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Every word was once an animal

208 pages
Distanz Verlag Gmbh Llc

Power, Care, Control

Yalda Afsah's (b. Berlin, 1983; lives and works in Berlin) films probe the relationship between man and animal, scrutinizing mechanisms of power, care, and control with respect to various forms of domestication and retracing the often blurry boundaries between nurture, solicitousness, and identification with animals on the one hand and discipline, subjugation, and human dominance on the other. Her works confront viewers with an intimate portrait of the mutual dependencies between human and nonhuman protagonists. Never suggesting that a “return” to an ostensibly pristine nature is possible, Afsah instead prods us to negotiate new conceptions of coexistence and conflict. After the German-Iranian artist's work was featured at Manifesta 13, the New York Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival, the exhibition Every word was once an animal gathers older and more recent productions to shed light on the disintegrating boundary between nature and culture. Far from being a mere passive object of political influence, nature is a recalcitrant protagonist to the political.

The accompanying publication provides a first survey of Afsah's growing oeuvre. In addition to extensive visuals from her videos, the book includes writings by Fahim Amir, Maurin Dietrich, Cathrin Mayer, Gina Merz, and Filipa Ramos.