[-empyre-] Re: environmental "film"

h w misterwarwick at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 11 00:46:11 EST 2008

Patricia Zimmermann wrote:

These popular culture representations of the environment are too
confining, too safe, too tame.  They quarantine nature. They paralyze
critique.  And they often imply a white, American-centric, economically
privileged position.  Outside the confines of the United States, the
terms environment and ecology mobilize a quite different set of
coordinates and actions. We think that it is OF VITAL POLITICAL
IMPORTANCE to expand our vectors between a US centric axis, and beyond
the nature/culture divide.

In a more global intellectual and political conversation, the term
environment exceeds these simple binary oppositions and reductionist
assumptions.  Environment and ecology signify a complicated nexus of
social, political, aesthetic, technological, economic, physical and
natural.  An ecological way of thinking, then, demands tracing these
complex intersections in order to understand them-- and then act on
them. Ecology means understanding how things, people and ideas are

And so, pursuant to this, I am involved with the NUIT BLANCHE art event
here in Toronto. (Nuit Blanche is an evening in October, where art is
celebrated in an overnight context. It occurs all over the city, but
especially in and around the downtown core, esp. along Queen St West,
which is a centre for art activity in Toronto. The event begins at
Sundown and continues until 5 or 6 AM or until those involved go home
to get some sleep.)

I will be contributing a work which will be a multiscreen projection /
audio display. I'll be shooting the video / composing the music /
recording the voice over for it in May, June and July and editing it in
August and September.

The structure is one of closed loops that come in and out of phase with
one another. (viz. Steve Reich, only video). In this way, over the
course of the evening all the images will eventually be juxtaposed with
each other, and all the audio will also be presented with all the video
over time. The subject matter in the audio and video will center on the
use of energy, creating (what is to me, the insanely obvious) connexion
between energy and culture. To address the profligate use of energy in
society, this event/object is also a profligate user of energy, and
this  is also part of the programme. 

Upon completion, the videos will be compressed and (after a few weeks
of effort) put into a flash movies for the internet, so those who can't
make it to Toronto can "view" it where ever they have internet access.

I'm not interested in subtlety with this project, nor even being
accommodating or nice. The visual stylistics I'm interested in lie
somewhere between DiReggio / Fricke / Brakhage / Cunningham / Atlas and
Agitprop / Surveillance Camera Players / MTV / Light Surgeons / TV

I've been barking about the coming catastrophe for A Very Long Time
Now, and it seems that now some few people are finally getting a clue
about the enormity of the situation and the implacability of the
inevitable conclusion: a widespread and intensive depopulation of the
human species as the energetics of the situation collapse along with
the degradation of the ecology at the hands of The Industrial System

Sustainability of the present system is an absolute impossibility. If
requested I can drive into that with all the facts and figures. The
question is no longer "IF" but "WHEN" and "HOW". Given recent events,
it also seems that the question of "WHEN" is now academic, as "WHEN"
has now passed: Energetically, we peaked per capita in the 1980s, and
in terms of petroleum, there is mounting evidence that it was sometime
in 2006. Ecologically, there is significant evidence that WHEN is NOW -
the ppm values for CO2 are increasing, and there is now a non-zero
probability of a warming that would result in the melting of clathrates
and other methane hydrate stores, resulting in a Permian level die off.

Which leads to  the question of HOW. How do we get from here to there?
First there has to be a clear understanding of where HERE is, so we can
get to an imagined THERE. My work for NUIT BLANCHE is part of the
examination of HERE, but HERE in a sense of actions and processes, modi
operandae (sp?), common actions and objects of the Standard Operating
Procedures of Industrial Society. These need to be brought to the
surface and critically examined and related to each other: hence the
use of Reich's phased phrasing techniques applied to video over longer
time segments. That it will take place in a North American downtown
metropolis as part of an art event, only makes "sense", in order to tie
energy (energy depletion) to culture (what we do) and contemporary
culture (entertainment) to environment (eco/suicide).

I hope that makes some kind of sense... I'm in the middle of all this
right now, and between house hunting for a place that can do
geothermal, getting my daughter into middle school, grading finals and
similar activities, I haven't had the luxury of sitting down and
clearing out and ordering the details that are in my head on this
project (as it's pretty much on all the time between my ears - like
"having bees live inside my head, but, there they are...")

my best regards to all.

Henry Warwick

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