Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Lucien Castaing-Taylor

John Cowles Professor of Art and Anthropology
Director, Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL); Director, Film Study Center
Director of Graduate Studies (Spring 2022)
Castaing-Taylor is an anthropologist whose work conjugates art's negative capability with an ethnographic attachment to the flux of life and an engagement with the pressing ecological and political challenges of our day. His works include In and Out of Africa (1992, with Ilisa Barbash), a video about authenticity, taste, and racial politics in the transnational African art market, Sweetgrass (2009, also with Barbash), an unsentimental elegy at once to the American West and to the 10,000 years of uneasy accommodation between post-Paleolithic humans and animals, and Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with a Hook? (2012—2016, with Verena Paravel), a four-part project about humanity and the sea, and our plundering of marine resources. In 2015, together with Ernst Karel and Verena Paravel, he completed the installation Ah humanity!, which takes the 3/11/11 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima as its point of departure and reflects on the fragility and folly of humanity in the age of the so-called Anthropocene. More recent works include somniloquies (2017, with Paravel), a descent into the dream world of our unconscious through archival recordings of Dion McGregor, the world’s most garrulous known sleep-talker, and Commensal (2017, with Paravel), and Caniba (2018, also with Paravel), a film and a video installation that reflect on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire and fraternal rivalry through the prism of brothers Issei and Jun Sagawa. He has just completed a film about the body, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (2022, with Paravel).
 
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