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frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

August 22, Kansas: Nobody knows who has been building and placing tiny gnome-size houses all over the city of Overland Park.

(The otherkin community has practiced similar arts meant to provoke belief in fair folk and magic, which they call a glamourbomb.)

Source


"Gnome homes popping up all over Overland Park." 2013-08-22. KSHB Action News. http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/region_kansas/johnson_county/gnome-homes-popping-up-all-over-overland-park
[identity profile] jarandhel.livejournal.com
There’s a new art exhibit entitled otherkin at the Julius Cæsar Gallery in Chicago, from September 8-29th.  It’s an 11 minute video that is apparently about us:

Chris Naka The artist debuts an eleven-minute video, titled “Otherkin,” about post-, neo- and non-humans (or, rather, humans that self-identify as such). Otherkin communities are largely formed online, although the concept of the hybrid human being is also relevant to queer and trans identities. Naka locates the greatest and strangest expression of otherkin in virtual spaces, especially ones experienced through a screen. “These days everyone is obsessed with death,” says one of the video’s characters, and the mood permeates the artwork. Opening reception: Sunday, September 8, 2pm-5pm. Julius Caesar, 3311 West Carroll.

That’s all the info I have, I don’t know what the video entails beyond that description or if it’s in any way an accurate depiction of us or our communities.

frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: For this article, none. The linked web-site contains some images that are unsettling because of how they blend human and animal bodies: body horror, the uncanny valley, and artistic representation of injury to humans and animals.

August: A fine artist and therianthrope named M. Bolalek (“your-deer”) created a web-site titled The Artist Bestiary. The web-site is “a collection of art and artists merging the human and the animal,” “approached from a therian perspective,” to “inspire and inform within the therian community.”

Bolalek wrote, “At the moment, there are seven entries, with at least 40 more to come, as well as intermittent critical analysis and musings. I am aiming tentatively for an update schedule of 2 to 3 entries per month for now.”

Some of the artwork showcased in The Artist Bestiary will be familiar to Otherkin News readers, because we have also made note of some of the latest fine art that blends human and animal. Please see the “art” tag on Otherkin News for ours. For example, I'm pleased to see that we both reflect upon Art Orienté Objet's intriguing transformation-as-performance-piece May the horse live in me (mine, theirs). Between both blogs, we'll miss less innovation, and be more enriched. I look forward to seeing more discussion of therianthropic explorations in fine art.

- O. Scribner



Sources


M. Bolalek (your-deer), The Artist Bestiary. http://artistbestiary.wordpress.com

M. Bolalek (your-deer), “About.” The Artist Bestiary. http://artistbestiary.wordpress.com/about/

M. Bolalek (your-deer), “The Artist Bestiary.” Your-deer. http://your-deer.tumblr.com/post/58836997334/the-artist-bestiary
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Spirituality (magic, reincarnation).



August: Elvendrums is a band of musicians who identify as elves, and who have connections to the otherkin community. They released a new album this month. It's titled Wildly to the Night. The album has original songs on themes of otherkin spirituality, reincarnation, and magical practices. On the band's official web-site, you can listen to clips of the music, and read the lyrics. Shown above: a clip of one of the album's tracks, "Othertimes."

(Thanks to Arethinn for mentioning this.)

Source


Elvendrums, "Wildly to the Night." Elvendrums. http://elvendrums.com/cdwildly.php
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Media attention.

July: A German film student named Elisa S. sent out a casting call for otherkin, among other kinds of people, for her feature-length, semi-fictional, artistic documentary film. The film is titled Seven Curls for the Untamed, on the theme of wildness.

Source


Elisa (posted by Merticus), "Artistic Documentary Project Seeking Therians & Otherkin." 2013-07-16. Vampire Community News. http://merticus.com/vampirenews/2013/07/16/artistic-documentary-project-seeking-therians-otherkin/
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[personal profile] frameacloud


Trigger warnings: a skull, but it’s fake. Video shown above has loud melodramatic music.

July: A forty foot dragon skull appears to have washed ashore on a beach in Dorset, England. “In reality, it's a sculpture put together by Blinkbox to promote the third season of Game of Thrones […] It took a team of three sculptors over two months to design, construct, and paint.” The video shown above shows how the artists made the statue.



Source

George Dvorsky, “Did a massive dragon just wash ashore along England’s Jurassic coast?” 2013-07-18. io9. http://io9.com/did-a-massive-dragon-just-wash-ashore-along-englands-j-824242790
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[personal profile] frameacloud


Trigger warnings: Spooky mirror imagery, kind of trippy, weird faces. Linked article talks about neurology.

