Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
"Fear of the Familiar"
By Sara Putman (04/20/10 15:49:11)
As an artist, this article almost makes me feel guilty for owning a "pet," let alone a dog, since it is seen as an "improper animal." Although the argument against the domestication of animals is understandable, especially from an artists point of view, I couldn't imagine my life without my pets who I've grown so close. I believe that by having them close in my life, they have helped me to better understand and respect our differences, as well as seeing the negative effect of projecting similarities like most humans tend to do. The postmodern artist tends to act against making the non-human more human-like.
However, I do agree that it is our selfish nature that has domesticated the animal (dog and cat) in the first place. We have acquired pets in order to give us company and to fulfill our need to care for, yet control them. After all, according to the text, "pets are creatures of their owner's way of life." Postmodern artists fear what "pets" represent because their individual self-image can be seen in the cynical view that having sympathy for pets leads to a perversion of their natural behavior. Therefore, the representative "natural behavior" and "raw environments" are what makes the artist want to make art in the first place.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
"The Human/Dolphin Community"
By Sara Putman (05/10/10 17:04:32)
Related animal: Dolphin

I found Nollman's explanation of co-evolution interesting: "a tenuous first step away from our human role of exploiter to the new role of treating the planet as home and neighborhood." He also points out that everything is connected to everything else, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Even though the world is made up of very different complex species, "all living creatures are remarkably related on the basic level of genes."
It was also interesting when Nollman points out that human kind needs to be realigned with nature by learning something from another species, namely the willing, large-brained dolphins. Animals lead us back to a natural balance, and "the greatest teacher demonstrates for you your own true nature."

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
"The Man Who Talks to Whales" - Nollman's Approach to Animal Collaboration
By Katie Edwards (04/13/13 15:32:31)
Related animals: Dolphin, Human, Lion, Turkey, Whale

In Chapter 1 Nollman states that his relationship with animals has always been different than that of most people. While the other students in his science classes had no problem dissecting animals, sixteen-year-old Nollman took a stand and refused because he strongly believed animals to be equal to humans. He describes a metaphorical pedestal which most humans use to look down upon animals, yet claims they are perfectly capable of the same sentiments we are and should be respected, not belittled. I thought this description of the human-animal relationship as one of man's superiority and animal's subordination was very relatable. Although I love animals and would never wish to cause them harm, I do often treat them as cute little creatures or as pets. I act as if I am their owner rather than their equal. Believing in the possibility of animal communication requires that I stop viewing animals as entertaining or for my enjoyment and instead view them as beings with extremely intelligent and complex minds. I liked the way Nollman suggests that rather than learning about animals we should make an effort to learn from them.

Chapter 4 describes the “protocol” of various human-animal and interspecies relationships. Nollman differentiates between a protocol and a symbiosis, claiming protocol is “a social behavior established between individuals,” while symbiosis is a “physical co-dependency” between species (51-52). I found the example of the lions and the Bushmen to be intriguing. To think that lions and humans could come to a mutual understanding in which neither felt threatened or in danger is astounding. I think of lions as large, intimidating beings, and yet both the lions and the Bushmen were comfortable around each other. They understood when each should go to the watering hole, and how they should go about their daily routines in relation to the other. Once the ranchers were introduced into the scene, however, the relationship completely changed. There was no longer an understanding of how each species should act, and the confusion led to the destruction of what was once an incredible situation.

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"The Man Who Talks to Whales", Ch. 1 & 4 by Jim Nollman
By Raymond Douglas (04/15/13 11:24:34)
Related animals: Cat, Cow, Dog, Dolphin, Grizzly Bear, Human, Turkey, Wolf

In Nollman’s first chapter, I was very impressed with his initial open-mindedness and honesty about personal direction and animal relationships. I was particularly fond of his statement that as we grow away from our youth, our relationship with our animal side diminishes and becomes less familiar. This idea is very poignant to me and I remember vividly being very close to my pets at a very early age in a way that was unspoken and unable to be described. Over the course of my youth at home I became, well, less “spiritually connected” with my pets. Also, Nollman’s interest in participation rather than observation was reassuring and supported my typical set interactions with animals. I was very pleased to read this first chapter mostly because it tells of experiences that I am already open to experiencing--experiences that are not beyond the scope of my artistic focus.

Chapter 4 tells of instances where animals communicate out of the necessity to survive or as to be mutually benefitted from a situation. The lions and the Bushmen and their unspoken scheduling of trips to the water hole signified a deeply respectful instance of interspecies communication. “We are in need of the same resources, we have the possibility of hurting each other immensely, so let us not come into direct confrontation for the betterment of both our communities.” It is beautiful in how seamless and automatic communication can be between two species. For a period of 8 years or so I had a cat and a dog who cohabitated under the same suburban roof. On first contact they scratched and they cried out in defiance, but soon came to an agreement that kept the most peace. Our dog was old and our cat was a fresh addition to the family. At first there was only one pet pillow in the house, our dog’s. Our cat would claim it as his bed several times throughout the day, but our dog would often do the same. After living together for a few months, they seemed to have created a schedule of bed usage to avoid violent confrontation. It was remarkable to watch, but also pleasant to not have to deal with obnoxious pets.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
"The Turkey Trot" and "Interspecies Protocol"
By Danusia Young (04/07/10 17:28:06)
Related animals: Anemone, Clownfish, Lion, Turkey

Both of the chapters from “The Man Who Talks to Whales” by Jim Nollman are very interesting and extremely informative. The main points that he makes about us as human loosing the connection with outside world (nature) and stopping our understand of other species are very attention-grabbing. He points that as children we are more open to the world around us and more willing to listen and observe. Most of children when they are free to play, their first choice is often to flee to the nearest wild place—whether it is a big tree or brushy area in the yard or a watercourse or woodland spot. But some where between childhood and our adult life the connection with nature and other species vanished and the beginning of a long, sad divorce from nature started. Nollman blames our serious lack of interspecies communication and environmental degradation on the science, industrial revolution and deceptive information that we are encircled with. Through his new relationship with the turkey he tries to demonstrate that “the scientists had always been misleading us by perpetuating the delusion of the dumb animal” (14). But as we can read in the first chapter he learned how to communicate with the turkey through his music. It proves that the turkey not only responded to the certain high pitch music notes but after a while was also waiting for his new friend to sit with him. Indisputable, as Nollman indicates, animals create melodies, harmonies, and rhythms that evoke rich emotions and are very sensitivity to surroundings and human species.
Tough, we also crossed our interspecies protocol boundaries (the thin line of understanding, trust and respect that help us to coexist together and share the same environment) there is still a chance to start over. Human have to discover again the reach spiritual union with animals, learned their language and start to live in intimate contact with nature as our ancestors did before. We have to restore the interspecies protocol that once existed between lions and Bushmen.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
"The Turkey Trot" and "Interspecies Protocol"
By Sara Putman (04/20/10 15:45:37)
Related animal: Turkey

Both of Jim Nollman's essays are relatable and forced me to think about my own relationship with animals. In "The Turkey Trot," Nollman's musical communication with animals reminded me of something I experienced as a teen. Our first dog, an Australian Shepherd, started to howl wherever I played the recorder (a plastic flute-type instrument). I had never heard her howl in such a manner before, so I continued to play the instrument to see how she behaved. At that time, I didn't think much about whether she was attempting to communicate or sing along with me. I thought it interesting when Nollman said that "with each passing year the chasm between us humans and the rest of nature grows wider and wider." I agree that the gap widens as one gets older, but during our younger years, we do not realize our connection since society mostly tells us we are above nature.
We expect nature/animals to behave/communicate in the same ways in which human beings do. However, Nollman states that it is a mistake to expect animals to learn to give and receive information "the way that humans do it." We must not only learn about them for our own purposes, but learn from nature/animals in order to understand them on a deeper level.
In "Interspecies Protocol," Nollman asks us to "treat the animals as peers, neighbors, and mentors" as the African Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert had with the lions. Nollman defines Interspecies protocol as a social behavior established between different species. However, the addition of oblivious ranchers and their lack of respect for interspecies (Bushman/lion) protocol put an end to it. Indeed, we need to accept the concept of protocol, we also must accept the idea that animals have individuality and distinct personalities. Protocol may seem to develop into an instinctual symbiotic relationship, yet it would then need to be reexamined for what it is. As the Tao Te Ching says: "the relationship with nature that can be defined is never the real relationship with nature." It is also imperative to realize that language mirrors worldview, as humans are only one of the types of species upon this earth and we should not get the only say in how it should be viewed.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
"Where Humans and Dolphins Meet" and "Communicating Conservation"
By Sara Putman (05/14/10 17:05:07)
Related animal: Dolphin

Toni Frohoff's book lead me to think about the necessary, or even unnecessary, limitations on the way people study animals. How close can the human race get to the animals without negatively encroaching upon their way of life? It is necessary to think about limitations because we need to factor in the evil within the human race, yet those limitations affect the humans who want to help and understand animals. It is sad and frustrating to think about how negatively we humans have both directly and indirectly affected animals and their environment. Therefore, it is difficult to even think about successful solutions in order to create a world in which we do not negatively impact the world around us.
The book reiterated the fact that animals need "rights as individuals under our laws." This makes perfect sense to me since there is a mutual curiosity/relationship between humans and cetaceans according to Frohoff's book. I believe that this could be the starting point in realizing a world in which humans can relate and respect animals. I also found it interesting when the book pointed out that dolphins can respond to humans as if they are dolphins, so this may be important in creating an equal playing field between human and animal.

Resource: Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication (book)

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Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
8 Fear of the Familiar
By Mary Zdybel (04/25/10 23:56:16)
In the essay, “8 Fear of the Familiar,” author Steve Baker argues that postmodern artists and philosophers struggle with the concept of pets because they are contradictory to their thinking. He says that “this engagement with the animal is always a matter of bringing it into meaning. This runs counter, of course, to the way in which postmodernism tends to see itself: as the scourge of anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism and all other tendencies to reduce difference to sameness, the impure to the pure, the inhuman to the human, and the strange to the meaningful.” Although this text was extremely dense and hard for me to swallow, I gathered from it that we are not postmodern in our thinking about animals. Because we feel the need to categorize animals into types, (such as: self, pet, livestock, game, and wild animal) pets get left in an intermediary gray-area social category of man-animal. This connection between man and animal creates a tender subject and emotional relationships are developed. The author mentions that postmodern artists may not exactly have a fear of pets, but more of "what has been called 'anthropomorphobia,' a fear that they may be accused of uncritical sentimentality"As a child I could never even watch a movie that was based on animals because it made me too emotional. For some reason I have always struggles with the idea of animals suffering but watching a horror movie with humans—that doesn't phase me one bit. There is something about the sentimental quality embedded in animals that strikes me emotionally. I feel that this strong connection that I feel toward animals can be very useful in my understanding of other species and in future collaborations.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
After workshop with Barbara Janelle
By Danusia Young (04/19/10 23:44:40)
Related animal: Dog

Our Thursday workshop with Barbara Janelle was very attention-grabbing and motivating. Despite the fact that, I was not successful in few of her exercises I did agree with the main ideas about animal-human communication. Communication with other species presents learning experiences that can help us to understand more the world around us. We can learn so much from the animals about how to live in harmony and balance on the Earth. I agree that if we want to be successful in our communication or relationships with other species first we have to stop thinking about them as less evolved, or less intelligent. Our attitudes have to change. First of all, we have to regard animals with respect, openness and as potential teachers, and this alone will enable us to observe them with a fresh light and open up a source of information from them about who and how they are. When Barbara mentioned that animal can sense our stress and that can change it behavior too, right a way I thought about my dog Max. Some time he can not stop licking his paws obsessively. I was thinking perhaps my stress with school affects him too. I decided to work with him and try to be calmer and relax. Every day after school I played with him and tried very hard not to get angry even when I saw him biting himself. Usually in this kind of situation I will tell him “no, stop biting”, but after listening to Barbara, I lower my voice, tried to come him down, pet and hug him. I have to say that he stopped and focused on his toys. I noticed that the first thing when he sees me, he looks at me as he will try to read my mood. I never realized that before. I think that now I am more aware about his behavior as well as mine own. By trying to stay calm I did not only help Max to stop for while his bad habit but help myself to relax. Every time I sat with him for while I found myself thinking about more positive things. He still tries to bite himself, but I think less frequently. I will continue to work on my body posture and tension when around Max as well as try to be more relax and receptive.

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Other: Speciesism and Animal Rights
all creaturs. org
By Lillian Shanahan (06/07/10 09:08:29)
Related animal: Science Experiment

I just went onto this site and looked under animal rights.

there were so many horrible photos of dead and alive cats that have been experimented on in some one or another.

i just felt really sick- because a lot of these procedures are carried on without anesthesia.

its amazing how cruel human beings can be. We don't just kill for food we torture for no reason.

Related Website: All Creatures
[Write Comment]
Other: Other Related Research
Animals I have known.
By Madison Wanamaker (04/10/13 21:00:11)
Related animals: Bird, Cat, Cow, Dog, Fish, Horse, Hummingbird, Kitten, Lizard, Mice, Pigeon, Possum, Rat, Sea Lion, Tortoise, Turtle

I was asked to write about special memories or connections I have with animals and I realize I have known so many intelligent and unique personalities. Like so many people the first animal I ever loved was my dog. Her name was Ashley and she was a golden retriever. A lot of people will tell you their dogs are smarter then others, but believe me, Ashley was exceptional. She could open ovens and refrigerators, and never needed a leash. My parents and my older brother treated Ashley like she was human. She could sleep inside and ride in the car, I never questioned Ashley's intelligence or worth, she had pictures on the wall, she was part of the family. She died quietly of old age right in front of me. I was five.
Two or three years later we got two new puppies, brittany spaniels named Brittany and Monty. They are tall, beautiful, and loving but not at all smart. Sneaks and Chai, my cats, were actually closer to me than the dogs. We found Sneaks during a family road trip to Utah and he might have been the biggest cat I have ever seen. When he was young he would bring the live animals he caught in through the cat door and let them run around my brother’s room- there were half eaten birds and countless sacrificed opossums, rats, mice, lizards, and sadly one kitten. I loved Sneaks anyway, especially since he tormented my older brother so. We found Chai in a dumpster with cuts on her mouth and face, she was oddly fat with an oddly small head but still cute. She was shy but every once and a while when it was late she would sit on your lap and spend time with you. She always wanted to play with Sneaks but he was obviously annoyed. Sneaks lived to be very old, his coat went from dark black to red orange to grey and he grew so thin you could see every rib. I didn’t see much of him then, I was in college and one day I heard he had not been home in a couple days. The next week Chai left and we have never seen either of them again. It’s hard to lose those you have known you whole life.
Here at college I have a rat named Pickles I adopted from the LA Small Animal Orphanage. She is so smart! I never thought I would know a rat so well. I am lucky to have Pickles because I think about animals a lot and I like having her in my house to talk to and spend time with. She trusts me more then I thought a small animal could trust a human. I see her watching me when I walk around my room and I know she listens to me because she definitely knows what the words “Pickles” and “treats” mean.
I have known so many animals, I rode horses, and volunteered with sea lions, I had fish and a turtle, and spent a lot of time at aquariums and parks. It may be the way my parents treated our animals when I was young, but animals are very important to me and my relationship to them seems different then most people’s around me. I don’t know how people can love their dogs and cats and not think twice about eating a burger because it’s a cow. I hope that my generation, which seems to advertise themselves as more socially and environmentally conscious, will begin the shift to a more respectful relationship with animals.


My old man Sneaks
[Write Comment]
Arctic Dreams Comments
By Rachel Fleming (04/18/14 19:10:17)
-The author wanders around making mental notes of the nature that surrounds him. I can picture the landscape in my head fairly clearly, especially since I make similar observations when I’m out exploring nature…noting the kinds of birds present and what they appear to be doing…focusing on sounds, smells…admiring the presence of nature all around and connections between species.

-I do not think that the observation of wolf “remembering” where it hid its food was accurate. The wolf probably did not rely on visual cues from its landscape. It likely smelled where it was hidden or remembered a smell nearby.

-Liked the question asked by the Eskimo about being able to “see into tomorrow.” The attempted translations of this comment were clever.

-"For hunting peoples, for example, says Levi-Strauss, an animal is held in high totemic regard not merely because it is food and therefore good to eat but because it is "good to think." The animal is "good to imagine." – I like this idea. Amazing how there are ideas in other cultures and languages that we have no words for in English.

-Interesting how accurately the eskimo drew a map of the area! Also interesting is how they could not imagine being detached from the natural landscape

-“The aspiration of aboriginal people throughout the world has been to achieve a congruent relationship with the land, to fit well in it.” This is definitely an idea that would have sounded shocking to the first white American settlers, who believed wild land to be mysterious, evil, and in need of human taming.

[Write Comment]
Other: Art Related to Animal Rights
Artist Animal (Post-humanities)
By Raymond Douglas (06/09/13 17:15:15)
Related animals: Fish, Human, Rat

1. What does Steve Baker think of Randy Malamud and others who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical?

He thinks that each case needs to be considered separately. Without doing so, the true differences between collaborators and users will be confused.

2. According to Baker, what is the issue with looking at the ethical issues of an artwork before making a proper reading of it?

Those things that may appear not very ethical at first could very well be something that requires a deeper discussion to understand. From the last answer, each case will remain different and will need its own steps to understanding.

3. What is some of Baker’s criticism of the Rat Piece and Helena?

In this case, he strongly thinks that the rat is being used as a tool. Typically, collaboration extends something positive to all parties involved, but here we lose one of the collaborators. Therefore, it was outright unethical.

4. Is Baker defending the Rat Piece and Helena? How/why?

Despite the unfortunate death of these animals they have brought up a larger discussion, which may eliminate such events from happening in the future. They bring a bad light to other artistic gestures that utilize animals in negative ways.

5. According to Baker, can we trust artists to work with/use animals?

For interspecies collaborations we must despite those few who exploit the lives of animals.

6. Do you think artists have ethical responsibilities? Why/why not? What are those ethical responsibilities in regards to working with animals?

I think all artists have ethical responsibilities to all external, living entities. Ethical responsibilities within their own body are a different discussion. Though, it is our duty as artists to respect and attempt to enrich the lives of all animals they work with. Artists are meant to collaborate, not exploit. And collaboration is meant to enrich, not destroy.

7. What does Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter mean when she says it is impossible to ask if it is ethical to use animals in art without also asking if it is ethical to use them in science and for food? Do you agree/disagree?

Bryndis is concerned with art being just as important as science. Also, Bryndis believes that the two should be subject to the same standards and ethical rules. While I agree for the most part, I think they are two different fields. Art should have considerably more strict rules in place for the treatment of animals. Science should as well, but in cases where several animals may be sacrificed for the greater good of the species or another species (humans) then I think the slightly different treatment is persmissible.

Artist Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Artist Animal: The Ethical Implications of Making Art with Animals
By Katie Edwards (05/16/13 16:20:10)
In Steve Baker's “Artist | Animal” excerpt, the issue of artists putting their aesthetic or creative endeavors before the humane treatment of animals is discussed through analysis of various artworks/performances and critic responses to such works. Baker attempts to discuss these works in a manner which does not belittle the artist or compromise the validity of their work while simultaneously expressing concern for the wellbeing of the animals involved. He claims one must “engage” with a work before entirely dismissing it, even if it initially appears cruel or unethical. Rather than assume that all artists are incapable of creating respectful art with animals, Baker suggests we should trust them until given reason to believe they are unworthy of such responsibility.

Baker cites Randy Malamud in his discussion of animal harm via art, stating Malamud refuses to look at the artwork itself and instead focus solely on the question of ethics. Like other critics, Malamud is skeptical of artists and does not trust them to treat animals humanely in their works. Baker encourages people to consider both the moral implications of the work as well as the pieces as serious artistic practices.

Kim Jones' Rat Piece and Marco Evaristii's Helena are examples of works which Baker attempts to explore in terms of the value of human and animal life. While he does not outright condemn Jones for burning three innocent rats and having inconsistent statements about why he would do such a thing in later interviews, Baker clearly does not encourage such practices. He recognizes that Jones intended for the piece to be metaphorical of his personal experiences in Vietnam, yet has difficulty defining whether or not it was too sensational to be artwork. Similarly in his analysis of Helena, Baker tries to understand the value of an animal life in the hands of a human audience. Evaristii claims he simply gave people the option of turning the blenders on and therefore killing the goldfish, but that he did not force them to do so. This issue of audience participation or intervention is intriguing to me—the way people act in a group setting or while watching an art performance is often different than they would act on their own or in a typical setting. However, Baker argues that both pieces lack an interest in nonhuman life, and that the works did not alleviate the conditions of the animals but rather use them as a way to convey strictly human death/emotion.

I think artists should have ethical responsibilities while working with animals, just as everyone should have a certain level of respect for animals in their every day lives. I do not think it is acceptable to endanger the life of an animal or treat it as a material for the sake of creating an art piece. I struggle to think of any aesthetic purpose that would be powerful enough or convince me to mistreat a nonhuman creature. Artists have an obligation to create things which will inspire others or serve some emotional purpose to them or their viewer, not to create sensational performances which draw audiences in to view horrific events disguised as “works of art”. I understand that artists should have a certain degree of freedom to express themselves, but I draw the line at abusing other species for such a purpose.

[Write Comment]
Baker and Kusot/Moore readings
By Kyle Leighton (05/19/14 00:21:23)
Baker believes that Malamud's critical view on ethics regarding artists is unnecessary, and explains how although scholars such as Pluto have stated the artists lack ethics, he still feels as though artists should be left to incorporate animals with trust that they will use "integrity" in their ethical behavior and actions with the animals.
Baker states that looking at the ethics of the art before immersing one's attention in the art itself will disable viewers to take the art seriously, possibly disallowing potential "contributions to understanding human-animal relations".
Baker is critical of the Rat Piece in the sense that it called upon questions of value in an area where these questions had already been answered, however, Baker also falls back to claiming how scientists refered to the artist as 'perverted', and that this in a sense disallowed people to see what Jones was really trying to convey.
Baker is defending the Rat Piece in a way, because his philosophy of viewing the art before judging the artists ethics takes roll in this art piece. He believes that Jones has a message about the nonintervening audience and humanity that cannot be understood with the criticism of animal ethics.
Baker thinks that we can trust artists with ethical responsibilities, partly because we have to, because artists contribute ideas to society that can only be heard by the audience trusting the artist.
I agree with baker that we must trust the ethics of the artist, however, I do believe that lines must be drawn and that animal cruelty shouldn't have a place in the world of art.

