Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization


Miguel Calderón, El placer después (Pleasure Afterwards), 2019. Courtesy of kurimanzutto, New Mexico and New York.

July 21, 2021
Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
Part Three: Interrelational Arrangements (Interdependency and Survival)
July 21–August 3, 2021
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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for Interrelational Arrangements (Interdependency and Survival), the third part of the online film and discussion series Me, You, and Everyone We Know programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz.

No biological organism can be alive on its own, yet our relationships to others and to the environment are determined by the modern fantasy of the independent individual fending for herself in a Darwinist drive for success and survival. These relationships also give shape to how we sustain ourselves, how we survive in the world, and how we think of ourselves as individual subjects. Under globalized capitalism, the qualities and intensities of interpersonal and environmental relationships also pass through the market and are characterized by extreme alienation and dissociation. The works in this program deal with the hopes and dysfunctions of contemporary subjectivity and interrelational arrangements as determined by modernity and capitalism. Today, the market has erased the boundaries between biological life and politics, perpetuating the colonial hierarchy of a racialized social and political life that makes certain bodies vulnerable and subject to technologies of oppression and dispossession, while it protects others. As precarity is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions on decolonial interrationality, reciprocity, and mutual aid emerge seeking to finally transcend the white-savior complex behind human rights and welfare state discourses. In our hyper-individualized imaginaries, we have set empathy in place as a structural emotion to relate to others, yet we are either insensitive to their pain or embedded in toxic forms of empathic codependency. We can only hope for impossible attachments and autonomous forms of mutual aid.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
Part Three: Interrelational Arrangements (Interdependency and Survival)

Screening: Wednesday, July 21–Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Miguel Calderón, Camaleón, 2017, 26:23 minutes
In falconry, when birds hunt, they create a bridge between the falconer and the skies, getting lost from sight; but they generally return due to the symbiotic relationship they have established. Camaleón explores this link through a real-life character that depends on his bird as if it were an anxiolytic drug he needed to face reality. This film explores the connection between human and nature by following the protagonist over the course of twenty-four hours, from his shift as a bouncer at a nightclub in the city, until he emerges at dawn to take his falcon out hunting. The protagonist subtly explores the parallelism between the animal instinct to kill, and the implications of this act when it involves a human being.

Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, Beauty Plus Pity, 2009, 14:19 minutes
Combining ditties, stories, cartoons, scavenged video footage, and the installation of taxidermied animals and other sculptural elements, Beauty Plus Pity investigates the perverse ethical, emotional, and existential relationships among adults, children, animals, and God. Syracuse-based Canadian artists Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby suggest that generational legacies and natural cycles both comfort us with their promise of continuity and entrap us in destructive patterns. They are fascinated by how redemption can sprout from the present just as a tree sprouts from a seed. Reciting Philip Larkin’s poem about parental dysfunction, “This Be The Verse,” they urge us to “get out as early as you can” from our parents’ grasp “and don’t have any kids yourself.” Although children are not good, the narrator claims, they contain the potential for goodness.

Miguel Calderón, El placer después (Pleasure Afterwards), 2019, 30 minutes
Many of Miguel Calderón’s pieces integrate personal experiences by exploring encounters and objects that have marked his memory. Just after the earthquake of September 19, 2017 that struck Mexico City, Calderón established a close relationship with the maintenance staff of the Cibeles Fountain. The video narrates a series of events told by a real character who also reenacts them around this specific landmark.

Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, You Were an Amazement on the Day You Were Born, 2019, 30 minutes
You Were an Amazement on the Day You Were Born is a visually rich film that follows a woman through a life characterized by damage and loss, but in which she finds humor, love, and joy. With a score that follows the span of Lenore’s life, from her birth in the early 1970s to her death in the 2040s, the film takes us from moments of harrowing loss to those of poignancy and dark humor. Her life is told through voice-over, narrated by performers who range in age from nine to sixty-nine, and is beautifully illustrated with images of animals (including humans), insects, and landscapes. Film theorist Eli Horwatt writes “You Were an Amazement… conveys how the human animal’s ineluctable death drive can be the source of both profound comedy and tragic cruelty. In the many stories relayed across this short but voluble film, viewers are invited into an intimate identification with the experiences of marginalized others.”

b.h. Yael, Lessons for Polygamists, 2017, 14:33 minutes
Employing animation and collage, Lessons for Polygamists takes place inside the diary of an adolescent girl growing up in a polygamous household. She lists the lessons she would convey to Dad, if only she could. Every teenager knows better than the adults in their lives. Lessons for Polygamists reflects the righteous voice of adolescence as the young narrator attempts to make sense of her family dynamics, and more so her Dad’s behavior. Lessons for Polygamists is the artist’s story of growing up in a polygamous family. Through animated playfulness the images are drawn from family photographs and documentation, and the stories extend the lessons to a wider audience.

Discussion: Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 1pm EST  
b.h. Yael, Cooper Battersby, and Emily Vey Duke, moderated by Irmgard Emmelhainz
Livestream and Q&A with audience.

About the series 
In the pre-history of globalization, modernity was promoted by international postwar agencies that prescribed epistemologies, means of economic organization and production methods, and even a cultural sensibility to the so-called third-world countries. From a decolonial standpoint, modernity and colonialism are inextricable; indeed, they form the basis of our contemporary globalized socioeconomic and political systems: market-based predatory relationships. In order to normalize these toxic forms of interdependency and interrelationships that are leading to civilizational and environmental collapse, human and non-human inhabitants of the world are differentiated by means of signifiers, for instance, of alterity, class, gender, ethnic origin, and religion. These differentiations affect how we relate to each other and how we become subjects. This series gathers audiovisual works from Canada, Europe, North and South America, and Australia, from inside or on the margins of Western civilization. Beyond positing the question of whether decolonizing would mean undoing these differential categories and bringing justice to oppressed peoples, they provide pieces in a puzzle that could enable us to better see global capitalism not as a generalized, abstract whole, but as heterogeneous processes composed of beliefs, knowledges, relationships, daily practices, and the disassociation from our bodies and from social relationships that denigrate the reproduction of life in favor of production and consumption cycles. As such, they bring forth a pressing view on the contradictions and toxic interrelationships inherent to the subject of Western modernity, who has sought to feel at home anywhere on the globe, yet now finds itself increasingly alien to the basic means to reproduce life.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization is a new online series of films and discussions programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz for e-flux Video & Film. It will run in four thematic parts from June 23 through August 18, 2021. Each part will include a two-week group screening, and a live discussion. 

With films and videos by Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Yael Bartana, Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke, Ursula Biemannb.h. YaelJohn BockMaja BorgNoël Burch and Allan SekulaMiguel CalderónSara EliassenJohn GreysonClarisse HahnMike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Nicholas ManganJuan Manuel Sepúlveda, and Miguel Ventura; and discussions with Franco “Bifo” BerardiAnita ChariElena Comay del JuncoSiobhan F. Guerrero Mc ManusJohn Paul RiccoMiguel VenturaSoyoung Yoon, and others to be announced. 

For more information, contact

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July 21, 2021

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