Monday, 13 February 2012

Reflecting on research on the relation between the animal and human

Sources i can read into:
  • Kellert and Wilson's "Biophilia Thesis (1995) which joins sociobiology, psychology and veterinary science
Animals are categorized by mutual social status e.g hierarchy in wolf packs are similar to upper, middle and working class of the human world
These are conventions primitive people use plants and animals for symbols of men. This becomes more noticeable in a technological environment

Animals are good to help us to think about what it is to be properly human

We understand animals in terms of our own language, experiences and emotions. To understand them properly would be alien to us
Use animals as metaphors in my work? To use a story that can relate to the contemporary and re-tell it in terms of animals metaphor like folkloric stories.
Need to research into what animals traditional symbols what (emotion, event etc)  How can i display this?
ARTIST:Saskia Olde Wolbers: Often taking the inspiration for her stories from actual news articles, television documentaries, and urban legends, each of Saskia Olde Wolbers films narrate fictional biographies into complex backgrounds of global politics, neuroses, and contemporary mythology.
Source: Last accessed: 13/02/2012
Olde Wolbers work does this is a similar way, except she uses abstract animations with voice overs to re-tell news articles 

Animals are silent, they have secrets and cannot reveal their thoughts. We have to interpret what we see and can only draw upon human emotion cause that is what know. When we gaze at animals we hold a mirror up to ourselves (Berger 1980)

ARTIST:Henri Rousseau went into forests to look for what it was to be human and discovered the animal within himself
There are two ways of interpreting this:
  • humans are animals and need to reconnect with nature - hunter/gatherer
  • Man is animal but only takes from nature what he needs to - sensitive to his environment
Both of these notions are Romantic but in opposing directions:
  • 1st one contains the consumption of animals. Practice of hunting (from hunter/gatherer scenario) is practiced through sport (fox hunting/fishing etc)Through this we have a relationship with the animal and the primitive self
  • 2nd one promotes banning of flesh eating, the banning of zoos. Through this we would have no relationship with the animal
Placing oneself at the mercy of nature and obtaining food was compatible with romanticism
. The brutality of the survival of the fittest

First half of 20thC, due to the destruction of their natural environment, birds of prey such as kestrels took roost in cities. People liked having animals and nature round them so the animals who were nested there were taken into account when new houses were built

Animals convey meanings and values that are culturally specific; in viewing animals we can not escape the cultural context in which that observation takes place. There can be no deep primordial relationship underlying the cultural gaze since it must always be meditated by nature.
Source: Franklin.A (1999) Animals and Modern cultures: A Sociology of Animal-Human relationships in Modern Times, Sage Publications
E.g Pandas make us think of China. Also we cant think of animal when we look at it without thinking of its environment. If its in a zoo, we think of the zoo when looking at it and this alters out perception of the animal. This is also something true of artwork - therefore something i need to consider when displaying my work

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