About a year ago: This is an interactive art installation by fine art animator Karolina Sobecka, titled All the universe is full of the lives of perfect creatures. It's a mirror that juxtaposes a computer animated animal face upon the viewer's reflection. In the video above, the ghostly face is offset due to the camera angle. From the perspective of the person looking in the mirror, the animal face covers their own, like a mask. The artist's statement explains,

"A different animal appears every time a person walks in front of the mirror. The animal not only mimics the viewer's facial features, but also occasionally makes its own, uniquely animal expressions. The viewer feels compelled to in turn enact such lip licking and snarling, fully inhabiting the role; following while being followed. This project explores a mirror as an amalgamation of the self and the other, inviting inquiry into how we determine the boundary between the two."


The art piece uses the mirror as a symbol of self-reflection and imitation, to draw attention to the mental processes involved in these, particularly 'mirror neurons.' For more information, see the web-page for this piece.


As far as I know, this artwork has no explicit connection to therianthropy. Nonetheless, I include it here because of the themes of transformation through augmented reality. That topic has been dealt with before a few times in this blog.


Source


Karolina Sobecka, "All the Universe is Full of the Lives of Perfect Creatures." n.d. (The video was posted about a year ago, with no specific date shown.) Karolina Sobecka. http://www.gravitytrap.com/artwork/perfect-creatures
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Conflict between religion and science.

May: The Creation Museum, a well-funded museum promoting Christian young-earth creationist views on history and biology, located in Petersburg, Kentucky, announced that it will install a new exhibit about dragons. The museum is advertising it with billboards in several cities. The exhibit will be about dragons in global mythology and legend. Young-earth creationists believe that dinosaurs lived alongside humans. The exhibit suggests that old myths about dragons might really be about dinosaurs.

Doubtful News, a skeptical current events blog, expresses dismay about this exhibit for several reasons.

The teaser for the exhibit says that it will contain a great deal of original artwork, including "two large colorful dragons from China." The museum is famous for, among other things, the high quality and professionalism of its artwork. The museum's web-site says the exhibit will open "soon," but another page said it was going to open back on the weekend of May 24-25, so maybe it was postponed?

I'm not aware of any young-earth creationists in the otherkin, therianthrope, or dragon communities. I am aware of a lot of dragon mythology enthusiasts and Christians here, though, so maybe this will be of interest.


Sources


idoubtit, "Creation Museum invokes DRAGONS! Ooooh, scary!!!" 2013-06-23. Doubtful News. http://doubtfulnews.com/2013/06/creation-museum-invokes-dragons-ooooh-scary

"Bring forth the dragons!" 2013-05-07. Creation Museum. http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/creation-museum/2013/05/07/bring-forth-the-dragons

"Dragon invasion." Creation Museum. http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/dragon-invasion/

Ken Ham, "'Dragon Invasion' Coming to Creation Museum." 2013-05-15. Creation Museum. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/05/15/dragon-invasion-coming-creation-museum
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud


Trigger warnings: Weird artistic renditions of faces, "uncanny valley."

Yahoo Japan Corp. released "Face Stealer," a free app for iOs that transposes virtual masks onto your face in real time. It shows your expressions and movements, but conceals your features with those of some other person, statue, drawing, cartoon character, or animal. You can add your own photos to make into masks. Since it's just a little iPhone app, the effect is kind of choppy and grotesque. It's still a fun glimpse at a method of transformation through technology. If you want to try it on your iPhone, get it in the App Store.

Sources )
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: Mentions of sexuality and occult spirituality. The linked webpages include some photos of people who are clothed but sexual, and so may be considered not safe for work.

The free alternative newspaper of the Capital Region of New York State, Metroland, recently ran an interview1 with fine artist2 Jason Martin, of Power Animal Systems. Martin performs music while costumed as an human-like wolf in a tight silver space suit, a “sexy spacewolf warrior,”3 one of a trio of such animal-masked performers.

Martin emphasizes that his artwork is a spiritual performance, involving supernatural entities that have appeared to him since his early childhood. In the interview, Martin said of his band, “It spoke to a lot of young people […] People inclined toward alternative lifestyle or ‘queerness’ got it right away. Everytime I put on one of these costumes, it’s not zentai, it’s not cosplay, it’s not furry, it’s not role playing […] It’s channeling entities. They’re real as individuals but also representations of all this encoded information, only a small percentage of which I understand.”4 The performances have more spiritual depth than simply wearing animal costumes for entertainment.

