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SENTIENT ENCOUNTERS: edition 1

New film series: on plants, spoors, ghosts and demons of liminality

film screeningThursday 28 April '22

AKI Enschede(archive)

Host: Rana Ghavami
English spoken
Free entrance, but limited capacity, please register below.

We are happy to present Sentient Encounters, a new film series on plants, spoors, ghosts and demons of liminality. In the first edition of Sentient Encounters, entitled Toin or Spurl or Plinuckment (ver.ii), we will ease into the night with a series of artists’ films/videos, curated by Erik Martinson for this particular occasion.

The first version of this programme premiered in the context of the exhibition All Flesh is Grass at Contemporary Art Centre, Riga, 2020. Now a new two-part version of Toin or Spurl or Plinuckment has been prepared. Featured artists include: Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky, Charlotte Pryce, Eglė Budvytytė (with Marija Olšauskaitė & Julija Steponaitytė), Bassam Al-Sabah & Jennifer Mehigan, and Jenna Sutela.

Programme

Part I:
- Conversation with a Cactus, Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky, 2017, 45:00
Part media history, part ghost story, the film interweaves science and mythology to lead us into an animist space beyond language and reason.

Part II:
- PWDRE SER: the rot of stars, Charlotte Pryce, 2018, 6:44
The film depicts an encounter with a mysterious, luminous, electrical substance. Inspired equally by medieval accounts of visionary experiences and by 19th century photography of the invisible, Pwdre Ser joins Kirlian photography with hand-processed images.
- Songs from the Compost: Mutating Bodies, Imploding Stars, Eglė Budvytytė with
Marija Olšauskaitė and Julija Steponaitytė, 2020, 30:00

The film, shot in the lichenous forests and sand dunes of the Curonian Spit, is a hypnotic exploration of the darker aspects of symbiotic life in the forest: interdependence, surrender, death and decay.
- A Paradise Out Of A Common Field, Bassam Al-Sabah & Jennifer Mehigan, 2020, 5:32
A short animated film that explores the iconography of the zombie.
- Holobiont, Jenna Sutela, 2018, 10:26
Holobiont considers the idea of embodied cognition on a planetary scale, featuring a zoom from the outer space to inside the gut.

More about the film series

The word sentient denotes a conscious feeling and an awareness of one’s carnal experience as well as one’s existence. For this reason, the word sentient was equated to intelligence and awareness, and was deemed to be characteristic of only select bodies–human bodies. The word became a means to order matters of the world and enforce (existing) taxonomies and hierarchies between species and their differences. As such a regulator of order between bodies, the word sentient became to enforce anthropocentric worldview – the belief that the human is the measure of all knowledge about the world.

In this series of film screenings and discussions, we propose to reimagine and reclaim sentience to describe relations with bodies that are still excluded from meaning-making practices. We will encounter bodies that are ignored and not recognized as existing because of these taxonomies, and because of power structures and hierarchies that define what a body can be.

Rather than rejecting the word sentient, we propose to contaminate it with multiple relations, which are present in more than visual encounters. Importantly, we aim not to expand the definition of sentience while keeping the division between sentient and non sentient intact. Rather, by multiplying it, we want to shake and reimagine different understanding of bodies and our practices as ‘liminal’ – as already in a state of in-betweenness of fixed categorizations and identifications. By naming encounters rather than bodies as sentient, we pay attention to modes of practices and relations that generate and mutate these bodies. The way we practice bodies, the way we relate, does matter. All relations are sentient, and all relations are risky, as they may lead to creation or may cause harm, as they may make bodies flourish or perish. By recognizing encounters as sentient, we aim to reimagine and bring together differing stories of how to live and practice multispecies bodies and our becoming.
Sentient Encounters is a collaboration between Sjoerd van Oevelen (Department head of Moving Image, AKI Enschede), Agnieszka Wolodzko (initiator and lecturer AKI BIO MATTTERs), and supported by ArtEZ studium generale.
Conversation with a Cactus, Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky, 2017, 45:00
Conversation with a Cactus, Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky, 2017, 45:00
Songs from the Compost: Mutating Bodies, Imploding Stars, Eglė Budvytytė with Marija Olšauskaitė and Julija Steponaitytė, 2020, 30:00