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