The Bee text brings up interesting issues regarding the science behind the importance of bees, and how this has caused society to understand the cultural importance of their existence. The text explains how present day artists who use live bees in their art are exploring a species and idea that humans depend on, as well as the entire ecosystem.

Artist Animal (Book) Bees Making Art: Insect Aesthetics and the Ecological Moment (Article) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Relationships
Baker Discussion 4/20
By Serena Zahler Andrea Chase (04/21/10 17:26:39)
1. Why might postmodern artists have a “fear of pets”?
Pets are a man-made construct in the sense that man has forcibly changed the natural characteristic and behavior of an animal for it to be called a pet. This means that pets are creatures of their owners way of life and do not act out of their own volition or instinct. Such appropriation of character strikes fear into artists who “despise in the expectations of an unimaginative psychoanalysis [of family loyalty and obedience].”
2. Why might post-modernity favor wild animals?
Post modernity has certain characteristics that strongly correlate positivism with freedom. An obedient animal, forged into a different lifestyle choice and stripped from right to behave instinctually, represents the opposite of freedom of choice and behavior. Therefore postmodern artists have chosen to “lash out at domesticity and propriety as safe and mediocre.” Wild animals represent the unrestrained, the unbridled, the creative, as well as the independent- a much more suitable and romantic cause to support for artists striving to behave the same way.
3. What are some of the inconsistencies in the foundation of post-moderisms “fear of the familiar”?
Artists have been striving to break from familiarity for centuries. Yet art as a means of expressing that which is supposed to be unbridled has, in doing so, domesticated that which was free. By putting work in a gallery, artists play into the so-called “domestication” of their own pieces that were originally meant to break free of any societal standards.
4. What are some similarities between postmodern artists/writers and animal advocacy?
Both kinds of people hope to ultimately expand natural capacity for humans to express compassion for animals. There is also an agreement that humans need to be empathetic to animals living in a “human” world. By putting themselves in a state that has proper ethical behavior toward nonhumans, humans can embrace a kind of “joyfulness [through] an embracing of possibility.” They would both also believe that to stifle the freedom of an animal is unfair, therefore “wild would be the epitome of healthy creativity.” Needless to say any type of abuse, neglect, suffering, or affliction would be entirely uncalled for and immoral.
5. How might sexism play a role in fear of the familiar and the sentimental?
In fearing the familiar such as pets, humans polarize the subject in order to distance themselves from what they fear. Thus, like in sexism man and woman are polarized to the detriment of women. Humans and animals are opposed (to the disadvantage of the animal) because they are of lower status.
6. What does love have to do with knowledge?
An example of love and knowledge is explained on page 184 in which it is theorized that those living in the rural countryside have a more authentically direct relationship with animals, while those living in urban environments only have animal experiences as pets. “Knowledge of pets, in this view, is seen as a lesser, inferior knowledge to that of farm or wild animals.” Love that is associated with pet animals clouds the human’s knowledge of animals, but those who have experience with working animals and/or wild animals due to their geographic location have a healthier knowledge not based in emotion.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Related to Animal Rights
Baker response
By Marissa Gravett (05/07/13 19:45:06)

1. What does Steve Baker think of Randy Malamud and others who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical?
Baker believes that all pieces involving animals should not be criticized in one category. They should instead be looked at and criticized as individual pieces. There are different extremes to art dealing with animals and some may be more non-ethical than others.

2. According to Baker, what is the issue with looking at the ethical issues of an artwork before making a proper reading of it?
In the case of Rat Piece, the artist had an underlying meaning of dealing with the issues of US soldier deaths. Unfortunately, the actual performance is such a shocking sight to see, that most of the audience would focus only on the non-ethical issue of the piece and would totally overlook the actual meaning of the piece. Baker argues that the audience needs to understand that the artist had a deeper meaning than just burning rats for pleasure. The audience’s first reaction is disgust and they fail to see the artist’s true intentions.

3. What is some of Baker's criticism of the Rat Piece and Helena?
Baker believes that Rat Piece is a very alarming piece. It evokes reactions out of people that other art pieces do not. Even so, he still considers both of these pieces to be art simply because the artists believes that they are art.

4. Is Baker defending the Rat Piece and Helena? How/Why?
Yes, he is defending these pieces because he says that people are too quick to judge the ethics, but he sees the pieces for their true meanings and for the power that they have on the audience.

5. According to Baker, can we trust artist to work with/use animals?
Yes, we have to be able to trust them. Most artists obey the unspoken respect for animals. There are only a few that do not. If we did not trust them, we would not be able to open our minds to the ideas that they are trying to convey by using animals.

6. Do you think artist have ethical responsibilities? Why/why not? What are those ethical responsibilities in regards to working with animals?
I believe that artists should have ethical responsibilities. I understand that the point of art is to make people feel something, but I also think that there are ways to convey these powerful ideas in a way that doesn’t involve brutally torturing animals. I believe that artists need to have respect for their audience and respect for their materials (the animals). People are more drawn to art when it follows morals. It would be very difficult to put these responsibilities on artists who tend to break the rules to make their art unique.

7. What does Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter mean when she says it is impossible to ask if it is ethical to use animals in art without also asking if it is ethical to use them in science and for food? Do you agree/disagree?
This is a very difficult question for me to answer. As a meat eater, and a believer of using animals in scientific research, I still believe that harming animals for art is not necessary. Where as animal research and animals as food benefit us in a way that advances our scientific world and nourishes our body, killing animals in art is not the same. Although it does expand the mind of the individual as they reflect on the piece, it is not necessarily a positive benefit to society. I believe that the uses for animals that she speaks of should not be held on the same level of ethics.

Artist Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Other Related Research
Ball Python
By Chelsea Hunter (05/13/09 17:39:57)
Related animal: Ball Python

Adults generally do not grow to more than 90-120 cm (3-4 feet) in length,[2] although some specimens have reached 152 cm and even 182 cm (5-6 feet), but this is very rare. [4] Females tend to be slightly bigger than males maturing at an average of 4-4.5 feet. Males usually average around 3-3.5 feet. [5]The build is stocky[2] while the head is relatively small. The scales are smooth[4] and both sexes have anal spurs on either side of the vent, although males have larger spurs.[6]

The color pattern is typically black with light brown or gold sides and dorsal blotches. The belly is a white or cream that may or may not include scattered black markings.[4] However, those in the pet industries have, through selective breeding, developed many morphs: genetic mutations with altered colors and patterns.[7]

[edit] Common names

Royal python, ball python.[2]

The name ball python refers to the animal's tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened.[8] The name royal python (from the Latin "regius") is based in part on the story that Cleopatra supposedly wore the snake around her wrist.

[edit] Geographic range

Found in Africa from Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Niger and Nigeria through Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic to Sudan and Uganda. No type locality was given in the original description.[1]

[edit] Habitat

Prefers grasslands, savannahs and sparsely wooded areas.[2]

[edit] Behavior

This terrestrial species is known for its defense strategy that involves coiling into a tight ball when threatened, with its head and neck tucked away in the middle. In this state, it can literally be rolled around. Favored retreats include mammal burrows and other underground hiding places where they also aestivate.[2]

[edit] Feeding

In the wild, the diet consists mostly of small mammals, such as African soft-furred rats, shrews and striped mice. Younger individuals have also been known to feed on birds. Captives usually do well on domestic rats and mice, either live, pre-killed, or frozen-thawed.[4] The size of the prey item should be equivalent to or slightly larger than the width of the largest part of their body. This python is known for being a picky eater and may not eat for months, particularly during the winter breeding season. While this is not odd, care should be taken to watch that the snake does not experience significant weight loss. [9]

[edit] Reproduction

Oviparous, with anywhere from 3-11 rather large eggs being laid (4-6 being most common).[4] These are incubated by the female underground and hatch after 90 days.[2] Sexual maturity is reached at 12-18 months for males, 24-36 months for females. Age is only one factor in determining sexual maturity and ability to breed -- weight is the second factor. Males should be no less than 900g (2.0 lbs.) to breed, and females should be no less than 1500 g (3.3 lbs.).[4]

[edit] Captivity

Due to their smaller size compared to other pythons and commonly docile temperament, these snakes are bred in captivity and have become popular as pets.[10] Juveniles tend to be more aggressive at first, but typically calm down as they get used to human contact. Wild-caught specimens have greater difficulty adapting to a captive environment, which can result in refusal to feed and parasitic infection. Specimens have survived for over 40 years in captivity.[11]

[Write Comment]
Being a Mermaid
By Sinead Kennedy (06/04/09 01:01:50)
I had a hard time trying to show others how I feel while diving. It's a unique, free feeling, while also feeling part of this completely different world from the terrestrial one we are used to living our everyday lives on. It is said that there is more known about Earth's moon than is known about the ocean. It is mysterious and beautiful, and there is something about the ocean as a whole that expresses itself as one being to me. sometimes I feel like the ocean is a large, spread out soul that has sort of accepted me into its layer. I then have the feeling that the marine life also accepts me, as the ocean is sort of like the all-knowing sage of the world.

I came across this video, and really enjoyed it, as it very accurately depicts how I feel while diving in the ocean.

[Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Black Bear
By leona chen (04/29/09 21:40:13)
Related animal: Bear

(This is on the powerpoint that I will present in class)
The black bear
Vocalizations & Body Language

• Black bears use sounds, body language, and scent-marking to express their emotions of the moment.
• Amiable sounds are grunts and tongue clicks used by mothers concerned for their cubs and by bears approaching other bears to mate or play. Cubs make a motor-like pulsing hum when they nurse or are especially comfortable.
• Black Bear sounds
Human/Bear Communication
Bears convey information through a diverse range of body language, vocalizations and odor signals. People often interpret what a bear does in terms of their own fear. To truly understand bear behavior, you must interpret bear postures and vocalizations in terms of what the bear fears.

Bears communicate by seeing, touching, vocalizing and smelling. Bears speak a language of dominance or submission; and of aggression or solicitation. They react to people in the same way they would react to another bear.

They communicate with grunts, by expelling air in different ways, or with a resonant "voice". Bears use the same vocalizations and body language toward people that they do toward each other, and knowing those sounds can help people react appropriately to bears they encounter.

A bear's body posture can communicate its mood
• Walking, running, sitting and lying down are actions conveying the bear is subordinate to another bear or person. The bear is saying it does not want to fight for dominance.

• He may look away, yawning with feigning disinterest. He may exhibit "ignoring" behavior - standing motionless or perhaps grazing, indicating he has no intentions and just wants to be left alone.

• A bear may lunge suddenly toward a threat, and slap at the ground or surrounding vegetation. The interpretation of this behavior is merely a bluff that means the bear feels nervous and apprehensive, but for some reason is reluctant to leave.

• When a black bear climbs a tree, it is showing its submission.

• A bear may sit down or move away to show respect.

One idea for helping the process of collaboration is the method of Power animals. I feel that Power Animals can help us engage at a spiritual level instead of a physical level with the animals. This idea was cited in the animal communicator: Barbara's packet that she passed out to us. The book was "Animal Speak". I found discovered this not by Barbara but through looking on the web for Black Bear folklore's. It is a very interesting approach in the selection process of what animal to collaborate with.

Power Animals
• Shamans believe that everyone has power animals - animal spirits which reside with each individual adding to their power and protecting them from illness, acting similarly to a guardian angel.
• In the shamanic belief every thing is alive and carries with it power and wisdom.

• Power animal, is a broadly animistic and shamanic concept that has entered the English language from Anthropology, Ethnography and Sociology.
• The spirit also lends you the wisdom of its kind. A bear spirit will give you bear wisdom, and lend you some of the attributes of bear.

How to Find Your Power Animal
Step 1
• Find your power animal pro-actively by asking the animal spirits for a dream. Then rest and let the power animal find you. Don’t dismiss smaller animals such as mice or even insects. Animals have their own unique strengths. You may want to keep a journal beside your bed and make note of recurring dreams in which an animal or some form of an animal appears again.
Step 2
• Notice the things in nature that you are continually drawn to. Power animals may guide your senses and attention to certain elements, natural sites or geographical phenomena that are reminiscent of or peculiar to a certain animal. If you are repeatedly captivated by nests, burrows or snow, for example, let the animal world communicate itself to you.
Step 3
• Take time during the day to relax, close your eyes and breathe. Power animals frequently make themselves known to us when we are conscious as well as when we are asleep. Be receptive to visions through meditation. In your calm state, imagine a situation where you move out of your personal space such as your home and enter into an unknown but nonthreatening and quiet natural space such as a field or a cave.

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Other: Other Related Research
By Shanti Harris (04/30/09 08:04:09)
Related animal: Bobcat

Physical Description:

The Bobcat or "Lynx Rufus" is approximately twice the size of a domestic house cat. The weight of a female bobcat is about 20lbs and 30lbs for males. Their fur ranges in color (brown/grey, reddish/brown) and contains multiple spots and dark lines/patches. It's tail is short with a black tip and bobbed, hence the name "bobcat."


Bobcats rely on their keen sight and hearing senses to capture their prey (rabbits, deer, mice, birds, squirrels, insects, rodents, fish).

Their sense of smell is not as strong as their sight and hearing senses.


They mark their territory with debris, dirt, markings, scratches and their own scents. Caves, rocky shelters, thickets, hollowed logs are used as shelter and protection from weather.

Bobcats are solitary animals and very territorial. Female territory size is about 6 square miles. Female bobcats do not share their territory with one another. Males however, will overlap their territory, which spans about 30 square miles.


1) The hind leg foot-prints of the bobcat lie directly on top of its front feet footprints. Their trail as a result, looks similar to a trail left by a two-legged animal.

2) Bobcats feel their prey with their whiskers, similar to the way other animals sense their environment and food with their fingertips.

3) They cover large prey animals such as deer, with leaves, dirt, tree branches and debris to "store" until they return the next day/night to feed.

4) The bobcat's growl/call sounds similar to that of a mountain lion.

5) In captivity, bobcat's can live to be over 20 years. They live to be about 12 years old in the wild.

6) Bobcats are nocturnal and hunt mostly at night

7) They are great swimmers and enjoy the water more than most feline species.






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Bottlenose Dolphin
By Jeff Marsch (05/18/09 12:55:10)
Related animal: Dolphin


The bottlenose dolphin normally lives in small groups, usually containing up to 15 animals. However, group size may be highly variable since they live in fission-fusion societies within which individuals associate in small groups that change in composition, often on a daily or hourly basis. Typically, a group of adult females and their young live together in a pod, and juveniles in a mixed pod. Several of these pods can join together to form larger groups of 100 dolphins or more. These groups can occasionally exceed 1000 dolphins. Males live mostly alone or in groups of 2-3 and join the pods for short periods of time.

Bottlenose dolphins studied by researchers of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI off the island of Sardinia show non-random social behaviour during feeding activities and their social behaviour differs depending on the feeding activity in which they are engaged. In Sardinia, the presence of a floating marine fin-fish farm has been linked to a change in bottlenose dolphin distribution as a result of high fish density around the floating cages in the farming area.

The species sometimes shows curiosity towards humans in or near water. Occasionally, bottlenose dolphins have rescued injured divers by raising them to the surface. This is similar to behaviour they show towards injured members of their own species. In November 2004, a more dramatic report of dolphin intervention came from New Zealand. Four lifeguards, swimming 100 m (328 ft) off the coast near Whangarei, were approached by a shark (reportedly a Great White Shark). A group of bottlenose dolphins, most likely sensing danger to the swimmers, herded them together and tightly surrounded them for forty minutes, preventing an attack from the shark, as they returned to shore.

Dolphins have also been documented exhibiting altruistic behaviour toward other sea creatures. On Mahia Beach, New Zealand on March 10, 2008 two Pygmy Sperm Whales — a female and calf — became stranded on the beach. Rescuers, including Department of Conservation officer Malcolm Smith, attempted to refloat the whales, however their efforts failed four times. Shortly before the whales were to be euthanized a playful bottlenose dolphin known to local residents as Moko arrived and, after seemingly communicating with the whales, led them 200 meters along a sandbar to the open sea.

The bottlenose dolphin is a predator however, and it also often shows aggressive behaviour. This includes fights among males for rank and access to females, as well as aggression towards sharks, certain Orcas, and other smaller species of dolphins. During the mating season male dolphins compete vigorously with each other through displays of toughness and size with a series of acts such as head-butting. At least one population, off Scotland, has been observed to practice infanticide, and has also been filmed attacking and killing Harbour Porpoises. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have discovered that the local bottlenose dolphins attack and kill Harbour Porpoises without eating them due to competition for a decreasing food supply.

The bottlenose dolphin sometimes forms mixed species groups with certain other species from the dolphin family, particularly larger species such as the Short-finned Pilot Whale, the False Killer Whale and Risso's Dolphin. Interactions with smaller species, such as the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and the Rough-toothed Dolphin, also occur in wild. While interactions with smaller species are sometimes afffiliative, they can also be aggressive.


The bottlenose dolphin's diet consists mainly of small fish and squid.

Communication & Sense:

The dolphin's search for food is aided by a form of echolocation similar to sonar: they locate objects by producing sounds and listening for the echo. A broadband burst pulse of clicking sounds is emitted in a focused beam in front of the dolphin. To hear the returning echo they have two small ear openings behind the eyes but most sound waves are transmitted to the inner ear through the lower jaw. As the object of interest is approached the echo grows louder, and the dolphins adjust by decreasing the intensity of the emitted sounds. (This is in contrast to the technique used by bat echolocation and artificial sonar where the sensitivity of the sound receptor is attenuated.) As the animal approaches the target the interclick interval also decreases, as each click is usually produced after the round-trip travel time of the previous click is completed. Details of the dolphin's echolocation, such as signal strength, spectral qualities, and discrimination abilities have been well-investigated by researchers. Bottlenose dolphins are able to extract shape information from their echolocative sense, suggesting that they are able to form an "echoic image" of their targets.

Dolphins also have sharp eyesight. The eyes are located at the sides of the head and have a tapetum lucidum, or reflecting membrane at the back of the retina, which aids vision in dim light. Their horseshoe-shaped double-slit pupil enables the dolphin to have good vision both in air and underwater, despite the different densities of these media. When underwater the eyeball's lens serves to focus light, whereas in the in-air environment the typically bright light serves to contract the specialized pupil, resulting in sharpness from a smaller aperture (similar to a pinhole camera).

By contrast their sense of smell is poor, as would be expected since the blowhole, the analogue to the nose, is closed in the underwater environment, and opens only voluntarily for breathing. The olfactory nerves as well as the olfactory lobe in the brain are missing. Bottlenose dolphins are able to detect salty, sweet, bitter (quinine sulphate), and sour (citric acid) tastes, but this has not been well-studied. Anecdotally, some animals in captivity have been noted to have preferences for food fish types although it is not clear that this preference is mediated by taste.

Bottlenose dolphins communicate with one another through squeaks, whistles, and body language. Examples of body language include leaping out of the water, snapping jaws, slapping tails on the surface of the water, and butting heads with one another. All of these gestures are a way for the dolphins to convey messages. The sounds and gestures that bottlenose dolphins produce help keep track of other dolphins in the group and alert other dolphins to possible dangers and nearby food. They produce sounds using six air sacs near their blow hole (they lack vocal cords). Each animal has a characteristic frequency-modulated narrow-band signature vocalization (signature whistle) which is uniquely identifying. Other communication uses about 30 distinguishable sounds, and although famously proposed by John Lilly in the 1950s, a "dolphin language" has not been found. However, Herman, Richards, & Wolz demonstrated the comprehension of an artificial language by two bottlenose dolphins (named Akeakamai and Phoenix) in the period of skepticism toward animal language following Herbert Terrace's critique.


Cognitive abilities investigated in the dolphin include concept formation, sensory skills, and the use of mental representation of dolphins. Such research has been ongoing from the 1970s. This includes:

* acoustic and behavioral mimicry
* comprehension of novel sequences in an artificial language
* memory
* monitoring of self behaviors
* discrimination and matching
* comprehension of symbols for various body parts
* comprehension of the pointing gesture and gaze (as made by dolphins or humans)
* mirror self-recognition

Recent research has shown that bottlenose dolphins are capable of comprehending numerical values. In an experiment where a dolphin was shown two panels with a various number of dots of different size and position, the dolphin was able to touch the panel with a greater number of dots.

Interaction with humans:

Dolphins have been made to collaborate with humans for a wide variety of commercial and military means throughout the 20th and 21st century. They have also grown to voluntarily interact with humans in the wild. A common instance if such collaboration is playing with surfers near the beach.

In the town of Laguna in south Brazil, a pod of bottlenose dolphins is known to drive fish towards fishermen who stand at the beach in shallow waters. One dolphin will then roll over, which the fishermen take as a sign to throw out their nets. The dolphins feed on the escaping fish. The dolphins were not trained for this behaviour; the collaboration has been going on at least since 1847. Similar cooperative fisheries also exist in Mauritania, Africa.

In the military (actually interesting):


[Write Comment]

Comment by marschj (05/18/09 23:07:16):
Comment by marschj (05/18/09 23:06:07):
Brush Rabbit Research
By Stephanie Vasquez (05/18/09 18:41:34)
Related animal: Rabbit

*Physical Description:
It is smaller than other cottontail rabbits. Their tail underside tends to be grey instead of white. Fur color varies from light brown to grey. Adult brush rabbits grow to be about 10-14 inches long. Weight is about 2 lbs.

They rely strongly on scent, not sound, for communication. When frightened, they may let out loud calls (or "squeals"). Specific alarm calls have been identified in some rabbits.

Tend to be very timid when leaving their brush cover and rarely tread on large, open spaces. When they do approach any open areas, they may remain motionless for some time to watch for any danger. When they sense they are in danger, they may run in a zig-zag pattern until they reach protection from brush cover. Most of them are solitary and independent, and do not get very close to each other unless they are mating, or feeding their young. They typically have a comfort zone of about 1-24 ft away from one another.

Feeds mainly on grasses and sometimes berries.

- Coyote
- Grey Fox
- Owl
- Crow
- Snakes
- Cougar
- Bobcat

*Other Facts:
- Although their life expectancy may reach up to 8 years, they only live for about 1 year on average.
- It often lies in the sun in the morning, particularly following heavy rain or fog, also on sunny afternoons after morning rain.



[Write Comment]
California Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi: Preliminary Research
By Masha Lifshin (04/30/09 08:26:40)
Related animal: Ground Squirrel

This species of ground squirrel is in the suslik genus, and shares a family with marmots and prairie dogs. The ground squirrels live in holes they burrow through the ground, sometimes singly and sometimes communally, over generations. The tunnels are 4-5 inches in diameter and can be hundreds of feet in length with tens of openings. Squirrels spend most of their lives within 150 feet of the burrows. Ground squirrels enjoy sun bathing, dust bathing, and grooming as well as the vigilant standing position they are well known for.

