Freeroaming | 2020

Moving to Split, I was taken aback by the number of free roaming
cats I encountered on the streets. Some were sick, some old, some survived, and some died, some fed, some were cuddled. I wondered how many I could adopt
without my partner moving out.

Freeroaming works presented at the Office for free roaming cats exhibition were created during a year-long artistic research at the Master Performing Public Space at the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg, the Netherlands, titled Nonhuman animal agency: human and free roaming cats coexistence in Spinut neighbourhood in Split through an interdisciplinary artistic practice. This research is a continuation of my long-standing occupation and artistic practice focused on the relationship between non-humans and people, in which I question through various artistic media and disciplines, concepts such as: empathy, affect, trust, coexistence, others, otherness, anthropocene and symbiocene. In cooperation with local residents, colleagues, professors, random passersby and cats, a rich opus of material embodied in the media of video, manifesto and collection of conversations has developed.

This research critically questioned concepts of public space and its contemporary deviation due to neoliberal manipulation, and the right to participate in that space available to non-human participants or cats in the research. The target group is a community of free roaming cats living in the area of Spinut in Split who have chosen for their living space exactly that area, this area next to the trash containers, in the bushes, that part of the city. In this way, they act and show their agency.

My motivation for the research was to help these cats however help comes in a variety of ways. Therefore, it was not possible to house all cats, nor did they want to! However, through the method of affecting and raising awareness of our own emotions towards those non-humans we care for, it is important to stimulate emotions for those who are on the street, who we think are less important. As the philosopher and author Donna Haraway writes, we live “with the world”; and Others are acquaintances of ours, friends, family, living with us. They exist. Isn’t that enough?

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