“Rueful Reluctance:” An Unwitting Cat Owner’s Search for Meaning Among Memes

Becoming Animal: Feeling Horsey

Laval-Jeantet near a horse

Image Credit: Miha Fras via we make money not art

While in Star Wars, Lonesome Dove and True Grit we saw particular examples of the relationships humans have with horses —relationships that always seem to oscillate between recognizing horses as companions and treating them as bare property. And while with Jasha Lottin (NSFW) we saw in her slaughter and photo shoot the extent to which these animals are splayed out as props for both viewers and those actually interacting with actual horses. With a piece titled Que le cheval vive en moi, May the Horse Live in me in English, and created and performed by Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin (together they compose Art Orienté Objet) we can begin to see the emergence of a differently possible relationship between humans and horses.

Eating the Golden Calf

Stone statue of the Golden Calf

Image Credit: Harry Ransom Center

Eric Gill’s Calf is currently on display at the Harry Ransom Center as part of their new exhibition The King James Bible: Its History and Influence. The calf first appears in the King James Bible in the following verses. “Make us gods, which shall go before us... And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me...And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:1-4). In both the statue and in this chapter of Exodus we can begin to consider the relationship between these humans and gods and animals.

Horsing Around: Inside and Out

white horse against a white sky

Image credit Unknown via f*** yeah, wild horses

Last week I wrote about the curious dual-natured relationship we seem to have with horses. In books and film and popular media horses are situated as both friend, companion, partner and as disposable beast, object, mere chattel. Last week, too, I teased the case of Jasha Lottin and the relationship she had with a horse. Her story is surprisingly simple at first blush. Lottin and her friend bought a 32-year-old, near-dead horse already scheduled to be euthanized. They shot it in the head with a high powered rifle—apparently killing it instantly and painlessly. Then Lottin, a nudist and Star Wars fan, staged a photo shoot featuring her and the now-dead horse. Throughout the following post I’ll be discussing her pictures with the horse. They are excessively gory; there is some nudity. Discretion advised. Not safe for work content after the break.

Horsey Beginnings: Setting the Stage

Wild Horses

Image Credit the Bureau of Land Management

In George Lucas's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo rides a tauntaun out into the frozen wastes of Hoth; he needs to find his friend, Luke Skywalker. In George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones, Deanerys Targaryen, a princess in exile, takes center stage in a ceremony for the sake of her child-to-be. She has to eat a raw, fresh horse heart. In Washington County, a Portland woman and her friend buy a near dead horse, shoot it in the head, cut it open, and take pictures, lots of bloody pictures. The following post does not contain these images (a future post will, though). 

Drawing on Pigs: Wim Delvoye's Art Farm

Tattooed piglets

(Image Credit: Wim Delvoye)

It's pretty easy to understand (and probably join in) the outrage surrounding Wim Delvoye's work with pigs. Tattoos aren't exactly taboo in any real fashion anymore, but even as commonplace as they've become they still seem to provoke discussions about the use of bodies as writing platforms. In casual conversation clothes don't have nearly the same effect; though, it could be argued that they write on the body just as much as any tattoo. Clothes, though, seem to be commonly taken up as transient while tattoos are (mostly) permanent. I doubt there would be nearly as strong a reaction to these pigs if they were just dressed up on a daily basis.

Branding Occupy Wall Street

Broad image of occupy wall street posters

(Image Credit: Michael Nagle, Getty Images via In Focus)

During the past week Occupy Wall Street has gained increasing media attention. The movement, initially called for by the group Adbusters, began in earnest on September 17th when protesters first began to occupy Zuccotti Park. This initial act seems to have largely been met with bemused ambivalence, and while there was originally a single demand articulated by Adbusters in their July call to action—that “Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington”  (Adbusters) –things were quite murky by the time the occupation took shape. Much of the media attention that the movement has gained, especially during this surge in participation, has focused on the apparent lack of concrete demands set forth by OWS. This confusion is misplaced. While the list of hopeful outcomes is amorphous a clear sense of oppositional branding has been developed   from the wealth of signs and images created through the movement. OWS demands that we put a hold on our love affair with notions of prosperity that put us in a double bind. 

The Decorah Eagles as Anthropomorphized Nuclear Family

Streaming Video by Ustream.TV

(Video Credit: Raptor Resource Project, UStream)

Over the past few months, the Raptor Resource Project has been hosting this live "nest cam" feed of a pair of eagles in Decorah, IA.  As of last week, the pair became the proud parents of three babies, and the drama of their incubating and hatching eggs has become a bit of an internet sensation.  The project is part of a conservation effort directed toward monitoring and understanding the nesting habits of avian raptors (eagles, falcons, owls, etc.), maintaining nesting sites, and educating the public.

We Like to Watch, or the Visual Pleasure of Lions, Tigers, and Bears

Image Credit: Screenshot of Smithsonian Wild

Many of us are suckers for cute animal videos, trips to the aquarium, and documentaries featuring David Attenborough. We can now add to the list of ways to watch animals this new web feature offered by the Smithsonian, which gives us "a glimpse into an animal world that is rarely seen by anyone." The pictures are taken with secret cameras, promising the viewer a more authentic experience, one with minimal human interaction.

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