Thursday, March 31, 2011

03.31.11 : Idea Entry : Exotic Animals

Exotic : of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad, but not fully naturalized or acclimatized

Across the United States, millions of exotic animals are kept captive in private homes and in roadside zoos and menageries. The trade in exotic animals is a multi-billion dollar industry, and exotic animals are bred, sold, and traded in large numbers.

But these animals — including, among other species, lions, tigers, cougars, wolves, bears, monkeys, alligators, and venomous snakes and other reptiles — pose grave dangers to human health and safety. By their very nature, exotic animals are unpredictable and are incapable of being domesticated or tamed.

In many states, people are allowed to keep exotic animals in their homes and backyards without restrictions or with only minimal oversight. The conditions in which privately-owned exotic animals are kept also raise serious animal welfare concerns. Most people cannot provide the special care, housing, diet, and maintenance that exotic animals require. Many animals who have become too difficult for their owners to care for, or who have outgrown their usefulness as "pets" or profit-makers, end up languishing in small pens in backyards, doomed to live in deplorable conditions, or are abandoned or killed.

It has been estimated that as many as 15,000 non-human primates are kept by private individuals as pets in the United States. Nine states ban the keeping of non-human primates, but no federal law regulates ownership. In 1975, the Center for Disease Control prohibited their import into the US for use as pets. The breeding industry uses descendants of animals imported before 1975. Non-human primates of various species, including those listed as endangered, such as cottontop tamarins, baboons, chimpanzees, Diana monkeys, slow lorises, lemurs and gibbons are still available for purchase in the US.

In 2003, the US Captive Wild Animal Safety Act became law and in September 2007 the US Fish and Wildlife Service enacted rules to enforce the CWASA. The law now bans the sale or transport of big cats, which includes lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cougars, snow leopards, clouded leopards, cheetahs and their hybrids across state lines for the pet trade. As of November 2010, most US states forbid the possession of exotic pets, but 9 states have no license or permit requirements.

Photos by Nick Brandt

NPR : Should Exotic Animals Be Kept As Pets?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

03.18.11 : Artist Entry : George Logan

George Logan, born Bellshill, Lanarkshire, has been a photographer for 20 years. He is famous for his distinct style, which is often described as having an otherworldly quality. He studied at Blackpool College of Photography before moving to London, where he is now based. George has worked extensively in the commercial world, for agencies including M&C Saatchi, BMB, BBDO, Ogilvy, TBWA and VCCP, on campaigns for brands including O2, Corona, Qantas, AT&T, Nokia and Ribena. Awards include the IPA/Lucie Awards Advertising Photographer of the Year in 2008 and Gold at the Association of Photographers Awards.

Using the spectacular photography of George Logan and the skills of Steve Hawthorne and Katy Hopkins at advertising company WCRS Limited, these images of wild animals placed within an urban setting aim to provide a shocking reminder that wildlife is losing its habitat at an alarming rate. All services involved in this campaign, including advertising space and printing, have been kindly donated and together we are working to raise awareness of the issue and the work which Born Free is doing to “keep wildlife in the wild” – without strong, well-connected areas of habitat, this will be impossible.

When animal species lose their natural homes, they are forced to eke out their lives in smaller and smaller, fragmented habitats. This puts increasing pressure on the natural resources, such as food and water, that they need for their survival. In addition, decreasing availability of natural habitats mean that animals and humans often come into conflict, which can result in damage to crops, predation on livestock, persecution, injury and death.

“Most people know that deforestation and the loss of natural habitats is a problem. They know that many animals are displaced an killed by this process. That doesn’t mean, however, that they do anything about it. This is partly because people feel they’ve heard it all before and partly because the problem seems so far away. So, in order to address this, we wanted to create a campaign that highlighted the problem in a way that was both surprising and that made the problem feel relevant to people in Britain. That’s where the idea of homeless animals came from. By destroying the areas in which animals would naturally live, we are essentially making them homeless. And homelessness is something that everyone in Britain understands and can relate to. By putting animals in settings where we would normally expect to see homeless humans we are getting across the problems that these animals face in an unexpected, relevant and hopefully engaging way.”

