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'Critters' offers humans perspective

Still from Francis Alys' 'El Gringo' (2003), one of the videos in 'Critters,' playing on the Media Test Wall at the List Visual Arts Center from Oct. 31-Dec. 31.
Caption:
Still from Francis Alys' 'El Gringo' (2003), one of the videos in 'Critters,' playing on the Media Test Wall at the List Visual Arts Center from Oct. 31-Dec. 31.

A dog, a pig, a tarantula and a chick walk into Building 56���

And that's not entirely a joke. "Critters" is now on view at the Media Test Wall in Building 56. It's a compilation of short videos by Francis Alys, David Claerbout and Sam Easterson that uses animal protagonists to offer a perspective on what it means to be human.

"Our attitudes toward creatures can vary wildly, from treating animals as fleshy machines without any rights or agency to overly anthropomorphizing them," said Jane Farver, director of the List Visual Arts Center, which oversees the Media Test Wall.

Noting that the three artists present individual viewpoints in "Critters," she said that each reveals something "crucial about the business of living on two feet with a large brain and an opposable thumb."

"Critters" is on view 24 hours a day, seven days a week through December.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 30, 2005 (download PDF).

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