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

 

Media: Julian Wilcox Leaves Māori TV

Māori Television has confirmed the resignation of Head of News and Production Julian Wilcox. Mr Maxwell acknowledged Mr Wilcox’s significant contribution to Māori Television since joining the organisation in 2004. More>>

ALSO:

Genetics: New Heat Tolerant Cow Developed

Hamilton, New Zealand-based Dairy Solutionz Ltd has led an expert genetics team to develop a new dairy cow breed conditioned to thrive in lower elevation tropical climates and achieve high milk production under heat stress. More>>

Fractals: Thousands More Business Cards Needed To Build Giant Sponge

New Zealand is taking part in a global event this weekend to build a Menger Sponge using 15 million business cards but local organisers say they are thousands of business cards short. More>>

Scoop Business: NZ Net Migration Rises To Annual Record In September

New Zealand’s annual net migration rose to a record in September, beating government forecasts, as the inflow was spurred by student arrivals from India and Kiwis returning home from Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news