Nature on screen 2011

987 views

Published on

Published in: Education
1 Comment
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
987
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
8
Comments
1
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • context in which the research enquiry lies
  • if i was asked to describe my context in a sentence i would describe it as looking at experimental film and ecology to respond to this age of climate change/ resource depletion, biosphere instability we have 30-40 yrs at most to change humanity to live more sustainably on the planet as we are currently consuming the material resources of 3-5 planets While the world is obsessing about the economy, end of capitalism etc i’m more concerned with the rapid disappearance of ‘nature’s capital’, that underwrites any economy one of the difficulties I face is i’m back in the humanities when i’m much more focussed on the need to understand our relationship with the non-human ‘ Everybody knew. Nobody admitted to knowing. If other people began to discuss it, you tuned them out, because what they were saying was both so obvious and so unthinkable […] We’re using up the Earth. It’s almost gone. ’ Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood, 2009
  • background in science, green politics, sustainable forestry interested in how the arts and sciences communicate/present, ecological concerns and in particular, to general audiences - i have been reviewing art and ecology practices, exhibitions, conferences on my blog for the last 3 years in detail but have long been interested in the area... my undergrad thesis was to be on art & ecology coming from an art and science /ecology perspective - thematic area of practice developed over the last 30 years etc There are a growing no. artists reflecting on climate change; Roger Malina, editor of Leonardo, kenotey on first Culture & Climate change conference and artists residencies in Letterkenny 2010 described that artists have an important role… ‘in making science intimate….not just translating science  or making science pretty.’ He spoke of many artists who were attempting to engage with science, from many diverse practices, who were taking scientific data  and using it in their creative practices transmuting it into something engaging, tangible and intimate for general audiences. Similarily, UK Arts Councils and other arts councils are beginning to look at ways to enable cultural practitioners to engage with these ideas or convey ideas of sustainability in their practices to influences others. more on : An art and ecology notebook... Feb 2010, resyndicated on the international art, ecology, & sustainability network cultura21
  • very broad starting point - all media interested in how today’s most powerful media, cinema, is facilitating or not, our relationship to the earth
  • how is nature represented in environmental themed films and documentary,wildlife (natural history) films, in mainstream films, experimental artists films? factual, talking head experts and dramatic high-end blue chip wildlife films are popular, commercially successful and promoted as educational entertainment, but are formal conventions used in such films distancing audiences further from their understanding that they are complicit in the ecological crisis ? is presenting overtly didactic films the only way we can relate to the earth?
  • are 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 address environmental/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 particularly interested in how cinema is distributed online and how social media is enabling filmmakers of all levels and nations to create a mosaic of ecofilm works - intrigued that such technology may have the potential for the world to perceive itself more ecologically 1 min film competition, possible futures flim competitions.. online film festivals getting more sophisticated and growing audiences all the time
  • The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard 2007 - most watched viral short ecofilm with 12 million views and its on ecological awareness!
  • will confine investigation to artists experimental cinema thru my own practice and perhaps case studies of artist filmmakers ecocinematic work strongly believe that experimental film practice can be a valid place to unpack nature film conventions, perhaps offer new perceptual perspectives interestingly film ecocritic Willoquet-Maricondi (2010) in framing the world: explorations in ecocriticism and film argues that ‘experimental film offers the greatest potential for a truly consciousness-altering cinematic experience’ leading avant-garde/experimental art film critic Scott MacDonald who coined the word ‘ecocinema’ also believes experimental film has potential in ‘retraining perception’....allowing an examination of the conventions of media-spectatorship that largely ignores the earth (Toward an Ecocinema, 2004) image Tea Makipaa Finnish artist engage with climate change/ecological views in her work - stuck camera onto reindeer to create film
  • what is ecocinema? recent term from 2004, further defined in 2010, ‘are films that overtly engage with environmental justice concerns or those that make ‘nature’ from landscapes to wildlife, a primary focus cuts across genres, modes of production full-length and short fiction, documentary, exp. films/video ecocinema actively seeks to inform viewers about, as well as engage their participation in, addressing issues of ecological importance, raising awareness, and political action play an active role in fostering env has broader philosophical implications of what it means to inhabit this planet.. to be a member of this ecosphere and to understand and value this community in a systemic and non-hierarchial way (biocentric and ecocentric viewpoints rather than anthropocentric -that human views or interests are of higher priority than non-humans
