosion of nature and culture in the joint lives of dogs and people, who are bonded in ‘significant otherness.’ In all their historical complexity, Donna Haraway tells us, dogs matter. They are not just surrogates for theory, she says; they are not here just to think with. Neither are they just an alibi for other themes; dogs are fleshly material-semiotic presences in the body of techno-science. They are here to live with. Partners in the crime of human evolution, they are in the garden from the get-go, wily as Coyote.”

This piece is a portrait of four dogs in my life, as well as the origin story of the piece, as recounted by Stephane Ginsburgh. Excerpts from Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz, the director of the Dog Cognition Laboratory at Barnard College are also present in Part 1. This piece was commissioned with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

PREMIERE April 9, 2019. Stephane Ginsburgh, piano.
LOCATION Reid Hall, Paris
PERSONNEL Piano (with speaking part)
COMMISSIONER Stephane Ginsburgh, Canada Council for the Arts
TECHNOLOGY 2-channel audio, tape and click