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A holiday from being human (GoatMan)

I tried to become a goat to escape the angst inherent in being a human. The project became an exploration of how close modern technology can take us to fulfilling an ancient human dream: to take on characteristics from other animals. But instead of the ferocity of a bear, or the perspective of a bird, the characteristic most useful in modern life is something else; being present in the moment perhaps.

Anyway I ended up in the Alps, on four legs, at a goat farm, with a prosthetic rumen strapped to my chest, eating grass, and becoming a goat.

I wrote a few paragraphs about the project. I sent them to Princeton Architectural Press, who said if you write the rest of the project up, we might publish it, and lo and behold, a book! My second book in fact. I’m pleased with it, but krikey, I’d forgotten how difficult writing is! Anyway… some links:

Amazon (US)
Princeton Architectural Press (Publisher)
Barnes & Noble (US)
IndieBound (US)
Amazon (UK)
Abrams & Chronicle Books (Europe)
Waterstones (UK)
Books at Manic (Australia)
Amazon (Canada)
Chapters (Canada)

Oh yes, once again thank you to the Wellcome Trust for supporting this project.

GoatMan_cover-web640
Photograph: Tim Bowditch

Goat8-Thomas_Thwaites-photo-Tim_Bowditch
Photograph: Tim Bowditch

Goat14-Thomas_Thwaites-photo-Tim_Bowditch
Photograph: Tim Bowditch

Goat18-Thomas_Thwaites-photo-Tim_Bowditch
Photograph: Tim Bowditch

  1. Weird and Wonderful Nonfiction | Shelf Talk Says:

    […] How I Took a Holiday from being Human follows Thomas Thwaites as he dons a goat exoskeleton and lives among a herd of goats in the Alps to escape “the angst inherent in being a […]

  2. a friend Says:

    i aspire to be you sir. a haiku for you:

    i want to be goat
    eating grass on the hillside
    I did not screw a goat

  3. Sally Chisholm Says:

    HI Thomas – not sure if you’ve heard of or might be interested in BASN (British Animal Studies Network)
    meeting next w/end conference in Strathclyde
    “Smelling”
    http://www.britishanimalstudiesnetwork.org.uk/FutureMeetings/Smelling.aspx

  4. 人間をやめてヤギになった男 | Nail Your Inner Game Says:

    […] また、プロジェクトの狙いについては「僕のゴールは、過去を悔やんで未来を憂うよう、自我を持った存在につきまとう痛みや不安といったものから距離をおいて休むこと」とのこと。彼のウェブサイトでは「他の動物の特徴を身にまとうという、古代からの人間の夢に、現代の技術でどこまで近づけるかという実験」とも語っています。 […]

  5. Man takes holiday from being human, joins herd of goats & becomes GoatMan - Critter FilesCritter Files Says:

    […] “I ended up in the Alps, on four legs, at a goat farm, with a prosthetic rumen strapped to my chest, eating grass, and becoming a goat,” Thwaites notes. […]

  6. The Man Who Turned Himself into a Goat | Chauvet unlocked Says:

    […] a goat is so much more my level,” Thwaites writes in a book about the project titled, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday From Being Human. “Sure elephants have conveniently short necks, but what connection do I have with […]

  7. Research 02 – Goatman by THOMAS THWAITES | Zhangzhe Says:

    […] (2016). THOMAS THWAITES » A holiday from being human (GoatMan). [online] Available at: http://www.thomasthwaites.com/a-holiday-from-being-human-goatman/ [Accessed 15 Jun. […]

  8. Inspiration by Other’s Work – WINNIE YI Says:

    […] http://www.thomasthwaites.com/a-holiday-from-being-human-goatman/ […]

  9. Chris Says:

    Hi Thomas,
    What an inspired project! I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  10. Sven Says:

    Dear Thomas
    People may look at you as “just a goat”, but I personally see you as a role model.
    I have read your book many times, and the inspiration hit me like a goat headbutt.
    Many Loves
    Sven x

  11. ... Says:

    Henry Wellcome would never have bet a penny on his money sending a guy as a goat to the alps

  12. Thomas_Thwaites Says:

    Certainly not! He did buy some some weird and wonderful things for his collection though, so maybe, in a way…

