When life gets complicated, most people take a vacation to a remote beach resort or a mountain sanctuary to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. However, one man has taken unplugging from technology and roaming with the animals literally by living amongst a herd of goats.
England-based conceptual designer Thomas Thwaites woke up one day and decided that he had enough of being human and wanted to try living the uncomplicated life of a goat. He started on the project by customizing prosthetic limbs that allowed him to have more authentic goat-like movements and experience.
"My goal was to take a holiday from the pain and worry of being a self-conscious being, able to regret the past and worry about the future," Thwaites said.
Thwaites' interests vary from science, technology and future research, so the leap into existentially living the life of creatures that seem to be immune to the anxieties and frustrations of living daily in a fast paced world and environment did not seem like a bad idea.
In September of 2014, Thwaites arranged to live and graze on a goat farm in the Swiss Alps with actual goats. To prepare for the project, he studied cognitive and physical traits of real goats, visited behavioral psychologist and neurologists to learn how to think and act more like a goat, consulted with an expert in animal movement to mimic a goat's behavior and he even considered having an artificial rumen with actual gut bacteria found in goats constructed for himself so that would be able to digest grass for him to ingest.
The project lasted for six days, with Thwaites travelling with the herd for three days then spending another three days on his own. The experience took a toll in his body with cold and rainy weather and pain from the weight on his arms when travelling downhill while wearing the prosthetic limbs. But the most challenging part of the experience was convincing the other goats that the strange-looking, new creature was one of their own.
"I found myself at nearly the highest point on the hill of the whole herd of goats, and there was this moment where I looked and noticed that all the other goats had stopped chewing and were looking at me," he recalled.
Having a curious and creative mind has allowed Thwaites to write a book on the experience, which he aptly named GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human. The book is set to be published in 2016, while an exhibit of his work with the herd of goats will be launched in Studio 1.1 Gallery in London this September.