In his artist’s statement, Martin explains that Power Animal Systems “engages species-queer paganistic animism […] rituals, conjuring mysterious energies, removing anthropomorphism from its harmless, cartoon usage and connecting it to less safe, more real, quasi-mythical archetypes with Jungian undertones and erotic juxtapositions.”5 I’ve never encountered the phrase “species-queer” before… Google shows about 2100 results for it, so it’s had some use.

The Power Animal Systems had been booked to perform with Lady Gaga this spring, but that tour was cancelled.6


Sources


1. Josh Potter, “Into the third dimension.” 2013-02-28. Metroland. http://metroland.net/2013/02/28/into-the-third-dimension
2. Jason Martin, “Bio.” http://jasonmartinwebsite.com/bio.html
3. Potter.
4. Ibid.
5. Martin.
6. Potter.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud


[Video description: live action. Illuminated by spotlight in darkness, a flying dragon circles a castle, spitting a firework. It looks pretty realistic.]

Trigger warnings: Fire, mildly spooky imagery.

Excerpt from article about this dragon on io9: “Disney World constructed a life-size, fire-breathing dragon and flew it around the Magic Kingdom.” The io9 article shows the patent illustrations for the dragon-shaped flying machine. See the DisneyDragons Tumblr blog associated with the dragon project, where they presented the performance as a hoax, complete with footprints and eggshells, which the more in-depth article by Gizmag explains was part of “a small viral marketing campaign” to promote the ultralight aircraft in question.

- O. Scribner
(Originally posted by O. Scribner (frameacloud) on Tumblr on 2012-12-16.)
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Summary: News from 2012 regarding topics of interest to otherkin and therianthropes (therians), including: a new study on clinical lycanthropy, an anthology of non-supernatural otherkin and therian romantic fiction, a survey of therians and furries, a Tarot deck for people who were extraterrestrials in past lives, a therian-inspired art exhibit, advances in the technology of wearable animal ears, other transhuman innovations, and the death of Stalking Cat.

Trigger warnings: mental illness, death.

2012-01. A new academic article about clinical lycanthropy was published in The Journal of Psychiatric Practice, focusing on the case study of Ms. A., 47, who believed herself to be a snake.1 The syndrome of lycanthropy recognized in psychiatry has some traits in common with spiritual therianthropy as discussed in the therianthrope community, in that the subject believes himself or herself to be or become an animal. The syndrome itself isn’t a mental illness, and doesn’t consistently correlate with any specific mental illnesses. Clinical lycanthropy is distinguished by delusions of physical transformation, and presence of other mental illnesses; all but one case of clinical lycanthropy have quickly responded to treatment. People in the therianthrope community, on the other hand, generally don’t believe they physically transform. The new article itself is behind a pay-wall. You can get the gist of the article through an irreverent informal commentary on it in the Neurotic Physiology blog.2

2012-09. Good Mourning Publishing is working on assembling an anthology of short romantic fiction titled Shifting Hearts, "in which at least one of the love interests is Otherkin/Therian. Any identification of otherkin or therian is accepted. No vampires, p-shifting, or paranormal themes; strictly real world depictions. […] The submission deadline is December 31, 2012."3 To my knowledge, this is the first book of its kind. Personally, I’ve heard rumors that a member of the therianthrope community is writing the preface for it; is there a public post by the person in question to confirm this rumor?

2012-09-05. A multidisciplinary team of scientists (sociologists, anthropologists, and social psychologists) called the Anthropomorphic Research Project (ARP) released results for its surveys of furries, bronies (fans of My Little Pony), and therianthropes.4

2012-09-05. An interview with Patricia Cori, co-author (with Alysa Bartha) of the Sirian Starseed Tarot. In the interview, Cori said she intended the oracle deck as a tool for “starseed awakening,” to assist the “the starseed [extraterrestrial] beings currently incarnated [in human bodies] on the planet, here to assist in the great transition that we all are beginning to recognize is well underway. […] In the generations of children since the 60’s, I believe, many very special souls are coming into the life experience highly conscious, with many gifts. They are starseeds from other planets and systems that are quite possibly more evolved than ours.”5 The starseed community has been active for several decades, but their community remains separate from the otherkin and therianthrope communities.

