Conscient Podcast: e45 abbott

The notion of reality and the way we grasp reality as humans is so deeply subjective, but it’s also socially constructed, and so, as a filmmaker – and this is relevant because I’m also a Zen Buddhist – from both those perspectives, I try to explore what we perceive as reality to untangle and figure out in what ways are we being deluded? And in what ways do we have clear vision? And obviously the more clear vision we can have, the better actions we take to ensure a more compassionate, just and sustainable livable world. I’m all for untangling the delusion while admitting wholeheartedly that to untangle it fully is impossible.

jennifer abbott, conscient podcast, may 6, 2021, british columbia

Jennifer Abbott is a Sundance and Genie award-winning film director, writer, editor, producer and sound designer who specializes in social justice and environmental documentaries. Born in Montreal, Abbott studied political science with a particular interest in radical political thought, women’s studies and deep ecology at McGill University and now live in British Columbia.  

She is the co-director (with Mark Achbar) and editor of The Corporation (2003), the top grossing and most awarded documentary in Canadian history and also the director, writer, editor, sound designer and co-producer of The Magnitude of all Things (2020) and the Co-Director (with Joel Bakan) and Supervising Editor of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020), both of which I strongly recommend. 

The Magnitude of all Things is a unique and powerful film. It’s a cinematic exploration of the emotional and psychological dimensions of climatechangethat exploresJennifer loss of her sister to cancer and the profound gravity of climate breakdown and draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. This film brought me to tears and resonated deeply. I reached out to Jennifer to talk about this important film as well as her other work.

There were many poignant moments in our conversation, including this thought about grief and compassion: 

In terms of why people are so often unable to accept the reality of climate change, I think it’s very understandable, because the scale and the violence of it is just so vast, it’s difficult to comprehend. It’s also so depressing and enraging if one knows the politics behind it and overwhelming. I don’t think we, as a species, deal with things that have those qualities very well and we tend to look away. I have a lot of compassion, including for myself, in terms of how difficult it is to come to terms with the climate catastrophe. It is the end of the world as we know it. We don’t know what exactly the new world is going to look like, but we do know we’re headed for some catastrophe. 

As I have done in all episodes in season 2 so far, I have integrated excerpts from soundscape compositions and quotations drawn from e19 reality, as well as moments of silence, in this episode.

I would like to thank Jennifer for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her passion for social justice and for her outstanding contributions to environmental activism.

For more information on Jennifer’s work, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Abbott

Links

Jennifer Abbott during the filming of The Magnitude of All Things with DOP Vince Arvidson
Jennifer Abbott pendant le tournage de The Magnitude of All Things avec le directeur de la photographie Vince Arvidson.

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La notion de réalité et la façon dont nous appréhendons la réalité en tant qu’êtres humains sont profondément subjectives, mais aussi socialement construites, et donc, en tant que cinéaste – et c’est pertinent parce que je suis aussi un bouddhiste zen – j’essaie d’explorer ce que nous percevons comme la réalité pour démêler et comprendre en quoi nous avons été trompés ? Et dans quelle mesure avons-nous une vision claire ? Et évidemment, plus nous avons une vision claire, meilleures sont les actions que nous entreprenons pour garantir un monde plus compatissant, plus juste et plus vivable. Je suis tout à fait d’accord pour démêler l’illusion tout en admettant de tout cœur qu’il est impossible de la démêler complètement.

jennifer abbott, balado conscient, 6 mai 2021, colombie britannique

Jennifer Abbott est une réalisatrice, scénariste, monteuse, productrice et conceptrice sonore primée par Sundance et Genie qui se spécialise dans les documentaires sur la justice sociale et l’environnement. Née à Montréal, Jennifer Abbott a étudié les sciences politiques avec un intérêt particulier pour la pensée politique radicale, les études des femmes et l’écologie profonde à l’Université McGill et vit maintenant en Colombie-Britannique.  

Elle est la co-réalisatrice (avec Mark Achbar) et la monteuse de The Corporation (2003), le documentaire le plus vendu et le plus primé de l’histoire du Canada, ainsi que la réalisatrice, la scénariste, la monteuse, la conceptrice sonore et la coproductrice de The Magnitude of all Things (2020) et la co-réalisatrice (avec Joel Bakan) et la superviseuse de The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020), deux films que je recommande vivement. 

The Magnitude of all Things est un film unique et puissant. Il s’agit d’une exploration cinématographique des dimensions émotionnelles et psychologiques du changement climatique qui explore la perte de sa sœur par Jennifer suite à un cancer et la gravité profonde de l’effondrement du climat, et qui établit des parallèles intimes entre les expériences de deuil – à la fois personnelles et planétaires. Ce film m’a fait pleurer et m’a profondément touchée. J’ai voulu contacter Jennifer pour parler de ce film important et son travail en général.  

Notre conversation a donné lieu à de nombreux moments poignants, dont cette réflexion sur le deuil et la compassion : 

Si l’on veut savoir pourquoi les gens sont si souvent incapables d’accepter la réalité du changement climatique, je pense que c’est très compréhensible, car l’ampleur et la violence de ce phénomène sont si vastes qu’elles sont difficiles à comprendre. C’est également si déprimant et fâchant si l’on connaît les politiques qui se cachent derrière et qui sont écrasantes. Je ne pense pas qu’en tant qu’espèce, nous gérons très bien les choses qui ont ces qualités et nous avons tendance à détourner le regard. J’ai beaucoup de compassion, y compris pour moi-même, quant à la difficulté d’accepter la catastrophe climatique. C’est la fin du monde tel que nous le connaissons. Nous ne savons pas exactement à quoi ressemblera le nouveau monde, mais nous savons que nous nous dirigeons vers une certaine catastrophe. 

Comme je l’ai fait dans tous les épisodes de la saison 2 jusqu’à présent, j’ai intégré dans cet épisode des extraits de compositions de paysages sonores et des citations tirées de la e19 reality, ainsi que des moments de silence.

Je tiens à remercier Jennifer d’avoir pris le temps de s’entretenir avec moi, de partager sa passion pour la justice sociale et d’avoir contribué de façon remarquable au militantisme environnemental. 

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Jennifer, voir https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Abbott.

Liens

– The Great Derangement par Amitav Ghosh

The post e45 abbott appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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