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#TrainingYRHuman: Dogs, Modernity, and the Limits of the Human Ethical Imagination

ecoarttech’s talk will present the philosophical and experiential background of their artwork “#TrainingYRHuman.” Drawing on work in animal studies and on collaboration with our pack member Tuffy, we will explore the dog-training process in order to investigate dog and animal agency. Genetically close to their wolf ancestors, Akitas are sometimes described as “pre-modern” dogs who don’t fit in with contemporary society; as a result they present an opportunity to examine expectations of domesticated animal behavior, the contours of modern human-animal relationships, and the limits of the human imagination.

ecoarttech was founded by Cary Peppermint and Leila Nadir to explore environmental issues and convergent media and technologies from an interdisciplinary perspective, including art, digital studies, philosophy, literature, and ecocriticism. Leila earned her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University and is Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Wellesley College. She works as an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, and creative writer, traversing the fields of trans-American literature, critical/cultural theory, theories of modernity/modernism, and media studies. Cary is Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester. Through his post-disciplinary artistic practice, he explores the convergence of ecological, cultural, and digital networks. Some of ecoarttech’s most recent works include “Eclipse,” an internet-based work commissioned by Turbulence of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.; “Untitled Landscape #5,” an internet work commissioned for the Whitney Museum of American Art Sunrise/Sunset series; “Center for Wildness and the Everyday,” an interdisciplinary networked artwork created with faculty and students at the University of North Texas exploring the Trinity River Basin; and “Indeterminate Hikes,” an Android app that guides users through New York City’s Wilderness, which debuted at the Whitney Museum of American Art 2010 ISP exhibition.

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