video sketch: observe/r (30 april 2012) - see film details below*
A couple of months ago I applied and was recently accepted to present my work in progress at the UK/International art ecology conference The Home and The World June 19-21, 2012.
The Home and the World Summit addresses:
‘how creative people interact with the world around them, how the arts can speak about nature and the challenges facing the world, how place and community can be at the heart of creative choices, how our identities and place in the world is defined by what we call home... Many writers have suggested that our increasing alienation from the natural world has had a profound effect on the human condition and the psyche. Ecophilosopher Paul Shephard suggests that human societies have always persisted in destroying their habitat –– but that now this is compounded by our apparent loss of knowledge about the interdependence of all living things.’
‘This summit explores existential questions such as: what does it mean to be at home in the world? what does home mean to us? how can we be more aware of our ‘inhabited place’ in the world? why do we all too often fail to understand the impact we have on the world around us? It’s been more than fifteen years since Gablik suggested that art can re-enchant our connection to the world – how have we responded?’ (see more here e-brochure)
This is the abstract I sent in below (go to abstract here) Its basically the working abstract of my entire artistic enquiry – its moved on somewhat from my abstract from last year – thanks be!
A few definitions first though. The concepts and new terms I’m presenting took a long while to come together but they are ideas that have collapsed in on themselves somehow. From reading widely and perhaps thinking about how we ‘view’ or more correctly, how we construct of ‘views’ of the living world maybe something akin to what feminist theory has revealed in cultural works; the politics of power in the predominantly ‘male gaze’ . ‘Theories of the ‘gaze’ reject the idea that perception is ever merely passive reception. All of these approaches assume that vision, the quintessential aesthetic sense, possesses power: power to objectify—to subject the object of vision to scrutiny and possession. The ‘male gaze’ has been a theoretical tool of inestimable value in calling attention to the fact that looking is rarely a neutral operation of the visual sense. As Naomi Scheman states:
Vision is the sense best adapted to express this dehumanization: it works at a distance and need not be reciprocal, it provides a great deal of easily categorized information, it enables the perceiver accurately to locate (pin down) the object, and it provides the gaze, a way of making the visual object aware that she is a visual object. Vision is political, as is visual art, whatever (else) it may be about (Scheman, 1993, p. 159). ‘ (Korsmeyer, 2008)
In my general review of the state of the planet in regards to our species involvement in activities of gross and globalised ecocide (see my previous post on what ‘ecocide’ is here) that is having a recognised negative effect on the earth’s entire planetary systems (such as the largest mass extinction in the last 65 million years, climate change, ocean acidification, peak oil, peak nitrogen, peak phosphorous, peak uranium, peak everything etc), I’ve also found myself adopting the word ‘biosphere‘ – a relatively new scientific word that encompasses not just all living ecosystems but the atmosphere, the hydrosphere (our oceans), the lithosphere (the elements that make up the earth’s crust) of the earth.
The idea of the ‘ecocidal eye’ arose as ‘ecocide’ seems to capture the argument of what I’m trying to present in my enquiry – that the way we culturally represent the living world is never passive and in fact has often been complicit in how we continue to exploit the earth which now even threatens our own living support systems. It took me simply ages to come up with a phrase which would somehow connect ecocide and cinema – I had it as the ‘lazy eye’, ‘the destructive eye’, ‘the forgetting eye’ … and then suddenly arrived at the ecocidal eye!
The ‘anthropocene’ is also a new term that is being debated in geology, but I will describe this more in a subsequent post.
Abstract for my Home and World presentation, June 2012
Working title and abstract
THE ECOCIDAL EYE : BEYOND THE ANTHROPOCENTRIC (human centered) GAZE TO A RELATIONAL GAZE IN CINEMA
30 Dec 2011: Working phd title – is it possible to create cinematic moments/works that aspire to articulate a more ecocentric way of relating/perceiving the earth.
Working artistic enquiry abstract
Questions arising from a long term art and ecology project in which film-making has a significant part, have directed an artistic enquiry into the conceptual conventions, limitations and under-explored potential of cinema in how it is used to present nature. (more…)