Press Release

Eye Filmmuseum is presenting the exhibition Cosmic Realism, the first retrospective of work by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. Both originally educated as anthropologists, they create films at the intersection of anthropology, documentary and visual art. Paravel and Castaing-Taylor are constantly searching for a new cinematic language that emphasises the sensory. This allows them to turn away from the human centred approach within classical anthropology and view the world from a non-human perspective, albeit a sometimes confrontational one.



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

Cosmic Realism

Eye Filmuseum, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

20.01 - 20.05.2024




For Paravel and Castaing-Taylor, filming means researching: they shoot while researching and vice versa. The camera serves as a research tool, and the makers do not hesitate from getting very close to, or even inside, their subjects. For the film De Humani Corporis Fabrica (2022), which they have turned into an eight-screen installation specially for this exhibition, they conducted extensive research in five Parisian hospitals. Their camera not only roamed among the patients, doctors and nurses, but also penetrated into the fleshy innards of the human body, into the aortas, blood vessels and brains of patients undergoing surgery.

Like the surgeons in the film, the filmmakers open up a world that, up to now, has remained cinematically uncharted and they explore it from within, turning the human body into something bestranging. But the film does not limit itself to an examination of the body. It also enters the corridors, staff rooms, cafeterias and bowels of the hospital. This turns the hospital into a form of living organism, its network of corridors forming a central nervous system, in which all elements exist in relationships of mutual dependency.

Perspective from the sea

For their best-known film, Leviathan (2012), an extraordinary study of the relationship between humankind and the sea, they spent months filming on a Canadian fishing cutter and attached multiple small GoPro cameras to the vessel, the crew and the fishing nets. With the footage, they create an organic composition that looks at the fishing industry not through the eyes of the crew but rather from the perspective of the fish, the seagulls, and even the sea itself. The film immerses the viewer in a world of shiny jackets and slimy bycatch, where fish eyes stare into the camera lens from inside nets and the wrinkles of fishermen cover their faces like scales. The physical experience that the viewer undergoes while watching is evoked by sounds as much as by the images – from frothing waves to slithering fish.

The exhibition Véréna Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor—Cosmic Realism invites visitors to explore six gallery installations that showcase the development of the makers. On display is not only Leviathan (2012) and De Humani Corporis Fabrica (2022), but also Sheep Rushes (2001–2019), Commensal (2017), somniloquies (2017) and Ah Humanity! (2015). These works correspond with grand, all-encompassing themes such as the earthly, the sea, the mind, the sleep and the apocalypse. By emphasising the physical and sensory, and evoking a non-human perspective, Paravel and Castaing-Taylor compose a new cinematic language with a cosmic perspective that no longer centres on humankind but exposes the nature of the inter-relationships between all living things.


Véréna Paravel (1971, Neuchâtel, Switzerland) and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (1968, Liverpool, England) are both anthropologists, artists and filmmakers. Castaing-Taylor is the founder and director of the Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard University in the United States, an experimental laboratory for research into the relationship between anthropology and cinema, where they work together. Their work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has been presented at Tate Modern, Whitney Biennial and documenta 14. Their award-winning films and videos have been screened in Berlin, Locarno, New York, Toronto, Venice and other film festivals.

Exhibition 20 January - 20 May 2024. Eye Filmmuseum, IJpromenade 1 - 1031 KT Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Hours: daily: 10:00 – 19:00.





 Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Leviathan, 2012.

Cosmic Realism, Eye Filmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2024. All Rights Reserved

 Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Leviathan, 2012.