Steve Thairu Mbaki

Organising And Becoming One With The Anthropocene Through Film

Organising and becoming with the Anthropocene delves into the depths of human existence, evoking a profound sense of the interconnectedness between life and creation. The Anthropocene is beautifully captured through film technology by the essence of an epoch marked by human dominance and its consequential impact on the planet. Film has the ability to evoke emotions and create a personal connection between viewers and environmental issues. By telling compelling stories and showcasing the human impact on the natural world, films can inspire empathy, compassion, and a sense of urgency for change. They also carry the power to reach and engage a wide audience, making them an effective medium for raising awareness about environmental issues. 

Through film the world knows of The Dubai Ski Resort which serves as a striking visual representation of our species’ relentless pursuit of self-interests, showcasing the audacity to create an artificial winter wonderland in a region naturally characterised by scorching heat. A similar example was seen through broadcasting tools at the Beijing Winter Olympics which received a lot of criticism. The environmental impact of hosting the Winter Olympics in a region with limited natural snowfall and fragile ecosystems has been criticised. The construction of infrastructure, including ski resorts and venues led to habitat destruction and increased pollution. Additionally, the energy demands for snowmaking and venue operations contributed to carbon emissions and environmental degradation. In this juxtaposition, we witness the audacious ambition of humanity to manipulate and reshape nature to cater to our desires.

Beyond the spectacle, the Anthropocene delves into the multidimensionality of the human experience, revealing our innate connection to art, culture, and innovation through film technology. Our technology becomes a microcosm of human interaction, where individuals engage with artistic expressions, cultural influences, and cutting-edge ideas. Being in this era highlights our insatiable hunger for progress and novelty, even in the most unexpected settings. Film reflects and shapes cultural narratives. In the context of the Anthropocene, it can explore themes of human-nature relationships, our responsibility towards the planet, and the need for sustainable living. By depicting the consequences of our actions and envisioning alternative futures, films contribute to the ongoing cultural dialogue on environmental sustainability.

Film is a tool we can use to show the Antropocene in its vast nature. The directors and editors’ meticulous craftsmanship can add an additional layer of aesthetic appeal of films, beautifully capturing the essence of the Anthropocene. The portrayal of operations, rendered with meticulous precision, serves as a powerful metaphor for our human impact on the planet. Through this visual representation, the viewers are compelled to reflect on the inherent human tendency to compartmentalise and categorise, ultimately recognizing the profound consequences of our actions in this era of human dominance over the Earth. Furthermore, film captivates through its breathtaking cinematography, capturing all types of landscapes in all their haunting beauty. These evocative visuals serve as a reminder that amidst the grand tapestry of human existence, there is beauty even in the midst of potential destruction. Film compels us to confront the dichotomy between creation and destruction, prompting introspection on our responsibility to strike a balance between progress and preservation.

While climate change is a dominant theme, film also subtly touches upon the omnipresence of capitalism. Through film, it sheds light on the harsh realities of poverty that persist, subtly interwoven into the narrative. The contemplation of lost opportunities can elicit a profound sense of hopelessness, forcing viewers to question whether it is the result of people abandoning the area or the lack of viable opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

Finally, film reflects the pervasive influence of the Anthropocene on every aspect of our lives. The advent of the international technosphere has ushered in a new era of convenience, where systems have been revitalised and enhanced to cater to human comfort. There is a growing inclination to bring elements of “nature” within controlled environments, exemplified by the creation of climbing gyms that simulate the sensation of being outdoors. Film has encapsulated the prevailing mindset that if Mohammed won’t go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed. It symbolises the shift in human priorities, as convenience and personal comfort become paramount in the modern era.

The world of film serves as a profound exploration of the Anthropocene, exposing the intricate interplay between life, creation, and human ambition. Through its narrative, aesthetics, and thought-provoking themes, it urges us to contemplate our place within this epoch, inviting us to critically examine our actions, responsibilities, and the delicate balance between progress and preservation in a world profoundly influenced by our presence. Overall, film in the Anthropocene serves as a powerful tool for creating awareness, fostering empathy, promoting understanding, and inspiring action. By capturing the scale and complexity of the environmental challenges we face, films contribute to the broader discourse on sustainability and encourage individuals to be more conscious of their impact on the planet.