2012-09-11. Valerie Daval’s art exhibition of paintings inspired by therianthropes, featuring animal-themed reinterpretations of classic paintings. “Therians believe that while they have a human body, some important part of their mind, identity or spirit is that of an animal. […] Therians Dream is a series of portraits about metamorphosis between human and animal form.”6 Caution: the linked page includes artistic nudity.

2012-10. Following the release of Necomimi, the wearable cat-like biofeedback ears by Neurowear, an independent business emerged, called Emoki, offering diverse modifications built upon that hardware. Emoki offers the Necomimi headset, plus their own variety of interchangeable animal ears: bunny, bear, and fox, with more to come soon.7

2012-10. Transhuman week on Wired magazine, featuring the latest experiments and predictions about high-tech enhancement of the human body and mind. Trigger warnings: surgery, physical injuries particularly to eyes and extremities, vivid descriptions and photos thereof.

2012-11-05. Stalking Cat, 54, died. Famous for modifying his body to resemble a tiger, which he called his totem animal, Stalking Cat was active in the furry community,8 but I haven’t found evidence that he was active in the otherkin or therianthrope communities.


- O. Scribner

Sources )
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: none that I can think of.

During the past three months, people created several new articles that the concept of otherkin, as well as some new artwork depicting symbols of otherkin and therianthropes.


New articles introducing otherkin

Nonhumans and what you need to know,” by emptyvoids. 2011-12.
An introduction defining what otherkin are, what it’s like to be otherkin, and the diversity among otherkin. The article is written for an audience of people who aren’t otherkin, in order to establish a friendly understanding. The article expresses consciousness of social justice issues throughout. It’s casual, and handwritten rather than typed.

A revised otherkin FAQ,” by Jarandhel Dreamsinger. 2012-01-08.
Written primarily for an audience of people who are otherkin themselves, and who already have some familiarity with the otherkin community. This FAQ includes safety advice, and lists of off-site resources. Very useful, and an improvement over out-dated resources.

Sylvere ap Leanan- refocus on otherkin,” by Deacon Gray. 2011-12-27.
Deacon Gray interviews Sylvere ap Leanan for basic information about the otherkin community, with the assumption that the audience already has familiarity with the vampire community.

Otherkin/therianthropy; A few basic instructions,” by Shiruie-chan. 2011-12-28.
An informal FAQ written for an audience of people who are unfamiliar with the otherkin and therian communities, and who are considering they might be otherkin or therians themselves. Rational, accurate, opinionated, needs proofreading.


New visual art

Shinjuku swan maiden, by Tsu (Swanblood). 2012-01-09.
A self-portrait by a person who identifies as a swan.

Elven Star or Faery Star or Heptagram, by Shion (chrome-dreaming). 2012-01-04.
In this intricate graphic design, the seven-pointed star (a symbol of otherkin, among many other things) is decorated with silver filigree theta-delta symbols (a symbol that therianthropes created to represent themselves several years ago).

Therian wolf pendant, by reddogdied. 2012-01-11.
A handmade copper pendant depicting the aforementioned theta-delta symbol.


More?

If you or somebody who you know recently created new writing, art, or other creative works about otherkin or therianthropes, then please let me know, so that I can list them here next time. Please feel free to e-mail me about any such new discoveries at any time. That would be very helpful! Thank you!

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: none that I can think of for this article itself, although the majority of the linked articles do talk about species dysphoria discomfort, and a few talk about harassment, but this will be clear from their titles and descriptions.


New resource documents for otherkin

Theories of causes of otherkin,” by Meirya, 2011-12-06. A list of various ways that people explain why and how they are otherkin, whether spiritual or secular. This is a newer but simpler version of an earlier article by Meirya, “Otherkin and therian theories of cause or origin,” 2006. An anonymous sidhe replied with an additional item for the list.

The Hall of All Souls - A shared 'kin space and meditation,” by Tsu (Avianthrophile). 2011-12-05. A guided meditation for visiting an imaginary space, based on the idea that if many people visit the same imaginary space, then it will gain shared energy, and perhaps even stable enough that we can meet one another there. Trigger warning: occult. [Edit 2011-12-27: Tsu informs me that thebrit-thespirit has recorded an audio narration of this guided meditation, which is much easier to follow along with.]

More advices on finding your species,” by Tsu. 2011-12-14

Otherkin/therian/nonhuman facts,” by Tsu. 2011-12-01. On the diversity among otherkin.

Occupy the otherkin tag,” by Tsu. 2011-11-30. The otherkin tag on Tumblr.com has suffered an increase of vandalism and harassment during the past couple of months, so this article offers wise advice on how to deal with that.

