Critical Ecologies Workshop with Amy Cutler
Workshop organised by Goldsmiths Critical Ecologies research stream
As much as we need to rescue the word ‘nature’ from itself, we also need to rescue the nature documentary from itself. This talk and workshop considers the potential for new critical collectivity in the ‘useful fictions’ of the twenty-first century nature documentary. Rather than by abandoning the field for a more experimental eco-cinema, how can the work of the GeoHumanities critically inhabit existing, popular templates and their forms of global dissemination? Such media are undoubtedly connected to the production of contemporary geographical imaginations (and geo-fictions) in the Anthropocene. Yet, they are often passively consumed or chronically under-analysed. Given the power these narrations have to inform and police our own intimacies, as well as their role as trans-global environmental representatives, how can we open them up to new critical remits by hijacking their fables of love, labour, gender, environment, industry, order, ethics, desire, time, and species? How can we resist the nature documentary’s conformity in a time when we should be seeing a myriad of possibilities for geography, nature-cultures, and posthuman natures? This session includes an introduction to the rhetoric of natural history film-making and its media flows (production, curating, programming), which is then used as a frame for interdisciplinary provocation. We treat the nature documentary format not as a closed system of knowledge, but as a collaborative concept or device that can ‘broadcast’ new meanings.
Dr Amy Cutler is a geographer, film-maker, and Early Career Research Fellow in GeoHumanities at Royal Holloway, University of London. She curates the current international touring project NATURE’S NICKELODEONS, supported by Live Cinema UK, which uses live cinema, music, writing and performance to investigate the ways in which public concepts of nature are produced by social screening practices. NATURE’S NICKELODEONS will be an international premiere at IDFA Live on Stage in Amsterdam (November 2018). Amy’s recent work includes a collaboration with data artist Anna Ridler and musician Leafcutter John, in which a neural network trained on romance novels reinterprets the ‘birds and the bees’ of original Disney nature documentary footage. The film produced, ALL HER BEAUTIFUL GREEN REMAINS IN TEARS, has been exhibited at BBC Broadcasting House as part of Artificial Intelligence, Society and the Media (September 2018), and at Somerset House Studios as part of TBC TV (October 2018). Amy’s cultural geography themed cinema PASSENGERFILMS has been bringing together interdisciplinary researchers and film screening platforms since 2011. Her writing often draws on unsettling ideas of nature by ‘hacking’ original source narratives and pedagogical voices, from radio to nineteenth century science textbooks.
Dates & times
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