My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid

My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid explores our enduring fascination with the merging of the human and animal, and coincides with the 200th anniversary year of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Shelley’s seminal monster novel explores life and death and reanimating flesh. It is also the story of a hybrid outcast, for Frankenstein’s creature was made as a new species, from a combination of both human and animal parts.

Mythology and fiction have long entertained the fantasy of the animal and human fused into one being, and the metaphorical hybrid is embedded in mythology and folklore. The hybrids that appear in art can be whimsical, alluring, and confrontational. While hybrids shock and jolt with their appearance, they also offer an unsettling recognition of the disquieting unease we all feel about our place in the world.

Hybrids are the ultimate metaphor for the outsider. Their very existence is a political act, an affront. Like monsters of old, they are harbingers of a future we may not like, but are intent on creating through each twist and tweak of our species through biotechnology.

Our fear of hybrids stems from the historic view that such creatures are unnatural and monstrous and should not exist, and this revulsion extended to Frankenstein’s ‘hideous creature’ manufactured by science.

The desire to preserve distinct categories for animals and humans can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Humanity’s perceived uniqueness and dominance over the natural world was defined by its separation from the animal, and still lingers. Witness our current obsession with body hair removal.

The trouble with hybrids is that they disturb our moral compass, reminding us that we are animals, and animals are like us. This is the power of the hybrid creature. When we look into its human eyes, we see ourselves looking back from the animal body we deny we inhabit.

Story by Evelyn Tsitas


Some parts of the exhibition contain works that contain adult themes which some visitors may find confronting.  
Adults may wish to view the space first before accompanying children or students.


Artists  Rose Agnew, Jane Alexander, Janet Beckhouse, Peter Booth, Jazmina Cininas, Kate Clark, Catherine Clover, Beth Croce, Julia deVille, Heri Dono, Peter Ellis, Moira Finucane & Shinjuku Thief, Rona Green, Ai Hasegawa, Rayner Hoff, Sam Jinks, Deborah Kelly, Bharti  Kher,  Deborah Klein, Oleg Kulik, Sam Leach, Norman Lindsay, Sidney Nolan,  Eko Nugroho, Kira O’Reilly & Jennifer Willet, Patricia Piccinini, Geoffrey Ricardo, Lisa Roet, Mithu Sen, Maja Smrekar & Manuel Vason, Ronnie van Hout, (((20hz)))



Opening night: Thursday 28 June 6-8 pm – all welcome.



Opening speaker Barbara Creed

Barbara Creed is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne and an Honorary Professorial Fellow.

Creed is the author of five books on feminism, sexuality, film and media including the feminist classic, The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis(Routledge).  Her recent research is on animal studies, the inhuman and social justice issues; and her latest publication Stray: Human–Animal Ethics in the Anthropocene (2017)  explores the relationship between human and animal in the context of the stray.

Creed’s articles have appeared in international collections and journals and have been translated into a range of foreign languages. She is presently on the editorial advisory boards of Cultural Studies Review, eTropic and the Animal Studies Journal and on the boards of the international book series, Anthem and Animal Publics. In 2006 Creed was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities and is currently the director of the Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network (HRAE) at the University of Melbourne.


Free public programs at RMIT Gallery 

* please note that these events may be subject to change, always rely on this site for updates, not social media or eventbrite.

Fri 29 June 12.30 – 1.30 pm Beyond Taxidermy Kate Clark & Julia deVille artist talk     BOOKINGS

Fri 6 July 12.30-1.30 pm Animal instinct Rona Green artist talk     BOOKINGS

Fri 20 July 12.30-1.30 pm Contemporary hybrids Ronnie van Hout artist talk     BOOKINGS

Tues 24 July 12.30-1.30 pm Frankenstein’s Legacy Evelyn Tsitas Curator talk    BOOKINGS

Fri July 27 12.30-1.30 In a Manner of Speaking Catherine Clover participatory performance    BOOKINGS

Thurs 2 Aug 5.30-6.30 pm Metamorphosis & transformation Jazmina Cininas & Deborah Klein    BOOKINGS 

Thurs 9 Aug 5.30-6.30 pm Informed by science Beth Croce & Sam Leach    BOOKINGS 

Fri 17 Aug 12.30-1.30 pm Surreal monsters Peter Ellis artist talk   BOOKINGS


Fur Can’t Fly (single)

by Shinjuku Thief

A collaboration with performance artist Moira Finucane – originally an immersive 4D installation (using movement, vibration and eyelid projection) as part of the My Monster Exhibition (RMIT Gallery 2018).


released June 29, 2018
Music – Darrin Verhagen
Text/performance – Moira Finucane
Image – Rose Agnew
click link to listen
Installation image, Fur Can’t Fly, My Monster exhibition, RMIT Gallery, 2018. Photo by Mark Ashkanasy.


Event24 Jul 2018

My Monster & Frankenstein’s legacy – curator talk.

Join curator Evelyn Tsitas as she talks about how the legacy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein inspired her doctoral research and exhibition My Monster: The Human…

Event28 Jun 2018

Opening night: My Monster – the human animal hybrid

Join us at the opening night of My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid at RMIT Gallery (29 June – 18 August). This contemporary…

Event27 Jul 2018

‘In a Manner of Speaking’ – Participatory Voicing.

Come along and join us to sing! shout! call! mutter! whisper! whistle! hoot! cry! shriek! whoop! yell! yodel! bellow! holler! yowl! roar! scream! screech!…

Event6 Jul 2018

Animal Instinct: Rona Green artist talk

Celebrated printmaker Rona Green is a fancier of Egyptian art, science fiction, B-grade movies, secret societies, tattooing traditions, combat sports, subcultures and…

Event29 Jun 2018

Beyond taxidermy: Kate Clark & Julia deVille

Join us for a conversation to celebrate the opening of the new RMIT Gallery exhibition My Monster: The human animal hybrid (29 June –…

Event17 Aug 2018

Peter Ellis: artist talk – surreal monsters.

Discover more about Peter Ellis’ art practice and enduring fascination with the surreal monsters in his drawings. Peter Ellis, artist and RMIT…

Event20 Jul 2018

Contemporary hybrids: Ronnie van Hout – artist talk

Melbourne based, New Zealand artist Ronnie van Hout’s art shocks, bewilders, unnerves and amuses. He has been called a ‘master of slapstick…

Event9 Aug 2018

Informed by science: Beth Croce & Sam Leach

Join artists Beth Croce and Sam Leach for this talk about the overlap of science and art in their works featured in My…

Event2 Aug 2018

Metamorphosis & transformation

Let’s talk metamorphosis, mythology, fables, fairy tales & folklore – with renowned print makers Jazmina Cininas & Deborah Klein. The artists will…

News26 Jun 2018

Human-animal hybrid exhibition explores an enduring fascination

  The fantasy of merging animals and humans into one hybrid creature is explored in My Monster: The Human Animal Hybrid at…