Category Archives: Findings from you

Cats Watching Cats Watching Video

Looking back on our last post about this Infinitesimal, Inexpressible Internet we have become so enamoured by, we want to know why some tiny particles within eons of video content breaks through to go viral.

What are the ingredients for viral success?

David Joy shared with us a relevant TED talk from Kevin Allocca, who is YouTube’s trend manager. If anybody knows about what’s hot and what’s not on YouTube – he does.

Many thanks to David for sharing this with us all, it’s a talk as entertaining as it is informative:

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral (watch in new window)

YouTube especially seems to be doing its job well; meeting a need that people have to share. Going viral is community based; an ‘in joke’ that we can all not only be in on, but also influence.

Animals feature heavily in our physical and virtual worlds.

Silly, unpredictable, unique content seems to be the link across many successful video virals. Who could have anticipated the reaction of the mother to her sneezing baby panda? Nobody. Not even the makers of the video who got in touch with us recently.

Pandas on a Bus | Viral Pandas

Pandas on a Bus

Torchlight Digital Solutions had great success online with this faked image of pandas on a bus. They found their timing was impeccable as the story was breaking about two pandas arriving at Edinburgh Zoo. They say being on trend is a key ingredient to viral success.

Trend is where it’s at, it would seem. So what happens when you are no longer in vogue?

The pandas simply get off the bus?

We’ll leave you to ponder that one for yourselves.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Sound Bites

The power of the Internet has been bringing us in touch with some wonderful artists and critical thinkers, hence we’ve been a little quiet this past week, immersing ourselves in what the ether allows us: to enjoy and savour creative works from around the world and to connect with like minds.

Jan Harrison is one such mind; an American artist whose work has been shown in over one hundred exhibitions, throughout the United States, and in Canada, Australia, and Europe. Harrison creates art having to do with the animal nature, using pastel, charcoal, ink, encaustic, and other materials for paintings, sculpture, and installation art. However, the thing that caught our eye was video footage of her performance art in which she speaks and sings in her own language: Animal Tongues.

What of language? And animal language, at that?

What of sound?

We’ve been looking at barriers and connections, especially in our last post: Worlds Apart or Worlds Together, in which we looked at how close the Internet brings us all, yet how far away we actually are. Harrison, for example, has produced a video that I can watch at any time and from the comfort of my own home. I feel like I am watching the performance, but I am not watching in real time.

The interesting thing about this is, some people played it and their animals heard it. They not only heard it, but they responded too.

Try it and let us know how you get on.

Artist Jimmy Guthrie decorated the back of the eyes of a sculpted fox’s head for this, The Sneezing Pandas Project, which we made in to a short video. Here, we see Harrison create an animal head out of porcelain and beeswax. This is the medium she chooses to speak through in her Animal Tongues.

How do you find it?

It certainly seemed popular amongst other species.

We came across another video this week of a very different kind.

This is a YouTube video that has inspired a fan club for Pancake the cat. Sweetfurx4, who uploaded the footage, describes it as a “meowsic video” for other cats, and like Harrison’s work the sound seems to have genuinely spoken to some of them:

LOL, my cat went from sound asleep to wide awake and full alert when this video started.
– alyxacp

Technology has not only allowed us to see and share animal imagery and video around the world, but animals themselves can be touched by this. Where we can’t communicate with other species, perhaps art finds another way. Perhaps art finds a deeper connection in our own animal selves, as Harrison talks about in her Artist Statement.

Rather than passers by of novelty communications, perhaps sound and technology truly communicates one species with another.

Perhaps we are one of those species.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Worlds Apart or Worlds Together?

We’ve had a submission from ‘Lateral Zoo’ (thank you!), bringing this video to our attention: “Lion tries to eat baby PART 1.”

Doesn’t sound nice?

Well, they are at a zoo and there is glass between the baby and the lion, but it is this glass that seems to be a bone of contention amongst video viewers – will it or won’t it break? Is its presence more alarming or less alarming to our heart rate?

Embedding has been disabled, but you can watch the video on YouTube.

We watched another video featured alongside this one: “Lioness tries to eat baby at the zoo.” which seems to follow a trend in ‘eat baby’ video titles. As we saw before with the I Hate Balls campaign, comments on more controversial videos can be brazen and often go off-topic:

I was hoping it eat the little bastard !
– victoryou81

F-ing jerks for teasing the Lion……I wish it did eat that baby.
– musakil1

Your grammar and the incessant use of ellipses is worse than your lack of humor. Please kill yourself and avoid having progeny who might turn out to be more stupid than you are.
Signed ~ Jesus
– johnlovestohate

Invisible barriers

There is much distance seen here: the glass between the lion and the baby, the digital barrier between the baby’s experience and the short scene caught on camera, then the geographical distance between the video viewers and their faceless comments, how close are we *actually* to one another?

