A constellation of videos documenting various interspecies collaborations at the Sedgwick Preserve on 7 May 2009.
* Human Animals Move Through the Landscape
Human animals progressing through the prickly, grassy, windy, and steep landscape.
* Galloway Dances
Dancing with the Belted Galloway cows at the Sedgwick Reserve, Patrick the male and the two un-named females.
Hannah and Nathan make overtures towards the three Belted Galloway cows at the Sedgwick Reserve. 7 May 2009.
* Night Sound Collaboration
After prevaricating over whether someone should stay to tend the fire for when we get back, or whether to go and put out the fire, we finally set forth on our night walk. The moon was almost full and drenched the landscape in a strange light, rendering it almost interstellar. We followed the road to the small lagoon. As we walked beside the rushes surrounding the body of water, an energetic movement and rustling erupted from the whole surface of the plants. We began to play, moving around on the road to see when the animals would react to us in their space. We assumed they were birds. After it was over, Hannah said "You guys, this is a true collaboration. The birds were reacting to our actions and we were reacting to theirs." No one was in charge. Also, we were enticed to collaborate by the animals, not vice versa.
My experience with the birds in the reeds has been one of the most moving moments in this class. This class has once again heightened my connection to non-human animals by bringing an awareness of my cohabitant with them. This is why I have started to meet my non-human animal neighbors.
We have discussed the idea of collaboration being a collective of actions that have a result. One example has been the desire paths created by many people who, without formal consent, collaborated in creating a path from one place to another. While we were walking our collaboration with the birds developed in much the same way at first.
While crossing the path by the pond a multitude of birds flew from one end of the reeds to the other. We stopped to listen to the symphony until the musicians settled again and the music died down. Some thought that it had been our noise while walking by the pond that birds were responding to. However I observed that while Nathan walked by the reeds in relative silence they once again took flight. While it is true that the scratching of our feet on the ground caused some commotion I found that walking past a particular part of the pond excited them most. In response to their movement I decided to walk back across the bit of path that had initiated the collaboration. Indeed the birds responded with a grand gesture. I believe it was the vibration of walking through that particular part of the path that they were responding to. For about five more rounds of call and response the birds and I conversed.