Next Screening: Tuesday February 7, AROUND CRAB ORCHARD
In filmmaking, the phrase “head room” refers to the composition of a shot; to have too much “head room” is to leave too much space between the subject’s head and the top of the frame. Borrowing this phrase, Headroom Screening Series seeks to engage the “space above one’s head” by expanding the involvement of the Iowa City public audience with experimental forms of cinema and new media while also redefining contemporary cinematic and media-related experiences. Headroom Screening Series will primarily curate screenings but also lectures by visiting artists and other invited guests and will develop community involvement with the series through participatory events. Headroom Screening Series is generously supported by a Digital Studio for Public Humanities Grant 2013-2014. Headroom Screening Series was started in Spring 2013 by Jesse McLean. Contact: email@example.com. Visit the Headroom blog.
AROUND CRAB ORCHARD
Tuesday, February 4, 7pm
at FilmScene Scene 1
Filmmaker and The University of Iowa faculty member Sarah Kanouse will be in person to present her film. There will be a brief Q & A following the screening.
Crab Orchard calls itself “a unique place to experience nature.” As the only wildlife refuge in the United States whose mission includes industry and agriculture alongside conservation and recreation, Crab Orchard claims a harmonious balance between uses and users that strike many as incompatible. This story of harmony is maintained through the production and enforcement of physical, visual, and political boundaries—boundaries that, once crossed, quickly dissolve.
This essayistic documentary maps the filmmaker’s discovery of Crab Orchard’s complex and hybrid nature. When a request by a security guard to put away the camera leads to a surprise visit by the FBI, the filmmaker begins a journey to uncover the refuge’s history and understand its contradictory present. Crab Orchard’s status as a contaminated refuge emerges less as an exception and more an example of the power and perils of “nature” as we understand it today. From Crab Orchard’s use by historic Native Americans as a source of food, its continued role in an economically vulnerable region, and the use of its polluted lake as a water source, the film explores themes of invisibility, loss, and shared but profoundly unequal risk. Assembled from documents, found footage, and conversations with activists, writers, and local residents, the film meditates on the persistence of history, the creation of knowledge, the limits of representation, and the commonplace of environmental hazard. AROUND CRAB ORCHARD ultimately argues for forms of storytelling, imagemaking, and activism that cross existing conceptual boundaries to respond to the full complexity of the social and ecological landscape.
Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist examining the politics of landscape through arts practice and writing. Her diverse projects trace the social and material production of physical and political landscapes to build an environmental politics that accounts for the full thickness of social life. Around Crab Orchard is her first feature-length film.