“Intimate Encounters with Ducks” presented by Doonan


Presentation Title:

  • Intimate Encounters with Ducks



  • In this artist talk, I address the themes of Animality and The Ecosophic World through a live performance inside a virtual environment. In it, I lead the audience into a contemplative experience that explores interspecies communication.

    In this investigation of sentience, I wrestle with the paradoxical experience of knowing an “other” (in this case a duck) intimately, both through immersive representational forms and through observation, touch, and taste. Through a combination of mediated experiences on screens and through direct encounters, I have been learning to feel with the mallard.

    My novice ability in local animal and plant recognition is the result of repeated outings with official and unofficial experts, close revision of photo and video documentation, GPS and plant identification apps, and field guides. Careful identification has been crucial in this process because cooking and eating has been another way to know these others. My own scopophilia has been part of a wider multimodal engagement with the environment that includes other senses, such as taste.

    This digital storytelling experience suggests that training the senses, through careful observation and habituation, can develop a critical sentience that is crucial in this era of climate catastrophe.