"It has to be heartfelt or it feels like going through the motion trying to produce things other people might like. The projects I've shot that have meant something to me have always led to commissions. Shooting gorillas in Africa was something I'd wanted to do for a very long time." - George Logan


‘Translocation’ by multi-award winning photographer George Logan is a collection of fantastical photographs. With warmth and humour these translocated images bring together Scotland’s dramatic landscapes with the beauty of Africa’s wild animals.

Logan traveled extensively throughout Africa to capture the wild animals in their natural habitats, visiting Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. The landscape shots are largely taken in Scotland and the wild coastlines of Cornwall. Logan then mixes animal and landscape images that feel like plausible combinations, resulting in a surprising set of photographs.

Filled with high-colour photographs of animals better suited to the Serengeti than Slough, Logan’s award-winning images feature lions on church door steps and warthogs down village lanes. Despite a somewhat unnerving closeness to reality, the photographs are in fact composite shots featuring images snapped in both Blighty and some of Africa’s most dramatic landscapes.

“As a child I’d tell tales to classmates and claim I had been raised on an African farm surrounded by exotic wildlife. It had me wondering how these creatures would appear in the rural Scottish landscapes I was familiar with. This project allowed me to indulge these fantasies.” - George Logan

Born Free founder and actress, Virginia McKenna OBE, who has written the foreword said, “There are many wonderful wildlife photographers, but George’s images are amongst the most intriguing, thought-provoking and original.”

What drew me into this work was the unique combination of animals and rural/suburban landscapes. The combination of the two is unexpected and yet realistic. The nature of animals trying to take back the land they once roamed freely. All of these images cause the viewer to think about animals and the restrictions we have placed on them. The Scottish landscapes with African animals are sticking and the new environments are puzzling at first glance.

George Logan


Monday, March 21, 2011

03.21.11 : Artist Entry : Ed Panar

Ed Panar was born in 1976 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He received a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. His publications include, Golden Palms, Same Difference, and Animals That Saw Me.

Dubbed "Animals That Saw Me," Ed Panar's animal portraits capture that rare fleeting–and surprisingly awkward–moment when you cross paths with an off-guard critter.

Roaming the natural and urban world with a camera for over 16 years, often alone, on foot, keeping a low profile, Ed Panar has repeatedly been caught in the act of photography—not by other people, but by a random assortment of familiar animals: cows, cats, frogs, dogs, turtles, deer, etc. The animal sees Ed, and Ed sees the animal; an unspoken message passes between them. If he’s lucky, the moment is captured on film, cataloged, tagged for future reference. The first collection of his most surprising and unexpected encounters with ordinary beasts—a brief, deadpan field study of the uncanny moment of recognition between species. As we question exactly what these animals may have seen, the pictures serve as a reminder that we must appear at least as strange and exotic to them as they do to us.

"At first glance, Ed’s images seem casual and quirky, like quick snapshots taken by a passerby. Your eye searches for what’s usually the blatant intent of the image. What is this a picture of? With Ed’s work, you look longer. You notice an odd detail, sometimes buried in the composition. A carefulness of the mise-en-scene." - Johanna Reed

"I like to think of my projects as composites of a lot of different ideas and experiences. The stories are always developing, overlapping, being forgotten and then remembered again. The initial spark can start anywhere. Sometimes a single idea or image will inspire a whole series, or I will re-discover a group of images I made a few years ago but never got around to putting together. It’s all fair game, as far as I’m concerned." - Ed Panar

My concept has to do with not only people interacting with animals, but also animals acknowledging people in return. The title of the series is what got me interest in Ed Panar's work. As humans, we tend to think that the world revolves around us and is there for our taking. What I enjoy about this series is that it questions who acknowledged who first? How we may perceive each other could be very different. My series covers these same types of questions without having the animal stare directly at the camera or me.

Ed Panar

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

03.10.11 : Idea Entry : Speciesism

Speciesism : a belief of humans that all other species of animals are inferior and may therefore be used for human benefit without regard to the suffering inflicted.

Speciesism is a term coined by Richard Ryder in 1970. The word refers to the widely held belief that the human species is inherently superior to other species and so has rights or privileges that are denied to other sentient animals. ‘Speciesism’ can also be used to describe the oppressive behavior, cruelty, prejudice and discrimination that are associated with such a belief. In a more restricted sense, speciesism can refer to such beliefs and behaviors if they are based upon the species-difference alone, as if such a difference is, in itself, a justification.

