QAGOMA Store Highlight: GoatMan



Check out what has just landed in the QAGOMA Store – another quirky book you must read.

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a goat, come on surely you must have, doesn’t everyone! Oh, ok a bird yes, a dolphin yes, but no takers on a goat? Well it must just be Thomas Thwaites, you may know him from his previous success The Toaster Project

So here’s the story.  A research grant offers Thwaites, a British conceptual designer, the opportunity to take a holiday from the stresses and worries of being human – by transforming himself into a goat. What ensues is a hilarious and surreal journey through engineering, design, and psychology, as Thwaites interviews neuroscientists, animal behaviourists, prosthetists, goat sanctuary workers, and goat herds. From this, he builds a goat exoskeleton, artificial legs, helmet, chest protector, raincoat from his mum, and a prosthetic goat stomach to digest grass (with help from a pressure cooker and campfire) before setting off across the Alps on four legs with a herd of his fellow creatures.

Thwaites is interested in how humans will use technology to fulfil their desires. He claims that people are always interested in becoming more intelligent and stronger but could be interested in simplifying their lives through a simulated devolution. Thwaites said ‘posthumanism, transhumanism technology and stuff, is about allowing humans to achieve their desires in a way and I guess some people’s desires aren’t necessarily to become super intelligent.’

Well, if nothing else – it’s certainly a unique approach.

‘I struggle on a few more metres, but I know it’s in vain. The bleats of the herd are fading out of earshot, and then I’m the only goat, a lonely goat, high on a hill.’
‘My short neck comes back to haunt me’

He lasted three days on the goat farm, before he left and crossed the Alps, and now is happily back to normal human life. Thwaites says that he would recommend being a goat, describing it as a ‘special kind of time’.

A wonderfully eccentric, at times absurd, exploration of what it means to be human and what it might be like to be a goat.

GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human
Thomas Thwaites
Princeton Architectural Press
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