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Clever Monkey -- Stubborn Donkey

Culture, Art, Technology 1 (CAT 1) MFA 

KIT; NTNU - 2020 Fall


Today the absence of animals in our lives is inverse to the multitude of cyber-replicates that look back at us from the scrolling canvases. Following the monkey & the donkey as our guides this course examines how certain prior historical tropes and relationships between artists and animals may become reinforced cliches or raw potential for art, with and for animals. 

Week 1- Introduction


Lorraine Daston and Gregg Mitman - Thinking With Animals (Introduction)

Carol Gigliotti - Leonardo's Choice (Introduction)

Steve Baker - Artist Animal (Introduction) 



Jorge Louis Borges - The Book of Imaginary Beings

John Berger - Why Look at Animals?

Donna Haraway - When Animals Look Back

Beryl Rowland - Animals with Human Faces (Ape & Ass)

(in particular: “monkey of the ink pot”)

Week 2 - Water in Water - Beasts & Savage Intimacy 



Cary Wolfe - Apes like us

Tom Tyler - Surrounded by Informants and Assassins 

George Bataille - The Pineal Eye

Oxana Timofeeva - The History of Animals in Philosophy - The Insane               



George Bataille - The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture

Octavio Paz - The Monkey Grammarian

Devdutt Pattanaik - Hanuman, an introduction



Francisco Goya - Los Caprichos

Thomas Bewick - The Dog-Faced Baboon (verso) 

Thomas Bewick - The Pig-Tailed Baboon (recto)

Donkey in the Early Chinese Landscape painting

Week 3 - Metamorphosis I  



Giorgio Agamben - The Open - Man and Animal

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari - Becoming Intense Becoming Animal

Felice Cimatti - Unbecoming Human

Deke Weaver - Monkey



Ovid - The Metamorphoses

Michael Taussig - The Cry of the Donkey

Zairong Xiang - Queer Divine Waters 

Week 4 - Metamorphosis II 



Patricia Piccinini - Works

Pierre Huyghe - Untitled (Human Mask)

David Rych - Reminisces from the Zulu Zone

Nicolas Primat - Works



Apuleius - The Golden Ass

Peter Weibel - Valie Export Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit

Rachel Mayeri - Primate Cinema

Ruben Östlund - The Square

Week 5 - Uplift

From Soldier Apes to Virtual Menagerie



Franz Kafka - A Report to an Academy

Kadji Amin - Trans* Plasticity and the Ontology of Race and Species 

Patricia McCormack - The Animal Catalyst Towards Ahuman Theory - Compassion

New Scientist - The Soviet Man Ape Scandal

Ted Chiang - The Life Cycle of Software Objects

Alexandru Solomon - Tarzan’s Testicles



Tom Tyler - The Thumb is a Little Hand - Assistant to The Greater

Jill Bought - The Donkey and Mr. Simpson: remember the donkey in the Anzac legend

Matthew Chrulew - The Beast - Machine Fableaux

See also: Project Kollie



2001: A Space Odyssey (opening scene)

Dmitri Shostakovich - Orango



Coco Fusco - Observations of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist

Week 6 - The Machines of Loving Grace  

(with a guest lecture by Dominic Pettman)



Dominic Pettman - Sonic Intimacy -Voice Species, Technics

Ursula K. Le Guin - The White Donkey

Karin Bolender - The Unnaming of Aliass  

Hélène Cixous - Writing Blind Conversation with a Donkey 

Robert Bresson - Au Hasard Balthazar


William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Andy Merrifield - The Wisdom of Donkeys

Virginia Richer - Ape Meets Primatologist

George Archainbaud - Her Jungle Love

Marco Ferreri - Bye Bye Monkey (trigger warning)

Nagisa Ōshima - Max, Mon Amour


Frida Kahlo, monkeys apes and xeno-transplantation in art


Week 7 - The Labor of Progress - Animal Technologies:

Food, War, Entertainment



Wislawa Szymborska - Two Monkeys by Brueghel

Gustafsson & Haapoja - History According to Cattle

Ben Goldfarb - A Space Elk Named Monique

Jonathan Burt - Animals in Film - Film and the History of Visual Animal (Chapter I)

Jody Berland - Virtual Menageries



​Robin Thompson - The Zebra Donkey Gazing The Photographic

Carol Gigliotti - Leonardo's Choice; Genetic Science, Animal Exploitation, and Challenge 


Examine the role test monkeys played in the development of the Covid-19 vaccine.