  • scope of enquiry for both my theory research and practice - my first stop was film theory, film/media history very little critical analysis of nature/wildlife films - almost absent - only a handful books and those just appeared in last 10 years!!! reel nature - america’s romance with nature on film (1999), wildlife films (2000) ‘probably no substantial dimension of film history that is so widely admired by a public audience and so frequently utilised in academic contexts has been so thoroughly ignored by film critics, historians and theorists as the nature (wildlife) film’ (Upclose and political - three ruminations on nature film, MacDonald 2006, republished in his complete works of Adventures in perception, cinema as exploration, 2009)
  • however these few books do analyse conventions in wildlife (natural history) camera work and the cameras limitations in representing nature and the economic forces behind such productions generally argue ‘that the wildlife genre has been underrated as an area of filmic creativity, yet overrated as a tool for science education and nature conservation’(Bouse, 2000) School of Arts & Sciences, Lebanon US Uni. chronological history of all wildlife films from 1870s til 2000, UK & Britain....bbc, disney wildlife films formally and thematically owe more to Hollywood entertainment than documentary science in such films was a type of storytelling, often presenting wildlife with human projections (anthropomorphic characteristics), eg explaining animal behaviour by projecting ‘middle class family dynamics’ values nature often presented as narrative drama full ‘of action and fury’ to secure ratings ‘ as such films are increasingly technologically sophisticated. they move further away from depicting nature on its own terms...as more people in 21 century (75% of planet soon will be in urban environments) what will be the consequences of portraying it as a place of sound and fury, or as a place where our own moral and social values can be so easily applied (Bouse 2000)
  • methodology - so my practical research in experimental film will attempt to investigate the possibility / impossibility of creating ‘ecocinema’ works begin with analysis of ‘nature’ films formal conventions of representation create work that may disrupt/counter these conventions practice may include: extended formats, unusual montage and editing, use of silence and natural sounds, elimination of ‘voice of god’ narration, foregrounding of nature/time/seasons, capturing the everyday sublime in nature as a means of presenting the unknowingness/complexity of ecological world view, investigation of ecopoesis - poetic format that is both pre-political and pre-scientific - one that is not meant as a representation of nature but as a presentation - a presencing my work is intended for general audiences, I read a lot of material about science communication: for instance climate has been called the diabolical problem of the 21 C - its invisible, vast, hard to explain and measures to counter it may never be known if they have worked found my work can work in internet, gallery and cinema spaces while initially considering my work to be somehow trivalised by being on youtube, now beginning to be interested int the potential of ecofilms existing in a social network frameworks - the democratization of filmmaking with cheap cameras, growing access to internet, is radically changing how we create and consume film material
  • methodology theory- have begun to examine the small but rapidly growing field in literary criticism -ecocriticism that has evolved since mid 90s. It is the literary field that is driving ecocriticism as an interdisciplinary endeavour... and generally literary types that are presenting ecocritical readings of ‘nature’ films... they are drawing much experience from nature writing/poetry and eco literary movements such as Romanticism ecocritical reading of works will become like gender or marxist readings... non-nature film works will increasingly be read ecologically will look at counter arguments that the camera (Heidigger to Sontag).. serves as ‘an instrument of distancing, domination, objectification, dehistorization and commodification of things... spreading a dangerous sense of irreality in our midst - that it enframes and conquests the earth’ Cultural Studies, cultural geography, env. philosophy -other places to unpick limiting / new ideas about ‘nature’; new work on cognitive science and empathy (Rifkin) may be of interest in regards to how film may engage audiences other key terms to address will be ‘nature’ - one of the most complex and contested ideas/materials... old philosophical territory Heidegger (dwelling), Romanticism, deep to dark ecology - eliminating the idea of nature altogether may be very useful
  • i think it is too easy to fall into using horror and blame in regards to loss of species, climate change scenarios, instead my work.... attempt to create everyday narratives that reflect on sustainable ways to interact in my environment
  • my film work subject material is from a broader long-term art and ecology project, where I’m converting the 2 acre conifer plantation in which I live to a permanent forest dialogue with involving leading foresters and my local community but using my own voice to create a personal response very influenced by Beuys, Helen & Newton Harrisons, Agnes Denes in long term, art-science-ecology-politics projects - 7000 oaks - global satellite audiences, Harrisons Serpentine slide show, Denes 500y Tree Mountain project - often work in politics as another means to creatively introduce ideas into public sphere made contact with Oxford Uni of Trees - globally 80 art forest projects now listed - social sculpture Beuys framework -poetic imagination-future -forests are extremely powerful metaphor for living more ecologically active in trying to get online art and ecology networks working more effectively globally to develop the field
