By Amy Loureth Worster
Dear Odd Family,
If, like me, you grew up in a Christian household, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the concept of a nativity set. For those who aren’t: a nativity set usually comprises a miniature stable and a collection of figurines representing Biblical characters, all of which, when assembled correctly, are intended to recreate the scene around the manger at the time of Jesus’ birth. Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, one or two shepherds and the three Wise Men are all in attendance, as are a cow, a sheep and sometimes a goat. Typically, the human models are arranged in such a way that they are foregrounded, the domestic animals placed so that they will fade into the background – as always, simply existing as a part of the scenery and a footnote in any human story.
It is a well-known and exceedingly uncomfortable truth that although animals may not be self-aware in the same way that we are, they do possess some form of sentience. Animals might encounter the world in ways unfathomable to us, but they do actively encounter it. Surely, the lives and experiences of animals must be significant. However, wild animals and their natural habitats are vanishing at an unprecedented rate across the planet, while, at the same time, their domesticated counterparts are shuttled away in secret to meet their fates in sanitised, yet horrific, abattoirs and laboratories. Some creatures are more present in our lives – either they occupy the privileged and mollycoddled position of “pet”, or they are made to be visible on our terms in zoos. For the most part, however, the lives of animals are invisible to us. As Jean Baudrillard once wrote, “there is no more room for [animals] in our culture than there is for the dead”.
This December edition of Odd seeks to challenge that assertion by drawing this common (yet radical!) form of otherness into focus under the theme: animals. Whether it is in exploring our relationships with members of different species, attempting to consider the world from their perspective, or examining our own animality as Homo sapiens, each piece in this issue responds in some way to the question of the animal.
From all of us in the Odd team, we’d like to thank you for joining us on this new and exciting journey. We’ve got much more planned for 2018 and we can’t wait to share a whole new year’s worth of thought-provoking art and other exciting content with you! Until then, we wish you a safe, restful and happy festive season.
In this issue:
Make the 1st Day Count – Gareth McLuckie
ZEBRA – Anjali Hiregange
A Place Beyond The Pines – Dale Oram
If Life Were Half – D.C. Buschmann
Rush Hour Traffic – Gareth McLuckie
GOOD MORNING, WINTER – Anjali Hiregange
Interview with Tomoyasu Ikuta – Amir Bagheri
The Skin of Wolves – Shameelah Khan
Meditations: Let us write letters – Lucinda de Leeuw
Persian Poetry: Part II – Mehdi Bagheri