I Did Not Have to Kill in Order to Survive (But all of the alternatives carry their own burden of designating who lives and who dies and how). We all kill, though most of us delegate the responsibility to others. So what do I learn from bleeding a mammal with my own hand? I do not have to kill to survive. And yet, all of the alternatives carry their own burden of designating who lives and who dies and how. As Donna Harraway writes, "neither human exceptionalism nor the oneness of all things can come to the rescue. We develop reasons and commitments, and live with the consequences."
I Did Not Have to Kill in Order to Survive is an intimate self-portrait of artist-as-fieldworker Miriam Simun as she learns to hunt wild game in the desert of the American West. We watch Simun as she for the first time kills, skins, butchers and cooks a pair of wild hares using only a gun, truck and knife, as instructed by her hunting American guide. I Did Not Have to Kill in Order to Survive is a poetic investigation into the ethics of interspecies relationships; the politics of managing the intersection of nature and technology; and the messy contradictions of pleasure, horror and labor that reside in shooting guns and transforming life into flesh, into meat.
Exhibition includes video Imagined Lines and Alibis and a series of digital photographs, digital graphic prints and hand-made acrylic and silicone paintings, all shot by the artist with various caliber bullets. The work addresses the artist’s emotional response to the act of shooting a gun: total horror and total pleasure, simultaneously, of the experience, impact and power this technology affords. The work further references virtual experiences with guns; guns in and as entertainment; and the use tools designed for death to make art.
Miriam Simun's CV
Recent exhibitions include New Museum (New York), DeutscheBank Kunsthalle (Berlin), Museum of Arts and Design Biennial (New York), The Contemporary (Baltimore), Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (New York), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha), XI Center for Contemporary Art (Donguan), Beall Center for Art + Technology (University of California) and the Himalayas Museum (Shanghai).
She is a recipient of awards from Creative Capital, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, as well as Santa Fe Art Institute’s 2015 Food Justice Residency in New Mexico and 2016 Artist Residency with OMI International Arts Center in New York. Her work has been recognized internationally in publications including the BBC, The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBC, MTV, Forbes, Art21 and ARTNews.
Simun holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science, an MPS from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and is currently a research assistant at the MIT Media Lab.
More about the artists www.miriamsimun.com