GoatMan, Thomas Thwaites 

Can you hack yourself from being a human? Meet Thomas Thwaites, an artist, not only telling a story, but acting like it, being a story. He decides to take a break from being human. ‘It would be brilliant, he said, ‘to escape, and to galop free around the field’. So he did. He decided to become a non-human, an animal, a goat. Exploring how modern technology can be used to take over the characteristics of animals. He fully did his research, talked with neuroscientists, animal behavior psychologists, biomechanics, a microbiologist who was researching the goat rumen (the largest of its four stomachs). He studied the way of walking, tried several constructions to move like a goat. And finally ended up with an artificial stomach and 4 protheses, to eat grass, and walk like the goats.

 

He spent three days in the Alpine meadows, with a herd of goats. Doing his best to connect, made a friend goat, and was nearly kicked out of the group. ”I was just sort of walking around, you know chewing grass, and just looked up and then suddenly realized that everyone else had stopped chewing and there was this tension which I hadn't kind of noticed before, two of the goats started tossing their horns around.” It turned out he grazed too high, too far from the herd, making himself separate and walking on top as a leader, luckily his friend goat, brought him back into the group. 

 

He received an Ig Nobel Prize in 2016, it’s the prize awarded for research that first makes you laugh and then makes you think.

 

“It’s important to remember every now and again that we are animals, because it helps us to think ourselves away from some of the more crazy aspects of our society and humanity. Being an animal would help us remember that there is no manifest destiny to the human species – we are just among all these other creatures.” 

Thomas Thwaites

Book: GoatMan, How I Took a Holiday from Being Human

Photography: Tim Bowditch

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