Between 2015 and 2019 I worked on a PhD project in the Media and Communications department in Goldsmtihs, under supervision of Professor Joanna Zylinska and Dr Rachel Moore.
In recent years, media studies has developed theoretical models which consider the material aspects of media technologies. In the context of the widespread ecological crisis, such studies have included analyses of media as products of the extraction of geological materials. My doctoral project of ‘geological filmmaking’ contributes to this growing set of discourses by experimenting, on a conceptual and artistic level, with the reciprocal relations between geology and film. Building on existing theoretical studies of the geological materiality of the filmic medium, it explores formal and temporal intersections between film and geology in order to engage with some of the representational challenges posed by the ecological crisis. ‘The geological’ here acts as a perceptual and cognitive extremity of the human (in)ability to grasp processes unfolding across vast spatio-temporal scales. Through an integrated theory-practice methodology my project takes two specific geological phenomena as prisms through which to explore the greater philosophical problems encountered at the intersections of human and geological timescales. In the process of making two films – one focused on sinkholes, the other on asbestos – the geological has revealed itself to be inextricably tied to socio-economic processes. It has thus become an urgent demand, requiring a response here and now. This study is an attempt to offer such a response. By reading film and geology through each other, I have staged an encounter between the moments in which their reciprocity illuminates key issues surrounding the anthropogenic ecological crisis, both in its vastness and proximity, its longevity and immediacy. I have also taken some steps towards outlining an artistic methodology for engaging with planetary ecological issues via the medium of film.