The Sun Does Not Lie
by: Leslie Supnet
In early June, the leader of the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, eliciting mass disappointment and outrage from the global community. Unbridled emissions from the USA could potentially warm the world by 0.3C by 2100, raising the global temperature beyond 2C, exacerbating the already life threatening heatwaves, sea level rise, displacement of millions of people, brutal wars and the loss of delicate ecosystems forevermore. For my #EyesOnVu selection, The Sun Does Not Lie, I chose experimental works from the VUCAVU catalog ranging from found footage to film essays that interrogate our current moment living in a time of catastrophe and conflict. As anxieties mount over the seemingly never ending news of devastation and crisis, these works offer a prismatic lens to unpack and shed light on the array of complexities that have influenced the state of our current situation.
Mesmerized by the ongoing destruction, how can we better understand our historical moment living in catastrophic time? The programme starts with A Film, Reclaimed (2015) by Ana Vaz and Tristan Bera. Bera and Vaz are founding members of the COYOTE Collective, described as “a cross-disciplinary group working in the fields of ecology, anthropology, ethnology and political science through an array of crosscutting platforms.” A Film, Reclaimed is an essay film that looks at apocalyptic uncertainty in the wake of our current ecological crisis, framed in conversation with the popular cinema that has accompanied it. The filmmakers draw upon an archival pool of relevant films such as the avant-garde found footage classic A Movie (1958) by Bruce Conner, popular genre films such as They Live (1988), Blade Runner (1982), Herzog’s art-house epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), and cult oddities such as Orca (1977) to name a few. Bera and Vaz weave together a dialectic concerning the domination of nature, and possible political transformation contextualized into theoretical epochal sections: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, and Chthulucene. Critique of cinematic image and sound reflect on how we conceptualize nature and its relation to these proposed epoches. Facing the historic recurrence of catastrophes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki onward, the film argues that these epochal terms should remain open, speaking to the uncertainty symptomatic of our modern times. Catastrophe is the language the landscape speaks. A Film, Reclaimed urges us to re-evaluate our response to nature in new ways: through deterritorialization, reciprocity, symbiotic relationships and to accept the notion that, as one narrator states, “We are nature.”
Catastrophe is the language the landscape speaks. "A Film, Reclaimed" urges us to re-evaluate our response to nature in new ways: through deterritorialization, reciprocity, symbiotic relationships and to accept the notion that, as one narrator states, “We are nature.”