Kathy High

Telepresent Animal Hall of Fame, Artist


Kathy High (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist working in the areas of technology, science, speculative fiction and art. She produces videos and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of medicine/bio-science, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She hosts bio/ecology+art workshops and is creating an urban nature center in North Troy (NATURE Lab) with media organization The Sanctuary for Independent Media. High is Professor of Video and New Media in the Department of Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She teaches documentary and experimental digital video production, history and theory, as well as biological arts.


Kathy High takes part in the Telepresent Animal Exhibition, February to May 2014.

Embracing Animal

The Telepresent Animal Hall of Fame

What is our animal nature? Embracing Animal is a multi-media/ inter-species ersatz scientific installation of exchanges between people and animals.

In Embracing Animal, three transgenic lab rats, model HLA-B27, were given special housing and made available to the public’s view. Transgenic rats are microinjected with human DNA, allowing them to share our human genes. Transgenic rats are referred to as powerful ‘tools’ for the study of human health as they are, in many ways, physiologically close to humans. High was particularly interested in the rats that were used in autoimmune disease research for illnesses close to her own. But she treated her rats holistically, and as her sisters.

In an ersatz laboratory, a penthouse living quarters for the rats sits next to four large “tube-scopes,” 40” high glass sculptures for viewing films of human and non-human animal “becomings” - or animal/people transformations – becoming werewolves, vampires, exploring the shifting space between humans, monsters and beasts. The rat housing resembled a small city, with one section a tower for climbing, and one section a park. Daily a "lab technician" came to feed and check on the rats, perform the duties of care-taking.

This was a lab environment for observation, an experimental playground for people to feel the tension of exchanges, transitions, and trans-play. How do we identify and transform? What is our animal nature? This installation honored our kinship with our transgenic animal partners.


Embracing Animal (2004-06)

Kathy High

“Of Mice and Transgenic Rats in Art
and Science” at FluxMedia

“Q&A with Kathy High
and Dr. Barbara Woodside” at FluxMedia

A Conversation with Kathy High