Frederick Wiseman - Primate
Sean Landers: Singerie: Le Peintre

Pierre Brassau - The Monkey Painter (see also: monkey waiter - Fuku chan)

Maximilian Haas - Donkey on Stage

Patty, the Donkey Artist



James Marsh - Project Nim

Tim Ingold - The Affordances of the Animate Environment: social science from the ecological point of view

Louise Westling - Language is Everywhere

Ted Chiang - The Great Silence

Laurent Dubreuil & Sue Savage Rumbaugh - Dialogues on the Human Ape - (Chapter - On language and apes) 



Susan Savage - Bonobo Communication

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla - The Great Silence

Arthur Lubin - Francis the talking Mule

David Lynch - What did Jack Do (netflix)

Select Class References

(reference ≠ endorsement)  


98% human - PETA campaign

Scenes from the Private and Public Life of Animals - Grandville's animals 

I Want to Believe - A.M. Gittlitz 

Manette Salomon - Edmond and Jules de Goncourt (pet-monkey Vermilion, victorian pets)

Sun Wukong

Chimpanzee culture wars - Nicolas Langlitz*

Progress vs Sunsets -Re-formulating the Nature Documentary - Melanie Bonajo

The Naked Ape - Desmond Morris

Primate Visions - Donna Haraway  

The Donkey Rider as Icon: Li Cheng and early Chinese Landscape Painting - Peter C. Sturman
Animal Liberation - Peter Singer 

The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man - Eleanor Burke Leacock 

The Ethics of Animal Labor - Jocelyne Porcher

Use of Qualitative Behaviour Assessment as an Indicator of Welfare in Donkeys - Francoise Wemelsfelder 

How Monkeys See the World: Inside the Mind of Another Species - Dorothy L. Cheney Robert M. Seyfarth  

The Alienation of Humans and Animals in Uplift Fiction - Ina Roy-Federman

The Animal-Machine - Bruce Mazlish          

The Behaviour of Organisms - BF Skinner

Challenging Skinner - Alfred North Whitehead

The Territorial Imperative - Robert Ardrey 

The First Step - Leo Tolstoy 

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes - Robert Louis Stevenson

The Wisdom of Donkeys: Finding Tranquility in a Chaotic World - Andy Merrifield

The Murders in the Rue Morgue - Edgar Allen Poe

Wolf At the School - Sarah Kay

The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals 

The Complete Writings - Zhuangzi (The story of the Monkey Keeper) 

Ship of fools - Sebastian Brant

The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer, 1950

The miller, his son and the donkey - Folktales

Art and Media in Conversation:


Sacrifice of the Banana

Human Nature - Michel Gondry

Untitled (Monkey) - John Isaacs

Monkey with the drone

Self-restricting/self-surveilling monkey
Monkey uses robotic arm to feed itself

The electric Bestiary 

Primate - Frederick Wiseman 

The Disenchanted Forest - Sarita Siegel

The Girl and the Gorilla - Djuna Barnes

Donkey Skin - Jaques Demy

Phenomena - Dario Argento

The Untamed - Netflix

Agraharathil Kazhutai (Donkey in the Brahmin ghetto)

The Hairy Ape - Eugene O'Neill

Holy Motors (the ending) - Leos Carax

Works with donkeys - Maurizio Catalan 

Parade - Anne Imhof

Ararat Express -Benni Efrat, 2034

Medieval Bestiary - Water Mill

A Virgin with the Monkey - Albrecht Durer

Two Chained Monkeys - Pieter Bruegel

The Paston Treasure - Unknown artist

The Sleeping Pedlar Robbed by Monkeys - Pieter van der Heyden

Titania Adoring the Ass-Headed Bottom - Henry Fuseli

Fair at Ennis - William Turner

Scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream - Edwin Landseer

The Vegetable Garden with Donkey - Joan Miro

Donkeys Bridge - Niko Pirosmani

Esel - Rolf Nesch

Esel or Figurer - Johan Gorbitz

They Don’t Fall Off Their Donkey - Leonardo Alenza y Nieto

A Human Compared to a Donkey - J.C. Lavater                   

Two Monkey Jockeys are Riding a Terrified Donkey - Etching by T. Landseer 

To Aper I røde drakter - Erik Werenskiold

Study for Chimpanzee - Francis Bacon

Monkey In the Mirror - Eugène Leroux 

aсЁл напракАт - Donkey for Hire - Ilia Zdanevich 

Self- Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird - Frida Kahlo

Baboon and Young - Pablo Picasso

Donkey’s tail

The Third Donkey - Walton Ford            

Plague in Form of a Donkey - Patrick Munck       

A Blue Donkey and Donkey at the Museum - Mai-Thu Perret

The Weakened Eye of Day - Isabel Nolan 

Untitled (Monkey) - John Isaacs

Wounded Animals And Icon-Making - John Isaacs 

Taxidermy Donkeys - Maurizio Catalan 

Imitation of Life - Matthias Poledna 

Gorilla gorilla gorilla - Diana Thater 

Ape Culture - HKW exhibition 

Mousse 55 

Theater, Garden, Bestiary - Filipa Ramos, Vincent Normand, and Tristan Garcia In Conversation

I hired a chimpanzee to portray me on video - Sean Sanders

Monkey viewing a painting - Gabriel Cornelius von Max

Monkeys as Judges of Art 

Ikea Monkey - Lydia Blakeley 

Monkey Train (Dots) - Jeff Koons   

Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park - Jon Rafman 

Apes Movement Demonstration - Terry Notari 

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