My presentation at the upcoming international summit The Home and the Word 2012, UK 19-21 June.
Part of my work for my ongoing arts practice and theory PhD enquiry is to present my work to audiences. This month I’m in the very fortunate position to have the opportunity to show a screen reel of my key video works in a fantastic venue, a long-abandoned but historically rich old hall, Deighton Hall, Carlow, in the nearest town to where I live in rural Ireland. It’s important to me that my work that touches on my efforts of transforming conifer plantations to a permanent forests is shown to audiences near where I live (such industrial forestry monoculture plantations are ubiquitous across Ireland and elsewhere) and offer that there maybe other cinematic means to portray more sensitively the more-than-human world that surrounds and supports us all.
In my screen reel above I decided to start the screen reel with some sights and sounds of NZ forests that have long inspired me. Hokitika (English “place of return”) is on the West Coast of the South Island – my mother’s hometown. I spent my very early years on the West Coast and we had a holiday cabin in the area that we visited each year. My mother often says as a baby she left me outside in a pram in a very rural area near Hokitika that edged onto native forest—the birdsong was deafening apparently. These are the sounds of our bellbirds; I recorded these sounds and images on a recent visit to New Zealand. Following this clip, I then have my video works from 2008-12, almost in chronological order with some of my newer clips near the end.
And next week I have been given the opportunity to discuss my theory and show these film experiments to an international audience of art & ecology practitioners, academics and researchers at Dartington Hall, near Totnes, Devon in the United Kingdom. Already excitement is building about this 3 day summit, The Home and the World; you can attend virtually for free and some of you may be interested in following discussions on twitter, the hashtag is #thatw and on their facebook page here
Here is the summit outline
“The three-day summit is a mix of formal, informal, and creative contributions showcasing some of the most interesting work from across the globe—an academic conference with the feel of an arts festival.
“Many writers have suggested that our increasing alienation from the natural world has had a profound effect on the human condition and the psyche. Ecophilosopher Paul Shephard suggests that human societies have always persisted in destroying their habitat—but that now this is compounded by our apparent loss of knowledge about the interdependence of all living things. This summit explores existential questions such as: what does it mean to be at home in the world? what does home mean to us? how can we be more aware of our ‘inhabited place’ in the world? why do we all too often fail to understand the impact we have on the world around us? It’s been more than fifteen years since Gablik suggested that art can re-enchant our connection to the world—how have we responded?”
Do feel welcome to join in and follow the summit. A list of presentations and the presenters can be found here.
Cathy Fitzgerald is a rural-based experimental filmmaker / visual artist with a background in research biology. Born in New Zealand she has lived in Ireland for 16 years. She is presently a Visual Culture PhD Scholar at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD), Dublin, Ireland. She is looking at experimental film (practice and theory) and ecology in this age of biospheric crisis. Her research work can be seen at www.ecoartflm.com