Background Image:© Francesca Todde / Contrasto from the series A Sensitive Education
Background Image:© Francesca Todde / Contrasto from the series A Sensitive Education

Camille Auer: Phenomenological Birdwatching, 2021

Camille Auer is studying cis*- and heteronormativity** in popular nature discourse and trying to find out whether birds agree to the taxonomical roles patriarchal*** science assigns to them. Her method for doing this is using her mirror cells to identify with the birds in a reverse act of anthropomorphism. She is working on a video piece about Ruffs (Calidris pugnax) that aims to queer the form and content of the genre of nature documentary films.

Phenomenological Birdwatching is a mindmap of Camille Auer's ongoing artistic research with birds. A mindmap can be a method of nonlinear writing in itself, not only a tool to formulate traditional linear texts. The viewer can imagine the essay that this mindmap might turn into, and it will be different for each viewer. The mindmap was made spontaneously after half a year of thinking and casually observing city birds in Turku.

Auer’s essay Luonto ei ole hetero – Ajatuksia suokukoista, sukupuolesta ja seksuaalisuudesta [Nature Isn’t Straight – Thoughts on Ruffs, Gender and Sexuality], published in niin & näin journal in January 2021, is available in Finnish on the festival website at pvf.fi

Camille Auer (b. 1984) is a writer, artist and performer interested in societal designations of selfness and otherness. In her work, she searches for the point where theory bleeds into action. Auer lives and works in Turku, Finland.

A cisgender person is a person who is content with the sex assigned to them at birth and usually expresses their gender accordingly. The prefix cis is derived from Latin meaning “on this side of”. Its antonym is trans, meaning “across from” or “on the other side”.

Heteronormativity refers to the assumption of the gender binary, that people are divided into two opposite forms of masculine and feminine who experience attraction to each other. As a result of this, heterosexuality is seen as more normal, natural and desirable than other sexual orientations.

Patriarchy refers to society and knowledge dominated by men.