Non-human book list!” by Tsu and Autisticwolfchild, collecting books of fiction and folklore “which have good nonhuman characters, feelings of nonhuman identity,” and so are popular or likely to be enjoyed by otherkin. 2011-11-30.

A Directory of Otherkin Writings and Other Works, Organized by Topic” by O. Scribner. This has updated to version 0.5, with much better organization, and many more articles.

A directory of kin and interested persons” summarizes some such bloggers on Tumblr.


Other new writings about otherkin

Shapeshifting into Kin: Part One” and “Part Two” by Lupa. 2011-12-06 and 2011-12-15. Trigger warnings: pictures of animal pelts and nudity.

Vampires at Occupy,” by Deacon Gray, who interviews two vampires (not identified by name) at the Occupy campaign in Boise, Idaho, who say that vampirism “has very little to do with Occupy,” except that the problems in the country affect the vampire community as much as everyone else. 2011-12-12.

Interview with a vampire combat vet,” by Deacon Gray. An interview with T., a Senior Master Sergeant who also happens to be a sanguinarian vampire. Trigger warning: mention of blood drinking.

Otherkin in a vampire community,” by Deacon Gray. An interview with Sarah, who calls herself an otherkin wolf.

“Life as a multiple kitsune otherkin transgender dragon/phoenix,” by Feathertail: part 1, part 2, and part 3. The personal reflections of Feathertail. 2011-12.

The skeptical otherkin #3: How inappropriate,” Feathertail’s article about cultural appropriation, now has a couple of follow-up articles: “The skeptical otherkin #3b: When it really is inappropriate,” and “The skeptical otherkin #3b, take two.” 2011-11.

The skeptical otherkin #4a: How to tell fundamentalists apart,” by Feathertail, 2011-12-13. Trigger warning: description of intolerance.

An untitled post by Pery, a shapeshifter. 2011-11. Points out the big difference between a human and an otherkin saying that they wish they could fly. Trigger warning: erasure.

If otherkin feelings were a ‘normal human experience’ shared by most people…” by Tsu, 2011-11-28. A list of ways in which mainstream culture would be extremely different if it were true that the experiences of otherkin were commonplace. This was written as a retort to outsiders’ ignorant claims that the experiences of otherkin are no different from the experiences of everybody else. Trigger warnings: erasure, longing.


New poetry and fiction about otherkin

An untitled poem with the opening line “if skeletons were wire framed / and could be bent to correction” by herhandswereleavess, a shapeshifter therian. 2011-12-06. Trigger warnings: species dysphoria discomfort, longing.

An untitled piece of flash fiction with the opening line “She tries on the horns, to see if they fit…” by Tsu, 2011-12-03.


New otherkin blogs

Otherkin Ask maintained by Sky (Capricarnal) and Fox (Foxyfoxfox). “Primarily this is an ask/answer blog, but there will also be signal boosts, story reblogs, and conversation.” Anybody can anonymously ask questions, and the maintainers will offer very brief answers.

Trans Kinfolk, a blog for people who are both transgender and otherkin.

Kin and therians of colour, a blog for people who are people of color as well as otherkin or therianthropes.

The Graveyard Press, “a modern magazine for a modern vampire community,” just started in November. [Edit 2011-12-27: Sylvere ap Leanan points out that the Graveyard Press has been around longer than that; it's just that it has recently returned from hiatus and moved to a new site.]


New sites

The Equine Dream Foundation site has returned to public view. It argues for the right to morphological freedom, and includes discussion of methods for transforming one’s self by means of surgery, particularly into the semblance of another creature. [Edit 2011-12-27: I should clarify that the Equine Dream Foundation doesn't say that it's affiliated with the otherkin or therianthrope communities, although it is part of a transformation enthusiast community, along with another site named If WisheRs Were Horses. Thanks to Jarandhel for pointing this out.]


- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings: criticism of otherkin.

I thought that I would post a link list like this every month, but the otherkin community has been so creative recently that I find it hard to keep up! Scarcely any time after my previous link list, I’ve already got a long list of new articles and projects. Maybe I should post a link list here on a weekly basis instead of monthly?


New articles introducing otherkin-related concepts

Cladotherianthropy,” by Pantairin, of Chimera. 2011-07.
A cladotherianthrope is one whose animal side is a generalization of all animals within a taxa, such as an entire genus, rather than a species. A very well-written introduction to the definition and history of this concept.

