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Art & Art History

Common Exchanges, When Species Meet

Theo Cuthand

Thursday, October 19, 2023
Gallery 400

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This program brings together short films and social media videos that attend to inter-species encounters between humans and other-than-human life. With works by Francis Alÿs, Theo Cuthand, Joelle Mercedes, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, and additional artists and content creators, the exchanges expressed vary from fiercely ordinary to curiously uncommon.

Organized by MFA candidate Lisa Marie Malloy and artist Liyan Zhao, this film program is guided by questions theorist Donna Harraway’s poses in her book When Species Meet: “Whom and what do I touch when I touch my dog? And, how is “becoming with” a practice of becoming worldly?” Malloy and Zhao will be in conversation with Joelle Mercedes on how attunement to inter-species exchanges can be a productive practice of “becoming worldly.”


Liyan Zhao is an artist working primarily in moving image. Her practice, rooted in ecological concerns, looks at the ways that our intimate knowledge of the world is embodied and passed on between individuals, between species, and across generations. Working alongside human and more-than-human collaborators, her relational experiments in attention and collectivity ask us to acknowledge our shared implication in a climate reality filled with both grief and wonder, striving for glimpses of resilience and the understanding that living in nature is both shared work and art. She holds an MFA from Yale University and is currently obtaining her MFA in Cinematic Arts from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Lisa Marie Malloy is an artist devoted to engaged modes of filmmaking. Her first feature-length film, A Shape of Things to Come (2020), premiered at CPH:DOX and has since shown around the world at venues such as NYC Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real. Her second film, The Raw and the Cooked (2022), premiered at Cinéma du Réel . She is currently obtaining her MFA from University of Illinois Chicago.

Born in a mercurial New York City, Joelle Mercedes is an artist whose work begins from trembles of their own emotional body, in a furious urge to integrate the slippery terrains of history. In this bodily persistence they produce films, sound compositions, curricula, pedagogy, and drawings. They are an avid bird watcher, arts educator and have been residing in Chicago IL, for over a decade.

ACCESS INFORMATION: This program is free and open to the public. For questions and access accommodations, email