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SYLLABUS ART 5101 Aspects of Art & Tech 2
The Telepresent Animal

Carmen login

Why Look at Animals? art installation by Amy YoungsWhy Look at Animals?, by Amy Youngs


Course Description

Do we know our pets, our food animals and zoo animals better now that we can monitor them remotely, at any time we want? When the experience is enhanced with the availability of internet-enabled devices, games and communication tools, will we have closer relationships with them? This course is inspired by telepresence robots, the proliferation of live animal webcams and the increasing presence of animals in art - living, dead and virtual. Together we will explore animal/human/machine relationships through readings, discussions, screenings, lectures, field trips and hands on art making. We will make art for insects, learn to set up, monitor and activate internet-enabled devices, and develop individual and group artwork inspired by the course content. 

Course Meeting Time and Locations

Mon/Wed, 6:55 - 9:40 Hopkins Hall 156.


Amy Youngs, Associate Professor of Art
email: - best way to contact me
ph: Art Department (614) 292-5072 - a place to leave messages for me.
Office: Hopkins Hall, room 150. Mailbox: 258 Hopkins Hall

Jessica Ann, Graduate Teaching Assistant
Mailbox: 258 Hopkins Hall

  • To create art engaged with the presence, telepresence and representation of animals.
  • To gain a understanding of the theories and artistic strategies used by artists working with machine/animal relationships
  • Demonstrated abiliity to discuss, remix, and invent new creative work inspired by the course topic.

  • To professionally mount and exhibit a artwork from this course in the end of the quarter Art & Technology Exhibition.


Two completed art projects, participation in class activities and discussions, research notebook, participation in the end of the quarter Art and Technology exhibition, and regular attendance. An average student can expect to work an average of 6 hours per week on class work outside of class time.


20 points – Project 1 - Art designed for insects
20 points – Reflective note taking in Tumblr blog and Sketchbook - your observations, online and off, sketches, photos, maps, reflections, notes and ideas connected to the topics in this course and your art projects.
20 points – Active participation in class activities and discussions, as well as general class citizenship.
40 points – Final project - a significant, well-researched artwork inspired by the Telepresent Animal course content. Must be submitted to the Art and Tech juried show.


Class critiques are very important and will be held at the beginning of class on the due date of each project. If your assignment is not complete for the critique your grade on that assignment will be lowered by one full letter for each class day it is late. You are required to attend critiques even if your work is not complete. Critiques are not for my benefit; instead, they are the best method to learn about artmaking - from a diversity of fellow artmakers.


There will be required and optional readings and screenings in this course. The required portions will be available online, in our Carmen resources, or in the library. Check the schedule for details.

Inspirations/bibliography for this class include:

Aloi, Giovanni, Art & Animals, I.B. Tauris, London/New York, 2012.
Ascott, Roy, Telematic Embrace, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2003.
Baker, Steve, Artist |Animal, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2013.
Baker, Steve, The Postmodern Animal, Reaktion Books, 2000
Berger, John, About Looking, Pantheon Books, New York, 1980. (Why Look at Animals? essay in particular)
Chalmers, Catherine American Cockroach, Aperature 2005
Da Costa, Beatriz and Philip, Kavita, Tactical Biopolitics, Mit Press 2008.
Gessert, George, Green Light: Toward an Art of Evolution, MIT Press, 2010.

Goldberg, Ken, ed. The Robot in the Garden, MIT press, 2000.
Haraway, Donna J., When Species Meet, University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
Kac, Eduardo, Telepresence & Bio Art, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2005.
Shanken, Edward A., Art and Electronic Media, Phaidon Press, London, 2009.

Serpell, James, In the Company of Animals: a Study of Human-Animal Relationships, Cambridge University Press 1996.
Wilson, Stephen, Art+Science Now, Thames & Hudson, 2010.


Avatar, James Cameron
Blinky, by Jeffrey Vallance
Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog
Covenent, Michael Mercil
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, Errol Morris
Grizzy Man, Werner Herzog
I Do Not Know What it is I am Like, Bill Viola
Microcosmos, Marie Pˇrennou, Claude Nuridsany
Sweetgrass, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Attendance policy

Don't miss class. Don't arrive late or leave early. You are expected to come to class on time, ready to work, discuss or present, depending on what is scheduled that day. Your final grade will be lowered by one full letter upon your fourth absence - and again for each additional absence. 4 late arrivals or early departures = 1 absence. Absences are absences, whether or not you have a note. Please use your 3 allowed absenses wisely. You are responsible to find out what you missed and to complete any missed work.

Policy on student conduct

Students are expected to abide by the Ohio State University's Code of Student Conduct. Any violations will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.

Policy on animal use in your art

If you are conducting any research (artmaking is research) using animals, you are required to get approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee IACUC. "All testing, instructional and research proposals utilizing living vertebrate animals must be submitted for evaluation by the IACUC. Animal Use Protocol (AUP) submissions must also be submitted when utilizing dead vertebrate animals or animal parts if the animal was both sacrificed and procured solely and specifically for a research, teaching, or testing purpose."

Some art projects with vertabrate animals will not require any paperwork (if we are interacting with animals in ways that normal pet owners would) but because we are working within a research university, we are required to inform the office of our projects so they may make the decision as to whether further approvals will be needed. Our contact for this is Anthony Yonkura, who is happy to review your project concept by email or phone 614-292-4494 – This must be done before you begin the project.

Disability policy

Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs.  The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901;

Documentation of student work – Art for Insects project

Related blogs, articles, videos and other online resources

Antennae, The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. Online journal, 2007 - ongoing.
Art and Genetics Bibliography, Compiled by George Gessert
Birrell, Ross, ed. Art and the Animal Revolution, Art & Research: a journal of ideas, contexts and methods. Volume 4. No. 1. Summer 2011
Next Nature
Is this Bioart?
Stephen Wilson's links for artworks at the intersection of Biology: Microbiology, Bioengineering, Stem Cells; Biology: Animals & Plants; Ecology; Body & Medicine
Art + Science resource links from Steve Wilson's book of the same name

V2_Institute's, Wild Things (Blowup Reader 1), free download of collected essays on media art for animals, 2011.
Renatured: Animals, People and Those in Between, Online research blog by artist Marina Zurkow.
Animals on Film: The Ethics of the Human Gaze, essay by Randy Malamud
Art for Animals, essay by Matthew Fuller
Hosting the Animal: the Art of Kathy High, by Irina Aristarkhova
Telematic Embrace: A Love Story? Roy Ascott's Theories of Telematic Art, by Edward A. Shanken

The Telepresent Animal - Our own course Tumblr

Artists and related projects

Art Orienté Objet
Marcus Coates

Mark Dion
Sam Easterson
Ken Goldberg
Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison
Kathy High
Natalie Jeremijenko
Eduardo Kac
Rachel Mayeri
Michael Mercil
Brittany Ransom
Ken Rinaldo
Paul Sermon
Snæbjörnsdóttir / Wilson
Gail Wight
Doo-Sung Yoo
PigeonBlog, Beatriz DaCosta
Tardigotchi, Matt Kenyon, Doug Easterly and Tiago Rorke
MeArt, the Semi Living Artist
Center for PostNatural History
Cockroach Controlled Mobile Robot, Garnet Hertz
ENKI Electric Fish Brain Interface, Anthony Hall
Oceanic Scales, Gene Felice
Green Porno, Isaballa Rosselini
Utility Pets, Elio Caccavale
Biomodd - Collaborative project led by Anthony Vermeulen
Workshorse Zoo - Adam Zaretsky and Julia Reodica
After Agri - an opera singer forms a unique relationship with algae
The Interspecies Internet

Exhibitions and Conferences

Beyond Human, Artist-Animal Collaborations, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, Oct 2013 - Sept 2014.
The Animal Gaze Returned, Sheffield Insitute of Arts, Sheffield, UK, 2013
Yes, Naturally, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands, 2013
Machine Wilderness ISEA2012, Albuquerque, NM, 2012.
Bio:Fiction Science, Art & Film Festival
, (films online here). Museum of Natural History in Vienna, Austria, 2011
Blowup: Wild Things, conference on art for animals, Rotterdam, 2011.
Visceral: the living art experiment, Science Gallery Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 2011
Uncertainty in the City, Pests, Pets and Prey, (Virtual Tour) Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson, Storey Gallery, Lancaster Uk 2010
Liverpool, UK, 2008 and Luxembourg, Belgium, 2009
Becoming Animal, Mass MOCA, Massachusetts 2005
ART et BIOTECHNOLOGIES, Conference and book, Montreal, Canada 2005
Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution, New York, 2000

Amy Youngs | Art & Technology | Department of Art | The Ohio State University