  13. Studies on the perils of polyester underwear and the personality of rocks win Ig Nobel Prizes - Los Angeles Times - BuzzStreams Says:

    […] BIOLOGY: Sometimes, being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. To see what it’s like to be something else, lawyer/bioethicist/veterinarian Charles Foster tried to live as other kinds of animals, including a badger, a fox and a bird. For these exercises, he made himself temporary homes in the dirt, ate worms and learned to navigate by smell alone. He recounts his experiences in his new book, “Being a Beast.” Foster shares the award with Thomas Thwaites, who “took a holiday from being human” and lived on all fours with goats instead. He even developed a prosthetic rumen so he could eat grass with his new companions. His book is called “GoatMan.” […]

  14. Studies on the perils of polyester underwear and the personality of rocks win Ig Nobel Prizes – CrossFire Defense Says:

    […] BIOLOGY: Sometimes, being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. To see what it’s like to be something else, lawyer/bioethicist/veterinarian Charles Foster tried to live as other kinds of animals, including a badger, a fox and a bird. For these exercises, he made himself temporary homes in the dirt, ate worms and learned to navigate by smell alone. He recounts his experiences in his new book, “Being a Beast.” Foster shares the award with Thomas Thwaites, who “took a holiday from being human” and lived on all fours with goats instead. He even developed a prosthetic rumen so he could eat grass with his new companions. His book is called “GoatMan.” […]

  15. Ig Nobel prizes: trousers for rats and the truthfulness of liars | BuzzWare Says:

    […] biology award went to two Britons: Thomas Thwaites, who created prosthetic limbs that let him move like and among goats, and Charles Foster, who has tried to live as a badger, an otter, a fox and a […]

  16. The Hawkins Herald – Studies on the perils of polyester underwear and the personality of rocks win Ig Nobel Prizes – Los Angeles Times Says:

    […] BIOLOGY: Sometimes, being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. To see what it’s like to be something else, lawyer/bioethicist/veterinarian Charles Foster tried to live as other kinds of animals, including a badger, a fox and a bird. For these exercises, he made himself temporary homes in the dirt, ate worms and learned to navigate by smell alone. He recounts his experiences in his new book, “Being a Beast.” Foster shares the award with Thomas Thwaites, who “took a holiday from being human” and lived on all fours with goats instead. He even developed a prosthetic rumen so he could eat grass with his new companions. His book is called “GoatMan.” […]

  17. Premi Ig Nobel 2016 - Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it Says:

    […] così da potersi aggirare per i monti muovendosi come una capra in compagnia di altre capre, rif. GoatMan. How I Took a Holiday from Being Human, Princeton Architectural Press, New […]

  18. Ig Nobel science awards recognise scientist who lived as a goat – The Sydney Morning Herald | Everyday News Update Says:

    […] emissions”). Among the winners was Thomas Thwaites, who recently published a book, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human, about living as a goat for three days in […]

  19. Ig Nobel Science Awards Recognise Scientist Who Lived As A Goat And Polyester’s Role In The Sex Lives Of Rats – The Sydney Morning Herald | | All Breaking News Says:

    […] the Ig Nobel winners was Thomas Thwaites, who recently published a book, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human, about living as a goat for three days in […]

  20. Ig Nobel science awards recognise scientist who lived as a goat and polyester’s role in the sex lives of rats – Latest Ethiopian and World News Says:

    […] the Ig Nobel winners was Thomas Thwaites, who recently published a book, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human, about living as a goat for three days in […]

  21. Шнобель сыйлыгы-2016: Келемиштин шымы жана «Теке-адам» - KLOOP.KG — Кыргызстан жаңылыктары Says:

    […] Альпы тоолорунда үч күн болуп, шалбааларда атайын протездер менен текедей болуп оттоп жүргөн. Изилдөөнүн максаты стресс менен күрөшүү […]

  22. News Anchor Loses It During 'Goat Man' Story [Video] Says:

    […] decided to have prosthetics made and live among goats in Switzerland for several days. Thwaites has written a book about his experience. The crew on CTV Winnipeg couldn’t help breaking up while reporting the […]

  23. Man wins Nobel Prize for acting like a goat, anchor can’t stop laughing Says:

    […] has written a book about his research titled Goat Man. He also wrote a book and gave a TED talk about building a toaster from […]

