Still from Africa (2012) trailer
see Africa trailer here http://vimeo.com/56367550
‘Nobody, nobody, nobody (not even myself, my supervisors, and my assessor) is seriously going to want to read my thesis.’
Research blogger, ‘NottinghamFlorist’
Guardian Higher Education Network on Academic Blogging, Oct, 19, 2012
This website is hosted by WordPress, the largest online blogging platform and they recently sent out stats for the year on how well my site was working for me. I wasn’t that surprised to see my article on Ecopornography, slow violence and the slow deep art of place has been the most popular (the article is due to be published in a modified form later this summer in the Earthlines magazine).
The main reason of doing this blog was initially to serve as a journal for my own journey through these ideas and media and to host the various works I’m undertaking during a creative (practice and theory) PhD enquiry. To my surprise, I have developed a steadily growing audience for what I thought was quite a small, overly academic endeavour and it has led me to connect with leading peers in my field from afar (I’m now part of the Assoc. Study of Literature and Environment and Culture Australia-New Zealand ASLEC-ANZ committee) and equally important to me, develop a more general audience for this new topic.
Note: This is a long post, reviewing how I have use this site over the last year, so it might be only of interest to others undertaking a creative practice and theory PhD. (more…)
An ambitious initiative ‘The Anthropocene Project’ opens this week involving leading thinkers, scientists and artists, from a range of disciplines coming together for an innovative two year study 10.01.2013 – 31.12.2014, curated by the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) in Berlin. This is an important, albeit overdue, initiative in that significant cross-disciplinary activity across the humanities is finally linking with science at such a high level. Sociologist William R. Catton Jnr, who as early as the mid 1980s established that humanity was ‘overshooting’ its planetary boundaries (in his highly regarded book of the same name), also identified as a chief difficulty of our age the ‘cultural lag’ of contemporary society in realising the urgent necessity to engage in overshoot concerns, despite decades of scientific information supporting such views (Jensen, 2004). Robust eco-literacy in the humanities is also overdue, if only to facilitate the beginnings of understanding that the Earth’s degradation is not just a result of resource exploitation or humanity’s large numbers, but ultimately driven by the anthropocentric-dominant, cultural paradigms of industrial society, that have greatly blinded our acknowledgement of the intrinsic values of, and interconnected dependencies we have, with other non-human species and elements*.
A comprehensive online document of the The Anthropocene Project on ISSU is available to study and see the huge array of people involved;
the anthropocene: 10 000 years of ecocide
The Great Acceleration in the Age of the Anthropocene; still from the video ‘Welcome to the Anthropocene‘ (2012)
‘Imagine how our discourse and actions would be different if people daily detailed for us the lives— the individuality, the small and large joys and fears and sorrows— of those whom this culture enslaves or kills. Imagine if we gave these victims that honor, that attention. Imagine if everyday newspapers carried an account of each child who starves to death because cities take the resources on which the child’s traditional community has forever depended…. Imagine, too, if our discourse included accounts of those nonhumans whose lives in this culture makes unspeakably miserable: the billions of creatures bred for torture in feedlot, factor farm, or laboratory; the wild creatures worth money, who are pursued and destroyed no matter where they hide; the wild creatures unvalued by the economic system, who are eliminated because they are in the way of production’ Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 1, 2006, p.59
My still forming ideas for the first part, and the context in which my thesis (‘the ecocidal eye: beyond the anthropocentric gaze to a relational gaze in cinema’) rests, are to present and characterise the ecocidal tendencies of the human-centered (anthropocentric) gaze, to examine whether culturally we perpetuate such actions in cultural works we produce, such as cinema. In this article I decided to examine anthropocentrism by considering a new term – the Anthropocene as perhaps a means to think about ecocide over the centuries. Interestingly, I found that this term geological term and concept has been adopted quickly, in other fields, particularly in the last few months in international conferences leading up to the upcoming Earth Rio+20 earth summit.
To begin with, when I was reviewing recent data over the last few months on the state of the earth to form the background of my enquiry, I kept coming across so many different, but as I see it now related facets of planetary system collapse or change. The exponential rate and scale of destruction is simply terrifying. The results of globalised ecocide* are evident: in our atmosphere (climate change), in our oceans and waterways (ocean acidification, extirpation of marine species and actual and imminent marine ecosystem collapse), ecosystem degradation leading to gross biodiversity loss (we are now in the largest mass extinction period of the last 65 million years), non-renewable resource and mineral depletion (peak oil, peak nitrogen, peak phosphorus, peak uranium, peak everything etc). I began to see that one couldn’t focus on one particular aspect if one was to understand the systemic nature of ecocide. That one species, and our own at that, is altering so quickly the many life supports of the earth is pretty inconceivable and is leading a growing number of people to call this unprecedented period as the Age of the Anthropocene (the age of man). While there is understandably much attention being paid to climate change (this has been a focus for some in the small area of contemporary art that has begun to look at art & ecology in recent years) I sought out others who were looking at the totality of earth’s biospheric (global sum of all ecosystems) change. (more…)