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  • Lorelle VanFossen 6:41 am on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abstracts, , , , , , excess, film, forms of excess, , , , , literature, , , , workshop   

    Call for Abstracts on Forms of Excess in Post-1960 Art, Film, and Literature 

    Discard Studies announced a call for abstracts on the topic of “Forms of Excess in Post-1960 Art, Film, and Literature” for the University of York in the UK with a February 2015 deadline, followed up with a special event workshop and exhibits.

    This appears to be an open request, and it comes with some interesting topic ideas, many of which may apply to our Garbology campus and classroom projects.

    Visual art, film, and literature since 1960 has been marked by leftovers, repetitions, and time lags, despite emerging in a climate of accelerated technological development and the erasure of leisure time. From artworks that incorporate the trash and detritus of consumerist excess to novels and films that indulge in narrative ‘time-wasting,’ the cultural production of the last fifty years has revelled in the wasteful and excessive. This event asks: what are the aesthetics of excess? What are its material, temporal and figurative manifestations? Is artistic time-wasting a radical form of resistance to the capitalist imperative to be productive? Or do art’s glorious expenditures reinforce aesthetic hierarchies that privilege ‘difficulty’? We invite 20-minute papers from postgraduates and early-career researchers that engage with waste and excess in post-1960 art, literature, and film. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • Narrative: digressions; footnotes and marginalia; listing; repetition; the non-event; the filler; reality effects
    • Queer theory: the concept of the queer subject as embodying non-(re)productivity; queer temporalities; drag and camp as recycling
    • The body: labour; time-wasting and protest
    • Feminism: the gendered dynamics of lack and excess
    • Economic surplus: abstraction; financial markets; concepts of utility and value
    • Digital waste: big data; information overload; archive fever
    • Cold War politics: nuclear waste; abundance and wasting as critical tactics
  • Lorelle VanFossen 4:10 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: damnation, dams, , film, restoration, water, waterways   

    DamNation Documentary 

    DamNation is a documentary that takes a journey across America to explore the change from pride in big dams as “engineering wonders” to the realization of their impact on nature and the environment. It is a breathtakingly beautiful film featuring rivers and landscapes altered by dams, before, during, and after their removal, and the restoration of rivers to healthy and vibrant ecosystems for fish and wildlife.

    While not directly related to garbology, this is a topic that might be of interest to you and your class. From a garbology perspective, the demand for electricity to fuel all the garbage we buy, and the energy it takes to make and manage it, could be an angle.

    Another angle could be research into what happened to the damn after it was removed? Cement and construction materials are highly toxic. A destroyed dam is garbage. Where did it go? What did they do with it?

  • Lorelle VanFossen 3:54 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cancer, , film, , , , plastics industry, vinyl   

    Blue Vinyl: Documentary 

    Blue Vinyl is a documentary on the hazards of bio-accumulation, pollution, and the impact of plastic thought to be benign. Directed by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand. The documentary film won the prize for documentary cinematography at Sundance in 2002.

    Judith Helfand’s parents put blue vinyl siding on her house but she suspects there is more to the siding than meets the eye – and health. A victim of DES poisoning, she has a hysterectomy, triggering her investigation tinto the negative health effects of PVC, its use, and disposal, as well as interviews with cancer victims living and working near vinyl and PVC factories. While the subject is dark, the filmmakers make this a fun and hilarious journey.

    The official site of the documentary is offline, but Wikipedia has information on the film, as does Top Documentary Films, and is available for viewing on the premium Docurama Films on YouTube ($2.98 a month).

    • Sally Keely 7:15 am on October 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As a DES-daughter myself (exposed to DES in-utero), and a long-term Board Member and volunteer for DES Action U.S.A. (desaction.org), the non-profit organization dedicated to DES (diethylstilbestrol) exposed persons, I know Judith Helfand personally and am well familiar with her films. Blue Vinyl is a better produced film than her first, a Healthy Baby Girl. DES is a synthetic estrogen (see timeline), its chemical make-up is close to DDT, and DES is an environmental disrupter, as are some of the chemicals in the vinyl home siding exposed in Blue Vinyl. Not a “big” film, but worth viewing.

      • Lorelle VanFossen 9:45 am on October 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Great advice and insights. Thank you.

        Is there more you can add to this issue? Not everyone may have access to the film, and it would help all of us to better understand how DES happens, where it comes from, and what we can do to change the world regarding this. I think of so many children exposed…but we are educators. How can we learn from your experience to teach our own?

  • Lorelle VanFossen 3:42 pm on September 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: albatross, film, , , impact, , , , pollution, sea,   

    Garbology and Birds: Baby Albatross and Plastic [VIDEO] 

    The following short film is by Chris Jordan called “Midway: Message from the Gyre.”

    Called a “powerful visual,” the film goes to one of the remotest islands in the world for several years where tens of thousands of baby albatross die each year from trying to digest plastic from the Plastic Garbage Patch, where the garbage of the ocean gathers in the currents.

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