Philosopher Tom Regan argues that all animals have inherent rights and that we cannot assign them a lesser value because of a perceived lack of rationality, while assigning a higher value to infants and the mentally impaired solely on the grounds of being members of a specific species. Others argue that this valuation of a human infant, a human fetus, or a mentally impaired person is justified, not because the fetus is a fully rational human person from conception, nor because the mentally impaired are rational to the same degree as other human beings; but because the teleological and genetic orientation of any human being from conception is to develop into a rational human being and not any other creature, and because all humans have an implicit origination from two genetically human beings, and hence, both a primary genetic orientation and primary origination as the reproduction of other human beings, even if in a not fully developed state or if partially impaired. In this view, anyone who is born of human parents has the rights of human persons from conception, because the natural process of reproduction has already been initiated in biologically human organisms.

"Whenever you see a bird in a cage, fish in a tank, or nonhuman mammal on a chain, you're seeing speciesism. If you believe that a bee or frog has less right to life and liberty than a chimpanzee or human, or you consider humans superior to other animals, you subscribe to speciesism. If you visit aquaprisons and zoos, attend circuses that include "animal acts," wear nonhuman skin or hair, or eat flesh, eggs, or cow-milk products, you practice speciesism. If you campaign for more-"humane" slaughter of chickens or less-cruel confinement of pigs, you perpetuate speciesism." - Speciesism, Joan Dunayer

“Speciesism is destined to become the definitive statement of the abolitionist animal rights position, not only in philosophy but also for the law and for conducting animal rights advocacy. With uncompromising clarity and abundant, up-to-date evidence, Joan Dunayer details the logical conclusions of the basic animal rights proposition that all that is required for moral rights is the ability to suffer. Her keen ear for speciesist language and her sharp eye for logical inconsistency provide a wealth of information, insights, and thought provocation even for those who have been active in the animal rights movement for decades, and her criticisms of the hierarchical variety of speciesism still found in the writings of some of the best-known advocates of animal rights will provide a constructive focus for lively discussion both within and beyond that movement.”—Steve F. Sapontzis, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, California State University, Hayward and author of Morals, Reason, and Animals

I came across this word when I was doing research and was unaware of its meaning. I assumed it had a negative connotation and had to do with prejudices against animals. After reading more about it and looking at various quotes and books relating to the subject the word itself does not have any connection to my work. If it does I have a problem. I do not want my images to be looked at an an animal rights statement but as the communication, connection, and consciousness between species.


Friday, March 4, 2011

03.07.10 : Artist Entry : Paul Coghlin

Growing-up near southern England's beautiful New Forest and coast, Paul Coghlin developed an interest in creative photography from a young age, regularly travelling out with a camera to capture the natural surroundings. Now based in eastern England the award winning photographer has continued to expand his creative style over the years, across a wide range of subjects, with his images appearing in magazines and exhibitions.

During 2010, in addition to a number of others awards, Paul received the British Institute of Professional Photography "Photographer of the Year" and "Peter Grugeon Award" as well as B+W Photography Magazine's "Photographer of the Year 2010" and the "Digital Printer of the Year 2010" awards. Paul is an Associate member of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP).

The images from Paul's "Behind The Eyes" series were taken at the Colchester Zoo, which is only 30 minutes from his home in Suffolk, in eastern England. He used a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens, which gave a good range of focal lengths.

Artist Statement : The intention of the series is to encourage the viewer to consider animal consciousness and what an animal may “think” or feel as it looks right back at the viewer. Both observers may actually have far more in common than either of them realise…

"I wondered if it were possible to capture a photograph of the fleeting moment when a contact appears to be made between two self-aware animals; that elusive connection when one animal hold its gaze directly and deliberately into the eyes of another. This was the basis for the 'Behind The Eyes' series." - Paul Coghlin

“My aim was to get a clear shot of the animals looking directly at the camera and holding their gaze. I wanted to be able to see what the animals were thinking and to focus on the animals’ consciousness... I do enjoy taking photos of people but I think that the wildlife aspect is more interesting because you just never know what they are going to do next. There is a definite challenge in taking photos of wildlife. I think there is an excitement to it because you do rely on them.” - Paul Coghlin

Paul Coghlin's series is about the consciousness and awareness of the wild animals, which is what my images are trying to do. Paul takes the approch of capturing the eyes of the animal and experiencing eye contact between himself and the wild animals of the zoo. I however use the cage as a median to interpret the communication and consciousness between humans and animals.

