“From zoos to aquariums, from the shows of Animal Planet to Jaws to the March of the Penguins to Happy Feet, why do people long to be able to witness and gaze upon the figures and experiences of animals in both documentary and narrative cinema, television, and video? What hopes and fears do we project upon the animal, what do with learn from the animal? Cinema traces its roots back to two key inquiries into animal motion by Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey. We will move from those early innovators to interrogate a number of films that foreground the lives of animals, such as those that foreground animal consciousness and endangerment, such as Blackfish, asking what might be the difficulties and paradoxes in doing so. Our investigation will range from videos in which cameras have been physically attached to a animal, to films where the animal is either a vortex of cuteness, such as various viral Youtube videos, life-threatening presence, as in Grizzly Man, Jaws, The Birds, saviors, as in Flipper, or all of the above, as in the rat thriller Ben. We will watch experimental films in which the question of the human in relation to the animal is central, as well as some of the recent documentaries exposing abusive treatment. How might we compare the eye of the animal to the eye of the camera? Students will be required to film animals and to discuss challenging materials across a variety of media, and to complete a research project involving medium-specificity and human-animal relations.”
My Dog Tulip (Dir. Paul Fierlinger, 2009) PREVIEW
Heat Wake, Jason Zuzga’s debut poetry collection, will be published by Saturnalia Books on March 15, 2016.