  • FILM WORK 2006 the local project 25 min - env documentary format - interviewed farmers and the trees they planted that were part of a new native woodland scheme in south leitrim - a local project with global perspective 2007-2010 working full-time so concentrated on creating blog to review art and ecology area, came aware that exp. film on ecological perspective v. small area of activity 2008 set out to make another env documentary tho had been unhappy with the talking head format I had used before created a short 1 min film, burning bright http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6PaMZTx0c4 , narrated by myself and interspersed with just observing a natural phenomena, though cut with footage that I had been considering to use make a longer doc about people learning about sustainable forestry pov - not an expert, shared my learning about close to nature and letting the forest tell the story in places.... felt like I was working in a poetic way... work was less overtly political or scientific
  • in late 2009 I made another short one minute film once i counted birds wanted to convey again another personal film poem touching on rising sea levels and my own small attempts to address it had a surprising response to both films across ages, background and those involved with ecocinema it seemed i had instinctively created a form to fit in a social media space and the shortness and poetic framework was a means to present a personal and tangible response to large ecological concerns came across a chapter in literary theorist Jonathan Bate’s book Song of the Earth about why poetry is essential in this age of ecological crisis; his reading of Heidegger’s text ‘ What are poets for ?’ text suggested arguments that the poetic may be a valuable means to consider how we might dwell more responsibly on this earth ecopoetics - a hybrid strategy to literally make (poesis) the earth (eco)? Bate also argues that poetry is a unique way of experiencing the earth, rather than describing it and that it is also ‘a pre-political space’
  • last point, as a filmmaker i’m curious about my role as the narrator in my filmpoem diary/essays and how such work circulates/operates on the web and to its audiences.... subjectivity in nonfiction cinema, prevalent with low cost video & Internet, is a reflection and a consequence of our fragmented, globalised world.. we are all condemned to decentredness, fragmentation and liquidity... the autobiographical (film) feeds the hope of finding or creating unity in this world... Rascaroli 2009 The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film
  • disclosing the work: to peers and broader community feb 2011 - 8000 word paper on networking the arts to save the eart h - encouraged to publish it - detailed examination how online networks have unrealised potential to connect & develop art & ecology field as result of submitting paper to Leonardo Art & Science Journal - my short film once i counted birds featured on editors blog ; also available as download on my blog -60 downloads of the paper - raised profile and knowledge for areashorter paper for VAI now being prepared peers: received email from Harrisons ‘From our perspective, very good work’. Similarly from global online climate change organisation 350.org on their global day of action received an email from their arts ambassador - Thank you so much for your fantastic videos. They are deeply moving in their simplicity... a very clear way of communicating this huge catastrophe on an intimate scale.' have since returning to college begun collecting sound and visual recordings from my forest in the making to begin to make new film works ecoartfilm blog to house more specific ecocinema research and resources i am finding to share with tutors & peers
  • Nature on screen 2011

    1. 1. nature on screen <ul><li>can ecocinema forms and global networked filmic spaces reconnect us to a sense of place and planet </li></ul><ul><li>Cathy Fitzgerald </li></ul><ul><li>Visual Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Theory and Practice </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>talk outline </li></ul><ul><li>context </li></ul><ul><li>related research questions </li></ul><ul><li>scope of enquiry (so far) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>key terms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>methodology </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>theory practice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>outputs </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>context: looking at experimental film and ecology to respond to this age of climate change/ resource depletion, biosphere instability </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Everybody knew. Nobody admitted to knowing. If other people began to discuss it, you tuned them out, because what they were saying was both so obvious and so unthinkable […] We’re using up the Earth. It’s almost gone. ’ Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood, 2009 </li></ul>main problems: exponentially increasing global population with ever increasing consumerism >>> ecosystem collapse, climate change, resource depletion
    4. 4. <ul><li>background in science, green politics, sustainable forestry </li></ul><ul><li>interested in how the arts and sciences communicate/present, ecological concerns and in particular, to general audiences - have been reviewing art and ecology practices, exhibitions, conferences on my blog for the last 3 years in detail but have long been interested in the area... my undergrad thesis was to be on art & ecology </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>interested in how today’s most powerful media, cinema, is facilitating or not, our relationship to the earth </li></ul>we have always mediated nature
