Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moving Animals: Spectacular Animal Films (Part 1)

Eadweard Muybridge's "The Horse in Motion" (1878)
"Animals: The Most Moving Things in the World"
--Jim Mason in An Unnatural Order (2005 [1993])

“The animal look can be seen as a continuation of the photographic look... Animals appeared to merge with technological bodies that replaced them... If the animal cannot die but is nonetheless vanishing, then it must be transferred to another locus, anther continuum in which death plays no role... the cinema developed, indeed embodied, animal traits as a gesture of mourning for the disappearance of [animals]"
--Akira Lippit in Electric Animal (1998)


Moving Animals, Animal Affect, and Effective Movies
Since its inception, the animal movement has relied upon images to evoke sympathy--from William Hogarth's "The Four Stages of Cruelty" (1751) that connected cruelty to animal to cruelty to humans, to the anti-vivisectionist posters that re-figured the medical oppression of women to that of animal others, and PETA's "Holocaust on Your Plate" and "Animal Liberation" exhibits that juxtaposed images of human and nonhuman oppression. Undercover investigation footage of labs, in particular, played a crucial role in the 1980's, especially within the efficacy of the ALF and PETA (videos like Unnecessary Fuss and Inside Biosearch). However, with increased vandalism and exposure, the Animal Industrial Complex has been vigilant to guard its practices from public knowledge. Since the 1990's, these industries have installed hi-tech security systems in addition to lobbying for the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act [AETA], which gained increasing government backing post-9/11. Such footage, has been crucial to educating the public about animal welfare within the age of televisions, computers, and cinema. Over the last decade, activists have even accompanied themselves with video harnesses to literally carry the animals' voices to protests and demos.

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