It is fascinating that ground squirrels are the first and only animal we know about, as of August, 2007, that communicates by infrared. They do this as part of their ongoing, surprisingly fierce defense against snakes, with whom they have co-evolved in California for at least 10-12 million years. When rattlesnakes evolved venom, the ground squirrels evolved anti-venom in the form of a blood protein present in adults. Ground squirrel pups, however, are vulnerable, so the mother chews on shed rattlesnake skins to transfer the scent to herself and her pups by licking. Studies show that this practice decreases the likelihood of detection by rattlesnakes. Ground squirrels also confront snakes, will throw dirt and debris, and can bite and swipe at snakes' tails. Despite all this, studies have suggested that a rattlesnake diet is 70% ground squirrel pup. Burrowing owls are also entertwined in an ecological relationship with ground squirrels and rattlesnakes. Burrowing owls, who actually don't burrow but depend on ground squirrel holes for shelter, imitate the sound of a rattlesnake to scare ground squirrels and other threats away from the appropriated holes. It is one of the few examples of an auditory imitation of a dangerous/venomous animal.

A potential avenue for collaboration with ground squirrels is their prolific digging behavior, which could allow for a collaborative earth works piece. Another the potential for built environments suited to their particular sunning and bathing behaviors. Also, squirrels communicate with each other through vocalizations, so sound and auditory projects are a possibility. And of course it would be exciting to attempt to communicate with the squirrels by infrared. In general, the research into their behavior with rattlesnakes suggests that ground squirrels are fearless, even risk takers, and have the potential to be dynamic collaborators.




Squirrel Has Hot Tail To Tell Snakes: Its Infrared Glow Keeps Rattlesnakes Away

Smelly Squirrels Fool Hungry Snakes

The Best of Enemies

California Ground Squirrel Info

(A curiosity) First Western zoological identification of 'Beechey's Marmot'

Video Resources
Ground Squirrels Repel Gopher Snake

Ground Squirre Stock Footage

The Living Desert (1953), Round Tailed Ground Squirrel Edition

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Other: Interspecies Relationships
Cats of IV
By Madison Wanamaker (04/21/13 19:23:19)
Related animals: Cat, Human

Since the beginning of the course I have tried to be more aware of the animals I meet each day. In doing so I have recently noticed that there is an ever growing number of cats that come by my house. I don't know if it is some kind of underground cat hang out or what, but the lives and travels of these cats become more and more interesting if you stop and take notice. At first it was just the orange cat, known as Orange Kitty, who later wore a collar bearing the name Adonus. Orange Kitty was always at the house and let everyone pet him. It was because of him that we started buying cat food and leaving water bowls out. Orange Kitty's arch rival is Sparkle Glitter Pants. Sparkle Glitter Pants is your typical princess cat, white and fluffy. The two hiss and fight every time they see one another. After a month or so of living here I meet the BBC or Baby Black Cat. The BBC is shy and almost never sits or lays down inside, she just eats and leaves... typical. There is another bigger black cat but we almost never see her and if we do we confuse it fir the BBC.
About a month ago we meet Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger is an obese calico who has adopted us. She loves being pet and hasn't really left since the first day she came over. Sometimes she sleeps in my room, it is so nice to have a cuddly cat around! I have formed the closest relationship with Cheeseburger. There is also Cheese Cake, a fluffy and less portly calico who also goes by Sparkle Burger because she looks like Sparkle Glitter Pant's and Cheeseburger's baby.
So all together there are 6 cats coming to eat and hang out at my house; Orange Kitty, Sparkle Glitter Pants, Baby Black Cat, Big Black Cat, Cheeseburger, and Cheesecake. I am really glad that there are cats around because I enjoy their company, but sometimes I worry that they might be at risk of being hit by a car or bothered by drunk people. So far all the cats seem happy to be free to roam. I am going to begin tracking the schedules of the cats to see if they come by at similar times each day, and if they have relationships with one another.

Cheese Cake/ Sparkle Burger



Orange Kitty
[Write Comment]

Comment by caitling (06/09/13 23:00:48):
I love that you also have a relationship with the cats in Isla Vista, I also get visits from Cheesecake but she only comes in the house when Bubba isn't around because Bubba will try to fight them. It is difficult to tell if he is trying to fight or play with them, I think it usually starts out as playing but then he ends up getting too aggressive and then she runs away. The cats must know each other and have a relationship I have seen my cat play with the other ones, I bet they go on adventures together around Isla Vista. I have never see the BBC but she does look similar to m cat bubba. I appreciate that you leave food out for the cats, sometime I worry when I leave Bubba out over night but its comforting to know that he has food and water.
Other: Other Related Research
Cats of IV Continued
By Madison Wanamaker (04/29/13 00:53:40)
Related animals: Cat, Human

Continuing with my earlier research recording the local cats of Isla Vista, I have begun to photograph and record the time and day each cat comes to the house. Previously I had identified 6 cats who frequent the house in Isla Vista- Orange Kitty, Sparkle Glitter Pants, Baby Black Cat, Big Black Cat, Cheeseburger, and Cheesecake. Of the 6 I had photographs of 2, but was lucky enough to get to spend time with BBC on Friday and snapped some pictures.
BBC, like many of the other cats I have met here, is extremely wary of his/her surroundings. The majority of cats I personally have known exuded confidence around people. Maybe these house cats had never experienced life threatening situations, maybe they had no reason to distrust us. Either way a majority of the cats I have meet in Isla Vista appear to distrust humans, and I imagine it stems from a traumatic relationship with the rambunctious locals.
In an effort to try and "map" the physical and social goings-ons of the cat world of Isla Vista I will continue to photograph my encounters with local cats and record their relationships to the house and to each other.

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Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Chapter 1 and Chapter 4
By Mark Linggi (04/07/10 20:25:24)
Related animal: Whale

Chapter 1

It took me two days to read this first chapter. Not that I am a poor reader or anything, but it was through pure annoyance and frustration that I could not read past the first three pages. Its actually a funny thing really because I completely agree with almost everything mentioned within the book -- the perspective that needs to be taken on interacting with animals, the personal relationships, the mutual respect. However, it was the naive proclamations of the scientific world that drove me to stop reading before I could complete the third page.

"Instead, I was always left with bewildering impression that humans thought that animals were some kind of biological machine, devoid of emotions, intellect, and independence. And to my impressionable sixteen-year-old mind, a zoologist was a person who captured animals, or who kept animals at a zoo, or tortured them in laboratories."

Us zoologists cannot and should not be clumped into a stereotypical category. Just how you don't base things off of gender, race, or age, you should not lump all of us zoologists into the same category. We are simply not these killing "machines" that dissect animals for the pure selfish reason of benefiting our knowledge. If this statement, people like Jane Goodall, such an inspirational zoologist, is lumped into this category. Yet I know of none of her studies involving mercilessly killing chimpanzees for the personal benefit. Instead, she studied chimpanzees through observing them and brought great global conscious to our closest relative. As a scientist, she did exactly what Nollman said that zoologists do not do. Furthermore, us zoologists do not cast a degrading gaze towards our fellow species. We do not see animals as "dumb" animals. In fact, I know of no serious zoologist who has ever spoke of any animal without great sincerity and the utmost respect for them. Just today, my herpetology professor repeated a phrase that he has been saying since the beginning of class -- "As you can see amphibians and reptiles are far from primitive." I believe that us zoologists place the same value of animals as they would on any other human life.

I took great offense to what this book had to say about me and what I study. I see animals in the exact same way that he does. Like him, I wholeheartedly believe that each animal should be seen with great respect and should be seen as individuals. I not only study animals, but I also "learn from them." But to condemn scientists is not the right pursuit for the benefit of species. If I had such a demoralizing, why the hell would I want to spend my time studying something I don't respect? There are corporations who would rather have economic gain and exploitation of resources that completely destroy the animals and belittle their beings.

"If zoology were a religion, then anthropomorphism would be its mortal sin."

HA! I guess if I am a sinner in my own religion.

Chapter 4

This chapter I had nothing to argue with (aside from the false accusations against science). Like most of the book (once again, with exception of the naivety towards science) I felt as if I was reading a much better worded construction of my very own personal thoughts and beliefs. I too believe that animals should be seen at an individualistic level. I thought that the Native American tale was also a nice touch to the point that was trying to be made.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Chapter 10
By Serena Zahler (05/11/10 09:19:15)
Related animal: Dolphin

I think it is interesting that a 3rd species brought Nollman and the Dolphins to a note that fully realized their quest to interact. Both Nollman and the Dolphins mimicked the bottom fish sound as inspiration to create a sound for the two species. As Nollman explains, "Everybody---dolphins, humans, bottom fish, shamans, guitar players---everybody was playing music with everybody else" 153. "Over time this special sound developed into our main form of dolphin/guitar signaling...it was one of the very few sounds that both guitar player and dolphin could produce and hear as well" 153. "Through the random genius of the bottom fish...the humans and the dolphins had stumbled upon the fragile beginnings of a mutually acceptable musical language" 153. This 3rd party process is also recognized in my resource text on Nathan Wolfe, who found that through the seemingly un-collaborative nature of interspecies hunting, humans and animals have enabled viruses to move from non-human animals to humans. This may seem very different from the collaboration of the bottom fish to create a language for humans and dolphins, but I feel it is a similar structure just top down. Monkey + Human= Virus movement to human, Fish grunt= Dolphin + Human language.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Chapter 10
By Michelle Safley (05/20/10 12:44:57)
Related animal: Dolphin

The most interesting idea from chapter 10 of Nollman's book is the concept of oneness, one world, and the relation to Gaia. I recall from taking Greek Myth a few years ago the story of Gaia, how she represents the Earth and is like a mother to all living things. Since Gaia is a mother figure that was supposedly around from the beginning, her story suggests that each and every breathing creature is one of her children. If we are all her chlildren, that means there is a connection between us no matter how different we may appear to be. This is an interesting idea to consider because it means that we all should be able to communicate with each other on some level. When Nollman was successful with interacting with the dolphins and made music with and for them to respond to, he proved that though humans and dolphins are different, we can still communicate and connect, especially since we are all essentially children of the Earth.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Chapter 5 & 6
By Michelle Safley (05/20/10 17:06:04)
Related animal: Dolphin

Chapters five and six from Dolphin Mysteries consider the way in which humans and dolphins interact with each other, and the positive and negative effects of such communication. Ultimately, it may be better to leave wild animals alone, but humans are too curious and encompassed in self importance to ever let them alone entirely. It seems like there is no right answer as to whether or not humans should get involved in animal lives. Some might argue that we can save them, so of course we should be communicating with them to the best of our ability. Others might argue that by getting involved we interfere with nature and the natural order of things, and that by stepping back we're not being cruel, we're just letting the animal kingdom do what its been doing for thousands of years. No matter how little or how much we communicate with animals, there is always the chance that a miscommunication will occur, since they already happen quite frequently between humans. We just have to be extra careful and try our best to find the right respectful balance between observer and collaborator, and hope the animals do the same.

[Write Comment]
Chapter 5 and 6 of the dolphin book - Toni Frohoff
By Evan Hynes (06/08/10 03:24:29)
Related animal: Dolphin

In lecture and in her book Toni Frohoff touches on the idea of seeing dolphins as species similar to humans. I know this is a broad topic, but I feel that it is probably the most important to me because it was likely the most influential on me in seeing dolphins as intelligent, caring, animals like humans. She described how dolphins do many things similar to humans, by playing with each other using air rings as "toys" to interact with to some degree, as well as caress each other in a loving, non-violent way. Perhaps I am being "specieist" to some degree, because I am holding humans as the ideal species, but I am after all, only "human" :)

[Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Chapter 8, Fear of the Familiar, in The Postmodern Animal by Steve Baker (2000)
By Danielle Terhune (04/22/10 12:09:40)
“And then there is the most contemptible kind (of animal):’ ‘individual animals, family pets, sentimental, Oedipal animals each with its own petty history, “my” cat, “my” dog. These animals invited us to regress, draw us into a narcissistic contemplation’...Their (Deleuze and Guattari) particular hostility to the pet stems, it seems, from how conveniently this kind of animal stands for all they despise in the expectations of an unimaginative psychoanalysis: family loyalty, obedience to the law and the possibility of a world made meaningful by well formed and exhaustive interpretations.” (Baker 168-169).

Post-modernists hate the structured. They were rebellious and yearned only for the original. The fear of the familiar stems from their hate of icons and set rules of society. For the Post-modernist there is no black and white, everything resides within shades of gray. These factors lead to the hate of pets. As mentioned in the excerpt above, the strong distaste for pets from these post-modernists stem from the institution they represent. I think that it is unfair for there artists and thinkers to say that they hate all animals who are pets and say that they love all animals who are wild and run in packs. Do these post-modernists believe that pets are just a newly acceptable form of slavery, where anyone can be ‘master’ of his home, even if it is over a tame animal? This would be true if most pets today weren’t more pampered than one’s own family members. Most people see there pets as family members, yet this too is, as the post-modernists have said, is anthropomorphizing and therefore adding to the narcism of humans, allowing a ‘lower’ thing be integrated into the family structure. There are definite issues when it comes to having ‘pets,’ yet I believe pets are not good or bad. It is the human caretaker that creates a situation of good or bad, productive or regressive. There needs to remain a healthy respect for the animal, and an understanding of it own animalistic traits. It is not a human, it will never have human qualities, and when people assume that their animals are a little humans just like them, then yes, I agree with the post-modernists, that is detrimental to both parties. Even though the post-modernists say they have a great fondness over wild animals I feel that they disrespect them as much as they disrespect the family ‘pet.’ They assume the wild animal is original, is unique, and runs its life by its own rules devoid of human interaction. They see the animal as pure. Yet, it an ironic love affair, seeing how studies have proven time and again, that wild animals have a very structured way of life, and that any disruption in there patterns, such as humans cutting down rain forests or global warming changing set weather patterns, wild animals are hard pressed to survive there changes, and may adapt, but may not. Their structures is what keeps them alive. And, although there are not human structures, should not the post-modernists despise these as well, because of their strong fear of the familiar, the predictable? So too, then, should the post-modernists hate wild animals more-so then the ‘pet’ for the pet is the one who has moved away from this set patterns, and moved into a who new alien environment from its nature and from its pack. Therefore, logically, under the post-modernists own choice of values the ‘pet’ should be their favored animal.

[Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Colaboration with Dolphins
By Danusia Young (06/05/10 16:01:50)
Related animal: Dolphin

Our collaborative project with dolphins was a lot of fun. I did not expect to see that many of them in the same time. Though I did see some on our way and back from Island trip I was still mesmerized by them. Nothing is more beautiful as to see them in their natural environment free and playful. It was interesting to see them enjoying our presence (for sure the free boat ride). Some of them stop with us and were waiting a few seconds for us to move again.

[Write Comment]
Collaboration Ideas
By Rachel Fleming (04/27/14 20:59:43)
Related animal: Caterpillar

I’ve decided to pick three ideas that stand out to me from my last entry. Those three are:

1. Using caterpillars to make intricate designs on leaves
2. Pouring liquid into tunnels made by worms and letting it set into gel or plaster
3. Making tunnel designs or sand designs with beach hoppers.

Here’s a more in-depth description of each.

For the first, I could find or buy several small caterpillars and give them some interesting looking leaves. On the leaves I could make a maze for them to eat through. This could spell out letters or just make interesting patterns, like spirals, circles, hearts, etc. I would only need to figure out how to safely keep the caterpillars and how to control their position and munching on the leaf. I could probably easily find both caterpillars and leaves. I need a material to put on the leaves that the caterpillars cannot eat through.

For the second, I will need an ant farm and worms, both easily attainable. I could also create barriers to possibly control the tunnel patterns made by the worms. In the end, I can put water on the top to make the worms come out so that I can release them and pour a molding material into the tunnels. The molds can then be exhibited.

For the third, I can use a similar concept as I just mentioned with the worms and see what kind of patterns beach hoppers make. Or, I could set up a sand environment with shallow and deep regions for the bugs to bury in. If the area they are digging in is too shallow for them, they will make a mark and move to another area most likely (although I have observed beach hoppers run out of energy if they cannot bury quickly, which could be dangerous). The resulting landscape could be interesting.

I should think more critically about all three of these possibilities. Worms and beach hoppers would be incredibly easy to get. However, leaves for the caterpillars would also be easy. They all seem possible. Worm burrows actually probably wouldn’t be that exciting since I have seen photos online of fairly simple burrows. With burrowing out of the question, I think the caterpillar idea might be best.

What will my first steps be then? I can ask some friends if they think it would be possible for me to find caterpillars around. If I not, I could get some online or from a store perhaps. I hope I can find some native ones though since I’d like to be able to release them later. Also, I can research materials that I can use to control where they can eat the leaves. It needs to be something flexible that they cannot eat through and that won’t make them sick if they do. Then I need to think of what kind of patterns would be possible. I also need to be able to set aside time to monitor the caterpillars as they eat.

[Write Comment]

Comment by monaluo (05/10/14 20:01:08):
If you're looking for caterpillars, the cork oak tree next to the library is swarming with them. There's caterpillars on just about every other leaf. I don't know what species they are, but they're pretty small right now.
Other: Other Related Research
By Hannah Vainstein Nathan Hayden (05/18/09 23:55:27)
Related animal: Cow

A bit about cows:

In preparation for our Sedgewick trip Nathan and I have decided to look into cows so that we may do some collaboration with the cows on the reserve (which we did).

Cows are one of the first animals to be domesticated. The word cattle is a derivative of caput or movable property and chattel, a unit of personal property. It is also related to the word capital.

Cows are in many mythologies from the golden calf in the bible to the story of Europa who was taken away by Zeus disguised as a white bull In India cows are revered as part of the hindu religion.

In our research about cows Nathan and I looked into the work of Temple Granden a professer of animal science at Colorado State University and a designer of livestock handling facilities. Language according to Temple Grandin gets in the way of our communication with animals as she thinks they have sensory based thinking which she calls “thinking with the unconscious.” (This is Freud’s definition that she is referring to.) Temple Grandin’s noteworthy cow quotes: “Cows don’t like to be yelled at.” “Cows like to learn new things.” “animal feelings are the most important things to take care of.”

Cow Fun Facts:

Cows have a great sense of smell and hearing. They can smell up to 6 miles away.

It is very hard to sneak up on them because they have almost total 360-degree panoramic vision, but they are red green colorblind.

Cows take eggs from birds’ nests, But there is no certainty that they eat the eggs. This trait is shared with white tailed deer, red deer, caribou and sheep.

Cows supplie 90% of the world’s milk.

A cow chews her cud (regurgitated, partially digested food) for up to 8 hours each day.

A cow doesn't actually bite grass but instead it feeds by curling the tongue round the grass.

[Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Crows are intelligent?Who Knew?
By Andrea Chase (04/29/10 14:55:12)
Related animal: Crow

I stumbled upon this article in another art class I was in awhile ago. It is so interesting! I really hope you will take the time to look at this, I was astounded. This lecture is posted on TED.com a wonderful technological resource that discusses everything from genetic engineering to environmental issues. In this particular lecture interactions and communications with crows are experimented with the intention of co-habitation. The ways the crows are discussed and treated are not as experiments themselves but instead as intelligent beings that should have a place in the egotistical human centered world. PLease check this out you won't regret it.

[Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Relationships
By Jeff Marsch (05/25/09 22:05:06)
Related animal: Ape

After weeks of thinking and trying, I have come to the conclusion that I have no desire or incentive to actively collaborate with a non-human animal for the purpose of making art. I have had little to no success in determining how and why I might do so, and although I find the topic of interspecial relations interesting to think about, the thought process does not make me want to actively engage with an animal in a way in which I might somehow posthumously deem artistic. So I will brainstorm:

when do other species approach me, how, and for what apparent reason?

domestic cats: for scratches and possibly food
domestic dogs: same, or for some physical attention/shared activity (i.e. a run, a game, etc.)
birds: only parasitic scavenger birds like pigeons and seagulls, when they are poaching my food
rodents, skunks, raccoons: same
insects: to lay eggs on me, eat my food, sting me, or suck my blood, give me a disease, so on..
...so far these animals are all human dependent
deer: only seen from afar, never been approached nor have I approached them. they beautiful to look at and watch.

Maybe the topic of the course should be an examination of interspecial relationships in general in relation to contemporary artistic practice, and not specifically centered around the idea of collaboration. It seems cumbersome to have to justify every project as a collaboration when an artwork could be just as important or rich without the active participation of a specific animal subject. Furthermore, considering the prospect of a non-human animal approaching one with the interest of creating "artwork" to be relatively unlikely, it might be much more productive to not confine the potential fodder of conceptual content to the process and of engagement. I have found it much more productive to think about and relate with other species through abstract and metaphorical thought as opposed to direct and physically implicated communication. So if the goal of the class is to be a reexamination and potential improvement of how humans interact with, treat, and view the non-human world, why is it necessary to actively engage with these species for our own purpose? Is it not enough to just think about how one relates to the greater animal world, to study it, to appreciate the existing nature of a certain relationship, etc? If that is the case, then the emphasis can be put on thought and the production of art work, as opposed to the questionably important development of a relationship with a specific animal.

*there is always the thought that I myself would not like to be approached by anyone/creature and forced to do some activity of their design for their personal end...I cannot escape the feeling that although the animal might enjoy the activity, it is invariably a human-activated and consequently one-sided affair. One might speculate as to the selflessness and purity of non-human species, but I would not hold out for the existence of such an altruistic species.

