This interdisciplinary research investigates the nature of interspecies care and rewilding as they pertain to the conceptualisation of more-than-human aesthetics. In doing so, I argue for a multispecies future for arts fields in which the human perceiver is decentred, and the needs, wants, and practices of other species are considered within creative outputs. While we cannot yet know the phenomenal experiences of other species through hard science, I contend that through knowledges from the fields of animal rehabilitation and enrichment design, we may be able to create cultural artefacts and creative practice outcomes that cultivate joy or interest beyond our own species. This research takes a Creative Practice Research approach, diffracted through the lens of being a flying fox rehabilitation worker performing daily care duties in a care aviary. This includes a close reading of contextual artist’s practices in an Australian context, and the creation of a series of interactive artworks called the Quantum Enrichment Entanglers (2021-2022), designed as enrichment for flying foxes in rehabilitation alongside their human carers. I develop methods of approaching animals with interactive stimuli during our normal care routine, in order to reflect on engagements between individual animals, humans, and artworks. From this I find that more-than-human aesthetic practices can expand ethical interspecies engagement opportunities by paying attention to interaction, sharing, and rewilding/unbonding. This develops its own aesthetic register informed by the specific materials and practices of nonhuman care. Using care-led approaches in art are important, as they bring into focus the agency of other animals as having a right to ethical involvement in our arts and cultural activities.

Presented In

Stream B: Panel Two