Annotation: Beyond the World’s End
Chapter four, Gaming the Environment: On the Media Ecology of Public Studio
Toronto based collective public studio, composed of filmmaker Elle Flanders and architect Tamira Sawatzky, have created a range of projects. They blend ecology and media as a way to open up discussion about our environment, in order to imagine alternative futures.
“Public studio intervenes to position Play as an exercise in radical eccentric sensibility, existential mutuality, and biodiverse perception. (Counteract prevailing systems of extractive capitalism and perform social critique.” 1
I am interested in positioning curiosity in a similar way that Public Studio positions play.
Exhibition: What We Lose in Metrics, (2016) exhibited first at Art Gallery of Toronto’s York University. They are looking and creating discussion about nature as a site of conflict between competing systems of value. I am very interested in this as well.
“If you want to have rights of nature, you have to fight against capitalism. To speak about Mother Earth’s rights challenges the entire legal system on which this capitalist system is based. This is why we insist on talking about rights. Someone who kills someone else goes to jail, but if you pollute the river, nothing happens to you. We have to be accountable. The key issue is to make us accountable in relation to our Earth system.” 2
Public Studio’s video installation, Zero Hour (2015) plays over 12 hours on a loop. The ten minute video is created with game software and projected onto a translucent dome ceiling. It depicts an approximation of the type of extreme weather that is becoming disastrously common in the global south, suggesting what it would look like in Toronto’s Canada, a leader in fossil fuel extraction. While created only six years ago, it’s extremely relevant, specifically what is going on right now with the Line 3 pipeline.
I think the way Public Studio engages with their audience is really interesting. They opened up a possibility to interact with billions of the world's population, gamers, the majority live in city spaces. I’m very interested in the subjects they are interested in exploring, as well as creating accessible and creatively engaging pieces, as Public Studio has demonstrated.
There is an example of Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson work, Cedar Sister, Ts’uu K’waayga, 2016 (photograph) along with a quote that also feeds into what I am interested in: “Finding solidarity with trees is to acknowledge the inter-relationship between the forests with the rest of the land and the surrounding marine environment.” 3
“The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the Wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the change. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dust bowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.” 4
1. Demos, T. J. (2020). Beyond the world’s end : arts of living at the crossing. Durham ; London Duke University Press, page 102.
2. Pablo Solon Romero, “The Rights of Mother Nature,” City University of New York, April 21, 2011, htp://ashleydawson.info/2011/04/21/the-rights-of-mother-nature/.
3. Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, “Ts’uu K’waayga/Cedar Sister,” in Out of Concealment: Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii (Vancouver: Heritage, 2017), 46-49.
4. Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949), 139-140