Embodied Sensing or Divination by Camera

Environmental change has made itself abundantly present, the screening suggests. The earth and its damaged constituents as mediated by the camera, are inherently rich with commentaries, obscure meanings, and mythologies, from both present and the past. Scenes of submerged coastlines, extracted indigenous territories, synthetic cornfields form one half of the narrative. The other, of humanity’s ability to exist and make sense of the changes thrust upon it. Spurred by a wish to capture in visual frames, these scenes strive to represent struggles that perhaps cannot be sensed and damages that cannot be undone. 

THE LEARNING CURVE – Memory of Water, Finland’s first attempt at sustainable film production

Ecological values and sustainable development spread to the western audiovisual (AV) industry from other branches of “hard industry”, which began measuring and reporting on their corporate social responsibility. In the USA the non-profit Environmental Media Association (EMA) was founded already in 1989. In the 2000s and 2010s, in the USA and various European countries different “green initiatives” were proposed in the audiovisual sector, the common factor being that they published a guidebook, checklist, or best-practice guide for ecological film production. Several schemes, such as PGA Green in the US and BAFTA albert in the UK, also launched carbon-footprint calculators tailored for audiovisual productions, which made it possible to measure the CO2 load from an individual production.

Cinematic time and the accumulation of ecosocial crises

As such, the “technological promise to capture time” opened the cinema to confront all sorts of social and natural limits, from “the denial of the radical finitude of the human body” to the “access to other temporalities.” In collusion with capitalism’s ideological fetish for progress and infinite growth, the emergence of cinema was accompanied with stories and fables that would introduce and legitimize “the recognizable tropes of orientalism, racism, and imperialism essential to the nineteenth-century colonialist imperative to conquer other times, other spaces.”