The philosopher Vinciane Despret asks 26 intriguing and pertinent questions about what animals do, want and ‘think’. This yields marvellous and sometimes hilarious stories, told by scientists, animal-tamers, zookeepers, etc. Stories that make us think. We are screening two short documentaries made in 2005 by film-maker and activist Didier Demorcy, to which Vinciane Despret also contributed, one on sheep, one on wolves.
A series of tremendous short films about the complex and often surprising communication between man and the animals. With an introduction by Rob La Frenais, who mounted the Interspecies exhibition in London in 2009.
Two years ago the documentary-maker and artist Els Dietvorst moved from Brussels to Ireland. She is working on an online film project from a sheep farm in Duncormick. At Burning Ice # 6 she will be showing the second update of this online film project, called The Black Lamb.
The Brussels theatre-maker Isabelle Dumont has put together a ‘cabinet of curiosities’, a colourful collection of ‘artificialia and naturalia’ – art objects and wonders of animal kingdom. She was guided by her amazement, always welcoming surprises, and is now sharing her delight with the public. On the basis of this collection she tells a story about the relationship between man and the animals down the ages.
In the early seventies, a research project was set up at Columbia University in New York to determine whether apes are capable of any human form of communication. The film shows the sometimes comical, but above all astonishing story of this attempt to make a man out of an ape. After the film, there will be a talk with Stijn Bruers on animal rights, etc.
How do we, urban animals of the 21st century, relate to ‘other animals’? German choreographer Martin Nachbar aims to make our relationships with animals transparent through dance. The performance imitates animals in their habitat and in the habitat of contemporary dance (the theatre) and examines the possibilities of moving, feeling and thinking like animals.
In BALTHAZAR (1. Stories) a donkey is at the ‘centre of the action’. It is not reduced to the role of a piece of living scenery, but is given the leading part. A group of human performers is confronted with him. Balthazar (1. Stories) is inspired by Robert Bresson’s film Au hasard Balthazar (1966). The film tells the eventful life story of a donkey.
On the occasion of the publication of his book Entropic Empire, On the City of Man in the Age of Disaster, the cultural philosopher Lieven De Cauter will be talking to his co-author, the sociologist Rudi Laermans, about the old and new ‘nature states’, new relationships between humans and non-humans, and animality, bio-politics and cosmo-politics.