Slug, Vacuum Cleaner, Godwit and Serpula lacrymans Speak Out

Egocentrism and anthropocentrism run rampant on Facebook and Twitter. Humans think they are in charge, but in fact the roles are frequently reversed. A mosquito, for instance, managed to shut down the news in Taiwan by flying into the throat of a television news presenter; another mosquito gave away a Finnish car thief by gorging itself with his blood. In the average human mouth there are more than 7 billion bacteria. Isn’t it time to let them speak? In an effort to put human mastery of the world in perspective and to promote a more symbiotic relationship among humans, animals and things, artist Sjaak Langenberg, as part of the exhibition festival Yes Naturally, has invited 16 biologists, philosophers and authors to crawl into the skin of a godwit, a vacuum cleaner, Paulus Potter’s bull, a mosquito, a slug, the rhinovirus, the primordial plant species Welwitschia mirabilis and other creatures. Each writer crawls into the skin of a bacterium or plant on the Facebook and Twitter page of Fora & Fauna for two weeks and looks at the world, or comments on the news, from this unusual position.
The metamorphosis the writers undergo is part of a literary tradition: from Virginia Woolf, who writes from the point of view of a cocker spaniel in Flush, Rudy Kousbroek and Sarah Hart’s Wat en hoe in het kats (What and How in Cat) and Me Cheetah, the autobiography of the chimpanzee from the Tarzan films, to Our Horses in Egypt, in which Rosalind Belben describes the battlefield through the eyes of a horse.In contrast to the rigid attitude of behaviourists, who are not allowed to ascribe intentions or feelings to animals, biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal champions the zoocentric anthropomorphism inspired by the ground-breaking work of Japanese primatologists and Eastern traditions, in which the line between human and animal behaviour is much more easily crossed.
Fora & Fauna is conscious of the traditions and ethics, and like Yes Naturally is taking another step forward towards an inclusive view of life.


The writers:

Esther Gerritsen as Twoleavescannotdie, Ann Meskens as vacuum cleaner, Ike Kamphof as 2 rubber bunnies, Maria Barnas as dry rot, Vrouwkje Tuinman as slug, Bianca Stigter as spermatozoon, Tamar Stelling as cyborg bee, Paulien Cornelisse as yeast cell, Jannie Regnerus as godwit, Vincent Bijlo as rhinovirus, Bram Esser as snackpigeon, Patrick van Veen as chimpanzee, Atte Jongstra as buckling kipper, Matthijs van Boxsel as Potter’s Bull, Bart Knols as mosquito, Gerbrand Bakker as sheep.