Imag(in)ing the Anthropocene
14 June 2019, Watershed, Bristol
A one-day conference that explores the ways in which audio-visual and other media imagine – and produce images of – the Anthropocene, climate destabilisation and related anthropogenic threats to human, environmental and planetary well-being. Organised by the Moving Image Research Group at University of the West of England, Bristol.

Reaching through time
: an eco-sensitive film-making praxis
Joint paper with Stuart Moore
This presentation explores how a conversation can take place between artist and environment through celluloid film’s agency as a sensitive recording medium. Conventional moving image is a sequence of snapshots; compared to deep or geological time, human life is a snapshot. Our methodology, evolved through the process of creating our 16mm film project, Reach, extends the exposure, taking time to respond to the environment - the ‘exposure time’ in the alluvial deposit is several weeks, many times longer than the typical 1/48th of a second.

The imagery was created by planting filmstrips in the intertidal mud banks of the Tamar. The river ‘made the film’ through its waters’ ebb and flow, by physical abrasion and the organisms living in the silt. Sounds recorded above and below the surface of the river situates the film’s abstraction in its place.

Reach proposes a cinematic 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). This practice-as-research demonstrates the potential for an eco-sensitive cinema, through an ethical and aesthetic film-making praxis in the Anthropocene.

Image: Film still, Reach (2014) Kayla Parker and Stuart Moore; River Tamar mud settled on 16mm clear filmstrip