Lucy Beech - Guest Professor Film & Knowledge 2021/22
Filmuni: Can you tell us in two sentences something about yourself?
LB: I am interested in filmmaking as a tool of artistic research and also as a space for self organisation and community building. The pandemic has been a really challenging and transformative time; it's forced everyone, including myself and the researchers, academics, and artists that I’m working with to find new ways to build communities and modes of collaborative exchange. As a result I seem to be working on more collaborative/experimental projects than ever including an ambitious new film which is inspired by the narrative poetry of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick that polyphonically mixes documentary and fictional material to build an alternative history of western breeding technologies common to agricultural livestock farming.
Filmuni: Can you describe the research project you are conducting as a Guest Professor at Filmuniversity Babelsberg in one sentence (and elaborate on it in two more if you like)?
LB: My research project was first developed on an artist residency at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science where I am now a fellow and continuing to participate in a working group that explores the kinds of intimacies that develop in the context of work with animals and controlled reproduction. The first iteration of this work is an experimental writing project with a historian of science at MPIWG Tamar Novick which will be published in the academic journal Technology and Culture. This will form the basis of a script for a performative lecture at the contemporary art museum SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul in July 2021. The lecture will then be transformed into a screenplay that blends documentary and fictional material. Somewhere between a narrative poem, a film essay and a fictional documentary the film will explore the complex remaking of sexual taxonomies, practices, and identities in the context of animal breeding.
Filmuni: What seminars will you be teaching at Film University?
LB: I have formed a working group called Hybrid Fictions with some amazing students. Together we are exploring artistic research through filmmaking as a method of thinking and acting relationally. Reading the insights of feminist, queer theory and science studies through one another the group explores how hybrid or ‘blended methodologies’ might bring to the fore questions of ontology, materiality, embodiment and agency with the intention to subvert conventions of research and documentary filmmaking. Reflecting the temporality and poly-vocality of our working group we are each tracking our conversation using an online research tool called ‘are.na’. Designed by artists for the purpose of organising artistic research, each participant is invited to use the platform to form a non-linear map of our connections, conversations, reading and references. The hope is that each participant builds an individualised path through a wealth of collectively gathered material that might challenge our approach to research based projects.
Filmuni: Will there be a chance to learn more about your research in a lecture or workshop at the Film University (if so: where and when)?
LB: I will be giving a lecture on my research some time in June as part of Christine Reeh-Peters and Hans Neubauer’s online seminar series "Experimental Narration / Film and Experiment”. Also the performance lecture that myself and my collaborator from the Max Planck Insititue are giving will stream live via the SALT BEYOĞLU website in July. I will make an announcement about this in the coming weeks.
Filmuni: What do you expect from your time at Filmuniversity Babelsberg? Are you planning further cooperations?
LB: I am planning a symposium together with IKF at the beginning of 2022. This event explores the work of a number artist filmmakers who use the format of ‘performance lecture’ as tool for developing research based films and screenplays. A group of artists will present a series of performance lectures and the subsequent screenplays that evolved from these performances. Events and Screenings will be accompanied by a series of conversations that focus on the performance lecture as an enmeshment of pedagogy and artistic discourse.
CV Lucy Beech