Alessia Cecchet is a maker of moving images. Originally from Italy, she makes hybrid films that incorporate live action film, found footage, stop motion animation, fibers and sculpture. Her work explores matters of loss, grief and memory with a specific attention with the way we look at animals and specifically animal death.
Alessia’s work has been exhibited internationally at several film festivals and art venues, including Academy Qualifying festivals such as the 25th Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT), the 49th Nashville Film Festival (Nashville, TN), the 25th and 24th Encounters Film Festival (Bristol, UK), the 45th Seattle Film Festival (Seattle, WA), the 66th Columbus Film and Animation Festival (Columbus, OH) and the 64th Cork Film Festival. Additionally, her films have won several awards, the most recent ones being an Honorable Mention at Festival de Cine Silente (Puebla, Mexico) and the Best Fiction at High Coast Film Festival (Sweden).
I am a PhD candidate (ABD) in the Department of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which offers a doctoral program that fosters a conversation between critical practice and theory. This allows me to continue my work as a filmmaker, which is invested in the representation of the animal other. My practice is studio-based, and it combines different media; stop motion animation, 2D animation, live-action film, found footage, sculpture, and fibers. I embrace a slow practice that welcomes fortuity, failure, and epiphany. When we encounter a dead animal, our response can quickly go from “aww” to “eew”; how does our relationship with the other species change in the moment that we find out that its body is not alive? I want to interrogate the way we look at animals once the value we see in them - the spectacle of megafauna, the cuteness baby animals - is gone. By rejecting a binary understanding of the world, I want people to feel the uncanny and relate to the complexity of life and death.
For this reason, one of the guiding principles of my artistic practice is to portray the world as complex, ambiguous and sometimes unknowable. I embrace opacity, open-endedness, and lacuna, and I employ an array of media that allow me to render a partial, ununified and fragmented perspective. Stop motion animation, sculpture, fibers, found footage, and original footage all contribute to a disunited experience that, both in the form and content, allow for the viewer to step in and actively work with the piece in order to create meaning. If taken, the invitation to coauthor the artwork creates a personal version of the artwork that the viewer is keener to make theirs, which hopefully translates into something they care about. I use this mode of expression in my work with animal representation because I want to promote an understanding of the animal other that looks at the animal as an individual and not a general species. By pursuing open-endedness, lacuna, and ambiguity I want to communicate to the viewers that our understanding of life can be incomplete and that we can learn to accept this. By recognizing that the idea that humanity has all the answers is anthropocentric, patriarchal and oppressing, I seek a different way of looking at non-human animals, one that acknowledges the animal as an individual, recognizes its suffering, and doesn’t look away.