Archives for the 'Jenn' Category

Amy Stein

A photographer who was discussed today in one of my classes. This is her series on domestication / us VS the wild.

Her statement is at the end of the series if the work interests you.

12/01/2010 | Jenn | 3 Comments

Working out poster text

Ideas for poster line text and photos.


(Show no humans. Allude to physical abuse and emotional abuse.)

1. It’s lonely at the top. (dog left outside, in yard?)

2. My kennel isn’t a babysitter. (dog in a kennel)

3. Unknown message. (a dog and a dog house, have dog “cut out” of image, add dotted line around shape of dog)


(Show pure bred “power breeds”- Pit bull, Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Doberman)

1. Who’s the guiltiest of them all?

2. What’s the verdict?

3. We the jury find…

4. Who’s to blame?

5. One in the same

Or no words ~

1. a large X on a German Shepherd’s face and a check mark on a Golden Retriever’s face - approving a dog based on breed

2. Large red K, idea of the scarlet letter. Pit bull has a K for killer.

3. Third one unknown right now.

4. Unknown.


1. Animal first. Companion second.

2. My name doesn’t make me.

3. Table for two.

4. Unknown.


Book to accompany poster.

For each set of photos there will be a book that goes with it, sort of a “here’s more info…” type deal. There will be three books. The covers of the book with be one of the photos from each campaign. Book will include an opening paragraph by me, then a few (probably five) articles to follow showing different points of view on the subject matter.

These are two paragraphs I’ve been trying to work out as the opening paragraph of each book.

Abuse opening paragraph

There are different types of abuse when it comes to owning a pet. There, of course, if physical abuse but there is also emotional abuse. Dogs, just like human beings, need sunlight, exercise and fresh air. What is the purpose of owning a dog when you have a full time job that requires most of your attention? What about giving a pet the full attention it deserves? After all, a kennel isn’t a babysitter.

Companionship Paragraph

All too often we seem to forget that out beloved pet is an animal at heart. We can dress them in clothing, call them our “babies” and treat them another family member but this doesn’t change their true nature. They are an animal first and a companion second.

None of these are completed ideas. This is just to show a process of figuring out tag lines or body copy of posters and also a book to accompany those posters.

12/01/2010 | Jenn | 1 Comment

Methuen Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm

Today I went to visit the Methuen Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm. I had never heard of this place prior to my conversation with Erica Ruch, she suggested giving it a visit. I was very impressed with the place. It is a large property with many animals of all varieties. I only took pictures of the outside of the main building and of the property. It didn’t open until noon time, but there was a long line formed outside the door waiting for it to open which was really surprising to me.

It was really interesting (and aggravating) observing the other people who were also there. It put visual imagery in my head to match up with articles I have read. By this I mean, for example, I have read articles on cases of dog bites, how dog bites have occurred and how the people in most situations are at fault. I watched as a young girl (around 12 years old) and her mother stuck their hands through a fence trying to reach a pit bull who was visibly agitated and angry- she was barking and growling with her tail hidden. A staff member yelled at them THREE times with in 10 minutes telling them not to stick their hands through the fence (which there were also many signs saying the same) because the dog was getting upset. They kept ignoring the woman to the point that the staff member had to take the dog back inside and put her back in her kennel. So this dog’s outside time had to end early due to clueless people.

I also watched as a mother let her small son (around 3 years old) throw rocks at the chickens, and she just laughed along like it was the cutest thing she had seen. It was really aggravating to watch.

Inside the adoption center was very nice. It was large and organized. Each room had volunteer monitors to watch over the animals, each of them had knowledge of each individual animal such as where they came from, their age, and so on. Most of the dogs had pending adoptions or completed adoption processes. The number of cats was unbelievable. They had many in kennels and there was also two large rooms filled with cat furniture and around ten cats in each room.

On the way out I saw a man with his two small children standing in line with 3 birds in a cage and a very young black cat. I had assumed he was adopting them because the children looked very happy and the man looked/was acting very casual and content. But when a staff member approached him it was clear I had assumed wrongly. What I learned from eaves dropping on the conversation was he was there to surrender the three birds and cat. I was surprised because he seemed completely fine giving up these pets and showed no signs of remorse. (But to be fair, this could also be because he was with his two small children and didn’t want to make them upset. It was clear the children didn’t know what was going on and that they wouldn’t be leaving with the pets.)

Here is a list of adoptable pets at the Methuen Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm.







11/13/2010 | Jenn | 1 Comment

Meeting with Erica

At my review it was suggested that I just focus on the articles and information I have right now and sort through the various topics trying to narrow them down. The topics I have as of now are domestication, court cases/legal articles, companionship & bonding, chemical reactions to animals, and statistics. I was thinking of picking 4 topics and making 4 books each focusing on one topic each.

