A group of chimpanzees at the Edinburgh Zoo was recently treated to a series of televised “social dramas” featuring ape-costumed human actors*. One particular episode featured a young female “city ape” befriending a group of outsiders. The reactions from the chimp viewing audience were most intriguing — they “ape” some very human-type reactions to similar social situations, including puzzlement and anger (note: real chimps also appear in the filmed drama). It’s all part of an unique art project called ‘Primate Cinema: Apes as Family’, conceived of by artist Rachel Mayeri, working in collaboration with comparative psychologist Dr Sarah-Jane Vick.
Part traditional art installation and part theatrical performance, ‘How to Build A Forest’ will evolve over an 8 hour period as it gradually fills the entire interior space of the venue, and then, is completely dismantled. The work is meant to illustrate “the disconnect between urban dwellers and the natural world” and will premier this Friday, June 17, 2011 at the Kitchen in New York City.