MORE TO COME ******** NOT COMPLETE *********

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Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Discussion on Nollmans "The Art of Interspecies Collaboration"
By Andrea Chase (04/07/10 18:46:35)
Related animals: Rooster, Whale

*Chapter One*
Nollman begins by recapping his exploration of becoming in touch with a means of expressing sensitivity to creatures on an empathetic level. Through tracing his seemingly exciting and eclectic experiences traveling and living as a working artist and musician in various cities, I was surprised to find that Nollman felt a sense of lacking in his life. This sense of lacking caused Nollman to revert to simpler living which lead him to eventually establish his first real connection with an animal, in his case it happened to be a rooster. Nollman's musical interlacing with a single rooster lead him to further entice others of the same species into musical interlude. After about a year of interaction Nollman eventually learned how to create a symbiotic symphony with the roosters he encountered.
*Chapter Four*
The fourth chapter begins to discuss and introduce Nollman's more current work. Through discussion of both his most revered philosophies concerning respect toward animals and his work with dolphins, Nollman begins to truly relay to the reader his empathetic connection with all species. Describing his feelings about the treatment of other species can be best described as the purest "universalistic" viewpoint I have ever experienced in a human. Universalism revolves around the boundaries one extends concerning the conceptions of what fits into morality; the more universalistic you are the more empathy and relation you feel and show toward another being (human or non). In my opinion developing a universalistic attitude parallels the main goals of truly communicating and connecting with another animal, human, species, etc.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Dolphin book ch 5 & 6
By Tanasa Slovin (06/02/10 09:25:47)
Related animal: Dolphin

These chapters were very interesting and it was quite a treat to actually be able to meet and spend time with the co-author Toni! There are many aspects that stood out for me while reading about the dolphins. First of all, I found it quite humorous and true in regards to the “assimilation tendency” theory. The part that I found humorous was when Heidi Hediger describes the “assimilation tendency” as “a characteristic of men as well as animals… to regard animals of different species… as if they belonged to the same species” (p. 124). Also, it was really interesting when they discussed the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and how the dolphins react to such things like natural disasters. Of course when I hear about incidents such as a tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, my mind does not immediately go to "Oh I hope the dolphins and sea animals are okay". Of course my initial reaction is whether or not us (humans) are okay and safe. I never really thought about sea creatures and how something like this would effect them and be harmful to them. Researchers were observing the dolphins right after Hurricane Andrew and found that, "the dolphins wanted nothing to do with us: resting, foraging, and "regrouping" after the storm seemed their priority" (p. 127). Toni explains that while observing the same foursome of dolphins, a couple days after the aftermath and resting from the hurricane, the dolphins (one in particular named Venus) changed roles dramatically. The ecotourist, Jennifer was able to experience a remarkable interaction with the dolphin, Venus. This interaction with Venus did not only involve exchanging mental energy, however physical energy as well! This is so exciting to me! I cannot imagine what that experience must have felt like. The chapter goes on to tell the audience how Jennifer and Venus began to make circles around each other which eventually grew tighter and the two were actually body to body! Jennifer was extremely enthused about the interaction and felt that Venus left the collaboration feeling the same enthusiasm and energy as she! What an experience. After reading these chapters, it has really opened my eye and mind to a whole other world: the dolphin world.

Dolphin DREAMTIME (Book) [Write Comment]

Comment by tanasa (06/02/10 09:28:24):
I couldn't find the "Dolphin Mysteries" resource... FYI
Dolphin Mysteries
By Royce Chun (06/07/10 19:06:09)
Related animal: Dolphin

I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Toni had to say about how humans and other species should interact. As humans, I would say that we are the most powerful and intelligent force on Earth, but not necessarily the most important. I believe that every species is just as important as the next. When interacting with another species, we should always be aware that we could in fact cause more harm when interacting than good, despite how good our intentions may be. For example, we may want to touch a creature's egg just to feel its texture yet the parents may end up disowning it all because a human interacted with it. We may also become friends with animals that are generally hunted and because of our friendly relationship, they only become easy targets for those with cruel intentions. We should have an equal fear of harming a species as we do in fear of them harming us. This fear could be expanded or minimized depending on our understand of the species in question. The more we understand, the more we know how to or now not to interact.

[Write Comment]
Dolphin Mysteries Chapters 5 and 6.
By Danusia Young (05/12/10 22:37:23)
Related animal: Dolphin

Both chapters focused on very important points about human/dolphin communication. The idea that people misread dolphin signals was very interesting spatially statement about people wanted the dolphins to behave like Flipper or Shamu. Despise the humoristic approach I completely understand that this kind of human attitude can brings negative response from the dolphins. I think that we sometimes forget that animals like us have feelings too and can act destructively when put in the dangerous or stressful situations. We think that if we have fun they probably are having fun too. As Toni points even dolphins can act forcefully or aggressively toward humans that misbehave in their world. The most important elements of interspecies communication are to learn how to listen and wisely observe the behavior of another species. We have to learn to give them space that they fully deserved. I think we have to start looking at dolphins not only as members of a different group of species but primary as unique individuals, each expressing a kaleidoscope of unique characteristics.

[Write Comment]
Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication
By Mark Linggi (06/13/10 18:18:37)
Related animal: Dolphin

I found it interesting and exciting how much we were able to talk with Toni who helped to coauthor this book. Her knowledge of dolphins was exceedingly exceptional, and her stories were pretty inspiring. It is clear from meeting her, as well as the chapters that we read, that she has a different perception of dolphins. She gives them an unique perspective that twists the whole inferiority complex to a more mutually respectful relationship. Much of this outlook towards a different species is a trait that I highly respect in an individual. I appreciated the wealth of knowledge that Toni communicated in class and in the book, but I felt more proud of her high respect. Its just sometimes good to know that other people look at animals the same way that you do.

[Write Comment]
Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication
By Jessica Oropesa (06/13/10 18:35:29)
Related animal: Dolphin

What I found to be most interesting about this reading was the many similarities that dolphins and humans possess, for example, their interaction with other dolphins and other species through play. Toni Frohoff mentions the mimicry that could be seen among dolphins and humans, through the sounds that they make to the behaviors that they mimic (swimming). The relationship of dolphin and humans have evolved throughout the years and we are still growing to understand them in order to cohabit on this earth. It's interesting how dolphins engage in "mischievous" play, as with the example that Frohoff gave about dolphins playing with an octopus. Although I might be anthropomorphizing, it seems as if the dolphins have a sense of humor. Frohoff also stated that she studied and dissected footage of the "play" occurring among the dolphins but found no significant correlations in her data. She says, "Perhaps that is what i get for trying to make serious sense out of something that could well be just plain fun." I also found it interesting that dolphins have used sexual behavior toward people, providing insight into how sexual behavior serves as a form of social interaction. Perhaps dolphins have a lot more in common with us than we think.

[Write Comment]
Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication Chapter 5 & 6
By Serena Zahler (05/11/10 10:34:54)
Related animal: Dolphin

I found the similarities between human and dolphin learning and culture to be interesting as discussed in Chapter 5. Both species use visual and audio perception to learn. They have similar aspects of communication: both dolphins and primates are highly social and use non-verbal communication, touch interaction, and vocalization as ways of interacting in their societies. Morphology (coloration, sexual dimorphism) is important in their communication. Social rank and class is also another similarity. Our similarities with dolphins should give humans a outside view of what our cultural rules look like. We should be able to use our similarities to help humans recognize the importance of dolphins in our environment and be able to protect them much better. As humans we put other species below us on our totem-pole, but it seems to me that humans and dolphins should be on the same playing field. With so many similarities, it makes me think that our dolphin entertainment is not a fun life for those dolphins, but an enslavement just like Europeans enslaving African people for their own benefit.

1. The book explains that "many techniques used to study human-human interactions can be applied to the study of interspecies communication" (122) can you elaborate on specific examples of how our knowledge of our communication can help us understand communication between humans and dolphins?
2. Can we love another species too much? The book explains that our interest and love for coming in contact with dolphins may be do the detriment of them and their habitat.
3. What are changes we can make to our daily lives to help save dolphins, their communities, and habitats?

Resource: Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication

Dolphin Societies: Discoveries and Puzzles (Book) [Write Comment]
Dolphins and Humans Share Rule-Making and Game-Playing
By Matthew Roy Reeves (05/11/10 22:48:38)
Related animals: Dolphin, Hermit Crab

Nollman introduces his inspiration for communication with dolphins through the "Gaia hypothesis," which suggests that "the earth itself is a self-regulating organism" (140). The Gaia consists of biological and chemical organisms joined in a non-material network. In pursuit of discovering evidence of the Gaia, Nollman attempted to communicate with a school of dolphins. Together, the dolphins and Nollman established a series of rules of a games. I intend to collaborate with my Hermit Crab, Hermes, with similar inspirations originating from the Gaia hypothesis.

Hermes, myself, and my fellow collaborator Danielle Terhune are constructing a Hermit Crab dance mix, for all aspects of his life. I will now begin work with a goal similar to that of Nollman in his pursuit of actualizing the Dolphin/Human Community. It will be the Hermit Crab/Matthew and Danielle community, a microcosm of the Gaia, with the non-material network of electric sound.

Nollman encourages me to create art with an understanding that I represent a species to other creatures. This understanding opens a passage of potential collaboration naturally overlooked when humans distinguish themselves amongst humans. By including Hermes in my art process, we become more and more conscious of the Gaia, and how we function within it.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Fear of Domestication?
By Heather Sielke (04/21/10 08:07:47)
This text was intriguing at some points just to see what the author was going to say next and other points I just could not focus for anything. The most interesting thing to me was how postmodern artists have a fear of pets and seem to like the wild. The author writes about how our pets are becoming reflections of ourselves. I can see how that could happen with a dog but I feel it might be the opposite with cats. My cats only let me touch them when they wanted to be touch or even be near them when they feel they want company. They are the boss over me. My cat Twinkle Bell starts meowing at 630ish to tell us she wants to be fed and won't stop until she has the food in front of her. I am trying to ween another hour out of her but she is more training me that she is the master. To say that we desire the wild is a weird statement nowadays because people are everywhere and I would bet it is hard to find an animal that has never seen a human or been influenced by a human's decision.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Fear of the Familiar
By Serena Zahler (04/18/10 19:14:46)
I found the article's discussion on artist's fear of domesticated animals in their work very interesting. The article explains that artists' fear the sentimentality of the love and partnership with their pets will cause people to not take their artwork seriously. Artists often use explanations like the work is from "direct observation" (181). Artist's also insisting on the pets individuality may show an over-investment in the animal to hold the work's meaning (181). I wonder how this will effect the artwork made in our 130 class? Will viewer's perceive the work made with students' pets as less interesting and take them less seriously than works created with animals found in our surrounding environment? I will definitely consider this pet vs wild animal argument when doing my interespecies collaboration.
I also really enjoyed the work by Olly and Suzi. I think there is something carnal in the way they create work inspired by wild animals and let it be destroyed in honor of the animal subject. I encourage people to look at their website to see more about their work.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Fear of the Familiar
By Danusia Young (04/19/10 23:36:18)
Related animal: Dog

In the Chapter #8 of The Postmodern Animal, Steve Baker explores how animal imagery has been used in modern and contemporary art and performance, and in postmodern philosophy and literature. Baker persuasively analyses the work of such European and American artists as Olly and Suzi, Mark Dion, Paula Rego and Sue Coe etc… Baker suggests that the continuing attraction of the animal for artists, philosophers and others is the perception that the animal is in some way aligned with creativity. He points that human beings look for the same trades or characteristic in animal as they seek in themselves. It is very difficult to think of how humans can produce meanings that are not at the some level going to be human-centered and anthropomorphic. When artist create work from that perspective his piece can be labeled as “sentimental in relation to the animal”. Many people, according to Baker, would say that sentimentality has been given an overly bad name in relation to human thinking about animals. But because so many artist have pets them-selves I do not think that they will view being sentimental toward any animal something that is terrible. On the other hand, they know that they are working in an environment where they really can't afford to have their art labeled as sentimental. Sentimentalism will remove immediately any degree of seriousness or critical engagement from their art piece. As Baker points the artists have to keep their animal oriented art pieces on the right side of that division between serious art and sentimental one. I think that another very interesting statement is:” For many contemporary artists, too, the way they deal with animals reflects the way they see themselves as artists” (169).

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Fear of the Familiar
By Lillian Shanahan (04/21/10 15:25:30)
Related animal: Domestic Pet

I found Bakers article kind of mundane. I think its important to review your relationship with animals, but I don't think there needs to be a discussion about pets verses wild. The post- modernistic idea that animals should be wild and that having sentimentality for animals is dangerous, or makes you a fool- is kind of a trivial statement.

who cares if the animal is wild or not, trying to say that animals should be "wild" is going against what the post- modernists claim to be/ do (which is break down these categories and definitions) what is wild anyways- and why is wild pure? or better than domestic. Who is to say that the animals do not enjoy their relationship with humans. Not that I agree with having pets- because I don't, but I also don't agree that people should hold wild up on a pedestal. Who's to say human beings aren't still wild in out metropolitan jungle.

I do agree that owning animals is common in capitalistic societies and that it is kind of ridiculous when there are starving people in the world and people are buying clothing for their cats. I also think that people buys animals because they can't achieve normal social interactions, or they aren't receiving attention, love frmm other human beings... which again is common in capitalistic environments because people are often caught up in meaningless occupations and materialistic motives,

I don't see having sentimentality as dangerous or wrong, I see it as the human gift, we are capable of feeling for others, for having compassion, I don't see that as anthropomorphic. Because I know the animal is what it is, and it may not think or feel like me- but is that to say it doesn't feel or think in its own way?

I am against anthropomorphic ideas, because they are a food source and we much feed on them to survive. But I don't think we should dismiss that they are also incapable of thoughts.

[Write Comment]
Fear of the Familiar
By Tanasa Slovin (04/22/10 00:16:23)
Related animal: Cat

While Steve Baker’s article in The Postmodern Animal, Fear of the Familiar was a bit dense and a little difficult to comprehend, however I do understand his main points on the subject of postmodernism within relation to animals. Baker defines his view of postmodernism “as the scourge of anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism and all other tendencies to reduce difference to sameness, the impure to the pure, the inhuman to the human and the strange to the meaningful” (p. 100). I also found the three different categories of animals to be an interesting view as opposed to Berger’s view. Baker references Deleuze and Guattari’s categories of animals that include: those that admire, those who are known as ‘State animals’ who have fixed symbolic meanings that serve towards human interests, and then there is the individuated animals, such as family pets, etc. It was also interesting that even the name of your animal, such as a dog, can be relatively detrimental to the owner and the pet itself. “You don’t want dogs called Spot or Pooch. You don’t want dogs called Nigel or Keith. The names of dogs should salute the mystical drama of the animal life” (p. 169). My dogs name is Bradley Baxter III, I don’t think Baker would necessarily approve…
When our class was introduced to the Carolee Schneemann, Infinity Kisses, one word automatically came to my mind: bestiality. As I read on with Baker’s text, he referenced Barbara Schnieder as identifying actual “art bestiality”. This is rather disturbing to me, as it should be to, well, everyone! Sure, I give my dog kisses and hugs but this has gone too far. What I find more disturbing is the title that Schneemann called her video, “Vesper’s Stampede to My Holy Mouth”. Personally, this type of “interspecies erotic imagery” is not considered art in my point of view. Baker states, “The threat of pets to the postmodern individual’s self-image can be seen in the cynical view that a sympathy for pets represents’ a “gratuitous perversion” of natural beaviour….” (p. 172).
When discussing the relationship between sentimentality and postmodernism, James Serpell states that, “…people who express concern for animal suffering or affection of sentimentality, as if having sentiments or feelings for other species were a sign of weakness, intellectual flabbiness or mental disturbance” (p. 176). I find this statement completely bizarre and false, especially with Singer’s symbolism that sentimentality makes someone ‘womanish’. This is not only sexist, it is naïve and to be honest a bit homophobic.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Fear of the Familiar
By Royce Chun (04/22/10 17:33:51)
I found the article's discussion on an artist's fear of pets very interesting. The article talks about how sentimentality affects and artist’s work and how wild animals are much preferred over domesticated animals. One of the reasons for the fear is that the public may take an artist’s work with a domesticated less seriously because it seems more like play than work. This is because a relationship already exists between and owner and a pet. This relationship can cause the domesticated animals to act much differently to their wild counterparts and are very likely to act according to how their human has raised them. Work with wild animals are preferred because the work would be inherently more innovative since the animals would have their own self-constructed way of going about their lives.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Fear of the Familiar
By Evan Hynes (06/08/10 01:15:40)
I found this article fascinating. It touched on the difference between domesticated animals and wild animals in collaboration with an artist. The artist wrote about how collaboration with a domesticated animal is looked down upon in art as not serious because it seems to be more like play than anything else. We train domesticated animals to love to be played with and interacted with, so they respond positively in the way we raised them to, whereas wild, undomesticated animals react to human interaction based on their instinct and what they learned in the wild. Chances are, wild animals do not understand that we mean to play with them, or even understand what playing with another species (and a human at that) is. Therefore, this artists chooses to work with non-domesticated animals because their action and reaction to his actions have not been tainted by previous conditioning. if I had to choose between working with a pet and a wild animal I would definitely choose to work with a wild animal for the same reason as the artist.

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Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
First Reading Assignment
By Sara Selmic (04/18/13 17:55:33)
Related animals: Anemone, Bear, Clownfish, Human, Mallard Duck, Science Experiment, Turkey

The chapters that have been assigned from Jim Nollan's book have been very interesting and informative. In the first chapter his exploration with the turkey is very insightful. I like how he progresses from experimenting with the animal to simply playing his music with it. I'm glad that he got to make a song with the turkeys later on, but confused why he would let it become something that would be played during Thanksgiving. This is extremely wrong to me. I do however agree with what he said about how when people grow older they lose touch with nature. I can definitely see how this happens, especially because I feel like animals become less mysterious as we grow up. We know more and therefore assume much about animals. I think its good to maintain this curiosity about all animals, even things as small as ants or as creepy as spiders.
Nollan's interpretation of interspecies protocol is an interesting one. I find that humans and animals are so separate from one another to the point that they fear each other. I don't believe this is how we should be coexisting. I often find it difficult to interact with animals because they run away. For example, I was trying to admire some ducks that were in a fenced off pond, I came up to the fence and all the ducks resting on the bank either ran or swam away. I didn't get it, I couldn't even touch them, but I was just too close for their comfort. This was very disheartening as I just wanted to observe them doing their duck things, but because of humans they have encountered in the past them feared me too. Nollan touches on this when he talks about the bears in Canada that behave like they do because of humans who have consistently shot them on site. I understand that a bear is a frightful thing, but only because of some bear misconception that was created somewhere down the line. I am glad Nollan writes of these things and chooses to comment on why the language and attitude we have with animals must be positive and different than it is now in order for a change to occur. I'm hoping one day more people will think like this guy does.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
First Readings
By Jorden Hirsch (04/11/10 19:52:31)
I found most of what Jim Nollan discusses in Chapter 1 and 4 of the Man Who Talks to Animals to be very relatable and agreeable to an animal lover like myself. One of the things I did find interesting in the first chapter was Nolan’s’ almost stereotypes of scientist and how they believe they viewed animals. I found his way of grouping scientist and their behavior as one collective thought ironic, in that he was asking us essentially in the book to not think of animals as representations of their species but as individuals, with individual traits and opinions. Other than that I found Nollan’s writing incredibly intriguing, I agree with his point that he as human should not assume that animals communicate in the same ways as we do. It is egotistical of us to think that as one species all these other thousands of species see things our way. I feel like I have seen examples of this when dealing with dogs in my family. Typically when training dogs you use gestural signs or tones/volumes of your voice to communicate, even though most people thing it may be the words your saying that effect the dogs, I believe it’s with the tone that you say certain words that really trigger certain reactions within them.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Aesthetic Expressions of Non-Human Animals
Follow the Leader with a Butterfly
By Shanti Harris (06/04/09 02:11:45)
Related animal: Insect

After a day's hike on Santa Cruz Island, I had come across a white butterfly on my way down a steep hill. This butterfly flew by my side for ten minutes. Sometimes I would stop and watch the butterfly land on a leaf or flower. After a minute or so, I walked onward, but this butterfly would vacate its previous destination and continue by my side. It was strange, almost as if I was taking a walk with this white winged insect and it was just as aware.

About ten minutes into the walk with the butterfly, it began to take the lead. I sensed it just wanted me to follow, so I did. The butterfly and I took the same path, but for some reason it decided to be the navigator, the leader. I followed for about five minutes and stopped. When I stood still, the butterfly landed on a leaf. It was my turn to lead. I continued to walk forward along the trail. I turned my head after a few seconds and found that the butterfly had followed me.

This process had continued until I had reached the end of the path. I would follow, the butterfly would follow. It wasn't until the butterfly and I went our separate ways that I realized I had just played follow the leader with an insect. Maybe the creature would not necessarily call it "follow the leader," but it certainly seemed to have played some kind of game related to territory, destination and curiosity.

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Other: Other Related Research
Gray Squirrel
By Chelsea Hunter (04/29/09 22:00:21)
Related animal: Squirrel

THE BASICS An Eastern Gray Squirrel dreyThe Eastern Gray Squirrels builds a type of nest, known as a drey, in the forks of trees. The drey consists mainly of dry leaves and twigs. It may also build a nest in the attic or in the exterior walls of a house, often to the consternation of the homeowner. In addition, the squirrel may inhabit a permanent tree den.[5]

The Eastern Gray Squirrel is more active during the early and late hours of the day, and tends to avoid the heat in the middle of a summer day.[5] It does not hibernate.[6]

Predators include humans, hawks, mustelids, skunks, raccoons, domestic and feral cats, snakes, owls and dogs. On occasion, a squirrel may lose part of its tail while escaping a predator.

INTERESTING FACTS!!! The squirrel's front teeth continue to grow throughout it's life, so they can never be worn away by the animal's continual gnawing.
A male squirrel can smell a female that is ready to mate.
The gray squirrel can leap more than 20 feet
When a squirrel senses danger its first instinct is to stand motionless

Call: Chattering and piercing scream
Squirrels communicate through a series of chirps

Baby squirrels do not have teeth or hair. They are blind for the first six to eight weeks of life. nests also contain a nursery!

WARNING When confined, squirrels become quite frantic and will careen around the enclosure possibly inflicting damage unto themselves. If possible provide water with sugar dissolved in it. When animals become stressed their blood sugar decreases dramatically and this could cause them to go into shock and die.

JUST IN CASE YOU DIDNT KNOW When a gray squirrel finds a bird feeder they look upon it like a tree full of acorns. They don’t understand about ownership rights, they just see a lot of good food that needs to either be eaten or stored for winter

PLAYING The juvenile squirrels will play together, practice nest building, find and store food

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Other: Interspecies Relationships
Grizzly Encounters
By Jessica Oropesa (06/09/10 02:19:54)
Related animals: Bear, Human

Watching the two films, "Walking with Giants: The Grizzlies of Siberia" and "Grizzly Man", and reading the text by Timothy Treadwell reminded me of the wild and how we, as humans, must tread lightly in territory that is not our own. In each of the films, humans are shown interacting with bears in different ways. Grizzly bears seem to have a bad reputation of being dangerous and unpredictable, which has given man the permission to hunt and kill these magnificent creatures. Treadwell made an interesting statement in his article, stating that, "an animal, running away with fear, has become synonymous with our idea of wild". He also claimed that it isn't the bears who shouldn't be trusted, it is us. From the bear's perspective, humans are probably the most unpredictable animals they have ever encountered. They have experienced each side of the spectrum, from peaceful, bear-loving couples to murdering poachers. It must be so much more confusing on the bear's end of the line.