A short history of soulbonding,” by Tatsuya Rokurou, of the Flatlanders.
This article is written with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with multiplicity. In 2001, the first mention of “soulbonding” (mentally communicating with fictional characters). An overview of this concept’s changing relationship with fan-fiction and multiplicity. The development of related concepts of “muses” and of “otakukin.” How the definition of “soulbonding” changed in 2003, and problems with that definition: it assumes that every soulbonding relationship is the same, which is false in actual practice.


New articles criticizing otherkin, and new responses to criticism

Otherkin troll bingo!” by Tsu. 2011-11-12.
A list of the phrases that people most commonly use to discredit otherkin, followed by a list of short responses from an otherkin correcting misconceptions in all of those. Both parts were created by a bird otherkin.

We are not sick and dangerous, for the record,” by an anonymous otherkin. 2011-10-27.
An otherkin described being otherkin to mental health counselors, and they responded positively. They don’t see it as disassociation, schizophrenia, or anything harmful. It just exists, so the responsible thing to do is to deal with it existing as best possible.

The parable of the were-duck,” by Aura Escher. 2011-08-24.
A vampyre criticizes therians for claiming to be animals, saying that therians are not animals in any real way. Escher expresses the opinion that what therians fool themselves into mistaking for their “animal side” is actually something else which is present in all humans, and not an “animal side” at all.

Confessions of a former otherkin,” by BellaDonna Saberhagen. 2011-11-13.
A personal reflection by a Neo-Pagan who once self-described as fairy, describing how inexperienced Neo-Pagans often initially go through a phase of deluding themselves and one another into believing excessively far-fetched things, including that they are dragons, werewolves, angels, or even gods, who will play a part in the end/transformation of the world. Saberhagen advises the reader to take caution with spirituality, and accept being human.

The skeptical otherkin #3: How inappropriate,” by Feathertail. 2011-11-21.
An otherkin asks, how do we determine whether the use of an idea is cultural appropriation?


Articles on what it's like to be a...?

Motionless claws,” by Citrakāyaḥ. 2011-07.
What it’s like to be a cheetah therianthrope.

Certata: From the blue fleet,” by Earth Listener, of Chimera. 2011-11.
What it’s like to be a blue glaucus sea-slug therian.

Tell me what it is like to be a swangirl,” by Tsu. 2011-11-18.
What it’s like to be a swan.

Untitled (swangirl), by Tsu. 2011-09-06.
On how the human and swan sides get along without clashing. On being autistic and otherkin.


Other new articles
People are only visible when they’re encouraged to speak,” by an anonymous author. 2011-11-12.
The otherkin and therian community mostly limits itself to conversation in English. As a result, we hear less or not at all from people in non-English-speaking parts of the world.

From fictionkin to animalkin,” by Mist Weaver, of the Chimeras. 2011-06.
Written by a fictional animal member of a plural system. Assumes the reader is already familiar with the concepts of fiction-kin, therianthropy, and plurality.

More thoughts about monsters,” by Tsu. 2011-10-17.
On the sacredness of that which is seen as different, strange, wrong, unacceptable, or scary. Whether you are a monster or not, you deserve to exist.

Untitled (mythology), by Tsu. 2011-08-28.
On the value of mythology

The upside-down of grounding,” by Child Of The Fae. 2011-11-15.
The metaphysical anatomy of this Fae otherkin differs from the standard metaphysical anatomy of a human. This creates a challenge when performing metaphysical acts such as “grounding.” Assumes the reader is already familiar with the concepts of metaphysical anatomy, otherkin, and grounding.


New foreign-language articles

Otherkin – dziwactwo czy fantastyczny sposób na życie? (Otherkin – a quirk, or a fantastic way to live?),” by Ewelina Czarnecka. 2011-08-29.
(In Polish.) An introduction to otherkin for outsiders. This polite and not sensationalistic article is in a women’s online magazine, We-Dwoje, which is otherwise mostly about fashion and health.


New art

Otherkin comic, by Drakmanka. 2011-11-13. Very nice.


New Podcast

The Pagan Musings podcast is having a show about otherkin, interviewing three otherkin: “Arthur,” Stormcrow, and Lupa.


New projects

The Beyond Awakening blog focuses on exploring otherkin-related topics that have had relatively little written about them. The latest essay prompt is titled “Challenge: Energetic Health.” Meirya asks otherkin to write about how their metaphysical energetic anatomy differs from that which is defined as “normal and healthy” in most literature on the subject.

Waoterlelie is running a survey, and is asking for otherkin to take a Meyers-Briggs personality test, and then send in their results.


