Hi there, its me again, just checking in to see how you all are?
I just thought I really could not continue without addressing something that’s been on my mind (literally).
Toxoplasma Gondii is a parasite that is reckoned to infect 1/4 of the british population. Like many parasites it has a life cycle that starts in one animal and is completed in others, through a process of excretion and ingestion. These specific parasites begin in cats, this is the only place that sexual reproduction can occur, and then these infectious bodies (oocysts) can be released into the environment through their feaces. These parasites can enact epigenetic changes onto the host; in mice this affects their behaviour and
makes them return to the places a cats scent has been left. This is because the mouse needs to be ingested by the cat for the life cycle to be completed, therefore evolution has given the parasites this ability to modify the behaviour of the host, through the editing of neural networks in the brain. One shocking fact links the infection of this parasite with road traffic accidents, whereby the person involved with accident is more than twice as likely to be infected with the toxoplasma. I am due to talk to a specialist in this specific parasite shortly and i have some questions for him :
1-) how accurate are the statistics? how much of this is a popular science/sensationalised perspective?
2) To what extent have the neurological remodelling undertaken by this parasite effect human behaviour? what parts of the brain are specifically remodelled in this way and how does this impact on behaviour?
3) How accurate is the data linking the relationship between toxoplasmosis and bi-polar and schizophrenic disorders?
4) Are these epigenetic changes passed on to off-spring? I.e if my mother is infected and her brain has been altered, would these changes have passed on to me?
5) Can I get myself tested to see if these parasites are currently in me?
6) Have the rates of infection increased since the domestication of cats and increased proximity to felids?
7) Do the olfactory factors that affect the behaviour of mice (specifically the cat wee) extend to visual image? i.e does the image of a cat stimulate the same response in the mouse?
8) Are the effects in rodents and humans transferable? are there similarities in the direct physical effect the TP has on the brain?
But yea, why am i interested in this may be the question u want to pose me?
Well, I feel like if there is a direct behavioural effect on the human brain, that alters our behavior and choices, well then this is a factor in my art making practice. My theory is that I am infected with toxoplasma, having lived with cats for 22 years (all my life), and that these behaviour altering parasites have had an effect on the imagery I want to use in my work. Potentially as a sort of mutation on from the smell aspect, I am drawn to the visual depiction of cats, because this parasite wants me to be ingested by this felid so that it can complete its life cycle. I know, this sounds worryingly bonkers, but please take it with a pinch of salt, I am just coming from a potentially whimsical/popular science kind of route, so yes I am okay. I just feel this is such an interesting area to consider; what if my work has always been collaborative with a parasite i didn’t know i had in my brain affecting all sorts of micro-decisions? I mean sure, i am not a solitary, evolutionarily singular being, I am also the gut flora, the bacteria under my fingernails, the foreign mitochondrial organelles, but these things I see as the mesh supporting me existing as a human animal, whereas something like the toxoplasma is directly affecting the neural pathways and networks that i use daily.
I feel intrinsically linked to cats. Maybe its also the associations of the feminine also, but there is a companionship that is hard to articulate, and yet is shared by nearly all pet owners I have talked to about this. I miss my cats, and when I talk to other people about this there is this innate empathy that you get, where people understand exactly what you’re feeling. I love how that conversation always seg-ways into their own pets, their names, their personalties, their breeds. Looking at them on someones phone, the didacticism and intimacy of someone describing their companion species to you, with this feral glint in their eyes. I am so invested into every companion species and their lives and relationships with their human companions, I love cats, I love every kind of cat, I want to hug all of them but I can’t….
Hello for some reason the text and images are really not behaving i don’t know how to fix this. Anyway, if you can read this, this is a painting update, did the cat, spilt red paint everywhere so had to do another small red painting to use up the paint. I am building a scratch post out of foam also. And also I was gonna glue this whole jega tower 2gether but decided not to and instead make it into parquet flooring, u can see me make that decision in video one. bye
Okay so i dont actually know much about like gentics or whatever branch of biology this is, i just love the language! Mitochondrial eve; what a name! From what I gather she’s like a lady whom we’re all decended from, she’s like the common ansestor for every single person living today. Isn”t that gorgeous! Its so funny to think this lady was like just chillin in east africa, lived probs quite an average life for her time period, but she is the mother of all!!! I quite like that, and i think it is reflective of a lot of anxieties today about mundane-ity. We should embrace the mundane! it is beatiful and repetitive and gore-y gorge, and we are all as average and mundane as our one true mother mitochondrial eve. also like back when we were like single celled and that, i think we ate like a lil mitochonria, which was also a single celled thingy, and like we’re so shite and accidentally didn’t digest it properly and now it lives in all of us ! digestion and consumption of things is absolutley nessecary, 100 ! we may not be eating the cats flesh but we are 100 breathing in her hair and dead skin cells and her bacteria when we are in proximity with her, ingesting her, as she ingests us. The toxmoplasma gondii gettin all in our brains and effecting our behavior and that. its similar to the shit little single celled organism that couldn’t finish his dinner properly and all human life evolved from him. Also i found out that bacteria scoby artist i was thinkin about yesterday, heres a like 2 her blog (not as nice as mine), i need 2 do some thikin about the implications of this work,
Also one more update: the GAN that is behind thiscatdoesnotexist.com has reallly improved, they actually look like cats now which is super sad cause I liked it when they kinda looked like cats but kinda not. All i have left are my screen shots I took from the website when it was not as good as it is now. Here are a couple you may enjoy :
wow i really especially find this one super weird, its staring into my sole.
