Vladimir Tyulkin double bill! Thursday March 20th, 5pm, Queen Mary, University of London

Acclaimed Documentary Filmmaker, Vladimir Tyulkin (Kazakhstan) will present a double bill of his films: Lord of the Flies and Experiment of the Cross (in Russian with English subtitles).

Thursday 20 March, 5pm, Arts One G. 19 (Hitchcock Cinema)
Queen Mary, University of London

Following the screenings, Vladimir will be in conversation with Anat Pick (Film) and Jeremy Hicks (Russian), and will take questions.

Admittance is free.

Lord of the Flies (Povelitel´ mukh, Kazakhfilm, 1990) 49 minutes
Lord of the Flies is character study, a dialogue with a pensioner and self-declared visionary, a man who has discovered and implemented in his own smallholding a gruesome solution to humanity’s and nature’s problems through an ingenious use of cats, dogs, flies and chickens. Tyulkin’s film permits his subject to expound his views on the world, reflecting on his experience of his country’s traumas, and extrapolating on the political analogies of his home as a system. The film comments on its subject sardonically through editing, animal sounds and music.

Experiment of the Cross (Opyt kresta, 1995) 40 minutes
For this film Tyulkin teamed up with Taras Popov, who had worked for over ten years in a young offenders’ penal institution. Through its insider’s understanding, the film presents a picture of systematic dehumanization and degradation that belies the authorities’ claims to be rehabilitating and reforming the inmates.


About Vladimir Tyulkin
Born in 1955, in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, Vladimir Tyulkin studied film at the Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinematography in St Petersburg, Russia before completing the advanced director’s course at Mosfilm. From 1987 to 1990 he was head of the documentary film department of Kazakh Film. Vladimir has worked as a director at various national TV stations and directed 500 episodes of a TV series named The Crossroad for Phabar, the Central Kazakh TV station. At present he is a director for ‘Kazakh TV’ (owned by the Khabar Media Holding Company) and a Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Film and TV at the Turan University in Almaty. His film credits include Lord of the Flies (1990), About Love (2005), and Experiment of the Cross, co-directed with Taras Popov (1995) which was broadcast in more than 30 countries and went on to win a host of international awards including the Grand Prix at the Amsterdam International Film Festival. In 2004, Vladimir won the award for Best Russian Documentary Series for his nine-part series Tattoo Under Heaven. His recent work includes Not about Dogs (2010) and his works have been shown and acclaimed at international festivals, including Nion (1991), Leipzig (1995), London (2005), and Oberhausen (2011).

for further details, contact Anat Pick: a.pick@qmul.ac.uk 





Screening Nature is a proud flock member of Our Hen House, a place to find our way to change the world for animals. This online magazine and media hub has a special section on The Art of the Animal, with regular features on animal films and visual art.

See for example Wild and Wired on the online interactive documentary, Bear 71.

Booking for the Screening Nature Symposium **EXTENDED**; Booking open for the screening weekend at the Whitechapel Gallery

Booking for the international symposium on Screening Nature, the one-day symposium on the subject of visual culture and the natural world, has now been extended. In addition to keynotes by Professor W. J. T. Mitchell, and Professor Claire Colebrook, filmmaker and artist Rose Lowder, whose work will be screened at the Whitechapel Gallery later in the evening, will be speaking. With presentations by Dr. Silke Panse (UCA), and Professor Jody Berland (York University, Canada).

** Book via Eventbrite at: http://screeningnature.eventbrite.co.uk

The symposium kickstarts our weekend of moving image work on nature, humans, and animals, and the convoluted relations between us. All screenings take place at the Whitechapel Gallery from Saturday evening through to Sunday night. We are pleased that many of the filmmakers and artists whose work we will show, will be present for an after-screening Q&A.

Please see the Provisional Program for details.

For the full schedule of screenings and booking see FULL SCHEDULE.


Three frames from Rose Lowder’s Bouquet 4 (1994)

Elegy (2001), by Ian Wiblin and Anthea Kennedy

Elegy is a short film in memory of a cat. It depicts her nocturnal space as imagined by us. This space is our “garden,” a dank and decaying backyard full of weeds and wildlife, a place that belonged more to her than to us. Various creatures join in the process of mourning, on and off screen.


Elegy, Ian Wiblin and Anthea Kennedy, 3’25″ b/w, 2001.

Elegy will be shown on Day 2 of Screening Nature at the Whitechapel Gallery, 19th of May. The filmmakers will be present for a Q & A. 

