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The Anthropology of the “depicted Animals” : Focusing on the becoming in animals and humans

Research period:2020.10-2023.3





Why are people captivated by animals? As Lévi-Strauss (2001) once asked, why do we give picture books and toys of animals to children soon after they are born even though our direct relationship with animals has diminished in modern times ? The objective of this research project is to explore such questions by considering the possibility of the “depicted animal” as a “becoming” that opens a circuit between humans and animals, and allows one to perceive things that have not been perceivable before. To do this, we will reinterpret the following four questions — 1) How are animals perceived? 2) What are they depicted with? 3) Why are they depicted? and 4) What kind of occasions are depictions or depicted animals produced and who are they needed by? — to view them as dynamic phenomena that include overlapping and negative space, by examining specific cases. And in order to tackle this problem in a more in-depth manner, we will examine “animal depiction” as the “opening of new facets through mutual becoming between animals and humans” as presented by Deleuze and Guattari, using the anthropological technique of “becoming” with the other (Ingold). Specifically, we aim to examine these questions and open up new horizons for understanding animals by reproducing the process of dynamic becoming between the depicting person and the depicted animal to shed light on what manifests in the act of “depicting animals, depicting using animals, and depicting with animals,” while referring to findings from cognitive science and physical experience.