ANIMAL TOUCH Eva Koťátková & Hana Janečková (eds.)

Within the Czech context this publication represents a unique project with 14 contributions, focusing on urgent problems of our everyday interactions with the non-human world: relationships between animals, nature and people, with a focus on themes of work, emotions and ecology.

Our imagination of the more-than-human world is very often deformed by an anthropocentric perspective that sees nature as a freely accessible subject of value extraction. The bars of a cage and the glass of an aquarium allow us a safe and comfortable view of the lives of animals, constrained by limited space and the rules of surveillance.

Animal Touch explores some of the most important critiques of human-animal relations – centring questions of labour – with an emphasis on an equitable distribution of resources, symbiotic relations and the sentience of the more-than-human world. With thirteen newly commissioned contributions, this interdisciplinary publication shows the ways that activist, literary, scientific, feminist, sociological and artistic strands of work meet, sharing common concerns and challenges. New possibilities of relating to the more-than-human world are explored through environmental issues and animal rights – but also through consumption, the body, language and desire. Through these encounters, this book aims to advance our thinking and imagination about the ways we can establish more ecological and equitable relations with nature in its broadest sense.

We would like to thank all the artists, animals and authors of texts who have inspired the creation of this book and contributed to its content. Our thanks go to Linda and Daniela Dostálková for the artistic conception of the book, the Institute of Anxiety and the Artmap publisher, in particular Ida Tausch for managing the project production, Jiří Novák for his work on the finalisation of the texts, and Tomáš Hrůza for the trust he has placed in the whole project up to the realisation phase. We thank all who have contributed to the translations and corrections of the English texts and whom we have had the opportunity to consult thereon, in particular John Hill for his support throughout the project. Special thanks are due to Tereza Vandrovcová for her long-term work on improving the situation of animals, and to Lucia Pietrorusci for her engagement in the project and the inspiration she provided in combining the spheres of theory, activism and art. Last but not least we would like to thank all those who within their own capacities or expertise are involved with the situation of animals – not as objects of examination but as equal inhabitants of this world, who need allies. In particular we would like to thank Romana Šonková from Compassion in World Farming and a series of others who have contributed to efforts to abolish rearing in cages and thereby to the gradual improvement of the conditions of farmed animals.

Contributing authors: Petr Dobrý, Hana Janečková, Michal Kolesár, Kateřina Konvalinová,Eva Koťátková, Bob Kuřík, Esther Leslie, Marie Lukáčová, Astrida Neimanis, Lucia Pietroiusti, Filipa Ramos, Tomáš Uhnák, Tereza Vandrovcová, Lenka Vítková, Klára Vlasáková

Translations and corrections: John Hill, Heather McGadie, Markéta Musilová, Olga Pek, Guy Tabachnick, David Vichnar, David Livingstone, Dagmar Pilařová

Design: Daniela & Linda Dostálkovy

Animal Touch is dedicated to all animals, those close to us and those not so close, to the privileged, the abused and the overlooked, real and imaginary.

The book is published in Czech and English edition by Artmap. Order it HERE.

This book is published with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Prague 7 City District Municipality and the State Fund of Culture.

* Editors’ note: The book also contains an interview with the activist Michal Kolesár. We do not identify in any way whatsoever with any forms of oppression, and wish to distance ourselves from Michal Kolesár’s recent, problematic behaviour, about which we learned only after the book was published.