nature on screen:is it possible to create cinematic moments/works that aspire to articulate a more ecocentric - ecopoetic way of relating/perceiving the earth

  • 490 views
Uploaded on

are there formal/conceptual/theoretical tools that can expand the way we use cinema to present a more comprehensive ecological (ecocentric) ecopoetic view, over and above films that primarily address …

are there formal/conceptual/theoretical tools that can expand the way we use cinema to present a more comprehensive ecological (ecocentric) ecopoetic view, over and above films that primarily address environmental/conservation themes?


-examine how methodologies in an art & ecology practice may serve to re-imagine relations/perceptions/politics towards the more-than-human

-what potentials are offered by new social networks

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
490
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0

Actions

Shares
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. nature on screen is it possible to create cinematic moments/works that aspire to articulate a more ecocentric - ecopoetic way of relating/ perceiving the earthMartin Salinas Save the humans (2010) Flickr - creative commons Cathy Fitzgerald Visual Culture Theory and Practice 1
  • 2. what are you trying to find out?1.why is it worth knowing?2.how do you go about finding out?3.how will you know when you are finished?4. dissemination of research
  • 3. 1.what are you trying to find out? • is it possible to create cinematic moments/works that aspire to articulate a more ecocentric way of relating/perceiving the earth • related questions • are there formal/conceptual/theoretical tools that can expand the way we use cinema to present a more comprehensive ecological (ecocentric) ecopoetic view, over and above films that primarily address environmental/ conservation themes? • examine how methodologies in an art & ecology practice may serve to re- imagine relations/perceptions/politics towards the more-than-human • what potentials are offered by new social networks 3can more ecocentric cinematic forms and global networked filmic spaces reconnect us to a sense of place and planetare there formal/conceptual/theoretical tools that can expand the way we use film to present a more comprehensive ecological view, over and above films that primarily addressenvironmental/conservation themes?what potentials are offered by new social media filmic spaces* to engage global audiences in ecological concerns or to envision more sustainable futures
  • 4. ‘What would ‘green’ film & visual scholarship look like?’ ‘it may probe both the limitations and potentials offered by film and visual media – including the potential to expand awareness, empathy, and understanding across species and across socio-ecological cultural differences’ Adrian Ivakhiv author of Green Film Criticism and Its Futures, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature & Env, Summer, 2008‘What would a ‘green’ film & visual scholarship look like?’ question the relationship between visual representation and social and ecological realityit may seek to delineate ‘positive’ versus ‘negative’ images of nature, of environmental activism, and of human-environment relations orit may probe both the limitations and potentials offered by film and visual media – including the potential to expand awareness, empathy, and understanding across speciesand across socio-ecological cultural differencesIt would deal with what Andrew Ross has called "images of ecology" - those familiar images of "belching smokestacks, seabirds mired in petrochemical sludge, fish floating belly-up, trafficjams in Los Angeles and Mexico City, and clearcut forests;on the other hand, the redeeming repertoire of pastoral imagery, pristine, green, and unspoiled by human habitation, crowned by the ultimate global spectacle, the fragile, vulnerable ball ofspaceship earth"
  • 5. identified area of new research ‘there is much work to be undertaken by ecocritics interested in unpacking the environmental means carried or enabled by, and the constraints and potentials inherent in film and visual media’ Ivakhiv, 2008 Green Film criticism and its futures - Int. study in Lit & Env still: ‘the tree of life’ terrence malick 2010there is obviously a complex mix of many other cultural formations at play to account for contemporary societiesʼ lack of engagement with the material earth and its systems which we allultimately depend upon. Across many domains; anthropology, cultural geography, philosophy, gender studies, to a lesser extent in cultural studies, visual culture etc, there is considerabledebate on this topic. Some argue that humanityʼs move to an agrarian culture was the original problem, others see our division from nature arising from the adoption of