O Peixe (The Fish)


16mm film still digitised in HD format.

38 min.

Jonathas de Andrade’s O Peixe uses the conventions of ethnographic film to record a ritual invented by the artist and performed by fishermen in north-eastern Brazil when they catch a fish. Once caught, the prey receives full human attention, embraced in its arms until it takes its last breath. This moment lasting until the animal’s passing vacillates between the tenderness of the embrace and the cruelty of controlling and ending someone else’s life with the fisherman’s troubling gesture of jamming his fingers into the fish’s suffocating gills. The film evokes the personal interactions between human and non-human inherent to animism and the violence disguised as benevolence within a system of domination in which humans reign supreme.