Welcome to the Dachshund UN assembly where the roles of the representatives of the 47 member states on the UN Human Rights Council are played by… dachshunds!
They might be named Ruth, Otto or Pitou. Their brown, black or beige coats add colour to the décor. The Chinese member barks, the Pakistani grunts or yawns, the American scratches furiously while the French representative enthusiastically licks the Russian. Part free-for-all, part joyous tumult, the outcome of their vigorous debate remains up in the air. Welcome toDachshund UN, where the roles of the 47 national delegates on the UN human rights council are played by… dachshunds.
In the heart of Place des Festivals, the Australian artist and sculptor Bennett Miller will showcase a miniature replica of a former United Nations office in Geneva. The dogs frolic, romp and debate under the amused eyes of observers. As a surprising spectacle of canine chaos it is hilarious, but this impudent spectacle of human rights policy and international justice is also seriously sharp. Pay careful attention, ladies and gentlemen, for the fate of human rights lies in the tiny paws of wiener dogs!
CREATED BY BENNETT MILLER
ORIGINALLY PRODUCED FOR THE2010 NEXT WAVE FESTIVALTHROUGH ITS ‘KICKSTART’ DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
THANKS TO ALL THE DACHSHUNDS (AND THEIR OWNERS) WITHOUT WHOM THIS PROJECT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE AND SPECIAL THANKS TO MC GILLES + JACK RILEY
PHOTO TOMASZ MACHNIK
WRITTEN BY DIANE JEAN
TRANSLATED BY NEIL KROETSCH
PREMIERED AT MELBOURNE MUSEUM, NEXT WAVE FESTIVAL, MAY 15, 2010
BENNETT MILLER (PERTH)
Friend of Animals
Born in 1980 and trained in the visual arts, Bennett Miller produces sculpture, installations, videos and performance art. Early in his career, many of his pieces were featured in group exhibits in art galleries across Australia. Response to his scathing aesthetics consists not only of laughter, but also meditation about our own utopian aspirations. He made his name at age 23 with Golf War, an audacious installation that recreated the structure and events of the war in Iraq across nine miniature golf courses.
In Dachshund UN he is playfully exploring political issues once again, with dachshunds as UN representatives. As humans, they offer a wide range of “racial diversity” (colour, hair length and size) within the same breed. Presented at the Next Wave Festival in Melbourne in 2010, this performance art piece moved on to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and then to the Fierce Festival in Birmingham in 2012. From one city to the next, the installation is transformed according to the moods of the 47 dogs recruited in each town.
Bennett Miller is particularly interested in relations between humans and animals. His most recent projects include Fields and Results, where he explored in a multimedia installation the relations between trainers, owners and greyhounds, and Behavioural Ecology, a surreal replica of a primate enclosure from the Berlin Zoo.