Feral Attraction

Art, becoming, and erasure

Authored by: Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir , Mark Wilson

Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415521406
eBook ISBN: 9780203101995
Adobe ISBN: 9781136237881


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In the summer of 1999 we (Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson) undertook a nine-day hike in Hornstrandir, an uninhabited and remote coastal area in the far north of Iceland. It was July and at that time of year, in that region, there is 24-hour daylight. Remarkably, however, for virtually the entire hike we were submersed in a shroud of dense mist. Consequently, despite the general light, for over a week we were unable to see much beyond a few paces, either back from where we had walked or ahead in the direction we were going. At the time, paradoxically, this had been a heady experience, close to epiphanic in its effect. Where the physical activity of walking in ‘wild’ landscape for that length of time is normally associated with retinal reward, with ‘views’ to draw the eye into a distancing and objectifying relationship with the terrain and away from the immediacy of bodily locus, in this case, because of the mist, our attention was entirely held in an enforced myopia. Unable to draw upon the reassuring and conceptual certainties of a commanding view and so (dis)placed beyond the controlling apparatus of representation we were cast instead into the stumbling blindness of uncertainty, of indeterminacy, instinct, intuition, of saving our skin – in short, into the awkwardnesses of close terrain negotiation, survival, and most significant of all into the ontology of ‘the moment’.

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