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Animal Mirrors


The second edition of the "Retour Natur" festival focuses this year on the relationship between animals and humans and nature. The philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri spoke of the animalisation of man in their work "1000 Plateaus" and none other than Franz Kafka had the species merge; beetles, monkeys, dogs, birds, often not linguistically marked as animals so that they initially seem like humans: Where is the seam between animal and human? For Kafka, this worldview sprang from a Hasidic way of thinking that interpreted the "universal soul" shattered and scattered into the gazes of all living beings, making it conspicuous. In the unreadable gaze, the commonality of living beings becomes tangible. So who or what looks at what or whom when animals look at us and we look at animals: People watching Animals watching People. The philosopher and feminist Donna Haraway postulates an abolition of species, she is looking for symbioses between animals, plants and people that leave hierarchical structures behind, "make yourselves related" is her motto. It is a view of equality that takes into account the universality of nature and aims at a common life with corals, whales, primates and humans. The artists in the exhibition "Animal Mirrors" focus on this question of the human gaze and animal retrospection - and vice versa. They traverse this "pure space" of the "consciousness of our kind" and the "safe animal that draws us towards / in another direction" according to Rainer Maria Rilke, in an exploratory and aesthetic manner, and risk a look into the separative commonality of animal and human in their works.


Monira Al Qadiri, Yonathas de Andrade, Alisa Hecke & Julian Rauter, Juri Jovanovic, Rachel Mayeri, Laure Prouvost, Isabella Rossellini, Sensory Ethnography Lab

Curated by Philipp Preuss



Akazienallee 61
45478 Mülheim an der Ruhr