Tag Archive: life

Nature vs. Grace?

The latest issue of Precipitate: Journal of the New Environmental Imagination — which looks like an excellent issue — includes a review of Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” that reminds me how important it is to pay attention to the dialogical and heteroglossic texture of Malick’s films, and how easy it is to lose the path when one puts too much weight on a single line of text.

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Malick’s tangled bank


It will take some time before I can say anything very intelligible about Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

But here are some initial thoughts, for what they’re worth.

(1) This is the film in which Malick just lets it go, and lets it flow…

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So what’s all this anti-vitalism wafting on the (post-) Continental wind? What’s it working from? (Thacker? Others?)  Is it anything more than another round of vanguardism (“not enough to revitalize matter, let’s devitalize life while we’re at it” — another version of the old Stalinist jingle about not being able to make an omelet without breaking some eggs)?

Anyone who was at the conference, or with the time (and a strong enough internet connection, which I don’t seem to have at the moment) to listen to the audio recordings from it, care to summarize?

A new book by Tim Ingold is always good news, especially one that — like his 2000 collection Perception of the Environment — brings together several years’ worth of work into one volume. Ingold describes Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description as “in many ways” a “sequel” to that earlier book, and it’s interesting to examine the territory he’s traversed since then.

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