Alpha #4 is part of a continuing project to investigate and retrace a drawing experiment. Hunched over a desk, studying publications gathered from the ‘withdrawn’ stock of libraries, the artist/researcher delves into the history of comparative psychology. The aim is to unearth the records of one particular test subject, a female chimpanzee named Alpha, born in the 1930s. During her life in captivity Alpha developed a drawing habit that became the topic of experiment, written up and published in 1951.
In this retrieval project, traces of Alpha including scientific texts, photographs, charts, diagrams and, strangest of all, reproductions of the marks drawn by the animal herself, are brought to light and re-examined. Alpha becomes a figure with which to investigate the liminal status, instrumental value and captive existence of generations of laboratory animals, bred and raised to serve as surrogates in the quest for human self-knowledge. The act of retracing Alpha’s marks becomes an obsessive labour of biography.
|Additional Information:||This was a funded art residency for the month of September 2012, at MEANTIME project space. MEANTIME is supported by the following organisations: Arts Council England; Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum; Cheltenham Borough Council; University of Gloucestershire.|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||drawing, animal, chimpanzee, comparative psychology|
|Schools:||School of Art, Design and Architecture > Creative Interdisciplinary Research Centre|
School of Art, Design and Architecture
|Date:||29 September 2012|
|Funders:||Arts Council England, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Cheltenham Borough Council, University of Gloucestershire|
|Event Title:||Alpha #4: scheme for a drawing experiment|
|Event Location:||MEANTIME, Cheltenham, UK|
|Event Dates:||1-29 September 2012|
|Deposited By:||Juliet Macdonald|
|Deposited On:||02 Jan 2013 10:54|
|Last Modified:||22 Apr 2013 13:51|
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