Date posted: 2012-03-16 16:47:20

New York Times Review


In his book Animals in Film, Jonathan Burt notes the peculiar power that onscreen animals possess over viewers.  Kathy High and Jim Supanick, the curators of Flaherty NYC for the Spring 2012 season, have put together an excitingly varied program of films foregrounding the emotional and ethical power of the animal image as discussed by Burt and others.  In the past ten years, the burgeoning field of Animal Studies has done much to bring "the animal question" into the public eye, focusing attention on the place of animals in folklore, science, politics, and religious practice – and also on the place of the human animal in relation to our animal others.

Animals are vulnerable yet violent, endangered yet proliferating, different from us yet the same.  The animators, film/videomakers, and performers in this series present the paradoxical character of animals on film, also introducing subjects like interspecies as well as human-animal interaction, the question of animal autonomy, and animal treatment and welfare.

Some of the highlights include: animatedmedia works about humans and their relationships to animals, plants and the weather by Marina Zurkow;  rarely-screened work by the artist Carolee Schneemann; Nancy Andrews's film On a Phantom Limb, in which a spirit-bird instructs and acts as a medium between worlds; A Divided World by the Swedish pioneering documentarian Arne Sucksdorff, depicting predator and prey over the course of a long winter night; and Shelly Silver's small lies Big Truth and Lesser Apes by Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke on sex, love, kinship and taboo.

The Lives of Animals is being curated by Kathy High and Jim Supanick, both of whom have a history of engagement with animals in film, art, and philosophy.  Kathy High is the creator of videos and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of medicine, bio-science, science fiction, and animal/interspecies collaborations; she is an Associate Professor of Video and New Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Jim Supanick is a videomaker and writer whose work includes a long-standing preoccupation with Taylorism and its legacy and the relations between rhythm, music and work; he currently teaches at City College of New York.

Opening Night

Wednesday, March 7, 7:30pm at 92YTribeca
Entire Ecosystems: Works by Arne Sucksdorff and Marina Zurkow
Arne Sucksdorff's and Marina Zurkow's work embodies a shared fascination not just with animals, but entire ecosystems; with a keen eye for the events unfolding along the edges of human habitation, they each distill from these liminal spaces and surprise encounters a dark and powerful poetry. Artist Marina Zurkow will be in attendance for a post screening discussion with moderator Una Chaudhuri.

Upcoming @ Flaherty NYC

For full film details click on the program title.

Wed, Mar 14, 2012, 7:30 pm 
Talk with the Animals: Films by Shelly Silver, Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby
Filmmakers Shelly Silver, Emily Vey Duke, and Cooper Battersby will be in attendance for a discussion moderated by Jason Livingston.

Wed, Mar 21, 2012, 7:30 pm
Speculative Empathy: Nancy Andrews and Jim Trainor
Nancy Andrews and Jim Trainor create highly original work that borrows freely from existing film genres both high and low- shaped, inverted and recombined to their own ends. Nancy Andrews will be in attendance for a discussion moderated by Jim Supanick.

Mar 28, 2012, 7:30 pm
Prized Animals: ManDove: Kian Tjong and Jim de Seve
ManDove follows the magical perkutut birds casting spells on men, taking them away from their wives, and pitting them against each other to prove their masculinity.   In a peculiar travelogue, two filmmakers dive into an ancient rite of manhood in Islamic Java – the tender and raucous sport of the singing doves.  With its rich human dimension, it is one of the most unusual bird documentaries ever made.

Wed, Apr 4, 2012, 7:30 pm
Recognizing the Animal: "Species Panic", a talk by Cynthia Chris, with works by Sam Easterson and Isabella Rosselini
Derek Bousé has stated that, "What has gone almost completely unquestioned in relation to wildlife films has been the presumption of compatibility between cinematic convention and images of natural events and behavior." Cynthia Chris will present and discuss works presented and also works from her own collection of wildlife films.

Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 7:30 pm
Avant-garde Pioneers: George Kuchar and Carolee Schneemann
Two avant-garde pioneers of wildly divergent sensibilities are brought together here for their strong feline affinities. Filmmaker Carolee Schneemann will be in attendance for a post screening discussion.

Caption: From MANDOVE by Jim de Seve and Kian Tjong. Over one thousand cages dangle 7 meters high at the National Perkutut Championship in the Island of Madura, Indonesia.

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