Pedagogy of the Plants

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Puppetista

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Written by Cameron Brooks

November 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm

“Deer trail becomes Indian trail becomes county road becomes interstate.”

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General Orders No. 9 is a title as peculiar as the smoking rabbit staring back from the top shelf of new releases at Vision Video.  The lone copy has neither synopsis, nor cast list.  One of three young clerks says he’s seen it, and recommends watching under the influence of cough syrup.  Below the kid’s ironic Dali ‘stache comes a vague description, “…really, really, really long shots of a river, and some kind of an environmental message.”  He doesn’t have to say another word.

In a 2011 interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Robert Pearsons succinctly describes the award-winning General Orders No. 9 as “a balance of visuals, voice and music.”  The Middle Georgia native never went to film school, and his haunting debut was 11 years in the making.

According to the film’s website, it’s “an experimental documentary that contemplates the signs of loss and change in the American South as potent metaphors of personal and collective destiny.”

Metaphysical cartography inspired by mappae mundi mixes with juxtaposed shots of urban blight and bucolic rural landscapes, inciting difficult questions, while roads and highways sweep over land like a cancer.

Pearson’s influences include, among others, the writings of William Bartram, and storied film directors Herzog, Tarkovsky, and David Lynch.  William Davidson’s soft-spoken narration in a deep drawl morphs from historical accounts of early colonization over animated county maps, to trance-like ruminations on human dominion over the natural world.  View the official trailer here.

Mindful of the Ocoee

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Around 3:30, the Ocoee recedes over the course of a couple hours as the Tennessee Valley Authority’s dam no. 3 diverts millions of gallons of water from a four mile stretch engineered in 1996 for “the world’s first Olympic whitewater event on a natural river” (USDA Forest Service).  This isn’t what they had in mind.

Nostalgic Light Play

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Illuminated surfers are captured mid-carve during an evening bike ride through wooded paths in the old neighborhood.

The following quote comes from the BABEL Working Group’s blog.

To become adult in our culture (which for most of us means to become compliantly productive) is . . . to be increasingly disabled for the kinds of humorous and dire, purposeful play that creates geometries of attention revelatory of silences in the terrifying tenses that elude official grammars.

-Joan Retallack, The Poethical Wager

Written by Cameron Brooks

July 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Displaced Pairing

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The small dendritic heap’s former home was a sandy path winding through pirate, French Huguenot, and Confederate soldier graves in the Oak Grove Cemetery.

In our classroom, kids can’t resist the urge to touch and squeeze succulent leaves.  Now and then I’ll get a worried glance from a curious student who accidentally bumped leaf from stem, but the experience becomes favorably memorable when they discover a displaced life slowly taking root from a harmless accident.

Click here for more posts featuring Spanish moss and other peculiar epiphytes.

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Anonymous Sage Advice

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Written by Cameron Brooks

March 15, 2012 at 8:16 pm

2012 Miniature Space Odyssey

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Slinkachu meets Arthur C. Clarke in this (belated) DIY Valentines Day gift.

“Monoliths are fictional advanced machines built by an unseen extraterrestrial species that appear in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series of novels and films. During the series, three monoliths are discovered in the solar system by humans and it is revealed that thousands if not more were created throughout the solar system, although none are seen. The subsequent response of the characters to their discovery drives the plot of the series. It also influences the fictional history of the series, particularly by encouraging humankind to progress with technological development and space travel.

The first monolith appears in the beginning of the story, set in prehistoric times. It is discovered by a group of hominids, and somehow triggers a considerable shift in evolution, starting with the ability to use tools.” (read more on Wikipedia)

Written by Cameron Brooks

February 25, 2012 at 8:26 am