I’ve never really considered myself an arty person, and if anything the last week has proved this undoubtably. Then I discovered art with saws and polystyrene.
Today (well, last Friday, but let’s not talk about my inadequacies with timing) was quite possibly the best and most intellectually stimulating day I’ve had all year. No one tell the CfJ please.
If anyone had told me a few days ago that animal studies was well interesting, yo, let alone it even being a thing in the first place, I would probably have sniggered politely and gone back to my gin. How wrong can a gin-oholic journalist be. Derek Ryan, you’ve changed my life.
For all of you still puzzling over the idea, Animal Studies (it’s so cool it deserves to be capped up, trust me) is an interdisciplinary subject that explores the way humans interact with animals and the relationships we have with them.
If you think this all sounds a bit bizarre, it gets worse. Some dude called Derrida kind of kick-started the whole thing by questioning his relationship with his cat, after it saw him naked. Which is totally an odd experience I’ve had with my goldfish once.
Do animals notice when we’re naked? Do they even know what naked is? Do animals have language? Should we be eating them or putting them in zoos? Aren’t we really just the same at them?
SO MANY QUESTIONS. SO MUCH DEBATE.
I love it when a seminar just descends in a good and honest debate, so was so pleased when this was today’s outcome. I can’t even tell you what I think about zoos or veganism anymore, but I sure enjoyed trying to work it out.
Following the debate of the century we went for a class trip to the Jardin des Plantes, which was the first civil zoo in the world and ever so slightly uncomfortable following the ethical debate we’d just had.
We also experienced the Grand Galerie de l’Evolution where Gill and I spent a long time trying to work out exactly what the children’s learning screens said in French.
Never did I ever think I’d be Paris trying to work out to play evolutionary spot the different with plants in a foreign language. You live and learn.
Today was also the day of the social event where you don’t actually know anyone, as we greeted some runners from the University of Kent.
Yep you read that right. They actually ran all the way from Canterbury to Paris. And there was me feeling exhausted after taking the Eurostar.
Finally, in the evening we made our way to the Palais de Tokyo where there was an art exhibition going on. And €1 drinks.
I’ve got to be honest, I was dubious. I’ve had some amazing art based experiences this week, but I can’t help feeling that I’m beginning to become “arted-out”.
I’m not, as is obvious, a visual arty type in any way shape or form and I tend to spend a lot of time walking around exhibitions pretending to see meaning in something I don’t or using up a lot of brain energy that could be used for gin consumption.
But, this exhibition had saws, polystyrene, printers, pens and pretty much everything you could ask for to run around and be like a child again.
The whole concept of the do-dah was that it was a free space. You were free to add, choose or destroy as you please, or just sit down and watch a weird video about red, green and blue colours.
I know some of the group got a bit agitated when they discovered there were in fact rules in this “free land” (no writing on the banners or standing on the chairs you wild kids), but for me, I think it just helped reaffirmed my views on art.
I think, if anything, I’ve learnt this week that art is something that can only be appreciated when it sparks an emotion or though in you or you can interact with it. And, for me, running around with a saw is interacting. Looking at some modern art is not. #revelation