Popular animal imagery is usually humorous or cute and we’re very much interested in the idea of perfection. In all walks of life the flawless, easy-on-the eye vision is oftentimes accepted more easily over what is deemed unattractive. For animals it is no different. Large eyes and lots of fur, therefore vulnerability and a ‘cuddly’ appearance makes charismatic megafauna like panda bears, polar bears and gorillas – that is animals with enormous appeal to humans, incredibly popular viewing.
Is this just a reality or is it shallow?
Crossing over many disciplines and a subject with many age-old questions, we’ve become most enamoured by the idea of repulsion and rejection.
We’ve been considering the antithesis of beauty.
We’ve started to look at imagery of animals infected with mites, ticks and other parasitic organisms. Why? Well, the parasitic organisms essentially feed from the animals that are unwittingly playing host to them. This starts to beg questions about infestation, virus, and contagion – the very idea for the Sneezing Pandas Project. These animals we see online are not shared and cross-posted around the web; viewing figures tell us what others wish to see and this is clearly not it. Such images won’t get the social networker a Repin, a Like or a Retweet and advertisers know this too.
The Cadbury’s advert with the drumming gorilla immediately springs to mind.
Is this advert a parasite in itself? Feeding off our own affections?
Is it just a clever piece of marketing?
Or is it both of these things?