Latest post from the new website, on zoo spectatorship and the spectatorship of remote camera viewing of wildlife…
As part of research for an anthrozoology module, I looked at the spectatorship of remote camera viewing of wildlife and the spectatorship that zoos often create. There are, of course, fundamental differences between the two experiences for both the nonhuman animals and the human spectators. Animals are trapped in the zoo environment, while humans are visitors coming and going as they please. At the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, for example, the seabirds and seals may be captured by cameras for certain periods of time, but they have autonomy to enter and exit the frame, just as the humans visit and then leave, so there is a certain equality playing out in this respect. The zoo experience for both human and nonhuman animal is embodied, while the remote camera viewing experience for the human is primarily disembodied, as visitors most often view wildlife via remote camera images, supplemented with…
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Edwin Landseer was an extremely popular and well respected painter of animals in Victorian England (Smith, 2006:180). He seemed to undergo a change in his perception of monkeys after exposure to Darwin’s evolutionary theory, which can be traced in his representations of these animals (Donald, 2009:211). The Cat’s Paw (1824) mirrored sentiment regarding primates at the time, as Voss (2009:221) explains (often all primates were referred to as apes): “the fact that apes were known to be intelligent and dexterous, did not change the popular opinion of their characters. Apes were considered not only obscene and loud, but also violent and deceitful”. Landseer’s painting depicts the monkey’s “deceit”, based on the Jean de la Fontaine fable (Voss, 2009:221).
The Cat’s Paw, Edwin Landseer (1824) (available at: http://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_201280/Sir-Edwin-Henry-Landseer/The-Cats-Paw)
But Landseer’s later work, The Sick Monkey (1870), copied by William Henry Simmons (1875), seemed to be more in the tradition…
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