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Lesson Plans

animal art/beauty

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
marcia m eaton (marciameaton)
Fri, 11 Dec 1998 04:32:12 -0500

thanks to Craig for your very informative message on animals and art. The
problems I see are very much like the ones surrounding whether chimps can
talk. The human beings who work with these chimps often seem to give clues
(often unintentionally) and also read a lot into what the animals do.
Certain elephants may mess about with paint because there is so little to
do in a cage---but they also mess about with balls, toss hay, etc. The
question is, how does this differ from "creative" activity?
On interesting question is a "meta-question"---a question about the
question, do animals create art? Why do we care? If we could answer the
question, what would it tell us about the nature of art? What does raising
the question tell us about ourselves and our frustration with not being
able to see inside animals' heads? When my dog sat at the front window at
around 3:30 we would always say, "Oh look, he waiting for our son to come
home." But we didn't say that when he sat at the window at 10:30. This is
an example of our reading our intentions into the behaviour of animals.
Still, I am inclined to agree that the behavior of chimps and whales is
more likely to be creative than that of snails and mosquitos.
Whether what any of these creatures does is really art or not does not
preclude their productions from being beautiful! Marcia