Zoomisia: Madame Babylas aime les animaux (1911)

In English, the film is known, perhaps tellingly, as Mrs. Pussy Loves Animals. Released by Pathé in 1911, this is an example of early French farce in which animals serve as living props, the objects of Madame Babylas’s excessive affection. The film thrives on a transparent pathology: Mme Babylas’s filling up of her apartment with more and more animals–guinea pigs, caged birds, ducks, and a pig–displaces her childless, supposedly sexless, marital relationship. In the end, an angry Monsieur Babylas wreaks his revenge by setting a tiger on his wife’s collection of herbivores. A hectic chase sequence ensues in which the tiger attacks the pig, and leads to the film’s closing shots of the bandaged pig, sprawled seductively across a bed, fussed over by the corpulent Mme Babylas.

The Babylas household becomes, in the final shot, a frightening place in which animals are no longer just substitute children, but victims of what looks a lot like Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, played for laughs. Viewed today, from the distance of time and the safe consensus on “animal welfare,” the film reveals not Mme Babylas’s zoophilic pathology, but the pathology of film itself: the compulsion and cruelty so central to our relations to animals, and the power of animus to animate–to move images, the essence of film.

Its title states that Mme Babylas loves animals, and we soon learn she loves them too much, to the detriment of her normal desires within the framework of a proper, heterosexual marriage. Her husband’s revenge, carried out through and against animals, uses the fetishistic objects of Mme Babylas’s affection against her. Strange, then, that the violent act of revenge does not cure her. Instead, it exacerbates her condition by providing it with new avenues and even more perverse outlets.

Might a different reading of the film be in order, one that suggests that husband and wife in fact present a most compatible and even exemplary partnership? After all, if it wasn’t for M Babylas, his wife might have stuck with collecting small animals and merely keeping them indoors. M Babylas introduces a new and terrifying thrill to their domestic love nest: an exotic predator, an obvious avatar for Babylas himself.


Madam Babylas aime les animaux (Alfred Machin, France, 1911, silent, b/w, 9′)

This titillating game between husband and wife that sees their desire intensify in the presence of captive animals casts doubts on the meaning of amour. We are not dealing here, it seems, with a woman’s perverse sentimentality manifested through an overly feminized love of animals, and a man’s rational humanity that necessarily rejects them. Neither zoophilic nor zoophobic, what gives this film its farcical vitality is a deep-seated hatred of animals, a “zoomisia,” characteristic of a number of early animal films that predate modernity’s coverup of the productive forces of hatred (through animal cuteness, as dispassionate scientific observation, or the discourse of animal welfare). This film captures the creative exuberance of violence as an engine of cinema and filmic attraction.

You can see Madame Babylas aime les animaux on day two of  Screening Nature at the Whitechapel Gallery, on Sunday the 19th of May, in the program called “Love.”

Mute Doves and Beetles: The Films of Chen Sheinberg

Chen Sheinberg is a filmmaker, artist, and curator whose work has been screened internationally at festivals like Oberhausen. We are delighted to be showing three of Sheinberg’s films, Convulsion (1998), Blind (2001), and The Mute Dove (2012) at Screening Nature.


The Mute Dove (Chen Sheinberg, 2012)

Sheinberg’s films observe and attend to the daily lives of ordinary creatures. By focusing on the small detail, the faltering and unspectacular existence of urban animals, ordinariness imperceptibly gives way to the extraordinary. Sheinberg chooses the common dung beetle, the dove who cannot fly, or a blind stray cat to express something about the heartbreaking creaturelinesss of the everyday.

Chen Sheinberg will be present to discuss his work.

Screening Nature: Symposium and Screenings Program

Our May 2013 launch events are coming up!

  •  SYMPOSIUM: Saturday 18 May 2013

Symposium on nature, animals, and the moving image: Queen Mary, University of London (10am-4.30pm), Arts One, Lecture Theatre. Keynotes & speakers: W. J. T. Mitchell, Claire Colebrook, Rose Lowder, Jody Berland, Silke Panse.

Admission: free; booking essential. To book, please visit our EVENTBRITE page.


9.30am       Registration

10.00am     Introduction (Anat Pick and Silke Panse)

10.15am     Keynote: W. J. T. Mitchell, ‘Art X Environment’

11.15am     Coffee and tea break

11.30am     Jody Berland, ‘A Visitor’s Guide to the Virtual Ménagerie’

12.10pm     Rose Lowder, ‘Interpreting Nature at the Present Time Within an Ecological Context’

12.50pm     Lunch break

2.00pm       Keynote: Claire Colebrook, ‘Sex and the (Anthropocene) City’

3.00pm       Coffee and tea break

3.15pm       Silke Panse, ‘Planes in the Plane of Immanence or: Who or What Moves the Leaves?’

