De Koe en de Geit

Griet Dobbels in samenwerking met Lotte Dodion
Tue 16.01.2024 - Wed 31.01.2024

In The Cow and the Goat, Griet Dobbels demonstrates the dialectics of the human and non-human by placing farmers, animals, artists, ways of looking, cameras, landscapes, and border regions opposite each other and connecting them.

Art video 4K - 9:16, length: 12 min.

Griet Dobbels connects a farmer and his cow in Watou with a farmer and his goat in Al Masara, near Bethlehem in Palestine, and asks them to place a camera on the heads of their animals. The lands of both farmers are situated in a border region. Their regions still carry traces of historical friction. One landscape is scarred by events during World War I. The other still feels the impact of a decision from that same period, the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British government declared its support for a ‘national home base for the Jewish people’ in Palestine. 

By placing cameras on the heads of a cow and a goat, Griet Dobbels lets them register the landscapes. This creates an objectivised viewpoint. The images of both cameras are brought together in the poem Gedachtekudde(s) (Thought Herd(s)) by Lotte Dodion. The Cow and the Goat originated from a joint search for equivalence in image, text, language and sound.

The existence of the farmers in both regions is threatened by various political, economic, and ecological reasons. The daily reality in both places is a far cry from the supposedly peaceful, natural, original landscape. Can the animals show us the hidden frictions in the landscape? How differently do animals view the world? By focusing strongly on small and local events, will we start seeing more broadly, differently? How do farmers interact with the landscape, with their land? How does a farmer work in the context of current ecological decision-making in the densely populated Western Europe, in contrast to a farmer in Palestine, in occupied territory? What is the significance of land? How do they deal with their changing ecological and geopolitical situations? Do they see a future? Is there a future?

The video takes on special relevance due to the current situation in Palestine. 

The Arabic voice in the video belongs to Fatena Al Ghorra. She also translated the poem to Arabic. Fatena is a poet who lives and works in Antwerp and has the Belgian nationality. For the first time in 15 years, she went to visit her family in Gaza. Just before Christmas, she managed to get out of Gaza again.



BY Griet Dobbels MONTAGE/EDITING Bianca Cassinelli CAMERA Bent Shahba (goat) & Rolleke (cow) GEDICHT /POÈME / POEM Lotte Dodion, Thought Herd(s) - Gedachtekudde(s) STEMMEN / VOIX / VOICES Fatena Al Ghorra & Lotte Dodion VERTALING / TRADUCTION / TRANSLATION Fatena Al Ghorra and Donald Gardner SPECIALE DANK AAN / REMERCIEMENTS SPECIAUX À / SPECIAL THANKS TO Al Ma’mal Foundation (Jerusalem), farmers Wouter Pety (Watou, B) and Abdullah Zawahre (Al Masara, PS) and their families, Els Vermeersch (Compagnon d’Art), Benji Boyadgian MET DE STEUN VAN / AVEC LE SUPPORT DE / WITH THE SUPPORT OF Watou Art Festival 2023