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Calls For Papers


Type: Calls For Papers [View all]
Posted by: Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture
Deadline: Wed, August 15th, 2018


Over the past two decades, contemporary art has, surprisingly, developed a substantial engagement with the methodologies and aesthetics of natural history. From the insistent presence of taxidermy in the gallery space, the ongoing curation of wunderkammers, scientific cabinets, and the resurgence of botanical herbaria, to the ubiquitous presence of wet specimens, the gallery space has offered many opportunities to re-think our complex and often contradictory relationship with nature. We are currently traversing a cultural period in which the pillars of western civilization are crumbling fast: natural history has been one of the most defining disciplines in the formation of western civilization, for not only has it provided a detailed and rationalized classification of the living world around us, but it has also played important and most often subtle normative roles in defining humanity, in marking the line that separates the human from the animal, in assessing humanity’s superiority over nature, and even in establishing race and gender hierarchies. Since we have colonized, contaminated, cross-bred, domesticated, and re-landscaped to such scale that no essential and purist idea of nature can be upheld, and the foundations of our very existence as human-animals amongst other animals are now being radically questioned.

Over two distinct but related issues, Antennae will explore the work artists, historians, naturalists, and philosophers who critically engage with the discourses of art and science driven by a desire to better comprehend the roles both play in defining new conceptions of the world we live in. 

The first instalment of this project, titled ‘Making Nature’ originates from an exhibition of the same name held at Wellcome Collection in London (December 2016 – May 2017) curated by Honor Beddard who will also be co-editor of this issue. Organised around four themes – ‘Ordering’, ‘Displaying’, ‘Observing’ and ‘Making’ – the exhibition examined how we have sought and understood scientific explanation for the similarities and differences we perceive between human and non-human animals. It explored the origins of taxonomy and its contemporary legacy. It examined how natural history museums, zoos and wildlife documentaries create representations of nature that frame our ideas about other animals. Like taxonomy, they arrange the natural world, whether through realistic displays of preserved specimens, the dramatic staging of living animals or the careful editing of film footage. 
The second instalment, titled ‘Post-Nature’, will more substantially focus on contemporary artists’ whose practice centres around the ways in which contemporary artists have been using the epistemic tools of natural history to map and expose the unnaturalness of nature, its constructed essence, and its representational strategies.


Topics considered include, but are not limited to:

Cabinets of curiosities and aesthetics of truth
The influence of private collectors
Colonialism and natural history
Materiality and natural history
Botanical Gardens
Politics of Conservation
Film and Photography in Natural History (including natural history and wildlife documentaries) 
Wet specimens
Curating natural history
Natural history, race, and gender
Taxonomy and specimens
Natural history illustration 
Amateur naturalists 
Natural history societies and nature as a leisure pursuit

Academic essays = length 6000-10000 words
Artists’ portfolio = 5/6 images along with 1000 words max statement/commentary
Interviews = maximum length 8000 words
Fiction = maximum length 8000 words
Roundtable discussions = 5000 words

Abstracts: 15th of August 2018 (Please submit a 350 words abstract along with a CV and one or two images)
Selection process is finalized and feedback sent by: 15th of September
Submissions of final pieces: 1st of February 2019
Please email any questions to: Giovanni Aloi: Editor in Chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture (


Posted on Thu, June 28th, 2018
Expires on Wed, August 15th, 2018

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