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The Clever Hans Effect: Episode 3, Part 1

Rogue Syntax

31-12-2021

Rogue Syntax: Episode 3, part 1. We listen in to animal signals, and attempt to place them within the context of their own worlds – calls, responses, songs and sonic forms we as yet lack the capacity to understand.

In the early 20th century, experiments with a performing horse, “Clever Hans”, sparked off a wave of scientific interest in the communication capacities of animals which continue today.

Episode 3 of Rogue Syntax exists of two parts, which both deal with this legacy of what happens when humans try to make non-humans talk. This first part explores the stories of “talking” horses and chimpanzee sign language experiments; introduces concepts such as operant conditioning and the observer expectancy effect in the context of language learning; and discusses the ethical and psychological effects of what happens when we make animals communicate with us.

Info

About this project: Rogue Syntax: Primer is a longform experimental audio project by artists Nathan Gray, Danni Zuvela and Makiko Yamamoto, exploring the dynamics of language within the space of contemporary art.
    • Supported by Liquid Architecture (Melbourne), 1646 (The Hague) and Australia Council for the Arts.

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