3.45pm       Roundtable Q&A

4.15pm        Travel to Whitechapel Gallery for the 5:30pm screening programme

A mini-festival on cinemas of flora and fauna, at the Whitechapel Gallery (Sat 18 May 5:30-8pm; Sun 19 May 11am-7pm). Films by the Lumière brothers, Joris Ivens, Percy Smith, Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Joyce Wield, Mike Marshall, Vladimir Tyulkin, Susanne Bürner, Rose Lowder, Helga Fanderl, Peter Kubelka, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, Ed Chell, Mike Blow, Silke Panse, Erin Espelie, Johanna Hällsten, David Chapman and David CottridgeChen Sheinberg, Ian Wiblin and Anthea Kennedy, Lucy Powell, Sergei Dvortsevoy, Zalcock and Sara Chambers, and a selection of rarely seen early films.

elegy still from film   copy

Anthea Kennedy and Ian Wiblin, Elegy, 2001

Admission: Sat 18 May, £8/ £6 concs.; Sun 19 May £11/ £8 concs. (morning or afternoon programme), £20/ £15 concs. (full day).

Online booking available on the Whitechapel Gallery website. Booking essential.*

* Booking for the symposium and screenings is separate, and on a first come first served basis. Book soon! 

Curated by Anat Pick and Silke Panse.

E-mail us at: screening.nature@gmail.com

QM logo large black        AHRC_logo    UCA colour logo cmyk    WG

The Cinema of Vladimir Tyulkin


About Love (Tyulkin, 2005) will be screened as part of the Screening Nature Weekend, 19 May 2013, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.

This film about a woman caring for dozens of unwanted dogs in her tiny apartment is one of Tyulkin’s experimental documentaries that are intimate portraits of unusual people. Despite focusing on individual characters, Tyulkin’s films are pictures of post-Soviet life from a perspective rarely addressed in mainstream documentary. Compassionate and horrifying, sympathetic and frantic, excremental and otherworldly, About Love is dominated by the bodies and sounds (and even smells) of the dog pack. But, as its title suggests, divine love is at the centre of this film, making almost literal the God-dog anagram.

Vladimir Tyulkin will be present to discuss his work after the screening.

For the Love of World

In her 1996 acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Wisława Szymborska said the following, which distills what the film program and writing project that make up the Screening Nature Network could hope to express:

“The world, whatever we might think about it terrified by its vastness and by our helplessness in the face of it, embittered by its indifference to individual suffering—of people, animals, and perhaps also plants, for how can we be sure that plants are free of suffering; whatever we might think about its spaces pierced by the radiation of stars, stars around which we now have begun to discover planets, already dead? still dead?—we don’t know; whatever we might think about this immense theater, to which we may have a ticket, but it is valid for a ridiculously brief time, limited by two decisive dates; whatever else we might think about this world—it is amazing.”


Ed Chell, A Leaf in the Wind (2012, mobile phone DV, 1’)

Film programs usually shy away from directly questioning ethics. The Flora/Fauna program, to be screened at the Whitechapel Gallery on the 18th and 19th of May 2013, is put together with explicit nods to the ethics of production, reception, and form, keeping in mind the living contexts in which filmmaking happens. This is why we are running this as a vegan event while drawing attention to those material facts that are rarely acknowledged: the animal-derived ingredients of the film stock and plastics that are part of the still and moving image apparatus.

A love of the world, and a recognition of the materiality and vulnerability that constitute earthly life, includes thinking about such cinematic fundamentals: film’s living subjects, natural resources (including human and nonhuman labor), and production materials. These are an essential part of reflecting, politically and ethically, on worldly suffering, which for Szymborska belong to the “immense theatre” through whose sentient and non-sentient props mortality itself reverberates. Unusual theatre-goers that we are, we cannot watch without being involved, without thinking about what our involvement entails and what it should look like. An immense but also demanding theatre.

Tender, cruel, exuberant, the films in the program (five strands over the weekend) are precisely not generic spectacles of nature. We feel they honor Szymborska’s image of the universe, and humans within it, as impossibly big and small. The sense of amazement for her does not disavow terror or anger or anguish, and it isn’t particularly elevated or academic so that only professional philosophers (or astronomers) can claim it. Amazement belongs to all who “may have a ticket” to this greatest–and only–show on earth.

We will be showing a range of shorts, a number of one-minute films, and others no longer than three or four minutes. Short films are like poems or essays, or, indeed, acceptance speeches, not because they are lyrical or romantic or ingratiating, not because they are overtly “experimental” either. The films in this program are concise expressions and explorations of a relationship to the world at once simple and complex. Concision suggests both ambition and modesty, a doubling of scale, like the title of one of Szymborska’s anthologies View with a Grain of Sand. Whether it be Rose Lowder’s frame-by-frame sunflower studies, images of fountains and rain, or visions of the minutia of human and nonhuman life, all are reminders that what we call human history (its life and art) morphs into natural history if only we look closely enough.