Inspired by Sheba Chhachhi, The Water Diviner 2008, produced by SESC Sao Paulo for the exhibition AGUA, 2018
The relationship between humans and animals offers an endless field of investigation. Philosophical, anthropological and social dimensions all overlap within it. Dealing with this theme demands that we go back to fundamentals, while also talking about the present we live in and the future that lies ahead. Humans, who are both animals and separate from other animals, have historically defined what it means to be human, precisely in contrast to other living beings.
A deeprooted anthropocentrism leads us to say we are “not wild beasts” and hence different from other animals. Saying that man is not an animal means emphasizing not only the differences between humans and other animals, but more specifically, our superiority, our domination of the other. One needs only to look at how man, whether intentionally or not, wipes out other species through hunting and the pillaging of resources and ecosystems. In fact, removing just one species can cause a disturbance so great that it exceeds that ecosystem’s resilience. Not to speak of how animals are used for pleasure – circuses and bullfights being just two examples – or scientific experimentation.
Just as every person is unique, each animal has different qualities, strengths and personality traits. According to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) humans undermine their own dignity by abusing animals. In his “Doctrine of Virtue”, Kant explains that accepting that we must preserve animals means to preserve within us the compassion necessary for our moral relations with mankind. Finally, he concludes that our duties towards animals are nothing more than duties towards ourselves.
Exploring the relationship between man and animal also means bringing up the possibility of adopting different points of view and forms of interaction. The other is not our enemy, prey, tool, or commodity to be used as we please, but rather a contemporary, in the most literal sense, an alter ego and companion. It is only by confronting this animal other that we may imagine developing a true sense of awareness and fellowship for each other.
This has always been a field of reflection well - traveled by creative people, inspired on the one hand to raise questions linked to traditions, ethics, and aesthetics, to our fear of the alien and incomprehensible. On the other hand, the subject touches upon more pressing issues, such as the transformation of our everyday life, the ecosystem, biodiversity, pollution and climate change.
Animals are the most ancient subject depicted, and among the most frequent themes of art, fable, cosmology, magic and myth. The images attributed to them are explored in infinite ways: from literary personifications to powerful members of the symbolic realm, from being our invaluable companions in everyday life to being subordinate species for human domination or consumption.
Adelina von Fürstenberg
Adelina von Fürstenberg
CONCEPT DEVELOPER AND PRODUCER
President a.i. of ART for The World
Inspired by Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims creative activity as an essential part of people’s well-being, pluralism and respect for difference: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts”, ART for The World is a Non- Governmental Organization associated with the UN Department of Public Information (UNDPI), based in Geneva and in Italy with a network of collaborators and partner institutions in various countries around the world, including Italy and Switzerland, alongside France, UK, Germany, Greece, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Armenia, India, Lebanon, Benin, and Morocco. The NGO curates large thematic itinerant art exhibitions with well-known cross generational artists from diverse backgrounds and produces short movies and videos with independent award-winning filmmakers from the five continents under the auspices of the UN, the EU, the Council of Europe and other cultural institutions (both public and private).
An honorary member of World Art Foundations, AFTW was created by Mrs. Adelina von Fürstenberg, a renowned international art curator and independent film producer, who was awarded with the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the Biennale of Venice in 2015 for her curatorship of the Pavilion of Armenia, and with the Grand Prix Meret Oppenheim by the Federal Office of Culture, Switzerland in 2016 for her commitment to the arts. In 2020 she was nominated fellow of World Art and Science Academy/WAAS.
-2008 Stories on Human Rights, an anthology composed of 22 short films featuring the artist Marina Abramovic, French-Mauritanian filmmaker Abdherrahmane Sissako and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a great revelation of Thai cinema, among many others, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, earning the award for the Most Innovative Cultural Project in Europe during the year 2008, from the Council of Europe.
-2010 Then and Now Beyond Borders and Differences, a feature film on the themes of tolerance of beliefs. With the shorts of the French actress Fanny Ardant, the great African filmmaker from Burkina Faso Idrissa Ouédraogo, the award-winning Iranian Jafar Panahi and the playwright Robert Wilson among many others, commissioned by the Council of Europe and the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
-2019 Interdependence, an anthology composed of eleven filmmakers with the participation of Silvio Soldini, Faouzi Bensaïdi, and Leon Wang, among others, under the patronage of the UN and the City of Milan. It was awarded in 2021 at the ILEEF (London Eco Film Festival). It also was awarded in 2020 at VIFF (Vienna Independent Film Festival) with Bettina Oberli's short film productions Kingdom, and with Daniela Thomas' Tua Ingugu shot in Amazonia awarded for best Brazilian short film in 2020 at SPFF (Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival.