Snow Rabbits — Experimenta

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Rebecca Selleck
Snow Rabbits

Ngunnawal & Ngambri Country
Canberra, ACT, Australia


“I’ve always been entranced by the inconsistent relationships humans have with other animals.” Rebecca Selleck, 2020.

Snow Rabbits is part of an ongoing series that deliberates on our fraught colonial history with introduced species, in this case rabbits, and reflect on the complexity of animal and environmental ethics.  Australia’s capricious relationship with rabbits led to a tug-of-war between a booming fur trade and the obliteration of farming land for colonists. Despite the eventual success of man-made viruses to reduce their numbers, we continue to see the devastating impacts of rabbits on Australia’s ecosystems. More recently they have adapted to survive on the toxic leaves of snow gum saplings in the Snowy Mountains, allowing them to survive altitudes above 1500 metres, which was their previous natural limit.

The installation includes a group of rabbit-like forms that have been made from used rabbit skin coats – each containing animatronics that suggest life by simulating the appearance of ‘breathing’. The rabbits ‘breathe’ using makeshift camshafts driven by geared motors that push and pull, and are arranged huddled together at the centre of a section of carpet in the safety of a wooden chair merged with a cast resin Snow Gum replica. These uncanny rabbits allude to the evolutionary processes of adaptation to new environments. Combined with the Eucalypt elements, they highlight the tension between invasive and endemic species continuing from colonisation. The merging of a familiar domestic scene with its external landscape point to the human culpability of these environmental changes.

The Artist
Rebecca Selleck

Rebecca Selleck is an emerging artist focusing on interactive sculpture and installation, blending animatronics, assemblage, and casting.