Paul Coghlin

Thursday, March 3, 2011

03.03.11 : Guest Lecture Response : Kathy Rose

Bio : Kathy Rose combines animation, kinetic imaging, performance and film to produce films and dances in the art community. Rose is a Master Lecturer in the Media Arts Department at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Kathy Rose has long been inspired by Japanese art and theater, including the work of Yoji Kuri, Kihichiro Kawamoto, Akira Kurasawa("Throne of Blood"), as well as Butoh dance, the Japanese Noh, and Bunraku theaters. Rose is also an admirer of Fellini's work, and artists such as Hannah Hoch, and Remedios Varo. Her most recent performance "The Cathedral of emptiness" premiered in July 2009 at INGENUITY, THE CLEVELAND FESTIVAL OF ART MUSIC AND TECHNOLOGY.
Favorite Quotes :
3 Words : Self-Obsessed Performance Videos
I learned about incorporating different medias to make a work. She has learned to use programing software and incorporate it into her dance performances and instillation pieces from her early work. While I personally do not like her use of kinetic imaging combined with her performance work, it is a combination that can open up more possibilities.
Unfortunately I could not stay for the entire lecture due to a class. Therefore, I did not get an opportunity to ask her questions. The majority of the time I was there she showed segments of her films and performances.
I enjoyed her early performance work much more than her more recent kinetic imaging videos. My favorite piece she showed during her lecture was Original Interplay. It was a combination of performance, dance, and animation. Her dancing preferences are simple but humerus as she incorporates he hands, shadows and clothing into the animation. Its very geometric and fun.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

03.03.11 : Idea Entry : Consciousness

Consciousness :
1. the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
2. the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of an aggregate of people
3. full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life

The Farmer and his Dog

Phenomenal consciousness refers to the qualitative, subjective, experiential, or phenomenological aspects of conscious experience, sometimes identified with qualia. To contemplate animal consciousness in this sense is to consider the possibility that there might be “something it is like” to be a member of another species. There is broad commonsense agreement that phenomenal consciousness is more likely in mammals and birds than it is in invertebrates, such as insects, crustaceans or molluscs, while reptiles, amphibians, and fish constitute an enormous grey area for most scientists and philosophers.

Self-consciousness refers to an organism's capacity for second-order representation of the organism's own mental states. Because of its second-order character (“thought about thought”) the capacity for self consciousness is closely related to questions about “theory of mind” in nonhuman animals — whether any animals are capable of attributing mental states to others.

"Conscious thinking may well be a core function of central nervous systems. For conscious animals enjoy the advantage of being able to think about alternative actions and select behavior they believe will get them what they want or help them avoid what they dislike or fear. Of course, human consciousness is astronomically more complex and versatile than any conceivable animal thinking, but the basic question addressed is whether the difference is qualitative and absolute or whether animals are conscious even though the content of their consciousness is undoubtedly limited and very likely quite different from ours." - Animal Minds, Donald R. Griffin

"This is one of the things that really separates [Integral Ecology] from a lot of the holistic approaches: not only do we say that animal interiors are important, but we actually give a lot of clear instruction as to how we might go about concretely and rigorously including and investigating animal interiors." - Sean Esbjorn-Hargens

I have been discussing in my individual meetings about the language I should use in my artist statement. Animal consciousness has a lot to due with my project and I would like to include it in my statement. My concept focuses on the barrier between human and animals, but also in the awarness we have for one another through the barriers. Is our perception of them the same as theirs is to us? Are the marks of glass something that prevents them from seeing us clearly or is it unnoticed by post humans and animals?


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

03.02.11 : Guest Lecture Questions : Kathy Rose

What is your favorite part of the process? The idea development, filming/editing, creating the installation, or preforming?

What are you conceptually trying to portray with the mixing of media?