Dead Animals, 2004-2007
Photographic prints (edition of 5), publication (edition of 250).
Dead Animals was developed in partnership with Shu Hung and began in 2004 while we were living in New York’s Chinatown. We began noticing lost and discarded stuffed animals on the city streets and were compelled to document them. The animals we found often appeared dirty and abused from being left to the elements—as if they were left for dead.
There is something about the plight of a “dead” stuffed animal that is both comic and tragic—an aesthetic identified by Sianne Ngai as the cute. We felt this deserved closer examination. After we began looking, dead stuffed animals appeared everywhere we traveled. We realized that the majority of the dead animals we encountered were found in locations where significant urban redevelopment was under way. After moving to Beijing in early 2006, a large number of the dead animals we documented were discovered in the city's hutongs where homes were being demolished as part of the city’s massive 2008 Olympic redevelopment scheme.