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Seeing the forest - presentation for Visual Culture, NCAD, Jan 2013
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Seeing the forest - presentation for Visual Culture, NCAD, Jan 2013

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research enquiry in visual culture on 'seeing' the forest in experimental natural history/wildlife cinema

research enquiry in visual culture on 'seeing' the forest in experimental natural history/wildlife cinema

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  • SmileNameIn 3rdyr theory and practice phd enquiryThe working title of my talk isWhich is really about seeing the forest
  • ‘the relations between doing and seeing, action and vision, construction and perception, lie at the core of art that engages the land at ground level, Lucy Lippard, p15How we view the world has been in the past conditioned by painting and writing. Today movies, photo and TV, condition our perception and social behaviour…we should begin to develop an art education based on relationships to specific sites. How we see things and places is not a secondary concern, but primary’ Robert Smithson, p22
  • early career in biological research in NZ18 years forest art projects worked with leading sustainable foresters a long term art & ecology forest transformation project__________________art & ecology: thematic developed from land art, on the edge of contemporary arts practicetrans-disciplinary creative practice: applied philosophy/interventions to forest; across theory, video work, ongoing dialogue with foresters, contribute to national forest policy
  • science overwhelmingly indicates many ecosystems near collapserelations with our landbases will have to change radicallyinterested in history, development, conventions of natural history/wildlife cinema (films /tv/online)See it not just a crisis of accelerating exponential population and materialism but firstly a fundamentally crisis of cuture
  • Wasn’t where I thought it would be – not in film theoryAnalysis of cultural works in respect to ecological concerns is relatively recent field – ecocriticismevolved in literary theory; argues literature (and other cultural works), can be analysed ecocritically. In same way that critical film analysis that may employ gender, structuralism, psychoanalysis theory last 5 years ecocriticism of cinema developing -Am Society for Environment & Literature (ASLE) and their journal ISLE ecocritical thinking in Cultural Studies and Cultural Geographyfeeding into a field of media & film – but as yet largely absent in the vocabulary of most film and media texts and theoryThis activity appears to be the formation of a new discipline of Ecological Humanities
  • First text on ecocriticism and film came out in 2010, & Routledge 2012 – ‘Ecocinema theory and practice’growing arguments that any film can be analysed ecocriticallywith growing biosphere instability it will be an important area in the humanities
  • There are narrow, longstanding human-centered conceptual and formal conventions in mainstream natural history/wildlife cinema – considering thiswhat politics against the non-human world could be revealed by ecocritical analysis?for e.g., looked at representations of human dominance and imperialism in early nature cinema; argue anthropocentric perceptions/conventions of natural history cinema have evolved from natural history museum exhibits and these rest on earlier visual conventions of how the nonhuman world is depicted in Western cultural works. Argument that such visual conventions, long assimilated, may significantly account for our disregard for the natural world
  • Can limitations of nature cinema be explored through an experimental film practice?Can we move from an overly anthropocentric gaze to aspire to one that foregrounds non-human perspectives
  • Why would this be important? Eco jurisprudence (eco legislation) is growing, seeks rights for nonhuman species/forms (rivers, forests etc)to prevent ecocidecountries with indigenous cultures these cultures more fully consider non-human perspectives for their own sake, ultimately to maintain deeply sustainable relations with their environmentsDifficult to achieve in west where nonhuman species are perceived so differently, in our cultural works
  • ecocriticism , ecopornography‘Nature’ – what is a ‘forest’?deep ecology, dark ecology vs environmentalism deep sustainabilityWill ground/ present Close to nature forest practice as application of deep sustainability vs unsustainable industrial forestry
  • Ecocide –a slow violence, how is it negated in the culture works of ‘nature’ we createanthropcentric - human centered needs are prioritisedin cultural works – the ‘anthropocentric gaze’biocentric and ecocentric – taking into account other species
  • Ecocide –a slow violence, how is it negated in the culture works of ‘nature’ we createanthropcentric - human centered needs are prioritisedin cultural works – the ‘anthropocentric gaze’biocentric and ecocentric – taking into account other species
  • ecocritical analysis of film worksCase study (to be undertaken)My audio and video material collected observations in forestassess ecocritically to see/argue that my video works are moving from an environmental form (in concept &/or technique) to a more ecocentric form
  • How do I make knowledge? creative works/processes:/writing/ filming/forest practicesBuilding a resource for myself and others in this new fieldEnhanced visibility of my research and connection to leading peersLucky to have found 2012 art & ecology project on tree empathy & science to refer to, Reiko Collins
  • self reflexive journaling online: writing, filmmaking (auto ethnographic)Journalling is not the research but impt means to track and disseminate how my new knowledge is formedBuilding a resource for myself and others in this new fieldEnhanced visibility of my research and connection to leading peersLucky to have found 2012 art & ecology project on tree empathy & science to refer to, Reiko Collins
  • Work will endeavor to bring new ecocritical analysis into visual culture, mapping the context maybe contribution to knowledge, adding to emergent ecological humanities discipline Offer and extend sub area of new ecocinema studies in regards to experimental cinema by creating new eco-centric filmworks
  • Finally believe ecocritical analysis of cultural works is important for makers of visual culture working in art & ecology field – often workers, including myself, in this area maybe be highly sensitive to natural environments/ecological concerns but produce works that are less critically aware, for e.go. how the politics of vision maybe blinding us to ecocide, for instanceThis final image is from my most recent post – I summarise how I’ve been working online over the last year and how its facilitated growing an audience for this work, changing nature of how I’m presenting/thinking about my films and how its allowing me to think in a less formal way through writing

