Accepted Paper:

Poachers’ Moon  


David Jaclin (University of Ottawa)
Jeremie Brugidou

Paper short abstract:

This film examines wildlife poaching and efforts to prevent it in South Africa and Botswana, as these recreate a racialized and politicized system of private property while preventing millenary animal migrations.

Paper long abstract:

Directors: Jérémie Brugidou and David Jaclin

Year: 2017

Language: Tsonga, Afrikans, Anglais et Français

Duration: 30 min

Since the 1980s, thousands of kilometers of electric fences have been set up in South Africa and Botswana. These fences are meant to prevent poaching, but mostly they recreate a racialized and politicized system of private property. While facilitating animal capture, and industrial exploitation and exportation of livestock capital, such fences also prevent millenary animal migrations. Because of the unequal distribution of land and its fencing, which bear stories of violence and domination, many animals can no longer travel up now-drying rivers. We film the drought, both in the veins of the land and in the veins of the ecology of mind at play behind the gamification of (wild)life. This life is now under strict management, both for the sake of its capitalization as well as for its conservation.

In the film, we experience the violence of the day in the bush: the commodification of animal parts, the slicing of flesh, the exportation of skins and trophies, the electrification of fences, the preparation of military units for night patrols, the cars of tourists with their engine constantly running, the expulsion and displacement of entire village populations. All this is for the proper functioning of the reserves. But there is the night, which overturns these commodification processes and inverts the humanimal gaze. There is the moon. When full, it is said to belong to the poachers.

Capsizing a disruptive ecology of power relations, the troubling light of night nourishes the rights and mightiness of a new explosive biopolitical regime. Under the poachers' moon, one can see as in plain daylight, and the modes of attention that the astrological phenomenon entails allows for propositions of another kind, and unveils very different human-animal relationships.

Panel AV01
Audiovisual media programme