Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part III | WBEZ
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Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

Science and Creativity: Do Animals Have Culture? Part III

An ode to animals, read by the late poet Marianne Moore.
Plus, since the dawn of humanity, more or less, people have used representations of animals to tell stories. But some artists have wanted to buck that trend, depicting animal stories from the animals’ point of view. Laline Paull is one of these artists. Her novel The Bees was dubbed "Watership Down for the Hunger Games generation,” but it might be more accurate to call it 1984 in a beehive.
And Chicago filmmaker Jim Trainor thinks that authentic animal behavior provides all the plot an artist needs. In his short, hand-drawn films, Trainor supplies narration from the animals’ perspective. But instead of the high drama of Laline Paull’s work, Trainor’s protagonists are utterly deadpan, even in grim situations.  In one film, a lion taking over a pride remarks drily, "I killed my girlfriend's children — which is to say, I killed all the children of all of my girlfriends."  Both Paull and Trainor get most of their facts right, but that’s not what’s important about their work. The artist’s role is to imagine how others feel — other people, other creatures — and try to share that empathy. 

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