Art by Animals (UCL)

Art by Animals (UCL)

[ background music ]>>Want some more. Hold it. Ok let’s go,
paint, come on, paint, good boy, good boy, good boy!>>Many zoos use
painting artwork as a kind of enrichment activity
as a leisure activity to keep the animals
happy and occupied and obviously we’ve come a long
way in zoos where they used to be concrete and metal
cages, to having very many toys and things to hang off and
swing around and the kind of painting activities
is one way that the animals have been
kept more active mentally. The difference species
are taught to paint in different ways, they’re
encouraged to paint in ways. With the elephants it’s really
quite different how you might imagine it. Their handler is holding
them by the ear and just kind of using the ear like a joystick
if you like, to steer the trunk but it displays an
incredible level of dexterity. [ music ]>>In the 1950s a popular
television program called Zoo Time emerged made by Granada
television and presented by Desmond Morris and this
was a runaway success in terms of popular television. One of the most well received
moments of the show was when Congo would do
some drawings on camera and this gave a body of work
which was then shown in 1958 at the Institute for
Contemporary Art. You could see the evolution of a
particular sort of drawing style if you like there was
a change in the way in which Congo was
approaching drawing. What we tried to do
here is I don’t know if it’s exactly the first show
but what one of the first shows to look at and bring various
species together and to try to take a broader view over what’s happening
amongst a variety of species and whether we can
call it art or not.>>It’s certainly I
think this painting by Samantha is a
lot more coherent than the painting
by the orang-utan. As an artist myself I do
instinctively want them you know these animals to be sort of
engaging in process I engage in. I don’t believe that’s the
case if I’m honest but I think that what they produce is still
striking visually it’s very interesting and others say
watching them do it is quite eerie a lot of the time.>>With the Orang-utans
they’re kind of encouraged spot by spot basis so they’re given
the brush, paint gets put on the brush and then they’re
told to touch the paper and for instance they touch the
paper they’re given a reward. I think with the other apes it’s
a bit more free and they just go for it and do what they like.>>Touch, touch, good boy. [ background music ]>>I think if we are asked
the question is it art or is it just a creative
activity but it certainly makes me think
more about looking at human art, thinking you know is that
art or what is the intention? Can animals be creative, it’s you know art work is
obviously only one version of that because there
are many other ways that animals can express
themselves, bird song and other vocalisations that
they clearly just doing things for fun but it’s certainly true that animals do express
themselves so that does raise a question of
you know if there’s expression, if there’s creativity where does
art begin and creativity end? [ music ]

20 thoughts on “Art by Animals (UCL)

  1. this is stupid… animals do not have an artistic bone in their body. If they werent kept in zoo's they wouldn't be bored because they would be doing what they were made to be doing… Being free. This in essance is animal explotation and I do not agree with it.

  2. @countrybumpification – The word 'art' is meant to be open to interpretation. Jack states from 3:13 that the exhibition is meant to call into question what we consider art. Where is the line between an animal playing with materials and it creating 'art'? For the debate on the ethics of zoos, check out 'Captive or Conserved?' on – Rob

  3. Daily Mail I can paint better than this.

  4. I wonder if any of the animals like to use their 'paintings' to decorate their living quarters? My four and a half year old son certainly likes to cover his bedroom walls with his efforts.

  5. @countrybumpification Where is an artistic bone?

  6. @Slashplite An artistic bone is found in the same place as freedom of expression which these animals dont have due their being caged.

  7. wow i never knew an elephant could draw a flower!
    it's a decent painting indeed

  8. Goddamn it!
    Who let the artist out of the cage?

  9. Elephants can be trained to do many tasks, I gather they can be trained to paint flower pot, this is what we see, good trainer and willing animals (how many kilos of apples it cost?). On the other scene we see abstract painting by another elephant, obviously untrained. No wow factor involved, I am pretty sure.

  10. Humans are animals, you realize. What of those of us who want to be free?

  11. Correct, but a similar thing could be said about humans. Human interest in art increased enormously w civilization— after the disappearance of the wild hunter-gatherer environment we evolved in.

  12. Cholla Chambers, a horse, is an artist.

  13. If they weren't kept in zoos they wouldn't be bored because they would be doing what they were made to be doing…surviving. Often dying early. Having to maintain and viciously defend territories.

  14. Coercion? Nice use of completely invalid terms to describe positive reinforcement to support your whacky beliefs.

  15. they belong in nature! free them and let them experience the real art – Life!

  16. ¿cómo pueden pensar en hacer un registro de expresión "individual" de un animal a través de una reja en la que a penas cabe la brocha? es triste como el ser humano utiliza a los animales… para zoológicos o para exposiciones….

    How can they think of making a record of a "individual" expression of an animal through a grate in which hardly fits the brush? sad how humans use animals … for zoos or exhibitions ….

  17. Cholla Chambers Horse Artist 5/20/85 – 3/22/2013

  18. ( Genius animal art )

  19. Great video, I enjoyed it very much!

  20. The elephant’s painting looks like a plate of Salad 🥗 Very colourful, very fresh. Don’t care if ppl consider it as art. I like it anyway

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