It is difficult for me to think about what is right or wrong in any of these sources. Questions arise like: Would we be better off staying clear of each other's presence? Or should we spend more time with them in order to better understand them so that we will be able to live as cohabitants of this world?

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Hello whale
By Rachel Visalda (04/22/10 23:34:49)
One of the most interesting points that Jim Nollman raises is the fact that when working with animals, it's important to deal with them as individuals and not generalize based on species. As humans, we tend to think everything in the world operates the way we think it does, and Nollman brings up a good argument when he explains his views on interspecies communication.
He explains that communication should be more than just passing information; it should stem from an equal standing between those involved. Therefore, real communication can be very difficult, almost impossible, since we have been conditioned to treat animals as lesser than us. Knowing this, we can start by first changing our perception of non-human beings in order to promote more open contact with them.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Human/Dolphin Interaction Through Distance
By Matthew Roy Reeves (05/13/10 18:38:30)
Related animal: Dolphin

Toni Frohoff expanded upon Jim Nollman's Gaia hypothesis through applying the concept to a working model of human/dolphin interaction. Chapter 5 addressed the hypothetical presence of boundaries that ought to exist between humans and dolphins. Chapter 6 delved into various human activities that are relevant to the human/dolphin community.

Can humans discipline their impulse to interact with dolphins? As a species, humans relate to dolphins and desire to be around them. We are drawn to them. Though I have never encountered a dolphin, I know that I would happily approach one in the wild.

Frohoff opposes the natural human impulse to interact with dolphin side of our unique interspecies connection. "I may be two of the only people on the planet who would prefer that dolphins ignored us" (146). She is a professional in the field, and knows the big negatives outweighing the pleasant positives. I will let her experience speak for my considerations.

The Gaia hypothesis defines me as a creature in the human species; as one I must approach dolphins with discipline, and may have to show my desire for communication by intentionally avoiding communication.

Dolphin DREAMTIME (Book) Dolphins in the Wild (Movie) [Write Comment]
Ideas for Art Projects
By Rachel Fleming (04/19/14 18:35:48)
The lectures and discussions I heard at the Interrogating Methodologies event gave me food for thought. I had some very creative ideas for projects with animals while the panel was being asked questions. I thought about what kind of art I wanted to accomplish. Do I want to make a statement about animal rights? Do I want to make art as a tribute to a connection I shared with an animal? Do I want to make something aesthetically pleasing? I was drawn to the idea of making something small and structural with an animal. Perhaps the animal would make something it usually makes during the course of its life using tools I provided, but being unaware it was making art in the process. I like the idea I found of giving caddis fly larvae jewels from which they would construct their bodily casings.
Then I wondered, what animal would I use? Well, what animals do I have available? I was immediately aware that I did not want to make something using a common animal like a dog or cat. I wanted to think of something unique to do with a unique animal. I realized I had several options at the REEF. I also thought about what animals I had available outside that I could just catch and use temporarily. I didn’t want to use anything that could be dangerous or that would be controversial if subject to even mild stress. I thought of insects, mollusks, arachnids, and other invertebrates.

So, I made a list:
• Ants
• Caterpillars
• Butterflies
• Crickets
• Worms
• Beetles
• Snails
• Abalone
• Octopus
• Nudibranch
• Aphids
• Crabs
• Anemone
• Barnacle
• Mussel
• Sand fleas

I even thought of a few vertebrates:

• Frogs (and tadpoles)
• Birds
• A friend’s snake or toad

I wondered if there was any way to use biomineralization, but decided I would probably need to know a lot more about the process to use it. Even then, it would probably be too intrusive.

Then I thought about making a species “perform” without realizing it was doing so. For example, I saw a video on Youtube of a “duck slide,” in which ducks would climb up a ramp and reach for food in a trough above a slippery slide. If they slipped, they would slide down and get back up for more food. This, to me, was an art form. However, I decided that no interspecies connection could be made, and that this probably wouldn’t meet the goals of the course. It would be entertaining for the final exhibition, though.

I also thought about using a small flying bug like a gnat as a performing species. I once observed a gnat on a paper while I was studying that would adjust its position when I gently blew air toward it. The gnat would face the direction of the air flow, probably to minimize its disturbance. I thought this was fascinating. It can probably be repeated with many gnats, if I first mist their wings so that they cannot fly around. If I then apply a soft breeze in one direction, I may be able to get them to align in unison. I could then change the direction of the breeze so that they appear to be “dancing” by changing direction. This may or may not work, though. It would have to be an experiment. The interspecies connection relies on the fact that we can empathize with the gnats and understand why they might want to reorient themselves when exposed to a chill breeze. We can feel for them.

Then I began thinking about ideas that have to do with each species I had listed.

Ants: With ants I could potentially find a way to map their trails and replicate their movement. However, this has probably been done before and was the most obvious thing I could think of. I then thought of subjecting the ants to a decision, such as choosing between crossroads. We can emphasize with their decision making. Also, food preference is along the same lines. We can probably predict as humans which food source an ant would go for (although, our intuition about sugars and fats being tasty isn’t always accurate across species…cats, for example, don’t like sugary foods. We human needed high-energy foods for survival at several points in our evolutionary history).

Caterpillars: Again, food preference, or I could map their trails. I then thought of something very interesting. What if I could make art out of the patterns they leave on leaves? What if I could control where they can and cannot eat on a leaf to make a carving, like on a jack-o-lantern?

Butterflies: Do butterflies have a flower preference? What if I removed nectar from a certain kind of flower. How many times will they try receiving nectar from this certain kind of flower before they “give up” and move onto something else?

Crickets: This one would be interesting for me, since I dislike crickets more than spiders. I would be forced to make a connection with crickets. There are plenty around, and they are in pet store, so obtaining them wouldn’t be difficult. I could wait for them to molt and then make a small sculpture using the molts to emulate an interaction I observed from the same crickets. I don't know what the significance would be, though.

Worms: Also numerous. I can get an ant farm and fill it with dirt. I can take photos of the patterns they make while underground. I could even influence where they go, perhaps, to make patterns. There is probably some connection I can make between the worms and myself as I make it, or some resemblance between the worms and humanity. Sounds cheesy, but there might actually be some decent metaphors I can draw from it.

There is a type of beetle I observed on the tips, and only the tips, of a certain kind of bush- coyote bush one morning. Maybe there is some metaphor I can make between the beetles drive to be at the top of the branch and the drive of humans to make it to the tops of mountains (or careers). Then again, I'm sure there's some evolutionary advantage to this behavior, such as gaining warmth or finding a mate.

To be continued…
Beach hoppers sound like a good idea too. There are plenty of those nearby.

I also thought about making art out of my scientific process of discovering reactions or preferences of animals. Would my hypotheses say something about my connection to other life forms?

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Other: Interspecies Communication
In Response to Jim Nollman's The Man Who Talks to Whales: The Art of Interspecie
By Danielle Terhune (04/21/10 18:23:04)
“The Man Who Talks to Whales: The Art of Interspecies Communication” by Jim Nollman

In chapter one of Jim Nollman’s book, titled “The Turkey Trot” I appreciated the long introduction into interspecies communication. The process at in which Nollman discovered his own way in collaboration with a Turkey, by allowing the Turkey to be just as much of an individual in the ‘flute and gobble’ composition was very insightful. I was glad that he reached the conclusion that collaboration with animals is being on equal terms with them.

The first chapter also reminded me of a very similar epiphany I had in animal collaboration with my dog Comet, when my parents came to visit me in early April. The experience of collaborating with my dog lead to the same conclusion that Nollman had with the Turkey. That the animal and human have equal parts in a collaboration. A human cannot force or modify the animal to his or her will. The animal must have a will and desire of its own.

The following is an excerpt taken from my first art project/reflections of my interaction with my dog labeled, “Common Interests” that I posted on the Interspecies Collaboration website:

“What I gleaned from this observation of Comet was that my dog, and I believe animals in general, will act outside of normal character when influenced by humans. Of course this is general knowledge but I believe it goes beyond humans "tainting" an animals natural actions. Our influence on Comet taking interest was positive because we initiated his interest without forcing it. If we had dragged Comet up to the pond by his collar he would not have been pleased and would have run in the opposite direction, not caring about the Koi fish. Even if we had tried to coax him over with a treat, he would have sensed something fishy and again ignored our requests, as has happened in the past with all other man-made bodies of water. It was the fact that we took interest in something and then included Comet in our discoveries that gave him what he needed to respond positively to something he generally hates.

This experience brought to an understanding of animal collaboration. We as humans can encourage the animal to take part in what we are doing, but if they show no interest then we need to move on. If we have to force, trick, or bribe the animal to pay attention then its not collaboration. When we are willing to view the animal as an equal, they will respond in turn.”

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In the Country of the Mind Reading Response
By Mona Luo (04/13/14 21:52:31)
Throughout the assigned reading this week there seemed to be a prevailing theme of careful observation and respect for one’s surroundings. As the author surveys his surroundings, what we might consider a bleak and boring landscape suddenly comes to life. If you gaze across open tundra in a sweeping glance, it certainly does seem sparse in comparison to a bustling city. But any place can be rich with information if one knows where to look. I believe the same approach can be taken when observing animals. If one takes the time to really get to know an animal, without projecting preconceptions upon its behavior, the process of familiarization and discovering is much more fulfilling (and sometimes informative) than reading about the animal in a book. When I asked a friend to go to the zoo with me he declined because he said he had just went last year. This took me by surprise because I find the zoo to be a place where I could go every day and not get bored. To think that one can understand the nature of an animal through a brief visit to its enclosure sounds preposterous to me. The reading criticizes Western science for this tendency to summarize and generalize. I read a book by a scientist who had been studying ants for something in the neighborhood of 15 years. She said that even as someone who had been carefully observing these insects for years, she too had the tendency to jump to conclusions. In her particular case it was regarding ants on her kitchen counter top. One’s first instinct is to believe they are searching for food. However, most of the time, this is not really the case. People tend to believe that what they observe will corroborate their preconceived notions, and I believe that is a dangerous mindset to be in. If one were to be an Arctic with such a philosophy, it might even put one’s life in peril. This notion of observation and respect seem to go hand and hand. To summarize a place or an animal in a single statement dismisses the nuances and sophistication that make them unique.
There was a passage about the nature of the language of the Eskimos. Their language is dynamic in its viewpoints, and space and time are not clearly separate entities. Language is shaped by the environment and culture of people who speak it. English interpretations of certain terms can only be rough and ungainly approximations of phenomenon only fully comprehensible to those that have spent time in the right place with the right people. This raises the question of whether our language is fit to understand potential nuances in animal communication. Translating between human cultures is hard enough, so it isn’t hard to imagine that between species there would be a lot lost in translation. In some ways the structure of the language seem somewhat reminiscent of how the land is pictured in the mind of the Eskimos. This melding of time in space can perhaps explain the exaggerated size of prime fishing locations or emotionally charged landmarks. As the amount of time spent in an area increases the amount of memory and prominence in the mind increases as well, expanding the perceived space. It would be interesting to see how animals mapped their world. Would our roads and highways shrink in their mind, overshadowed by the more practically useful bushes and shrubbery they hid in?

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Intro to Interspecies Collaboration
By Tessa Tapscott (04/07/13 23:37:03)
Related animal: Horse

Considering that my old pony, Thistle, dumped me on my butt on a weekly basis, it is truly amazing that I have only fallen off my current horse, Reese, twice in the past 8 and a half years. Same day, same jump. We had just started our partnership and we were having our first cross-country lesson together, during which it became apparent that Reese had never done cross-country before. Thus faced with a massive expanse of land peppered with large, foreboding wooden obstacles, he was understandably overwhelmed. While he hopped over logs and cautiously trotted through the water, the "coffin" jump threw him for a loop. A coffin jump is a kind of ditch jump in which a rectangular section is sunk into the ground, similar to the way an open grave would look. While one should jump this exactly the same as any normal raised jump, the optical effect of the sunken ground can be extremely frightening to horses, this was the case with Reese. While the seasoned horse in the group hopped right over the ditch, Reese repeatedly skidded to a stop each time we approached the fence. We finally had to get the other horse to lead us to it, following close behind, hoping that Reese might follow him right over it. We picked up speed and I felt like we were really going to jump it. I got out of the saddle in anticipation of flight. I did fly, right over Reese's ears and into the ditch. He stood by patiently staring down at me, as if to ask, "What are you doing there?" Bruised and bloody I climbed back on and approached the the ditch, again. I think after seeing me inside the ditch helped to show him that nothing would jump out of it and eat him as he flew over it because finally with a great leap Reese jumped the ditch. And to his joy and surprise, nothing tried to jump out of it and eat him, so with that he let out a great big buck of joy landing me flat on my back for the second time that day. He trotted a few more steps then looked back at me, "Again?" Since then we have faced many obstacles together and I have learned to show him what is safe and he has taught me what scares him and why. One might say that I became a better rider, so that is why I stopped falling off, but I think it is because Reese goes out of his way to keep me safe. I can only to provide the same protection for him.

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Other: Art Made by Non-Human Animals
Jim Nollman "Turkey Trot" & "interspecies Protocol"
By Mary Zdybel (04/25/10 22:49:29)
Related animals: Lion, Turkey

In Chapters 1 and 4 of the book, The Man Who Talks to Whales, author Jim Nollman discusses his unique relationship with animals and how his interesting collaborations came to unfold. I found Nollman’s writing very easy to relate to, as he spoke of his love for animals from a very young age I became reminiscent of the same curiosity I felt to explore the animal kingdom. I also enjoyed that Nollman followed his passion for music and the path he chose lead him back to his love for animals. I agree with the authors statement when he says that he “did not necessarily want to learn about animals, so much as he wanted to learn from them,” however, I felt his view of scientists and zoologists to be a bit harsh. Nollman saw scientists as just trying to accumulate more information about animals—meant to “help” us as humans to grow. It interested me because the same love and passion I felt for animals as a child never translated to the dislike or distrust of the scientists that study them, I have always felt that scientists in their studies are doing good for the animals. I understand how Nollman can perceive these scientific efforts as humanistic, but I believe that much good can come from the studies of animals. We are destroying the natural habitats of these animals at such a rapid rate, it is imperative that we learn as much as possible from them before it is too late and we are unable to restore their environments.
In chapter four, “Interspecies Protocol,” Nollman states that we need to establish new ecological metaphors; claiming that our use of words like ‘people’ and ‘neighborhood’ to describe ecosystems is proof that language mirrors our worldview. I definitely agree with the author when he says that we “need to learn to perceive other animals in an entirely new way: as individuals, and possibly, as peers. In his description of the relationship between the Bushmen and the lion, Nollman brings up the issue of establishing protocol with animals to bring our understanding of one another to a higher level and live in a more harmonious manner with each other sharing a single Earth. As he says, “we need to know that lions as the Bushman knew them.” Based on Webster’s definition of protocol, ‘interspecies protocol’ can be understood to mean: “The forms and manners (and defense postures) that any species conforms to when relating to another species.” However, I much more agree with the Tao’s statement, “The relationship with nature that can be defined is never the real relationship with nature.”

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Julius: The Kitten
By Alli Harrod (04/09/10 21:04:12)
Related animal: Cat

I wanted to post a photo of my surly kitten, Julius...

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Other: Other Related Research
Letters from Charlie/Timothy Treawell
By Danusia Young (05/09/10 21:10:47)
Related animal: Bear

The article “Letters from Charlie.” was very interesting. Not a long ago I did see a few youtube clips about Timothy Treawell but I did not know that he was killed by one of the bears. After viewing few of the short documentary shots of him I remember thinking that he has to love danger. Even he sad himself that he is different from other people and even though the situation is extremely dangerous he love to live around the wiled bears. I agree with the author of the article that Timothy should take safety measures when living in wild. I think that similar to human societies one can find good, “passionate” (as author points), friendly bears. But in the same time one can encounter bears that are extremely dangerous and aggressive. I also believe that if we want to study any type of wild animals we should keep a save distance not only to protect ourselves but also to give them the space that they need to maintain their natural habitat. We as a human race already taken away their natural way of existence and now have to learn to live with them in a peaceful coexistence with out interfering. Maybe they did tolerate Timothy but never really accepted him in to their bear family (though he seemed to think otherwise).
The documentary film, “Walking with the Giants” left me with many questions that are very hard to answer. Do I agree with Charlie Russell and Maureen Enns interference in the daily life of the grizzly bears of Kamchatka? The film made me realized that their intentions to live among the grizzlies, study them in close proximity and help people to understand their true nature is good but how do their interactions with the bears influence future encounters with other humans? Through this film I began to appreciate their effort and determination to change our views about bears being one of the most dangers animals on the planet. It is my opinion that any species that are put in a dangerous or unusual situations may kill to protect themselves. Even domesticated animal can impulsively turns against their owner under stressful circumstances. Charles and Maureen’s work with the small bear cubs proved to others that given a second chance these cubs and others like them could be easily shown how to adapt to their natural environment. The cubs also proved that they could learn fast on their own with little help from humans. I only hope that after trusting Russell and Enns, not only the cubs but also other bears, will still be cautious around humans. I think that we do not have to put ourselves in close proximity to wild animals to study them. Perhaps if people can keep a save distance when studying various species, the risk of endangering the animals would be diminished.

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Other: Animal Communication
Lil' Orphan Hammies
By Lillian Shanahan (05/21/10 13:39:00)
Related animal: Pig

Our class visit to the pot belly pig pen was intense. Understandably most of the pigs that were there, are there because they are old, injured or dying. But still, watching the pigs who couldn't stand up because their shoulder blades were destroyed was hard. Their grunts sounded like screams of pain. I tried to get some to interact with me but the most that happened was that I scratched their belly or behind their ears.

I thought i might use a ball but the lady of the place told me that they don't play with balls- but the dogs certainly did. I had a fun time playing with them- though at the end the dog got tired of me and wouldn't play anymore so i gave up.

overall I was amazed at their size and their folds of skin, I wish I had brought by sketch book to draw them because their skin is so great.

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Other: Other Related Research
Midterm Check in
By Hector Medina (06/04/13 11:40:08)
Related animal: Chinchilla

I am yet to think of a solid idea for my final project, but I have some developing thoughts. I am thinking of creating something that showcases the interaction between the animals that I have met. Maybe create some comic inspired by Disney’s Wonder Pets show. I think it can work. So far I’ve met a bunny, guinea pig and a chinchilla, animals that I think could somehow get along. I recently met with the chinchilla, Sonic, so his experience is what is mostly present in my mind. I guess I can show some research on him and other chinchillas in the wild.
Chinchillas come from the Andes Mountains in South America. They live in the high altitude of Bolivia, Peru and Chile, yet there are farms that raise that breed them all over the world. There are two types of chinchillas. One has the body of a beaver, called the brevicaudata, and the other one which is most comment has a bunny shaped frame and is called the lanigera chinchilla. They have many predators, including birds, snakes and canines. They do have a defense mechanism which involves them spraying urine. They usually do it when being bitten on and a way to be released. Their diet consists of leaves, fruits, seeds and small insects. They live in groups called herds and their personality differs just like humans. They are rodents so their teeth never stop growing. They cannot sweat so they cannot live in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Their body grew to not allow them to seat because since they have such a thick fur, they are prone to fungus with moisture. That is why they often take dust baths. They usually prefer to roll around in volcanic ash. Something interesting is that their fur colors include gray, white, black, beige, ebony, violet, sapphire and a mix of them as well. It’s sad that poachers use them for their fur. It takes up to 150 to make one single coat. If you are keeping one as a pet there are some things you should know. They need to be stimulated, this means chew toys, running/exercise, and a big enclosure with layers to it. They also need a cave within their enclosure to cool off or to simply hide and have privacy.
My friend has a chinchilla and she told me some things unique about him. His name is Sonic. She got him after an abusive owner so he is hind of shy and fidgety when held. He is very active but not personable to new people. She has taught him some tricks, so he is intelligent. She recognizes her and responds to her well. She treats him with small marshmallows and sometimes small pieces of licorice. Makes me want a chinchilla.

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Mule Deer
By Alexandra Glaser (04/30/09 01:22:03)
Related animal: Mule Deer

Geography: Found in the Western Half of North America, generally West of the Missouri River. Mule deer prefer "edge" habitats where the trees meet the grass.

Visual Description: Mule Deer have large ears that move constantly and independently, from whence they get their name, "Mule" or "Burro Deer." Mule Deer are usually a dark gray-brown, with a small white rump patch and a small, black-tipped tail. This stocky deer with sturdy legs is 4 to 6-1/2 feet in length and 3 to 3-1/2 feet high at the shoulder.

Antlers: Mule deer antlers are bifurcated, or "fork" as they grow. The bucks' antlers, which start growth in spring and are shed around December each year, are high and branch forward with a spread of up to 4 feet. Antlers are shed after the breeding season, from mid-January to about mid-April. Dominance in the mule deer community is largely a function of size, therefore, the largest males which possess the largest antlers perform the most copulations during mating season.

Movement: They do not run as other deer, but have a peculiar and distinctive bounding leap (stotting) over distances up to 8 yards, with all 4 feet coming down together. In this fashion, they can reach a speed of 45 m.p.h. for short periods. This gait offers two advantages: it allows the deer to out-distance predators in rough terrain, and to see above the thick brush. If necessary, they can turn or completely reverse direction in the course of a single bound.

Feeding Behavior: In Spring and Summer it feeds on green leaves, herbs, weeds and grasses more than on browse species. The reverse is true in Fall and Winter. Mule Deer are browsers and eat a great variety of vegetable matter, including fresh green leaves, twigs, lower branches of trees, and various grasses. They are particularly fond of blackberry and raspberry vines, grapes, mistletoe, mushrooms and ferns.

Daily Behavior: Mule deer of both sexes normally do most of their feeding in early morning before sunrise or in late afternoon and evening after sundown. They spend the middle of the day bedded down in cool, secluded places. In summer, the bucks retire as soon as the sun shines where they are feeding and go to the dense shade of some grove to bed down for the day. This inactivity during the heat of the day is a behavioral adaptation to the desert environment that conserves water and keeps the body temperature within livable limits. Sweat glands and panting also provide evaporative cooling during hot periods.

Vocalization: Deer are not especially vocal, although young fawns bleat on occasion. Injured deer utter a startlingly loud "blatt" or bawl.