Last night I met with Erica Ruch who is a teacher at Montserrat and also works full time for PETA. I told her about my idea of making four different books each focusing on one topic. She introduced a new term (& issue) to me, which is “breedism”. We talked about visuals for the books and how to go about obtaining those visuals. She was very helpful with suggestions on how to brainstorm the structure of the books and how to focus on each topic.

After I have the outlines of the books and topics figured out, I am going to e-mail them to her and get her feed back seeing as she works for PETA and knows a lot of information and resources.

I’m trying to figure out if I should give myself a restriction on the number of pages (I’m thinking 50 pages per book)

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11/02/2010 | Jenn | 1 Comment

Fur installation & “cute” factors

Today I set up my fur installation in a tree in my backyard. I’m pretty pleased with the way it came out. I think I am going to take a photo of it once a week to document what happens to it from the weather and animals.


I’ve been reading some of the articles from Hauser, Cushman and Kamen, eds., People, Property, or Pets? (2006) The articles have been really interesting because it’s as if the articles were written for court cases. The articles discuss different legal standpoints of animals being considered property, or their own individual beings with legal rights, and the pros and cons of each. If animals react according to their desires, are they not able to govern their own lives? Do they have the ability to think through their actions? Should owners be held 100% accountable for their pets actions or should the punishment be completely on the pet?

I was discussing the “cute” factor with John McVey and dogs as fads. Dog commercials have always  been using purebred “cute” dogs to promote there brands. For my next smaller project I am going to go to local pet stores and write down the prices of pet supplies. I think it’s such a disappointment when reading descriptions of why an animal was given up and the reason is along the lines of “the owner was unable to care for/able to afford the pet.” It’s such a disappointment because it can be so easily prevented. A person wouldn’t even have to get off the couch to figure out if they could afford a pet. They could go to pet store websites and write down the costs of things. I think I’m going to design a small brochure-type hand out that includes the initial cost of adopting a cat, dog, bird, reptile etc and what it will add up to be yearly.

Here are two examples of dog food commercials using the “cute” factor to sell their brand. (This video link proves the point exactly because if you scroll down to the comments, currently the first one says,”Omg!!! What kind of dog is that cuase i want it!!! lol. Someone pllaaaeessseeee tell me!!

And last, this is from a website talking about overpopulation in California and a brief overview of the proposed California pet microchip legislation.


Yes she’s a beautiful Dalmatian, but Dalmatians are so retro. I mean golly, I might as well be seen with my last year’s Golden Retriever. Stinko! I saw an ad for a Pressa Canaria. Such a hunk! And they come in fawn.

10/13/2010 | Jenn | 1 Comment

Continuation of spheres

I’ve been working on putting together the fur spheres I wrote about in the previous entry. Originally I was going to create the spheres from wire and newspaper. The first newspaper and then wire spheres I created proved not to be sturdy enough. I decided to use foam balls instead but due to prices I had to change the size I had originally wanted to have (the largest one foot wide foam ball was $20 each and I would have needed 5 of them which just wasn’t do-able).


John let me borrow two books of his, the first one being The Postmodern Animal (c. 2000) by Steve Baker. It explores how animal imagery has been used in recent and contemporary art and performance, and in postmodern philosophy and literature, to shape ideas about identity and creativity. I have not had a chance to actually read it, but I spent some time looking at the photos in the book. One of them (shown below) caught my attention.


It shows Mark Dion’s “Tar and Feathers” (1996) — tree, wooden base, tar, feathers, various taxidermic animals. This photo has me thinking of different purposes for my fur spheres. Originally I was creating this just to hang from the ceiling and each sphere represents a different number of animals euthanized in Merced County, California. I think when it is complete I will hang it outside, from a tree, and take a photo once a week of the condition of the spheres. The idea behind this would be the fact that some people leave their pets/animals out on the street to fend for themselves. I would in turn be leaving these spheres to “fend” for themselves with the elements.

The second book is Hauser, Cushman and Kamen, eds., People, Property, or Pets? (2006). It’s a collection of articles that discuss pets as property, animal ethics and legal status, animals’ rights, moral and practical problems, and animal testing. I have read one of the articles so far and I am intrigued by everything in this book because it’s focusing on laws and rules.

Lindsey made the suggestion of looking into familiars. That thought had never crossed my mind and I was really excited when it was brought up. I have read through wikipedia pages connected to the “familiars” one and have read through most of them. I find it really interesting so I looked up some discussion boards pertaining to this. I didn’t find anything interesting on any of them. Mostly people just talking about (in my opinion) close bonds with pets that they take as spiritual. But I am going to keep on reading and searching this topic.

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10/01/2010 | Jenn | 2 Comments


I have been keeping a personal blog and a Flickr set containing my updates and progress.

09/21/2010 | Jenn | 1 Comment