#Cinema is Dead: New Ways of Showing, Watching and Telling
The 3rd International Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media Conference
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland 18 and 19 May 2017
Framing the landscape: developing an eco-sensitive cinema
Joint paper with Stuart Moore
This paper explores the potential for an ethical film-making practice in the Anthropocene through critical reflection on the material specificities of moving image and the affect of landscape cinema using two recent moving image artworks, Reach and Maelstrom: The Return (2014), as case studies.

As artist film-makers, we follow an aesthetic practice that addresses social and political issues, working with the world and the materials and materiality of film-making, whilst being aware that we are “living in a damaged world” (Tsing, 2014). In their New Materialism manifesto, published in 2012, Andrew Simms and Ruth Potts of the counterculture think-tank New Economics Foundation argue for a re-thinking of our relationship to the world and our use of its materials and resources.

Reach is an ‘environmental’ direct animation that enables a symbiotic conversation between artist and place through ‘celluloid’ film’s agency as a sensitive and sensible recording medium. The imagery is created by burying upcycled 16mm filmstrips in the alluvial mud of the banks of the Tamar, allowing the river to ‘make the film’ through the flow of its tidal waters and the action of biota. Our theme of recycling and repurposing ‘unwanted’ material continued with Maelstrom, in which mysterious upwellings and whirlpools flood with cinematic memories of long-forgotten arrivals and departures at the mouth of the River Tamar, effected through the ‘projection’ of archival home movie footage upon the substrate of un-still waters and the ‘sea of moving image’.

In foregrounding the materials and materiality of film-making, linked to an awareness of limited resources, our methodology offers a deeper and more lasting relationship to the world and the non-human beings and things in it, aligned to new materialism’s imperative of “understanding materials through working with them ... understanding and working with the material, not dominating it” (Simms and Potts, 2012, 13).

Still image from the 16mm film Reach (2014)