Published by RADIUS BOOKS. Foreword by Hope Ferdowsian. Text by Marc Bekoff, Julia Cooke, Catherine Doyle, Joyce Poole, Steven M. Wise, Mandy-Suzanne Wong.
Captive elephants exhibit what biologists refer to as stereotypy, which includes rhythmic rocking, head bobbing, stepping back and forth, and pacing. Colleen Plumb traveled to over seventy zoos in the US and Europe to film this behavior, and distilled her footage into a video that weaves together dozens of captive elephants, bearing the weight of an unnatural existence in their small enclosures. She has installed guerrilla public projections of the video in over 100 locations worldwide, constructing photographs of each projection. Thirty Times a Minute (the resting heart rate of an elephant) explores the ways in which animals in captivity function as symbols of persistent colonial thinking, a striving for human domination over nature has been normalized, and consumption masks curiosity. The work sheds light on abnormal behaviors of captive elephants in order to bring attention to implicit values of society as a whole, particularly those that perpetuate power imbalance and tyranny of artifice. The presence of massive, intelligent, far-roaming, emotional animals such as elephants in urban zoos exemplifies contradiction and discordance, and public projections of their image onto urban walls and out-of-context surfaces add to the layers of incongruity.
Published by Radius Books. Text by Lisa Hostetler.
The photographs of Colleen Plumb (born 1970) examine the scope of intersections and relationships between humankind and other creatures, seeking to draw out the contradictions that have shaped our relationships with animals throughout history. The animals she portrays range from beloved house pets to circus animals and even road kill. Weaving imagery of life and death, Plumb plays with the whole gamut of attachments and emotions we hold toward animals. Karen Irvine of the Museum of Contemporary Photography writes of this work: “[Plumb] uses color, framing and focus to draw our attention to details that are alternately humorous, delightful and disturbing, making the viewing of her pictures an ever-changing and engaging experience.” Animals Are Outside Today is the photographer's first monograph; it collects 74 color photographs that expose both our kinship and our disjuncture from other creatures of this earth.