Saturday, July 5, 2008

Move Over Mankind, Here Come the Elephants


Are you kidding me? Is this for real? Of course, the cynic in me immediately thinks, "Well, obviously this elephant has been trained by its masters." But then I think, "Yes, and what exactly is the difference between an elephant trained by a master and an art student trained by a master?" Certainly, there's some difference, but nevertheless...

It seems art may no longer be an exclusively human activity.



Painting of an elephant by an elephant.




8 comments:

Daniel said...

"What exactly is the difference between an elephant trained by a master and an art student trained by a master?"

The difference is that one is trained to apply technical skills to their own creative impulses and the other is repeating meticulously crafted motions to recreate something they themselves do not comprehend. The trainers themselves admitted the elephants don't realize what they're doing and they sell the paintings for a nice bit of cash to help fund wildlife preservation or something. No harm in it, but let's not pretend we're bridging any species gaps here.

Genesis8 said...

That was awesome. I loved it. I think that was some good entertainment. I would have love to see that live.

Jay said...

lol dang. I guess I didn't read the article (all that was posted was the pictures and a brief description). I wouldn't dismiss it completely, though. And it's also worth noting that I define art very liberally (while making exception for "high art")

But this brings up an interesting idea: who are the artists? The elephants, who are probably coerced into painting, or the trainers?

SuiginChou said...

The trainers. The artist is the one with the vision, not the one with the paintbrush or the funds to secure it.

Jay said...

Well then. That was easy.

Daniel said...

Agreed, but if we're going to be breaking down classifications of high and low art, this would probably go just above photocopying Dogs Playing Poker.

Daniel said...

On a related note, there was a documentary about a little girl who painted very well received abstract art. The merits of abstract art are up for debate in and of itself, but there was some controversy that her father may have been coaching her and that she didn't really know what she was painting. So you're right, there's a lot of gray area in defining art. I just like to place some value in the notion of intent.

Genesis8 said...

Thats cool and all, but a elephant just painted a elephant. Thats so cool.