"The Flukishness of Being Related": Biosemiotics, Naturecultures, and Irony in the Art of Nina Katchadourian
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This thesis contends that Nina Katchadourian's oeuvre can be read as subtly breaking down problematic assumptions about nature in Western thought. The second chapter draws on biosemiotics, which redefines life as semiosis, and trans-corporeality, which reconceptualizes the human body as inseparable from the environment, to show how Katchadourian's art routinely calls attention to non-human animal and material agencies. The third chapter demonstrates how Katchadourian's work implicitly reinforces Donna Haraway's idea of naturecultures, which contends that nature and culture are mutually implicated and inextricably intertwined, through a close reading of two of Katchadourian's pieces, Natural Crossdressing and Mended Spiderwebs #19 (Laundry Line). The final chapter compares the use of irony in two pieces that comment on Western animal classification--Chloe, by Katchadourian, and Scala Naturae, by Mark Dion--contending that Katchadourian's piece demonstrates what Bronislaw Szerszynski terms an "ironic ecology."