“Skill in living, awareness of belonging to the world, delight in being part of the world, always tends to involve knowing our kinship as animals with animals….our fellowship as creatures with other creatures, things with other things...”
Ursula K. Le Guin
Commissioned by Sheffield DocFest as part of the DocFest Exchange, the Beyond Our Own Eyes film commissions are 3 new works by artists April Lin 林森, Gregory Herbert and Hermione Spriggs that invite us to come closer to our more-than-human neighbours. Attuning to the vibratory world of moles; imagining climate adaptive trees in an era of environmental destruction; or digging for the mycelium networks that facilitated life on earth, each new work brings together a multitude of ways of knowing the world, coming together in a space of speculative exchange.
April Lin 林森 has been working with ecologist and ‘queen of rainforest canopy research’ Dr. Nalini Nadkarni; Gregory Herbert has been working with expert in mycorrhizal symbiosis and Associate Professor of Plant-Soil Processes at the University of Sheffield Professor Katie J. Field; and Hermione Spriggs has been working with professional molecatcher Nigel Stock alongside composer and field recordist Jez riley French.
These films will premiere during COP26 in partnership with CCA, Glasgow from 4 - 7 November 2021. Find the full schedule of the DocFest Exchange: Beyond Our Own Eyes Weekender here.
DocFest Exchange: Beyond Our Own Eyes is curated by Jamie Allan and supported by the Wellcome Trust.
The 3 new film commissions are:
TR333, April Lin 林森 with Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, 2021
Artist-filmmaker April Lin 林森 presents TR333, a speculative construction of a new species of tree developed in conversation with ecologist Dr. Nalini Nadkarni. Using 3D animation, found footage, and a musical score based on data sonification, TR333 recasts the ecological crisis from a multi-species and affective gaze.
For an essay by Martha Adonai Williams exploring the collaborative process of this piece, click here.
Making-with, Gregory Herbert with Professor Katie J. Field, 2021
Amidst the rubble of broken symbionts, traces of a resurgence appear, flora pushing through.
Multi-species assemblages signalling, exchanging, building. The fungus that facilitated life on earth, again inspiring new worlds.
Gregory Herbert has collaborated with Professor Katie J. Field to explore Field's research on mycorrhizal fungi, including species of fungi that could reverse some of the effects of the climate catastrophe thanks to their ability to function efficiently under high levels of atmospheric CO2.
Taking influence from Interfacial Apoplast, the space between the plant root cell membranes and mycorrhizal fungal hyphal filaments where nutrients are symbiotically exchanged, Herbert has created a speculative portal where we can learn from these cycles of reciprocity and learn to join the sympoesis.
For an essay by Anna Souter exploring the collaborative process of this piece, click here.
Earth Swimmers, Hermione Spriggs with Nigel Stock, 2021
This film attends to the tricks and techniques that molecatchers use to access the underground world of the mole. Using tools as portals into the mole's vibratory world, probes, feet, noses and rain-making instruments lead the viewer into alternative ways of sensing and knowing the earth.
For an essay by Laura Robertson exploring the collaborative process of this piece, click here.
1. TR333 (2021) April Lin 林森
2. Making-with (2021) Gregory Herbert
3. Earth Swimmers (2021) Hermione Spriggs