Nicole Rayburn, Itsey’s Tasmanian Tiger Suit, 1:58, 2008
Itsey’s Tasmanian Tiger Suit depicts a dog in a custom-made, real fur suit. The video is a mock-nature video responding to recent attempts to revive extinct species while simultaneously documenting the reaction of an animal subject to human activities.
Itsey’s Tasmanian Tiger Suit began as a response to a news article regarding new technological developments in which scientists were using DNA samples from Tasmanian Tiger specimens in an attempt to revive the extinct species – a real life Jurassic Park experiment. This event prompted me to revive the tiger myself and insert the beast into the modern ‘natural’ urban environment. The making of a fur suit for my dog out of recycled fur coats, inserting her into the environment, and making a nature documentary, emphasize the absurdity and simultaneously the inextricably entangled system of relations between scientific developments, humans, nature, and animals.
The video also captures the response of my dog to her suit. When placed in the suit Itsey would simply stand there, immobile, and then eventually walk towards me for me to take it off. The video is a document of the animal’s response to a human-controlled circumstance and reflects the troublesome and often hierarchical nature of co-existence and the impacts that these relationships have upon all entities involved.
2010 Just Act Natural. Studio22, Kingston, ON, Exhibition in conjunction with Animals and Animality Across the Humanities and Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at Queen’s University, Curated by Lisa Visser (group)
Nicole Rayburn 2015