September 27, 2012

Drawing from photo of Alpha ahen she was a few months old.

Earlier experiments

September 27, 2012

Found a use for an easel.

Writing out the quotation

September 27, 2012


September 26, 2012

(1910) Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Volume XIII, Harmony to Hurstmonceaux. New York: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company.

Cutting through from Harvard University to Humanism:

The crack in the floor

September 26, 2012

No need for this

September 25, 2012

A chimpanzee outfit would be unnecessary at this stage.


September 25, 2012

Tools and objects used in recent days: tripod, overhead projector, easel and the short handled drawing board described by Lashley in Schiller’s report of the drawing experiments conducted with Alpha when she was 18 years old (Schiller, 1951). The drawing board with a handle was necessary in order to withdraw the drawings before she destoyed them. Alpha’s role as human surrogate puts her in the postition of a prop. Given that she was constantly visible and available for scientific observation it is perhaps not surprising that Schiller reports:

‘If possible, she retires with her paper to a far side of the cage, turns her back to the observer, works for a time with complete preoccupatioin, and eventually tears up the paper. If caged with another animal that watches her drawing she shoulders the other aside or turns away to work in a corner’.

Schiller, P. H. (1951) Figural Preferences in the Drawings of a Chimpanzee. In Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. Vol. 44 No.2 April. pp.101-111.

For the past two days I have been writing and re-writing the full quote. Each writing of it obliterates the one below.

Alpha’s early months

September 25, 2012

In 1931, Alpha spent her first months cared for in the home of two of the staff at the Yale Anthropoid Experimentation Station, Carl and Marion Jacobsen. Each day she was taken for a time to the laboratories for various tests to be conducted and measurements to be taken. Her growth and physiological development was compared with that of human infants. The rest of the time she was able to explore the domestic environment of the Jacobsen’s household. It seems to have been a time of relative freedom:

‘At the residence in Orange Park the infant explored all parts of the house most thoroughly, climbed and crawled about the furniture, traced the designs in the rugs with her index fingers, played with rattles, bells, and balls, and examined the miscellany of small objects left within her reach. Outdoors she mouthed and grasped twigs and blades of grass, walked under shrubs, played with sticks, pine needles, and other objects which attracted her attention.’

Jacobsen, C. F., Jacobsen, M. M. & Yoshioka, J. G. (1932) Development of an infant chimpanzee during her first year. In Comparative Psychology Monographs. Vol. IX. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.

Closing presentation

September 24, 2012

A concluding presentation and discussion will take place this week:
Friday 28 Sept 2012 – 7pm

Exhibition open: 
Saturday 29 Sept 2012 – 11am to 3pm

Location: Meantime, Cheltenham



Last night

September 21, 2012