Dr John Troyer from the University of Bath explores how nineteenth century preservation technologies radically changed and mechanically altered the dead animal body as well as the human corpse, producing new kinds of taxidermy.
These technologies of preservation effectively invented modern taxidermy; transforming the dead animal into something new: energetically alive, always in nature, and uncannily human.
Innovative taxidermy was also used by museums to turn preserved dead animals into a dead body that was atemporal and a well-suited subject for public display.
Taxidermy can make any dead animal do the most amazing things – especially since the animals are dead and unable to resist human posing.
Most importantly, taxidermy says far more about the human desire to anthropomorphize our animal cousins than most people realize.
There will be an opportunity to ask John questions at the end about his work and his research.
Dr John Troyer is the Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. He is a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk website, the Future Cemetery Project and a frequent commentator for the BBC. His most recent book is Technologies of the Human Corpse (published by the MIT Press in 2019).
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