Baboon, Mpumalanga, South Africa
The baboon sleeps in the tree with a baby curled against its cheek. I can tell they’re dreaming by how their eyes move beneath their eyelids. But the tree branches and leaves in the background have a much higher resolution, and I can’t tell if this baboon has been photoshopped in or not. It looks unreal, but then one of the baboons stretches its neck and looks more real than me sitting hunched on my bed over makeshift desk on an ironing board in my lap, scribbling in my notebook. I should probably stop caring so much about what’s live real and synchronous. Doing this has blurred them altogether anyway, the real and the ‘fake’, live and pre-recorded, and especially time. I’m conscious of where night’s shroud falls at any given time around the world, when the animals are more wakeful in black and white or infrared. The blurry marker of what day it is if today I’m watching a baboon sleep in the early hours of tomorrow. I can see how this can mess with my circadian rhythms. There are other concerns than just time, too; a comment below the baboon reminds viewers to not say anything if they see a rhino. Do not time stamp the rhino, do not use the “snap tool” on the rhino, do not comment or take a photo or video of the rhino or do anything that might attach its presence to time and place. All of this is to protect rhinos from poachers, although I have a hard time imagining a poacher tracking a rhino from webcam comments. Still, I say nothing about the rhino, which isn’t there anyway. I’ll only say things about the baboons who have now shifted positions so that one leans in sleep against the other in the branches, the brief glitter of an eye the only sign that they don’t sleep as deeply as I think.