Seeing the forest - presentation for Visual Culture, NCAD, Jan 2013 Seeing the forest - presentation for Visual Culture, NCAD, Jan 2013 Presentation Transcript

  • the ecocidal eye:beyond the anthropocentric (human-centred) to an ecocentric (ecological) gaze, innatural history cinemain a long termart & ecology project‘seeing the forest’’ cathy fitzgerald, visual culture, jan 16. 2013
  • Land, art and ecology (2006) RSA• ‘the relations between doing and seeing, action and vision, construction and perception, lie at the core of art that engages the land at ground level, Lucy Lippard, p15• How we view the world has been in the past conditioned by painting and writing. Today movies, photo and TV, condition our perception and social behaviour…we should begin to develop an art education based on relationships to specific sites. How we see things and places is not a secondary concern, but primary’ Robert Smithson, p22
  • overview – early career in biological research in NZ – 18 years forest art projects worked with leading sustainable foresters – a long term art & ecology forest transformation project __________________ – art & ecology: thematic developed from land art, on the edge of contemporary arts practice – trans-disciplinary – creative practice: applied philosophy/interventions to forest; across theory, video work, ongoing dialogue with foresters, contribute to national forest policy
  • Premises / context• science overwhelmingly indicates many ecosystems near collapse• relations with our landbases will have to change radically The 9 planetary boundaries recently adopted by the UN 2012• interested in history, development, conventions of natural history/wildlife cinema (films /tv/online) a crisis of culture
  • Theoretical framework/ locating /mapping field of enquiry• Analysis of cultural works in respect to ecological concerns is relatively recent field – ecocriticism, from literary theory• feeding into a field of media & film – but as yet largely absent in the vocabulary of most film and media texts and theoryThis activity appears to be the formation of anew discipline of Ecological Humanities
  • Cinema ecocriticism - emergent fieldFirst text on ecocriticism andfilm came out in 2010, &Routledge 2012 – ‘Ecocinematheory and practice’• growing arguments that any film can be analysed ecocritically analysed Welcome to the Anthropocene viral videowith growing biosphere instability it will be an important area in the humanities
  • Questions / GAPs:There are narrow,longstanding human-centeredconceptual and formalconventions in mainstreamnatural history/wildlifecinema – considering thiswhat politics against the non-human world could berevealed by ecocriticalanalysis? Argument that such visual conventions, long assimilated, may significantly account for our disregard for the natural world
  • Questions/gapCan limitations of naturecinema be explored throughan experimental filmpractice?Can we move from an overlyanthropocentric gaze toaspire to one thatforegrounds non-humanperspectives
  • Questions: Why would this be important? Eco jurisprudence (eco legislation) is growing, seeks rights for nonhuman species/forms (rivers, forests etc)to prevent ecocide countries with indigenous cultures these cultures more fully consider non-human perspectives for their own sake, ultimately to maintain deeply sustainable relations with their environments Difficult to achieve in west where nonhuman species are perceived so differently, in our cultural works
  • Key terms & conceptsecocriticism , ecopornography‘Nature’ – what is a ‘forest’?deep ecology, dark ecology vsenvironmentalismdeep sustainability will ground/ present Close to nature forest practice as application of deep sustainability vs unsustainable industrial forestry
  • • ecocide – long term degradation to bioregion• recognised legal term in war – since Vietnam• National constitutions, United Nations
  • more key terms &concepts• ecocide• anthropcentric - human centered needs are prioritised in cultural works – the ‘anthropocentric gaze’• biocentric and ecocentric – taking into account other species
  • Application of key terms to primary materialecocritical analysis of film works – Case study (to be undertaken) – My audio and video material collected observations in forest • assess ecocritically to see/argue that my video works are moving from an environmental form (in concept &/or technique) to a more ecocentric form
  • Methodology How do I make knowledge? creative works/processes: /writing/ filming/forest practices
  • methodological tools• self reflexive journaling online: (auto ethnographic)• journaling not the research but impt means to track and disseminate how my knowledge is formed
  • Advances• Offer and extend subarea of new ‘ecocinema studies’ in regards to experimental cinema by creating new, more eco-centric filmworks and analysis• Work will endeavor to bring new ecocritical analysis into visual culture, film theoryauc – mapping the context maybe the major contribution to new knowledge, adding to emergent ecological humanities discipline
  • www.ecoartfilm.com