The Animal That Therefore I Am: Jacques Derrida and His Cat
We are who we think we are. But we are also who other people think we are.
Science says that animals perceive the same way we do. Therefore, we are also who animals think we are.
Philosopher Jacques Derrida experienced this with his cat. He looked at his cat staring at him and realized: “I am the animal that my cat sees”.
The animal that I am (or the animal that we all are) was the subject and title of one of my solo exhibitions.
In a small room of the art gallery, I hung face to face a portrait of Jacques Derrida and one of a cat — fictitiously his cat — gazing at each other. Visitors could not enter the room without being caught in the line of those intense mirroring gazes.
Only a handful of my philosopher friends caught the idea but the hypnotic effect remained for everyone else.
Now, I’m happy that these portraits were acquired together as one piece by a friend in NYC and that they were framed together. It will preserve its essence; to gaze and to be gazed at points to the foundation of identity.
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