Smell: Although equipped with acute senses of sight and hearing, these deer rely largely upon the sense of smell in detecting danger

Sight: Stationary objects are easily overlooked by them, but they readily detect any that are in motion

Hearing: The Mule Deer sense of hearing is extremely acute.

Play behaviors: Mule Deer is an excellent swimmer, but water is rarely used as a means of escaping predators

Hunting: Mule deer are of considerable economic importance as a big game mammal and sport hunters kill about 1 million Mule Deer annually

Etc: Another physical adaptation, its larger feet, allows the Mule Deer to claw out water as much as two feet deep

Video of calling to a mule deer:

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Parrots, Cockatoos and Macaws
By Ashley Dawkins-Garcia (05/14/09 12:23:35)
Related animals: Cockatoo, Macaw, Parrot

Type of Parrots

• African Grey Parrot- Cling to one person. Can imitate humans and non-humans.

• Amazon Parrot-Good at talking and imitating sounds. Intellect of a 3 yrs old, dolphin or monkey. Very energetic, playful, moody and social creature. Loud, cuddly, quiet, stubborn, silly, jealous, playfully aggressive or irritable. Eats fruit and vegetables.

• Eclectus Parrot- Can sing songs and talk to humans and bird companions. Eats fruit, vegetables, sprouted seeds and beans, brown rice, high-fiber cereals and pellets.

• Green Parrot- Eats selected seeds, high quality proteins, carbohydrates, lean chicken and boiled vegetables. Affectionate, inquisitive and can be easily trained.
• Quaker Parrot- Loves to play amusing little games. Highly intelligent. Loves to heard “Goooood Bird” or “Pretty Baaaaaby.”

• Senegal Parrot- Can talk and imitate. More accurate in pitch and tone. Eats sunflower, safflower, pine nuts, oats, hemp, millet and canary.

General Information

• Parrots are – Intelligent animals who depend on some degree of socialization and will not be good pets unless they are taught and patterned to be good pets. Good training is therefore vital to make these parrots bond with you. It’s very important to understand your parrot’s needs and intelligence, physical and psychological. Parrots belong to the family Psittacidae. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. Along with the cockatoo family (the Cacatuidae), the parrot family makes up the order Psittaciformes. Confusingly, the term parrot can be used in either the narrow sense of the parrot family Psittacidae or the broad sense of the order Psittaciformes.

Many species can imitate human speech or other sounds, and at least one researcher, Irene Pepperberg has made controversial claims for the learning ability of one species; an African Grey Parrot Alex, has been trained to use words to identify objects, describe them, count them, and even answer complex questions such as "How many red squares?" (with over 80% accuracy). Many other scholars claim that parrots are only repeating words with no idea of their meanings and point to Pepperberg's results as being nothing but an expression of operant conditioning.

Type of Macaws

• Blue and Gold Macaw- Very intelligent and good talkers. They balk initially but adjust very quickly. Very loud. Eats fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, cheese and chicken. Very demanding and can be aggressive or pluck.

• Hahns Macaw- Playful and talkative. Eats fruits, seeds, berries and nuts.

• Hyacinth Macaw- Eats nuts of certain palms, palm nutshells and strips of palm fronds. Affectionate, sweet disposition and very strong. Smart and inquisitive.

• Scarlet Macaw- Eats fruits, nuts, flowers and nectar. Picks up a limited number of words very quickly. Extremely intelligent and a very talented talker. It is social and friendly to people it has known for a very long time.

General Information
• Macaws – They are native to Mexico, Central America, South America and formerly the Caribbean. Most species are associated with forest, especially rainforest, but others prefer woodland or savanna-like habits. Macaws have been said to live for up to 100 years; however, an average of 50 years is probably more accurate. The larger macaws may live up to 65 years. Macaws are ready to breed when they are about 7 or 8 years old.

• Macaws are known to eat clay. This is antidote to poisonous seeds they eat. The chemicals in the clay mix with the poison allowing it to pass through the bird’s digestive system without harming the bird. Can live up from 20 to 50 years old. To have a macaw is a life-long commitment. A pet macaw will need frequent interaction, handling and love just as humans do. A lack of attention and love will result in mental and physical suffering (such as pulling out their feathers). Like children, they need supervision or they could harm others such as children and adults since these creatures are powerful (their break can break a human finger).

Type of Cockatoos

• Goffin Cockatoo- Fun-loving, very gentle disposition, clever, loving, curious, playful and energetic. Fair talker but some talk extensively.

• Moluccan Cockatoo- Very intelligent and sensitive. Eats fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pellets. Mimic human speech. Acts more like a dog. “Lap bird.”

• Umberella Cockatoo- Loves to cuddle and forms strong bonds with owners. Intelligent, social, good-natured, active, acrobatic and very affectionate. Can live to 80 years old.

General Information
• There are 17 (21 in total) other types of cockatoos. Well-raised cockatoos are adorable; a hog for attention, a socialite, and just a pleasure to have around. The family of cockatoos has an Australasian distribution, ranging from the Philippines and the eastern Indonesian islands of Wallacea to New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Australia.

• Cockatoos are generally large to medium sized parrots, with one species, the Cockatiel, being quite smaller than the other species. They are not early risers, instead waiting until the sun has warmed their roosting sites before feeding. They are highly social and will roost, forage and travel together, often in large flocks. They prefer roosting sites that are sometimes located near drinking sites, but many species may travel great distances between the roosting sites and feeding sites.
Cockatoos are known as one of the most affectionate species of birds. The term "velcro bird" is often used to describe their affectionate behavior which so endears them to humans. They are birds who usually bond to a mate strongly and for life. It is this characteristic which enables them to be so loving to a human. Like macaws, these birds need a lot of attention and interaction (about 4 to 6 hours). Without constant attention, the cockatoo will become ill and stressed, which will result to pulling out their feathers, to a point that they will go mentally insane. Their cages should be in an area where they can see all the activity that is going on within the family and they should be allowed to be out of their cage and played with each day.

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Other: Other Related Research
Pig Farm
By Heather Sielke (05/02/10 12:24:19)
Related animal: Pot-Bellied Pig

Lil Orphan Hammies in Solvang is a place where people have been taking potbellied pigs when they can no longer take care of them. Sue Parkinson is their caretaker and she is no longer taking in smaller/ younger pigs because she is finally becoming tired and wants to retire. Some of the pigs included Michael Jackson's pig and the pig from when Magic Mountain had a petting zoo. The pigs there range from being the size of a pug to being the size of a mid size bear. Oreo was the largest one that I saw and it was the most mobile in my opinion. It love to have attention and was always wanting to be rubbed. Sue has separated the pig that are older and cannot get around from the more mobile and fighting pigs. They have a large area that they can go but usually Sue says do not go that far. Sue knows most if not all by name and their histories. When Lisa told us to try and communicate with one of the pigs for twenty minutes I found a pig near the fence and was going to try and communicate like we had learned from Barbara but then all of a sudden it walked away really fast. I thought maybe it just did not want to communicate with me but all of the pigs were rushing into a line and going to get fed. It was weird to see them altogether. It was because to of my classmates had a paper and when the paper was crinkled it sounded like their feed bags so they thought it was time to get fed. Sue fed them and they all fought over the food. These pigs made sounds to communicate with each other which sounds quite interesting.

Click to play.
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Possible Dolphin Project Ideas
By Norah Eldredge (05/18/10 09:59:27)
Related animal: Dolphin

For me, the most interactive and collaborative way to communicate with the dolphins wouldn't necessarily happen on the boat or when we are in the presence of the dolphins. While we are on the boat I am going to try and just experience what is going on, experience and write down what I feel and what I am getting from the adventure.

I really want to try and incorporate these emotions and experiences into writing. I have been revisiting writing a lot, and would to figure out how to collaborate with dolphins in this way. I am still not really sure how to do this, maybe a class discussion to day will help!

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Other: Animal Communication
Reading #1. Jim Nolman
By Travis Jepson (04/21/10 23:22:42)
Despite the age of Jim Nolman's research, I still found it amazingly relevant. Not much has been done in the way of communication with whales or turkeys for that matter. I found Nolman's approach very interesting. In his first article on the "Turkey Trot" he found that if he played certain pitches on his flute the turkeys would respond with high energy and excitement. Though not necessarily a two-way interaction, seeing how the animals responded to the pitch was an interesting concept and could touch on how the animals communicate. It was depressing to learn however that the owner of the turkeys asked Nolman to stop his interactions since the turkeys were getting "too much exercise," thus loosing weight.

His work with whales was what I found the most interesting. I had no idea that the sonar used on a submarine could kill a whale due to how they hear sound. I liked how Nolman described the thought process of a whale as well, unlike us, thinking in pictures/sound, Nolman believes that whales think in sound alone. I believe this could be true, but I think picture thoughts could very well be possible, seeing how whales have massive eyes. Though there is no doubt in my mind that basically all whale communication is done through sound. His love for music allowed him to seek communication with whales. Over time Nolman's deliberate process of whale communication gave him recognition. I was very impressed with his persistence, if you do anything long enough and do it with a specific method, you are bound to become good at it.

I found it humorous to learn that after all these years have passed, Nolman has become his own butcher. Raising animals on a farm and slaughtering them himself. To be honest it does seem kind of twisted; raising an animal with love and care till you have earned its trust, then killing it and eating it. Though I do see this as a healthy alternative to the mass production of the heat industry, it does seem like a 180 for Nolman to take on this lifestyle. Despite this, I believe Nolman is a truly innovative man that is a pioneer in the art of animal communication.

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Other: Interspecies Relationships
Reading #2. Postmodern Animal Arts
By Travis Jepson (04/22/10 00:03:42)
The idea of post-modernity can be seen as a way of thinking about the world with new perspectives. This can relate to the concept of history, each nation and even every individual has their own opinion of it. Post-modernity makes it important to go against the traditional and allow these new opinions to be given the same attention as any opinion. There is no "goal" but instead a categorization used by post-modernity in order to allow multiple perspectives to be given while on the same level.

Postmodern artists seek out animals that are not considered tame or kept as pets. I believe that human projection and influence will dramatically change how an animal would act in an unaltered environment both out of human contact and out of human influence. It seems in most cases that a pet more often resembles its owner, almost as if raising a child. However, the direct dependency of an animal on their owner can be mistaken for love, having your dog approach you because you are holding a treat is no substitute for having a connection due to a bond forming over time.

Despite all the good concepts post-modernity has to offer, I did find one inconsistency that I believe needs to be carefully noted, the concept of categorization is basically the concept that postmodernists are trying to get away from, labeling. However the key factor that redeems this concept for postmodernism is that the categorization is only for the sake of organization, nothing is being set up to arrive at a truth. There is no right answer, there are only opinions.

When it came to similarities between postmodernist artists and animal rights advocates, I found there was one key important factor when it came to collaborating with animals in a "natural" environment. This is nearly impossible, for an animal to have been influenced by an environment altered by humans will ruin the aspect of a truly "wild animal." This even relates to the concept of freeing an animal, if you release an animal from captivity, they will never be able to act as they would if they had grown up in their suited environment. There is some argument that instinct will take over, however I believe that we must be realistic when seeking to help animals get back into a more natural location, remembering that in some cases, captivity is the only option because quite frankly the environment is so drastically different we almost owe it to the animals to provide them care.

Finally, the aspect of love and knowledge. In most cases the use of discipline of a human child is done out of an act of love for the overall benefit of the child in society. Animals however are disciplined to fit the role that the owner wishes, there are some standards which are often upheld but I believe it is difficult to maintain a healthy balance between respect and love especially between a pet and owner. Dependence is NOT love, if you feed your dog and it approaches its bowl wagging its tail and acts excited as you pour the food, that in my opinion is not love. That is providing an animal with the necessities for life. Interaction is what leads to love, it can be considered knowledge in the case of animals but it is a fine line between training and learning. It is important to not try and force a communication with an animal you want to have a genuine compassion for, remembering that you want to give it the freedom to choose to accept knowledge.

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Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
reading 2 (fear of the familiar)
By Jennifer Lee Lin (04/22/10 20:24:56)
This text was a little confusing for me, but the discussion helped a lot.

I believe postmodern artists have a "fear of pets" because they see the pets as not real animals, because they are animals who are in captivity, they are animals that have been domesticated and live and grow with humans. Therefore their lives are just human projections. Pets are in a strange place in the human-animal spectrum. They are not real animals, but they are not human, they are neither nor. Therefore postmodernity favor wild animals because they are not influenced by humans, they live and grow naturally in the wilderness. They are truly themselves. There are some inconsistencies in the foundation of postmodernisms "fear of the familiar" however ( i have trouble with this question, but), i believe because postmodernism is all about the gray area, that there are dualisms, no one truth. some postmodernists are trying to categorize and organize what characterizes them as a movement. the very act of trying to label something is counter-postmodernist. they are trying to find structure even though this movement is all about deconstruction. Therefore, postmodernists and animal advocates are similar not only because they both cherish the wild animal, but also because they both cherish the individual. instead of modernist thinking where everyone is the same and that what defines a species is set in stone, both groups focus on individualism, the individual animal within a species. they both believe that an animal is not defined by its species and have special qualities within them that is utterly untouched by human influence. (I dont know how sexism really plays, and i don't agree with what the article said about sexism) Love has everything to do with knowledge, because one pursues in learning because they have an interest towards it. love is the pursuit of knowledge. One needs love for a subject in order to try to understand it, without sentiment (even though it is looked down on by postmodernists), we cannot connect with animals because we cant relate to them.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Reading 4/8/2010
By ho chi leung (04/08/10 11:38:14)
Related animals: Lion, Turkey

Many things in this week reading are very interesting. The turkey always gobbled itself when the author played his flute was a very cute interspecies music. It was so funny when the woman blamed at the author, because she thought he was upsetting her turkey and caused it to lose weight. However, the author did not think he was upsetting the turkey at all. I think it is interesting to see how different human beings interpret the animals' actions in different ways. And I agree with the author says that he was having a communication with the animal which involves much more than aesthetics. People always do observation of animals, but his relationship with the turkey was more than an observation, because he was doing a participation. I believe participation not only allows us understand the animals' characters more, but also to form a genuine bond with the animals.

Besides, the Interspecies Protocol's idea impressed me. Especially when the author talks about the protocol between Bushmen and Lions about visiting the waterhole and keeping the lions quiet at night. And it is sad to hear that their traditional interspecies protocol was then disturbed because of the ranchers, and the peace between the Bushmen and lions was further broken.

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Other: Interspecies Communication
Reading: Ch 5,6 from Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication
By ho chi leung (05/30/10 02:02:47)
Related animal: Dolphin

Dolphins are known to have a peaceful and playful image to everyone’s mind. Toni Frohoff also described that dolphins often tease and play with birds and they sometimes even throw fish to birds. However, dolphins are not always friendly and peaceful with members of their own species. As Toni pointed out, infanticide has been witnessed among bottlenose dolphins in several locations around the globe. Moreover, a human fatality case happened in Brazil by a sociable bottlenose dolphin, but it was defending for itself because the two humans were trying to abuse and capture it.

Toni also suggested dolphins usually are found in groups, and rarely be alone. It reminds me that I was surprised to see the two or three thousands dolphins in the sea during the field trip. Although I had so much fun in the trip when I saw dolphins filled up the ocean, I could feel the boat kept hitting on the dolphins when I was standing at the front of the boat. And Toni also mentioned in her book that sometimes, the boats pursed the dolphins in a high speed, it occasionally separated the mother-calf pairs. Moreover, she also suggested that the shipping noise would possibly disturb the dolphins’ cetacean vocalizations and further interrupt their communications.

Human beings often danger or interrupt dolphins’ life, hence, I agree with Toni that we should have a better understanding of “the dolphin social ecology and communication heightens our understand of the dynamics of their society and how we—human interlopers into their underwater world—affect their development as individuals and as a community”.

Why Paint Cats (the ethics of feline aesthetics) (Book) [Write Comment]
Reading: chapter 10, Chapter 10 Jim Nollman's "The Man Who Talks to Whales"
By ho chi leung (05/30/10 01:57:12)
Related animal: Dolphin

In Jim Nollman’s Dolphin Mysteries chapter 10, he often anthropomorphized the dolphins such as saying the dolphins seemed to be the human musicians who prefer to work at night, and human and dolphins tend to reflect each other because humans sense natural wisdom more clearly and succinctly from the dolphins than from other animals. Jim suggested that all living creatures are remarkably related on that basic level of genes, and therefore human and animals or other living creatures are all the same stuff. I understand how his point came from, but I do not totally agree. Although humans’ and animals’ basic level of genes are probably related, the genes formulas are still different and which makes every species to be distinct. Hence, I do not agree all living creatures “are the same stuff”, and the way he concluded was too general.

I support what Jim said that “all the living beings and communities of beings have been living and breathing cooperatively since the very inception of life on earth”. I believe it was the God’s goal when He first created the world. Nevertheless, human’ living style is changing causes the world to change. And the change further interrupted the cooperativeness or the relationship between human beings and animals.

It was interesting to read how the dolphins react to music. They played back-and forth game—rushing off at top speed, all five breaking across the surface of water in unison, away from the boat, until Jim stopped playing. However, the way Jim described how the dolphins reacted, they seemed having fun. But I doubted if that is really how the dolphins felt.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Reading: Chapter 8, Fear of the Familiar
By ho chi leung (04/21/10 23:52:59)
Related animal: Dog

I think it is interesting to know that some artists prefer to work with wild animals because they think animals’ wildness reflects the animals’ true identities. However, to me, I am more interested to work with domestic animals because there is a sort of relationship between the animals and the human, and that relationship line interests me more to explore. Moreover, even though the domestic animals are adapted to human life, their own identities or characteristics that cannot be washed away from them. For example, no one or no other dogs had taught my dog to pee and master places or spots when I take him a walk, and no one or no other dogs had taught my dog to bark when people come in from the door. In short, I think animals’ characteristics are always in them since they were born. And regarding the ways and attitudes that domestic animals react to human, I do not think they ruined the true characteristics from the animals. Rather than that, I see these are the extra characteristics from these domestic animals. Moreover, “It is love that leads to knowledge” is my favorite quote in this reading.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Response on Fear of the Familiar
By Jessica Oropesa (04/22/10 23:48:46)
What I found to be most interesting in this text was the part where the author talks about love and its relationship with the ideas of Postmodern art. Luce Irigaray explains that "one should not have to give up love in order to become wise or learned" (186). The article continues to state that Postmodern art's struggle with the animal is all about distance. There was supposed to be a certain amount of distance between animal and artist for the work to be real or authentic. The article also relates the animal's ability to sometimes sweep the human off into the unfamiliar with love. The account of love and the work of love are concerned with seriousness rather than sentiment, according to Gillian Rose. The Postmodern artist's distance to love is what they pride themselves on, but what critics believe is necessary for true work.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Response to "Fear of the Unfamiliar"
By Matthew Roy Reeves (04/20/10 15:58:44)
Related animal: Hermit Crab

“Fear of the Familiar” delves into five categories that ironically confront the “characteristically postmodern dissolution of categories…in which categories and boundaries remain firmly in place” (166).

“Persistence of Animal Categories” describes different perspectives on an animal by comparing their wild and domesticated behavior. Philosophers Deleuze and Guattari describe “three kinds of animals:… ‘demonic animals,’ ‘state animals,’ and individuated animals.’”(168).

“They Are Perfectly Safe” describes the aversion of postmodern artist and philosopher toward domesticated animals. Baudrillard described the desire for these beings stemmed from an anxiety of castration. I find the desire is light-hearted and less sexually compensatory, however.

“An Unlikely Alliance” unites the artist with the animal in the creative process.

“Sentimentality” strikes at the root of postmodern aversion toward pets, given that animals cannot live as they are perceived by their owners without unnatural removal from their wild origins. Taxidermist Emily Mayer explains that “when looking at the realities of death as well as life in the wild, ‘its hard to sentimentalize.’” (174).

“Living Inexpertly with Animals” reveals the casual interest in experiencing life in an interspecies environment. Postmodern painters are mentioned to paint their pets from life, where the sharing of the space is the collaborative effort (180).

“Philosophers and Their Cats” legitimize the interspecies lifestyle among postmodern thinkers. Derrida’s cat, for instance, “allows him to see something of the otherness of all non-human animals” (186).

My final thought regards the audience of the fear of the familiar. Humans are the intended spectators of philosophical inquiry or artistic endeavors. Using animals is merely a base bridge to their personal levels, their vulnerabilities. Do not postmodern thinkers subsequently transform the animal into a pet by presenting their despising of the role of the pet to the audience?

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Related to Animal Rights
Response to Artist Animal and Bees Making Art
By Brianna Acuesta (05/18/14 18:01:09)
Artist Animal:

Baker does seem to defend Jones a bit in terms of the Rat Piece because he constantly offers quotes from Jones that state that the audience could have done something about the situation and they didn’t. He also says that, although many may think that what he did was just refuse responsibility for saving the rats, it was just his way of expressing a reality that many people have never had to experience before. This reality is not just that rats have been historically burned alive because the rats are actually meant to be allegorical representations of the U.S. soldiers in Vietnam and those civilians. Furthermore, he notes that several other critics remarked on the audience’s lack of intervention as a key role in the success of the piece. Though these points seem to be defending or, at the very least, remaining objective about the piece, Baker’s main concern is that critics becomes aware of universal terminologies and perspectives rather than jumping to conclusions and stating their own opinion.

Is it ethical to use animals in science/food? I think the difference is that the individual artist has a choice to use the animal, and it could be a choice to send a message about the use of animals in science and food. With those other ways of using animals, a majority of people think it’s humane or necessary to use them. It’s all about the choice: artists don’t have to use animals inhumanely in their artwork, however they choose to and people, even those who use products tested on animals and eat meat, can’t handle it. I certainly can’t handle it, however I tend to also stray from eating any meat or using animal-tested products. I do not think it is impossible to ask the question of whether to use them in art exclusively, because the fact of the matter remains that art is not dependent on treating animals inhumanely. In science, it has become unnecessary to test on animals; however the alternatives are more expensive and could be less reliable, causing many companies to resist making the change. As for meat, it’s clear that it revolves around the animal and the only thing that may change with that is whether companies make the switch to better treatment of the living animals. That being said, I don’t believe that we should ever use animals for anything other than as companions if it can be done in a safe way that does not unnerve or stress out the animal. They should not be used for entertainment either.