i just wrote the most beautiful blog post updating u all on what ive been up to. It was so nice omg, and then this thing is like oh aha yea go on publish it and then i click the link and then its like “omg aw, u actually wanted 2 publish that? aw sorre, I actually just deleted the whole thing, aw sorry about that 🙁 ” .
u kno what mayb thats a sign saying it wasnt v interesting what i was gonna post. it was about my new sword, po, who has a circle in the middle, and my new painting, which has a fencer and a cat and a rlly cool frame, and my boots that went disastrously wrong. im actually feeling quite sad i lost all of that.
anyway i think im gonna talk about something different then. Yea so i guess i am rlly into among us @ the moment? its this super naff little game im finding really soothing 2 play, i just love a lil escapism ygm, but yea its nice and logical mixed with narrative which i like. It’s designed bare cutsy and that, and im really good at it, sometimes the other players get angry at how good i am and kick me out of their game aha. anyway, i think everyone should have a lil play of it. I think that i like the small magable tasks u have to complete, and then u can see the bar at the top go up and u feel good :))
Also wow i gave myself concussion the other day, it was supa frightning, i like closed a window in my room but it like popped out of the thingy and hit me hard on my head. I was bleedin, but i put my hand up 2 my head to feel for blood just like how bella does in twighlight 2 when she falls of that motor bike and i was lik ” omg im bleeding ” aha it was so funny. but its all good now its like scabbed over.
Also damn im thinkin about this goldsmith under grad (or mayb pst i cant remeber) and she grows bacteria in these huge tanks until they form like absolute sheets of pure bacteria, and then this mechanical arm leverages them out of the tank. Its fuckin incredible that bacteria does that u know, i love love it, its like a huge gross duvet. its just beautiful, i love bacteria sm. in an alternate universe mayb i could b a bacteria-ologist, i don’t know what they’re called. i think that’d b fun, but i am not v good at science so mayb not.
Okay well i guess i should acc talk about art n that, so a lil update on my boots is that they fucked up. I got super stressed and annoyed with it and i was just like ugh :(( but its okay i used the dremel and it like made all the salt and flour into this crazy-fine powder that like billowed everywhere like that scene in gone girl where theres the sugar everywhere.
(that one) . I licked my lips and it was soooo salty wow !!! i had 2 drink loads of water afterward ahaha!. but yea movin forward w the boots i am gonna make them more clog-y and then like make the sole out of more salt dough and gorrlia glue them 2gether.
and yea me sword is off 2 b flocked soon! managed 2 haggle a sweet deal with the man and get a discount so that shud b good but i might hav 2 wait until nxt sem :////
sorry i am so bad at takin nice imges, and my carpet is dirrrty, i spilt ink all ovr it a while ago. and its like lokey fucked :(((
also a painting yes ! so its a lil fencer and a cat walking out of frame, its gonna b about prescense/abcense and intimacy and proximity . a lot of the stuffi have been doing the human animal and the feline have been intermingled, or the cat has been at the center. here i wanna think about u kno what happens 2 us when they’re gone ? when they walk out the room and re-ingage in the wilderness. what are we ? crazy cat lady w/o the cat ygm. i don’t know mayb its just cause im missing my cats lol .
( thats a lil piccy for u )
ogh wow okay sorry long post not said v much rlly aha ! anyway i thought i’d giv u an update, also i am writing a short murder mystery story, should i post some here ? lmk in th comments! also im super annoyed, i thought all these sound bites would liike over lap but u can only have one looped track at a time play booooo :((
Heyo, so heres a section of my diss my supervisor told me 2 take out. I think it’s acc more relevant to my practice than my diss so i shall pop it here if u wanna read. This stream of thought ties into what i’m thinking about in terms of my paintings @ the moment. Consumption mmmm:::
“Generally speaking one does eat their companion animals (nor get eaten by them)” (Donna Haraway, The companion species manifesto)- The idea of dying alone and then being devoured by your pets is something relevant to discussions of Crazy Cat Ladies: not only because they would be prime candidates for dying alone and not being found for a period of time. Also because of the idea that because cats sit on the wild/tame boundary they are domestic up until a point and that upon demise from the perspective of the cats, the Lady becomes no longer subject, but object in which to be consumed. The CCL becomes the keystone to the construction of this symbiosis, as if it’s her constant interactions and cat related practices that allows the mutual relationship to continue, and if she were absent everything would crumble into complete evolutionary wildness. It is not just an absence of food that this culminates in. One Quora user cites the soft tissue of the face, the cheeks, lips and nose, to be the first to be eaten, as these are the parts that the cat would first use to awaken the sleeping owner, but these are also intimate and identity forming parts of the body. The face is recognisable as both sensitive and identity forming, compared to hands, which they would experience a multitude of in terms of petting or levering food down for them to eat. It’s almost as if the cats themselves require this intimacy, indulging in the sensitive parts. It could be considered that the giving of the body after death is the ultimate form of companionship, the physical amalgamation of cat and lady. We are talking here potentially about parasitosis and proximity, as the cats transform from parasitic to scavenger. Parasitic stranger.