persblog.be – The World in English suppl. – to MAIN PAGE
persblog.be – Edition 2014.10.24 – ‘Midway’ is a short film that brings a message from the ‘Gyre’. It is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of dead birds have their bodies filled with plastic from the ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’.
The film was made by US photographer Chris Jordan and French film maker Sabine Emiliani. The authors proclaim about this document: “It’s not an activist documentary about saving albatrosses or cleaning up beaches or convincing people to change their behavior. It’s an emotional journey into the depths of our culture. And a mirror for where humanity finds itself.”
Chris Jordan: “I was interested in how to visualize the enormous invisible issue of the pacific garbage patch, and during my research about ocean plastic pollution, I learned of the surreal tragedy that is taking place on Midway Island.”
Chris Jordan is an artist based in Seattle, Washington, US, who is best known for his large scale works depicting mass consumption and waste, particularly garbage.
“His work, while often unsettling, is a bold message about unconscious behaviors in our everyday lives, leaving it to the viewer to draw conclusions about the inevitable consequences which will arise from our habits” Wikipedia says.
In ‘indiewire.com’ the American Stephanie Levy working for a publication of the iAInstitute – the producer – explains: “Midway is a cinematic film about the albatross on Midway atoll and their sad demise due to our plastic trash in our oceans. Our film is a love story and elegiac warning.”
In reddit.com Chris Jordan and Sabine Emiliani give more details about their venture.
“I was interested in how to visualize the enormous invisible issue of the pacific garbage patch, and during my research about ocean plastic pollution, I learned of the surreal tragedy that is taking place on Midway Island. The plastic in the birds is only the tip of the iceberg– a tiny fraction of the amount of plastic in the oceans, but it is appearing in such a viscerally powerful place that I was drawn to it like a magnet.”
What’s the worst culprit? Plastic bags? Plastic cups? Food containers? Toys or misc debris?
“Plastic bottle caps are the worst, but the birds have everything imaginable in them: toothbrushes, cigarette lighters, plastic toys, toy soldiers, and lots of assorted shards of unidentifiable plastic too, from all kinds of plastic stuff.”
“The birds did cooperate easily– they have lived on Midway for 4 million years without ever having a predator, so they don’t have the typical fear response that creatures have everywhere else on earth. We learned a few techniques for approaching them without making them agitated, and from there they let us up closer and closer, until we were literally in their nests with our cameras. The experience was transcendent, as you might imagine.”
“The albatross is as big and magnificent of a creature as the eagle– imagine a field covered with 400,000 eagles, and you can walk right out into the middle of them and sit down among them, and pretty soon the curious ones come walking over and start nibbling at your shoelaces and let you film and photograph them up so close that they could peck your face with their beaks if they wanted to. It is a trans-formational experience to encounter a creature from another species up that close, especially over many days and weeks.”
“I like to think of Midway as a work of art than an an activist documentary.” F.D.