The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – documenting natures
R1B 003 | CCN: 17082
Benjamin E Beitler
Location: Social Sciences Building 50
Date and Time: M, W 5:00pm - 6:29pm
“By the power of photography, the natural image of a world that we neither know nor can know, nature at last does more than imitate art: she imitates the artist.”
So writes André Bazin in “The Ontology of the Photographic Image,” opening an inquiry we will pursue together in this course: how have different modern media allowed for non-human actors to become the subjects of their own representation? Whereas the traditional nature film would place the natural world before a camera in order to extract images from it, experimental cinema has long explored image-making as an activity in which animals and landscapes actively participate. Through the use of field-recordings, electronic musicians have involved a wide range of species in their compositional process. Finally, contemporary poets have in recent years sought ways to incorporate non-human voices, desires and histories into their works. Studying examples of all these traditions, we will explore the ramifications of Bazin’s suggestion that modern media has allowed for the displacement of nature from object to subject of aesthetic creation. As this is an R1B course, students will also complete a series of writing assignments, culminating in a medium-length research paper engaging with the seminar’s themes.