Film, Media and Music
This chapter focuses on the thematic use of death in a particular strand of environmental crisis fiction. This fiction seems to enter into a dialogue with ecocritics in today's post-theory era. If apocalypse is a feature of some environmental crisis fiction, the thematic use of death also infiltrates the narratives of this fiction where the apocalyptic trope is entirely absent, as well as performing alternative roles within an apocalyptic frame. Novels such as the three books of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy, Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide, Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods and various others, each exploring a notion of death-facing as an ecological imperative. Taking death-denial as the root cause of environmental crisis, they consider a conscious turning towards death, depicted as the recognition and acceptance of humanity's mortal status.
This chapter considers some art works by British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, who practise in partnership as Ackroyd & Harvey. Ecocriticism is often associated with celebration of the natural world; Ackroyd & Harvey's work certainly celebrates nature, but also celebrates human capabilities and potential, offering hope and possibilities when confronting apocalyptic scenarios. Relatively diverse as the tenets of ecocriticism appear to be, one key aspect is the imperative, the impetus to action: praxis. Polar Diamond was created by Ackroyd & Harvey as a result of taking part in an expedition to the Arctic with Cape Farewell, an artistled campaigning organization. With their artistic interests grouped around the ideas and realities of transformative biological processes, of change and decay, and with deep interest in ecology and biology, much of Ackroyd & Harvey's work engages with environmental and scientific concerns.
Visitors to the countryside are increasingly faced with a variety of panels, interpretation centres and other interventions that convey selected narratives and ways of seeing our natural heritage. This chapter explores the scope for these cultural objects to be included in ecocritical enquiry. The ubiquity and undemanding nature of many displays makes for an accessible source of information about basic ecology as filtered through the viewpoint of site managers for national and country parks, nature reserves and other protected sites. Interpretation is a broad practice that embodies, creative writing and art, constructing ideas of place, explaining the natural environment and promoting a corporate identity. While projects like that on the Tweed Rivers will be immediately accessible to ecocritics, the humble but ubiquitous interpretation panel and the increasing use of technology may be more problematic.
This chapter explores the role of photomontage in the development of windfarms in Britain, and how the production of such an image contributes to the meaning-making and ontology of a new windfarm. It links the trajectory of the development of windfarm photomontage with insights from ecocriticism, an academic discipline which reads environmental texts with and against literary and artistic works and has developed contemporaneously, gradually widening in scope and praxis. The chapter also explores the policy and regulatory context for the environmental assessment of landscape and the visual assessment of windfarms. Visualisations of windfarms have been central to issues of their social acceptance and community support. Driven by the expansion of windfarm development and the demands for more information, the emerging practice of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has become ever more extensive. A critical component of the EIA is the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA).
This chapter is concerned with contemporary wildlife art in Britain covering the period from the formation of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) in 1964 to the present time. Over that time a considerable body of work has been produced by SWLA artists and exhibited in the Society's annual exhibitions. The chapter considers the relevance of this creative work in ecocritical discourse, both in collaboration with literary and other creative genres and considered in its own right. It explores the way that wildlife artists navigate the twin pulls of science and art in the context of the task of ecocritics to read cultural works with and against discourses from ecology and environmental science. Ecocritics are increasingly interested in the potential for biosemiotics to illuminate ecocritical discourse. The chapter concludes that wildlife art is a rich body of work that would merit further investigation by ecocritics.
For musicology, the genre or idea of the symphony is laden with prestige; for ecocriticism, the pastoral has similar stature and is a genre or mode central to the discipline. In the concise juxtaposition of these two terms, this chapter illustrates ecomusicology, which connects ecocritical and musicological scholarship, and further outlines a brief critical history of selected symphonies in relation to the pastoral. It argues that symphonies can relate ideas about nature. In Hector Berlioz's Fantastic, the simple pastoral takes a pessimistic and grotesque turn towards Leo Marx's 'imaginative and complex' pastoral. In contrast to Berlioz's Fantastic, Johannes Brahms treats the subject of love more kindly in his First Symphony. The chapter focuses on two works regarding the pastoral: Justin Heinrich Knecht's Le Portrait Musical de la Nature and Ludwig van Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, which he titled Sinfonia Pastorella.
The Antarctic Treaty and the attendant extolling of science is at the core of creation myths in Antarctica. In a scheme to travel to Antarctica on a dedicated ship, artists will be able 'to explore creative terrain further afield than the hegemonic issues of imperial conquest and ecology' though one hopes that the Protocol will still hold. All creative activities must perforce conform to the Treaty and Protocol, yet few have had to address them directly within a design brief. Early expeditions constructed what shelter they needed to survive for a limited period, mainly in the form of barely adequate pre-fabricated wooden sheds. One of the most immediate impacts of the strictures of environmental governance in Antarctica itself has been upon the design and construction of the British Antarctic Survey's (BAS) latest base, Halley VI.
This chapter discusses in detail two projects that were a direct result of developing a sense of familiarity with the subject before ever undertaking any image production. The two projects are 1000 Yards; Or So and discarded dog shit bag (DDSB). The chapter discusses thought processes when undertaking the work and the key factors that initiated the projects. It describes how the work fits firmly within the sense of being 'about' something and how issues raised within the work have a resonance to wider issues appertaining to environmental concerns. The chapter undertook three major bodies of work exploring global nuclear history, including visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the Chernobyl exclusion zone and to nuclear sites in Cumbria. It talks about the possibility of developing the work as an online mapping project, visualising the distribution and density of DDSBs on both a national and a global basis.
This chapter looks at some prehistorical and historical examples of individual stone poems, and examples of stone poems grouped together in landscaped settings. It explores aspects of 'landmark' urban stone poems of Postcolonial Manchester. Alyson Hallett's pavement poem, with its 'outlying' word clusters, in Milsom Street, Bath, is public-art, Council-sponsored urban example. Stone poems have often been placed in groups or clusters within landscaped settings and forming a 'walk' or 'trail'. The chapter presents some examples of stone poems in settings which might not be considered places of outstanding beauty. The first is the monument in Dunraven Street, Tonypandy, in the Welsh Valleys, which commemorates the town's mining past. Sculpted by Howard Bowcott, working in collaboration with Tim Rose of the Bath-based landscape architecture firm Macgregor Smith and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, it was unveiled in 1999.
When James Baldwin in No Name in the Street discusses the case of Tony Maynard, who had been imprisoned in Hamburg in 1967, he emphasizes that his efforts to aid his unjustly imprisoned friend were greatly supported by his German publishing house Rowohlt and, in particular, by his then-editor Fritz Raddatz (1931–2015). While the passages on Maynard remain the only instance in Baldwin’s published writings in which Raddatz—praised as a courageous “anti-Nazi German” and a kindred ally who “knows what it means to be beaten in prison”—is mentioned directly, the relation between Baldwin and Raddatz has left traces that cover over fifty years. The African-American writer and Rowohlt’s chief editor got to know each other around 1963, when Baldwin was first published in Germany. They exchanged letters between 1965 and 1984, and many of Raddatz’s critical writings from different periods—the first piece from 1965, the last from 2014—focus of Baldwin’s books. They also collaborated on various projects—among them a long interview and Baldwin’s review of Roots—which were all published in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, where Raddatz served as head of the literary and arts sections from 1977 to 1985. Drawing on published and unpublished writings of both men, this article provides a discussion of the most significant facets of this under-explored relationship and its literary achievements. Thereby, it sheds new light on two central questions of recent Baldwin scholarship: first, the circumstances of production and formation crucial to Baldwin’s writings of the 1970s and 1980s, and secondly, Baldwin’s international activities, his transcultural reception and influence.