Download e-book for kindle: An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture by R. Malamud

By R. Malamud

ISBN-10: 1137009829

ISBN-13: 9781137009821

How and why do humans "frame" animals so pervasively, and what are the ramifications of this behavior? For animals, being positioned right into a cultural body (a movie, an internet site, a pornographic tableau, an commercial, a cave drawing, a zoo) potential being taken out in their average contexts, leaving them someway displaced and decontextualized. Human imaginative and prescient of the animal equates to energy over the animal. We envision ourselves as monarchs of all we survey, yet our dismal checklist of polluting and destroying great swaths of nature exhibits that we're certainly now not masters of the ecosphere. A extra ethically actual stance in our courting to animals should still therefore problem the omnipotence of our visible entry to them.

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The jellyfish fluctuates. (How interesting – what is that like? Like a chameleon changing colors? Like a tadpole or caterpillar transforming into a frog or butterfly? ) Moore visualizes the jellyfish as a charm, which is compelling: I want a charm! What does it charm? How? What magical powers may lurk in this charm? She gives us a glimmer of color, melded colors (amber and amethyst), colors that evoke minerals, jewels, value. Again: I want this! Hence, my arm approaches. I draw near. I want to touch, to take, to own.

Oolong, a rabbit, exemplifies the new electronic version of fetishizing the animal form. indd 33 4/4/2012 11:00:06 AM 34 An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture irrelevantly, named after a variety of tea. Laika, Balto, Oolong, and others are all names imposed upon animals by people, wholly meaningless to the animal subjects. I use these names as a necessary convenience, though they are simply one more layer of disguise for these animals, who are so enmeshed in human culture and language that their real identities are virtually inaccessible.

In the age of mechanical reproduction, people reproduce animals a great deal. This may be regarded as an abrogation of the animals’ fecundity, especially with regard to rabbits, whose reproductive prowess is a central aspect of their cultural reputation. Oolong’s fame, then, embodies a kind of semiotic theft. What often happens when people engage animals is that we identify, and then steal, their spirits – their authenticity, their traits, their very animality. indd 34 4/4/2012 11:00:06 AM Famous Animals 35 Figure 3 “I have no idea what you’re talking about ...

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An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture by R. Malamud


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