In these instances do we slip in to an Uncanny Valley, much like the human-like robots we explored before for Viral Pandas?

How close is close if in reality we are worlds apart?

Are we right to have concerns about an alarming separate yet deceptively close connection?

There’s no doubt that the Internet brings many positives to our lives on every level and streams for digital media are improving, changing and enhancing our experience all the time, but will we ever merge our online and offline experiences, not just with Web 3.0 integration, but physically?

We came across another video this week, which represents well the areas we have been interested in. We recently looked at Human and Animal Ink – that is, tattoos and skin. We considered perfection and body modification, also responsibility and transference.

Here’s a video of a man who inserted magnets in to his arm to hold his iPod Nano.

The video does contain some mildly graphic scenes and blood, but it has been edited with taste and not sensationalism.

Food for thought.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Digging in the Dirt

Thanks Nicola for sending in the Digging in the Dirt video from Peter Gabriel in response to the Mark Twain blog – the video fits the subject matter perfectly and we’re pleased to have a musical contribution.

Enjoy!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Comment: Cows Belong in Fields

Thanks Nicola for a fantastic comment on our WWF post. She posts the recent Compassion in World Farming video, Cows Belong in Fields, and looks at the comments. Great find!

Nicola’s comment

Looks like Compassion in World Farming was more successful than the attempt by WWF to go viral for animals… almost a million views of their dancing cow video to show how “happy” cows are when outside…

And they’ve got lots of media coverage too…

La Republica
Huffington Post
MSNBC
Right This Minute

Comments interesting…

“Ahhh! I don’t want to eat cow anymore! They’re adorable!!”

directly underneath this comment:

“They look so delicious”

But I guess the video at least gets people thinking / talking about their relationship with cows… one way or the other…

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Cyborg Conversations in Uncanny Valley

Contributor, David Joy, has shared some videos with us about Uncanny Valley, which we find fascinating. The term was coined by Masahiro Mori, a robotics professor who designed and built a robot to look and behave exactly like himself. The robot is, for want of a better word, freaky.

The uncomfortable sensation that hits us when watching the robot, which looks just like a human, moves like a human, sounds like a human, but we know definitely isn’t a human, puts us in the Uncanny Valley. It’s the gap between successfully attributing something that isn’t human with familiar human features that people find endearing and the total inability to tell the difference between a robot and a human. It’s the ability to tell that something so close to being human is not human, which jars the mind.

The following video was a particularly interesting depiction of Uncanny Valley and relates well to our project. The video, although it is not about a real human being, is really quite sad.

Perhaps it reflects our view of watching animals online?

Don’t think, and we don’t want you to feel.

Perhaps watching animals digitally online distances us so far from the real animal being that we needn’t be concerned for its welfare, we simply want it to entertain us. Does all sense of reality slip under the radar in our digital, cyborg conversation?

More about Mori and Uncanny Valley at WIRED.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Breaking the Herd

We’ve received our first submissions from David Joy. Thanks David for diving in and getting us started! He references a video that was also on our list of ‘greatest viral videos ever’ … and I need say only one word:

Fenton.

This video of a dog chasing deer in Richmond Park went viral at the end of last year, but perhaps the male owner of the dog was the real star of the show.

We’re accustomed to a high level of control and social order, especially in public spaces like Richmond Park, and rules are written for animals too. To see such a blatant shunning of these regulations by a dog, who is of course oblivious to any notion of public order is perhaps alarming at first, but unexpected and thrilling viewing. However, it is the strong reaction from the dog’s owner who recognises and is panicked by this break away from order that most entertains us. He knows what lies ahead; he sees the cars, he visualises the fallout – he surely feels responsibility for the potential disaster that looms ahead. A comment on the video from one viewer suggested that dogs can be shot here if they aren’t under this expected control and whether or not this is correct, just the idea of it is enough to send the owner in to a frenzy. So habitual is our understanding of this sense of order that any move away from it escalates a sense of chaos.

The dog is meanwhile carefree and tearing across the field.

Do we all enjoy a break from social control?

Do we all want to be Fenton?

'Dogs must be kept on a lead' by Natalie Gilbert

‘Dogs must be kept on a lead’ by Natalie Gilbert

Tagged , , , , , , , ,