An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture by R. Malamud

By R. Malamud

How and why do humans "frame" animals so pervasively, and what are the ramifications of this behavior? For animals, being placed right into a cultural body (a movie, an internet site, a pornographic tableau, an commercial, a cave drawing, a zoo) capability being taken out in their typical contexts, leaving them by some means 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 giant swaths of nature exhibits that we're certainly no longer masters of the ecosphere. A extra ethically actual stance in our dating to animals should still therefore problem the omnipotence of our visible entry to them.

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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. But in the poem’s peripeteia, the animal quivers. It moves in a way that scares the reader, as many animals like bats, crickets, moths, and pouncing tigers frighten people with their movements. A bat’s or jellyfish’s nonhuman, suprahuman forms of movement demonstrate our inferiority to these animals, our inadequacy in chasing them, or in escaping from them.

Like Emily Dickinson, Moore enjoys putting her reader off guard, pulling the carpet out from under us with her syntactical twists and turns. Visible, invisible: which? Sometimes visible, sometimes not? (If so, when visible and when invisible? ) Is the jellyfish somehow, metaphysically, visible and invisible at the same time? Do we see some but not all of the animal? (If so, what parts? indd 19 4/4/2012 11:58:11 AM 20 An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture we can always see, and some we never see?

0. If one dog is having a bad day on set, or is pushed beyond his level of endurance, his double is waiting in the wings. Visual deception plays a key role in the ethics of overdetermining the discourse of the visual animal. This deception augments the power, and the convenience, of the human framer. What a tangled web we weave (though, of course, we do not actually weave webs – spiders do). The original dog who played Rin-Tin-Tin was found in a bombedout kennel in France near the end of World War I.

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