New web-sites

Walking Between Worlds, a collection of essays written by two anonymous Vanir elves: one, an otherkin, the other, her spirit companion.


New blogs

The Other Problems, or, Dear Solace: A secrets and advice Tumblr. Anonymously send in your otherkin-related secrets or pleas for advice. The person running this blog is familiar with both psychology and otherkin, and patiently offers very wise advice to any who ask for it.

It Was Never Perfect But It Was Always Right, an otherkin-inspired work of ongoing fiction that has only just begun.

I Want To Go Home: Send in pictures of places that feel like Home, pictures of places for which your otherkin side feels homesick.

Little Otherkin Things And Problems. Short blurbs summarizing small things that are distinct to otherkin experience, whether joyful or sorrowful.


Other new link round-ups, like this one

Link roundup and some news,” by Meirya. 2011-11-26.
Includes some summaries of how the otherkin community has been changing recently.

Non-human blogs, resources, and projects,” by Tsu. 2011-11-26.


Thank you

Thanks to Earth Listener for telling me about several of these new things. Thanks to Tsu and Meirya for also collecting lists of new links on their blogs. When the otherkin community is so wonderfully creative and active, I appreciate any kind of help for keeping up with the fast pace!

- O. Scribner
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings for this article: human mortal remains, animal mortal remains, links to photos of clean skeletons, art made in questionable taste.

Edit: I found some more information, so I've partially re-written a significant part of this article. I've changed the title of this article to reflect the change. The first sources I found indicated that the event in question happened during this year. However, it turned out to have taken place several years ago. I apologize for presenting this as "news."

In 2008, Skulls Unlimited, a supplier of authentic and replica bones of all kinds, artist Bill Willers commissioned a custom skeletal centaur mount by mixing real skeletons of a human and a zebra.1 During that year, Skulls Unlimited displayed a photo of the finished skeleton on the front page of their web-site. (That page also says that the animal portion is a zebra, not a horse.) You can still see the photo in the 2008 archive of the Skulls Unlimited site. It has long since vanished off of their current site.
2

This is not Willers's first synthesized centaur skeleton. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has long displayed a different centaur skeleton, which cames with a fabricated backstory about the "Centaur Excavations at Volos." (The link includes a photo of it.) It was created not as a hoax, but as a work of fiction in museum format. In the 1980s, Bill Willers assembled the centaur of Volos

"from the tea stained bones of a pony and a deteriorating human skeleton. [...] The human portions of the centaur were acquired by Willers from his department at the University of Wisconsin. For many years the department had a human skeleton from India which had been used for class exercises and was starting to deteriorate."3

So we see that the centaur of Volos is made from real human remains, but those remains came from somebody who did not agree to be turned into a centaur. Was this also the case with the real human remains used in the Skulls Unlimited centaur? I have not been able to find out.

In the case of both the Skulls Unlimited centaur, and the centaur of Volos, the human and animal remains are by themselves authentic. However, the centaur skeleton altogether is artificial. They are "synthetic," in the sense of being a combination of different things to create a new thing. A synthesized centaur skeleton occupies a position between real and unreal. This resembles the status of more common staples of curiosity shops, such as "Fiji mermaids," which are assembled from mummified monkeys and fish, or "jackalopes," stuffed rabbits with antlers added. More examples abound in curiosity shops, ranging in their requirements for skill and questionable taste.

The second and newer centaur, the one assembled by Skulls Unlimited in 2008, is named the centaur of Tymfi.

"In 2009 [sic, this probably refers to the completion of the museum installation, after the skeleton was synthesized], Willers completed an even more ambitious creation: a full-size 'Centaur' skeleton (made from zebra and human bones) mounted in a glass museum case. The marvelous new Centaur of Tymfi is permanently displayed in the Wildlife Museum, Tucson, Arizona."4


The comments on the BoingBoing post about the Skulls Unlimited centaur point out some interesting ideas, regarding problems of centaur anatomy (such as the right-angle bend in the spine, and the placement or duplication of internal organs), and the ethics of using mortal remains in art.5

Wouldn’t it be interesting if someday the real human skeleton used to synthesize a centaur skeleton came from a donor who specifically requested an “afterlife” as a centaur? We do not have the means to physically transform living people into fantasy creatures, but we do have the means to reshape mortal remains.

Spot illustration drawn by Orion Sandstorrm. Depicts a centaur reading a newspaper.


Sources )
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (Stylized green dragon person)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings for this article: blood.

