Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
"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]