Cute Animals on the Internet

 
 
 

What makes me a cute animal expert? 

It was literally the subject of my dissertation. Or the last chapter of it. My dissertation was thus:

Construction and Constraint: The Animal Body and Constructions of Power in Motion Pictures

This dissertation proceeds from the question “How does the camera capture animals, and how does the medium of that image structure the relationship between camera, animal and spectator?” by arguing that both the terms of its asking and the answers themselves are culturally and historically contingent. The tension between the documented animal body as it is viewed on screen and the living animal captured in profilmic space demands a methodology attentive to both historical context and the power structures that shape the writing of history for non-speaking subjects. By examining cases like the early Edison short Electrocution of an Elephant, the 1939 Hollywood production of Jesse James, BBC’s Planet Earth and cat videos on the internet through the moments of their filming and exhibition, I argue the relationships amongst and between animals, humans, landscape, and culture can and have impacted the representations of animals on screen, and the way that those animal images have been seen and understood.

The conditions of production and exhibition are privileged in the analysis because the power dynamics of the gaze at animals are not only implicated in the image textually, but also in the factors that produced the image. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including institutional archives, public animal advocacy and legal discourse, I demonstrate that the power of the human to control not only the animal but the framing of that animal is elided in order to naturalize both the human-animal power dynamic and the relationship between camera, subject and viewer. Animals are often in the background, textually and historically, of American film history, and by focusing on their performances, we can trace how animals were understood through and ultimately regulated by a media industry that both profits from and dictates the terms of representation.  The animal body, because of its unique status as familiar and distant, exotic and domesticated, unknowable and subject to human control, provides an ideal testing ground for examining how the relationship between human and animal is both reflected and created by media, and how that relationship has shifted over time. 

Animals on the internet

Tiny Kittens - Adoptable kittens streamed live 24/7

Maru - The original, the one and only Youtube Cat who has my heart 

Roux - The coolest cat with no arms you'll ever meet

The Dodo - Premier reporting on cute animals all around the internet  

Corgi Addict - If they're good enough for the Queen, they should be good enough for you. 

Dolphins Blowing Bubble Rings - They do this just for fun. For the sheer joy of it. 

Human animals can be the cutest of all. - Liam's here too.