In 2007 Storey Gallery commissioned the artist team Snà¦björnsdóttir/Wilson to develop a project investigating the various and complex relationships between human and non-human animals in shared and contested spaces.
Working primarily in the city of Lancaster and the surrounding area, with a variety of individuals, businesses and organisations, the artists burrowed around the ever-shifting margins of tolerance, gathering anecdotes and stories of human/animal cohabitation, encroachment and symbiotic partnerships. In addition, they toured around the UK with a mobile radio unit, visiting people's homes, country fairs, and town centres, documenting the multiplicity of people's feelings towards animals-in-proximity. The conversations were recorded and aired live on Radio Animal, an online radio station created by Snà¦björnsdóttir/Wilson, dedicated to their discourse around human/animal relations.
For millennia, humans have been making divisions between themselves and other animals. By building settlements, towns and cities, they created shelter and insulation from wild animals. However, animals have always been attracted to concentrations of human population because of the opportunities these provide for habitat and food. For some humans, the presence of these creatures ' pigeons, starlings, rats, mice, foxes, and all manner of insects - constitutes a threat, a kind of leakage. It highlights the fragility of our insulation from the 'wild', its unpredictability, and the seeming chaos of 'nature'.
Through the use of sound, sculpture, text, video and photography, the exhibition Uncertainty in the City: Pests, Pets, and Prey explores this animal infringement. It builds a picture of human ambivalence towards animals ' of tolerance and intolerance, of fear and loathing, of affection, conflict, and admiration - and at the same time it explores more broadly our own duplicity in relation to ideas of the 'other'.