A film programme that questions human hierarchy over nature in the context of the climate emergency.
How can we understand existence other than from the post-Enlightenment notions of nature and world? How can we approach all that exists without prioritising the subject and its supposed sovereignty over all other species? Corpus Infinitum transits in this direction. An exhibition that brings together the collaborative film works of Denise Ferreira da Silva (Rio de Janeiro, 1963) and Arjuna Neuman (born on an airplane, he has two nationalities, 1984). They present a series of films in which the four elements – water, earth, fire and air – inform the artists’ considerations of an entangled existence, in favour of a time and values that reimagine knowledge from a multi-species perspective. The exhibition includes installations of their films to date: Serpent Rain (2016), 4 Waters – Deep Implicancy (2019) and Soot Breath // Corpus Infinitum (2020), as well as archives related to the films.
In the films, the composition and decomposition of the world is structured through nature’s four elements. They are fractal compositions, interfacing between the quantic, organic, historic and cosmic, drawing from visual arts, sciences and philosophy. The works edit together footage of both micro and macro landscapes, animation and archival documentation through references that range from quantum mechanics, the blues, diverse philosophies, counter-hegemonic knowledges, classical physics, colonial theory to cartomancy.
Ferreira da Silva and Neuman’s work builds on the combined research of numerous creators, philosophers and artists, and Ferreira da Silva’s planetary view of the world as plenum, a corpus infinitum, a complex terrain in which human, geological, bacterial and meteorological environments are not independent forms and phenomena. As experiments in entanglement and ways of ‘the Thinking of the World’, Ferreira da Silva and Neuman’s work proposes alternatives to the destructive consequences of Western knowledge, derived from modernity. What does it mean to disorder Western thinking? What other ways of knowing – across cultures, time, space and form – can we learn, apprehend and relearn? The work critiques the long-lasting effects of the systematic structures of colonialism and capitalism, questioning the way they affect ecology, forms of extraction, territory, slavery – historically and in the present –, sovereignty and migration.