Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Cats’ indifference a crowd-pleaser

Cats’ indifference a crowd-pleaser

To most people they’re cute and cuddly. To media studies lecturer Radha O’Meara videos of cats posted online also offer a rare insight into the appeal of animal indifference to the camera.

Dr O’Meara, a lecturer at the School of English and Media Studies at Massey’s Wellington campus, says while humans and dogs are aware of being watched, cats appear oblivious.

“This I argue, is rare in a consumer culture dominated by surveillance, where we are constantly aware of the potential for being watched,” she says.

“Cats appear to perform oblivious to the camera. That seems quite a contrast to other similar videos online. Especially other ‘cute’ videos …things like videos of babies and dogs. Cat videos are comparably much more popular and cats don’t seem to acknowledge the camera at all and just do whatever they like, they are oblivious to it. I think that’s really appealing to audiences who are so used to being under the gaze of the camera these days.”

The unselfconsciousness of cats in online videos offers viewers two key pleasures, she says. It first allows viewers to imagine the possibility of freedom from surveillance and also to experience the power of using surveillance without it causing problems for those being watched.

“Ultimately cat videos enable viewers to carry out their own surveillance, and we do so with the gleeful abandon of a kitten jumping in a tissue box.”

However, Dr O’Meara says this carelessness is an illusion for the viewer whose online viewing is tracked and sold as consumer data.

Dr O’Meara developed a critical analysis of cute cat videos after closely watching hundreds of them online. Her research was recently published in M/C Journal.

Videos of cats generate millions of views on YouTube and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis now holds an annual Internet Cat Video Festival, Dr O’Meara says.

“Current representations of cats, including these videos, seem to emphasise their sociability with humans, association with domestic space, independence and aloofness, and intelligence and Unlike dogs on video, that appear to look at the camera directly (though they are probably reading the eyes of the camera operator), cats typically seem unaware of their observers, Dr O’Meara

“This fits with popular discourses of cats as independent and aloof, ntrainable and untameable.

Cat videos employ a unique mode of observation: we observe the cat, which is unencumbered by The cats’ apparent uninhibited behaviour gives the viewer the illusion of voyeuristically catching a glimpse of a self-sufficient world. This lack of self-consciousness and sense of authenticity are key to their reception as ‘cute’ videos.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Housing Policy: Auckland Densification As Popular As Ebola, English Says

Finance Minister Bill English said calls by the Reserve Bank Governor for more densification in Auckland’s housing were “about as popular in parts of Auckland as Ebola” would be. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: NZ Government Deficit Smaller Than Expected In First Half

The New Zealand government's operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first six months of the financial year, as the consumption and corporate tax take rose ahead of forecast in December, having lagged estimates in previous months. More>>

ALSO:

Fruit & Veg Crackdown: Auckland Fruit Fly Find Under Investigation

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating a find of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn... MPI has placed legal controls on the movement of fruit and some vegetables outside of a defined circular area which extends 1.5km from where the fly was trapped in Grey Lynn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Westpac NZ Reaches $2.97M Swaps Settlement

Westpac Banking Corp’s New Zealand unit has agreed to pay $2.97 million in a settlement with the Commerce Commission over the way the bank sold interest rate swaps to farmers between 2005 and 2012. More>>

ALSO:

Going Dutch: Fonterra Kicks Off $144M Partnership With Dutch Cheese Maker

Fonterra Co-operative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has commissioned a new dairy ingredients plant in Heerenveen, in the north of the Netherlands, its first wholly-owned and operated ingredients plant in Europe. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Retail Sales Beat Estimates

New Zealand retail sales rose more than expected in the fourth quarter, led by vehicle-related transactions, food and beverages, adding to evidence that cheap credit and a growing jobs market are encouraging consumers to spend. More>>

ALSO:

Delivery Cuts Go Ahead: 'Government Money Grab' From NZ Post

"It's a money grab by the Government as the shareholder of New Zealand Post" says Postal Workers Union advocate Graeme Clarke about the changes announced by NZ Post. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news