language (seeHeidegger to contemporary writer/philosopher David Abrams), others again would argue that the rise of technology/industrialism (Heidegger again) and the philosophical cartesian dividebetween nature and culture from the enlightenment period are to blame; and then others view Christianityʼs view of man having dominion over all species was as a theological imperative thatgave license to dominant western societies, to use the earthʼs resources for its own ends; can also describe feminist perspectives, a failure of politics /economists (humanity in general) to fullyrealise the finite limits of the earth - capitalism as a completely unsustainable paradigm etc (This paragraph need to be better written, referenced; completed)ʻremember that the celebration of nature (in film) has often played a part in obscuring an oppressive and even violent historyʼ Nature matters 2007 as much as it has tried to raise awareness
  • 6. Scott MacDonald who coined the word ʻecocinemaʼ in 2004 believes experimental cinema has potential in ʻretraining perceptionʼ....allowing an examination of the conventions of media- spectatorship (and production) that largely ignores the earthʼ 6This enquiry will aim to further the argument first raised by US film theorist Scott MacDonald ʻthat experimental cinemaʼ may be a valuable site for examining current limiting cinematicconventions in regards to ʻnatureʼ (ASLE journal article, Towards an Ecocinema, 2004, pp) and perhaps offer more in-depth analysis, examples and further directions to consider. PaulaWilloquet-Maricondi extended MacDonaldʼs ideas briefly in a chapter in her very valuable overview (and history) of ecocriticism and film - Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticism andFilm (2010)- where she discussed experimental sound-vision artist, Andrej Zdravicʼs 1997 experimental Riverglass film work.Scott MacDonald who coined the word ʻecocinemaʼ believes experimental cinema has potential in ʻretraining perceptionʼ....allowing an examination of the conventions of media-spectatorship (and production) that largely ignores the earthʼtho some may argue exp. film work is impotent by the time it reaches mainstream, MacDonald & others argue such work is worthy of critical attention; inf the evolution of the cinematiclanguage exp filmmakers work have been influential on mainstream cinema; Brakhage, Godfrey Reggio- Koyannaquatsi etchowever one needs to be aware too of the cameraʼs notable critics - Heidegger to Sontag who say the camera serves as an instrument of distancing, decontextualising, commodifying,obscuring the power/politics of things that make up the world Ikahiv 2008 . p17.... what Heidegger called the ʻenframingʼ and ʻconquest of the worldʼ, setting it as a ʻstanding reserveʼ to be beobjectified/consumedon first glance many would argue that much documentary work has engaged audiences to create films to highlight the beauty/diverstiy of the natural world that we need to conserve etca lot of this is unpacked further in Willoquetʼs Maricondiʼs 2010 book Framing the world - explorations in ecocriticism and film, but still only small section on exp film
  • 7. research context - why is it worth knowing • motivations for enquiry • arisen from my own art & ecology practice, involvement in biological science, green politics, long term forestry and national sustainable forestry policy development (my biases) • awareness that there are serious and limiting conventions how ‘nature’ is culturally mediated in cinematic material • awareness of many pitfalls in approaching ‘nature in art work - highly complex and historically laden • wished to deepen my practice to examine cinema more closely, that while informed by science and politics, creates a space for audiences to experientially encounter the irreducibility of ‘nature’ and consider afresh the limitations of how much mainstream cinema generally & unwittingly presents limited anthropocentric presentations of ‘nature,’ if it is even considered in the first place.motivations for enquiry arisen from my own art & ecology practice, involvement in biological science, green politics, long term forestry and national sustainable forestry policy development (my biases) awareness that there are serious and limiting conventions how ʻnatureʼ is culturally mediated in cinematic material awareness of many pitfalls in approaching ʻnature in art work - highly complex and historically laden wished to deepen my practice to examine cinema more closely, that while informed by science and politics, creates a space for audiences to experientially encounter the irreducibility of ʻnatureʼ and consider afresh the limitations of how much mainstream cinema generally & unwittingly presents limited anthropocentric presentations of ʻnature,ʼ if it is even considered in the first place.
