Pulling from a fascination with the physical as well as psychological experience of ancient rites and rituals, French artist Mathilde Rosier began conducting anthropological research in 2012 that relates to groups that practice magic in the modern western world. Making use of fictional depictions of fragments of a narrative self-made costumes assemble, animals and nature viewed within the frame of the mystic appear as though props. A deserted stage set. A lonesome protagonist in an unreality. Painting, film, dance and theatre come into a symbiotic relationship that lays bare oneiric happenings making room for her viewer to become disoriented in time and space itself widening the realm between consciousness and unconsciousness. What is consciousness being a question that is motioned to.
“Thinking like the tree, the bee, the ocean? Interdependent, interconnected, telepathic and empathic. Could we unexpectedly learn ethics from those other life’s forms that we always thought were inferior to ours? But an ethic in the sense of Spinoza or Nietzsche, which aims to strengthen the vital power in us and the true joy. The true joy that leads us to a relation to the world, which is not only utilitarian.”
A recent exhibition Thinking like another earthy life form begs the question “Where is intelligence?” The work sits at the intersection of poetry, philosophical thought and science and questions conventional notions of intellect as found in the human brain. “First we heard that intelligence could be a faculty we share with superior animals, than with insects, bacterias and now possibly with plants and why not also with ecosystems, like the ocean or the forest.” Is intellect a result of the movement of waves in water or in the air that every species interacts with in a specific way according to its needs… Can human beings move their pattern of thought to be in unison with that of “an animal, an insect, a bacteria, a tree, an ocean, a forest.”
The notion of self and the becoming of self is a topic of immense complexity if not one of the most difficult aspects that being human entails. Becoming comes from thought. The idea of a second life, the one after death is engaged with from ancient Egyptian thought thereby confronting the human mortal’s fear of death. “What we learn first from the rest of the life forms on earth is that death is not a problem. There is here a huge hope to solve the most problematic discomfort we endure in our conditioning as human individuals.” The artist cautions that there lay a challenge in thinking outside of the embodiment of humanity and that we need to learn to think outside of language, an essential component in our interpersonal and even intrapersonal interactions as human.
“When visiting a touristic or cultural site, one is offered an audio guide, which is surprisingly in many cases, merely an audio transcription of what we look at. As if we were all blind, our senses incapable to bring the information to our intelligence without the support of the literary translation. We look but we do not see. We have to learn to trust our senses if we want to learn to think like a non human. We have to learn to stop the overflow of alphabet if we want to access the inter-species intelligence, which is probably all the time available around us. We have to tune in.”