  24. This Designer Figured Out How To Become A Goat Says:

    […] his new book GoatMan: How I took a Holiday from Being Human, designer Thomas Thwaites did exactly what the title sounds like. In its pages, he chronicles the […]

  25. Ignobili Sirfidi! | The Platypus Review Says:

    […] a quando vedevano un orso polare vero o un ricercatore ‘travestito da ricercatore’; un altro travestito da capra – con tanto di protesi per renderglisi più simile possibile – per studiare la socialità e […]

  26. A Goat’s State of Mind – Posthuman Aesthetics Says:

    […] References: http://www.thomasthwaites.com/a-holiday-from-being-human-goatman/ […]

  27. Emily the goat lover Says:

    To Thomas
    You’re my role model and when I grow up I inspire to be just like you.
    People don’t understand me, but goats do.
    I love grass and goats, its the perfect combination.
    My parents will never approve, but when I’m legally an adult goat, I can do what I want and to be a goat is what I want.
    I shall embrace my inner goat.
    Thank you for helping me find my true self, you’ve helped so many young teens across the nation who don’t know themselves and who are scared to come out as a goat.
    Many thanks, much grateful
    From the goat I was suppose to be… Emily

  28. Thinking machines and becoming bats – what are the pressing questions of the 21. Century? – Posthuman Aesthetics Says:

    […] The chosen artwork for this assignment takes an embodied approach to the question for the means of our mental and physical existence: the artist Thomas Thwaites lived among a herd of goats in the Alps wearing a goat exoskeleton to escape “the angst inherent in being a human.” (Thwaites, Thomas: http://www.thomasthwaites.com/a-holiday-from-being-human-goatman/) […]

  29. Ig Nobel awards: trousers for rats and the truthfulness of liars - flufferdingle.com Says:

    […] biology award went to two Britons: Thomas Thwaites, who made prosthetic legs that let him move like and among goats, and Charles Foster, who has tried to live as a badger, an otter, a fox and a […]

  30. Ocurrencias 2_ Un burro volando (Todo esto es por tu bien) | Planeta Piloto Says:

    […] de otra especie es poco habitual, pero a veces sucede. Está, por ejemplo, el fabuloso caso de Thomas Thwaites, que decidió tomarse unas vacaciones de ser humano y pasar unos días viviendo como una cabra en […]

  31. Este hombre se transformó en una cabra para vivir en una montaña en Suiza – WordPress Says:

    […] Thomas vivió durante el pasado verano tres días conviviendo con un rebaño de cabras y otros tres días en solitario. Ahora, ha plasmado esta aventura en un libro titulado GoatMan. […]

  32. James *Jason* Wentworth Says:

    Hello Mr. Thwaites,

    I live in Fairbanks, Alaska in the USA, and I apologize for being two years late, but this morning I stumbled across online documentation of your goat experience (I will purchase a copy of your book about it), and:

    I see that you have been subjected to much ridicule for your living-as-a-goat experiment, but your detractors are apparently unaware that it was—among other things (which I will address below)—a serious scientific experiment in goat psychology, in which engineers were also involved (goats’ mental abilities, in fact, are being studied by the Royal Society ). Regarding the other things:

    You may not be aware of it, but what you did and said is a source of inspiration and comfort to many. This may sound barking-at-the-Moon mad, but you are far from alone in desiring to be another animal, but I fear that you consulted with the wrong shaman, because animal transformations of the astral variety are part of their “stock in trade.” Having experienced such an astral transformation myself (via a method a local shaman and a druid taught me), I know what it is like—mentally as well as physically, including all of the senses (although my physical body did not change)—to be a Shire draft horse and feel the grass under my hooves. You too could do this, and know to the full exactly how it feels to be a goat. There is even a community of like-minded folk, which I invite you to join if you wish (I will gladly send you the particulars via e-mail).

    Sincerely Yours,

    James *Jason* Wentworth

  33. THOMAS THWAITES A holiday from being human – Goldsmiths Design Says:

    […] Waites, T. A Holiday From Being Human (Goatman) Available at: ] http://www.thomasthwaites.com/a-holiday-from-being-human-goatman/ (Accessed: 28/07/17) [2] Toran, N. (2001) objects for lonely men Available at: […]