The Beast with Two Backs: Mutuality, Exchange and Transfiguration between Animals

30 April 2013, 17:00 - 19:00

CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground Floor

Philip Warnell (Filmaker)

 

 

Mabel Stark, a pioneering American Tiger trainer working since in the 1920’s, had a particularly special act with her Tiger, Rajah. In the ring she would turn her back momentarily on the animal, who would then pounce on her, in a seemingly unexpected attack from behind. Wrestling on the ground, their show would in fact culminate in the Tiger ejaculating on Stark, who wore an all white leather bodysuit in a bid to hide evidence of the Tiger’s semen from the audience.

"When I turned and called him, he would come up on his hind feet and put both feet round my neck. Pull me to the ground, grab me by the head, you know a male tiger grabs the female by the neck and holds her and growls till the critical moment is over. So, in this fashion, Rajah grabbed me and held me. We kept rolling over till he was through, and while the audience could not see what Rajah was doing, his growling made a hit." Mabel Stark – Hold that Tiger

Filmmaker Phillip Warnell will screen sequences from several of his films, including Ming of Harlem: 21 storeys in the air, a current work in progress. An only in New York story, the film develops around the living circumstances of Antoine Yates, Ming and Al (a full grown Tiger and Alligator respectively), who astonishingly co-habited a high-rise Harlem apartment in the projects until 2003. Archival footage of Mabel Stark at work, direct filming of stand-in animals and documentary material of Antoine Yates all feature, along with a poem written for the film by Jean-Luc Nancy, Oh les animaux des langues. A section from the 2009 film, Outlandish: Strange Foreign Bodies, will also be screened, a short film made in collaboration with philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy and an Octopus featuring an on-screen reading by Nancy of a text written especially for the film, étranges corps étrangers.

 

 

Open to all.  No registration required.
 

Part of the Cambridge Screen Media Group seminar series.
For more information about the group, please visit the link on the right hand side of the page.