Ecology After Nature

Ecology After Nature: Industries, Communities, and Environmental Memory
An online series of film programs and discussions on e-flux Video & Film

With films 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; and discussions with T.J. Demos, Heather Davis, and others

Programmed by Lukas Brasiskis

Critical thought of the twenty-frst century is compelled to raise the question of the human-nature relationship in new ways, because the basic concepts proposed by modernity for pondering this question—including the idea of a clear-cut division between enlightened culture and to-be-tamed nature—no longer allow us to examine ourselves in ways that might bring in novel practices to face the ongoing environmental and political crisis. It is obvious that the roots of most environmental problems lie in particular forms of social and economic activities of humans—capitalist, colonizing, racist, patriarchal. The philosopher Michel Serres defines modernity’s relation to nature as constituting a “war” based on the “mastery and appropriation” of the earth, against which he calls for the initiation of a new political ecology based on a postcolonial equality between human and nonhuman lives. Here comes an apparent paradox in reflecting on nature today: to maintain a properly ecological view, one has to renounce the idea of a pristine nature that exists outside of history, or inseparably from human activities. In other words, one has to engage in apprehending ecology after nature, as has been recently suggested by a number of critical thinkers.

In a time “after nature,” new ways of rendering the image of nature, as the art historian and critic T.J. Demos argues, matter more than one might think. As Demos points out, the spectacular visualization of the natural in the epoch of the Anthropocene works ideologically in support of a neoliberal financialization of nature, an anthropocentric political economy, and an endorsement of geoengineering as the preferred—but in all likelihood, catastrophic—method of approaching climate change. He thus calls for the subjection of images of the natural and the elemental to critical scrutiny, and for the development of creative alternatives for representations of nature.

Ecology After Nature: Industries, Communities and Environmental Memory is an online screening series which 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, this series presents a selection of twenty-two artists’ films and videos that will be screened on e-flux Video & Film in six 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 texts as well as two online discussions 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: Industries, Communities and Environmental Memory runs from August 14 through November 8, 2020. The films in each of the six parts will screen for two weeks—released bi-weekly, with new films screened every other Sunday.

Lukas Brasiskis is a film and media researcher and curator, currently a PhD candidate at New York University in the Department of Cinema Studies, and an adjunct professor at NYU and CUNY/Brooklyn College. His interests include eco-media, the politics and aesthetics of the world cinema, and intersections between moving-image cultures and the contemporary art world. Brasiskis’ texts have been published in both academic and non-academic media, and he has curated a number of screening programs, Including From Matter to Data: Ecology of Infrastructures (with Inga Lace, Post MoMa, New York), Environmental Memories in East-Central European Art (Alternative Film/Video Festival, Belgrade), Landscape to be Experienced and to be Read: Time, Ecology, Politics on the work of filmmaker James Benning (CAC, Vilnius), Mermaid with The Movie Camera (Spectacle Theater, New York), a program of experimental films Human, Material, Machine (with Leo Goldsmith, CAC, Vilnius, Lithuania), Baltic Poetic Documentary as Ethnographic Cinema (NYU, New York), Welcome to the Anthropocene (CCAMP, Lithuania), and a retrospective of the films of Nathaniel Dorsky (CAC, Vilnius) among others.

Part Three | Decolonizing the Landscape

David Kelley and Patty Chang; Susana de Sousa Dias; Su Yu Hsin; Nguyễn Trinh Thi
​Sunday, September 13—Saturday, September 26, 2020

Part Two | War Machines and Environmental Memories

Jorge Jácome; Beatriz Santiago Muñoz; Sasha Litvintseva and Daniel Mann; Emilija Škarnulytė
Friday, August 28—Thursday, September 10, 2020

Part One | Extraction

David Kelley and Patty Chang; Daniel Mann and Eitan Efrat; Sasha Litvintseva and Graeme Arnfield
Friday, August 14—Thursday, August 27, 2020

Ecology After Nature Part Three |... Part Two | War... Part One | Extraction
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