I’m happy to announce the publication of Listen, we all bleed, my book of essays on nonhuman-animal voices in activist art. In Listen, we all bleed, radical artists from around the world use recordings of nonhuman voices to plead for an end to violence against nonhuman animals. Central to this book is the importance of listening—just listening—as a creative effort that is also an activist act. The essays include reflections on the work of Kathryn Eddy, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Robbie Judkins, mOwson&M0wson, Dave Phillips, Colleen Plumb, Quiet Ensemble, Hiroki Sasajima, Andrew Stevenson, Jana Winderen, and Eisuke Yanagisawa.
Listen, we all bleed is published by New Rivers Press at Minnesota State University. The book has been nominated for the PEN/Galbraith Nonfiction Award, Foreword INDIES Book Award, and CLMP Firecrackers. It’s available internationally through Amazon.
New Rivers Press will host an online reading and discussion of Listen… on 4 Nov. Registration is free via Eventbrite.
Mandy-Suzanne Wong, PhD
“Midway through Listen, we all bleed, her stunning collection of essays about art that challenges us to consider the needs and simple realities of the non-human animals struggling to live on our planet, Mandy Suzanne-Wong writes, ‘Oceans are not our empires. Oceans aren’t liquid slaughterhouses, goldmines, or oil reservoirs. Oceans live. But not for us. Art can sound this out, help us learn it with our bodies, make it emotional. When artworks make us feel that nonhuman animals are not us and not for us, those artworks do something very necessary.’
So does this book.
As a lifelong omnivore, I confess I wasn’t eager to read something that would amplify my shame about eating other animals, let alone motivate me to stop. But Listen, we all bleed is not some guilt-inducing screed. It is a lyrical, brilliant exploration of the music, installations, and immersive exhibitions being created by artists who exhort us to listen to what’s difficult to hear, to see what we choose to blind ourselves to, to feel what we’d rather numb ourselves to. With her expansive curiosity, deep insight, fascinating explanations, and sometimes wracking but always gorgeous prose, Mandy Suzanne-Wong compelled me to keep reading. With each essay about elephants, fish, cows, sheep, whales, and the artists who honor them, I found my soul expanding, not recoiling. She challenges us to pay attention even – no, especially – to who and what we don’t recognize as being ‘like us,’ and cautions us against trying to make them so. As she says about a work by artist and composer Kathryn Eddy: ‘What Kathryn wants us to hear in Problematic Nature is how unhuman life can be and still be life.’
Listen, we all bleed is exhilarating, not punishing. It has awakened me and makes me want to change, not out of shame, but out of gratitude for all that I’ve shielded myself against. Read it.”
—Julie Wittes-Schlack, author of This All-At-Onceness
“In this beautifully subtle, intricately woven text, Mandy-Suzanne Wong entreats you to listen, to really listen, to the nonhuman. And even if this listening makes you feel uncomfortable, ashamed, guilty, she dares you to persist. Moving seamlessly among the works of artists devoted to nonhuman voices, she manages to relay a myriad of worlds beyond our own, each with its own infinite complexity and beauty. Reading this book, hearing and loving the nonhuman, should prompt you to be passionate about saving this world that we have so thoroughly ravaged.”
—Tracy McDonald, curator of Animals Across Discipline, Time, and Space (McMaster Museum of Art), co-editor of Zoo Studies: A New Humanities (McGill-Queen’s University Press), Associate Professor of History, McMaster University
“Haunting, vivid, confrontational, unafraid—a new beat to penetrate our hearts and lead an awakening dance in which we stop refusing to see. Wong’s descriptions call up Sue Coe in prose. To read about my own work this way—alchemized from sounds in the air and projections on walls and embroidered onto the page—is pure and powerful magic.”
—Colleen Plumb, artist and editor of Thirty Times a Minute (Radius Books)
“Mandy-Suzanne Wong does something far beyond ‘giving voice’ to animals and the artists that record them. She listens: quietly, carefully, truthfully. And the animals speak for themselves. Listen, we all bleed is a powerful and much needed book for our times. Now more than ever, we need to listen to the voices of all beings. And collectively, hopefully, we can save our beautiful Earth.”
—Kathryn Eddy, artist and co-editor of The Art of the Animal (Lantern Books)
“Listen, we all bleed is both an informative and invigorating shock to the system . . . with striking and evocative prose . . . Wong’s text compels the reader to brave the often ignored sounds of nonhumans and endure the raw emotion behind them. Whether the bleating sheep now turned leg of lamb or the symphonic wanderings of lost snails, in that moment the reader doesn’t just listen—we become. As we hurt alongside the torment of nonhumans, Wong gently exposes our very hand in causing it. This book is a heart-wrenching albeit imperative rattling of the human soul. A must read for any Earth-goer.”
—Rich Andrew, contributing writer, LA Arts Online