Ruby’s Song

My latest project for Animals, People and Those in Between @ ITP:

The Animal Subject

You will take your “Animal Object” character, and flip the script by investigating the subjective point of view of the animal you chose.

What is it like being inside this animal? What is its view point? How does it see– or experience –its environment? What – or how – is he/she reacting to the events surrounding him/her? How do those events appear, in terms of scale, form, size, sharpness, color, time?

Drawing on the writings of Üexkull (the idea of umwelt), and the readings on research into animal minds, and / or projected first-person narration (Haskell’s short story, Coe’s “Pitt’s Letter”), you may chose to be anthropomorphic, or you may NOT be, as you see fit.

The purpose of this assignment, coupled with the last one, is to explore how character is made from different points of view, and how your crafting of that character expresses your point of view.


Ruby’s Song from lee-sean on Vimeo.

Music and editing by Lee-Sean Huang.  Paintings by Ruby the Elephant.  Elephant sounds by Kris Hartley.

During our in-class crit, some people thought that the piece was two opaque, that I needed to move the titles to the front of the video, or in someway make it more explicit that the piece is about an elephant.  I’m still not sure how I feel about that.  I would definitely consider moving the “Ruby’s Song” titles to the beginning of the video, but I would also have to restructure the audio portion so everything still synchs up correctly.  My goal was to really get into Ruby’s head and create something based on established elephantine means of expression.  Even if wild elephants don’t paint and make music, they are ways in which elephants in captivity can “express themselves,” whatever that means, I still don’t know, so I’ll leave it up to interpretation.

See also:

Ruby’s Song on Blip.tv

Ruby’s Song on Vimeo

An Audio Portrait of the Life and Death of Ruby

Sketches of Ruby

Ruby Research Links

LS and Kris at Kia’s Birthday Party


Me, Kris, and disembodied hand at Kia’s birthday party at Hakata Tonton in the West Village (right next to the infamous Marie’s Crisis). Hakata Tonton is a Japanese restaurant that specializes in pigs feet (or “pied de cochon” as they say on their website), which is high in collagen and supposedly good for your skin. In any case, I don’t need that as an excuse to eat delicious pork fat. The 40 dollar (including drinks, tax and tip) party package can’t be beat either.