Moving images take us on mental and emotional journeys, over the course of which we and our worlds undergo change. This is the premise of Ecologies of the Moving Image, which accounts for the ways cinematic moving images move viewers in ways that reshape our understanding of ourselves, of life, and of the Earth and universe.
This book presents an ecophilosophy of the cinema: an account of the moving image in relation to its lived ecologies—the material, social, and perceptual relations within which movies are produced, consumed, and incorporated into cultural life. Cinema, Adrian Ivakhiv argues, lures us into its worlds, but those worlds are grounded in a material and communicative Earth that supports them, even if that supporting materiality withdraws from visibility. Ivakhiv examines the geographies, visualities, and anthropologies—relations of here and there, seer and seen, us and them, human and inhuman—found across a range of styles and genres, from ethnographic and wildlife documentaries to westerns and road movies, and from sci-fi blockbusters and eco-disaster films to the experimental and art films of Tarkovsky, Herzog, Greenaway, Malick, Dash, and Brakhage as well as YouTube’s expanding audiovisual universe.
Through its process-relational account of cinema, drawn from philosophers such as Whitehead, Peirce, and Deleuze, the book boldly enriches our understanding of film and visual media.
- Runner-up, Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize 2017
"Adrian Ivakhiv makes a major contribution to eco-film studies and film philosophy by proposing a process-relational theory of cinemas. The first two chapters give a lengthy exposition of the book's theoretical and philosophical position. Central to a process-relational approach to cinema is the idea that "a film is what a film does" (48). This includes the complex interaction of several processes, "from its making to its viewing to its after-effects, including its reverberation in viewer's perceptions, sensations, conversations, motivations, and attunements to one thing or another in the social and material fields that constitute the world" (48). A. N. Whitehead's process philosophy and Charles Peirce's tripartite phenomenological theory of semiotics provide a complex vocabulary to understand the way cinema creates worlds. ... A useful Appendix gives a bullet-pointed summary of its main points and lists pertinent questions that students can ask of a given film in order to do process-relational media analysis. ... Ivakhiv's film analysis is superbly researched and insightfully synthesises existing criticism of his chosen films with his Peircian conceptual framework. ... The range of reference make it indispensable for anyone interested in studying film from an ecocritical perspective. ''- David Ingram, Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 19/1
"A capacious and authoritative ecophilosophy of the cinema [. ..] build[s] a theoretical framework for understanding the power of cinema both to reveal 'the world' and to create new ways of seeing that world. [. ..] Ivakhiv's grasp of ecocinema as a body of work is truly impressive. It would be hard to find a film with any hint of an environmental theme that he does not mention and discuss. "- Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, JSRNC
"Ivakhiv, a leading light in the emerging eco-critical film studies, wraps two themes around each other, the cinema of and as ecology. His concern is with how cinema produces worlds, lives, and human subjects intricately implicated in the processes of Earth. Marrying Whitehead, Peirce, and Deleuze with eco-philosophy, Ivakhiv gives us a rich, eloquent, wide-ranging, and moving account of movement: as world, as cinema, and as hope. "- Sean Cubitt, Goldsmiths, University of London
"The publication of Adrian J. Ivakhiv's Ecologies of the Moving Image marks an important moment in the development of ecocritical film studies. . .. Ivakhiv's book surveys and synthesizes a vast number of critical perspectives and systematically and intelligently analyzes a staggering array of primary texts. .. Ivakhiv's book will come to be viewed as required reading for the growing ranks of ecocinema scholars. "- Bart Welling, ISLE
"not only develop[s] a form of ecocriticism appropriate to cinema, but several different strands of philosophy and film theory are also brought together into a structure that represents a general theory of cinema. . .. There are thus two projects underway in this book: one to give an account of how the 'world-making' of cinema connects materially to the world through the 'vectors' of perception, and the other to identify and give an account of films that have historically advanced this understanding of the world as in a continuous process of flux. The two together generate three separately enjoyable products: (1) a history of classic films seen from the perspective of ecological awareness, (2) an ecological ontology of cinema, and (3) a history of ideas knitting together a significant strand of philosophy and film theory building up to an ecology of cinema. "- Helen Hughes, Film-Philosophy
"Adrian Ivakhiv's Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, Nature (2013) is a book that pushes beyond conventional reflections on film and environmental thought. It is, significantly, a book where 'the conceptual' and 'the material' enter into co-productive relationships in and through Ivakhiv's examination of cinema and the worlds it creates. ... Its scale and scope exceed the purview of the humanities and offers far-reaching conceptual and methodological insights of interest to anyone attempting to make sense of our contemporary environmental condition. "- Harlan Morehouse, Society and Space
"Ecologies of the Moving Image is an ambitious book, and a capacious and satisfying one. In addressing 'the wild phantasmagoria of images' among which we live today, Ivakhiv gives us an account that is at once systematic and brimming with rich detail. Moving-image forms both render imaginative worlds to us and help to constitute the world we live in; this book gives us a brilliant process-relational account of both of these dimensions of media experiences. "- Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University
". .. an exquisite, complex journey through film's capacity to produce worlds [. ..] an intricate, historically comprehensive edition. "- Edie Steiner, The Goose
"Reflecting the interdisciplinarity within environmental humanities, Ivakhiv impressively draws upon a century of film history, as well as critical scholarship from anthropology and geography to discuss an astonishing array of films, including ethnographies, wildlife films, blockbuster science fiction and action cinemas, experimental and essay films, digital cinema, documentaries, animated films, Westerns, road movies, and European art films. . .. offers a timely and significant meditation on the material realities of moving images and the shared connections between humans and non-humans which surround them, to the benefit of scholars and graduate students alike. "- Rachel Webb Jekanowski, The Journal of Ecocriticism
"This is a rich book that I feel is only beginning to reveal its significance to me. "- Niall Flynn, University of Lincoln, Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image