Oleg Kulik

                                   Pavlov's Dog

                                       (in collaboration with Mila Bredikhina)

V-2, Rotterdam, June 5-25, 1996 (Manifesta I)

Pavlov's dog experiment involved the scientific study of correlation between human beings and animals at humanitarian and psychosomatic levels. In this action Kulik made an attempt to renounce his identity as a reflective being in order to become a being with reflexes (a dog). In the

course of the experiment the artist gave up human speech, other cultural languages and human patterns of behaviour. Naked and moving on all fours, he lived in the premises of laboratory. Mila Bredikhina was responsible for the concept and the programme of experiments (together with Doctor of Biology, Professor Andrey Kamensky and Cardiologist Mikhail Alshibaya).


Pavlov's Dog Theses

Mila Bredikhina the Adviser of the Zoophrenia and Pavlov's Dog programs


1. The evolution of cognition involves a process of experimentation (inspection) which allows

observation from the point of view of the object (endoexpectation). The generally accepted idea of evolution has compromised itself therefore Pavlov's Dog action develops in the opposite direction.

2. The spectre of a global ecological disaster haunts our entire planet. This disaster can still be avoided, but only under the condition that we immediately and radically renounce the anthropocentrism which is rampant in our culture (science, politics, art).

3. Contemporary science has made many efforts to develop a global strategy for forcing out

anthropocentrism. This strategy presupposes the following:

- a cut in the human population of the planet to a quarter of it s present size in order to create balance in both the biosphere, and the biota;

- the development of ecological, ethological, as well as gene engineering (artificial selection, the

production of hybrids of humans and animals);

- an agricultural revolution that would accelerate developments in polycultural agriculture (with corn, beans, potatoes and melliferous herbs grown at the same site), free movement of all animals involved in agriculture (it refers not only to cows or bees, but also to mice, moles, dolphins and microbes, if that be necessary) and domestication of ecosystems on mutually profitable conditions (it is not exploitation, it is symbiosis);

- examinin new food sources and food alternatives.

4. This Forward-to-Nature strategy presupposes a close collaboration between man and other species. Knowledge of physiology and behavior patterns of humanity's animal partners is not enough. It is also necessary to know the psychology of animals. This tradition, of communing with animals, began with the Francis of Assisi, but was marginalized during the Renaissance with its unrestrained devotion to everything human. Today in many fields of science, the issues that Assisi began to explore in regards to animal/human interaction, are once again being seriously considered. The following simplest patterns of communicating with the biosphere are already possible:

a) a monologue–biological methods of fighting pests, acclimatization of certain species;

b) hearing out wild life - see works by Konrad Lorenz, Nicholas Tinberg and Karl von Frisch (Nobel Prize of 1973).

The pattern of a dialog is still an unstudied paradigm, although it is absolutely indispensable for

successful collaboration with biosphere.

The objective of the Pavlov's Dog action is to study the potential for an internal dialog between man and animal, taking place at both a psychosomatic and cultural level.

5. The contemporary situation in politics demands that the central achievements of human culture and democracy, be re-examined. True democracy can only be established on the politically inlusive idea of zoocentrism (man is but a part, rather than the measure of our planet's biosphere). Zoocentrism integrates humanity as a subculture in the larger whole of a united culture of noosphere (derived from ”noos”, the ability to smell, to feel). Man is a social animal, the same as an ant, a bee, a wolf, or a jackal. An ideal democracy is unattainnable. Democracy, as it exists in the human world, is no worse than life in a jungle. Some inhabitants have an advantage, some are stronger, faster. A jungle is in fact a more efficient society, devoid of the oversophistication that is currently stifling humanity. The main thing is that the jungle is the only place where the strong, the wise, and energetic can bring all their capabilities into play. A democracy of the jungle is a more hones, and direct political system.

 The democratic law of the jungle, just as any other law, requires improvements (the further escalation of political inclusiveness, legal foundations of bioethics, universal suffrage, etc.). This law is to become political reality when all the biological species of the planet enjoy equal political rights. The first steps on this road has been already made: the Party of Animals (Kulik's Party) has been successfully functioning in Russia for two years.

6. The visual art of today, ”art after philosophy” clearly reflects the crisis of human chizophrenic culture.

Zoophrenia (the term is mine, M. B.) as the artistic program of Kulik studies the topic of ”the animal as alter ego of man”, or ”the animal as a non-anthropomorphous Other”. Within the framework of his program Kulik undertakes to radically renounce the language (languages) of human culture. The idea of Semiosis collapses and falls in on itself when taken to its absolute extreme. It loses its credibility. Zoophrenia opposes the human predisposition for superfluous thinking (often the cause of mental paralysis). Spontaneous reaction is preferred - reflexion with reflexes, the sign - with spontaneous reaction, the power of text and intertext - with the energy of real development.

The main concern of Zoophrenia is the interest in reality which cannot be integrated into any philosophical or aesthetical system due to its irrational nature. A dog knows very well what is absolute reality. Zoophrenia insists that the fresh and acute sensual awareness of the world be recultivated in man together with the rehabilitation of the animal (natural) element.

Nothing except the irrational could be the source of something extraodinary, a new source of hope.

7. The Pavlov's Dog action is an attempt to integrate the aesthetical, the scientific and animal imaginations at the level of inspection. It would be impossible to overestimate the significance of this move to safeguard and develop civilization.

8. The problem of successful communication remains unsolved within the species of man. It is not the belief in successful communication that gives us hope for the future to come, it is the confidence that universalcollaboration is possible.