Monkey goes to Space

An oddly touching story about a monkey’s dream to go to space. Here is the director’s notes for the short video.

The story was born from wondering about a point in American history, in the run up to 1969. NASA were sending monkeys into space while a psychologist named Harry Harlow was undertaking a prolonged series of experiments with primates. He called them the ‘Monkey Love Experiments’ and he was trying to prove that monkeys, and by extension, we, need love in order to develop naturally. He argued that feeling loved is as important to survival as being given food or shelter. Harlow did some terrible things in terms of animal cruelty, in fact, the animal rights movement pretty much started in response to him. However, it’s worth understanding that he did these things during a climate of belief in sanitised, clinical care, where parents were told that ‘a pat on the head’ to say good night to your child was affection enough. Highly respected child psychologists of the time were promoting glass enclosures to ‘keep your child safe from germs’. In his own perverse way Harry was a pioneer for a loving kind of parenting that wasn’t widely believed in then. I got to thinking about progress, science, reaching out into space, and the part that love has, or has been forgotten in all of that.

When the video ended, I was confused about the point of the video. It was very touching and painful in the end but I am still not clear as to why that is. Did the monkey want to go to space? or is the monkey sad because he is taken away from his friend? I don’t know but I have watched it more than 5 times already.