Bodies and boundaries in performing taxidermy

Wilson, Francis Marion Moseley (2021) Bodies and boundaries in performing taxidermy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is a collection of material demonstrating and contextualising my performance practice research in ‘performing taxidermy’. In addition to this written document, the performance practice is documented through a series of photo, video, and sound media, accessible online at (password: fmmw2021).

The practice-research constitutes a critical consideration of the processes of taxidermy within a live art context. Emerging feminist-materialist philosophies aid in conceiving of taxidermy as body art, which in turn exposes both human and more-than-human bodies within taxidermy as being vulnerable materialities at-risk to each other, particularly in the context of the Anthropocene era. The body of work consists of five performance works that engage with the myriad phases of the taxidermy process: collecting dead animal bodies; working with Dermestid beetles to strip meat from skeletons; combining taxidermy materials with mass produced consumer goods; threading wire through skin to pose bodies; and connecting dead and living bodies as live art diorama. These actions require approaching human/nonhuman animal relations and histories of animal representation, which are considered through additional lenses of cultural and art theories on taxidermy. Performing taxidermy focuses on the materials and the processes of taxidermy, rather than a commitment to representations of nature. The project’s originality is in its approach to taxidermy both as a practice-based research methodology and as a body-based performance art. By approaching taxidermy as a body-based, live art practice and research methodology, performing taxidermy produces original contributions to practice-research in live art and in critical theories of taxidermy and culture, proving body human and animal bodies as vulnerable materialities atrisk to one another in ongoing material impact and exchange.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Donald, Professor Minty and Heddon, Professor Deirdre
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82540
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2021 10:14
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 16:16
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82540

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