ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Aly Wolff-Mills

Here Kitty

This stop-motion animation explores the boundaries between the sometimes absurd relationship between pets and their owners.

Animals, People and Those In Between

In this animation, I explore the boundaries between myself and my pets. I am playing with the grey area in the relationship between pet owners and pets where both are no longer just human or animal, but something in between--humans identify more with their animals than other people and pets become something like an accessory. Though this relationship is noted, the piece is more light-hearted than usual animal rights rhetoric and I poke fun at myself. In it, I am giving myself a genetic predisposition to be a “crazy cat (or bird) lady.”

In this animation, a modern (or futuristic me) discovers an album with photos of my great-great grandmother. In keeping with fashion of the time, she wears a feathered hat and fur stole that are revealed to be a live parrot and cat. This fashion-transformation both suggests that a human and animal relationship can be positive (the fur and hat are not dead) while hinting at the absurd extremes that are commonplace among pet owners.

The animation is slightly less than a minute long (and will loop). I made the hat in the photos using molted feathers from my parrot. Neither cat nor parrot were harmed in the photoshoot, in fact, both were willing participants—the parrot enjoyed destroying the hat and the cat enjoyed the cuddles. The cat and parrot shown are both my pets and I am the model for my great-great grandmother redux.

I am both a pet owner and love the fashion of the 19th century. This project shows how those two interests can intersect.

The animation is a flash SWF file and requires only that the computer it is played on has flash player. The images are sized to be displayed full screen on a 24" landscape monitor with resolution 1920x1200.

The hardest part of this project was figuring out a way to present my photography in a digital format that would not break the suspension of disbelief of my audience and cause them to doubt that they were looking at genuinely old photographs.