  • 8. 2. why is it worth knowing? Last week: IEA data is predicting worsening ecological biosphere conditions even despite the stalled global economic downturn; irreversible changes possible now in just 5 years Martin Salinas Save the humans (2010) Flickr - creative commons while I’m embedded in the humanities I’m more interested in our lack of cultural attention to the more-than-human earth: there is a crisis in visual culture/film in this regard image: Chris SicklesUnfortunately, the luxury of devoting oneʼs whole self to probing into the wonders of science and the arts is one we can no longer afford. Neither art nor science can thrive in an unstable,depleted world” (1).*according to leading science institutions - though how climate disruption will play out is still hard to predict Professional scientific societies that agree with the IPCC on global warming*National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) NASA Woods Hole Resesarch CenterUS Geological Survey (USGS) National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) NASAʼs Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) American Association of State ClimatologistsFederal Climate Change Science Program, 2006 (the study authorized and then censored by Bush)American Chemical Society – (worldʼs largest scientific organization with over 155,000 members)Geological Society of AmericaAmerican Geophysical Union (AGU)National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)American Association of State ClimatologistsEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)American Astronomical SocietyAmerican Institute of PhysicsAmerican Meteorological Society (AMS)American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)Stratigraphy Commission – Geological Society of London – (The worldʼs oldest and the United Kingdomʼs largest geoscience organization)Chinese Academy of SciencesRoyal Society, United KingdomRussian Academy of SciencesRoyal Society of CanadaScience Council of JapanAustralian Academy of SciencesRoyal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the ArtsBrazilian Academy of SciencesCaribbean Academy of SciencesFrench Academy of SciencesGerman Academy of Natural ScientistsIndian National Science AcademyIndonesian Academy of SciencesRoyal Irish AcademyAccademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy)Academy of Sciences MalaysiaAcademy Council of the Royal Society of New ZealandRoyal Swedish Academy of SciencesUnion of Concerned ScientistsThe Institution of Engineers AustraliaCanadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)National Research CouncilCanadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospherice SciencesWorld Meteorological OrganizationState of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)International Council on Science
  • 9. ‘critical mass of scientists and artists has never been more sorely needed … understandably, scientists and artists may be the least willing to be involved in (environmental) politics, and many, rightly so, consider such involvement to be a distraction from creativity and inventiveness. Unfortunately, the luxury of devoting one’s whole self to probing into the wonders of science and the arts is one we can no longer afford. Neither art nor science can thrive in an unstable, depleted world” Prof. Maziak Leonardo (2006) (quote from my research paper networking the arts to save the earth Visual Artists Ireland (2011), HerCircle (2011) (leading US internet site on women’s art and activism)(quote from my research paper networking the arts to save the earth Visual Artists Ireland (2011), HerCircle (2011) (leading US internet site on womenʼs art and activism)ʻcritical mass of scientists and artists has never been more sorely needed …understandably, scientists and artists may be the least willing to be involved in (environmental) politics, and many, rightly so, consider such involvement to be a distraction from creativity andinventiveness.Unfortunately, the luxury of devoting oneʼs whole self to probing into the wonders of science and the arts is one we can no longer afford.Neither art nor science can thrive in an unstable, depleted world”Unfortunately, the luxury of devoting oneʼs whole self to probing into the wonders of science and the arts is one we can no longer afford.Neither art nor science can thrive in an unstable, depleted world”
  • 10. More than timely to assess how ‘nature’ is represented in cinema as cinema is now the most powerful media we have For many in urban environments (~ 75% of the global population), cinematic media (in its variety of forms) is the main means most of us have in relating to the material earth and its systems (on which we all ultimately depend)More than timely to assess how ʻnatureʼ is represented in cinema as cinema is now the most powerful media we have For many in urban environments (~ 75% of the global population), cinematic media (in its variety of forms) is the main means most of us have in relating to the material earth and its systems (on which we all ultimately depend)
