Since 2014, Sharlene Bamboat & Alexis Mitchell have been building an expansive body of work and research around the legal trials of animals in Medieval Europe and by extension, its colonies. Central to this is the experimental film Bugs and Beasts Before the Law, as well as a series of print works, and an artistic publication co-commissioned by Mercer Union and Henry Art Gallery.

Framed as an appendix to the film, Before Law is a web-based artist project that features the work of more than a dozen contemporary artists, writers, poets and thinkers with wide-ranging, playful, and critical interests in the five organizing chapters of the film Bugs and Beasts Before the Law. A highlight among them, are six new projects produced with support from Bamboat & Mitchell by Canadian and international artists, writers, and filmmakers who broadly and incisively explore the complexity of human relationships with the greater natural world. In addition to these new works, are many others that have been expanded, adapted, and reimagined specifically for Before Law.
They include works of scholarship, and literary and artistic explorations that take up everything from the legal frameworks that implicate and control non-human subjects, through to historical and contemporary notions of ritual, myth, and conflict between worldly beings and ecologies. Before Law also includes a Screening Room that will feature a changing program of live events, screenings, and performances that are organized by Bamboat, Mitchell and invited guest programmers for a limited period of time.

With new works by Donika Kelly; Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, and Ryan Ferko; Sukaina Kubba; Shahana Rajani and Jeanne Penjan Lassus; Oliver Husain; and Zoe Todd. The project also features Renisa Mawani and Antoinette Burton; Renèe Helèna Browne; Ama Codjoe; Rupali Morazaria; Emilia Beatriz, ANORAK; Sarah Keenan; and more.


If From Every Tongue it Drips

If From Every Tongue it Drips is a film  that explores questions of distance and proximity, identity and otherness, through scenes from the daily interactions between two queer women
- a poet and a cameraperson.

Created between three locations: Montreal, Batticaloa and the Isle of Skye, and connected through languages – Urdu, Tamil & English, personal and national histories, music and dance, and the gaze of the camera lens, they explore subjects both expansively cosmic and intimately close—from quantum superposition to the links between British
colonialism and Indian nationalism.
68 min, single-channel
Canada, Sri Lanka, Scotland


Director/Producer: Sharlene Bamboat.
Performer: Ponni Arasu.
Camera Operator: Sarala Emmanuel.
Sound: Richy Carey.
Edit: Muhammed Nour Elkhairy.


Dolphins, Ships and other Vessels

In this performance reading, Bambitchell continues their exploration of the legal frameworks that govern non-human animals and objects, moving from the territorial jurisdictions explored in their film Bugs & Beasts Before the Law (2019), to the legal realm of the sea. Dolphins, ships and other vessels is a polyvocal narrative that spans bodies of water. Stretching from Te Moana-o-Raukawa, to the South China Sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the Clyde and Kaniatarowanenneh rivers, the narrative traces the disappearance and reappearance of a dolphin, the reincarnations of ships, and the embodiments of Jinn - as vessels, mammals, water, myth, and law.


Performers: Faraz Anoushahpour & Sukaina Kubba
Sound Design: Richy Carey


Henry Art Gallery

Performance Reading
Bambitchell, 2021


Bugs and Beasts Before the Law

Bugs & Beasts before the Law is an experimental film that explores the medieval practice of putting animals on trial. This history of colonial law-making forged political and sometimes profane relationships between humans and animals. Bambitchell's new essayistic work reimagines common perceptions of legal history and, in doing so, produces a world where past and present, fiction and non-fiction, human and animal fuse.
33 min, Video Installation.
Made in collaboration with Bambitchell & Richy Carey.

Installation views, Mercer Union, 2019. Photos by  Toni Hafkenscheid.


Directors: Sharlene Bamboat & Alexis Mitchell
Sound Design & Music Composition: Richy Carey
Camera: Iris Ng
Editor: Alexis Mitchell
Voice: Sukaina Kubba
Production Manager: Paula Kohlmann


By Mercer Union and The Henry Art Gallery with production support from Akademie Schloss SolitudeMacDowell Colony, The Darling Foundry and Canada Council for the Arts.

Poster Design: Sameer Farooq.


The Stammering Alphabet

Commissioned to make a Super 8 film in celebration of the 18th anniversary of the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles, Sharlene Bamboat and Terra Long each took a roll and began a correspondence. Fragments of text, drawings, and divination techniques were shared and translated into images. Chasing the ephemeral, building a language of collaboration, The Stammering Alphabet is a playful correspondence film.
Made by Sharlene Bamboat & Terra Long. Original Music: Milja Viita & Terra Long.

The Stammering Alphabet
2019, 8 min.



Sound: Richy Carey
Edit: Muhammed Nour Elkhairy