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Sun 16 Sep 2018

11 am - 5 pm Turner Contemporary Free

11 am – 5 pm

‘We are their mistake, the dog said.’ John Berger, King: A Street Story

Join us for a day of artist performances, workshops, film and animal expert-led tours, exploring our co-habitation with other species, in particular those seen as pests or strays, relegated to the edges of human society. 

See new live works by artists Bronwen Buckeridge, who will translate a real time phone call with a raven into an avian performance, and Robbie Judkins, who will use sonic devices that scare animals away to create sound composition.

Become part of a troop of monkeys or blind creatures in artist Adam James’s Live Action Role Play workshops, and experience Animals & Us through short tours with members of the Animal Humanities Network at Kent University. 

The day also includes ‘Co-Existence: John Berger’s Films about Animals’, a special screening of two films made in collaboration with the critic John Berger, and an in conversation with artist and activist Andrea Luka Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s Taskafa: Stories of the Street is a poetic portrait of the street dogs of Istanbul and the residents who care for them, while the animal masked presenters in Mike Dibbs’ Parting Shots from Animals explore our marginalisation of non-human species.           

PEST has been organised by curator and researcher Rose Thompson in collaboration Gareth Evans, Film Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, and the Kent Animal Humanities Network and supported by the University of Kent’s School of Arts.

Full Programme 

Blind Animals, Adam James
Live action role play (larp) workshops
2 – 2.25 pm
Suitable for ages 10+
Please dress in clothes you are comfortable to move around in.
No prior experience or skills necessary to take part.
Book here

Designed by Peter Munthe-Kaas, run by Adam James.

In this blindfolded larp, you will collectively create a mysterious group of blind animals. Each animal will be completely unique, with strange bodies, voices and unpredictable behaviours. Set within a pitch-dark underground cave, these creatures have never seen the light of day and rarely encounter other life forms. Join us in finding out what happens when they meet each other for the first time… 

Monkeys, Adam James 
Live action role play (larp) workshop

3 – 3.25 pm
Suitable for ages 10+
Please dress in clothes you are comfortable to move around in.
No prior experience or skills necessary to take part.
Book here

Designed by Nina Runa Essendrop and Peter Munthe-Kaas, run by Adam James.

In this energetic short-form larp, you are invited to play as part of troop of monkeys living deep within a tropical rainforest. Over generations the monkeys have formed meaningful bonds with one another, living as a family in harmony with their surroundings. Whilst they are a playful and sensitive family they also know how to defend themselves when intruders threaten their peaceful existence.

Cast, Bronwen Buckeridge
1 – 1.30 pm
No booking

A live phone call with a raven to imagine how avian behaviour might shape and disturb our more familiar world.

Pest, Robbie Judkins
2.30 – 3 pm
Free, no booking

Judkins has created a new sound performance for Animals & Us using sonic devices employed to scare animals away from gardens and green spaces, in a composition with other sounds and field recordings. 

Co-Existence: John Berger's Films about Animals
Film screening and Q&A 
2 – 4.45 pm, individual timing below

A special screening of two of the late, great writer John Berger's documentary film collaborations, with acclaimed artist, documentary maker and cultural activist Andrea Luka Zimmerman in conversation.

Parting Shots from Animals (1980, 60 mins)
2 – 3 pm

One of John Berger's longest-standing collaborators, director Mike Dibb made a number of television films with the writer, including the pioneering Ways of Seeing. This film, rarely seen since its BBC broadcast in the Omnibus arts series, draws from Berger's key essays on how we look at animals and what they mean to us including Why Look at Animals?. The striking twist in the film is how it becomes a letter from the animals about how they perceive us.

Taskafa: Stories of the Street (2013, 66 mins)
3.15 – 4.20 pm

John Berger's 1998 novel King was told from the perspective of a homeless community's dog of that name. Featuring the author's own readings, Andrea Luka Zimmerman's warm and engaged film celebrates the numerous residents in Istanbul who care for the city's extensive population of street dogs. At once a portrait of a culture in transition, an affecting and committed study of those (not only canine) marginalised by globalisation, and an empathetic vision of resistance through a wholly different form of belonging, Taskafa is a work of poetry and praise, singing of the daily joys that come from camaraderie between species.

Q&A with the filmmaker, Andrea Luka Zimmerman 
4.20 pm

The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, and the event will be hosted by Gareth Evans, film curator at the Whitechapel Gallery and a frequent collaborator in events and publication with John Berger.


Participant Biographies

Bronwen Buckeridge’s practice sits at the intersection of sound, sculpture and performance. Recent work includes a live audio session featuring conversations with dogs, an earthwork made with the assistance of witches, and an exhibition curated by spirits.

Adam James’s practice brings people together in order to understand the self and to open up new ways of being and interacting. He uses non-verbal play to encourage forms of dialogue, mediation and the reconsideration of sameness and difference. James makes sculptural objects, drawings, photographs, videos and texts that all arise from his steadfast involvement in the performative practice of live action role play (larp).

Robbie Judkins is a sound artist and musician with a focus on performance, improvisation, composition, broadcasting and audio-visual work. His work also explores political and personal issues; particularly animal advocacy and mental health. Robbie performs as Left Hand Cuts off the Right, is the creator of Animal Sounds on Resonance FM which investigates how artists are using sound to explore human and non-human animal relationship and hosts Parallax View on 199Radio.

Andrea Luka Zimmerman is an artist, film maker and cultural activist, exploring an often unexpected intersection of public and private memory, in particular in relation to structural and political violence. Her features include Estate, a Reverie (2015) and Erase and Forget (2017). Her new film is an Artangel commission.

Gareth Evans is a London-based writer, curator, presenter, producer and Whitechapel Gallery’s Adjunct Film Curator. He is also co-curator of Swedenborg Film Festival, Flipside Festival, Whitstable Biennale and is the film co-ordinator for the London Review of Books.