In the Effigy of the Moocow, 2016, HD Video, DV, painting, text, colour, sound
Written by Louis Joe Sainsbury and Nina Gunther
What happens to the images of living beings once they become ecologically and economically unstable?
In the Effigy of the Moocow explores this question by reclaiming the fable and inverting forms of European farming heritage, working towards a new aesthetic of living beings. The farm becomes a magic and quiet realm of personhood. The Redwoods of Northern California become an impossible safe haven. The songs of century old Swedish farming pierce through the forest, calling for a disintegration of the landscape.
Utilising the childlike image of the Moocow (James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1912) and reworking images of late 19th to early 20th Century English animal studies and landscape painting, the experimental documentary weaves an ethically critical narrative; deconstructing themes of human and non-human domestication, the image, agency, gender and radicalising symbols of heritage.
Many thanks to the Cows of Salinas, Sussex and Sweden, the Redwoods and the Banana Slugs of Northern California, Matt Page, Mikhail Karikis, Judy Price, Tim Brown, Matthew Noel-Tod and the Pedrazzi Ranch of Salinas, California.