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The toxic materiality of the ecodoc

Hughes, HA (2012) The toxic materiality of the ecodoc In: The Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, 2012-03-21 - 2012-03-25, Boston USA.

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The tension between the aspiration of a documentary to be green, eco or environmental and the environmentally unfriendly materiality of the filmmaking itself is not something that has been directly addressed by eco-cinema studies, although, as I shall argue in this paper, it can be seen to the basis of contrasting approaches to environmental documentary which is defined through consideration of the purpose and ethical value of its filmmaking practice. This paper seeks to bring out two broad responses to the question of how green documentary filmmaking can be. On the one hand an activist form typified by the work of Judith Helfand has been built on the foundations of community coalition building in which the value of the film lies in its capacity to bring the community together through clear messages and positive action in the transition from old (toxic, finite, celluloid) to new (organic, renewable, digital) technologies. On the other hand, the development of a contemplative form of documentary cinema, building on the aesthetic qualities of high definition digital video, points to cinema as a passive, alternative means to recalibrate human consciousness while separated from an environment perceived as both toxic and fragile (for example in the work of Nicholaus Geyrhalter). Although this paper contrasts approaches to environmental documentary as activist and contemplative, in conclusion it links them through mise-en-scène as a key aspect of environmental documentary, linking the changing materiality of the apparatus and of the environment.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Hughes, HA
Date : 2012
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:51
Last Modified : 07 Mar 2019 11:18

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