Lost Tour Guide: Experiment III

Restless Nature: England, Benin, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

South Africa, Australia, Brazil

 

In 2009, bridges and roads in the Lake District area of England were washed away as the water levels rose by several metres. In just one week in January 2011, the populations and ecologies of Pakistan, Benin, Brazil, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia were all affected by severe flooding. The Restless Nature video (below) aims to visualise these climate change issues, and test how audiences might engage with them. The video was shown in London, Glasgow and Newlyn. This last venue was appropriately adjacent to the sea level indicator for the UK.  The single screen monitor-based video involves footage shot at Grizedale which floated up and down from the forest floor to the oak tree canopy, six metres above the ground.

 

My aim is to imply that the viewer’s body floating upwards, possibly on water. Much of the news footage of floods around the world is filmed from helicopters, but I want to fuse an experienced approach with the distanced mediatised perspective of so called ‘natural disasters’. The original ambient sound is replaced with complex loops of birdsong and a stream in full flow. These change according to the height of the imagery above ground level. The ‘bucolic’ sounds segue with audio footage of TV news reports of floods collected from the aforementioned countries.

 

The video's juxtaposition of the Deleuzian arborescent model with global news soundtracks, is poignant and at times harrowing; revealing both similarities and differences about how ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ parts of the world are coping with the devastation of water.