    6. 6. <ul><li>how is nature represented in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>environmental themed films and documentary,wildlife (natural history) films, in mainstream films, experimental artists films? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are formal conventions used in such films distancing audiences further from their understanding that they are complicit in the ecological crisis ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>is presenting overtly didactic films the only way we can relate to the earth? </li></ul></ul>related questions
    7. 7. <ul><li>are 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 address environmental/conservation themes? </li></ul><ul><li>what potentials are offered by new social media filmic spaces* to engage global audiences in ecological concerns or to envision more sustainable futures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>particularly interested in how cinema is distributed online and how social media is enabling filmmakers of all levels and nations to create a mosaic of ecofilm works - intrigued that such technology may have the potential for the world to perceive itself more ecologically </li></ul></ul>related questions Global film festivals inviting filmmakers to make work on ecological themes: UN global call for filmmakers working on forests to submit films for 2011 Int Year of the Forest to distribute to global audiences
    8. 8. <ul><li>biggest paradox in my enquiry is while i’m interested in nature on film is acknowledging that movies, tv, internet etc accelerate our rates of consumption and hence place the ‘natural’ world, that supports us and other species, in greater jeopardy ... </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>will confine investigation to artists experimental cinema </li></ul><ul><ul><li>through my own practice and perhaps case studies of artist filmmakers ecocinematic work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>believe that experimental film practice can be a valid place to unpack outworn nature film conventions, perhaps offer new perceptual perspectives </li></ul>scope of enquiry how might the practice demonstrate/respond to the enquiry
    10. 10. <ul><li>what is ecocinema? </li></ul><ul><li>recent term from 2004, further defined in 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ are films that overtly engage with environmental justice concerns or those that make ‘nature’ from landscapes to wildlife, a primary focus </li></ul><ul><li>has broader philosophical implications of what it means to inhabit this planet.. to be a member of this ecosphere and to understand and value this community in a systemic and non-hierarchial way (biocentric and ecocentric viewpoints rather than anthropocentric -that human views or interests are of higher priority than non-humans </li></ul>key term:
    11. 11. <ul><li>scope of enquiry </li></ul><ul><li>for both my theory research and practice - my first stop was film theory, film/media history </li></ul><ul><li>on nature films: ‘probably no substantial dimension of film history that is so widely admired by a public audience and so frequently utilised in academic contexts has been so thoroughly ignored by film critics, historians and theorists as the nature (wildlife) film’ </li></ul><ul><li>( Upclose and political - three ruminations on nature film , MacDonald 2006, republished in his complete works of Adventures in Perception, Cinema as Exploration, 2009) </li></ul>where is the bear’s mother?
    12. 12. <ul><li>however these few books do analyse conventions in wildlife (natural history) camera work and the cameras limitations in representing nature and the economic forces behind such productions </li></ul><ul><li>generally argue ‘that the wildlife genre has been underrated as an area of filmic creativity , yet overrated as a tool for science education and nature conservation ’ (Bouse, 2000) School of Arts & Sciences, Lebanon US Uni. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ as such films are increasingly technologically sophisticated. they move further away from depicting nature on its own terms...as more people in 21 century (75% of planet soon will be in urban environments) what will be the consequences of portraying it as a place of sound and fury, or as a place where our own moral and social values can be so easily applied (Bouse 2000) </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>my practical research in experimental film will attempt to investigate the possibility / impossibility of creating ‘ecocinema’ works </li></ul><ul><ul><li>begin with analysis of ‘nature’ films formal conventions of representation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create work that may disrupt/counter these conventions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>practice may include: extended formats, unusual montage and editing, use of silence and natural sounds, elimination of ‘voice of god’ narration, foregrounding of nature/time/seasons, capturing the everyday sublime in nature as a means of presenting the unknowingness/complexity of ecological world view, investigate ecopoesis forms - poetic format that is both pre-political and pre-scientific to lessen the didactic quality of the work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>aim is to create work for general audiences </li></ul></ul></ul>methodology:
