We are pleased to announce an online lecture by
Anat Pick
(Queen Mary University of London and Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies)

Kelly Reichardt’s Gastro-Aesthetics

This lecture is going to be the a part
of the 2021/2022 Fall Edition of the
American Studies Colloquium Series.

Thursday, January 20, 2022
at 5:15 p.m.

You can get 2 OZN points for participating in this event.
Check how to collect OZN points online here.

poster by Joanna Bębenek


This lecture will be streamed online. To attend, click the button below or enter https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88622716576 into your browser, and join the meeting.


This talk examines cinematic figurations of food, what I am calling the “gastro-aesthetics” of cinema, in Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow (2020). Taking its cue from the philosopher Simone Weil’s analogy between looking and eating, gastro-aesthetics thinks through cinema’s dual impulse to look and to eat, to preserve and devour the world within and beyond the frame.

Tensions between looking and eating emerge in Reichardt’s approach to farmed animals, whose agency is undermined, whose labour is largely invisible, and whose bodies or products are objects of consumption. In First Cow, aesthetic and gastronomic consumption converges in the figure of the cow as an image and as a source of milk. How should we think about the visual consumption of images of dairy consumption?

From River of Grass (1994) through Wendy and Lucy (2008) to First Cow, animals are ubiquitous in Reichardt’s films. Yet while dogs often display autonomy and agency, exemplifying Reichardt’s signature aesthetics of contingency, farmed animals remain—in film as in life—sources of value-extraction. The role of dairy in First Cow, I claim, conjoins the film’s culinary palate and its artistic palette. The gentle sociality at the heart of First Cow and the film’s stylistic and narrative openness are subtended by the agricultural practices that control and consume animals. In the face of Reichardt’s attentiveness to the nonhuman and to the subtleties of interspecies entanglements, this first cow (the first of an endless array of anonymous cows in America’s dairy industry) remains the film’s obscure source of violent extraction.


Anat Pick is Reader in Film at Queen Mary University of London, UK, and a Research Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is author of Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (2011), and coeditor of Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human (2013) and Religion in Contemporary Thought and Cinema (2019). Her most recent work addresses the links between vegan ethics and film. She is currently writing a book on the religious philosophy of Simone Weil and cinema.

Year 2021/2022

May 30: The (Early) Literature of COVID-19. Session V

May 24, 2022

This open seminar will explore initial literary responses to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, offering participants opportunities to talk through this world-changing event. By the end of the seminar, participants should be able to not only identify but also to interpret and evaluate common features of early COVID literature within and beyond the United States.

American Studies Colloquium Series

June 2: Eat, Migrate, Love: Gastronomic and Sexual Desire as Identity

May 24, 2022

This talk, whose title plays off the Julia Robert’s film “Eat, Pray, Love,” will explore queer films and queer immigrants’ relationships to food as part of the cultural identity, and how the rituals around food preparation and consumption informs their negotiations in the US.

Year 2021/2022

June 8: Sounds of Dune(s): Music-landscaping in Cinema

May 24, 2022

In this workshop we’ll talk about Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and its many adaptations (both real and unrealized), in order to see how music and sound are used to bridge sensory gaps in cinematic experiences, and how to write about such synaesthetic encounters in our research.

Year 2021/2022

May 23: Gender/Sexuality Conference ASC

May 23, 2022

ASC’s Gender/Sexuality Research Group invites all students and faculty members to the first ASC’s Student Conference on gender and sexuality in American studies. We have an exciting day planned, with a keynote by Dr. Richard Reitsma and four panels of student presentations, on everything from feminist theories to representation of trans characters on TV and challenging the norms of masculinity.

American Studies Colloquium Series

May 19: ‘bits of agitation on the body of the whole’: Animals in COVID-19 Literature

May 19, 2022

Given its origins in horseshoe bat populations, the SARS-CoV-2 virus offers many opportunities to re-think our relationships with the nonhuman world around us. In this talk, Raymond Malewitz will explore emerging cultural narratives embodied in COVID poetry and fiction, which tend to reinforce the stiff differences between the human and the nonhuman as physically and conceptually separate from one another.