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Gladiators of Beauty in South Central, Los Angeles 
Fahim Amir 

Lecture 

Yalda Afsah, Secret Society Roller Club, 2022
Production shot, Compton, Los Angeles

Philosopher and author Fahim Amir follows an unusual approach that reexamines the boundaries between the sphere of the political and the animal world. Amir makes clear that rethinking the interconnections between humans and animals can lead to interesting perspectives on the world, making animals in particular visible as part of political and social struggles.

Fahim Amir’s lecture turns to the video works of Yalda Afsah, addressing the identification potential of various animals for cultural subgroups. Special attention is paid to the work SSRC (2022), which deals with pigeon breeders in Compton, a socially deprived suburb of Los Angeles. Culturally and historically, pigeons are often associated with negative aspects such as dirt and disease, whereas the pigeon racing sport of Pigeon Rolling in Compton, is a positive force for the communities. Pigeon rolling is based on a natural behavior of pigeons: in an inexplicable way, they perform daring backward rolls in flight. These maneuvers unfold a beauty of their own that makes it impossible to reduce the animals’ behavior to mere survival. The care and closeness to the pigeons often forms an escape from the gang violence in Compton for the breeders. Thus, a new form of community emerges in which rivalry does not play a central role and which would not be possible without pigeon rolling.

Artists

Participating artists

Fahim Amir

lives in Vienna

lives as a philosopher and author in Vienna. He is a lecturer at the Kunstuniversität Linz as well as at numerous European and international universities. Amir is concerned with the transitions between natural cultures and urbanism, art and utopia, colonial historicity and modernism. Amir has curated various art and music festivals and collaborated with artists* such as Chicks on Speed and Deichkind. He co-edited Transcultural Modernisms (Sternberg Press, 2013) and wrote the afterword to the German translation of Donna Haraway’s Manifesto for Companions (Merve, 2016). His book Pig and Time (Nautilus, 2018) was honored with the Austrian Karl Marx Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2019 by the Goethe-Institut and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Yalda Afsah, Secret Society Roller Club, 2022
Production shot, Compton, Los Angeles