Robby Rabbit Ethogram

Behavioral investigation of a domestic rabbit in 2006/2007

The dilemma of behavioral biology lies in its desire to observe animals under conditions, which on the one hand can be controlled to the greatest possible extent, but should be as natural as possible. For her studies on behavioral science, Nana Petzet initially took a pet, a medium-sized, castrated dwarf rabbit, in order to observe and note his reactions. Robby came into the artist's family in August 2004 at the age of one year, and lived there until his death in 2011. Robby was housetrained and could jump over an obstacle on command. His habitat spanned the entire flat. Nana Petzet recorded Robby's range of behaviors in the form of a research diary, with a focus on his sitting and lying positions, his eating habits and social behavior. In the exhibition “Say it isn't so, Art trains its sights on the natural sciences” (2007) at Bremen's Weserburg - Museum of Modern Art, Nana Petzet showed a film documenting the behavior of her rabbit in its everyday life. This intimate study, presented in the exhibition space of the museum, was contrasted by an installation in which the pet was confronted with an experimental alteration to its normal habitat.