Week 9/10 Response Interspecies communication

This week in lecture we had three guests speaking for us. They are Rachel Mayeri, a filmmaker who made a film for primates, Dr. Deobrah Forster, who taught us about Awareness-Through-Movement and Dr. Adam Burgasser, who taught us about physics gestures and its connection about biology.

I find Primate Cinema quite interesting because it is somewhat related to Vis140, the other class I am taking this quarter (for final project we have to design an augmented reality interface for humans/other species and I design an augmented reality interface for cockroaches which also involves thinking on the perspective of another specie based on what we perceive of them. ).

When we started to watch this movie, the first thing popped out in my mind is the movie “Planet of the apes”, a movie about human-alike apes dominating humans on a mysterious planet. I think it is because the costumes of the hollywood actors are very similar to those in the movie. In addition to that, both themes are about human-like animals, like apes/primates. But one movie is for human audiences and another one is for primates.

the Rise Of the Planet Of the Apes movie poster


Primate Cinema is a very revolutionary idea because to me it is the first time humans trying to make a form of human entertainment available to other species. However, inter-species communication is still extremely difficult to execute.

When I was watching the movie, I felt that the chimps were not really interested in the movie because most of the time they were just fooling around the television. Only few times few of the chimps in the lab were actually sitting down and watching the screen. I felt like even with cutting and editing which enable the director to trick the audience into believing( for example, the movie maker can intentionally choose to display the clips in which chimps are staring at the television screen and eliminate those shots in which chimps are minding their own business), I am still not convinced that chimps in the movie were actually paying attention to the movie.

I also found the Awareness-Through-Movement by Dr. Deobrah Forster is very intriguing. To me it is like a mixture of yoga and meditation, with a little bit of mesmerization. I though I have already been familiar enough with my own body and its capabilities, but after Awareness-Through-Movement, I realized that I have taken my physical body for granted too much. Maybe the traditional chinese Xue-Dao has some scientific reasoning behind it as well.

Xue-dao of the foot
Xue-dao of the foot

I think ” The body is obsolete” by Stelarc is not true to some extent. There are still much mystery and unknown connections await for us to explore. The body is obsolete because we do not know how to use it at its full maximum capacity(In real life we do not really need to do that though).

Tian Wu


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