Environmental Justice Issues

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andr̩e Laram̩e РUnited States Artists РGreat art forms here

A cast of nineteen fictional characters explore the post-Atomic Age West in this video installation, Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain. Funds in the amount of $9,500 are sought for video editing, completion of an installation and creation of an artist book/exhibition catalog.

The project explores issues and ironies surrounding the problem of radioactive waste disposal in the United States. The non-linear narrative of Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain involves time travelers who discover these tunnels and question the use and misuse of the so-called “empty wastelands” of the American West.

Using tropes and clich̩s of the Western film and science fiction film genres, a subtext of environmental expos̩ unfolds in a suspenseful talk: part fact, part fiction. It is set in an ambiguous time period Рunstuck in time Рpartially 19th, 20th and 21st Century.

The project reveals American values and beliefs about nature, conquest, ownership and the use of land, and environmental justice issues. It does so with a mixture of creativity, humor, and dead seriousness.

I want to draw attention to issues of sustainability, renewable vs. non-renewable energy, waste disposition, geological time, and “cowboy extractionary economics.”

With your support I will produce twenty 1-3 minute long video loops: one for each character plus an introduction. The video loops will be incorporated into a series of video sculptures within a room-sized installation.

During a residency at the Goldwell Museum 15 miles from Yucca Mountain, thousands of still phtogrpahs and hours of video footage were shot in Death Valley, CA and the ghost towns of Rhyolite and Goldpoint, NV. During the preliminary project development I worked with former students and emerging artists, Courtney “scrap” Wrenn, Chelsea Noggle, Michel Tallichet, Mia Ardito, Emily Montoya and Benji Geary.

As an interdisciplinary artist who has worked at the confluence of art, science and nature for over twenty years, I feel a responsibility to examine environmental issues and ecological problems through my research and work. This is where my aesthetics and pedagogic ethics merge; I want my work to contribute to future generations.

In 2002 the U.S. government began developing Yucca Mountain as a deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste. Due to geological faults, and climate uncertainties, the project was terminated; however a maze of excavated tunnels exist beneath the mountain. The U.S. currently has no master plan for permanent disposal of radioactive waste; it is in temporary storage at hundreds of sites across the country. This environmental problem has hardest hit the indigenous peoples of the Western desert lands. I want to raise public awareness, involve communities and initiate discussions through my work.

via Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andr̩e Laram̩e РUnited States Artists РGreat art forms here.

Framing the World — An art & ecology notebook

Excerpted From Cathy Fitzgerald’s An Art & Ecology Notebook:

Twelve essays  in four parts, focusing on ecocinema as activist cinema; the representation of environmental justice issues in Hollywood; independent and foreign films, the representation of animals, ecosystems, natural and human-made landscapes and readings of two mainstream eco-auteurs, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Peter Greenaway, Framing the World; explorations in ecocriticism and film, edited by Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, 2010

At last, a book on ecocriticism for film that is more than a review of films with environmental themes (though there are so very few of the latter as well). Lots of very valuable and timely essays on both mainstream cinema but also identifying key experimental filmmakers who have developed ecocentric approaches to film-making, for eg. in the work of independent Slovenian film/sound artist Andrej Zdravic. Also an excellent chapter on the very real limitations and lack of critical awareness in the director Herzog’s popularly regarded environmental films.

Also of note and just published this year is ‘Chinese Ecocinema in the Age of Environmental Challenge‘. I think its great to have this perspective of film from a region that has endured vast ecological destruction and is producing many poignant environmental films. This book is much more academic but again an excellent resource for those interested in the critical development of ecocinema. It’s also made me eager to search out the films mentioned in the book, like this one centered on  the 3 Gorges dam – ‘Still Life’

via Framing the World -two timely new books on ecocriticism and film — An art & ecology notebook.