There are two areas of trust that Baker explores in which he gives opposite approvals of trust. In terms of trusting an artist to work ethically with an animal, which I feel is the primary concern, we cannot trust the artist. When considering whether we can trust the artists motives, forms, and ultimate execution of the artwork, Baker says that we can mostly trust the artist. The perspectives regarding this trust varies widely, but I believe fully that we should not be engaging in any kind of work with animals that is harmful to them or us.

Bees Making Art:

I noticed that the notion of stronger or lesser emotional ties to certain animals was brought up in both texts. In Baker's, he notes that rats were statistically less inclined to gain an emotional reaction to them being burned alive than other animals, such as a dog. In Bees Making Art, the authors raise the point about the death of insects creating less emotional support from humans because we kill them everyday. Furthermore, the type of insect matters because, as mentioned in this text, insects such as bees and butterflies are valued more by humans and taken more into consideration when concerning ethics.
In both texts, there are differences between the way art uses animals in Baker's representation of it and the way that Kosut and Moore talk about the way bees are used in art. The bees are used more naturally and, though the exhibition is manmade, the way the bees add to it is natural for them. This same text uses these examples to raise questions about how humans can incorporate animals safely and naturally into their art. The suggestion is that when we work with animals, we de-center the focus on the artist and instead work to create a collaborative world that exists between the human and the animal. I agree that this is a safer, more humane way to work with animals and I believe that this is the method that I have employed in order to make my collaborative art.

Artist Animal (Book) Bees Making Art: Insect Aesthetics and the Ecological Moment (Article) [Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Response to Ch. 10. Nollman
By Tanasa Slovin (05/11/10 15:50:04)
Related animals: Dolphin, Tuna, Whale

Well first of all, I will not be eating tuna anymore. Second of all, I thought Chapter 10 of Nollman’s book was a brilliant conclusion that pronounced the break through of accomplishing Nollman & Katy’s goal of successfully interacting with human/dolphin music making. This break through that occurred in early February regarding the “percussive, and quite random—sounding like a room full of fast typists, if that can be imagined in two hundred feet of water” (p. 152). Then the unheard of happened, Nollman says, “Everybody—dolphins, humans, bottom fish, shamans, guitar players—everybody was playing music with everybody else” (p. 153). This is just really remarkable. I can’t imagine being there and witnessing all of these amazing sounds from wild animals. I thought it was really interesting that Nollman could even dignify that the particular note was the key of D-major. It was also amazing that Nollman would play a particular tune called “Misty” and that’s what the dolphins and the other underwater sea creatures responded to. Nollman also noticed the dolphins playing a game of swimming back and forth to the boat and back. Katy even interacted with the dolphins physically as she swam in the water, the dolphins would make passes at her, which was in fact another breakthrough. The outline of the chart of the story of the relationship of dolphins and humans is an interesting one to observe. Nollman created a chart showing how many days they spent out on the water, the amount of dolphin sightings, the amount of times the dolphins were heard and the rapport that was established. The rapport of the charts progress was dated from December, January and February. It shows that February was the most successful month in regards to the amount of response that was given by the dolphins.
Overall, the incident that happened with Fred Stern and his family was an unfortunate even to have occurred. It’s too bad that these events that had happened have made Nollman and Katy to suffer from too much negative public exposure. I enjoy that Nollman remains confident at the conclusion of the chapter by stating, “The gift given by animals is precious: a guide back to balance” (p. 159).

[Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
Response to The Postmodern Animal
By Mark Linggi (04/21/10 23:38:49)
Postmodern. If I was in a room filled with people and asked to raise our hands if we knew nothing about postmodernism, mine would probably be one of the first hands up. I'd hate to admit it (although I do), but postmodernism and I don't know each other too well. I guess this is why I am glade I got a further explanation from lecture.

Originally, I didn't get too much from the text. The words seem to bypass my consciousness and what I did pick up was the miniscule and the small details. Not to say its a bad thing, but not exactly what we were supposed to focus on. One such example, that I found particularly interesting, yet we were not supposed to focus on was how things are manipulated. Hate to be a broken record, but it has to do with science again. The paper talks about r-selected species. It says that r-selected species are invasive and nonnative species detrimental to a habitat and species living there. R-selected species are fast growing as well. This is partially correct. Not all r-selected species are invasive. In fact, in ecosystems like the rainforest, they are an important part of the life cycle. I also found it funny how the author didn't mention the other half to the story. Contrary to r-selected species, there are k-selected species as well. K-selected are slow, but put more of their resources in producing stronger and fewer offspring.

SIDE NOTE AND OFF TOPIC. I m finding this funny. When I m in art class I am the first one to defend science majors and get offended when scientists are told how uncaring and mechanical we are. But, and this is a big but, I am also the first one to defend art majors when scientists have something to say about us. Just in the same way, I get offended when assumptions are made against us art majors. This really off topic, but I just felt like putting this out there.

I thought the concept of love in The Postmodern Animal was particularly interesting. I like the idea that sometimes it is more than just a love for animals (I mean, who doesn't love animals?) but it is also about the love of the work with, of, and between animals. How the wisdom is steamed by this initial sense of love. For me, it brought a particular understanding of what I've always done is just combined what I love, animals and art, and pursued both knowledges without regard to the extra hardship that might have came from studying two completely different majors in 4 years.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Other Related Research
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/12/09 11:32:34)
Related animal: Rockfish


I first became interested in rockfish after our class visit to the UCSB REEF where about eight rockfish live together in a large circular tank. I was originally drawn to them after learning that even though they are kept within such close proximity to one another, they are incredibly territorial creatures and each occupy and respect the spaces dominated by the other rockfish in the tank. I saw this as an opportunity to do some sort of animal collaboration involving the mapping out of these overlapping tiny rockfish private properties that occur within the tank.
There are more than thirty species of rockfish that live in the Pacific coastal waters of North America, mostly living in the Gulf of Alaska. They can be as large as 41 inches long and as short as five inches, but most of them are between 20 and 24 inches. They are characterized by their bony spines on their heads and bodies. The spines are venomous, and although they are not toxic enough to be dangerous to humans, they can still cause pain and infection. Rockfish are somewhat bass like in shape and are sometimes referred to as sea bass. They are a common seafood and the most common species to be eaten are the yelloweye, quillback, copper, dusky and black. In the wild, rockfish are spilt u into three categories, shelf demersal, shelf pelagic and slope. Shelf demersal rockfish are those that live close to the shore, in shallow rocky waters. Shelf pelagic rockfish also live near shore, however they tend to spend most of their time occupying the water column up off the sea floor. Slope rockfish live in deeper waters, close to the continental shelf.
Rockfish are ovoviviparous, which means that they give birth to live young after they are fertilized internally. Rock fish grow very slowly and live long lives. Black rockfish do not become sexually mature until they are around ten years old and can live up to forty years. Other species such as the yelloweye do not become sexually mature until they are 15 years old and can live more than 100 years. The oldest rockfish to be found in the wild to date was confirmed to be 114 years old. Most species live their entire lives at a specific site and if they are captured and relocated they are known to swim back to their original site.
Young rockfish mostly eat plankton as well as small crustaceans and fish eggs. Adult rockfish eat fish such as sand lance, herring, and small rockfish, as well as crustaceans. Rockfish have a type of swim bladder that uses a special gas-producing and absorbing gland to change the volume of gas in the swim bladder, which is used to maintain buoyancy at different depths in the water. These swim bladders are damaged when fishermen reel rockfish to the surface too quickly for the gland to adjust properly. They often expand so quickly that they explode out the fish’s mouth, and tragically countless rockfish are killed this way every year by fishermen who throw them back while trying to catch halibut and salmon.

Yelloweye Rockfish

Yelloweye Rockfish

Black Rockfish
[Write Comment]
Other: Interspecies Communication
Than Man Who Talks to Whales Chapter 10
By Royce Chun (06/07/10 18:46:44)
Related animal: Dolphin

I found Nollman's ideas on interspecies relationships(more specifically humans and other species) very interesting. I agree with how humans can live alongside other species. I mean, wouldn't it be fantastic if humans managed to become "friends" with all other species? It would be remarkable if one day in the distant future, agressive species could walk right by a human without attacking. Of course this will probably never happen and would most likely prove to be unhealthy for the other species as it would affect their natural survival instincts. If dolphins, seals, and whales could playfully interact with humans, It would be great if this friendly behavior could span across many more species.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Art of Interspecies Communication
By Jessica Oropesa (06/09/10 03:01:22)
Related animals: Dolphin, Whale

What I found most interesting about Jim Nollman's work is his ability to convey his thoughts and opinions on the relationship of dolphin to human. He describes them, a common animal, and us, an extremely common animal, as "like opposite faces of the same large-brained coin. We tend to reflect each other." He also states that our responsibility as animals of this Earth is to harmonize and resonate with them. His success with music-making and the dolphins is a perfect example of interspecies interaction. He was able to successfully "play" with the dolphins as they swam around the boat and made some kind of contact with the humans.

In his epilogue, Nollman claimed that dolphins are a non-human people and in that sense, all animals are non-human people. Every individual is unique and different, but all are special. He also quoted an Indian chief, stating that "all things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the son of Earth." Just like how differences among races in the human race cause conflict sometimes, there is definitely conflict between us and the animal world. But if we could all understand that we are all part of the human race, that race shouldn't matter, then we should understand that we are all part of the Earth, and species shouldn't batter either.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Human/Dolphin community
By Danusia Young (05/11/10 21:13:09)
Related animal: Rat

In chapter ten Nollman describes our connation to other species as one-world community. He also writes about the fields of mind that connect us to other non-human species. I found it very interesting that the morphic fields of social groups connect together members of the group even when they are many miles apart, and provide channels of communication through which organisms can stay in touch at a distance. Nollman gives example of Fred Stern connection with the dolphins using morhic field or telepathy. As the author points the dolphins told Stern about their coming that I found very interesting. I believe that some people are more responsive, more sensitive to this kind of connection then others. They know how to extend the morphic fields beyond their brain and use intention and attention to guide them toward better understanding the idea of one-word community and make a successful connection with other non-human species.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
The man who talked to whales
By Lillian Shanahan (04/21/10 14:55:35)
Related animal: Turkey

I thought it was most interesting how he turned from experimenting , far removed like scientist into trying to work with the animal, figuring out what the animal wanted rather than putting a wall between themselves and just documenting what he witnessed. Or trying to make the Turkey communicate by human standards, he needed in a sense to try and communicate with the turkey by the turkey's own means.

Its also kinda funny that he came to this conclusion when the woman who owned the turkey was upset he was disturbing it bc she needed to plump it up for her dinner.

I liked how he said he felt more like a shaman than a scientist bc I have read part of a book called The Spell of the Sensuous and it talks about how Shamans are suppose to be in touch with nature and be able to communicate with that part of the world. They are the connector for the other people in the tribe. Rather than being a scientist who see the animal as a subject, different from himself and in no way tries to make connections.

He make a good point that musicians and artists should have the same access as scientists because I think that in a way artists are scientists and there is something to be learned form them that standard academic science would never dare to approach.

The second chapter talks about seeing animals as "peers, neighbors, mentors" which relates back to the first article, by saying that we should try and learn something from the animal not just objectively looking at the animal.

it was interesting to think about how there might be a specific protocol between humans and animals, that the animal is conscious of the relationship, and if that is so then the animal is capable of being an individual and have a personality.

that animals now may have a certain protocol in relations to humans because of the way their ancestors were treated and that fear/ or way of interaction has been passed down through the decades.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - the Aesthetics of Non-Human Animals
the man who talks to whales
By Jenna Ferri (04/08/10 10:39:30)
Related animal: Turkey

In this introduction to how Nollman came to love collaborating with animals, he defines a very important distinction between science and collaboration. While scientists are using animals in the name of science to learn about them and how they function and thrive as beings, Nollman wants more to collaborate them. His goal is less about understanding how animals work but how he can work with them.

He spent many years working jobs he wasn’t interested in, but eventually found himself in Mexico unintentionally collaborating with a turkey. It was here he learned how to interpret the turkey’s thoughts when playing music. He was able to read the turkey’s interaction to the music and try to learn what made the turkey want to participate. He says it best by saying, “This relationship was not about observation, but rather, about participation” (12). Observation to him was too deeply rooted in science and he wanted to bond with the turkey.

Eventually the turkey began to collaborate back and would wait for him while he was gone. He had formed a new relationship and started to become really passionate about the opportunities that could unfold if all humans strive to collaborate with nature.

[Write Comment]
Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
The Man Who Talks to Whales
By Heather Sielke (04/12/10 19:16:58)
Related animals: Anemone, Clownfish, Lion, Turkey, Whale

In chapter 1 of "The Man Who Talks to Whales" by Jim Nollman I found it very interesting that the Turkey was not gaining weight because he was participating with Nollman. That the turkey was actually losing weight and that the owner was getting angry is funny to me. I would never think that playing music with a turkey would make it lose weight.

In chapter 4 I found it interesting when Nollman talked about the relationship between the people and animals and how that differed from relationships between animals and other animals. Like the relationship between the lion and the wildebeest and how at mealtime the wildebeest would know to run and be frightened but during other times when the lion was not feeding that they could be near each other. I have seen the symbiotic relationship between a anemone and a clown fish in my own tank. In a tank a clown fish does not always require a anemone and a anemone does not require a clown fish to survive. Although this is true I wanted to see this relationship. At meal time the clown fish would eat all it wanted and then it would feed the anemone and my clown fish would feed the anemone quite roughly.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
the man who talks to whales
By Jennifer Lee Lin (04/22/10 20:33:51)
Related animals: Rooster, Whale

I think what Nollman means when he says he wants to learn "from animals not about them" if you're learning about something, it is objectified. I don't see the subject anything more than just an object to be observed. When I try to learn from them, there is sentimentally, there is a connection and relation, because humans must learn how to coexist with other animals. We are the sole species to destroy and kill so much in the world. All animals have learned to live with eachother in harmony, and therefore but learning how they do so by putting ourselves in their place, on their level instead of standing on pedestal can only bring good results.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Man Who Talks to Whales - Response
By Mona Luo (04/21/14 00:30:45)
Related animal: Turkey

Chapter 1: The Turkey Trot
I found myself quite torn by the reading this week. Part of me wanted to dismiss the author’s claims for being too outlandish and unfounded, while another part of me agreed heartily with a lot of what he had to say. I have never found myself to be spiritual so phrases like “mystical resonance” set off all sorts of alarms in my head. However, from the concluding section of the first chapter it seems that Jim Nollman is quite self-aware and has gone through his own struggle balancing the scientific with the spiritual. Figuring out how to go about an interspecies collaboration has had me quite stumped in these past weeks, but this text was quite illuminating. The idea of focusing on the individuality of the animal and its participation (rather than subjugation) seems to be the key to communication and collaboration. After reading about his turkey collaboration I wondered if the same thing could be done in reverse. Instead of the animal responding to the human’s trigger note, what if the human responded to a particular animal vocalization? Could animals be enticed into creating a collaboration with humans? In some ways I think I have done this with the cats I have been around. When they meow I will meow back, or say something to them. I have one particular cat that seems to like to carry on “conversations”. If I only responded to them if they meowed in a certain way, would I find that they meowed more or less in that particular manner? Would they start experimenting to see what other vocalizations would elicit a response?

Chapter 2: Interspecies Protocol
In this second chapter I have honed in on the particular line: “Even the most dangerous predator is accorded status within the status quo, and so deserves certain rights to live and enjoy good health”. Humans are quite biased when it comes to animals. Many people are more than ready to assign good and evil to animals (often unconsciously) when it really comes down to nature and survival. As was brought up by Deke Weaver after the performance last week, we tend to sympathize more with animals our size. We also love cute things. There are all sorts of petitions to save the pandas or help baby seals, but when was the last time you saw anything on the giant Gippsland earthworm (earthworms that get up to 3 meters)? Not only should fierce predators be allowed to live and enjoy good health, but “ugly” creepy-crawlies as well. Many insect species will probably go extinct before anyone has even had a chance to identify them. Nollman claims that, “if a modern human being is to accept the concept of protocol, he or she must also accept the idea that animals are possessed of individuality and distinct personalities”. However, certain “simpler” organisms do not necessarily possess individuality, or at least it is not apparent. For instance, insects. Does that mean that they are not deserving of a protocol as well? That seems a little bit biased.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Man Who Talks to Whales Chapter 1 and 4
By Serena Zahler (04/07/10 18:12:59)
Related animals: Anemone, Clownfish

Chapter 1:
In Chapter 1, Nollman discusses interspecies music versus interspecies communication. Interspecies communication moves beyond aesthetics into information transmission and understanding. Nollman believes there is one fatal flaw in experimentation because as humans we are ethnocentric and species-centric. We believe in order for successful communication between animals and humans, animals must “act just a little more like a human being.” In Art 130 we should strive to communicate on the level of the animal and not focus on our own communication as superior. Nollman explains, that for these interactions to be truly considered communication then we should communicate based upon mutual respect to create an open-ended dialogue.

Chapter 4:
In Chapter 4, Nollman defines an interspecies protocol, a code of ethics for animal collaboration, which already exists in the animal kingdom, but that humans can use to work on an even playing field. “Interspecies protocol may thus be understood to mean the forms and manners that any species conforms to when relating to another species” (51). One example of this is how sea anemones offer protection for clownfish, while clown fish bring their leftovers to the anemone. Growing up watching this symbiotic relationship I wan to use this relationship as a foundation for my collaborations during this quarter.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Man Who Talks to Whales: Chapter 1 and 4
By Royce Chun (04/08/10 12:32:02)
Chapter 1:
In chapter 1, Nollman talks about his interspecies experience with a turkey. It wasn’t so much interspecies communication as it was more interspecies collaboration. Through the use of a flute and playing a certain note, the turkey would gobble on key. On some days, that note to bring about the gobble could be a much different note than other days. I find this interesting in that although they are not really communicating anything with one another, but have found a way to interact with one another. I can also relate to this because I have come across many cats and dogs owned by friends and family that react to music or certain sounds.
Chapter 4:
In chapter 4, Nollman starts off by talking about how Bushmen and lions once worked together instead of against one another. Instead of simply killing each other in order to obtain their wants or needs, they found a way to work around conflict. As time passed, man found the need to take over everything despite the harmony that existed before. He also discusses the symbiotic relationship between sea anemone and clownfish. The clownfish require protection from the anemones because they are vulnerable to predators and are poor swimmers. In return, the clownfish eat within the anemones and the anemones feed off of the leftovers. I found Nollman’s segment on how the most fearful survive because as far as humans are concerned, it’s quite true. He talks about how wild bears who wander closer to human camps are more like to get shot and killed than those bears who are less prone to approach humans. It’s also true on the humans’ standpoint as it can be said that humans are more likely to shoot a bear out of fear than if they don’t believe them to be of any threat.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Man Who Talks to Whales: Response to Ch. 1 - The Turkey Trot
By Jessica Oropesa (04/08/10 03:20:49)
Related animal: Turkey

This first chapter, by Jim Nollman, was about his fascination about animals at a young age and how that fascination evolved into certain actions that involved his collaboration with animals. He explains his early thoughts on animal and human interactions and how he viewed animals as important beings in his life. He expressed opposing views of the treatment of animals - such as zoology's perception of humans as higher beings over other animals. I really liked Nollman's way of thinking when it comes to animal relationships. He stated that he experienced animals from a place of respect, a characteristic that does not seem very common within the general public. I found that he made a very good point about the role of a zoologist and how their work benefits humans, not the animals. He states that he "did not necessarily want to learn about them, so much as [he] wanted to learn from them."

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
The Man Who Talks to Whales: Response to Ch. 4 - Interspecies Protocol
By Jessica Oropesa (04/08/10 03:47:14)
Related animals: Anemone, Bear, Coyote, Fish, Lion

In this chapter, Jim Nollman discusses the relationship of human and animal. The relationships he describes are not about interspecies relationships, but of the individual relationships between a member of one species and a member of another. The example that he uses to introduce the topic is about the Bushmen and lions and how through the years of cohabiting with one another, the lions and the Bushmen came to mutual agreements of conduct with each other. This relationship is what Nollman calls, "Interspecies Protocol," which are the understood and unwritten rules between the members of two or more separate species. His text pushes me to think about animals in a revised way - to treat them with more respect and to view them as peers, not just untamed creatures that we cohabit the earth with.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Related to Animal Rights
The Moralist
By Madison Wanamaker (05/06/13 21:51:35)
Related animal: Human

After reading Steve Baker's, "The idiot, the Voyeur and the Moralist" from "Artist Animal (Posthumanities)", questions of morality and philosophy in art, and in other disciplines, seem to arise. Below are my person responses to questions regarding the reading.

1. What does Steve Baker think of Randy Malamud and others who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical?
Baker believes, in short, that these "pieces" need to be looked at case by case, and that you can not categorize all of these "artist" as a non-ethical group. There are collaborators and there are those using animals as tools.

2. According to Baker, what is the issue with looking at the ethical issues of an artwork before making a proper reading of it?
Baker once again believes that the pieces need to be looked at individually, because though some seem un-ethical at first they may stimulate a discussion that leads to awareness, and is ultimately positive.

3. What is some of Baker's criticism of the Rat Piece and Helena?
Baker believes that the Rat Piece is not so much a collaboration between the artist and the animal, but more of the artist using the rat as a tool to send a message. Putting the Rat Piece in the same category as respectful and true collaboration with animals is a disservice.

4. Is Baker defending the Rat Piece and Helena? How/Why?
I think that Baker is pointing out that though it is tragic that a rat was burned and a fish died in a blender, we can acknowledge that it is tragic and that in it's self is a kind of positive moral realization.

5. According to Baker, can we trust artist to work with/use animals?
He believes we can regardless of that fact that some do it unresponsibly.

6. Do you think artist have ethical responsibilities? Why/why not? What are those ethical responsibilities in regards to working with animals?
I think that artists should have no more a responsibility then any one else "using" animals, however it would seem a responsibility is thrust upon them. Artists are traditionally depicting things that are worth looking at or experiencing over and over aging. I think audiences feel betrayed by art when it does not meet the moral standard.

7. What does Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter mean when she says it is impossible to ask if it is ethical to use animals in art without also asking if it is ethical to use them in science and for food? Do you agree/disagree?
I think that Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter means that art should not be less valid then then science or consumption, therefore it should not have higher standards. I do agree that art should be as valid as science or anything else. However, in some situations food is not accessible enough to choose or not choose to eat animal products, and those animals may be treated unfairly, like food or possessions. I believe that in those situations the animals lives are not respected, but it is justified by the fact they were needed to keep someone alive. Similarly I find scientific research done on animals that is beneficial to the species to be moral even if it may hurt the individual. I think that animal relationships need to be judged on there morality on a one on one basis... though it is ironic that animal cruelty in art gains so much attention when most people eat horribly treated animals every day.

[Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
The Postmodern Animal
By Michelle Safley (04/22/10 08:29:43)
The most interesting part about The Postmodern Animal, "Fear of the Familiar," was the different ways in which one can classify an animal. The various categories come up when Deleuze, Guattari, and Leach's views are discussed. There appear to be three main types of categories: the first consists of animals that are admired and tend to operate away from humans in packs, the wolf being an obvious example. The second group consists of State animals, those that have some kind of fixed symbolic meaning for humans alone. An eagle might be a good example of such an animal. The last category consists of pets, which bring with them ideas of sentimentality and Oedipal issues; this category invites us to regress and draw attention to ourselves in a very narcissistic way, even just by saying "my pet" or "my dog". I find it interesting how different the categories are, and I never stopped to consider that having a pet was narcissistic in any way before.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
The Turkey Trot
By Tanasa Slovin (04/21/10 22:51:55)
Related animals: Rooster, Turkey, Whale

What I found most interesting about Nollman’s story of the Turkey Trot, was the fact that he had always been obsessed with animals growing up and then at age sixteen, decided to turn to music simply because in his view like most animal lovers, “[he] did not help to change the “dead view” by becoming a zoologist” (p. 6). Nollman simply was passionate about the ability to learn from animals as opposed to learning about animals. Even at a young age, students are thrown into the awkward and uncomfortable position of dissecting animals for academic purposes. I felt a connection with Nollman when he discussed his experience of the matter. When dissecting time came around in high school biology, Nollman expresses, “…If I complained to the teacher that I would not, under any circumstances, stick a pin into the brain of a leopard frog, she, and most of the “serious” students, looked upon me as squeamish, or even a coward” (p. 6).
Nollmans relationship with the turkey consisted of only playing music for him/her for about an hour a day. It was interesting to me to learn that Nollman could distinguish the differences of whether or not the turkey was not actually singing with him, or whether or not he was actually responding to the intensity of the notes. By just spending an hour a day with him, Nollman discovered certain personality traits that consist within Turkeys, even how they react differently when the temperature in the weather changes. Nollman says, “When it was hot, the bird gobbled sooner and more often” (p.8). It is pretty remarkable how much information one can learn from an animal, just by spending simply one hour with them a day.
The most important aspect within the communication of the human/ turkey relationship is the connection that music has within an interspecies aspect. Nollman explains that communication in general involves more than just giving and receiving of knowledge, language and information—however it involves aesthetics. Music, for example, it aesthetically pleasing to humans, as well as the fact that “music involves a sharing of tones, harmonies, and rhythms during a set duration of time. The quality, the so-called beauty of the form, of course, lies in the ears of the beholder” (p. 9). This makes me want to experiment music and communication with other species!

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The Turkey Trot 4/21
By Brianna Acuesta (06/08/14 22:38:55)
Related animals: Hump Back Whale, Rooster

Since I'm writing this in retrospect, I'd like to not only discuss my take on the writing but also what was discussed in my group on the day that we broke into groups. I want to do this because it wasn't necessarily my initial reaction to the reading that stuck with me, but rather it was the ideas that suddenly came to mind in regards to the reading when we were discussing them in a group. This was also the day that we brought our dogs in for the first (and for me the last) time, and so Mango and Shera were with us outside.
When Nollman says that he wants to learn "from animals not about them," it reminded me of the whole point of this class. For us, it is about collaborating with animals to create something beautiful on a more intimate level. This seems like such a contrast from the way that people seem to interact with animals on a daily basis, whether it be in a classroom setting where they learn simple facts about an animal without witnessing these miracle creatures themselves, or it's in an ecological setting in which the goal can be objectively about observing their behavior. Though observing them can be a form of learning from them, I believe that there is a difference between the way that an artist collaborating with an animals would observe and the way an artist simply using an animal as a subject would observe. Another important topic that came up for us when discussing this piece is when the author notes that our relationship with animals changes over the course of our lives. Though he doesn't mention this, this made me think about the way that our culture influences us and our relationships with others. What I have observed is that as a child, we are able to love animals freely and without judgement by hugging all of the dogs we want, reading books about animals, drawing animals every chance we get, etc. However, as we mature, our ability to express a passionate love for any animal other than ones that we own becomes a bit odd and we are deemed weird if we are overly obsessed. I have personally encountered this whenever I say what it is I want to do for a living. I want to work for the ASPCA as an Animal Behavior Counselor, which basically means working with the animals that are brought in so that I can help shape their behavior and allow for them to get adopted. Many are supportive of this dream, but I have encountered my fair share of people wondering why I would care to dedicate my career/life to such a cause. I don't believe that it is anyone's fault for not understanding my choice, but I do think that our culture's way of restricting our passion for animals is a contributing factor and should be changed so that we can foster a more animal-loving environment.
I loved the way that Nollman describes his interactions with the turkey and the reaction the owner has to his "experimenting." I also found his take on animals and the concept of anthropomorphism when it comes to applying the way we feel and react to animals fascinating. This kind of concept was something I hadn't really considered, since I'm used to projecting human feelings onto animals in an effort to understand and categorize them, and it was interesting being exposed to such an idea.

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Thoughts About Chapters 1 and 4 from The Man Who Talks to Whales
By Rachel Fleming (04/19/14 23:44:16)
Chapter 1

I can relate to the author in several ways:

1. I also had a great affinity for animals at a young age. I would catch animals and bring them inside. I had a similar response from my mom toward bringing in a wild animal—for me, an injured mouse.
2. It was easy for me and my friends to pretend to be another animal during playtime. No explanations were required.
3. I wanted to work with animals for my career.
4. I disliked how humans seemed to only want to help themselves.

There was an error I caught in the definition of anthropomorphism. In current dictionaries, it is defined as giving human attributes to anything, not just an animal.

I felt quite a bit of frustration and anger from reading this passage…

I disagree with his observation that zoologists, etc “look down on” the animals they are studying. They don’t choose to, they have to in order to have their science taken seriously and so that human biases do not influence results or conclusions. It’s easy to assume that an animal does something for a certain reason sometimes because that’s what it looks like to us. Sometimes this is a valid assumption. However, it isn’t always true. When killer whales open their mouths they are not smiling, but rather giving a threat. The same goes for chimpanzees. Smiles for chimps are closed-mouth, whereas anything showing teeth, such as what we would consider a wide grin, might be taken as a threat.

I strongly dislike his attitude toward animals being used for science and human endeavors. He must not see the big picture when it comes to studying animals. Progress from animal experimentation has saved not only uncountable human lives, but also the lives of many other kinds of animals and of species as a whole. Also, dissecting a dead leopard frog is not cruelty.

Yes, animals ARE biological machines. And so are humans. However, there doesn't have to be anything wrong with that. Just because something is understood scientifically or thought of as being chemical doesn't mean it doesn't get or deserve respect and wonder from those studying it,

He seems to have this view that science is only to help humans, which isn't true. I was also frustrated by humans only helping humans in high school, but never did I blame science or scientists for this. I knew that there were many scientists working hard to help save species through environmental studies, biochemistry, zoology, toxicology, etc. He obviously doesn't understand science or didn't meet passionate scientists…or any at all. This is a huge shame. I wonder how he got these ideas. Somehow science needs to build a better public reputation.

It seems as though, even though the author loves animals, there is a certain kind of respect missing for them. The author, in a sense, disturbs the animals with his curiosity and will to get close to the wild animals. A scientist such as a zoologist better understands the evolutionary boundaries between species. A person might feel like they are “playing” with an animal when really the animal is either fighting for its life or being severely stressed out. To me, it is more respectful to not assume that the animal interprets things the same way we do, just like it’s not polite to assume that other people have the same food preference as you at a restaurant, for example.

Also, the author seems unaware of the work of some kinds of behavioral sociologists, who treat human subjects the same way that zoologists treat their subjects. Scientists do NOT endorse a “dumb animal” concept. We approach everything systematically not to take the life, fun, or sentimentality out of things, but to be precise and accurate and draw truthful conclusions that we can use to make a positive change in the world, and not just for humans.

Chapter 4

I don’t believe in an “Interspecies Protocol.” The lions and Bushmen simply did not cross paths at the waterhole. If they did, one or the other wouldn't have survived or one of them would have moved. The Bushmen probably had their own protocol for not being killed by lions. The lions I’m sure had plenty of prey to eat and so humans were off the menu. Once the ranchers came in, I highly doubt that the lions saw cows as an “extension of humans.” They probably just weren't used to seeing cows. As an example, Orcas didn't start eating sea otters around California until they started catching on about the idea of using them as a food source. Once the lions figured they could eat the cows, or once the cows had driven off their usual prey, the lions had fewer options and went for the slower, easier prey. The presence of the ranchers likely drove off many grazers and left the lions hungrier and more desperate than usual, which probably drove them to killing the Bushmen. I highly doubt that it was because some sort of unspoken pact was broken.

I think there are instincts that animals have. The boundaries are set by evolution, not by a mutual understanding. Perhaps the effect of evolution can be interpreted as a protocol and understanding between species, but it will never be understood by animals on the same level as humans understand a written or spoken agreement of customs.

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Other: Animal Communication
By Jeff Marsch (05/14/09 08:46:25)
Related animal: Dog

What is the medium of thought communication? It has been proposed throughout history that there is the possibility of instantaneous communication regardless of distance, location, or any other variable. This seems to be the type of communication that is employed by animal communicators that claim to speak to pets over telephones, to dead animals, to non present animals based on the virtue of name. What is the nature of the connection between the communicator and the supposed reciprocating animal? I made a few maps so that I may deduce how much information seems to be necessary for one with telepathic powers to communicate with a non-local entity. It seems that at least 3 pieces are needed to locate the animal and establish communication. Based on the video we watched, they can be any of the following things: knowledge of the pet's name, the presence of the owner, the whereabouts of the animal, rudimentary knowledge of the animal's behavior, belief that the animal will transmit information back in response to emotional contact, etc. It appears that three anchors are necessary to triangulate the target animal, much the same way in which three satellites are needed to accurately locate a gps. For a bigger project I propose to give three legitimate attempts at communicating with three non-present animals via telepathy so as to try and deduce what exactly needs to be known about the animal before one can open a pathway to it.

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Turkey Trot and the Man Who Talks to Whales
By Matthew Roy Reeves (04/20/10 16:01:29)
Related animal: Turkey

Jim Nollman introduces his artistic passion for animals by describing childhood and losing touch with personal interests. “…[W]ith each passing year the chasm between us and humans and the rest of nature grows wider and wider” (5). The animal enthusiast became distracted by human culture as he grew up, and experienced his own personal evolution. “They say that a human fetus retraces the path of evolution in its development from one-celled creature to human being…I say that the process continues long after birth, but now on the level of culture” (5). Culture diverted Nollman’s passion, but it was reclaimed, nearly as nature had intended.

Where Nollman lost touch with animals he gained prominence in the American music subculture during the 60’s and 70’s. The call to return to his passion for animals, however, ended his performing career. “…[I]t finally dawned on me that there was no glorious future awaiting me in the rock and roll business” (7). After another setback, his wayward pursuit of his passions wound up in Mexico.

The casual lifestyle Nollman experienced in Mexico prompted a different approach to music, one that focused on playing and sharing music as an element of a community…of turkeys? Here was when animals finally returned to his wandering eyes in search of his passion. Turkeys next door would respond as he played his guitar, where he then actively began practicing in response to their reactions.
“I ceased to experiment on the turkey, and instead, began to play with it” (9) Nollman’s original pursuit of learning with animals was recaptured. From turkeys in Mexico came “bobwhites in Ohio, kangaroo rats in Death Valley, and a pack of wolves at a refuge in Nevada” (14). In each relationship, Nollman incorporated the medium of music into the art of collaboration.

Interspecies collaboration defines a breaking of the human evolutionary cycle that Nollman finally experienced, and was then free to engage in his passion by learning with animals as a human. He no longer represented a member in human society, like a zoologist or musician. He was an artist exploring his species identity, just as he did as a child. With the passion reaffirmed, Nollman’s art could then commence.

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Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
Turkey Trot...Interspecies Protocol
By Michelle Safley (04/21/10 00:48:44)
Related animals: Rooster, Turkey, Whale

Chapter one, Turkey Trot, is most interesting following the question, "Can an animal be taught to communicate with a human being?" The instinctual answer is yes, of course, animals are constantly being trained to communicate a variety of different things. Nollman, however, suggests that true communication is not that simple. He argues that the animal in training is held captive and programmed to learn the way humans do, without acknowledging the way they might *already* do. True communication, therefore, should be based off of mutual respect. Both participants should have equal power to decide the course and subject of the learning experience. This is not always the case, so according to Nollman, true communication is actually rather difficult to achieve.

Chapter four, Interspecies Protocol, brings up the concept of how we perceive animals, and connects our perception to language. According to Nollman, in order for human beings to fully understand interspecies protocol, we have to first learn to perceive animals in a new way. Kind of like learning a new language in order to best communicate with a foreigner. Most importantly, animals must be viewed as individuals, and quite possibly even as peers. Viewing them as equals allows a kind of mutual trust and respect to form and develop over time. Only then can we examine and improve the way in which we interact with animals, when both humans and animals start out on equal footing, be it a human footprint or a paw.

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Other: Other Related Research
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes Aura
By Cori Arnold (05/11/09 14:45:41)
Related animal: Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture can be found all over the U.S. They have a wide wingspan averaging from 68-72 inches and weighing roughly no more than three pounds. This rapture rarely flaps it wings, but rather soars high overhead. This animal can most commonly be found in desert areas, forests, and subtropical regions. This bird lives throughout most of North and South America, depending on its breeding times. Over the past few generations this birds geographic range has expanded Northward.

At first glance of this bird has an ugly, bare, red head, but when in flight this creature is beautifully, graceful and a joy to watch. Looking up at this bird flying, one can easily mistake it for a hawk, since its flight carries a similar grace and dignity. "There are six subspecies of turkey vultures: three in North America and three in South and Central America. Cathartes aura septentrionalis is found in the eastern United States and west into Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and eastern Texas. Cathartes aura meridionalis is located mainly west of C. a. septentrionalis and into Baja California, excluding the lower Colorado River valley. Cathartes aura aura is found in the lower Colorado River valley, including most of Arizona, and in southern New Mexico and Texas. Cathartes aura ruficollis is found from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina and east of the Andes, Cathartes aura jota is found in the highlands of southern Colombia through Argentina, and Cathartes aura falklandica is found west of the Andes from Ecuador and Peru through Chile and on the Falkland Islands. (Palmer, 1988.)" The lifespan of this non-human animal is unclear and can range anywhere from an average of 10 years up to 17 years.

This bird is a scavenger and feeds primarily on carnage of already killed animals, ranging from, other birds, small animals, and some larger animals. "The Turkey Vulture forages by smell[citation needed], an ability that is uncommon in the avian world. It often will fly low to the ground to pick up the scent of ethyl mercaptan, a gas produced by the beginnings of decay in dead animals[citation needed]. The olfactory lobe of its brain, responsible for processing smells, is particularly large compared to that of other animals.[7] This heightened ability to detect odors allows it to search for carrion below the forest canopy. King Vultures and Black Vultures, which lack the ability to smell carrion, follow the Turkey Vulture to carcasses. The Turkey Vulture arrives first at the carcass, or with Greater Yellow-headed Vultures or Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, which also share the ability to smell carrion[citation needed]. It displaces the Yellow-headed Vultures from carcasses due to its larger size,[30] but is displaced in turn by the King Vulture, which makes the first cut into the skin of the dead animal. This allows the smaller, weaker-billed, Turkey Vulture access to food, because it cannot tear the tough hides of larger animals on its own. This is an example of mutual dependence between species.[31] (Wikipedia.)" The Turkey Vulture will cover a span of area as its home until there is no longer food/carrion available for it. Than it moves on to a location were carnage can be abundant for the time being. Their home range is significantly larger in non-agricultural areas.

Many individuals are afraid of the Turkey Vulture, believing that they carry diseases from killing their prey, but they never actually kill their prey and their bodies breakdown any disease which they may have contracted from their prey.

"The Turkey Vulture species receives special legal protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 in the United States,[8] by the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada,[37] and by the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Mammals in Mexico.[37] In the USA it is illegal to take, kill, or possess Turkey Vultures, and violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to 15,000 US dollars and imprisonment of up to six months.[36] It is listed as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. Populations appear to remain stable, and it has not reached the threshold of inclusion as a threatened species, which requires a decline of more than 30 percent in ten years or three generations.[1](Wikipedia.)"

Turkey vultures do not have a large range of vocabulary and most of what can be understood of them is grunts, hissing, and barking sounds. These are typically used to deter predators. During mating visual cues are primarily used. To see a sample of their calls, visit: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Turkey_Vulture/id

Palmer, R. 1988. Handbook of North American Birds, Volume 4. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Wikipedia. Turkey Vulture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_Vulture.

Baby Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture in flight; what to look for when your standing underneath this bird.

Map of animals territories
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West Highland White Terriers
By Michael Walter Lambert (05/09/09 18:22:07)
Related animal: Dog

My project is on the dog. More specifically the breed West Highland White Terrier. More commonly known just as the "Westie."

History: Dogs descended from the wolf. The first domestication of the wolf was about 12,000 years ago. Humans discovered the wolf as a great asset as a pet who could hunt along side us and guard us while we slept. Dogs learned to cooperate with humans through thousands of years of evolution and adaption in human society. As years went by the wolf began to mutate into different breeds, through natural mutation, different climates, and environments. Different dogs were able to be grouped as hunters, herders, guard watchers, and companion and lap dogs. Westies are mainly companions but can be used as guard dogs despite their small size.

West Highland White Terrier (facts and descriptions): Originally from Scotland the Westie could be described as robust, friendly, cocky, and spunky. Friendly even to strangers and get along well with children. They are self assured towards other dogs but will not pick fights with other dogs. Westies love companionship. Westies are small about a foot tall and weigh about 22 lbs. Known for their distinctive white coat, a two inch white coat uncurled with a soft dense undercoat that should be groomed regularly. They have dark deepset eyes with a penetrating gaze. Described as sturdy, hardy, and compact. Their ears are small, pointed, and erect. Their tail is roughly six inches long and they have muscular limbs. They have a short close fitted jaw, a convex jaw, and. thickly padded paws. Westies are easy to train and like to bark and dig. Originally bred for controlling populations of rats, foxes, and other vermin. The breed gained its distinctive coat after Colonel Edward Malcolm' s red terrier was mistaken for a fox and shot. Malcolm only bred white westies to distinguish it from game.

Dog senses (although vary): A dogs sense of smell is by far their most acute. Some say it is immeasurably better than that of humans but others measure it at about 100,000 times that of a human. This helps with tasks such as finding missing persons, digging underground, and tracing toxic substances. Dogs can detect drugs, explosives, and the scent of their masters. Dogs have a generally poor or weak sense of taste, and will eat almost anything. The dogs next greatest sense is that of hearing, also much greater than a humans ability, with the ability to filter out distracting noises. Dogs can identify prey, predators, as well as their origin based on sound. Dogs have relatively poor eyesight and are technically color blind although they can discern different colors by their shade of grey. Sight is practical for dogs. They can detect movement from a far. Also dogs can see better in poor light than humans and have a better visual range roughly 180 degrees. Dogs can't always identify what they see so they must rely on their other senses. Dogs are sensitive to touch, their bodies are covered with sensitive nerve endings.

Play Behavior: Play behavior was the subject of my art project with my dog the westie Mac! Mac and I painted a picture out of mud with our extremities, played life guard and soccer. As we know dogs love to play, they play ball and chase wheels. Forms of play for dogs are to lick, bark, nip, chew, dig, rough house, and fetch. Other interesting facts, dogs are known to be telepathic and help as healers for the sick (dogs help patients through periods of illness).

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Other: Interspecies Communication
Whatever you want
By Jorden Hirsch (05/08/10 15:57:32)
Related animal: Dolphin

What I found most interesting about this chapter, was the over wall idea and emphasis on the connection between all living creatures. When discussing the dolphin/ human relationship Nollman uses the dolphins as an important example for the positive and major evolutionary step. “The concept seems a prime example of what co-evolution means: a tenuous first step away from our human role of exploiter to the new role of treating the planet as home and neighborhood…” I believe this is one of the more important things for the development of interspecies communications. If all living creatures are related as Nollman also points out then we have to in some ways be treated on very similar levels.

Nollman poses the question to the reader; do you experience “it”? I do in some ways understand this “it” feeling. In many ways I think “it” manifests in humans as guilt, remorse, an intrinsic instinct to do the right thing or feel responsibility

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
By nikki leone (06/11/10 12:06:40)
Related animal: Dolphin

During our Dolphin Excursion, I've been able to document something that Toni has told me about. She had said to listen for a certain sound that the dolphins sometime make when they jump out of the water. During our 4:30 documentation of the trip, I was able to capture this sound.

@ :23 mark you can hear the sharp whistle the dolphin makes when leaping out of the water.

Click to play.
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Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
By Sarina Martinez (04/21/10 22:52:52)
Related animal: Whale

Reading selections from Jim Nolman's brought about interesting ideas with regards to "collaborating" with animals. His communication seemed very indirect, and at times one sided. By this I mean there was no collaboration between Jim Nolman and the whales before hand. It was all actions and tasks that he set out and hoped that the whales would interact. This passive type of interaction could lead to some interesting reactions or none at all.

Another thing that I found interesting was the patience it took to accomplish the recordings. To spend months on a boat trying to engage the whales shows a great degree of patience and love for what you're doing. To hear him talk about the small instances where the whales might have interacted would be enough for me to stay out there..

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]
Other: History/Philosophy - Relationship Human/Non-Human
You're so post-modern
By Sarina Martinez (04/21/10 23:18:14)
In this reading the most interesting idea was the inconsistencies of the post-modern framework. It was interesting that there was a disconnection with the purity and "simplicity" of wildlife that was celebrated and the move away from simplicity. Modernity was about boiling things down to its simplest for and getting to the essence. Post-modernity was about keeping those extras, keeping the details because it is in the details that we find the diversity.

I believe there was a dislike for the domesticated pet because they all had become so standardized. There has become a prescribed lifestyle for all the domestic animals. Whether its the small toy yorkie that wears sweaters and travels in a purse or the bounding Lab that fetches tennis balls, there is a pretty standard life that can be predicted. What we get from wildlife is the unpredictable. They are the untouched, the genuine and pure example of an animal.

The Postmodern Animal (Book) [Write Comment]