Download PDF by R. Malamud: An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture

By R. Malamud

ISBN-10: 1137009829

ISBN-13: 9781137009821

How and why do humans "frame" animals so pervasively, and what are the ramifications of this behavior? For animals, being positioned 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 strength over the animal. We envision ourselves as monarchs of all we survey, yet our dismal list of polluting and destroying monstrous swaths of nature indicates that we're certainly no longer masters of the ecosphere. A extra ethically exact stance in our courting to animals may still therefore problem the omnipotence of our visible entry to them.

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Indd 28 4/4/2012 11:00:06 AM Famous Animals 29 displaced, framed in living rooms or art galleries or curiosity shops. ” A visual image is preserved, while the real animal is destroyed. Again, the visual culture lies. The visual image exactly contradicts the animal’s reality. The image prospers, the animal suffers. The image contains value in human culture, but the animals themselves are disenfranchised from the human economy. The animals have suffered in the process of constructing these taxidermized artifacts, and they suffer again, metaphysically, as an artwork – a visual representations of their corpses, their suffering – denotes what people can do to animals.

But essentially, it is something nonanimal, something irrelevant to the animal that is represented as surmounting the animal. In our cultural history of animals, there is a great deal missing: a natural history of animals; animals when we are not seeing them, not petting them, not dressing them up and making them jump through the proverbial hoops. In other circumstances, happier circumstances for them, animals have greater self-determination and a more natural existence, but we are interested in animals mainly in terms of what they can do for us – how they can please, or amuse, or satiate us – and their own freedom and integrity are diametrically opposed to our ability to do with them what we will.

Indd 34 4/4/2012 11:00:06 AM Famous Animals 35 Figure 3 “I have no idea what you’re talking about ... com In Asia, poachers harvest the penises of tigers to make potions that putatively prolong and intensify men’s sexual pleasure and virility. Thus, they have taken the animal’s power, its sexuality, its reproductive potency. They are stealing from not just the one animal, but all his progeny as well, who, because he has lost his penis, will not come to be. The poachers and penis-consumers have abrogated the fecundity and virility that they have denied the animal.

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An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture by R. Malamud


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