This film invites the viewer to step sideways into a space between worlds; a shared multispecies territory where kinetic layers traverse over into other domains.
It’s a space where flies are the size of sheep. They graze the land like sheep, and they observe the terrain like birds in the sky.
It’s a strange world where disconcerting moments have the potential to sweep us off over the human-nonhuman boundary into another universe. John Berger talked of this other world: ‘in the half-light of glimpses, we catch sight of another visible order which intersects with ours and has nothing to do with it’; as if ‘we see between two frames’, a ‘visible order that wasn’t destined for us’ (Berger, 2009 p10).
I use filmmaking technology to disrupt and destabilise identity distinctions, to articulate ‘becoming-animal’ in order to propose a multispecies interconnectedness. It is through a manipulative editing process that I interweave the real and the imagined, or the rational and the intuitive, to blur identities and create paradoxical scenes. The work is given space to establish its own reality and kinships and the use of technology is key to this articulation.
‘Becoming-animal’ is a concept devised by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, from a chapter entitled ‘Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible’ in their book ‘A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 2004). It is an ambiguous concept that may be thought of as a process or event that is transformative in nature with a capacity to both create and dismantle. ‘Becoming-animal’ offers a mode of escape from dualistic thinking and fixed identities.
As well as an artist, I volunteer as a Lookerer, which is a kind of assistant shepherd, working with sheep on down land sites around the edges of Brighton (UK), as part of a rewilding programme. Utilizing these and other similar spaces as a kind of residency – I situate myself in close proximity to nonhuman animals. A place for encounter and alliance with local nonhumans and ecologies. On entering these domains, the camera becomes my eyes and ears and to some degree my touch – I use the camera as my body, my senses.
I look for a position of attunement with animals. I step into their world to explore it not from a separate human position but from a position of animality, as an art practitioner. It’s a transformative process of undoing and shape shifting, a kind of shedding of humanness.
I am proposing a reimagining of interspecies co-existence to raise questions in relation to the human-nonhuman relationship. My intention is to create a greater awareness of the importance of tackling biodiversity loss in the context of the ecological crisis.