Like the Sneezing Baby Panda video, which has had millions of hits on YouTube (nearly 135m at the time of writing), animal imagery spreads around the World Wide Web like a virus, or like a spider’s web, with many incoming and outgoing sources of traffic weaved around the centre, which is the original image or video. This virus spreads silently and forcefully at an alarming rate, like germs from a cold when somebody sneezes. How do we see this, let alone monitor it? How do you feel about the animal subjects? Are they willing passengers on this journey; entitled or not entitled to a choice, or do you feel something else?
You will see from the artist biographies and our influences for the Viral Pandas blog site that we are interested in the tensions that can arise from watching animals and sharing their images on the Internet. There are a lot of wide-eyed animals winning the cute vote online, and a great deal of humour caught on camera – the Sneezing Baby Panda (where Viral Pandas all started) has both of these things. Amidst this there are also a lot of dubious videos and images that mock, undermine, and even abuse the human-animal bond. Who decides if it should be shared online, and is it harmful only in some instances, none, or all?
[Contributions are now closed.]