Conjuring the Perceptible Unknown
Conjuring the Perceptible Unknown is a long-term research and production project created together with Beny Wagner that is unfolding over a series of films and essays.
Our collaborative practice as filmmakers and researchers has often centered on certain nodes in histories of science to act as prisms for questions we have surrounding the threshold between the body its surroundings, knowledge regimes and power, modes of organizing and perceiving the natural world. While both science and documentary films are often thought to uncover preexisting truths, our work takes as its point of departure an understanding that both non-fiction filmmaking and scientific research coproduce the realities they observe. Following an onto-epistemological view of scientific knowledge production, experiments can only measure the realities in which they intervene. Scientific concepts exemplify this, being thought by the historian of science Georges Canguilhem to be ideas, experiments, and projections that conjured phenomena into being. For us, all moving image, fiction and nonfiction, operates on a comparable paradigm, reconfiguring the physical world into new perceptual frameworks. Beyond discussions of the interventionist nature of documentary we view all moving image production is always manifesting something yet to be seen or known. Working from within the history of science our broader aim as filmmakers is not to depict certain episodes in the history of science but rather to cross pollinate these two fundamental systems of world organization towards developing new perceptual models. Both science and moving image have, throughout history, primarily served as tools through which to measure life forms and thus make them more predictable. As we navigate an era defined by ecological crises, our aim is to subvert the quantitative functions of these two systems towards the production of films that materialize the radical openness and ecstatic uncertainty intrinsic to life.
Our first film in this series is A Demonstration
The second film, Theater of the Invisible, is currently in production and is supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.
We have recently written an essay that addresses some of the concerns of the project: