This is a gif of giraffes and graphs. The video projected on the left was documentation taken from the point of view of my camera (my perspective) of the house where my mother lives (and, not coincidentally, the house where I grew up), where she has a prodigious giraffe collection (the current count is 164, which is only 20 short of the population of actual giraffes in Niger) The camera would come into focus when it fell upon a giraffe.
The giraffes at Mom’s are a varied population:
Though I grew up surrounded by representations of these creatures, I rarely related them to the actual animal, but have a strong yet separate fascination with giraffes themselves. The data analysis, the righthand projection in the gif, juxtaposed infographics of giraffes found in the wild, captive giraffes, and mom’s giraffes: average lifespan, subspecies, population densities, etc. I chose to render them in watercolor and pen in an attempt to evoke nostalgia/ the precious.
I think that, as discussed in class, the weakness of this project was tying together the two portions of the diptych in a way that carried a more concrete message. While I did attempt to filter the video so that it resembled disposable film (to echo the watercolors aesthetic), I agree that something broader was missing. I think it takes a long time to sort out the meaning of a project which involves the personal.
Marina suggested that, if the video on the left was to recall a safari (which is what I had, to some degree, intended), I should have dressed up in proper attire and allowed my image to be more present in the video itself. The class responded with an follow-up edit to the aesthetics of the graph portion, so it might reflect something you’d find in a national geographic, for instance. I think that these are excellent suggestions, but would hope to be able to do so while keeping the element of mom’s giraffes’ tender position in my psyche present: I wouldn’t want to purely lampoon.
As I mentioned in class, I hope to expand on this project by investigating other middle age ladies’ animal figure collections. I know they’re out there, and they’re waiting to be explored. In the future, I’d like to try to find out more from the curators of these collections: where did each figurine come from? What percentage where purchased by the collector? This, however, becomes less about the collected animal perhaps, and more about the collector. Which (to be honest) is okay by me, as it seems that these collections often have little to do with any feature of the animal itself.