OSTRICHES AT NIGHT
Work-in-Progress Film on Animal Consciousness


I am writing this film and plan to shoot it in 2021. Read about the concept and see my experimental video work on it below.



In 2010, I bought an ostrich egg in Ukraine, to eat. I didn’t want to part with the magical intact dinosaur egg, though, so I drilled a small hole in the top and bottom and pumped the egg foodstuff into a skillet with a bike pump. It fed four. My giant eggshell (which cracked a little when I moved home, sadly) sits on a bookshelf now.

Since eating that ostrich egg I’ve become unsure of the existence of a soul (a cause-and-effect relationship of this change to the egg is unlikely). Exploring atheism, however, I resist the idea that I am just an animal; that love, sex, society, art, funerals, etc., aren’t sacred. Either:
 
1) beliefs are ridiculous or
2) animals and humans should be equal and I should stop eating animals or
3) animals must be more capable of belief than I expected, in which case, what are their beliefs?

I’m most interested in 3.

The donkey films of David Redmon and Ashley Sabin as well as Leviathan (2012) and Sweetgrass (2009) by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor handled this subject well. Stay tuned for a Treatment published here in 2020.

The following are short visual EXPERIMENTS about animal minds.



OCTOPUS BRAIN NODES and MY SISTER NATALIE by Jake Chamberlain





A HORSE TREADMILL by Jake Chamberlain





When I was first learning cameras, I shot the following exercises related to animal consciousness. The first is Coho, my family’s best cross-country skier.


 
COHO’s POV by Jake Chamberlain





It was pointed out to me that night is different from day not just in terms of lighting, but in terms of one’s thoughts. Have you gone on a long walk at night and waxed philosophic? I wonder if night time walks played a role in the evolution of theism. In my ostrich film, night will play a large role. 



OWL at NIGHT by Jake Chamberlain





I am studying Other Minds by Peter Godfrey Smith, The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, What its Like to Be a Bat by Thomas Nagel, and other sources. Suggest something to me if you have something.

I look forward to sending collaborators a treatment for Ostriches at Night in 2020. In the meantime, I beg you, listen to Animals by Talking Heads and consider these lyrics:

I’m mad. And thats a fact.
I found out animals don’t need help. 
Animals think. They’re pretty smart.
Shit on the ground. See in the Dark.

I know the animals are laughing at us.
They don’t even know what a joke is.
I won’t follow animal’s advice.
I don’t care. They’re laughing at us.

They say they don’t need money.
They’re living on nuts and berries.
They say animals don’t worry. 
You know animals are hairy?
They think they know whats best.
They’re making a fool of us.
They ought to be more careful.
They’re setting a bad example. 
They have untroubled lives. 
They think everything’s nice. 
They like to laugh at people. 
They’re setting a bad example
(go ahead) laugh at me.