    14. 14. <ul><li>theory have begun to examine the small but rapidly growing field in literary criticism -ecocriticism that have evolved since mid 90s. It is the literary field that is driving ecocriticism as an interdisciplinary endeavour... and generally literary types that are presenting ecocritical readings of ‘nature’ films... they are drawing much experience from nature writing/poetry and eco literary movements such as Romanticism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ecocritical reading of works will become like gender or marxist readings... non-nature film works will increasingly be read ecologically </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>will look at counter arguments that the camera (Heidigger to Sontag).. serves as ‘an instrument of distancing, domination, objectification, dehistorization and commodification of things... spreading a dangerous sense of irreality in our midst - that it enframes and conquests the earth’ </li></ul></ul>methodology:
    15. 16. my work has been about creating backyard filmic narratives connecting my local eco stories/actions to planetary concerns still from burning bright 2008 2008 2008 2008
    16. 17. <ul><li>my film work subject material is from a broader long-term art and ecology project, where I’m converting the 2 acre conifer plantation in which I live to a permanent forest </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue with involving leading foresters and my local community but using my own voice to create a personal response </li></ul><ul><li>made contact with Oxford University of Trees - globally 80 art forest projects now listed </li></ul><ul><li>very active in trying to get online art and ecology networks working more effectively globally </li></ul>
    17. 18. <ul><li>film work </li></ul><ul><li>2006 the local project 25 min - env documentary format - interviewed farmers and the trees they planted that were part of a new native woodland scheme in south leitrim - a local project with global perspective </li></ul><ul><li>2007-2010 working full-time so concentrated on creating blog to review art and ecology area, came aware that exp. film on ecological perspective v. small area of activity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2008 set out to make another env documentary tho had been unhappy with the talking head format I had used before </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>created a short 1 min film, burning bright http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6PaMZTx0c4 , narrated by myself and interspersed with just observing a natural phenomena, though cut with footage that I had been considering to use make a longer doc about people learning about sustainable forestry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pov - not an expert, shared my learning about close to nature and letting the forest tell the story in places.... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>felt like I was working in a poetic way... work was less overtly political or scientific </li></ul></ul>
    18. 19. <ul><li>in late 2009 I made another short one minute film once i counted birds </li></ul><ul><li>wanted to convey again another personal film poem touching on rising sea levels and my own small attempts to address it </li></ul><ul><li>came across a chapter in literary theorist Jonathan Bate’s book Song of the Earth, about why poetry is essential in this age of ecological crisis; his reading of Heidegger’s text ‘ What are poets for ?’ text suggested arguments that the poetic may be a valuable means to consider how we might dwell more responsibly on this earth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ecopoetics - a hybrid strategy to literally make (poesis) the earth (eco)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bate also argues that poetry is a unique way of experiencing the earth, rather than describing it and that it is also ‘a pre-political space ’ </li></ul></ul>
    19. 20. subjectivity in nonfiction cinema, prevalent with low cost video & Internet, is a reflection and a consequence of our fragmented, globalised world.. we are all condemned to decentredness, fragmentation and liquidity... the autobiographical (film) feeds the hope of finding or creating unity in this world... Rascaroli 2009 The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film The Personal Camera -Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film
    20. 21. <ul><li>disclosing the work: to peers and broader community </li></ul><ul><li>feb 2011 - 8000 word paper on networking the arts to save the eart h - encouraged to publish it - detailed examination how online networks have unrealised potential to connect & develop art & ecology field </li></ul><ul><ul><li>as result of submitting paper to Leonardo Art & Science Journal - my short film once i counted birds featured on Leonardo editors blog; shorter paper for VAI now being prepared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>peers: received email from Harrisons ‘ From our perspective, very good work’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>since returning to college begun collecting sound and visual recordings from my forest in the making to begin to make new film works </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ecoartfilm blog to house more specific ecocinema research and resources i am finding, to share with tutors and peers </li></ul></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>so what? benefits of such a study </li></ul><ul><li>if nothing else, mapping/highlighting the context of relatively new field of ecocriticism and overlap with exp. film may be a contribution in itself... may deliver new understandings, for fine art/visual culture, in particular </li></ul><ul><li>practice may serve to succinctly illustrate some limiting conventions & diversity of possibly more engaging ecocinema forms - it will be a qualitative study </li></ul><ul><li>science appears to have failed somehow to engage the world’s audiences about the urgency of impending biosphere instability: can only be timely to investigate the world’s most powerful and pervasive media: film + internet </li></ul>
    22. 23. thank you www.ecoartnotebook.com and ecoartfilm.wordpress.com facebook.com/ecoartnotes

    ×