"When an animal, whose scale is immediately challenging to your own, is encountered stranded on a beach, it becomes an avatar, acting as a form of testimony, compelling you to engage with your own cognitive dissonance and your position of privilege in the human/animal binary. As avatars they play a critical role by drawing to the surface, and infusing with emotional force, submerged stories of injustice. They become the public's touchstone into the big blue and question indifference as a way of belonging."
Janet Solomon's Becoming Visible
Janet Solomon - a Durban artist and filmmaker - will be screening her passion-project movie, Becoming Visible, about the impact of noise exposure from marine surveys on sea species, at the KZNSA Gallery on Thursday 15 March at 7pm.
Solomon, whose work in recent times has examined the connection between art and environment, has been an avid campaigner to raise awareness about what is known as "Anthropocene" - an environmental buzzword for the impact human action and behaviour has on the environment. Solomon uses art, film and creative interventions to create awareness and address some of these challenges.
Her work has been described as "Orbiting around ideas of alienation, reduction of relation and its destructive consequences and is inscribed by a sense of loss, a haunting pathos, and a sense of a curiously anti heroic, fragile beauty found in individuals' struggle to come to grips with situations larger than themselves."
"Becoming Visible investigates the risks posed by unilateral and indiscriminate traumatising noise exposurefrom marine seismic surveys to many marine species. The 33 minute film also looks at the vulnerability offishery-basedlivelihoods to these impacts," explains Solomon.
In her presentation, Solomon uses three screens, which implies, and creates the sensation, that the ocean is ever present.
"This journey began when I picked up my camera and drove to a beach to look at the third humpback whale to strand in the first week of August 2016. This moving and heartbreaking experience birthed the documentary, which focuses on an oil and gas seismic survey that took place off the KZN coastline at the time, which was extended into the whale migration season that year. It advances the theme of nature as political asset and questions the scripts of consumptive economics embedded in South Africa's governmental approaches to environmental policy.
"The issues raised by this film are pertinent to very many coastlines around the world experiencing a push for oil and gas development at a time when countries committed to the Paris Agreement are busy divesting from the oil industry," Solomon considers.
The Gallery Cafe will stay open to serve early dinners and the bar will stay open until after the Q&A. Entrance is free, and all are welcome.