2020 – 2021 Fabrizio Terranova & Laëtitia Jeurissen

Laetitia JEURISSEN & Fabrizio TERRANOVA, laureate of the 2020 call for applications – current residence

A two-headed monster

The project will be the first collaboration between filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova and curator Laetitia Jeurissen, born from their interest and love for feminist science fiction, speculative fabulation and a pointillist and energetic art of portraiture of characters and situations on the margins. A conviction of the formal and sensitive necessities of any political commitment. The starting point for this collaboration is a shared passion for the relevance of Butler’s Parables. The desire to transform a science-fiction book into a film-investigation, for which the territory and context of Digne-les-Bains will open up as a possible scenography, a place of mutation for the future imagined by Octavia Butler*.

A free adaptation, a film-investigation / Border territories and refuges / Digne-les-Bains – refuge zone / A collective methodology / An experimental restitution.

The Trickster’s Parable ** is the title given by Octavia Butler to the third volume – never published – of the science-fiction trilogy of Parables. The first two volumes (Parable of the Sower, Parable of Talent) tell the story of Lauren Olamina, a 16-year-old African-American teenager trying to survive in a near future devastated by the consequences of capitalism and its corollary, global warming. The forced migration of Lauren and the inhabitants of her Californian hometown to the North of the United States, where the promise of a more sustainable life encourages them to make this dangerous journey, is recorded in a diary, which is at the same time the collection of a philosophical-spiritual thought called “Earth-seed”, convinced that humans need other types of stories and thoughts to ensure life on earth.

Our project proposes the free adaptation of this third mysterious part of the African-American feminist writer in the form of a documentary in three chapters and a restitution of the research work. This film-investigation will be carried out on three border territories of the globe: Digne-les-Bains, the border between Mexico and the United States, and Turkey.

Three frontier places, three singular stories, three cultures, three refuge zones on which to articulate fragments of a singular reality and fabulations based on a work of fiction that takes into account the urgency of composing in a world undergoing profound change. Pieces of the world crossed by transformations, migratory flows of all kinds and all species but also refuge zones in order to reinvent a liveable world.

Text extracted from the note of intent by Laetitia Jeurissen & Fabrizio Terranova

** The figure of the “Trickster” or the Coyote, from Native American cultures, is a troublemaker, a kind of complement to the civilized or conformist individual, devil’s advocate. He is a figure of “non-innocence” for excellence, he “seems to force to unfold problems, to explore unexpected and imperceptible folds, to create discomfort without however paralyzing action and thought” as the philosopher Vinciane Despret describes it to us.

Octavia Butler, born in Pasadena in 1947, long considered one of the best known women in the field of science fiction, Octavia E. Butler became famous in 1979 with Kindred, the story of a young girl who travels through time and meets her slave ancestors. Winner of the 1984 and 1985 Hugo Prize in the short story category and the 1994 Nebula Prize for The Parable of Talent, as well as the prestigious MacArthur Grant “Genius” award, she is the first science fiction writer to receive this distinction. Octavia E. Butler passed away in 2006 in Seattle at the age of 59.

Laetitia Jeurissen (b. 1989, Belgium) is an artist and curator who lives and works in Mexico City. Her interests in feminism and postcolonial studies in particular, as well as her desire to create networks of affinities and collaborations in the world of contemporary art between different disciplines have led her to organize several projects. She is co-founder of Aztlan in 2015, a platform for interdisciplinary research and conferences. In 2016, Laetitia Jeurissen founded Squash Editions, a series of curatorial proposals that take place on a Squash site in Mexico City. She has created several publications, organized exhibitions and worked in the field of archiving for renowned galleries and art collections. She has won several grants and awards for her projects (Flemish government grant, Mexican government grant for foreign artists, Beca Adidas Border and P.A.C.). In her artistic practice, she works mainly in the field of video and photography. She is currently developing Octopi, a quarterly magazine focusing on the practices of care and re-enchantment, the first issue is scheduled for the summer of 2020.

Fabrizio Terranova (b. 1971, Italy) lives and works in Brussels. He is an artist, filmmaker, activist, and professor at the ERG (School of Graphic Research) in Brussels where he initiated and co-directs the Master’s Degree in Storytelling and Experimentation/Speculative Narrative. He is best known for his film Donna Haraway, Story Telling for Earthly Survival (2016), which has been shown internationally (Anthology Film Archives – New York, KunstenFestivaldesArts – Brussels, Tate Modern – London, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). He has published Les Enfants du compost in the collective book Gestes spéculatifs (Les Presses du réel, 2015) and Pour un film chien in the collective book Habiter le trouble with Donna Haraway (Editions du Dehors, 2019). He is also a founding member, with Vinciane Despret, Emilie Hermant, Isabelle Stengers of DingDingDong – Institute for the Co-production of Knowledge on Huntington’s Disease for which he recently directed Absolute Beginners (2019, IFFR, International Film Festival – Rotterdam, DOK – Leipzig). His first film, Josée Andrei, An Insane Portrait (2010) was followed by a book published by Éditions du souffle.