ANIMAL FACTORIES: Yvette Watt
The Animal Factories series pursues and ongoing interest in the role of art in communicating issues surrounding the ethics of human-animal relationships in regards to ‘farm’ animals. The works in this series consist of large-scale documentary photographs taken of the outside of large-scale factory farms of the type that intensively house chickens and pigs. The images aim to capture the ‘concentration camp’ style layout of these industrial farms, with the near total absence of animals in the imagery serving to highlight the hidden and secretive nature of the unnatural and restricted environment endured by the animals housed inside the windowless sheds. Through being presented with external views only, the viewer is placed be in a position whereby they must imagine what might be seen inside the sheds were they be able to view the conditions endured by the animals housed inside. The multiple images of farms from around the nation depict the superficial variation from farm to farm, while highlighting the homogeneity of these industrial complexes.
The images have been sourced from around Australia, with the project inspired by a visit to a meat chicken farm outside of Hobart several years ago. The view of this farm at night, with the rows of windowless sheds lit with artificial light, had a profound impact on me. While there was no sign of life from the outside, I knew the sheds were crammed with tens of thousands of chickens, who would only ever see the outside world when sent to slaughter