Lenore Malen is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses the mediums of photography, video and audio installation, and performance, to blur the lines between documentary and fiction. Using the lens of historyand humor she examines extreme belief systems and the sciences and technologies that inform them.As the founder of The New Society for Universal Harmony, a collaborative project that fictively re-invents, in contemporary terms, an l8th-century utopian community, Malen creates historical re-stagings that incorporate subjects such as Mesmerism, utopian longing, and most recently the social organization of the beehive. Malen's current production, The Animal That I Am, 2009-10, narrates the grave threat to the bee population and the immanent worldwide crisis of food production from the point of view of the independent beekeeper. Filmed on-site in the Hudson Valley region, New York, the video features interviews with beekeepers who have devoted their lives to their colonies, The interviews are intercut with historical and found footage, providing a crucial context for how we have understood and framed our relationship with these social insects. The film highlights our innate need for contact with a diversity of other life forms, not just our own. The title is an homage to Jacque Derrida's The Animal That Therefore I Am which is both a philosophical examination into the way we have anthropomorphized animals and a plea against the industrialized treatment of them.
new genres,performance,urban ecologies,video,visual culture studies