Michał Matuszewski is a film curator, researcher, author, and an exhibitor based in Warsaw, Poland. He received a grant for a video essay called “Animal Gaze,” which is a research-led, found-footage film project in which visual tools are used to tell the history of cinema from a non-human perspective. Using archived footage—from the beginning of cinema to contemporary avant-garde and blockbusters—Michał set out to analyze animal representation in film history and look for hidden moments in which the animal gazes. He writes:
My project will be one of the first found-footage video essays on animal representation, and one of the few existing experimental documentaries exploring non-anthropocentric film language. It will fill the gap between academic discourse and film in the field of animal studies. It could change the way how people look at animals in film and visual culture. As visual culture shapes our relations to Nature, it has potential to change what human and non-human relationships look like.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and surviving COVID-19 himself, Michał adapted to the online world and decided to produce a series of mini visual essays while he geared up for the publishing of “Animal Gaze.” These mini visuals serve as trailers for “Animal Gaze,” the first of which focuses on animals gazing in educational footage from the 1940s. Each trailer focuses on different aspects of animal representation with hopes of gaining a wider audience once “Animal Gaze” is completed. You can view the official trailer for “Animal Gaze” and the visual essay “Up to Something” here.