WELCOME TO THE CAT RESEARCH SOCIETY: LET´S STRAY TOGETHER
The Cat Research Society aims for a deeper understanding of the personal relations and symbiotic bonds forming between human and cats.
Starting in Kotor (Cattaro), the self-proclaimed “city of cats“ of Montenegro, Sarah Glück and Rafael Lippuner followed and strayed with the cats together in an attempt to perceive the city from their point of view.
The way in which an individual understands the world plays an important role in how the environment is shaped and its possibilitiesplay out: „According to the biologist Jacob von Uexküll (»Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere«, 1909) every organism cuts its specific environment out of the world, according to its needs and its perceptual equipment. Things change their meaning in relation to the subject. This relationship transformsan object into a carrier of meaning that is imprinted on it by the subject, and it is the assemblage of meanings that shapes the environment of every individual. The meaning attributed to one and the same object changes depending on the subject perceiving it and its momentary condition. In a nutshell: The Umwelt of an animal is mirrored in its inner world.“
In the case of Kotor, not only the structure of the city dominated by narrow alleys and wide squares, its mediterranean architecture including materials and constructions are mirrored in the inner worlds of its inhabitants, but also the fact that the old town is attracting floods of tourists on a daily basis. Labeled UNESCO cultural and natural heritage, its reputationlargely impacts the working and living conditions of the local people and cats.
Observing specific relations between citizens, souvenir shop and restaurant owners as well as tourists with „their“ cats, the Cat Research Society`s approach to look for new kinships in culture is part of a larger interest in human-animal-relations. This concern extends to artistic and philosophic topics and is inspired by the views of Donna J. Haraway (»When species meet« 2007) and Vinciane Despret (»The body we care for. Figures of anthropo-zoo-genesis« 2004). Both scientist's work discusses the need to redefine the relation between humans and animals and develop new practices of “humaniamility“, of living and dying together. What practices of politeness between animals and humans are desirable? How do they produce knowledge together, e.g. in ethology? How do animals work for humans? What does that mean for concepts of agency? And finally: How political are such questions in relation to recent cosmopolitical, ecological constellations?“
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1 Busch, Margit; C.A.T.s in Uexküllian bubbles. In: Catastrophic Animals on Terra – A guidebook to life elsewhere (Vienna, 2019), Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, p. 22-23
2 Despret, Vinciane; Haraway, Donna; Harrasser, Karin; Solhdju, Katrin: Stay where the trouble is. In: Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft. Jg. 3, Heft 04, Menschen & Andere (Bielefeld, 2011), DOI: https://mediarep.org/handle/doc/2703, transcript Verlag Bielefeld
Cat Research Society: A Day-Night Cycle in the Life of Kotor´s Kitten
Sarah Glück & Rafael Lippuner
Guided tour / Video 9:40 min