  • 11. What type of study will it be? research will be a qualitative study, interpreting and analyzing cultural works that aspire to a more ecocentric and or ecopoetic position (creating my own & looking at case studies) in the context of an art & ecology ecocriticism practice. It will be informed/interact with theory on (chiefly located in Literary theory), ecosophy (aka ecological philosophy - deep (Naess, Bates), dark (Morton) to Guattari’s three ecologies) and film theory using autoethnographic methods recorded & shared on new social media platformsresearch will be a qualitative study, interpreting and analyzing cultural works that aspire to a more ecocentric and or ecopoetic position (creating my own & looking at case studies) in the context of anart & ecology practice. It will be informed/interact with theory on ecocriticism (chiefly located in Literary theory), ecosophy (aka ecological philosophy - deep (Naess, Bates), dark (Morton) toGuattari’s three ecologies) and film theory using autoethnographic methods recorded & shared on new social media platforms
  • 12. In this enquiry, through practice and theory, seeking not the production of new knowledge, but presenting a ‘process of knowing, a process-oriented conception of ‘transforming experience’ through several sites of presentation • through a dialogue with the media and production of experimental cinema • interactions/encounters/perceptions with the material site (in this case a forest ecosystem) • through writing: to document the process of the above, with an in-depth investigation and survey of ecocriticism as it may apply to cinema to explore latest thinking in ecosophy (aka ‘eco’logical philosophy) as it may apply to the ethical position aspired to in an arts & ecology practice as well to examine it as a means of perceptual change in position in how we relate to the material earth - phenomenology will probably come into this enquirya definition of artistic research may point to other tensions between it and orthodox research; where the ʻgeneral research (undertaken by the artist) uncovers knowledge that was previouslyunknown to the individual but known to the field, while academic research aims at uncovering/creating knowledge that was previously unknown to the field (Brown and Sorenson, p.154) whohave written at length about integrating creative practice and research in the digital media arts in Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, (2009). In this enquiry, through practice and theory, seeking not the production of new knowledge, but presenting a ʻprocess of knowing, a process-oriented conception of ʻtransforming experienceʼ through several sites of presentation through a dialogue with the media and production of experimental cinema interactions/encounters/perceptions with the material site (in this case a forest ecosystem) through writing: to document the process of the above, with an in-depth investigation and survey of ecocriticism as it may apply to cinema to explore latest thinking in ecosophy (aka ʻecoʼlogical philosophy) as it may apply to the ethical position aspired to in an arts & ecology practice as well to examine it as a means of perceptual change in position in how we relate to the material earth - phenomenology will probably come into this enquiry
  • 13. attending to key • ecocentric that the interest of the ecosphere must override terms /uses of that of the interest of any individual species...In terms general, ecocentrists hold that the world is an intrinsically dynamic, interconnected web of relations" with "no absolute dividing lines between the living and the nonliving, the animate and the inanimate". Aspirational position • biocentric, anthropocentric - consideration of terms help with to foreground thinking how an ecocentric position in culture, in particular, cinema • ‘nature’ contested over centuries & in various disciplinesecocentric that the interest of the ecosphere must override that of the interest of any individual species...In general, ecocentrists hold that the world is an intrinsically dynamic, interconnected web of relations" with "no absolute dividing lines between the living and the nonliving, the animate and the inanimate". Aspirational position biocentric, anthropocentric - consideration of terms help with thinking how to foreground an ecocentric position in culture, in particular, cinema‘nature’ contested over centuries & in various disciplines
  • 14. 2. how do you go about finding out your data? Proposed methodological framework of the enquiry: 1. Literature review 2. develop art practice works and theory analysis that responds to the enquiry 3. undertake case study of an experimental cinema work(s) by others, 4. done after a significant part of the literature review has been completed to expand and support key arguments/methods of practice that are significant to the enquiry3 strands to my enquiry Literature review develop art practice works and theory analysis that responds to the enquiry undertake case study of an experimental cinema work(s) by others, done after a significant part of the literature review has been completed to expand and support key arguments/methods of practice that are significant to the enquiry
