Ollie Dook
    3 THE TALKING GOAT

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    A video titled ‘Man Goat’ was uploaded by YouTuber SmoothFeather on November 30th, 2007, featuring a goat repeatedly bleating a sound reminiscent of human yelling while tied to a rope. In the next five years a version of this video gained upwards of 3.5 million views and 5,300 comments. This spawned an influx of similar uploads, edits and remixes, and in 2009, a remix video of the original yelling goat was spliced together with a different bleating goat, who is the protagonist in this story with a particular tendency to vocalise a noise that is distinctly reminiscent to the word “what”. The goats appear to converse, repeating the word back and forth. In this re-representation the goat embodies both voices human/animal becoming both the entertainment and the amused spectator. This highly anthropomorphic blurring highlights our observational bias - our trained brain tunes into audio that sounds like human speech, and glosses over other noises. The goat’s somewhat similar pitch and timbre to us is therefore interpreted by our brain as human-sounding. Whilst evolutionary speaking it is better to get false positives, or goats sounding like people than false negatives (such as people with unlikely voices not sounding like people) this also removes the goat’s ownership to their own characteristics.

    Ollie Dook's Animal Stories-series takes multiple strands of reoccurring and memetic ideas of the animal image that are primarily accessed and shared via the means of YouTube, and re-told in an episodic tale harking back to the traditions of Disney’s ‘Silly Symphony’ series.

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