Reflection: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
"The Man Who Talks to Whales" by Jim Nollman Ch. 10
By Danielle Terhune (05/10/10 20:22:28)
Related animal: Dolphin

“And because of their unabashed friendliness towards humans, dolphins often seem like ambassadors from the otherwise secret world of nature. Of all the wild creatures, the large-brained dolphins seem the most willing to meet us halfway.” (Nollman 145). Ask anyone who grew up in the 90s and prior and they can tell you who their favorite dolphin is...FLIPPER. We have always been taught that dolphins are the nice friendly creatures of the sea who love humans and always want to play. It seems the media was not so far off in their presentation of dolphins. I remember when I was little my parents took a trip to Hawaii and came back with a video of my dad swimming with the dolphins. I was amazed and super jealous. I really would never expect any other ‘wild’ creature to be so openly friendly and communicative with a human being. I think dolphins are amazing creatures and super intelligent. As Nollman points out, they really are willing to be our ambassadors.
“We need to focus much more attention on the issue of human community- of working with a group of people who share the common vision, and who also possess the necessary skills and personalities to make it happen...As such, we had better acknowledge, right from the start, that the dolphins are active and equal collaborators in the process. That means learning to live on dolphin time. the project will take its own shape.” (Nollman 158). Working with animals becomes complicated when humans are involved. I myself feel a nervousness for animals, especially wild animals, when it comes to people interacting with them, and expecting a certain result. My fear of hurting an animal weather is be physically or mentally by doing projects with them leads me to want to take a more observatory interaction rather than a hands on interaction. Nollman describes the main issues with his interaction with dolphins happening when more people get involved, yet he is not opposed to community involvement as long as everyone is on the same page. Ideally this would work out, but humans are selfish creatures and I myself find it hard to be trusting of a community when dealing with other species, especially based on our terrible history of running many animals into servitude, endangerment or extinction.
“The gift given by animals is precious: a guide back to balance. On that level the gift is the basis of a profound mystery.” (Nollman 159).

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