Excerpts from writing by Phillip Warnell

In Perfect Light

“What exactly was crossed out and what influencing or informing factors were involved in Nancy’s remeditation, or change of heart? Does he then introduce more clarity, more obscurity, or even increase the terms of concealment, and where does the invocation of confidence go from the first draft? What was previously being confided, by and in whom? Where does Jean-Luc Nancy himself depart to, amongst these longitudinal and diagonal planes, in the sensorial saying, voicing and naming of an interpreter of the outside? To proceed, let’s turn once again to the last notebook’s changes in perspective, and then to Ian James for his inspection of Nancy’s continued presence, if you will, in this jeopardised, intermediate passage. “

Virtual round table
Journal of Philosophy & the moving image, 2021

“Conspiratorial paranoia shapes the industry of documentary practice, its requirement  to take advantage, to expose, to piece together and tell us, whilst we abide by the rules of a privileged access screen, and networks that always do it for the camera. However, if the documentary turn is part of an anatomical ‘dossier’, its  motion comes towards it from behind. Dorsality is a turning circle, a re-approach towards ourselves, whereby we meet ourselves as an always already technologized biology (Wills). In which case, why are there no counselling sessions at ‘competition’ documentary film festivals screenings? Well, in most private gardens, trespassing is not allowed.”

A Shared Love
Que Parle Journal, 2023

Jean-Luc Nancy on Ming of Harlem: Rrroooaaarrrrr, says the Tiger, and Alligator, sssshhhhh. How far away are Ming and Al! As far back in the film as in their natural jungles. Farther perhaps. Very close to a proximity that brings the jungle, the dark power, closer to us. At the zoo they are curiosities—here they lie in darkness.”

'Fearful Symmetry'
'Ethical Materialities in art & moving image'
“The fearful symmetry of a tiger's predatory presence haunts us. Its orange, striped potential for deadly, sudden arrival at any moment is an unprecedented announcement of stunning, instant mortality. Cinema's absorption of self also dissolves our subjectivity, immersing into a hypnotic, non-bodily zone, an unconscious screen-adaptation. Drawing on my film Ming of Harlem's account of three roommates: a tiger, alligator and human, three predators that somehow co-habited a New York city high-rise apartment, Fearful Symmetry explores co-operative creaturely dwelling and non-body constituents in an exploration of mutant poetics and an ethically fraught screen. Accounting for the strangeness of disputed territory, referencing my collaborations with philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, it will consider a range of body-space-geometry configurations. Examining the forced persuasion and fleet escapism somehow inherent in moving images, it will address how the terms of corporeality, cinemality and even criminality coalesce.”

Interview for ‘The Thinker’ journal
Beijing, China, 2022. Issue 76
“There is a process of thought that determines, as Jean-Luc Nancy writes in Noli Me Tangere, that logos, figure and image are indistinct from each other. Or to put it differently, truth and interpretation are actually identical, the ‘true’ figure only appearing through and in its representation. It prepares us for Nancy’s philosophical notion of anastasis, an ascension of thought which comes to the self from the other, or arises from the other within the self.”

‘An Intelligence of Things’

for publication in a project  by artist-filmmaker Pamela Breda, supported by the Italian Arts Council, 2021
“Enigmatic research fields have emerged from a paradoxical combination of reasoned and speculative visual images and data analysis, which as much as anything, articulate how raw data can be instantly converted back into projected, anthropocentric viewing, aestheticized and placeable within an embellished sphere of optics and vision. This process allows for primarily affective image-making, operating at an intersection, where science and fiction are always already (and are fundamentally) convergent, even whilst attempting to provide travel in the different directions of culture and science. We’re reminded of the Greek origin of the term cosmic itself, containing the inherent latitude of both ‘order’ and ‘arrangement’. Applied to the way in which outer space - populated by mythic figures and earthly species - and self-beautification are refined, adorned and configured, it confirms an exquisite, underestimated link whereby space-data-image interventions are equally cosmic and cosmetic. In looking, seeing and producing ‘images’ of the elsewhere, we adapt, transform (and relinquish) a certain phenomenological otherness, instead elaborating an incommensurate, off-planet program of cosmic ornamentation.”

'The Skin of Others'

Antennae Journal, 2020
eight plates and caption texts
editors: Honor Beddard, Giovanni Aloi

“Out of body experience meets bodily migration when you enter the space of a tiger’s territory. Instinct is bred of certainty, from millenia of trials. Killing creatures, and even more so things, memorize. Objects hold and are memory repositories. We, creatures of forgetfulness, speak and spell it out, then forget. We plunder, we over commit.”

"Writing in the Place of the Animal"
A chapter for: Nancy and Visual Culture, Edinburgh University Press, 2016.
"Non-human and human animals are defined by territory, an inextricable relationship to architecture, geometry and co-ordinates within which they produce a kind of temporality permeated by corporeality, a ‘border’ and ‘order’, as Nancy suggests. It is in this sense animals are not in the world, they are the world, territory both the property of the animal and one of its properties."

"The Wild Inside"
an Interview with Phillip Warnell, Rhiannon Harries, for:
The Zoo and Screen Media, Images of exhibition and encounter
Palgrave MacMillan, 2016
ISBN 978-1-137-53561-0

This book is the first critical anthology to examine the controversial history of the zoo by focusing on its close relationship with screen media histories and technologies. Individual chapters address the representation of zoological spaces in classical and contemporary Hollywood cinema, documentary and animation, amateur and avant-garde film, popular television and online media. The Zoo and Screen Media: Images of Exhibition and Encounter provides a new map of twentieth-century human-animal relations by exploring how the zoo, that modern apparatus for presenting living animals to human audiences, has itself been represented across a diverse range of moving image media.

"The Beast with Two Backs" , 2015
for: L’ile D’Amour, Berghahn Books, 2015
Edited by Kamila Kuc
"Never before have Borowczyk's films been written about in regard to any connection with Shakespeare. In his gripping and original chapter, 'The Beast with Two Backs,' Phillip Warnell draws parallels between The Beast, 'a tale of tails,' and Othello, via Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946). Warnell argues that in Borowczyk's film the beast and the monarch are treated as a palimpsest, 'a duo of refinement and perversion'. Using Derrida's understanding of the sovereign, Warnell argues that the figure of the beast in the film is treated as one beneath the law, thus beauty and the beast eventually becomes beauty as the beast."

The beast with two backs, 2013
Cambridge University (paper)

The Glance as a Blow, 2012
Ural Biennial symposium publication

Projections of Animality, 2011
Paper at the Natural History Museum

Life-Like: An Organ in search of a Body, 2010
The Journal of Performance Research (guest editor of an issue on 'Transplantations')

Transplantations - cover page by Phillip Warnell

The Sea with Corners, 2010
Artists’ publication with Jean-Luc Nancy

Intimate Distances, 2011
Leonardo Journal
Link to article

Strange Foreign Bodies (with Jean-Luc Nancy), 2009
Artists’ publication & Lacanian Ink

Profiles, 2009
UNESCO publication

On Radiation and Performance, 2007
The Journal of Performance Research

The Light Emitting Organ, 2004
The Journal of Performance Research

Links to articles by Phillip Warnell in the Journal of Performance Research