The Rough Skin of the Elephant

The Rough Skin of the Elephant (La piel ruda del elefante,  2013-2015) is the title of a series by the Catalan photographer Pàtric Marín which pictures surprising scenarios of animals escaped from the zoo and trapped inside various spaces in a city – a parking lot and other charmless locations. The photographs caught my attention immediately, apart from being thoroughly well executed, moving, and tragic, they are in perfect harmony with zoowithoutanimals. They are wonderful, see for yourself:

Fotografia Catalunya, Raül and Emma, patric marin,

Raül and Emma

Fotografia Catalunya

Wake up, Glòria!

Fotografia Catalunya

Jordi, learn to fly please!

Fotografia Catalunya

Ismael, reflection is for idiots

Fotografia Catalunya

Rita hangs by a thread

Fotografia Catalunya

Xavier, go out of here!

Fotografia Catalunya

Artur’s sad job

Fotografia Catalunya

The end or the beginning

Fotografia Catalunya

Josep, what do you want?

See more of Pàtric’s work in Fotografia a Catalunya


Wild Animals

La Rêve (The Dream). Henri Rousseau. 1910.

La Rêve (The Dream). Henri Rousseau. 1910.

Allegro Strepitoso. Carel Weight. 1932

Allegro Strepitoso. Carel Weight. 1932


Zoo Without Animals

I read about a zoo in Gaza, the Marha Land Zoo, which is now famous in its area for its creativity and ingenuity in bringing Gaza its first zebra. Many of their animals were dying and they were suffering from a lack of visitors. So they summoned their imaginative powers to transform 2 donkeys into “zebras” with the help of some masking tape, paintbrushes, and hair dye. The children were delighted and the zoo filled with visitors. The success was short-lived, however, and one year later it was once again a sad zoo with very few visitors and very few animals, including a funny donkey-zebra.

Maybe zoos should do away with animals altogether and instead have a zoo without animals? Not that I am a strongly against zoos or anything, but just take a moment to imagine what it might be like without the animals:

I imagine a cool sculpture park where you could spend the day climbing trees and cages and gazing at the weird “sculptures” all around. You could have a nap in the cool, smooth shade of the empty penguin pool, or a picnic on the little island in the middle. You could walk through rooms lined with glass tanks full of water and seaweed and rocks before resting on the dry logs where the lions used to lay, while birds fly freely overhead. Or, if you wished, and there was free wi-fi available, you could even just sit in a grassy spot and watch cute videos of cats and dogs.

Root in the dark

A car without an engine

And to finish off, here’s an excerpt from The Unbearable Lightness of Being (p. 277) by Milan Kundera:

“The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse. Yes, the right to kill a deer or a cow is the only thing that mankind can agree upon, even during the bloodiest of wars. The reason we take that right for granted is that we stand at the top of that hierarchy. But let a third party enter the game –a visitor from another planet, for example, someone to whom God says, ‘Thou shalt have dominion over creatures of all other stars’ — and all at once taking Genesis for granted becomes problematical. Perhaps a man hitched to the cart of a Martian or roasted on the spit by inhabitants of the Milky Way will recall the veal cutlet he used to slice on his dinner plate and apologize (belatedly!) to the cow.”

unbearable lightness of being

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