Human/Animal Interaction


In this week's Playlist we present a selection of videos by contemporary artists that explore Human/Animal Interaction.

Clara S Rueprich, Condition M, 2006


Condition M captures a pack of hounds being shown meat, initially prevented from eating, then being allowed to feed by their keeper. These dogs have been fully trained, thus each bears a branded M on their flank, yet the rules of the interaction between keeper and dogs seem paradoxical. The interaction is not modelled on a human relationship but the dynamics of animal packs; the dogs respond to the control, generosity and cruelty of their master in a theatrical exchange that is both impressive and disconcerting. 

(Aoife Rosenmeyer)

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Chris Oakley, Sight/Seeing, 2005


SIGHT/SEEING explores our relationship with notions of wilderness in a globalised era. Part dystopic travelogue and part wildlife documentary, the piece explores our relationship the natural environment, based on received notions handed down by the mass media. Tourism has created a process of commoditization of the natural world, typified by the modern safari, based upon experience as spectacle, consumed through the lens of the domestic camcorder. The video explores a phenomenon where spectacle undermines experience, and seeing becomes secondary to recording. Increasingly absurd photographic defects and the behind-the-lens presence of the tourist move us towards a position where the romantic tourist gaze is made concrete in the recorded image; a world seen through an experiential filter that cannot be removed.

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Laura Cooper, Color Poem [For Hyesou's Herd], 2015


This Color Poem is part of a larger project and installation made up of charts, video and sculpture called Nomadic Glow. Nomadic Glow attempts to record—in a 

deliberately limited, schematic fashion—the elaborate naming system that Mongolian nomadic herdsman use to identify each individual horse in their herd, which is
based on their nuanced perception of horse coat colors.
When visiting the Mongolian Steppe, I brought with me a range of industrial paint color chips and invited Hyesou—a local nomadic herdsman—to match the
horses in his herd through this limited selection of paint colors. The poem is the result of his selections. The voice in the video has been auto-tuned and restricted
to a color scale where color tone corresponds to musical tone.

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David Theobald, Trill, 2010


In making this work I was reflecting upon what seems to be the increasingly ‘anthropocentrist’ tendency in contemporary society - the belief that human beings are the central or most significant species on the planet in the sense that they are considered to have a moral status or value higher than that of other animals. Related to this is the increasing use of computer animation in film and advertising to impose human character traits on non-human objects, such as talking animals or food products. In contrast, ‘Trill’ is an attempt to ‘become budgie’ where we try to see the world through the alien eyes of our ‘small feathered friend’. However, such an experiment is clearly doomed to failure as this experience will always remain inaccessible as we can never escape who and what we are. Nevertheless, perhaps there is still some value in the act of trying.

Digital animation of photographs and kitchen catalogues.

Production Date 2010

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More film and video works >