Water docs film festival in Toronto

If you’re around or plan to be in Toronto in late March (21-29), this film festival focusing on water looks interesting. A number of the trailers for the films can be viewed here on youtube. Here is a short one on pipelines and water in western Canada, among other things, which I chose because the government is taking a lot of heat on this project, and the environment more broadly, even by members of its own party.

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Nature in the Anthropocene: old vs. new vs. none, or, art

A few interesting pieces have come out recently on what to make of the Anthropocene and, in specific, what to do with “nature.”

Martin Mahoney gives an introduction to the Anthropocene, and then an overview of the way Bruno Latour has been approaching the topic. Latour, as you might expect, would like the old concept of ‘nature’ to fade from view and to be replaced by a networked approach that sees the human-earth relationship as caught up with the institutions of science, religion, and social pathways through which agency is recognized and distributed.

By contrast, Jim Proctor has recently remarked that the Anthropocene is a battle between two ways of counting. One in which humans are a part of “nature” and one in which we are not. In his view, we can only count to two. Count to “one” and you are of the ilk that wants to merge “nature” and “culture” while, if you count to “two” you prefer to keep them distinct. The piece reviews a few new books on the topic – I haven’t read all of them so it is hard to say whether they fit his rendering so tidily.

Finally, the L.A. Review of Books has a piece on the Art of life in the Anthropocene. It is an interesting set of ruminations spanning “geology to biology” and focusing on the recombinant interactions of things that confuse notions that ‘natural’ beauty or even artful mediums are set against something else. An interesting play on notions of going beyond or of ‘overcoming.’

So, all in all, have your Anthropocene as you like it. And, as the contests over how to understand this era of transition emerge, enjoy or disparage the new appropriations (and their corollary dissent from) of old ideas into new understandings.

Water writes: global, collaborative water murals

The Estria Foundation has a very interesting Water Writes campaign going on. Full details and videos are available here of the the 10 collaborative mural projects that reflect on water. They are taking place around the world from South Africa to the Philippines, Columbia and Canada.  Here is a short description and a video sample from the Klamath region:

Water Writes

“The theme of water connects the participating communities and documents the current local and international water crisis.

Through our collective creative process, we engage youth, artists, organizers, and environmental activists to create imagery which reflects the relationship between the people and the water of each area. Community members are invited to a public paint day and able to participate in bringing these ideas into reality. The final murals are accessible to view by the public and also to communities across the world through video documentation and the Internet. We hope to spark discussions and cross collaboration between the participating cities and water warriors across the world.”