Last February in Ljubljana, Slovenia, a performance artist named Marion Laval-Jeantet of the Art Orienté Objet collective recently did a piece called Que le cheval vive en moi! (Fr. May the Horse Live in Me!) in which she explored a method by which she may transform herself into a centaur or horse.1 She spent time with a live horse. Then, in a Swiss laboratory, she had herself carefully injected with small doses horse blood, specificially “the plasma and a large part of the immunoglobulins,” safely isolated according to advice from the Pasteur Institute.2 Then she walked in digitigrade hoof stilts,3 which resemble the leg extensions designed by Kim Graham a few years ago.4 (I don’t know if they are or not. I haven’t seen anything that tells.) Laval-Jeantet described how the transformation made her feel:

“So, after I tested my body with the neuroendocrine immunoglobulins it was practically impossible for me to sleep for a week and I had extreme and slightly aggressive reactions to stimuli; a slammed door, a tap on the shoulder. As such, I was experiencing the hyper-reactivity of the horse in my flesh. The main aim of the performance to come is to take in a large number of immunoglobulins all together, so that I can feel another way of living rather than just the human. If one goes back to the terminology of the posthuman, to be human outside of the human is, perhaps, to undergo this type of experience, where a man that becomes a human/animal hybrid is finally extra-human. … Perhaps its symbolic and empiric force will enable my (our?) consciousness to open up to an Other sufficiently "other" - to no longer be purely anthropocentric.”5


Laval-Jeantet says that her original plan for this project was to have herself injected with panda blood, so that an endangered animal would be able to live on within her even if the actual pandas went extinct. However, even after several years, she couldn’t find anyone willing to do this for her, so she settled for horse instead.6 Much of Laval-Jeantet’s artwork explores ways to transgress the boundaries between humans and animals, and some of her works were performed primarily for an animal audience, to see how the animals react.

Laval-Jeantet performed a similar piece in 2007, Félinanthropie, in which she wore an innovative cat costume, crouched on all fours, and spent time with a house-cat. Her cat costume included digitigrade leg extensions, an articulated tail, and no other costume elements (no mask). She wanted to not only explore the perceptions of a cat, but also to alter the perceptions of an actual cat as it relearned how to interact with her. She wrote of this piece,

“That’s when the idea occurred to me to become digitigrade. A kind of fantasy where I would be able to jump onto the table in a single leap with paws that were too long... I drew the ‘cat shoes,’ which a prosthetist then made. As soon as I put them on and got used to this strange way of walking, the cats came up to me, sniffed and jumped on me, playing with me in the same way as they played between themselves. The artistic object worked, it had moved my role in the feline, domestic hierarchy.”7


However, I notice that since Laval-Jeantet wears no extensions on her forelegs, her costume increases the difference in length between her arms and legs, making it more difficult to walk on all fours.

Laval-Jeantet has written an article titled “Self-animalité (Self-animality)” about the philosophy behind the transformations in her art, such as posthumanism and shamanism. She describes several of her other pieces, and offers anecdotes about the stories of Mazzeras (shamans who channel the spirits of dead animals to rescue them) who she heard about from her Corsican grandmother. Her article includes photos of some of her pieces, including the cat costume and a close-up on the horse leg extensions. Read it in French or in English.

Sources )
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Trigger warnings for this article: rejection of a work of art, "Christian values." Work-safe.

Last October, a bronze statue was installed in the city of Varna, Bulgaria. It’s atop a fountain, in front of a swimming complex. The statue depicts a loving pair of dragons, standing on their hind legs, gently handing a golden egg from the one to the other. They were sculpted by Eugene Ivanov (Евгений Иванов).

Although their attitude is peaceful and charming, controversy arose around them because they’re such an atypical portrayal of dragons in public art. Being accustomed to dragons being used strictly as a symbol of evil, some residents of Varna—the committee of Orthodox values—organized a petition for the removal of the statue, claiming that it’s a desecration of Christian values.

In my opinion, it’s a pleasing and skillfully made statue, although I don’t know what legend goes with it, if any. If Varna doesn’t keep it, I hope they send it to a nice artistic town, someplace multicultural, where the residents are more familiar with legends of benevolent dragons.

I haven’t been successful in finding the title of the statue, a site for the artist, or any additional news articles. It’s probably out there, but it’s in Bulgarian. I'd appreciate any help.

- O. Scribner

Sources


Video of statue from various angles, and news article source for the text (in Bulgarian).

Still photo and source for artist's name.

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