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Archive for the ‘Eco-culture’ Category

To say that Billie Eilish’s “Your Power” video is intended to get under your skin (as many online commenters have suggested) is understating things. First, there the topic of the song itself (which I won’t comment on). Then there’s the interspecies intimacy (which I also won’t comment on, except to say, I can’t imagine doing […]

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On the fifty-first Earth Day (this past Thursday), two of my classes premiered a virtual exhibition of environmentally themed art. Called “Intimations: Eco-Artistic Glimpses Through the Fog of an Unwinding Pandemic,” the exhibition features several dozen works in a multitude of media including paintings and drawings, digital images, collages, narrative poetry and haiku, 3-D works […]

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Manifestos are back in style (if this one, this one, and this one are any indication). Here’s my latest crack at a fairly simple statement of principle. The lesson of the field of environmental studies, to which I’ve dedicated more than three decades of my life, is that there’s a civilizational task ahead of us. […]

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In my writing about media, I’ve been using the words “ecology” and “ecosystem” fairly liberally. In a new piece called “The Limitations of the ‘New Ecosystem’ Metaphor,” The Columbia Journalism Review’s Lauren Harris argues that this metaphor is misguided. She interviews media scholar Anthony Nadler, who has claims that the metaphor “naturaliz[es] current trends in the diffusion and development of news practices.” Its use “suggests ‘spontaneous, self-ordering principles’ in the news market obscuring all the social, political, and economic decisions that undergird the status quo.”

I want to respond to that argument here by presenting the case that “ecology” is not a metaphor imported from biology, but that it’s more like the other way around: “media ecology” is a description of the world of media as much as it is a description of the world of biology. Both media and biology are constituted by the actions and processes of their constituents. In this sense, it is not a metaphor but a way of seeing, and it’s more important to ensure we understand what it is we are looking at.

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My book Ecologies of the Moving Image takes Andrei Tarkovsky’s Zone, so richly depicted in his celebrated 1979 film Stalker, as a kind of master metaphor for how cinema works and, by implication, how art in general works: it beckons its receiver into following it into a zone where, at best, anything can happen. The […]

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What better way to understand ecological perception than by applying it to a study of the music of Radiohead, right? Okay, I’ll explain. “Ecological perception” is not what you might think. (And it isn’t what I, in my writing, call “perceptual ecology.“) It is a psychological theory that studies the perception of an organism (such […]

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Cross-posted with the EcoCultureLab blog. Media+Environment has just published another article in its “States of Media and Environment” series, and this one should be of broad interest to environmental educators, media scholars, and environmentally concerned media users. “Streaming Media’s Environmental Impact” draws attention to an unpopular but inescapable issue: the adverse environmental effects of streaming media. […]

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I’ve long been receptive to the idea that we need a spiritual, or even a religious, movement to address the climate crisis. Of course, I define both “spiritual” and “religious” quite broadly, and am well aware of how both terms have been shaped within histories that are Eurocentric and dominated by monotheistic, Christian, and more […]

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People’s identities are an object of study in a range of fields, but it’s the field of cultural studies that has most singularly, even obsessively, sought to understand how identities interact with politics in changing media environments. Cultural studies first emerged in a British milieu marked by very specific relations between socio-economic classes, media industries, […]

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This past week has seen a firestorm of reaction among environmentalists and climate and energy scientists to the online release of the film Planet of the Humans. Written, directed, and produced by first-time director Jeff Gibbs, but — much more importantly — executive-produced and actively promoted by Michael Moore, the film is incendiary and intentionally […]

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I’ve been posting short pieces all this week in connection with EcoCultureLab‘s EarthDay+50 events, which include talks and a student arts exhibition. You can read the posts here: Monday: Frozen Moment Tuesday: Art and Sustainability in a Pandemic Wednesday (Earth Day): The Day Itself Thursday: Creativity is Not Optional Friday: What We Did, What Will […]

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With New Yorkers forced to stay home, and arts organizations getting creative in how they are making available their offerings, The New Yorker‘s “Goings On About Town” section has suddenly become more relevant to the rest of us, whose visits to the city were previously so infrequent as to make reading it a form of […]

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