The artists behind the Sneezing Pandas Project, Katherine and Natalie, have many past experiences and interests in common, so chose to collaborate on a project that explored the human-animal bond and utilised the Internet. Here are some of the works that influenced their brainstorm before the final ideas for Viral Pandas and the Sneezing Pandas Project was launched.
Since 1981 Yoko Ono has collected hundreds of thousands of wishes from people worldwide as part of her interactive Wish Tree exhibits. Viewers are asked to write down a wish and then tie it to the branch of a tree. These wishes are collected and sent to the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island in Reykjavík, Iceland. More on the Imagine Peace Tower website.
Luke Jerram has installed 500 pianos across the globe for his project ‘Play Me I’m Yours’. People and communities have played, decorated and shared their videos of themselves playing the pianos. The project comes to London in June 2012. More on Luke Jerram’s website.
In 2010 Natalie wrote an essay about animals and the Internet called Animal 2.0. Referenced in this essay is a video from Michael Wesch who specialises in Digital Ethnography – that is, documenting human behaviour in relation to Online. His speech is both informative and entertaining with some startling statistics. Watch ‘An anthropological introduction to YouTube’ below or on YouTube itself.
The ‘Take a Breath’ community arts project encourages people to learn about one another, to share and to bond. Members of the community ‘create’ the theatrical production by talking about themselves and what is important to them before sharing a communal breath. More on the Take a Breath web page.
Charles Avery’s sculpture of two fighting dogs is an exquisite example of creating tension. Emphatic to animal beings, especially domesticated species, we can feel this connection and frustration.
Choi Xooang uses surrealism in her body sculptures to create an uncomfortable sense of distortion, loss and angst. Compelled to keep looking, all we want to do is turn away.
The Tamagotchi pet is a physical demonstration of the tension that builds with responsibility. If you don’t take care of your digital pet, it dies. Digital suggests detachment, but pet suggests closeness.
Catherine Chalmers‘ video series for ‘American Cockroach’ features chilling torture scenes. Cockroaches generally inspiring hatred, now generate compassion.
nb. Cockroaches were already dead before they were filmed.