Crude

Crude

description

Crude (2018/20), is a video installation, in the essayist mode that attempts to see and hear some of the elusive signs of climate emergency through affective cinematic devices, making what is invisible, visible, to elicit contemplations on the subject of ecological crisis, through subjects directly or tenuously connected to human reliance on fossil fuels. Crude, thematically tethers itself to Timothy Morton’s observation that “modernity is the story of how oil got into everything.”[1] The filmmaking methods seek, through material affects, to evoke a space of contemplation, uneasiness, and sadness by engaging with the residual and stratified signs of our (human) collective impact on our environment. The project works from the position that another tactic for progressing discourses around climate emergency, might be poetic or affective modes of cinematic inquiry. The ethical and political responses it aims to illicit are drawn from languid and extended encounters with its subject, rather than through polemic or fact-based representational modes. Crude opens in the petro-industrial landscape of Alberta, Canada, and then weaves through the Western United States, until landing in the dehydrated soil of Southern California. The epilogue of the film directs the lens towards human encounters with the largest tree in the world — anthropomorphised as General Sherman, in Redwood National Park, California. Throughout the film, there are images of petroleum refineries, as well as oil pipelines, highways and trucks, but these are placed alongside ancillary connections to the subject, which range from shopping malls, golf courses in the desert, tourism, surfers, housing developments, LAX, Hollywood, Santa Monica Beach, bird colonies, jet contrails, the homeless, the Salton Sea, garbage dumps, recycling centres, and the wind farms that punctuate the skylines of utopian Palm Springs. All the visual material is filmed in slow motion, forcing a state of contemplative languor.