Posts Tagged 'animals'

Animal Feeling

Animal Feeling

…There’s a reason we try to teach our children this kind of sympathy. Lack of sympathy, or outright cruelty, to animals, stems from the same mindset that, more egregiously, can deny humanity to other people by denying their capacity to think or feel. The Victorians considered women less rational than men, and regarded other races and the lower classes as less sensitive to pain, thus denying these groups full humanity and consequently full legal rights. Given these attitudes toward members of our own species, it is unsurprising that many Victorians felt panicked when Darwin suggested our kinship with other creatures.

Big Sound Saturdays: Sonic Zoo pt. 1

Big Sound Saturdays: Sonic Zoo pt. 1

Animals have been imitated in musical compositions for years. I think immediately of Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals from 1886, though I’m sure that in vaudeville, minstrelsy, and other popular entertainments, the tradition is much older. Catalyzed at least in part by John Cage’s “4’33” (four minutes and thirty-three seconds of any combination of instruments resting, silent, while the intended audience listens to the ambient noise of their surroundings), the inclusion of animal sounds in rock and roll might similarly serve to blur the distinction between art and the everyday, drawing attention to the textured sounds of the recording environment.

It might also, a la Donna Haraway, query the foundational relationship between human and animal. Since A Cyborg Manifesto, Haraway has expanded her conversation about the intersection of human and technology in this, our technofuture, to one that considers our inter-species relationship with dogs. Understanding our relationship to dogs, for Haraway, helps us to understand our ethical relationship to our natural environment. How, then, do we listen to, and hear, this nature, and how does it talk back?