Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor are both filmmakers, artists, and anthropologists. Their latest collaborative effort is called Leviathan, an experimental and visually unique scope into the lives and times of modern fishing. It had its world premiere at the 2012 Locarno International Film Festival.

Both are also essential members of the Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard (Paravel as a lecturer, Castaing-Taylor as the head director). The SEL is supported by both Departments of Anthropology and Visual & Environmental Studies, with its primary focus to (via Sensory Ethnography Lab‘s homepage statement):

“…support innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography, with original nonfiction media practices that explore the bodily praxis and affective fabric of human existence. As such, it encourages attention to the many dimensions of social experience and subjectivity that may only with difficulty be rendered with words alone…”

Paravel’s other films include Foreign Parts (a joint with J.P. Sniadecki), Interface Series, and 7 Queens. Castaing-Taylor’s previous works include Hell Roaring Creek, Sweetgrass (a joint with Ilisa Barbash), The High Trail, and In and Out of Africa.

More story details for Leviathan can be read as follows (via Cinereach):

“LEVIATHAN is a feature-length film about men at sea and fish on boats. It offers an appreciation for the sensory experience, labor, and political and ecological stakes of one of the oldest endeavors that has been an important part of human history since the Paleolithic. Shot off the coast of the mythic city of Moby Dick, with eleven cameras swapping hands between the filmmakers and fishermen, in an effort to create a form of collective experimentation that gives free reign to the perspectives of both fishermen and their catch, the film seeks to capture the many ways in which human, animal, and machine; beauty and horror; and life and death all merge in uncanny ways in the world of contemporary commercial fishing.”

Full trailer / excerpt for Leviathan can be watched down below.

Leviathan, 2012

Véréna Paravel
Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Sensory Ethnography Lab