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Rikke Hansen

Nature Calls:

Animals in Visual Culture

Resonance 104.4 FM,

London’s Arts Radio Station

Now on Fridays from 4pm (GMT)


Rikke Hansen presents a weekly programme on animals in contemporary art and culture. Recently art has taken an animal turn, with increasing numbers of artworks centring on the animal as theme and possibility. Examples include artist duo Snæbjörnsdottir/Wilson’s collection of stuffed polar bears from museums around Britain in their nanoq, 2004, Marcus Coates’ sound and video installation Dawn Chorus, 2006, investigating the relation between human and animal voices, and Angela Bartram’s video piece Licking Dogs, 2007, which examines some of the unusual and disturbing ways we interact with our non-human others.The programme ‘Nature Calls’ looks at this recent trend and asks what might be at stake in the preoccupation with the animal aesthetic.

For worldwide live-stream from Resonance FM please go to Podcasts to follow.

Nature Calls: Animals in Visual Culture is now in its second series. Scroll down for details on SERIES ONE and the PESTIVAL SPECIALS.


Fridays 4:00pm-4:30pm (ongoing)

repeats: Wednesdays 9:00-9:30pm

Conversations with artists, writers, art critics, etc. working with non-human animals. Programmes include:

* 'Interspecies' - an Arts Catalyst special (interviews with Kira O'Reilly, Anthony Hall and Mark Wilson). This programme is co-hosted with Giovanni Aloi, editor of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture.

* Interview with artist duo Snæbjörnsdottir/Wilson.

* Interview with artist/photographer Karen Knorr.

* Interview with artist, curator and director of 'The Animal Gaze' Rosemarie McGoldrick (London Metropolitan University).

* 'Wolves' - a special with anthropologist and Professor of Human-Animal Studies Garry Marvin (Roehampton University).

* 'The Case of the Deviant Toad' - an Arts Catalyst special on Brandon Ballengee's exhibition at the Royal Institution, London.

* Human-animal co-existence - a debate with animal geographer Chris Wilbert (Anglia Ruskin University).

* Contemporary Animal-Themed Music - a DJ special with Andrew McGettigan.

* Interview with artist Helen Bullard.

* Interview with artist Andrea Roe.

* Interview with artist Tessa Farmer.

* Animals and Representation - an interview with historian Nigel Rothfels (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee).


Thursday July 23: 4:30pm-4:45pm

repeat: Sunday July 26: 7:00pm-7:15pm

Finding the Animal Voice

In traditional philosophy, animals have tended to be deprived of ‘voices’, perceived to only produce ‘sounds’ or ‘cries’. As the German word Stimme (meaning ‘voice’ and related to ‘voting’) implies, being robbed of one’s voice is also to fall outside representation. This week’s programme looks at recent artworks that appropriate the animal ‘voice’, dislocating the voice through parroting, thereby showing how all voices, human and animal, are, in a sense, found, as the common expression ‘finding one’s voice’ indicates.

On Thursday July 30 ‘Nature Calls’ will be on a BREAK. The programme (Animal Art in the Darwin Year) originally scheduled for this date will now take place August 20. Please see below for further details. 

Thursday August 6: 4:30pm-4:45pm

repeat: Sunday August 9: 7:00pm-7:15pm

Animals and Autobiography

Guest: Robert McKay, literature, University of Sheffield

The singular term ‘animal’ is, Jacques Derrida argues, nothing more than a rolling-into-one of all non-human animals through a linguistic performative which effectively serves to produce that which is human and, of course, animal. In this sense, human and animal lives remain inseparable. When we write the stories of our lives we therefore do so, directly or indirectly, via the gaze of an animal. This week Rikke Hansen will be joined by Robert McKay, lecturer in English Literature at University of Sheffield, member of The Animal Studies Group and author of numerous articles on animals in literature, to discuss examples of artistic and literary autobiographies which centre on human-animal relations.

Thursday August 13: 4:30pm-4:45pm

repeat: Sunday August 16: 7:00pm-7:15pm

Human-Animal Collaborations

Guests: Jo Longhurst and Laura White

‘Nature Calls’ has this week invited two artists into the studio to discuss their practice and ask them what attracts them to the animal question. How do we avoid simply illustrating well-worn philosophical concepts such as Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of ‘becoming-animal’? Can the animal figure be any more than an absent referent within artistic practice? Why are animals suddenly ‘in fashion’? Are animals simply the new ‘Other’ in art? Or does the current artistic preoccupation with animality touch upon more fundamental questions?

Thursday August 20: 4:30pm-4:45pm

repeat: Sunday August 23: 7:00pm-7:15pm

Animal Art in the Darwin Year

The bicentenary of Darwins’ birth has brought with it a plethora of television programmes, conferences, exhibitions and other events centring on the impact of Darwin’s thought on historical and contemporary visual culture. For the artist working with the animal aesthetic, this sudden popularity of the animal question can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. This week ‘Nature Calls’ discusses some of the recent artistic and curatorial responses to the so-called ‘Darwin Year’.  

On Thursday August 27 ‘Nature Calls’ will be on a BREAK as the Resonance studio is closed.  


Thursday Sept 3: 4:30pm-5:00pm (note: time extended)

repeat: Tuesday Sept 8: 5:00pm-5:30pm

1. Theatrical Animals

Guest: Angela Bartram, artist and lecturer at University of Lincoln.

Never work with children or animals. Neither can tell the difference between performance and real life. The performance theorist Richard Schechner reiterates this common belief when he notes that the ‘great difference between human and non-human performers is the ability of humans to lie and pretend’.This week ‘Nature Calls’ has invited the artist Angela Bartram into the studio to discuss her work with performing animals and thereby question this common understanding of ‘animal acts’.

2. Animals between Art and Science

Guest: Chris Wilbert, geography, Anglia Ruskin University.

The recent field of ‘animal studies’ is regularly celebrated for its interdisciplinarity, bringing together scholars and practioners from science, art and the humanities. Yet, the question of what one discipline might learn from another often goes unanswered. ‘Nature Calls’ has this week invited the animal geographer Chris Wilbert, editor (with Chris Philo) of the book Animal Spaces, Beastly Places, 2000, and (with Damian White) of Technonatures, 2009, as well as co-author (with The Animal Studies Group) of Killing Animals, 2006, into the studio to discuss whether art can ever really tell us something about the animal world and what the sciences may or may not have to offer art


A festival celebrating insects in art and the art of being an insect.

Resonance 104.4 FM, London's arts radio station, is broadcasting live from the event. Listen to the live-feed at During this weekend, 'Nature Calls' invites different scholars and practioners to discuss pest and insect matters. See below for details: 

Saturday Sept 05, 3:30pm-4:00pm

Pest Geographies

Rikke Hansen talks to Maria Escobar (geography, King’s College) and Chris Wilbert (geography, Anglia Ruskin University) about pests in the city. Mark Wilson, from the artist duo Snæbjörnsdottir/Wilson, discusses pests, animal dwellings and contested human-animal spaces.

Sunday Sept 06, 7:00pm-7:30pm

The Bug in the Machine

Giovanni Aloi (editor of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture) is interviewed by Rikke Hansen on the subject of ‘insect poetics’. Robert McKay (literature, University of Sheffield) joins in with a literary perspective.