Animlas in Arles

Went for a walk in the center of Arles. Saw all the figures of animals and started to take pictures.

Look trough them and reflect about what you see and feel. Do that before you read my comments. This is important! You can only see them with your eyes before you get my view. Don’t miss your own perspective!



















What are we really relating to?
To the animals or our images of the animals?
How many layers of symbols and interpretation are there?

Can you see the layer I put there as a photographer?
And the layer I put there as a writer, by asking those questions?

Trough witch pictures do you connect with the animals as animals and in which pictures are the animals mainly a symbol of an aspects of the human nature or culture?

And how does this extensive use of animals as symbols influence our way of relating to the real animals? Can we see a wild bear without also see a teddy bear?

Can we see without interpretation? Or is it true what Krishnamurti said:
— The day you teach a child that a bird is named ‘bird,’ the child will never see the bird again.

I’m really curious to hear what you see and think about this and I would love to read your comment on it!

9 Responses to Animlas in Arles

  1. Marie November 11, 2011 at 08:28 #

    I think it is all neurological, that our brains are constructed in a way that we automatically create patterns in everything we see. Without this ability we would not be able to create meaning. Without it everything would be chaos. What do you think?
    Thank you for a very interesting blog!

  2. Stina November 12, 2011 at 09:54 #

    Hi Marie,
    Yes I believe we are pattern making creatures and that this is a wonderful ability of all animals and especially humans. But I also know that we can change the way we see and perceive reality. That it’s possible to see beyond symbols and reconnect to the source of reality. This is what I’m working with when I take my photos. To see what is there, beyond the learned interpretations.

    When it comes to animals and our relation to them, I think it’s possible to go behind the labels and symbols. Just as it is with humans: We see a picture of a person, we meet her, we get to know her, we open our selfs fully to her. This is a sequens of undoing the stored meaning making patterns that we first got in mind when we saw the first picture of her.

    i could write much more … new posts will come on the subject …
    Big Heart, Stina

  3. gisela November 14, 2011 at 08:58 #

    Dear Stina,
    thanks for this interesting series of pictures. Only very few (the lion i.e.) express (perhaps) a quality in the animal that the human sensed into and related to. To create an image probably is the first step of objectification, to make the animal into an object and you point to the dark side of this very much. Images of animals used for water supply, enjoyment and marketing. But what is the relationship of humans to animals that makes this work? Marketing adresses the emotions, works with the subconscious and do we know this big emotional force in ourselves? Do we need some wild life explorations that lead us into silence, into our inner experiences instead of only being the observer? And how would we look at animals from a place of deep inner silence connected to all that is?

  4. Hanna November 17, 2011 at 20:31 #

    Interesting how you can get more into looking and feeling – beyond words – when you are in a country, where people don’t like to speak English… I love the picture with the lady in the pink T shirt and the pink cow…

  5. Stina November 18, 2011 at 10:20 #

    Yes, it’s a huge difference to speak to people or to just walk around as a stranger … totally different viewpoints.
    Communication and reflections with words or without. The mixture of me/other and mind/heart changes.

  6. Stina November 18, 2011 at 10:39 #

    Dear Gisela,

    Thank you for your deep reflections. You write “Do we need some wild life explorations that lead us into silence, into our inner experiences instead of only being the observer?”
    There are many layers there …

    Some reflections
    — I don’t think we need “wild life explorations”, but an exploration into the life that is everywhere around us.
    — You point to the difference between inner experience and being an observer of the outer. I think we can do both at the same time. To observe so deeply that our inner experience and the outer world becomes the same.

    Big Heart, Stina

  7. Robert Holmin June 23, 2012 at 09:59 #

    Yes! You show with your pictures how we entangle animals in our symbol-games in different ways. Its not important if these are good or bad – the important thing is to notice that we do this all the time and how we do it. We humanize animals and animalize humans and have been doing this since the stone age. This shows our strong bond with nature, because we are nature, and also how semiotics is such an integral part of meaning making. How magnificent! These pictures tell ancient stories.

  8. Stina Deurell June 23, 2012 at 12:51 #

    Dear Robert!

    Thank you for your insightful thoughts. Yes, the pictures points to “our strong bond with nature, because we are nature”. But can at the same time been seen just the opposite way around; “our distance form nature, because we are a meaning making species”. The other animals sees us and each much more directly, without a lot of symbolic overlay.

    To be aware of what we gain and what we loose when we go into our “semiotic meaning making mode” is important. Being in South Africa for a month has made me more aware of the parallels between racism and speciesism. The right we take to label others and in doing so distance our selfs from reality.

    Big Heart, Stina

  9. Robert Holmin June 25, 2012 at 09:16 #

    At times I get really fed up with labeling, and then again it is so human.
    If I let go of labeling I might become a dog
    or cat
    or a luna-tick

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