‘canine’: A video poem by Ian Gibbins

canine (2014, dur: 3:39) 

“Now is the time of  night when I wish I could piss like a dog… on this side of the law, I do not really care…” 

Something about territoriality and the dispossession that ensues. Perhaps our urban future is little more than a dog’s life, running the streets in the grainy afterdark, virtually colourblind, hunkered close to ground, following old scent trails, barely aware of the disaster about to befall us… [language warning!]

Filmed at night round the Adelaide CBD and Thebarton, a nearby suburb. Dogs have good night vision, but very little colour vision. Most of the footage is taken at the height of a dog’s head. This is one of my most popular performance pieces, which I do with or without the musical backing track. The main riff in the soundtrack is inspired by Howlin’ Wolf, one of the greatest Chicago blues performers.

The video was an official selection for the 2017 Juteback Poetry Film Festival, Colorado, USA.


Ian Gibbins is a widely published poet, video artist and electronic musician. His videos have been shown to acclaim at festivals, exhibitions, commissioned public art programs and installations around the world and have won or been short-listed for multiple awards. His videos have gained more than 5000 views on his Vimeo channel. In 2020 alone, 18 of his videos have been screened in more than 50 international festivals and events.

Ian’s poetry has been short-listed for national prizes and selected for several anthologies, including Best Australian Poems. Ian has produced four collections of poetry: Urban Biology (2012); The Microscope Project: How Things Work (2014, with artists Catherine Truman and Deb Jones); Floribunda (2015, with artist Judy Morris) and A Skeleton of Desire (2019).

Ian has collaborated widely with artists on projects bridging art and science, culminating in several major exhibitions (2009, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and two projects with Australian Dance Theatre.

Until his retirement in 2014, Ian was an internationally recognised neuroscientist and Professor of Anatomy at Flinders University, South Australia, having originally trained as a zoologist. He still lives on Kaurna land in South Australia.

For details of Ian’s creative work, visit www.iangibbins.com.au.
For his videos, visit: http://vimeo.com/iangibbins
For his audio, visit: http://iangibbins.bandcamp.com/
Social media: http://www.facebook.com/IanGibbins.poetry.music.science


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