Meeting Dr. Jason Munshi-South

Today I meet with Dr. Jason Munshi-South. We scheduled to meet in Thomas Paine Park in China town and I was really excited to finally meet my Rat Expert. The meeting was fascinating and Jason showed me around and thought me a lot of new things about rats.

On fact was that Rats, like humans, must live near water bodies in order to get their water supply. Not like mice, for example, which don’t have to drink and can get it from their food. Another surprising one was that the Norway Rats are not from Norway. They originally come from Asia and the guy how named them just didn’t like Norway.

It was an early time of the day so we didn’t see any rats around. “They come out when it’s getting dark” he said. However, on the last time he was in Thomas Paine Park “they were all over the place, even during the day, walking between people’s feet”. Even though the signs of exterminating rodents were showing the date from two days ago, scanning the park we could easily see tunnels that were freshly dug. The most ironic thing was that the Health department that exterminates them lives right across the street.

In one of his interviews, I read that rats don’t travel a great distance from their habitats. Reading that, suddenly I wasn’t even sure that the rats live in sewage but they do. According to Jason, they prefer the old sewage system on the new ones and can even cut through old concrete. He even showed me that from one of the sewer openings there is a white floss, hangs between the gaps, on which the “Health department hangs a poisoned bait to check if there are any rats in that sewage” he explained.

Jason was really kind and got interest in my project about researching how CSO effects Rats. When I told him about my idea of hooking up a camera to a rat he shared with me an interesting collaboration he has with Columbia University and a Ph.D. student at RISD in which they are building a kind of transmitter in a collar shape to put on a rat.

I was really encouraged by this meeting to keep moving forward with my project.



Reading the article “Making Museums Moral Again” I remembered Marina telling us about an organisation that tries to make artists sign a petition in which they commit to not show in museums which get their funding from those Fossil fuel companies. Reading the article I felt helpless against those “reality building” corporations. 

Categories: Temporary Expert

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