October 25, 2020 - e-flux - Ecology After Nature
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October 25, 2020

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Ecology After Nature
Part Six | Anthropocentric Pasts and Planetary Futures, or Death as New Beginning

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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for Anthropocentric Pasts and Planetary Futures, or Death as New Beginning, the sixth and final part of the online series Ecology After Nature convened by Lukas Brasiskis

This last part of the series questions the privileged temporal and scalar position that the human species on planet Earth claims to have. Dinh Q. Lê’s The Colony (2016), Tomonari Nishikawa’s sound of a million insects, light of a thousand stars (2014), Thirza Cuthand’s Reclamation (2018), and Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė’s Acid Forest (2018) reveal the short-sightedness of attempts to instrumentalize and colonize nature, and propose long-durée perspectives that break the illusion of a progressive temporality, and allow us to surpass the human lifespan in order to re-imagine the world in its post-colonial or, even, post-human stage.

In addition to the film screenings, this final part of the series also features the online discussion Outside the Timeline of Progress: Techno-Material Traces, Post-Human Landscapes, and The New Social with Misho AntadzeThirza Cuthand, Heather DavisSu Yu Hsin, and Arjuna Neuman, moderated by Brasiskis.

The films in Part Six will screen for two weeks from Sunday, October 25 through Saturday, November 7, 2020.

The discussion will livestream on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 1pm EST, and will include audience Q&A via chat.

On Sunday, November 8, 2020, Ecology After Nature will wrap with a repeat of all 22 films included in Parts One through Six—available for 24 hours from 12am to 11:59pm EST.

Ecology After Nature 
Part Six | Anthropocentric Pasts and Planetary Futures, or Death as New Beginning
Sunday, October 25—Saturday, November 7, 2020

Dinh Q. Lê, The Colony, 2016
53 minutes 

This three-part video is loosely based on 19th-century depictions of a cluster of islands off of the west coast of Peru that are rich in guano, a powerful fertilizer. Exploring the drama of absurdity, greed, and human suffering—all for the brown gold of bird excrement—the film revisits three important episodes in the islands’ infamous history: the 19th-century imperial wars between Spain and its former colonies Peru and Chile; the horrific fate of the indentured Chinese laborers; and the US Guano Act of 1856 that authorized over 100 claims for uninhabited islands, reefs, and atolls in the Pacific and Atlantic.

Tomonari Nishikawa, sound of a million insects, light of a thousand stars, 2014
2 minutes

For six hours from the sunset of June 24, 2014 to the sunrise of the following day, a hundred-foot-long 35mm negative film was buried under fallen leaves alongside a country road 25 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, in the area that was once an evacuation zone. Possibly exposed to radioactive materials, this film functions as an abstract analogue trace of detrimental human activities.

Thirza Cuthand, Reclamation, 2018
13 minutes

Reclamation is a documentary-style imagining of a post-dystopian future in Canada after massive climate change, wars, pollution, and the after-effects of the large-scale colonial project which has now destroyed the land. When Indigenous people are left behind after a massive exodus by primarily privileged white settlers who have moved to Mars, the original inhabitants of the land cope by trying to restore and rehabilitate the beautiful planet they belong to.

Rugilė  Barzdžiukaitė, Acid Forest, 2018 
63 minutes

Can you imagine a tourist attraction where people come to see a dead forest? Where they are not only observers, but also the ones being observed and heard by the black birds? Acid Forest is a satiric creative documentary about an unusual tourist attraction: a dying leafless trees overtaken by thousands of cormorant birds, impacting the ancient forest with their acid-fortified feces and causing visitors to reflect on the relationship between human and nature. “Apart from the main storyline, I kept my focus on playful dialogues, illustrating how a range of political questions, historical narratives, migration vectors, and cinematic experiences intervene into the human projections of nature. I hope it helped an environmental paradox of Acid Forest to become a metaphor for a surreal world that we are living in,” says the director of the film.

Outside the Timeline of Progress: Techno-Material Traces, Post-Human Landscapes, and The New Social
Online discussion with Misho Antadze, Thirza Cuthand, Heather Davis, Su Yu Hsin, and Arjuna Neuman, moderated by Lukas Brasiskis
Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 1pm EST

Outside the Timeline of Progress: Techno-Material Traces, Post-Human Landscapes, and The New Social is the second of two discussions in the ongoing online series Ecology After Nature: Industries, Communities, and Environmental Memory programmed by Lukas Brasiskis, which features 22 films to be screened over six thematic chapters between August 14 through November 8, 2020 (currently on its final part, Part Six).

In the time of the Anthropocene that disproves the neoliberal vision of permanent progress based on linear anthropocentric temporality, the artists in this discussion suggest new ways to rethink the world in their films. Human activities—material and digital—increasingly prompt economically distributed slow ecological and social violence. Adjustments of film lenses and pace are required to image these otherwise invisible processes, characteristic of non-linear timelines and multi-scalar effects. 

In this discussion with writer and researcher Heather Davis, and moving-image artists Thirza Cuthand, Arjuna Neuman, Misho Antadze, and Su Yu Hsin, we will talk about the films screened so far as part of Ecology After Nature, and ask: What does the focus on longue-durée reveal about the Anthropocene? What does technology look like attended from a non-techno-capitalist perspective? How do films approach material traces of the colonial past to open up the space for the imagination of postcolonial futures? How to represent the anthropocenic disaster, hopefully without erasing the possibility of a new social?—among other questions and themes moderated by Lukas Brasiskis. 

The discussion will be livestreamed on this page, with audience Q&A available via chat.

About the program
Ecology After Nature: Industries, Communities and Environmental Memory is an online series of film programs and discussions that places reflections on administrative, instrumental, and extractive treatments of nature at its forefront, and exposes various angles of interconnection between the natural and the human-made. 

Programmed by Lukas Brasiskis, the series will present a selection of 22 artists’ films and videos to be screened on e-flux Video & Film in six thematic parts. From extractive industries, forgotten remnants of war machines, and polluting warehouses of cryptomining to misinterpreted birds, misheard earth strata, and vibrant landfills, the artists featured in this series highlight a non-essentialist view of the manifold forms that the natural takes in today's world. The screenings will be accompanied by two online discussions (on October 1 and November 5) with some of the participating artists and invited guests, including T.J. Demos and media and culture scholar Heather Davis, inquiring how the infrastructural, the elemental, and the communal could be reassessed through moving images, with a focus on the social and political particularities of environmental issues.

Ecology After Nature runs from August 14 through November 8, 2020. Screenings and discussions will be published on the series’ platform on e-flux Video & Film. 

It features films and video works by David Kelley and Patty Chang; Daniel Mann and Eitan Efrat; Sasha Litvintseva and Graeme Arnfield; Jorge Jácome; Beatriz Santiago Muñoz; Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann; Emilija Škarnulytė; Susana de Sousa Dias; Su Yu Hsin; Nguyễn Trinh Thi; The Otolith Group; Toby Lee, Ernst Karel, and Pawel Wojtasik; Malena Szlam; Arjuna Neuman and Denise Ferreira da Silva; Zlatko Ćosić; Misho Antadze; Ivar Veermäe; Dinh Q. Lê; Tomonari Nishikawa; Thirza Cuthand; and Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė

On Sunday, November 8, 2.020, Ecology After Nature will wrap with a repeat of all 22 films included in Parts One through Six—available for 24 hours from 12am to 11:59pm EST.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

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