Other: Art Made Together with Non-Human Animals
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.

The Man Who Talks to Whales: the Art of Interspecies Communication (Book) [Write Comment]