[Excerpt from entry for the Institute of Extraterrestrial Sexuality book to be published in fall 2011]
The reaction to the video was startling. 743 and 825 were there with me setting up, and they immediately focused on the monitor when the program began. The remaining twenty members of the troop, noticing their interest, grouped behind 743, who took the spot just in front of the screen. They watched or listened to the three minute program intently. I could see their eyes following different parts of the screen. When the screen went black briefly between clips, there were nervous glances – apparent confusion. So when the show was over, I decided to show it again. One segment showed an adult male directly facing the camera and showing his teeth – the beginning of a “tension yawn” – a mild threat produced by a peek at his enormous canines. On the third time I showed the segment, 743 turned around and presented her rump to the image of this male. I wondered what his gaze had meant to her, and why, of all the shots, this one produced a reaction. Had I accidentally stumbled on to a sort of primate chatroulette?
Baboon Cinema was supported by the Aix-Marseille Institute for Advanced Studies.