Whether we find ourselves on farms or ranches, in cities, or in other places between, our lives are entangled with the lives of other species. Our experiences with domestic animals—in particular those considered pets or livestock—affect the ways we understand relationships with them, who we value and depend upon in wildly different ways. As scientific research and broader cultural shifts challenge common notions about the intelligence and emotional lives of other beings, we face complex quandaries of how to respectfully recognize and care for the needs of domestic companions. For this conversation, artist and educator Karin Bolender Hart invites us to share our own animal stories, consider how our personal experiences and beliefs about the lives of animals shape the stories we tell, and reflect on how these stories in turn affect our choices as caretakers, farmers, consumers, and companions.
Karin Bolender Hart | Philomath
Karin Bolender Hart is an artist-researcher, writer, and teacher. She is the founder of the Rural Alchemy Workshop (R.A.W.), where her creative collaborations explore different ways that humans live and make stories with other species, especially those considered beasts of burden, livestock, and/or family pets. Karin teaches art history and writing and has a PhD from the University of New South Wales in Australia. She lives in Philomath within a beloved family herd that includes assorted mammals, plants, insects, microbes, and untold others.