  • 15. methdological tools:Autoethnography- a subjective, qualitativemethod (from anthropology - tool toinclude/record my actions as part of theresearch)to document & present the process and theinterplay between my art & theory work- tomake explicit how I got to my keyarguments/conclusions Using an autoethnographic method:created self-reflexive, dated ‘journaling’ space: by postingon an online niche blog www.ecoartfilm.com thatcombines my practice and theory work, also use a visualnotebook as a diary 1. is a way of disseminating my work, building profile for the area, create audience 2. very active in contributing to online networks in art & ecology areamethdological tools:Autoethnography- a subjective, qualitative method (from anthropology - tool to include/record my actions as part of the research)to document/present the process and the interplay between my art & theory work- to make explicit how I got to my key arguments/conclusions#Using an autoethnographic method:created self-reflexive, dated ʻjournalingʼ space: by posting on an online niche blog www.ecoartfilm.com that combines my practice and theory work, also use a visual notebook as adiary is a way of disseminating my work, building profile for the area, create audience very active in creating online networks in art & ecology area
  • 16. • Practice side of enquiry I make short films• moved slowly from human voice-over narratives about environmental actions to most recent where the bird ‘tells’ the story of the forest transformation• however, gaining more awareness of the impossibility of ‘representing’ something that is irreducible; a forest is an ecosystem of elements that extends beyond human comprehension and fences -• been re-examining works of Robert Smithson; recent academic theory (Boetzkes, 2010) argues Smithson works defines that ‘nature’ cannot be located/ represented fully in site-works, films or writings - ideas that a still not widely acknowledged in much of art & ecology practice; parallels some philosophical ethical ideas about ecology• can see my future experiments might be more unedited - a webcam for my ‘forest’ might be more appropriate to capture ‘sightings of my ‘forest’ as I explore ideas around, ecology, dark ecology, ecosophy to investigate ideas that aspire to more ecocentric - ecopoetic positions etc• posts are slowing building a ‘narrative’ of analysis from both theory and film as a ‘record’ of my data analysisPractice side of enquiryI make short filmsmoved slowly from human voice-over narratives about environmental actions to most recent where the bird ʻtellsʼ the story of the forest transformationhowever, gaining more awareness of the impossibility of ʻrepresentingʼ something that is irreducible; a forest is an ecosystem of elements that extends beyond human comprehensionand fences -been re-examining works of Robert Smithson; recent academic theory (Boetzkes, 2010) argues Smithson works defines that ʻnatureʼ cannot be located/represented fully in site-works,films or writings - ideas that a still not widely acknowledged in much of art & ecology practice; parallels some philosophical ethical ideas about ecologycan see my future experiments might be more unedited - a webcam for my ʻforestʼ might be more appropriate to capture ʻsightings of my ʻforestʼ as I explore ideas around, ecology,dark ecology, ecosophy to investigate ideas that aspire to more ecocentric - ecopoetic positions etcposts are slowing building a ʻnarrativeʼ of analysis from both theory and film as a ʻrecordʼ of my data analysis
  • 17. Scope of theory review aware that in other domains; for e.g. cultural geography, anthropology, theology debates are occurring on the historical and present divisions between nature and culture but I believe these maybe outside the scope of this enquiry to pursue in any depth. from initial research, it is in literary theory that critiques of cultural works that aspire to ecological concerns are occurring (over last 15 years) and where more recently cinematic works are being examined that would both extend my own practice research and where ultimately I could make a contribution to furthering theoretical knowledge/practiceScope of theory reviewaware that in other domains; for e.g. cultural geography, anthropology, theology debates are occurring on the historical and present divisions between nature andculture but I believe these maybe outside the scope of this enquiry to pursue in any depth. from initial research, it is in literary theory that critiques of cultural works that aspire to ecological concerns are occurring (over last 15 years) and where more recently cinematic works are being examined that would both extend my own practice research and where ultimately I could make a contribution to furthering theoretical knowledge/practice
  • 18. theory where the enquiry is most likely to be situated and developed ecocriticism in literature ecocriticism in cinemaecocriticism in cinema is a very recent area of activity (mid 90s onwards); more recently joined by cultural studies,media arts, cultural geographersKey group is the American Assoc. of Env. LIterature (ASLE); has its own journal and sister organisations world wide - havebeen supporting/invite people from other fields to examine cinema, visual arts etc for eg media theorist review of ecocriticism& film ʻFraming the World explorations in ecocriticism & film (2010) writer ack. support of ASLEecocriticism in cinema is a very recent area of activity (mid 90s onwards); researchers from literature, where ecocriticism activity has been established over the last ~15 years areleading ecocritical analysis of culture (more recently joined by cultural studies, media arts, cultural geographers,)even in ecocritical cinema analysis, key people who have reviewed film ecocritically, like Scott MacDonald, have more often than not a background in literatureKey group is the Am Assoc. of Env. LIterature (ASLE) has its own journal and sister organisations world wide have been supporting/invite people from other fields to examine cinema, visualarts etc for eg media theorist review of ecocriticism & film ʻFraming the World explorations in ecocriticism & film (2010) writer ack support of ASLE
