Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s “Studies on the Ecology of Drama 1”
              Kim West
              Human beings are destroying the planet. If we want to save it we must therefore make inhuman art. Arguments to this effect seem to have enjoyed some currency in recent curatorial practice. Alas, Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s accomplished video installation at Galleri Charlotte Lund in Stockholm does not save the world, nor does it wish to. But it confronts us with some of the critical insufficiencies that also haunt the credulous environmentalism of the “non-anthropocentric” contingent. The single work on display in the gallery, Studies on the Ecology of Drama 1 (2014), is essentially a filmed lecture, projected on four screens surrounding the centrally placed spectator. Watching the film is necessarily a fragmented experience, since only two or, at most, three screens can be seen at once. The film, says the protagonist Kati, a Finnish actor who guides us through its 27 minutes, explores “the living and the representation of living things.” Its starting point is “the human-centered perspective of cinema” and the way its stories “focus on humans.” It presents “exercises for change,” playing with the thought that it could be possible to “see differently.” The main adversary in Ahtila’s work is therefore the mainstream fiction film, as embodied physically and institutionally by …

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