Capturing life and loss in multispecies relationships: Reflections on filming practices
What kind of careful attention to the meaningful lives of other species does film making engender? What sort of perspectives may it open up and/or foreclose? In this talk, filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad and historian of science Ageliki Lefkaditou, draw on three of their documentary projects on climate change and biodiversity loss to discuss how filming may convey the complex relationships that such processes provoke and threaten.
Photo: Caught in a spider’s web, Svene, southern Norway (cropped). From the film project “The Death of a Bee”, credit Asgeir Helgestad
“Get the camera to see!” said Asgeir when we first started working together. What might that mean? In this talk, we draw on three of our documentary projects on climate change and biodiversity loss to discuss how filming may convey the complex relationships that such processes provoke and threaten. Our reflections draw on the insights and challenges emerging from recent ecocinema studies that foreground affect and emotion as inherently embodied, socially and culturally situated responses that enable agencing, correspondence with and answering to the world. We will show excerpts from our previous and ongoing work and invite to a conversation on curiosity, passion and care for multispecies relations. Here, we would like to explore filmmaking and photographing as “practiced forms of careful attention to the ways of life of other species,” in the words of Thom van Dooren, Eben Kirskey and Ursula Münster (2016), as well as what is enacted within us either as filmmakers or researchers when constantly reckoning with love and loss.
Asgeir Helgestad is a multi-award winning nature filmmaker and founder of the independent film production company Artic Light based in Norway. His passion and love for wildlife is the driving force behind his work, and his narratives draw on a deep connection with nature. Helgestad´s latest film, “Queen without Land” (2018), explores climate crisis on Svalbard through the intimate encounter with a polar bear mother struggling to survive in a collapsing ecosystem. He now works with two new film projects focusing on climate and nature crisis on Svalbard and mainland Norway.
Ageliki Lefkaditou is a nature documentary producer, historian of science and an award-winning science curator. She envisions to work at the intersection of filmmaking, environmental and social justice activism, and critical humanities. Lefkaditou completed her first PhD on philosophy of ecology – with an emphasis on modeling strategies and the holism reductionism debate – in Greece. In her second PhD, at the University of Leeds, she looks at the history of racial anthropology. Her recent research focuses on the history and contemporary aspects of race science, including nationalism and colonialism. She will soon embark on a research project at the University of Oslo examining the history of intelligence testing.