what if you adopted the animal gaze?

VSIn recent years, the denunciation of the “male gaze” as the sole cultural referent has been accompanied by the production of works deploying a “female gaze” as a necessary counterpoint. However, it would seem that another, equally fascinating, shift is taking place in the intellectual and artistic sphere: that of the development of an animal gaze, in opposition to anthropocentrism. This is how in Cannes, in 2022, the filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski presented his film Eo. Inspired by the film by Robert Bresson Random balthazar (1966), which recounts the misadventures of a donkey sold to a circus, Eo is not an ordinary remake: the filmmaker chose to tell the story from the donkey’s point of view.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers “EO”: the atrocious world of humans seen from animal level

Likewise, in the documentary Cow (2021), director Andrea Arnold is betting on a film without words, which reflects the way in which the cow perceives its environment. Bold attempts which are part of a real change in our way of considering the animal world. The philosopher Vinciane Desprets, author ofAutobiography of an Octopus (Actes Sud, 2021) and a pioneer on this issue, analyzes as follows: “In the 1960s, when National Geographic and Disney began producing animal documentaries, they realized that the public was much more interested when we talked to them about an individual, rather than a group. They really wanted to understand his emotions, his reactions. »

Vinciane Desprets explains that this personalization continued with the work of ethologists and movements in favor of animal welfare, which did enormously to inform the general public. According to her, theanimal gauze complements scientific advances in a beneficial way : “On the animal question, we must abandon the idea of ​​totalizing knowledge and recognize that we can only have approximate knowledge. Art reminds us of this limit, through productions that are necessarily imperfect, but very enriching. »

The strange funeral ceremony of the magpies

The life of a farm through the eyes of a cow, a dog, a cat, a magpie: such is the literary challenge that Agnès de Clairville took on with her novel Farmhouse (HarperCollins, 304 pages, 19.99 euros). This former agricultural engineer describes the crisis shaking the agricultural world. The animals witness the tragedies that punctuate the life of a family of breeders: economic difficulties, infanticide, sexual violence. But animals are not only witnesses, they also have a life of their own into which the novelist immerses us: “I wanted to be part of an almost documentary reality, while trying to reconstruct the sensoriality of animals. »

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