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 films have won several awards, the most recent ones being a Honorable Mention at Festival de CIne Silente (Puebla, Mexico) and Best Fiction at High Coast Film Festival (Sweden). Major film festival screenings include Torino Film Festival, Slamdance Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival and her work has been exhibited in Italy, the US, Australia, Germany, the UK, Egypt, Spain, Republic of Kosovo, Czech Republic, Portugal, Romania, Sweden Greece and Iran.
When we encounter a dead animal, our response can quickly go from “aaww” to “eew”; how does our relationship with the other species change in the moment we find out that its body is not alive?
One day I was reading on the beach and, after a little while, I realized that I was sitting not too far away from the corpse of a sea lion. The wind was not blowing in my direction so I decided to stay, acknowledging its existence as a decomposing body. Later on, a young woman walked by and I noticed her reaction to the sight of the creature; at first she reacted with surprise and she smiled - probably thinking that she had spotted a live animal - then the reaction on her face changed in horror and she turned and walked away.
With my work, I want to interrogate the way we look at animals once the value we see in them - the spectacle of megafauna, the cuteness of cubs and puppies, the commodification of toy pets - is gone. I want people to feel the uncanny and relate to the complexity of life by rejecting a binary understanding of the world. With my work 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, patriarcal 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.