  • 19. • case study - identify after completion of literature review • in this enquiry, a deep investigation of another’s work, would be an important means of more deeply understanding my own film practice/work, particularly as I see that my own experience and knowledge in filmmaking as still developing • very few in-depth case studies of experimental filmmakers looking at natural phenomena from perspective of another practitioner • provide more valuable ‘insider’ information rather than information/ theory and would both extend my own practice & theory research • From the examination of ecosophy and critical analysis of art & ecology practices a case study also bring new insights into the interpretation and understanding of key experimental works that engage in encounteringcase study - identify after completion of literature review in this enquiry, a deep investigation of another’s work, would be an important means of more deeply understanding my own film practice/work, particularly as I see that my own experience andknowledge in filmmaking as still developingvery few in-depth case studies of experimental filmmakers looking at natural phenomena from perspective of another practitioner provide more valuable ‘insider’ information rather than information/theory and would both extend my own practice & theory research From the examination of ecosophy and critical analysis of art & ecology practices a case study also bring new insights into the interpretation and understanding of key experimental works that engage in encountering natural phenomena.Need to make explicit why one work or a series of works are chosen over others, the context in which the work sits (which could be addressed in the literature review)
  • 20. Conclusion of Enquiry • How will I know when the enquiry is finished; • art practice doesn’t end - when a significant body of work - ongoing critical practice/research methodology is engrained - see it might all exist online as a narrative of enquiry rather than exhibitions, that exists on my site and in the networks that I contribute to and develop • key indicators - completion of comprehensive lit review, case study and established a critically body of work in practice and theoryHow will I know when the enquiry is finished;art practice doesnʼt end - when a significant body of work - ongoing critical practice/research methodology is engrained - see it might all exist online as a narrative of enquiry rather thanexhibitions, that exists on my site and in the networks that I contribute to and developkey indicators - completion of comprehensive lit review, case study and established a critically body of work in practice and theory
  • 21. • descriptors - my writings are being spread to my peers & general audiences so far through my sites, have recently also been taken on a contributing author for art & ecology of 6 yr old womens arts and activism site HerCircle - audience is college educated and I’m able to put both my theory and film work in this sphere• contribute and support art & ecology networks online• have all year been deliberating about creating online research cluster for arts & ecology in Ireland with links to other groups• as expt created dedicated facebook page on art & ecology; have general audience close to 500 following descriptors - my writings are being spread to my peers & general audiences so far through my sites, have recently also been taken on a contributing author for art & ecology of 6 yr old womens arts and activism site HerCircle - audience is college educated and Iʼm able to put both my theory and film work in this sphere contribute and support art & ecology networks online - heavily involved in international culturefutures.org working with key policy people (Denmark) in the area have all year been deliberating about creating online research cluster for arts & eoclogy in Ireland with links to culturefutures but also transitiontown movement
  • 22. follow @ ecoartfilm.comor facebook.com/ecoartnotes “A tiny forest in the making, in rural ireland may have something to teach us about one most important ecosystems on the planet on which so many of us depend, as well as teaching us a thing or two about the wisdom of employing a more ecocentric perspective in our cultural activities”“A tiny forest in the making, in rural ireland may have something to teach us about one most important ecosystems on the planet on which so many of us depend, as well as teaching us athing or two about the wisdom of employing an ecocentric perspective in our cultural activities”