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

 

Half Empty: Fonterra's 2017 Opening Forecast Below Expectations

Fonterra Cooperative Group raised its forecast farmgate milk payout for next season by less than expected as the world's largest dairy exporter predicts lower prices will crimp production and supply will pick up. The New Zealand dollar fell. More>>

ALSO:

Pest Control: Mouse Blitz Team Leaves For Antipodes

The Million Dollar Mouse project to rid Antipodes Island of mice is underway with the departure of a rodent eradication team to the remote nature reserve and World Heritage Area. More>>

Gongs Got: Canon Media Awards & NZ Radio Awards Happen

Radio NZ: RNZ website The Wireless, which is co-funded by NZ On Air, was named best website, while Toby Manhire and Toby Morris won the best opinion general writing section for their weekly column on rnz.co.nz and Tess McClure won the best junior feature writer section. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Budget: Debt Focus Risks Losing Opportunity To Stoke Economy

The Treasury is likely to upgrade its forecasts for economic growth in Budget 2016 next week but Finance Minister Bill English has already signalled that more of his focus is on debt repayment than on fiscal stimulus or tax cuts... More>>

ALSO:

Fulton Hogan's Heroes: Managing Director Nick Miller Resigns

Fulton Hogan managing director Nick Miller will leave the privately owned construction company after seven years in charge. The Dunedin-based company has kicked off a search for a replacement, and Miller will stay on at the helm until March next year, or until a successor has been appointed and a transition period completed. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Electricity, Executions, And Bob Dylan

The Electricity Authority has unveiled the final version of its pricing plan for electricity transmission. This will change the way transmission prices (which comprise about 10% of the average power bill) are computed, and will add hundreds of dollars a year to power bills for many ordinary consumers. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Fonterra NZ, Australia Milk Collection Drops In Season

Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia, its two largest markets, in the first 11 months of the season during a period of weak dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news